After 46 years, rail bus to chug up to Matheran again

The rail bus, which had been phased out around 46 years, will soon run on the tracks up to Matheran on the mini rails. Though the 80-year-old vintage rail bus cannot be revived due to lack of spare parts, following a request from the state government, the Central Railway (CR) has decided to run new rail buses. Recently, a tender was floated for three rail buses.
“Around a year ago, MMRDA officials asked Railways to run the rail buses between Dasturi Naka and Matheran station as beyond Dasturi naka there is no means of transport up to Matheran except the toy train. MMRDA deposited Rs 5 crore with Railways for the rail buses,” said a senior official.

Apart from tourists, it will also be beneficial for villagers living beyond Dasturi naka and people who come by road and have to walk up to Matheran — which is 3 km away— or use horses, cycles or hand-pulled rickshaws as no vehicle is permitted beyond Dasturi naka.

As soon as MMRDA deposited the money, the Railways called for bidders. There were two bidders for the tender, but a Patna-based company Phooltas, which provided rail buses for meter gauge sections in Railways, is the frontrunner. This will be first rail bus for narrow gauge for the company and each rail bus will cost Rs 1.30 crore.

“The rail buses can also be attached to couplers. Though they will look like ordinary buses, they will have driving cabs on both ends, separated by a glass panel door. This diesel bus will be able to ferry around 12 passengers at a time at the speed of 20 kmph,’’ the official added.

Published in: on January 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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