The Southern Railways seems to be intent on making the most of the Pongal rush, as it is now charging two-times (in some cases, three-times) the standard fare for special trains.
An economy class airline ticket to these destinations is cheaper than AC two- and three-tier tickets in the special trains.
Passengers travelling on the Suvidha special train, which will run on January 12 from Chennai Central to Coimbatore, will have to shell out Rs 4,450 for an AC two-tier ticket and Rs 3,155 for an AC three-tier ticket.
This is Rs 3,300 more than the original fare, which is usually Rs 1,150 for an AC two-tier. For AC three-tier, passengers are being charged Rs 2,340 more than the standard fare, which is only Rs 815.
Interestingly, an economy class flight ticket from Chennai to Coimbatore costs Rs 3950 on the same date.
As for sleeper-class seats on the train, the original fare is Rs 315, whereas the fare for the special train fare is Rs 1,105.
Another special train, which will run from Chennai’s Egmore Station to Tirunelveli, will set passengers back by Rs 5,300 for an AC two-tier ticket, Rs 3,745 for an AC three-tier ticket and Rs 1,315 for a sleeper-class ticket.
Another train, which will run from Chennai Central to Tirunchendur, will charge passengers Rs 2,625 for an AC first-class ticket, Rs 1,555 for an AC two-tier ticket, Rs 1,075 for an AC three-tier ticket and Rs 395 for a sleeper-class ticket.
This too is much higher than the standard fare, which is priced around Rs 1,500 for an AC two-tier ticket.
Special trains were started by the Indian Railways a few years ago to cope with the rush during the festival season. However, this has turned into a money-making scheme, as they are now cashing in on the plight of desperate passengers who are unable to secure a seat in the normal trains that ply the routes.