Unesco World Heritage Kalka-Shimla rail line is going to have two new added attractions for tourists as catering to the need of high-end tourists, Indian Railways has decided to introduce chartered lounge card and tourist coach facility. Attached with compact pantry, these two coaches have been fitted with sofas, that would make the 97-km journey from Kalka to uphill Shimla more comfortable.
Popularity of rail journey on the 97-km heritage track having 917 sharp curves, besides 102 tunnels and 988 bridges, could be gauged from the fact that during holidays Northern Railways is forced to run special holiday trains to cater to the high demand. According to senior officials at Ambala, trial for the luxury coach has already been done while the trial of lounge car would be done after June 12. Sources said that facilities created inside these new chartered coaches match the quality of “palace on wheels”.
While the lounge car would be 8-seater, the coach would be 9-seater. “Since long there was demand from high-end tourists to have such a facility and finally we are going to provided them the best experience,” added the official.
Assistant mechanical engineer, Ambala division, Jatinder Singh said that these two coaches were being introduced as added attraction for tourists on the heritage track. “Compact pantry car would be fitted with refrigerator and heating system,” he said.
Officials said that special attention has been paid to the interiors of these two new coaches. They said modern lights, good quality PVC wall paneling and aesthetic flooring has been done to enhance the experience of passengers. Officials said that the lounge car and the luxury coach would be stationed at Kalka railway station from where they may be hired by families are groups. “We have yet to work out the charges,” officials added.
Slow and steady
While the bus journey takes three hours to reach Shimla from Kalka, the toy train takes over five hours for the same journey. To reduce journey time, the railways had mooted a proposal to increase the speed of toy train but a study suggested that it was not feasible. Kalka-Shimla rail line was laid in 1903 and since then the toy train on this track is chugging off at a speed of 25-30 km.