| Stuck on track: The toy train at Patna zoo. Picture by Sachin |
Disappointment has replaced smiles of the young and not-so-young visitors to Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park. The toy train service, the popularity of which cuts across visitors of all ages, has been suspended over the past week.
Zoo director Abhay Kumar told The Telegraph: “Six wheels of the toy train locomotive had worn off and we have sent them for repair. We expect to get delivery of the wheels by tomorrow. So the toy train is likely to become operational from Thursday.”
Visitors are getting disappointed after arriving at the toy train station over the past few days. “I have fond memories of the toy train from my childhood. I used to take ride on this train when I studied in Montessori classes. Today too, I wanted to take a joyride on the toy train but I was heartbroken on finding the ticket counter closed. A zoo employee told me that the train is out of order from last week,” said Ayush Pandey (14), a resident of Kurji.
Aishwarya Pandey, a student of Class XII of Mahant Hanuman Sharan College, Mainpura, seemed equally disgruntled about the suspended train operations.
“A ride on the toy train is a must on my every visit to the zoo. I cherish memories of toy train rides with my family and friends. But I was dejected today (Tuesday) to know that the train is out of order. This is probably the first time that I missed out on my joyride during a visit to the zoo,” said Aishwarya.
The erstwhile railway minister Lalu Prasad had flagged off the four-coach toy train at Patna zoo on October 2, 2004.
The 4,368-m train tracks pass close to animal enclosures, two lakes and the botanical area among other parts of the zoo. The train fare is Rs 5 for children and Rs 10 for adults.
At present, the toy train tracks pass by the rear portion of the enclosures. However, the new master plan for Patna zoo (2012-2032) envisages that these tracks should pass by the front side of the enclosures.
“The work on changing the track alignment of the toy train as envisaged by the zoo master plan would be undertaken shortly,” said the zoo director.
The zoo director said a Royal Bengal tigress is expected to deliver a cub within a week. “Tigress Swarna is expected to give birth to a cub within a week,” he said. Swarna and her partner, Bhima, were brought to Patna zoo from Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad, on August 11, 2011 under an animal exchange programme.