Kalka Shimla NG trains to be speeded up, get major upgrades

In a bid to speed up the NG service between Kalka and Shimla, Northern Railway (NR) has ordered a coach with a new design and suspension. Speed trials will soon be undertaken on Kalka Shimla line. The plan is to test these coaches for service speeds of 35 kmph, up from the existing 25 kmph in the 2.5 feet NG section.

NR will use dampers, springs and friction snubbers with new designs. These were ordered last December to modify coaches for higher speed. The coaches are being modified at the Kalka workshop. Modification is likely to be completed by February 10.

Process

NR  has applied for CRS (Commissioner of Railway Safety) sanction for oscillation trials. After this, RDSO (Research Design and Standards Organisation of Indian Railways) issues a speed certificate for the designated higher speed.

Trainset on Narrow Gauge

Northern Railway has placed an order for a three-coach trainset with the Integral Coach Factory. This rake will be run at 40 kmph. The prototype is likely to be supplied by July 2019. The trainset also has to undergo the same validation process of oscillation trials.

Vistadome coach

Meanwhile, Northern Railway (NR) also plans to introduce over a dozen Vistadome coaches on the Kalka – Shimla and the Kangra Valley Railways. The move aims to multiply the joy of riding a toy train through the picturesque Himalayas,

There already exists a Vistadome coach attached to the Shivalik express. One rail car that, also running on the same route, has also been upgraded to Vistadome and is ready to run.

The upgraded railcar is air conditioned, with toilets (rail cars on Kalka – Shimla section do not have toilets), improved interiors, wifi, sound system, display screen and a sunlight sensitive vistadome roof (the roof electrically tints to shield excess sunlight).

Three more rail cars will be provided with Vistadome by June end. Another 12 first-class coaches are being planned with Vistadome. The first coach will be converted by March–end and the remaining 11 by June–end.

Better coaches

NR is also upgrading existing coaches with roller blinds for windows, better upholstery, concealed LED lights, improved toilets and vinyl wrapping inside and outside.

Two such rakes are already in service, one each in both Kalka Shimla and Kangra Valley sections.

The next couple of rakes are likely to be pressed into service by February 15. Another five rakes (35 coaches) by March-end, and a further 37 coaches by June end will be upgraded.

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