Ajmer–Hyderabad Meenakshi Express
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|First service||September 2010|
|Current operator(s)||Indian Railways|
|Distance travelled||1,708 km (1,061 mi)|
|Average journey time||30 hours|
|Service frequency||twice weekly|
|Train number(s)||12720 (from Hyderabad)
12719 (from Ajmer)
|Track gauge||1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)|
Ajmer-Hyderabad Express is a train started by Indian Railways in September 2010. It connects Ajmer in Rajasthan with the capital of Telangana. It replaced a train called Meenakshi Express that used to run from Jaipur to Kacheguda near Secunderabad on metre gauge but was cancelled when the track was being converted to 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge.
The train is unofficially called by the name of its earlier avatar Meenakshi Express. At Hyderabad it is simply called Ajmer Express and at Ajmer it is simply called Hyderabad Express. An earlier train Nagarjuna Express that ran between Tenali and Secunderabad and was terminated in the middle of 2007 had the train numbers but ran on a completely different route.
The train runs twice a week. Train number 12720 departs every Monday and Wednesday at 20.30 from Hyderabad (station code HYB) and at 20.55 from Secunderabad and reaches Ajmer (station code AII) after 30 hours at 03.25 on Wednesday and Friday respectively. In the return direction, train number 12719 departs Ajmer every Wednesday and Friday at 17.25 and reaches Secunderabad at 00.05 after about 30 hours. The distance is 1708 km.
When the metre gauge track between Akola and Khandwa passing through Satpura mountains is converted to broad gauge, the distance will shorten and the time taken by the train will be reduced by over 3 hours. When the Khandwa-Indore section is also converted, the train may take the original route of Meenakshi Express.
The train has one AC 2 Tier, two AC 3 Tier, seven sleeper, six unreserved second and two luggage-cum-brake van coaches and a pantry car.
The train is led by Twin WDM3A Alco turbo-charged locomotive from Secunderabad in both directions. The train reverses direction at Purna and Ratlam.
Nizam Guaranteed Railways started Meenakshi Express on the metre-gauge track to link the Hyderabad-Godavari Valley Railways and Malwa-Rajputhana Railways. The Khandwa–Akola metre gauge was opened in 1963. even then no direct service was between Ajmer and Hyderabad. In 1976 railway minister Shri Kamlapati Tripathi announce amalgamation of 69/70 Ajmer-Khandwa and 581/582 Khandwa-Kacheguda passenger. Then Ajmer-Kachiguda passenger was longest (1326 km) passenger train in the country. The train used to run every day to Ajmer via Nizamabad, Nanded, Purna, Akola, Khandwa, Indore MG, Ratlam, Neemuch, Mandsaur and Chittorgarh. In October 1977 railway minister Shri Madhu Dandvate started 69/70 bi-weekly Ajmer-kacheguda express later on Shri Madhavrao Scindia increase the frequency 2-5-7 and extended to Jaipur. This train was unofficially called Meenaxi express as it was proposed to extend to Madurai where famous MEENAXI temple is there, but it was never done and the train was discontinued in phase manner due to gauge conversion.
It was named Minakshi possibly because
- The Mahur Ekvira or Ekaveera Aayee, of Nanded district, which is the most adorable goddess of Marathi people and people living around Nizamabad and Adilabad districts, is also known Minakshi aayee.
- Mahakali goddess of Ujjain, which is also adored as Minakshi. Though the train does not go to Ujjain, it stops at Fatehabad junction which is about 20 km each from Ujjain.
Also there are many Hindus of Hyderabad who travels to Pushkar, a sacred place for Hindus.
Another train with similar name
Hyderabad-Ajmer Express (train numbers 17019 and 17020) is another train that runs between Hyderabad and Ajmer once a week. From Purna it goes to Manmad and then Itarsi. Therefore, the distance is longer at 1869 km and the time taken is 36 hours.