Minister of Railways Flags off Country’s first Antyodaya Express running between Ernakulam – Howrah

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Minister of Railways Flags off Country’s first Antyodaya Express running between Ernakulam – Howrah

Minister of Railways Flags off Sri Ganganagar – Tiruchirappalli Humsafar Express

Minister of Railways Launches New Catering Policy

Minister of Railways Launches New Partnership with India Post for Business Parcel

Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu flagged off the fourth Humsafar clan of trains and first Antyodaya clan of trains through video conferencing from Rail Bhawan:

  1. Train No 14715/14716 Sri Ganganagar – Tiruchirappalli Humsafar Express (Weekly) (via Krishnarajapuram, Pune, Ahmedabad)
  2. Train No 22877/22878 Ernakulam – Howrah Antyodaya Express (Weekly) (via Salem, Katpadi, Visakhapatnam)

He also launched the following policies:

  1. New Catering Policy 2017.
  2. New partnership in Parcel Business with Department of Post.

Chairman, Railway Board, Shri A. K. Mital, Member Traffic Shri Mohd Jamshed, other Railway Board Members, Secretary Department of Post Shri Boyapati V. Sudhakar and other senior officials were also present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion Ministry of Railways, Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said that “This is the fourth Humsafar Express to be launched and it will cross the entire country from North to South. Humsafar train is a fully Air Conditioned 3 AC service having facilities like GPS based Passenger Information System, Passenger announcement System, fire and smoke detection and suppression system, CCTVs, comfortable seats, mobile and laptop charging points, integrated Braille display, LCD display above compartment doors in the aisle, Fire retardant curtains, etc.”

He also said that “Today we are launching the country’s first Antyodaya Express to be launched. Tejas and UDAY Express will be launched soon. Antyodaya Express is a long-distance, fully unreserved, superfast train service, for the common man to be operated on dense routes. Antyodaya Express will have facilities like  Cushioned luggage racks which can serve as seats  Additional hand holds in doorway area, J-Hook near longitudinal luggage racks, Multiple Unit cables at both ends of the coach, Vestibuled ends for internal movement of the passengers, Potable Drinking water dispenser, Mobile charging points, Fire Extinguisher with anti-theft lock, FRP (Fibre Reinforced Plastic) Modular Toilets, Pleasing interior colour scheme, Toilet Occupation indication display board, LED Lights, SS Slip-free flooring at Doorway & Gangway, Anti-Graffiti coating for exterior painting, etc.”

Shri Prabhu further said that “In this new Catering Policy food production and food distribution will be delinked. This will be a marriage between the best of both worlds. Food can be cooked anywhere like the state of the art kitchens of IRCTC in a hygienic manner using mechanized system. Food can be distributed using professionals from the hospitality industry. For making of food SHGs especially women SHGs can be used which will benefit them.”

He also said that “Parcel is the fastest moving freight business of Indian Railways. Through this new Business Parcel Policy not only India Post but any private player can also book space in trains for movement of their Business Parcel. Before rolling out this scheme on All India basis test was done on 2 trains viz, Train No. 15959  Howrah-Guwahati-Dibrugarh Kamrup Express between Howrah and Guwahati and Train No. 12721   Hyderabad-Nizamuddin  Deccan Express between Hyderabad and Nizamuddin . After the success of the test today this scheme is rolled out at All India level.”

Salient Features of Services / Policies launched:

Humsafar Express

Indian Railways introduced a new Humsafar Express between Sriganganagar and Tiruchchirapalli viz. 14715/14716 Sriganganagar-Tiruchchirapalli Humsafar Express (Weekly). The train service inaugurated on27.02.2017 by Minister of Railways through video conferencing from Rail Bhawan, New Delhi. As announced in Railway Budget 2016-17, Humsafar Express are fully air-conditioned third AC service with an optional service for meals. Till date, 3 Humsafar Express trains have been introduced on Indian Railways.

