Third Shatabdi to start today, 50% of seats booked

The much-awaited third Shatabdi between Chandigarh and New Delhi will be flagged off on Monday by Union Minister for Railways Pawan Kumar Bansal. The booking of tickets is receiving an encouraging response from the residents, with more than 50 per cent of the seats already booked.

The city residents had for a long time been demanding an afternoon Shatabdi between Chandigarh and Delhi. With the train having no stops on the way, it will take 12 minutes less than the Kalka Shatabdi to complete the distance.

Kalka Shatabdi has three stops along the way at Ambala, Kurukshetra and Panipat.

The Chandigarh-New Delhi Shatabdi will take 3 hours and 20 minutes to cover the distance between the two stations. The Shatabdi will start from Chandigarh Railway Station at 11.40 am and reach New Delhi at 3 pm.

Meanwhile it will start from New Delhi at 7.15 pm and reach Chandigarh at 10.35 pm. The fare being charged is higher than the other two Shatabdi trains as lunch or dinner, depending on the time, will be served on the train.

While expectations were high during the Rail Budget for the year 2011-12 that the afternoon Shatabdi would be started, this did not happen. Commuters who had connecting trains or flights to catch from Delhi had rued that they end up wasting the whole day and an afternoon Shatabdi could solve this problem. Also the existing Shatabdi trains were packed to capacity on most days, especially the weekends.

Jan Shatabdi between Chandigarh and Delhi was made a daily train in 2008.

The last Kalka Shatabdi was started in 1994.

The passenger traffic between Chandigarh and Delhi is high. Apart from the trains, even the flights between the two destinations generally remain packed.

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