BENGALURU: The demand for Vistadome coaches, which have glass ceilings, to be used to showcase the pristine Western Ghats is only growing louder. The South Western Railways (SWR) is getting many suggestions and requests to use these coaches on the Bengaluru-Mangaluru line or even to Dudhsagar in Goa.Railway officials said that nothing has been finalised yet and they have to get the Railway Ministry’s approval. Experts and nature lovers point out that since the railway line runs through the ghats this would be an ideal opportunity to showcase the pristine beauty and get people interested in conservation. They suggest that these coaches be used in trains which ply during the day through the ghat sections.
To draw the attention of people, some private firms have made videos using images of Vistadome coaches and the scenic beauty of the ghats between Bengaluru and Mangaluru to present a glimpse of how the journey in future will be. The videos have gone viral on social media. The SWR has so far got one Vistadome coach, which is an AC chair car which is GPS enabled with Wi-Fi, LED lights, a microwave oven and a refrigerator, but has not been tested on ground.
SWR, Divisional Railway Manager, Ashok Kumar Verma told TNIE that plying the train with the Vistadome coach depends on demand. “There is a demand for Sakleshpur, Mangaluru and Karwar. Some also want it to be run till Dudhsagar. The date of operation has not been decided,” he said. He added that it will mostly be run in the ghats section.
“We are waiting for three more coaches. The services will also depend upon the availability of coaches. We are expecting to get three more Vistadome coaches by mid-April. We will need certification from the zonal headquarters to start operations,” he added.
Railways is also working on the rates to be levied on passengers. It will, however, be finalised by the Centre. Verma said that it will be on par with the AC chair car rates. According to SWR, the AC chair car rate from Bengaluru to Chennai is between Rs 400-500, executive rate is between Rs 600-800 and that of Shatabdi is between Rs 1,800-1,900, depending on the distance. The SWR commercial section said that the rate of the Vistadome coaches is likely to be on par with Shatabdi.