To travel from Hyderabad, India to Tirupati (a very beautiful, hilly scenic place) by road would take you around 9 hours (355 miles). Now if you want to drive along with horrendous traffic, and with all the fuel subsidies. It would cost you around 33 USD (one way) for gas(petrol) if you have your own vehicle.
Now, if you want to relax, and take it easy and sit in the comfort of an air-conditioned car and arrive safely at Tirupati in about 6 hours. It will cost you 7 USD one way!
As South Central Railway’s first air-conditioned, chair-car, double-Decker super-fast express.
It was driven by loco pilot Karimullah, who has 18 years of experience behind the locomotive wheel and assistant loco pilot Ramakrishna (three years). On its inaugural run, it was flagged off not by a ‘neta’ or a senior official, but by Abdul Rehman, a train lighting helper, as he would retire from service this month-end.
The Kacheguda-Guntur train no. 22118 will leave on Tuesdays and Fridays at 5.30 a.m. and reach at 10.40 a.m. with halts at Malkajgiri, Nalgonda, Miryalaguda and Piduguralla. On the return, no. 22117 will leave Guntur at 12.45 p.m. and reach Kacheguda at 5.55 p.m. The 10-rake train can carry 120 passengers in each, totalling to a whopping 1,200 passengers, the equivalent of 55 to 60 trains.
Starting from Wednesday, the same rake will leave for Tirupati at 6.45 a.m. and return by Thursday night, in time for its run to Guntur on Friday.
The unique selling proposition of the rake is that for the first time in Indian Railways, it comes with VESDA (Very Early Smoke/Fire Detection with Alarm System). There are 17 sensors at different points in each coach for the purpose. Each chair-car coach can seat 120 persons.
The fare to Guntur is Rs. 415 (around 7 USD, including taxes) and Rs. 720 (around 7 USD, including taxes) for Tirupati.