The iconic Deccan Queen Express, which has been connecting Pune and Mumbai for over 90 years now, is set to get a makeover. The Central Railway (CR) has decided to upgrade its coaches to the German-designed Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) model and change the external regalia as well.
The LHB coaches have better safety features and allow for an improved travelling experience with a better suspension system and more comfort, said officials. Currently, the Deccan Queen has a livery colour of blue and white with a red band. The CR has also proposed a new logo for the upgraded version of the train.
“In light of the connect that commuters have with this train, the Central Railway has also sought customer opinions on the new external livery design. Based on consultations and customer feedback, the Central Railway has prepared eight different livery designs along with their ranking as per customer votes. A new logo design has also been proposed, incorporating an image of the UNESCO-listed Mumbai-CSMT station. On the advice of the Railway Board, the Central Railway has engaged the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, to provide professional inputs on the designs,” said Shivaji Sutar, Chief Public Relations Officer, Central Railway.
Recently, an NID team visited Mumbai to inspect the train, travelled in the train and interacted with customers. They also collected data, carried out measurements, photographed the interior and exterior and interacted with railway officials. The NID team is expected to submit its report later this month.
The train, which began its service in 1930, holds records such as India’s first superfast train, first long-distance electric-hauled train, first vestibuled train, the first to have a ladies-only car and the first to feature a dining car.
In 1930, the train was introduced with two rakes of seven coaches each, one of which was painted in silver with scarlet moldings and the other with royal blue with gold lines. Presently, it runs with 17 coaches including four AC chair cars, one buffet car, 10 second-class chair cars and two second-class-cum-brake-vans.
To mark International Women’s Day on March 8, the Pune Division of Central Railway ran the Pune-Mumbai Deccan Queen Express with an all-women staff. The train was driven by loco pilot Shraddha Tambe and was guarded by Radha Chalwadi. The train departed after Pune’s Divisional Railway Manager Renu Sharma gave the go-ahead by waving the green flag. At this time, a street play was also performed on the theme of women empowerment. Among those present on the occasion were Additional DRM Neelam Chandra and railway commuter activist Harsha Shah.
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