Indian Railway is an extensive rail network in which there are various trains that run throughout the country and unite the distance, geography, and diversity of the nation. Among those trains, there is one of the most special trains and the pride of our nation, “Rajdhani Express”.
The elite long-distance train which revolutionized the Indian Railways celebrated its Golden Jubilee last week. Indian Railways introduced the Rajdhani Express in the year 1969, to provide fast and comfortable means to transport between New Delhi and other distant cities in India. The inaugural Rajdhani ran between New Delhi and Howrah stations. The train covered a distance of 1,445 km in 17 hours 20 minutes.
To celebrate the occasion, the passengers were given complimentary dishes like fish fry, vegetable cutlets, rasgullas and ice cream. The Indian Railways also printed “50 years of Rajdhani Express” on linen and disposable napkins.
Let’s take a look at some of the interesting facts about the prestigious Rajdhani Express:
The First Trial:
The trial runs of Rajdhani Express were done between Howrah and Delhi in the year 1967. And the first train ran for the service from Howrah to Delhi on 3rd March, 1969. At that time the permissible speed for Rajdhani was 120 km/hr. This was a biweekly train.
First Fully Air Conditioned Train:
Rajdhani Express was the first train in India which was fully air conditioned.
Rajdhani Express trains are able to achieve a maximum speed of 130 kmph and that too over the Delhi-Mumbai route. The newly launched Vande Bharat Express can achieve a top speed of 160 kmph.
The train 12431/Thiruvananthapuram Central Hazrat Nizamuddin Rajdhani Express is the longest running Rajdhani train that covers a distance of 3,149 km in around 41 hours run. It runs the longest non-stop run between Vadodara and Kota of 587 km.
The train 12425/New Delhi – Jammu Tawi Rajdhani Express is the shortest running Rajdhani train that covers a distance of 582 kms in around 9 hours. The distance covered is approximately equal to the distance between Vadodara and Kota which is the longest non-stop run by Thiruvananthapuram Rajdhani.
Introduction Of LHB Coaches
The train 12951/12952 Mumbai Rajdhani Express was the first train in India to get Alstom-LHB coaches in India in the year 2003. Now these spacious, comfortable and safer Linke Hoffman Busch(LHB) coaches are being used in all Rajdhani trains.
Before the introduction of the LHB coaches, the maximum speed that could be attained with the conventional rakes was 120 km/h. But after introduction of LHB rakes the highest speed that could possibly be attained is 160 km/h but remained restricted to 130 km/h due to Head-On-Generation Technology.
Though LHB’s were first used for New Delhi-Lucknow Shatabdi Express on trial basis but they didn’t turned out to be successful as the coach’s wide windows were targets of mischief and stone pelting. The problem railways just can never get rid of!!
Rajdhani Express gets the highest signal priority on the Indian Railway network. After Rajdhani come the other premium trains that run all along the rail network of India such as Shatabdi Express, Duronto Express, Tejas Express etc.
Number Of Rajdhani
Currently, there are 26 pairs of Rajdhani Express that go to all parts of the country from the national capital, Delhi. These trains have fewer stops than other express trains and halt only at prominent stations on the route.
Difficulties During Launch
Not many are aware of the resistance Rajdhani faced during the initial stages of its launch. The adoption of these trains wasn’t smooth. The naysayers criticized the start of the Rajdhani trains in 1969. Even the chairman of the railway board opposed it. However, its great success after the launch proved everyone wrong and today these trains are the epitome of rail travel.
States With Most Rajdhani
West Bengal, Odisha and Assam are the only states with three pairs of Rajdhani Express.
Though over the years, the Shatabdi and Duranto Express trains, among others and the newly launched Vande Bharat Express have come to acquire the elite status that was once the exclusive preserve of Rajdhani but the train has not lost a bit of its energy. It continues to get top priority even today on the railway network and it will continue to be the feather in the cap of the Indian Railways in the years to come!!