TOURISM: Vestibule coaches not in sight

TOURISM: Vestibule coaches not in sight – rightly invisible, take the money and run, right ?!!

A Diesel Engine Toy Train - Vestibules out of sight, cannot turn bends - designed by plainsmen for the hills like everything else, very wise ?!!

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Siliguri, June 1: Tourists who had thought of travelling in vestibule coaches of the toy train will have to wait for the monsoons to get over.

Nearly a year has passed since the vestibule coaches were brought here, but presently they have been kept at the loco shed at Siliguri Junction with “technical problems” and leaking ceilings.

“There are some technical problems which need to be fixed before we start operating the coaches in a full-fledged manner. It has also been noticed that the ceilings of the coaches are leaking so it will not be possible to run them during the monsoons. We are working on these problems and might operate them after a couple of months,” said R.K. Roy, assistant divisional mechanical engineer of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway at Tindharia.

Four coaches had been brought from the Kurdavari railway coach factory in Pune in August last year. Six more coaches were added to the lot towards the end of the year.

“There are 10 coaches at the loco shed here at present. Few of them need some modification and a team is due to arrive from the factory to work on them,” said Roy.

The speciality of vestibule coaches is that they are interconnected with the help of two- and-half-feet-long corridor for people to go from one compartment to another while the train is on the run.

The coaches that are used in the heritage railway now are without such connecting passages.

Also the ceilings of the vestibule coaches are made of glass which would give the passengers a chance to have a look at the forest cover over them as the toy train chugs along.

Few trial runs had been conducted on the DHR tracks immediately after the coaches had arrived. After that they had to be taken to the loco shed for modification.

Although Roy did not elaborate on the nature of the technical problems that the coaches have, it had been reported earlier that the coaches had not been able to manoeuvre the sharp bends and curves along the DHR tracks.

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