Amritsar Duronto Express flagged off at last

The Duronto Express guard at Chandigarh railway station on Wednesday

The Duronto Express between Chandigarh and Amritsar made its maiden journey today. The train arrived from Amritsar at Chandigarh railway station this morning amidst much fanfare and left in the evening. However, the much-awaited train received a lukewarm response on its first day.

While around 60 passengers traveled from Amritsar to Chandigarh, around 90 traveled on the return journey. One of the reasons for this was that the booking was started late on Tuesday evening. Till late in the evening today, around 90 per cent of the tickets for tomorrow's journey were also available. The enthusiastic travelers reveled in the experience of being the first commuters on the train. It will run for five days a week, excluding Friday and Sunday.

N A Khan, an executive with a company at Amritsar, said that he was a frequent traveler from Amritsar to Chandigarh. "While I used to commute by car, the introduction of the train has made it easier for me to commute. I came to Chandigarh in the morning and am returning after holding my meetings. The journey is quite comfortable," he said.

Another commuter Nitin Soni, a city-based businessman, said that while the introduction of the train is welcome, it would have been better if there were stoppages at Ludhiana and Jalandhar. It would make the train more popular among the commuters.

This need was also raised earlier in the day when the train was flagged off from Amritsar by Minister of State for Railways K H Muniyappa. Punjab Minister of Technical Education, Industrial Training, Social Security, Development of Women and Children Laxmi Kanta Chawla and Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu demanded that the train must stop at Jalandhar and Ludhiana but the minister declined the request, saying that these stoppages would affect the train's speed. Both Chawla and Sidhu traveled by the train.

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