The Rajdhani class of trains: A chronology from 1969

Year Milestone
1969 – 70Railway Minister Dr Ram Subhag Singh announces the introduction of Rajdhani in his budget speech on February 19, 1969. It is introduced between New Delhi and Howrah on March 1, 1969, as a bi-weekly train to cover 1441 km in under 18 hours.
1970 – 71IR does feasibility studies Rajdhanis to Bombay and Ahmedabad (on metre gauge).First fare hike – Rs. 20 for the Air- conditioned class and Rs. 10 for AC chair car
1971 – 72Rajdhani now has a commercial halt at Kanpur. Second fare hike in two years. Increaseof fare between New Delhi and Howrah by Rs. 30 per ticket for AC and Rs. 10 per ticket for AC Chair Car. Increase for AC chair car between New Delhi and Kanpur by Rs.4 and between Kanpur and Howrah by Rs.7.
1972 – 73New Delhi – Bombay Bi-weekly Rajdhani Express starts from 17th May 1972
1973 – 74Rail Minister L N Mishra proposes increase in AC class fares for Bombay and Calcutta Rajdhani Express to equal or exceed air fares. He also increases the fares for travel by the two Rajdhani Expresses, both for A.C.C. and A.C. chair cars 3rd  hike).
1974 – 75Rail Minister LN Mishra increases AC first fares again (4th hike) from Rs 379 to Rs 520 between New Delhi and Howrah and from Rs 349 to Rs 465 for Bombay Rajdhani. AC Chair car fare revision was higher than chair car of deluxe trains. Estimated revenue was Rs 4.44 crore a year.
1980 – 81New Delhi – Howrah Rajdhani Express hauled by electric loco
1981 – 82The scheduled time of Howrah Delhi Rajdhani Express was increased by about 1 hour to permit haulage of 12 coaches instead of 9. Similarly, New Delhi – Bombay Rajdhani Express was slowed down by about 45 minutes to increase carrying capacity by 73 seats.
1982 – 83Bombay Rajdhani hauled by double-headed diesel to haul 18 coaches as against the earlier 10. A prototype electric locomotive for haulage of Rajdhani Express trains was developed (WAP 1). It hauled Howrah Rajdhani with 18 coaches. AC 2 tier introduced. Fares hiked  
1983 – 84Howrah Rajdhani frequency increased to 5 days a week; Bombay Rajdhani to 4 days a week. Fares hiked yet again
1985 – 86Another fare hike for both Rajdhanis
1986 – 87Reservation for Rajdhanis computerized. Fares hiked again
1987 – 88Auxillary Warning System installed on some parts of Rajdhani routes. 
1991 – 92A second Rajdhani, later named August Kranti Rajdhani, proposed by Railway Minister Janeshwar Mishra. Decision was implemented by his succcessor C K Jaffer Sharief
1992 – 93Weekly Rajdhani Express to Bangalore and Secunderabad introduced. Rajdhanis to Madras and Thiruvananthapuram under consideration. Fares hiked.
1993 – 94A weekly Rajdhani Express between Hazrat Nizamuddin and Madras introduced. Frequency increased: New Delhi-Howrah Rajdhani Express from five days a week to daily. New Delhi – Bombay Rajdhani Express from six days a week to daily. August Kranti Rajdhani Express from thrice a week to daily. Fares hiked
1994 – 95Weekly Bhubaneswar, Jammu and Guwahati Rajdhanis introduced. Madras Rajdhani extended to Thiruvananthapuram. Fares hiked.
1995 – 96AC 3 tier introduced in Rajdhanis. Bedrolls supplied in all AC 3Tier coaches. Guwahati Rajdhani made tri-weekly with an additional halt at New Bongaigaon. Trivandrum Rajdhani to halt at Palghat. A pilot project was done on mobile telephone communication through walkie talkie sets on Bombay Rajdhani.
1996 – 97Rajdhani Express between New Delhi-Patna via Lucknow. MPs allowed Rajdhani travel. Reservation centre opened at parliament house. Telephones on trial basis introduced in association with VSNL on Bombay Rajdhani.
1997 – 98Telephone on-board on all Rajdhanis. AC 3 Tier attached on all Rajdhanis. Pantry car on Patna and Madras Rajdhanis. Weekly Secunderabad and Ahmedabad  Rajdhanis introduced. Madras Rajdhani becomes bi-weekly. Guwahati Rajdhani extended to Dimapur and then to Dibrugarh weekly. Trivandrum Rajdhani to be re-routed via Konkan Railway. Fares hiked
