Dry run: Pragati Express to take Panvel route from today

Final decision on route to be taken after the 9-day trial

Starting today, Central Railways (CR) will run the Mumbai-Pune Pragati Express through Panvel, instead of the usual Kalyan route, on a trail basis for nine days.

"If the service gets a good response, the authorities will consider running it via Panvel on a permanent basis. The new route will benefit commuters who board the train from Navi Mumbai," said CR PRO Y K Singh. Currently, there are only two trains Pune-Bhusaval Intercity Express and Ernakulam Express that take the Panvel route to the city.

Railway Pravasi Group president Harsha Shah said the new route will reduce the travelling time compared to the Kalyan route as some local trains delay signal clearance on this route.

"Local trains operating from Mumbai to Kalyan, Ambarnath and Karjat cause the delay in signal clearance on Kalyan route. A journey from Pune to Mumbai takes 2 hours 15 minutes. But due to these issues, it takes 3 to 3.5 hours. If the railway authorities finalise the new route, travel time can be brought down to 2.5 hours," Shah added.

Tatkal time tweaked

From July 10, booking of Tatkal tickets will begin from 10 am on the previous day of the journey from the originating station, instead of 8 am at present. This is seen as a move to improve the delivery of tatkal tickets to passengers and remove the involvement of touts and middlemen.

No authorised agents, including agents of IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation) and RTSA's (Rail Travellers Service Agent) or RTA's, will be allowed to book tatkal tickets between 10 am and noon.

The present rule of not allowing agents to book general tickets on the opening day from 8 am to10 pm will also continue.

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