On asked when Shatabdi would be extended to Habibganj station he said, “It may happen by the next railway timetable.”
Earlier, Union minister of state (MoS) Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had specifically said Shatabdi would not be extended to Habibganj station due to logistical problems.
Govind Goel, member, National Railway Passenger Amenities Committee, Bhopal, and minister Babulal Gaur have long been demanding the train’s extension to Habibganj. Also, sitting MP Kailash Joshi had discussed the issue with Railway Board officials.
On Wednesday, Prasad indicated that Bhopal-Indore AC double decker train may be shelved. “Railways don’t operate trains on losses. We will track revenue from the train in the next 2-3 months and if things don’t improve, the train may be shifted to another railway zone.”
The AC double-decker is the fifth such train in the country. It was inaugurated with much fanfare on September 27 last year. Earlier this month, 11 coaches were shifted to Madgaon and currently the train is running on four coaches due to huge losses incurred.
Pandey also informed that in the last financial year, trains were 81% on time and 19% late which improved to 83% this financial year. “Now our next target is that trains should be 90% on time,” he said.
The first day of the two-day conference featured detailed discussions on improving operations, punctuality, increasing revenue and possibility of new trains. Additional member, traffic AK Maitra and other senior railway officials from 16 railway zones, Metro Rail Kolkata and Konkan Railway Corporation were present for the conference.