P S Walia
Kapurthala, May 30
Rail Coach Factory (RCF) Kapurthala today rolled out for advanced India’s first Vista Dome Train, Him Darshan Express to run on Kalka-Shimla route.
Addressing a press conference this evening RCF General Manager Ashesh Agrawal said that these coaches will have a trial run on the Kalka-Shimla route before they are put into service .
GM said the production of the vistadome narrow gauge coaches commenced following successful oscillation trials of two prototype coaches on the Kalka-Shimla heritage track in December last year.
Initially, the four coaches — AC executive car (12 seats), AC chair car (24 seats), non-AC chair car (30 seats) and one power-cum-luggage and guard car have been manu factured and will be handed over to kalka railways for their trial runs and after clearance from the commissioner of Railway Safety, these coaches would be put into service. The date of their flagging off would be decided by the Railway Board, he said.
Agrawal said the Railway Board has asked the RCF to manufacture 30 vistadome coaches for the Kalka-Shimla line and has also given its nod for manufacturing these coaches for the Kangra Valley line.
The British laid the first rail link to connect Shimla in 1903. In 2009, the Kalka-Shimla rail track was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
There are 103 tunnels on the rail line, 800 bridges, 919 curves and 18 railway stations.
Agrawal said the vistadome coaches would look like those of Switzerland’s Bernina Express which runs on a mountainous rail track.
These coaches will have panoramic windows, a lightweight shell with an upgraded bogie and improved braking system. They are also equipped with modern safety features like CCTVs and fire alarms.
Besides, these coaches will have aesthetic plush interiors, windowpanes with anti-UV coating, power window in upper class, powered doors, heating-cooling package, linear concealed fans, linear LED lights, modular seating, restaurant seating with luxury seats for executive class and mini pantry, among other things.
Each vistadome coach will cost approximately Rs 1.3 crore, Agrawal said.
Replying to a question, the RCF general manager said these coaches are capable of running at a higher speed as compared to the existing coaches (25 kmph) on the narrow gauge but due to sharp curves and the old track, speed could not be Enhanced.