The abstract schedule including timings, composition, stoppages etc. of the train service to be introduced is as under:

14715/14716 Sriganganagar-Tiruchchirapalli Humsafar Express (Weekly)


Arrives Departs Stoppage Day ↑ Station Code Station Name Distance (km) Day ↓ Arrives Departs Stoppage
13:30     Thu ↑ TPJ Tiruchchirappalli Junction 0 Thu ↓   23:30  
11:27 11:30 3m Thu ↑ KRR Karur Junction 76.2 Fri ↓ 1:07 1:10 3m
10:54 10:55 1m Thu ↑ NMKL Namakkal 110.1 Fri ↓ 1:39 1:40 1m
9:55 10:05 10m Thu ↑ SA Salem Junction 161.8 Fri ↓ 2:45 2:50 5m
6:08 6:10 2m Thu ↑ BWT Bangarapet Junction 357 Fri ↓ 6:42 6:45 3m
5:08 5:10 2m Thu ↑ KJM Krishnarajapuram 413.3 Fri ↓ 7:38 7:40 2m
4:48 4:50 2m Thu ↑ BAND Banaswadi 419.4 Fri ↓ 7:53 7:55 2m
3:20 3:25 5m Thu ↑ TK Tumakuru (Tumkur) 498.4 Fri ↓ 11:15 11:20 5m
1:30 1:35 5m Thu ↑ ASK Arsikere Junction 594.7 Fri ↓ 13:10 13:15 5m
0:38 0:40 2m Thu ↑ RRB Birur Junction 640.1 Fri ↓ 13:58 14:00 2m
22:52 22:53 1m Wed ↑ DVG Davangere 754.8 Fri ↓ 15:43 15:45 2m
22:33 22:35 2m Wed ↑ HRR Harihar 767.6 Fri ↓ 15:58 16:00 2m
20:15 20:25 10m Wed ↑ UBL Hubballi Junction (Hubli) 898.7 Fri ↓ 19:10 19:20 10m
19:18 19:20 2m Wed ↑ DWR Dharwad 918.7 Fri ↓ 19:40 19:42 2m
17:08 17:10 2m Wed ↑ BGM Belagavi (Belgaum) 1040.5 Fri ↓ 22:10 22:12 2m
14:50 15:00 10m Wed ↑ MRJ Miraj Junction 1177.8 Sat ↓ 1:10 1:20 10m
13:55 14:00 5m Wed ↑ SLI Sangli 1185 Sat ↓ 1:32 1:35 3m
10:52 10:55 3m Wed ↑ STR Satara 1311.7 Sat ↓ 3:42 3:45 3m
7:40 7:50 10m Wed ↑ PUNE Pune Junction 1457.3 Sat ↓ 8:05 8:15 10m
6:18 6:20 2m Wed ↑ LNL Lonavala 1521 Sat ↓ 9:33 9:35 2m
4:47 4:50 3m Wed ↑ KYN Kalyan Junction 1595.3 Sat ↓ 11:00 11:03 3m
3:38 3:40 2m Wed ↑ BSR Vasai Road 1636.9 Sat ↓ 12:10 12:12 2m
0:01 0:06 5m Wed ↑ ST Surat 1852.8 Sat ↓ 15:30 15:35 5m
21:43 21:48 5m Tue ↑ BRC Vadodara Junction 1982.6 Sat ↓ 17:18 17:23 5m
20:58 21:00 2m Tue ↑ ANND Anand Junction 2018.3 Sat ↓ 17:58 18:00 2m
20:41 20:43 2m Tue ↑ ND Nadiad Junction 2036.8 Sat ↓ 18:14 18:16 2m
19:35 19:55 20m Tue ↑ ADI Ahmedabad Junction 2082.4 Sat ↓ 19:10 19:20 10m
17:59 18:01 2m Tue ↑ MSH Mahesana Junction 2151.7 Sat ↓ 20:41 20:43 2m
15:50 16:00 10m Tue ↑ ABR Abu Road 2269.1 Sat ↓ 23:05 23:15 10m
13:00 13:02 2m Tue ↑ MJ Marwar Junction 2434.5 Sun ↓ 2:28 2:30 2m
10:50 11:05 15m Tue ↑ JU Jodhpur Junction 2538.6 Sun ↓ 4:05 4:15 10m
5:55 6:20 25m Tue ↑ BKN Bikaner Junction 2814.4 Sun ↓ 9:25 9:35 10m
2:50 2:55 5m Tue ↑ SOG Suratgarh Junction 2996.2 Sun ↓ 12:10 12:15 5m
1:25 1:50 25m Tue ↑ HMH Hanumangarh Junction 3046.7 Sun ↓ 13:15 13:25 10m
  0:25   Tue ↑ SGNR Shri Ganganagar Junction 3113.7 Sun ↓ 15:15    


