Coming soon: Jungle safari on a vintage train in UP | lucknow | Hindustan Times
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Coming soon: Jungle safari on a vintage train in UP

Riding through lush green forests, with an abundance of flora and fauna, on a British-era train would be a dream journey for travel, adventure and eco-tourism enthusiasts. Well, this dream is about to come true.

lucknow Updated: Dec 09, 2017 15:01 IST
Gaurav Saigal
Engine of the vintage train that would be used for the safari.
Engine of the vintage train that would be used for the safari.(Picture courtesy DFO office Sohagibarwa Wildlife Sanctuary)

Riding through lush green forests, with an abundance of flora and fauna, on a British-era train would be a dream journey for travel, adventure and eco-tourism enthusiasts. Well, this dream is about to come true.

Taking a cue from chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s directives to boost eco-tourism in Uttar Pradesh, the forest department plans to take tourists on such a train ride in Maharajganj district, about 300 km from Lucknow.

“The train had a steam engine but we wish to run it on diesel between Laxmipur and Ekna, a 15-km stretch,” said Manish Singh, divisional forest officer of the Sohagibarwa Wildlife Sanctuary, which is known for its scenic beauty. “It will be a memorable journey for tourists,” he said.

Besides tigers, the other animals found in the area are leopards, cheetals, bears, wild cats, wild boars and pythons. However, panthers are more in number.

There will be some changes in the three-bogey train’s interior and engine to make the journey comfortable.

The train was started in 1922 to ferry huge logs that even elephants could not carry from the forest area. In 1980, after formation of the forest corporation, its services were discontinued and the three bogies and three engines (only one engine will be used now) of the vintage train have been lying idle since then.

A feasibility survey has been completed for the 15-km stretch (though its original span was 35 km) and now the report is set to be executed.

“Since the area is near Sonauli border with Nepal, we hope to attract many tourists once we start the service. Tourists can also stay in the area as there is provision for accommodation,” said Singh.

The chief minister had mentioned on several occasions that Uttar Pradesh had the potential for eco-tourism and it should be developed at different places in the state. Maharajganj district is surrounded by Nepal in the north, Kushinagar in the east, Gorakhpur in the south and Siddharthnagar and Sant Kabir Nagar in the west.

The train ride stretch is 25 km from Gorakhpur railway station and connected to Siswa railway station on Gorakhpur- Narkatiaganj- Muzaffarpur railway line at a distance of 30 km.