The Indian Railways have come up with a special Christmas gift for its passengers this season. With a view to boosting tourism, the Ambala division of the Northern Railway started the Him Darshan Express today, which would provide its passengers with a breath-taking panoramic view of Himalayas while they travel on the world heritage Kalka-Shimla route.
Northern Rly is introducing a new Train no.52459/52460 as “Him Darshan Exp.” between Kalka-Shimla-Kalka to promote tourism and provide delightful experience to the passenger over world heritage Kalka-Shimla section from 25.12.19 to 24.12.20 pic.twitter.com/rkafn4a4VP
— Northern Railway (@RailwayNorthern) December 21, 2019
The Him Darshan Express is a swanky seven-coach air-conditioned first-class glass-roofed Vistadome train which will commute between the Kalka and Shimla station for the next one year till December 24, 2020. Modified in carriage and wagon depot at Kalka, this is a first-of-its-kind train on the Kalka-Shimla route.
The red coloured train will have seven coaches including one first-class sitting cum luggage room coach (FCZLR) and six first-class AC Vistadom coaches.
With the new modern design, the Vistadome coaches will feature modified windows and air conditioning system, modern windows and LED bulbs. Along with the new window blinds, there will be cushioned wooden interiors for a comfortable and memorable journey.
Each Vistadome coach will have a seating capacity of 15 persons, including five window seats on both sides and the rest five seats will be the aisle seats. The first-class coach can accommodate 14 passengers. A single journey will cost Rs 630 per person and the railways have decided to not give any concession on the tickets booked for the glass-train journey.
The special train will start its journey from Kalka station at 7 am, the train will reach Shimla at 12.55 pm. It will take 5 hours 25 minutes to complete a one-way journey. While returning, the train will leave Shimla at 3.50 pm and reach Kalka at 9.15 pm. This is the shortest route between Shimla and Kalka, said Indian Railways.
Booking for the Vistadome train 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 coach will have two air conditioners for effective cooling during the summers. The Railways have aesthetically designed this special train giving glass rooftops and wider windows, which would enable the passengers to enjoy the panoramic views.
Moreover, provisions have been made to reverse the seats according to the direction of movement, which will enhance the overall experience of sightseeing from inside the train.
The engineers have thoughtfully provided window roller blinds and honeycomb blinds for glass roof which would help combat the intense light and heat coming inside the coach during peak summers.
Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Gurinder Mohan Singh said that the initiative was taken to woo more tourists.
On its maiden journey, Him Darshan Express registered 100% occupancy as a total of 90 passengers boarded the train.