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Blog Entry# 3171107
Posted: Mar 04 (21:47)

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General Travel
Mar 04 (21:47)  

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Entry# 3171107            Tags   Past Edits
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Friends, New Delhi-Howrah Rajdhani enters its golden ( 50th) year of its operation
Rajdhani Express, a concept of fully airconditioned premium super-duper fast overnight train from National Capital to other Metro Cities started in 3.3.1969 with introduction of New Delhi - Howrah Rajdhani Express.

It had only 8 coaches including 1ACI (18 berths) & 4 ACC (284 seats) coaches along with 2 Generator/ brake-van and a pantry cum lounge car. Better coaches with superior riding characteristics, better esthetics, distinct livery was adopted. WDM4 loco of 2600hp but capable of higher maximum speed of 130kmph was deployed to haul this train.
New Delhi - Howrah Rajdhani Express was operated biweekly with maximum speed of 120 kmph against 90-100 kmph of other express trains. Rajdhani did journey of 1450 km in just about 17 hrs with average speed of about 80-85kmph. Ultimate priority was given to Rajdhani Express which resulted in average speed of more than 80kmph against 50-60 kmph for other Express/SF trains. With no commercial stops and just technical stops at Kanpur, Mughalsari & Gomoh, it was real a Duronto (nonstop) train.
In April’ 71 commercial stoppage was given to Kanpur and later on to Mughalsarai, Dhanbad, Allahabad, Gaya, Parasnath.
In November’71 speed of Rajdhani(HWH) was increased to 130kmph.
HWH Raj was the only Rajdhani operating on IR network till 17 May 72, when its sister was born, with introduction of New Delhi- Bombay Central Rajdhani.
HWH Rajdhani was making profits, so in August 72, the frequency of the train was increased.
In 1976 full HWH-NDLS route was electrified and new loco WAP-1 was manufactured which started hauling HWH Raj from 1983.
1970s- Higher speed, prestige, priority associated with Rajdhani made this train popular, but the patronage was limited due to very high fare of comfortable AC First sleeper and very uncomfortable 17-18 hour overnight journey in relatively affordable in ac chaircar. Rich people travelled in ACI and upper middleclass travelled in ACC.
1980s- Introduction of AC sleeper (2A) coaches in 1980s lured upper middleclass to opt for comfortable overnight travel in Rajdhani and number of coaches in Rajdhani increased. Airbrakes were provided in Rajdhani instead of conventional vacuum brakes
1990s- From 1993 onwards, newly developed ACIII coaches were introduced in HWH Rajdhani. Affordability of ACIII coaches paved the way for quick proliferation of Rajdhani trains. Large number of ACIII coaches were attached and ACC coaches were removed. HWH Rajdhani was made a daily service (via chord-5 days, via mainline-2days)
2000s-Sealdah Rajdhani introduced which currently is a daily train
2016-Then came flexifare policy of IR which have put a severe brake on the rising popularity and patronage of Rajdhani trains. As a result, very long waiting lists in Rajdhani trains have become things of past.
2020??-However some good things are also planned for the Rajdhani trains in future with usage of light weight 160kmph trainsets instead of current loco-coach formation. Upgradation of tracks to permit 160kmph speed is being taken up beginning with NDLS-BCT & DLS-HWH routes. Journey time of about 12-13 hours is expected.
Let us hope Flexifare is removed and a third Rajdhani for Kolkata is introduced.

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