The next time you head to Matheran for a holiday in the toy train, you will be able to rest in a soft reclining chair, feel the wind blowing in through large, broad windows, and enjoy an open view of the mountains and valleys through the train’s transparent glass roof.
The 104-year-old Neral-Matheran toy train has acquired a set of eight new coaches that were unveiled to the public last week. Painted deep blue with sleek steel handle bars, the coaches will be put on track for daily use from next month onwards, once the commissioner for railway safety sanctions their launch.
Most of the old coaches of the toy train that are currently in use were built in the 1950s and 60s, and were in need for replacement. Central Railway’s mechanical department decided to build new coaches in the style of the Darjeeling toy train, with a see-through roof, larger windows, recliner-chair seats with retractable arm rests instead of the old cushioned benches and fewer seats per coach to increase leg space.
“We wanted to provide better amenities to passengers on this popular railway line, and also create coaches that would befit the line’s heritage status,” said VA Malegaonkar, the chief public relations officer of Central Railway.
The eight coaches – five are second class, two are first class and one is the luggage wagon – took a year to build at Central Railway’s workshop in Kurduwadi.
They bear a lighter, more airy look compared with the old coaches, and are equipped with mobile phone charging points, space to place water bottles and magazines and elegant concealed lighting. The first class coaches have curtains and oscillating fans.
The new coaches have also been fitted with the air-break system to be controlled directly by the engine driver, instead of the old coaches that required an attendant in every coach to operate the manual breaks.