There is good news for the tourists who enjoy the toy train on the Kalka-Shimla railway included in the world heritage. Tourists desirous of traveling to valleys will be seen traveling from Kalka to Shimla in special panoramic coaches this year itself.
After the successful trial of two coaches, the four coaches which are to be trialed will reach Kalka railway station in March. After some time their trial will be started.
According to the officials, when the train with panoramic coaches passes on the Kalka-Shimla railway line it will look like the Bernina Express of Switzerland.
The look of these coaches is like the Bernina Express of Switzerland which runs on a mountain rail track. Tourists will have a different experience in traveling to the mountains in the said coach.
According to railway officials, Rail Coach Factory Kapurthala was entrusted with the project of modernization of coaches of Kalka-Shimla Narrow Gauge (UNESCO World Heritage Site) by the Indian Railways sometime back.
No digital data was available for modeling of narrow-gauge track for design development and testing of these coaches.
Despite this, the design team of RCF tried to develop the design of rail coaches for the broad gauge system of Indian Railways.
For this, the RCF design team prepared a 3D model using old blueprints and sketches available at Kalka Workshop. After this, the further process was completed.
In the first phase, the trial of the two coaches (shells) that were launched on the Kalka-Shimla rail route was successful. Now four panoramic coaches will reach Kalka in March. After this they will be trialed by the RDSO team. – Mandeep Singh Bhatia, DRM, Ambala Railway Division
RDSO team will do trial
According to railway officials, the design and production team of RCF has in-house manufactured all the necessary resources like new design shell jigs, lifting tackle, static test jigs, narrow gauge line, and loading gauge for manufacturing these coaches.
After getting approval from the Railway Board, two prototype shells were manufactured. These were tested by RDSO Lucknow in October 2022 at RCF.
These two coaches (shells) (such as chair car and power car) were taken to Kalka, where the carrying capacity of the coach was also tested by filling sandbags with high and low speeds.
After the successful acclimatization trials of these two coach shells in December last year, Rail Coach Factory is now preparing to start final trials of new design panoramic narrow gauge coaches for Kapurthala Kalka-Shimla.
For this, all four types of AC executive chair car, AC chair car, non-AC chair car, and power cum luggage coach will soon be put through a detailed acclimatization trial by RDSO Lucknow.
After the success of this detailed oscillation trial and further approval, RCF will start phased production of these new panoramic coaches.
There will be seven coaches in each train
RCF will manufacture 30 state-of-the-art narrow gauge panoramic coaches including twelve seater 6 first class AC chair cars, 24 seater AC 6 chair cars, 30 seater 13 non-AC chair cars, and 5 power/luggage/guard vans.
It will be equipped with state-of-the-art features. These include lightweight shells with upgraded bogies and an improved brake system.
These coaches will have panoramic wide-view window design so that passengers can experience the beauty of mountains and valleys.
These coaches will also be equipped with modern security features like CCTV and fire alarm. Each train of such coaches will have seven coaches including 6 passenger coaches and one power/luggage/guard van.