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Kashmir unrest may drive luxury glass-roof trains down south

Given the unrest in Kashmir, the government is thinking of moving the train to Andhra Pradesh’s Araku Valley, or even routes in Goa and Kerala.

india Updated: Jul 14, 2017 10:55 IST
Srinand Jha
Srinand Jha
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Kashmir,Araku Vally,Kashmir unrest
The tense law and order situation has prompted the government to rethink deploying the luxury train along the Banihal-Baramulla stretch in Kashmir.

Will Kashmir’s loss become Kerala’s gain?

With the Indian Railways engaged in a serious re-think over deploying the super-luxury glass roof top coaches on the Banihal-Baramulla stretch of the Kashmir rail line on account of the worsening law and order situation in the state, the question has started coming up.

Two of these four high-end coaches – with opalescent roof glass windows which can be made opaque or transparent through centrally-controlled electrical switches – have been readied and the third will roll out of the Chennai-based Integral Coach Factory this month.

“But a decision on deploying the trans-view tourist coach on the Kashmir line has not been taken at this juncture,” Railway Board Member (Traffic) Mohd Jamshed told the Hindustan Times.

After the recent killings of Amarnath pilgrims, railway officials have remained disinclined to run these trans-view tourist coaches in Kashmir at this stage and have been considering plans to deploy it on the Araku Valley near Vishakhapatnam. Goa and Kerala are some of the other options being considered.

“It is also possible that the coaches will be put in service for the shorter Jammu-Katra route for the present,” an official indicated.

Fitted with state-of-the-art information systems and large side windows to enable a panoramic view, these coaches have been manufactured for the first time in India at an estimated cost of Rs 3.85 crore. The manufacture costs of the LHB-design coaches currently running on the Rajdhani and Shatabdi routes are estimated at approximately Rs 2 crore a piece.

In April this year, the first of these coaches was deployed in the Araku Valley. These coaches have revolving twin chairs that can be oriented in the train running direction and are equipped with mini-pantry and service station with aircraft-type food trolley.

“Passenger fares on these coaches will be higher but such rates have so far not been finalised for the Kashmir line,” an official said.

First Published: Jul 14, 2017 10:51 IST