THE SCENIC train ride from Kalka to Shimla is going to become more panoramic. The Northern Railway is planning to introduce a see-through Vistadome coach on the UNESCO World Heritage track. Railway officials said the coach would be manufactured at its workshop in Kalka, but it is still at the drawing board stage.
“As per the plan, we will initially manufacture one coach. It will have large glass windows and glass ceiling and it will give an amazing experience to the tourists travelling in the coach,” Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Ambala, Dinesh Kumar, told Chandigarh Newsline. “It [coach] will be introduced on trial basis. Manufacturing of more such coaches would depend on the success of this coach.” Kumar said the railways are yet to decide the fare of the coach.
“It will be done later as the manufacturing is completed. But, it would be available for booking on requests,” he said. Officials at the Kalka Railways Workshop told Chandigarh Newsline that the plan is to manufacture an 18-seater coach. “We have recently sent a revised drawing of the coach to the railways headquarters. We are waiting for the approval of the drawings,” said the official. He added that it would be difficult to say how much time it is going to take to complete the coach and it would be attached to any of the trains.
According to Northern Railway officials, eight regular trains are operational on the Kalka-Shimla railway route. There are two special luxury trains as well designed for tourists and booked on request.
Two months ago, the railway ministry launched the first-ever train with glass-roof coaches in Visakhapatnam. Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu recently said that the same type of train would be introduced in Kashmir Valley, too. “We hope that it would attract more tourists. The Kalka-Shimla route records a large number of domestic and foreign tourists. Once this coach is started, the passengers will have a memorable journey,” said the railway official.