Bringing Christmas cheer for tourists, the Western Railway (WR) Tuesday introduced a special heritage train on the picturesque Patalpani-Kalakund section in Madhya Pradesh’s Ratlam district. Railways ministry had decided to create infrastructure to preserve the British era Patalpani-Kalkund metre gauge rail line, which is part of Western Railway’s Ratlam division, a senior WR official said Wednesday.
The metre gauge line has since been converted into broad gauge line. The 9.5-km route passes through several tunnels offering a spectacular view of waterfalls and lush green mountain ranges. The previous metre-gauge line had been constructed by Britishers about 150 years ago, the official said. “Stations, rest houses and other service buildings on the Patalpani-Kalkund section are being decorated along with the development of about two dozen tourist spots on WR’s first heritage section in Ratlam division between Patalpani and Kalakund stations, to attract tourists around the globe,” said WR Chief Spokesperson Ravinder Bhakar. Four tunnels and 29 sharp curves along the Patalpani-Kalakund route makes it a memorable trip for tourists.
The heritage train will depart from Dr Ambedkar Nagar station at 11.05 AM and will reach Kalakund at 1.25 PM. It starts from Kalakund at 2.55 pm and will arrive at Dr Ambedkar Nagar at 3.40 pm. The train has two coaches, one reserved and another unreserved one, Bhakar said. “The fare per passenger for 12 seats in first three rows in the reserved coach is Rs 240 for the entire to and fro journey while the same is Rs 200 per person for the rest of the rows of the coach. The fare will be Rs 20 per passenger in unreserved compartment,” Bhakar said.
A statement issued by the WR said Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani had directed railway officials to develop the route as a heritage section. Lohani had directed the officials to run the special heritage train during his last inspection conducted in September this year, it said. WR General Manager A K Gupta supervised the works on developing the gauge conversion.
More than 25 workers from Lower Parel workshop in Mumbai were deployed in the Bikaner workshop who contributed in refurbishing the heritage train coaches, the statement said. Bhakar said Patalpani railway station is the first station constructed on Dr Ambedkar Nagar-Khandwa metre gauge section during 1874-1878. “In 2008, Union cabinet approved the proposal of converting this meter gauge section into a broad gauge section after which railway decided to preserve this section by converting it into a heritage railway section”, he added.