The Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation has decided to suspend the Lucknow-New Delhi and the Ahmedabad-Mumbai Central Tejas Express services, following the upsurge in cases of Covid 19 and dwindling passenger demand. The decision will be reviewed next month, after evaluating the occupancy level of other trains of the Railways operating in both these routes.
The Lucknow-New Delhi and Ahmedabad-Mumbai Central Tejas Express are the country’s first private trains with semi high speed and full air conditioning. While the Lucknow-New Delhi service operated for almost six months, the Ahmedabad-Mumbai had a shorter run of 3 months before both trains were halted on 19 March 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The IRCTC restarted the two trains from 17 October given the festival rush and as the pandemic situation appeared to move towards normal, but the surge in the number of Covid cases and low demand has led to the decision to stop its operations.
After the restart of the services, occupancy of the Delhi-Lucknow train was down to 25%, compared to 70% in the pre-Covid period while the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Tejas Express saw a 35% occupancy post the lockdown compared to 80% occupancy in the pre-pandemic levels.