Hundreds of commuters missed 'Dakkhanchi Rani' — as Deccan Queen (DQ) popularly is known — on Friday. The DQ is in Mumbai yards for repairs and according to YK Singh, spokesperson of Central Railway, it will take minimum three days to get back on track.
For the commuters the DQ is not merely a rail link. It is an emotional bond between the two cities. Kanubhai Trivedi, who has been traveling by DQ since 1955, it was a painful moment. 'I feel that somebody from my family has met with an accident,” said 80-year-old Kanubhai. Kanubhai, who has also formed a passengers association, said that DQ was the first fast link between Pune and Mumbai. DQ, which began plying from June 1, 1930 on the then Great Indian Peninsula Railway, has a number of firsts on its record. It was the first deluxe train and the first super fast train. It was the first long distance electric-hauled passenger train and the first to have a special compartment for ladies.
Ulhas Pawar, a Congress legislator, who has been season ticket holder of the DQ for more than three decades, recalls that several prominent personalities, including politician Sharad Pawar, litterateur PL Deshpande and actor Raj Kapoor, used to travel by DQ. “All of us enjoy breakfast in DQ, specialties of which are omelet, cutlet and cheese toast,” Pawar said. “It is very very unfortunate that such a thing had to happen,” he remarked.
For Harsha Shah, who has been traveling by DQ for more than 20 years, the incident was a shock. Shah recalled that DQ did not even stop during the 1993 riots. In its 70-year-old run, the train has had only one accident, when it was derailed in July 1993 near Khandala. Commuters miss their Queen.