SRINAGAR: To woo tourism in Kashmir valley, the railways authority of India in association with the tourism department is set to introduce Vistadome see-through coaches on the Kashmir rail line.
Director Tourism, Mehmood Ahmad Shah told Kashmir Reader that the Vistadome coach will hit the Kashmir rail line in May this year. The coach had its successful run in Araku valley and Western Ghats between Mumbai and Goa, in September last year. “The Ministry of Railways had designated this special coach for Kashmir,” the director said.
The introduction of the Vistadome coach will take the ride of the travellers through the snowcapped mountains and breathtaking rural landscape to a different level, a railway official said.
“We will decide whether the train will ply on the 112-km stretch from Banihal to Baramulla. It is also to be decided whether the train will operate once or multiple times on a given day,” an official of the Northern Railways said.
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is introducing the see-through glass coaches in association with J&K tourism department. The 40-seater coach would provide an enjoyable experience to passengers, Shah said.
The air-conditioned coach has large glass windows, glass roof, observation lounge and rotatable seats, allowing passengers to experience breathtakingly beautiful locations and sites enroute the rail track from Baramulla to Banihal.
These coaches also have double wide-reclining seats, which can be rotated 360 degrees for a better panoramic view of surroundings. It also has glass-domed ceilings, automatic sliding doors, luggage racks, LED screens for entertainment and a GPS-enabled information system. Initially, one 40-seat coach will be attached to the train and others will be attached after gauging the response.
The state tourism department also plans to involve local travel agents who can customise packages for travellers to Kashmir.
The director said that the tourism department was exploring the options of designated spots for the ‘coach’. “The special bogie will not stop at all the railway stations. We are exploring the options and will accordingly convey the same to the authorities,” he said.
Sources said that the IRCTC has ordered 60 such coaches to attract tourists. Last year, the railway ministry also introduced a see-through Vistadome coach on Mumbai-Goa route.