When the Indian Railways launched the Gatimaan Express between Delhi and Agra, it was touted as a train that was the emblem of modern India, the fastest running train of the country, aimed primarily at the foreign tourists traveling from Delhi to Agra and back.
However, the exclusivity of this train is slowly eroding with the passing time, even as the railways continues to extend the train’s operational distance.
Talking to India Today, Rajiv Tiwari, President, Federation of Travel Associations of Agra said that the Indian railways has already extended the operation of the Gatimaan Express till Jhansi and now it is being planned to be extended till Bhopal, which will defeat the entire purpose of this special train which had been launched solely for the tourists travelling between Agra and Delhi.
Tiwari said that there was already a Shatabdi Express running between Delhi and Bhopal which covers the distance between the two cities in about eight hours and half.
Extending the Gatimaan Express’s route till Bhopal will only serve to throw its schedule off and this train will also be reduced to an ordinary passenger train.
TAJ EXPRESS SUFFERS
He said that this is not the first time when the railways has played this cruel joke with Agra. In fact, it began with the Taj Express, which had been the first train to run between Delhi and Agra and was named ‘Taj’ Express for a very specific reason. The train was clean, punctual and highly successful but not for long.
Soon, its route was extended to Jhansi and then to Gwalior and the train lost its punctuality and cleanliness. Now, it is just one more train that stops in Agra on its southward journey, with the ‘Taj’ Express name reduced to a misnomer as the train has no connection to Agra and its heritage anymore.
SHATABDI EXPRESS SUFFERS FROM ‘TAJ EXPRESS SYNDROME’
Similar happened in the case of Shatabdi Express which was the fastest train in India at that time and it connected Delhi to Agra only. Then, this train too got hit by the ‘Taj Express Syndrome’ and the route of the train kept on getting extended till it started plying between Delhi and Bhopal, with Agra just a 5-minute stoppage on the southward journey of the train.