Under lockdown, Deccan Queen’s 91st birthday is a quiet celebration
Harsha Shah, president, Railway Pravasi Group conducted two celebrations - one at Laxmi road, Pune and one at the railway station with the railway authorities, including the station master officialsUpdated: Jun 02, 2020 16:23 IST
The Deccan Queen, the iconic Pune-Mumbai intercity express train, for the first time since its maiden journey in 1930, failed to show up on the tracks of the Pune railway station to mark the anniversary of its existence on Monday, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, Harsha Shah, president, Railway Pravasi Group, ensured that the anniversary of the train was celebrated, sans its presence.
“I tried asking the railway authorities to even get an empty coach of the Deccan Queen to the station for the celebration, but they did not agree. The train is stuck at the yard in Mumbai due to the lockdown,” said Shah.
The train first ran the Pune-Mumbai route 91 years ago on June 1, 1930. Shah, herself, has been travelling on the train for the past 66 years.
“I would accompany my father to the station and learned about the Deccan Queen when I was five years-old. It used to be a different colour when it started. The British who started the train called it the Blue Bird Baby. The Deccan Queen has never missed its anniversary until today (Monday). She maybe 182km away from me, but she is still in my mind,” said Shah.
Shah conducted two celebrations - one at Laxmi road, Pune and one at the railway station with the railway authorities, including the station master officials.
The train, known for its pantry car, is undergoing a facelift and will be painted a different colour. The train, which is instrumental in ferrying people in Pune and Mumbai working in either of the cities on daily basis, is not expected to be back on the tracks until June 30, said Shah.