The Garib Rath express train is one of the premier trains introduced by the Indian Railways in 2005 by Railways Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav to provide fully air-conditioned travel to those passengers who could not afford the expensive tickets of the fully air-conditioned Rajdhani Express and Shatabdi Express. Therefore, the Garib Rath, whose name means "Poor Man's Chariot", was introduced with the facilities of being fully air-conditioned and running faster than most other super-fast express trains running presently. The maximum speed of Garib Rath trains is 130 km/hr which is the same as Rajdhani's top speed. However, in Garib Rath trains, passengers are not normally provided with blankets and pillow and they have to pay extra to get those.
The maiden journey of the train started from Saharsa, Bihar to Amritsar, Punjab. Critics and observers alike noted that the maiden journey was chosen between two commercially unimportant routes as many local Bihari people had migrated to Punjab and Yadav's origination from Bihar led him to choose this route for political purposes. Despite the criticism, the Garib Rath has received positive reviews, with the train capacity reaching near 100% in off-season timings.
Garib Rath trains are also slated to have many amenities such as fridge, microwave oven... They will have continuous running electronic display which will show distance remaining, next station name and expected time to reach there. The coaches will also be decorated with beautiful paintings of Indian heritage artwork.
The emergence of the Garib Rath has led to more connections between commercially important routes, where these trains run faster and make fewer stops, such as the Bandra-Hazrat Nizammudin Express compared to the August Kranti Rajdhani Express.
Currently services are offered from these stations:
Services likely to start shortly as per the Interim Rail Budget on the 13th of February 2009.