SRI NAGAR:Stunning views of magnificent Chinar trees in autumn, verdant orchards in spring and summer, and the thick white blanket of snow in winter — the changing landscape of Kashmir throughout the year — will soon greet tourists in a new way.From next month, the Northern Railways will start an all-weather, glass-roof AC train to woo the tourists back to Jammu and Kashmir. The trial run was held Thursday from Nowgam in Srinagar to Sadura in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
The Mumbai-Goa line and the one at Araku Valley in Andhra Pradesh are the other train routes boasting such Vistadome coaches.Northern Railway’s chief area manager in Srinagar, Hari Mohan, told The Sunday Standard that operational and commercial formalities for starting the 40-seat AC train are being worked out. The train, with large glass windows, LED lights, rotatable seats and other features, promises to give tourists an experience to cherish. They will also enjoy a range of delicacies courtesy a catering system on the train.
Mohan said the train is equipped with AC system in view of the weather in the Valley. “It will be an all weather-train and can chug both in winter and summer months without any difficulty,” he said.The cost of tickets, which will be available online and at railway counters, is yet to be decided.“We will decide whether the train will ply on entire stretch of 112 km from Banihal to Baramulla. It is also to be decided whether the train will operate once or multiple times on a given day,” Mohan said.
The railway official appealed to the youths not to pelt stones at the train. “The train is a public property and they should safeguard it. If a single glass pane is damaged, we will have to stop its operation till the damaged pane is replaced,” he reasoned.“We want to boost the Valley’s tourism through this train and we need support from the people. Tourists cannot be attracted without local support. The locals should ensure that the train is not damaged…,” he added.
In Kashmir, tourism was badly affected by the unrest and turmoil-like-situation after the encounter of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in July, 2016. It suffered a loss of around `3,000 crore alone in the first 77 days of the unrest.Then Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had announced the Vistadome train for the Valley last year.
Well-equipped to attract tourists
The AC train with Vistadome coaches boasts of extra large glass windows, LED lights, rotatable seats and
GPS-based information system
Mumbai-Goa line and Araku Valley in Andhra Pradesh are the other routes boasting such Vistadome coaches
Tickets will be available online and at railway counters