The Rajdhani Express, Indian Railways’ first luxury train, completed 50 years, today. The first Rajdhani of India began from Howrah to New Delhi on March 3, 1969. The train covers a distance of 1,445 km in 17 hours 20 mins. The country’s fastest train at the time with a speed of 120km/hr, was flagged off from New Delhi to reach Howrah. It is called 'Rajdhani' because it connects the capital of the country - New Delhi to other cities.
The Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has planned to make the occasion a special one by treating passengers of the 12301 Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express that departs Kolkata on Sunday.
As seen in the pictures, the passengers are being welcomed on board with a chocolate and rose, to celebrate the golden run. The celebration will also continue on arrival at New Delhi Railway station at Platform No. 16.
The son of the first Rajdhani's catering inspector Ratan Chandra, who passed away in 2016, is taking care of the celebrations. According to the reports, Debashis Chandra, group general manager (east zone), of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), said that they will serve fish fry or vegetable cutlets to AC-II and AC-III tier passengers and will also have rasagullas for dessert. For First AC passengers, they have planned a continental menu along with caramel custard for dessert.
Rajdhani Express, India’s first luxury train, has more competitors today but its stature still remains as high as it was always.
Cut to 2019, The Howrah Rajdhani was upgraded to 'Swarna' standard in 2017, a scheme under which better facilities are offered to passengers. When the train was launched, it only had 9 coaches but now it has 20 coaches. Initially, the train was run by a diesel locomotive, but now it has an electric engine. The original Rajdhani coaches were built at Integral Coach Factory, Perambur but since February 2006, the coaches are manufactured under licence from LHB, Germany, at Kapurthala.
For those unaware, Rajdhani Express was also featured in Satyajit Ray's film 'Nayak' even though that film was released in 1966. The entire film featuring matinee idol Uttam Kumar was shot on the elite train.