India’s first Rajdhani Express has turned 50 Sunday and the flower-bedecked train chugged out of Howrah station on its golden jubilee run.
On completion of 50 years, The train was flagged off by three former staff of Rajdhani Express after a ceremonial cake cutting and release of a greeting stamp to commemorate the epoch-making event. Senior officers of ER, including its general manager Harindra Rao, were present at platform number 9, which has been the berthing place of Rajdhani Express since inception.
“The Kolkata-New Delhi Rajdhani Express embarked on its first journey on March 3, 1969 from Howrah, making it the country's first fully-airconditioned, high-speed train that covered the 1,450 km stretch in 17 hours and 20 minutes.” An Eastern Railway (ER) official said
IRCTC (East) general manager Debasish Chandra, said, “The Passengers of the train were treated to some of its old delicacies like fish fry or vegetable cutlets and 'rosogollas' apart from ice cream for dessert.
Rajdhani was the first train in the country whose fares included charges for meals served. Brand new linen and disposable napkins with greetings of "50 Years of Rajdhani Express" were distributed among the passengers, the ER official said.
Rajdhani Express commenced its maiden journey from Howrah on this day in 1969 with nine vacuum braked coaches built at Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Perambur, consisting of two power cars, five AC chair cars, one AC dining car and one AC first class coach.