1998 – 99Senior citizen concession extended to Rajdhani express. Fares hiked
1999 – 2000Special emphasis on maintenance of Rajdhani rakes. President police medal recipients were given 30  per cent concession after they turn 60. Fares revised.
2001 – 01Sealdah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express (Bi-weekly) introduced. Mumbai Rajdhani Express goes from 6 days to daily. August Kranti Rajdhani Express from 6 days to daily. Freedom fighters given one-time free Rajdhani travel.
2001 – 02Bilaspur and Ranchi Rajdhanis introduced. Sealdah – New Delhi Rajdhani Express from 2 days to 4 days a week. Dibrugarh Raj made bi-weekly. Weekly Rajdhani to Secunderabad after terminal at Nizamuddin was completed. 
2002 – 03Free food to infants less than 5 years travelling on Rajdhani. Now Rajdhani to Guwahati daily. Bhubaneswar Rajdhani re-routed via Adra Kharagpur instead of Howrah
2003 – 04Accredited media persons were given 30 per cent concession. Sealdah Rajdhani to run 5 days a week. Bhubaneswar, Bilaspur and Ranchi Rajdhanis made bi-weekly. Rajdhani fares pegged at 15 per cent above superfast/mail express fares, catering charges extra. 10 per cent fare reduction between July 15 and Sep 15 ( non-peak period). Rajdhani freight rate scale namely R is introduced for parcels. Rules applicable to waitlisted passengers made applicable to Rajdhani w/L passengers instead of full fare.
2004 – 05Complimentary trip for frequent travellers as incentive announced. Departure delays informed via SMS. Sealdah Rajdhani Express from 5 days to daily. Ahmedabad Rajdhani Express from tri-weekly to 6 days a week. Parcel rates for R increased by 7.1 per cent.
2005 – 06Dibrugarh Town Rajdhani from tri-weekly to daily. LHB coaches for Mumbai and AK Rajdhani.
2006 – 07LHB coaches for some more Rajdhanis, including Patna and Sealdah. Free passenger upgrade to higher class introduced
2007 – 08Patna Rajdhani goes daily
2008 – 09Jammu Rajdhani made daily, Trivandrum and Bhubaneswar tri-weekly. LHB rakes for all Rajdhanis by March 2010. Onboard cleaning by professional agencies introduced. Ashok Chakra awardees provided Rajdhani card passes. Param Vir Chakra, Mahavir Chakra and Vir Chakra already entitled.
2009 – 10On-board infotainment proposed. Bangalore Rajdhani via Kacheguda introduced as tri-weekly. Two weekly Rajdhanis to Guwahati via Bhagalpur and Muzaffarpur introduced. Frequency increase Guwahati/Dibrugarh 6 days a week, Bhubaneswar made four days a week, and Ahmedababd a daily train.
2010 – 11Train number 2235 /36 Guwahati Rajdhani extended to Dibrugarh. Regional film industry technicians given 75 per cent concessions while travelling for work.
2011 – 12Internet access as a pilot project on Howrah Rajdhani. Kirti /Shaurya chakra recipients besides physically handicapped given concessions. Dibrugarh Rajdhani made daily.
2012 – 13Introduction of ‘Rail Bandhu’ onboard magazine on Rajdhanis. Realtime tracking of Rajdhani by SIMRAN. Arjuna awardees get a concession. 12453/54 Ranchi Rajdhani via Barkakana made bi-weekly.
2013 – 14Anubhuti coach mooted. Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Dhyan Chand, Dronachaya, police gallantry awardees besides Olympic medalists given concession.
2014 – 15Dynamic pricing of tickets introduced. To rakes on trial with fire and smoke detectors.
2015 – 16Bi-weekly Madgaon Rajdhani introduced on November 15, 2015
2017 – 18Weekly Agartala Rajdhani introduced on October 28, 2017
2018 – 19CSMT – Nizamuddin Rajdhani introduced on January 19, 2019

Image Courtesy: Syed Zohaibullah

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About the Author: Raghavendra Rao


  1. Chennai Rajdhani has been running Bi-weekly from 1997-98. No plans to run on more days in a week.

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