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Heritage train a victim of mismanagement?

Monday - January 21, 2019 7:00 pm , Category : WTN SPECIAL

WTN: The Mhow-Kalakund ‘heritage’ train launched with much fanfare is suffering various glitches regarding convenience and suitability as various facilities being offered are not apparently very streamlined for passenger needs. The train runs just once a day, while two rounds would have been better, keeping in view the initial passenger demand/rush, at least on holidays and weekends. The number of bogies can also be increased to accommodate more passengers. The general bogies are not comfortable. There are wooden benches which have almost been phased out across Indian railways for greater comfort.

Replacement of these wooden benches with cushioned seats is must. The other factor is fare disparity between the special and general coaches. The one costs just Rs10 per seat, while the other costs Rs250, though the facilities on the latter are not much to write home about. The compartments are not even AC. In summers, in burning heat, it will amount to travelling in a fiery cauldron, which will only put off travellers. Now online booking is being started by IRCTC but the price has been escalated to above Rs500, including food. This is exorbitant, given the train just covers a 15-km distance and the facilities are not great. Apart from this, the destination Kalakund itself is not great. The facilities are minimal and there is scope for much addition. We don’t yet know if there are plans to add to the recreation opportunities but unless people find more value for money, they would be reluctant to spend that kind of money for a few hours’ trip.

Bungee jumping, water sports, boating, horse riding, food stalls etc must be begun at the spot so that people have an enjoyable and fruitful time of 3-4 hours they have to wait out at the spot. Just a few swings for kids are simply not enough. The time lag is also long. Ideally an hour’s halt at Kalakund would be enough, but instead visitors have to wait for 3-4 hours for another train to come and haul the heritage train back to Mhow, which is a pain. In summer heat, spending time outdoors would be the least pleasurable experience.  There is no proper waiting room at the station which can hold the passengers wanting to take rest. There is also facility of night halt as specially upholstered and replenished AC bogies with TV have been assigned for it, but given the uninteresting locale and the high price a night’s stay entails, its long term sustainability and success is doubtful.

The railways and the administration have to take cognizance of passenger feedbacks and tweak the functioning and operations for a more holistic experience that a traveler deserves. The idea and the initiative is good but some miscalculations and imprudent steps are enough to play the spoilsport in the noble venture. The heritage run has great possibilities but only if it is exploited in the right way, with proper planning, vision and efficiency. It is a one-of-a-kind experience but still in rudimentary stage. It needs much more professional handling of things like rakes, food, fare and facilities. -Window To News