Shimla: The Indian Railways on Wednesday started a seven-coach modern and swanky air-conditioned first class glass-enclosed vistadome train which provides a panoramic view of the heritage Kalka-Shimla route.
A single journey will cost Rs 630 per person and no concession will be allowed on the tickets booked for the glass-train journey.
The red-coloured train that chugged off from the Kalka railway station in the morning reached the Himachal Pradesh capital in the afternoon, a railway official told IANS here.
With a view to promote tourism and provide a delightful experience to the passengers on the world heritage Kalka-Shimla section, the Ambala division of the Northern Railway has decided to run the special train, a post by the Railways has said.
This will be the first train of the Indian Railways having all vistadome coaches to run on a regular basis on the concept of individual seat charter services through passenger reservation system and other online modes, it said.
The train will run from the Kalka station at 7 a.m. in the morning and will reach Shimla at 12.55 p.m. In the return direction, the train will depart from Shimla at 3.50 p.m. and will reach Kalka at 9.15 p.m. It will stop at the Barog station enroute in both directions.
The Train comprises seven coaches i.e. six First Class air-conditioned vistadome coaches and one First Class coach.
Each vistadome coach will have the capacity of 15 people, while the First Class coach has the seating capacity of 14 passengers.
Booking for the vistadome coaches will be available through the passenger reservation system, but booking for the First Class coach of this special train will only be done through manual counters available at the Kalka and Shimla stations.
Each vistadome coach has five window seats on both sides and the rest five seats will be the aisle seats.
Two air conditioners will also be provided in each coach for cooling during the summer season. The passengers will be able to enjoy the panoramic views as these coaches are aesthetically designed having a glass top roof and wider windows.
The window roller blinds and honeycomb blinds for roof glass will also be provided to shun the heavy light coming inside the coach during the hot summers.
For a panoramic view, seats will be adjustable (reversible) according to the direction of movement which will enhance the overall experience of sight seeing from inside the train.
The glorious journey along the rail line from 640 metres above sea level at Kalka to the lofty heights of Shimla at 2,060 metres takes one’s breath away, as the train meanders through deep ravines, a verdant forest of pine, deodar, oak and the magnificent scenery of the Shivaliks.
Six trains normally run between Kalka and Shimla every day. Each ‘toy train’ — the popular name for it — has about seven coaches and can accommodate nearly 200 passengers.
There are 102 tunnels on the rail line. Initially, there were 103 tunnels, but tunnel number 46 does not exist anymore.