In a bid to "better enjoy the scenic beauty that Northeast India is famous for", Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has given the go-ahead to introduce "Vistadome" coaches in trains running on specific tourist routes of the Northeast Frontier (NF) Railway.
Vistadome coaches are glass-top coaches, with wooden interiors and accommodate about 35-40 passengers. The highlight of such coaches, which are introduced as an extra coach to regular trains, is the glass roof that allows panoramic views of the landscape outside. While these coaches are already plying on routes taken by the Kalka-Simla Railway, Jan Shatabdi Express (Mumbai-Goa), Visakhapatnam-Araku route and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the NF Railway has identified Lumding-Badarpur hill section, Kumarghat-Agartala hill section and certain sections of upper Assam for introduction of vistadomes in the Northeast.
"We identified these areas because they had maximum greenery. This is a view which will sell," said Pranav Jyoti Sharma, Public Relations Officer, NFR. The main objective of this initiative is to boost tourism in the Northeast. "The ticket pricing will be a little different," said Sharma, adding that the size will be that of a regular coach.
The release also stated that the other "Vistadome" coaches in Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (which comes under the NFR) has features like "automatic sliding compartment doors, multiple television screens providing infotainment to passengers; wide side door for Divyangs, GPS based info system, LED lights and more."
While the instruction has come from the Centre, the actual date of when these coaches will become functional remains tentative.