  • Days of run:  Ex-SGNR – Tuesday

                    Ex-TPJ – Thursday

  • One way distance: 3199 Kms.
Humsafar Express
Humsafar Express

Route of Train No. 14715/14716 Humsafar Express

  • Stoppages: Hanumangarh, Suratgarh, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Marwar Jn., Abu Road, Palanpur, Mahesana, Ahmedabad, Nadiad, Anand, Vadodara, Bharuch, Surat,  Vasai Road, Kalyan, Lonavala, Pune, Satara, Sangli, Miraj, Belgaum, Dharwad, Hubballi, Harihar, Davangere,  Birur, Arsikere, Tumakuru, Banaswadi,  Krishnrajapuram, Bangerpet,  Salem, Namakkal,  Karur
  • Composition of regular service: 3AC-16, Power Car-2, Pantry Car-1= 19 coaches
  • Primary Maintenance: Sri Ganganagar (NWR)
  • Nature of Service: Humsafar Express


Antyodaya Express

Indian Railways introduced the first Antyodaya Express between Ernakulam and Howrah viz.  22877/22878 Ernakulam-Howrah Antyodaya Express (Weekly). The train service was inaugurated on 27.02.2017 by Minister of Railways through video conferencing from Rail Bhawan, New Delhi. As announced in Railway Budget 2016-17, Antyodaya Express are long-distance, fully unreserved, superfast train service, for the common man to be operated on dense routes.

The abstract schedule including timings, composition, stoppages etc. of the train service to be introduced is as under:

22877/22878 Ernakulam-Howrah Antyodaya Express (Weekly)

22878 Ernakulam-Howrah Antyodaya Express (Weekly) Station 22877 Howrah-Ernakulam Antyodaya Express (Weekly)
Arr. Dep.       Arr. Dep.
00.25 (Tue)   Ernakulam   06.00 (Mon)  
14.50 (Wed)     Howrah     17.00 (Sat)
  • Days of run:  Ex-ERS – Tuesday

                        Ex-HWH – Saturday

  • One way distance: 2307 Kms.
  • Stoppages: Kharagpur, Balasore, Bhadrak, Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Khurda Road, Brahmapur, Palasa, Srikakulam Road, Vizianagaram, Duvvada, Rajahmundry, Vijaywada, Ongole, Renigunta, Katpadi, Jolarpettai, Salem, Erode, Coiambatore, Palakkad, Thrisur
Antyodaya Express
Antyodaya Express

Route of Train No 22877/22878 Antyodaya Express

  • Composition of regular service: General Coach-20, Power car-2= 22 coaches
  • Primary Maintenance: Santragachi on RBPC (SER)
  • Nature of Service: Antyodaya Express


New Catering Policy 2017

Mobile Units and Base Kitchens:


  • IRCTC shall manage catering service on all mobile units including catering services on all new trains/ trains started on short notice. Pantry car contracts awarded by zonal railways shall also be reassigned to IRCTC.
  • Meals for all mobile units will be picked up from the nominated kitchens, owned operated and managed by IRCTC. IRCTC shall develop different archetypes of kitchens keeping in view supply of food and usage assessed.

○       All four Base Kitchens under departmental operation of Zonal Railways (Nagpur, CSTM, BCT and Balharshah) and all kitchen units i.e. Refreshment Rooms at A1 and A category stations, Jan Ahaar, Cell Kitchens shall be handed over to IRCTC on ‘as is where is basis’.  Besides IRCTC may set up its own Kitchens at additional stations if required.

