Though the Duronto's departure timing from Visakhapatnam has been changed to 8.15 pm and its new arrival timing at Secunderabad is 6.16 am the next day (currently the train departs Vizag at 10.30 pm departure and arrives at Secunderabad the next day at 8 am), not too many are aware of the change.
In fact, the failure of the railway authorities to publicise the rescheduled Duronto timings has led to passengers, who want to reach Secunderabad early in the day, rushing to book tickets in the waitlisted Godavari Superfast Express.
On Monday, when TOI checked the AC three-tier seat availability of Godavari Express and Duronto for a journey on September 2, 2014, the IRCTC website showed 514 available Duronto seats as against RAC 4 on Godavari Express though the fares of both the trains are almost the same.
While an AC three-tier ticket for Godavari Express costs Rs 1,045 including taxes, that of the Duronto costs Rs 1,195, including taxes, as per the IRCTC website. Incidentally, the non-stop Duronto takes just 10 hours to cover the distance to Secunderabad while Godavari takes 12.20 hours as it has 20 stops en route.
Passengers attribute the lack of prior information about timing changes to the lackadaisical attitude of the railway authorities. "As I had no prior information about the new Duronto timings, I booked RAC tickets on Godavari for travel on September 2. Had I known about the changes, I would have booked myself on the Duronto. The railway authorities should communicate the new timings promptly to avoid inconvenience to passengers," said an irate P Vamsi Krishna, a B.Tech student of Gitam University.
As per the reservation rules of Indian Railways, passengers are allowed to book tickets of any train 60 days prior to the date of journey. Going by this rule, the change in Duronto timings should have been widely publicised in the first week of July itself, pointed out a frequent rail traveller.
Admitting to the delays in communicating the new Duronto timings, Waltair divisional railway manager Anil Kumar said he would take appropriate steps soon. Incidentally, apart from East Coast Railways, even South Central Railways failed to keep passengers informed.
When contacted, K Sambasiva Rao, chief public relations officer of Secunderabad-based SCR, admitted that while they had not yet officially announced the new timings they would do so within two or three days.