• News in Hindi and English from All India Radio, free newspapers to every passenger free of cost.
• Comfort and luxury of passengers looked after by the train superintendent assisted by a steward.
• In a first there was even a STD PCO in the pantry car in the train in 1990s after a tie-up with VSNL
The second among the 25th Rajdhani Express trains that ply today, the Mumbai Central-New Delhi Rajdhani Express—India’s premier passenger train—will flagged off on May 17, 1972. “The service started just three years after the first Rajdhani—India’s first fully air-conditioned train—began between New Delhi and Howrah (Kolkata). The train has constantly been upgraded over the last 50 years to maintain its premier position.
When the train started, it used to take 19 hours and 5 minutes and the journey has now been shortened to 15 hours and 50 minutes between Mumbai and Delhi. Till 1988, Rajdhani, with a maximum speed of 120 kmph, was the fastest in Indian Railways.
The original train was diesel hauled and after electrification in the early 1990s, the train was hauled by electric locomotives. In 2003, the train was upgraded with new Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) class coaches designed for a higher speed and improved safety. Now, the train runs with smart Tejas class coaches with automatic door closing facility.
To cater to the increasing demand of passengers along the route, the presentday 12953/12954 August Kranti Rajdhani was introduced on July 01, 1991. It came as an excellent alternative for passengers between the two cities who were finding it tough to get accommodation in the Mumbai Rajdhani. It was in May 15, 1992, when the Rajdhani first began operating with Three-tier AC coaches. And it took just around eight more years for the train to begin running daily from October 02, 2000. On July 19, 2021, Indian Railways inducted the Tejas rake, which has smart coaches with ultra- modern features. Those amenities make the journey all the more comfortable for passengers.
Red & White Train
Superintendent recalls memories
NK Chawla was the train superintendent of the prestigious Mumbai Delhi Rajdhani Express for over 12 years and now retired calls his memories from the iconic train as Red and White, matching the train’s traditional colour shade.
“I joined the Indian railways in 1980 and retired in 2015. I was posted on the Rajdhani Express between 1998 and 2010. I call it the Red and White train. If I think 35 years backwards, I can still see and feel freshly in my memory, the red and white world of Indian Railways,” Chawla, who always used to greet passengers with Jai Mata Di onboard recalls.
Known for his unique dressing style with a spotless white uniform, Chawla said, “As a sign of purity and innocence, I was known for my unique dressing style, as I would embellish myself with white attire and shoes and graciously greet people “Jai Mata Di”. “As most of you already know, Rajdhani Express was and is exotic, elite and special passenger train that connected the financial capital with the country’s capital and travelled the best in it. I recall it has a STD PCO booth in the pantry car,” he said. Chawla remembers accompanying the country’s most important celebrities onboard the iconic train including Dream Girl Hema Malini, Ajitabh Bachchan, Vijayendra Ghatge etc. It was also a privilege to escort India’s deputy prime minister Dr Lal Krishna Advani onboard the train.
“My job profile was to inspect the train before each trip, assisting passengers with directions, luggage, enforcing rules, doing ticket accounting, studying train orders and physical characteristics of the railroad, ready for emergencies or flag exchanges keeping track of work hours,” he added.
17/5/72 : 151Dn/152Up Rajdhani exp introduced on Mumbai-Delhi Route
2/10/81 : Number of coaches increased to 18, hauled by two\ engines called as Double headed Rajdhani
19/11/82 : Rajdhani exp started running four days a week
1/11/89 : Made six days a week and renumbered as 2951/2952
1/07/91 : August Kranti Rajdhani exp introduced between Mumbai and Delhi*
15/05/92 : 3AC coaches introduced in Rajdhani
2/10/2000 : Rajdhani started running as daily train
15/12/2003 : LHB coaches introduced in Rajdhani Exp
19/07/2021 : Tejas Type Sleeper coaches(First on Indian Railways) introduced in 12951/52 Mumbai - New Delhi Rajdhani Exp