Sleeper, 2nd class bogeys make ways for AC coaches in exp trains

Profit Matters: Indian Railway is increasing the number of AC coaches in place of sleeper and general class bogeys in mail/express trains to maximise earnings

AC Coaches in trains

Patna: Attention please! Train travellers your journey may become costlier but in return your will find it more comfortable in coming days. For, the Indian Railways has been adding more air-conditioned bogeys in mail and express trains by reducing the number of sleeper and 2nd class coaches. This will make it easy for the travellers to get prospect of confirmed berths in AC coaches than the sleeper or second seating.

If officials of the Railway Board are to be believed, the Indian Railways is doing so to bolster its earnings from travellers. “You must have noticed that number of AC coaches have increased over the past few months in almost all mail/express trains. And hence, it would have become more easy to get confirmed berths in the AC than those in sleeper classes,” said a senior officer of the east central railway zone.

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As per the official records, the number of AC coaches in trains have gone up by 9.8% over the last one decade, while count of the sleeper and second classes have come down by 2.8% and 6.6% respectively. Likewise, the number of passengers travelling in the 2nd class has been reduced to 76.6% from 85.3% as compared a decade ago.

To enhance occupancy in the recently introduced costly trains like Vande Bharat express, travel duration of some of the most popular trains on the routs are being increased. “Travel time of Purnia Court Ranchi express from Patna to Ranchi has been increased by more than half an hour to make people opt for the Patna-Ranchi Vande Bharat Express,” said a regular traveller on the route, adding that cost of traveller is almost double in Vande Bharat vis-a-vis Purnia Court-Patna-Hatia express.

Also Read: Sleeper version of Vande Bharat to be rolled out in Feb next year

A senior officer said that the railway board has decided to add more AC bogeys in trains to help Indian railways, which has been running in losses, become self-reliance and profitable. “Currently, the railways is spending ₹107 to get ₹100 from the passengers. The Indian railway has incurred losses due to travellers in all classes, except the 3rd AC coaches, between 2015 and 2020. Passengers have to look for alternative ways for cost-efficient travel, as the number of sleeper and second class coaches is being lowered continuously,” he said.

For record, Indian railways has earned ₹65crore profit from the tickets of AC-3 in 2019-20, while its lost ₹16,000 crore and ₹14,000 crore from the operation of sleeper and 2nd classes. During the Covid period (2020-21) the railway had incurred the loss of ₹6,500 crore from AC-3 class journey, while the losses from sleeper class and 2nd class had burgeoned to ₹20,000 and ₹17,000 crore.

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The cost of per passenger per kilometre journey from air-conditioned coaches has increased by 33 paise, while it has gone up 17.50 paisa.

However, the railway passengers are getting served with their choice of foods while travelling with the help of mobile app. “The IRCTC is going to QR based supply of food in trains by which the passenger can chose their choice of food in trains. The quality and verity of food being supplied in trains has also undergone massive change over the last one decade,” said the officer.

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