Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains for long and short journeys respectively were launched as a premium train services by Indian Railways. But over years the quality of passenger comfort has deteriorated. Keeping that in mind, Indian Railways has launched an initiative – Operation Swarn – to upgrade several premium Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains at a cost of Rs 50 lakh per rake. The idea is to revamp them and offer better passenger experience, especially given the fact that people pay extra for the premium category of trains. The plan to upgrade trains to ‘Gold Standard’ includes 15 Shatabdi Express trains and 14 Rajdhani Express trains.
Operation Swarn aims to upgrade major Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains on 10 parameters. These include; onboard entertainment, safety and security, punctuality, modular toilets with plush fittings, onboard cleanliness, swanky interiors. In late 2017, the New Delhi-Kathgodam Shatabdi Express and the Sealdah Rajdhani became the first few trains to be upgraded under Operation Swarn. Another notable facelift under this project was given to the Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani Express with introduction of disposable toilet covers etc. As of date, Operation Swarn is in advanced stages, with several rakes already upgraded and only 5 trains left to be given a facelift.
According to the sources, by the end of August 2018, all the chosen Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains will be upgraded! The list also includes Gatimaan Express – Indian Railways’ fastest train. Gatimaan Express runs between Delhi and Agra at a maximum speed of 160 kmph and after that at 130 kmph to Jhansi. A railway ministry official told FE Online that a plan to upgrade all major Shatabdi and Rajdhani Express trains under Operation Swarn is being considered. The task of the upgrade has been handed over to the respective zonal railways and the revamp and facelift of all trains has been carried out without hampering the schedule.