Vistadome, on the Kalka-Shimla route, which had witnessed merely 11 per cent occupancy on the first day after it resumed, witnessed 100 per cent occupancy a day before Christmas and ahead of New Year’s Eve, on Thursday.
With the festive spirit in full swing, a second special festival train from Shimla to Kalka is also operating on 100 per cent occupancy.
Usually, six toy trains including the Vistadome and holiday special run on Kalka-Shimla route. But this year, due to the Covid-19, only two tarins are plying on the route. Railway officials maintained that all seats of Vistadome are reserved for the next couple of days and certain passengers are opting for buses after not getting seats on the train.
“The Vistadome was fully occupied yesterday and today. All the seats were reserved in the advance. Although we allowed current booking on the counter, there is no chance of that happening with the full reservations. People are going to the hills to celebrate Christmas and New Year,” said Gokul Kumar, Kalka station superintendent.
The fare for the Vistadome journey has risen from Rs 640 in 2019, to Rs 800 this year. than the previous year. “We expect that the two trains will be continued till March, 2021. Covid-19 affected the train services. Earlier during this season, six toy trains used to ply on the Kalka-Shimla track daily, but this year, only two are. Decision regarding resuming other trains will be taken by higher authorities,” said DRM, Ambala, Gurinder Mohan Singh.
The Vistadome train resumed services on December 16, and witnessed only 11 per cent occupancy on the first day. It rose to 25 per cent-80 per cent subsequently, but has been fully booked for the past two days.
This special and aesthetically-designed ‘Vistadome’ air-conditioned coach is a first-of-its-kind on the Kalka-Shimla Railway section.
The facilities include wide windows, observation window at one end, a glass look-out on the roof with controlled opalescence, rotatable seats, passenger information system, automatic sliding doors, mini pantry etc.
Rishikesh to Jammu, via Chandigarh
A new train from Rishikesh to Jammu, via the Chandigarh railway station will start operating from December 30. “The train will start from Rishikesh in the afternoon and will reach Chandigarh around 10pm. Then it will go to Jammu. The passengers will get a direct access to Rishikesh and Jammu,” said DRM Gurinder Mohan Singh.
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