NFR introduces vistadome coach on train from New Jalpaiguri
The special train service with a vistadome coach for tourists who seek to enjoy the spectacular beauty of forests in the Dooars was introduced by the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) from New Jalpaiguri on Saturday.
John Barla, the Union minister of state for minority affairs and Alipurduar MP, flagged off the train from New Jalpaiguri. In north Bengal, this is the first time that such a service has been introduced on the broad gauge. Earlier, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) introduced vistadome coaches in its toy train service.
The train, NFR sources, said, between New Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar junctions along the Dooars route will run thrice in a week, from Friday to Sunday. Leaving New Jalpaiguri in the morning, it is set to reach Alipurduar in the afternoon, covering 169km. After an hour, it will depart for the return journey and reach New Jalpaiguri in the evening.
Halts are at Siliguri, Sivok (the station that serves Sevoke town), New Mal, Chalsa, Madarihat, Hasimara and Rajabhatkhawa.
“The train will have a vistadome coach with 44 seats. Also, there will be two AC chair car coaches, two general chair car coaches and two power-cum-luggage vans. The IRCTC will provide refreshment on board,” said an official of NFR.
The fare, sources said, is Rs 85 for general chair car, Rs 310 for AC chair car and Rs 770 for the vistadome coach.
Along the route, the railways will also make arrangements in some of the stations where tourists can have various experiences to enrich their journey.
“Selfie points have been developed in Sivok and Hasimara stations where passengers can also enjoy tea tasting. Arrangements have also been made for folk dances at Chalsa and Hasimara stations during the return journey to New Jalpaiguri,” the official added.
“Response is good. People are enthusiastically booking tickets for the vistadome coach. We hope in due course, it will turn out as a major attraction for tourists visiting north Bengal,” said Guneet Kaur, the chief public relations officer of the NFR.
Parthapratim Roy, a train enthusiast on board the inaugural journey, said: “I believe this new train service will attract more tourists to enjoy the beauty of the Dooars on the foothills of the Himalayas .”
The DHR authorities announced the launch of a “Steam Jungle Tea Safari” from August 30, that is, Monday “It will run between Siliguri Junction and Rongtong every day. Passengers can board vistadome dining cars and enjoy a ride in the toy train. It will be a four-hour-long return journey with stops in Sukna and Rongtong,” said a source.
As part of the trip, tourists can visit the DHR gallery in Sukna. “Complimentary refreshments would be served on board. A trip per person will cost Rs 1,200, with some discount during lean seasons (winter and monsoon months),” said an official.