Srinagar, Oct 18: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, accompanied by senior officials from Northern Railways, is set to inaugurate Kashmir's first all-weather glass-ceiling air-conditioned train, known as the 'Vistadome.' The inauguration is scheduled to take place on Thursday at the Budgam Railway station, officials informed.
The 'Vistadome' coaches are slated to operate on the picturesque route connecting Budgam and Banihal stations, providing passengers a breathtaking journey through the picturesque landscapes of Kashmir.
Saqib Yousuf Yatoo (IRTS), Chief Area Manager (CAM) Kashmir, told Rising Kashmir that the inauguration of the Vistadome coaches is scheduled for Thursday, and all preparations have been meticulously finalised.
"This initiative is part of the ongoing efforts to enhance the rail connectivity in the region and provide a unique travel experience to both tourists and locals," he said.
Saqib said that event will be graced by LG Manoj Sinha, and other senior officials from Northern Railways will be in attendance. These Vistadome coaches have undergone successful trials in Kashmir, and the authorities have given the green signal for their operation," he said.
The Vistadome coach is designed to offer a remarkable travel experience with its features, including a glass ceiling, large windows, and comfortable seating. It will have a capacity of 40 passengers and will feature LED lights, rotatable seats, and an inbuilt GPS-based information system; ensuring passengers enjoy an aerial view and access to state-of-the-art infotainment during their journey.
CAM Kashmir Saqib further explained, "The travellers, whether locals or tourists, will find the trip to be comfortable and enjoyable due to its glass roof, LED lights, rotating seats, and GPS-based info system."
He also highlighted the convenience of automatic sliding doors in the coach for passengers.
Safety has been a top priority in the design of these Vistadome coaches, equipped with CCTV cameras to ensure the well-being of both passengers and their belongings. This initiative marks a significant step forward in enhancing rail travel in the region.
Earlier in March this year, Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced the impending operation of India's first indigenous semi-high-speed train on the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail route, expected to begin by the end of the year.
He also emphasized that the Udhampur-Banihal track, connecting Jammu with Srinagar, would be completed by December or early the following year, further improving connectivity to the region.
At present, 19 train services, including seven trains, operate regularly on the Baramulla-Banihal sector in Jammu and Kashmir, serving approximately 30,000 passengers daily, including students and daily commuters.
The inauguration of the Vistadome coaches is expected to add a touch of luxury and an enhanced travel experience to this vital route.
Kashmir marked a significant milestone in its transportation history in 2013 when it inaugurated its first train service, a project inaugurated by the then-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway (USBRL) track is a substantial endeavor aimed at connecting Kashmir with the rest of the country and falls under the jurisdiction of the Firozpur Railway division of Indian Railways' Northern zone.