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Regal revamp awaits Mumbai-Pune ‘Deccan Queen Express’

Mumbai, March 5 (IANS) The Indian Railways on Thursday announced a grand make-over for the prestigious 90-year-old Mumbai-Pune train, ‘Deccan Queen Express’, which was also the country’s first-ever superfast train.

The revamp includes upgrading to the more comfortable and safer German-design Linke Hofmann Busch coaches, re-designing the external livery of the train’s existing blue-and-white with red-band, and give a new logo incorporating the UNESCO Heritage Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus.

For the external livery design, the Central Railway, which runs and manages the Deccan Queen Express, had invited the opinion of passengers on their preferred colours in view of their deep emotional connect with the train.

Based on their feedback, the CR has present eight different livery design sets along with their ranking as per the customer votes which will be implemented.

For designing the new proposed logo, the CR has engaged experts of the National Institute of Design (NID) Ahmedabad for their inputs and final logo for the train.

An NID team visited Mumbai to inspect the existing train, travelled in it, interacted with customers, and also went around the CR’s headquarters at CSMT.

They collected data, measurements, photos, films and will submit their suggestions on the proposed new logo which would be in tune with the new livery suggestions, by the end of March.

Introduced by the Great Indian Peninsula Railway on June 1, 1930, the ‘Deccan Queen Express’ with only 7 coaches painted in silver-and-scarlet moulding with other royal blue-gold lines.

It became instantly popular among the passengers, connecting the country’s financial capital Mumbai with the state’s cultural-academic capital, Pune, separated by around 92 km including treacherous sections of Western Ghats.

While the under-frames of the original rakes were built in England, the coach bodies were built at the Matunga Workshop in Mumbai.

Over the years, the train notched many national records like becoming India’s first superfast train, first long-distance electric engine hauled train, first with vestibules, first with a ladies only coach and first to have a dining car.

In 1966, the original rakes made way for anti-telescopic steel bodies rakes built by the Integral Coach Factory, Perambur, incorporating better design and comforts, plus striking interiors and fittings, and the number of coaches grew from 7 to 12, and currently the number stands at 17.

The rake was again changed in 1995 with air brake coaches, five air-conditioned chair cars, nine second class chair cars, a dining car for 32 with a modern pantry with cushioned chairs and carpets on the entire train.

Enjoying an impeccable ‘right time start and arrival’ record, the Deccan Queen Express comprises a loyal band of passengers in both cities, despite other, probably quicker options like regular flights and the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, said officials.

–IANS

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