○       Kitchen structures/ land/space will be handed over by Zonal Railways to IRCTC, for a period of 10 years extendable for another period of 5 years, on a token license fee of Re.1/- (Re. one) per sqft. p.a. subject to minimum of Rs.100/- p.a.

○       IRCTC shall develop the Business model for the kitchens so that they can expand and enhance the service.

○       IRCTC shall prepare and submit a detailed concession agreement for setting up/development of the kitchens for approval of Railway Board.

○       IRCTC shall not outrightly outsource or issue licenses for provision of catering services to private licensees.

○       IRCTC shall determine the menu of standard meals and A-la-carte items. The standard meals served in trains shall be within the fixed tariff approved by Railway Board.

  • IRCTC may involve/empanel Self Help groups for providing catering related services.

Static Units

  • Zonal Railways will manage static units (catering/milk stalls, trolleys etc.) except base kitchens and kitchen units to be handed over to IRCTC. IRCTC shall be responsible for catering services in static unit viz., Food Plazas, Food Courts and Fast Food Units.
  • Allotment of all Minor Catering units at all category of stations to be done through open tender.
  • For the first time, it has been envisaged that Allotment of Special Minor Units (reserved category) at all category stations will be done through open tendering system within the similar reserved category. The technical eligibility criteria has been simplified
  • Allotment of Milk Stalls at all stations shall be done through open tender system as against calling application.
  • For Milk Stalls, in addition to dairy cooperative federations/members of NCDFI bodies/agencies registered/certified by FSSAI for sale of milk and milk products have been made eligible to participate at all category of stations.
  • Provision of perpetual renewal has been done away with. Now it has been envisaged that tenure of all static units (except kitchen units and Food Plaza) shall be 5 years only.
  • For smooth implementation of renewal, ceiling limit on holding of minor units including milk stalls, computation of units has been defined.
  • 33% sub quota for women in allotment of each category of minor catering units at all category of stations has been provided.


Partnership in Parcel Business with Department of Post

  1. In order to provide end to end parcel services to the customers by effective   partnership between Indian Railways and Department of Post, certain sectors have been identified in which the parcel traffic offered by DOP can be transported by IR.
  2. Department of Post has identified following trains for allotment of parcel space  in the assistant guard compartment of  front  SLR  :

○       15959 Howrah-Guwahati- Dibrugarh Kamrup Express.(Howrah-Guwahati)

○       18646 Hyderabad-Howrah East Coast Express.(Hyderabad-Howrah)

○       12322 Mumbai-Howrah Mail.( Mumbai-Howrah)

○       12721 Hyderabad-Nizamuddin  Dakshin Express.( Hyderabad-Delhi)

○       17230 Hyderabad-Tiruvananthapuram- Sabari Express. (Hyderabad-Cochin).

  1. Out of the above 5 trains,  AGC space was made available for use of Department of Posts on RMS rates in  two trains (i) 15959  Howrah-Guwahati-Dibrugarh Kamrup Express between Howrah and Guwahati at Rs 7115 per trip and (ii) 12721   Hyderabad-Nizamuddin  Deccan Express between Hyderabad and Nizamuddin at Rs 10020 per trip on pilot basis for six months.
  2. The permission could not be granted in remaining trains due to reversal of engine enroute.
  3. DoP has commenced operations on the 12721 Hyderabad-Nizamuddin from 01.02.2017 and on 15959 Howrah-Guwahati from 20.02.2017.
  4. Now DOP has been permitted to use AGC of train 12322 from 27.02.2017 as   engine   reversal enroute is not involved anymore.  The per trip earning from the service will be Rs 12,954/- and the assured transit time from Mumbai to Howrah is 38 hrs.

About Post Author

Editor Desk

Antara Tripathy M.Sc., B.Ed. by qualification and bring 15 years of media reporting experience.. Coverred many illustarted events like, G20, ICC,MCCI,British High Commission, Bangladesh etc. She took over from the founder Editor of IBG NEWS Suman Munshi (15/Mar/2012- 09/Aug/2018 and October 2020 to 13 June 2023).
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