As visitors flocked to the flower show at the Empress Garden,many were taken in by the little red toy train standing by – all set to take its passengers for a joy ride. Grab a spot in this 15-seater ‘Empress Queen’ and travel around the beautiful Empress Garden,taking in its pretty sights. Little kids cheered in excitement while adults too reflected the same eagerness. Frequent visitors at Empress Garden are rejoicing at the news of this new mini-train being inaugurated there. From January 26,Republic Day,the train will chug across the garden,from Nani Nanu Park to Ashok Van. The Empress Garden covers a sprawling 39 acres,and the train will be a relief for visitors. To be functional from 9 am to 6 pm everyday,it will run after every 45 minutes. The Empress Garden is managed by the Agri-Horticultural Society of Western India. The committee treasurer,Ulhas Shedge,says,It is a very basic train and will run on petrol. Gradually,it may become battery-operated depending on the response. Visitors will be able to take a round of the entire garden without getting tired. They can witness rare species of trees which are more than 250 years old,a variety of flowers,lush green lawns,and beautiful birds.”
The train will take people to all the interesting spots of the Empress Garden,and will run along the quaint stream flowing through the park. On Saturday,kids took their place on the cream-coloured cushioned seats of Empress Queen while parents clicked pictures. Manisha,a student of Std VIII,City International School,was visibly excited. It’s going to be such an enjoyable ride. I will come every weekend with my friends and family – now we have a new reason to visit the park! she quipped. A resident of Wanowrie,Reema Borade added,My daughters and I are eagerly waiting for the inauguration. It will be a whole new family picnic to get on board this train and go sightseeing around the park. For homemaker Pinky Gupta,walking through the park had become a tedious affair. My son is less than a year old,so it was difficult to take him out as he cant walk a great distance. Now,we can sit together in this mini train and take in all the sights, she said.
The train was earlier tentatively named Empress Safari,says Arjun Jha,a vendor at Empress Garden. It is viewed as a replacement for the erstwhile Phulrani. The over 50 years old Phulrani has been out of service for a very long time. I have a lot of memories attached to Phulrani. Its sad to see its sorry state but I’m glad that a new train will be operational soon,” said Arvind Kelkar,a BPO employee.