Bengaluru: After a rousing response from passengers for Vistadome coaches on the Bengaluru-Mangaluru train, the Indian railway is now planning to introduce similar coaches on trains to several other famous destinations in the state in a bid to boost tourism.
South-Western Railway has plans to introduce Vistadome coaches in many places, including UNESCO world heritage site Hampi, the eyecatching Doodh Sagar falls, Ramnagara Hills, and the nearby site where Sholay was shot in the 70s. For this, the South-Western Railway has also submitted a proposal for more than 20 Vistadome coaches to the central government. So, if all goes as planned, travel to these destinations will be more memorable for rail passengers in the coming days.
A senior railway official informed Udayavani that the project is being formulated to encourage railway tourism. A study is underway to know the pros and cons of introducing such Vistadome coaches on Bengaluru to Mysuru, Vasco-da-Gama to Hubballi, and Vasco-da-Gama to Hosapete routes.
He said that those who come to Hampi should be able to visit Goa or those who have left Hubballi for Goa should also be able to visit Hosapete. “The main objective is to attract as many tourists as possible,” the official said. This will depend on the supply of adequate coaches, he further added.
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Passengers traveling between Bengaluru and Mysuru have put forth a demand for Vistdome coaches. Moreover, Vistadome could be introduced to take advantage of the spectacular scenery in areas around Ramanagar, he said.
But all this is not so easy to implement. On some of these routes, there are ICF coaches (made by Chennai-based Integral Coach Factory). They need to be converted to LHB coaches (Link-Hofmann-Busch), he added.
In addition to converting the coaches, proper coordination has to be established with other regions, clarified a senior railway official of the Bengaluru division.
The seats on Vistadome coaches currently operating between Yashwantpur and Mangaluru were fully booked in August and September. Each coach can seat 44 persons and the fare is presently set at Rs 1395, he added.
What’s so special about Vistadome?
Each Vistadome coach comes with a transparent ceiling. They are hi-tech and exclusively designed for tourist trains. These lightweight and higher-speed coaches also have attractive interior design features. Every coach is fitted with a CCTV surveillance system. The 44 seater coach also has wi-fi based passenger information system. For music lovers, the coaches come with an entertainment system that is integrated with a digital screen and speakers.
Passengers also get wif-fi facility to connect their gadgets. Each seat is provided with a separate mobile charging point too. The comfy seats can turn up to 180 degrees. the new coaches have GPS-based Passenger Announcement cum Passenger Information System (PAPIS), LED destination board, and mini pantry to provide breakfast to passengers. The service space consists of a microwave oven, coffee machine, refrigerator, and washbasin.
Original article in Kannada by Vijayakumar Chandaragi
English translation by Deepak Lasrado