Himalayan Queen now fully solar powered

The coaches of Kalka-Shimla toy train — the Himalayan Queen — have been converted to solar- based power system with the aim of harnessing green energy and reducing carbon emission. It is the first train in the country to have all its coaches solar powered. The experiment will earn carbon credit for the track that is on the heritage list of UNESCO.

Each coach has been built at a cost of Rs 1.25 lakh and is provided with a 100-watt solar panel. The florescent tube has been replaced with the much brighter LED lights. The coach can function two days without the sun and can make two trips. The coaches have also been provided with solar power charging sockets.

Trial runs were earlier done on trains running on the Pathankot-Jogindernagar track. For the past one year, one coach each on two trains were being run on solar energy.

Officials state that the conventional generation system had become obsolete and required frequent maintenance. With the new system and removal of many of the mechanisms required under the old generation system, the coaches have become lighter.

Divisional electrical engineer R K Gupta said that the new system will require little maintenance and reduce energy saving by Rs 4.35 lakh per annum.

“This is one of the green initiatives taken by the Indian Railway authorities for the ecologically fragile hill state,” said P K Sanghi, divisional railway manager, Ambala.

“All seven coaches of the train are lit by solar energy. A major advantage on this track is that the coaches do not require air conditioners or fans. If the system works successfully we will extend solar lighting to regular tracks on this UNSECO heritage route having more than 806 bridges and 103 tunnels,” Sanghi added.