The ticket is considerably more expensive and travel time the same as the rest of the train. So, what makes this coach so special? And what could enhance the experience even more? We checked it out for you.
The Indian Railways has introduced Vistadome coaches on several routes across India. Now, your journeys through the Western Ghats, the Kalka-Shimla route, and the Dooars in the foothills of the Himalayas, will be especially amazing, with better viewing of these scenic routes made possible via these coaches that have been specially constructed to provide a panoramic perspective.
We tried out the lovely Vistadome coach on the Deccan Queen from Mumbai to Pune, which was introduced on August 15, 2021. Here is what sets it apart…
What’s amazing: The windows are extra-large and quite clear, which makes it a pleasure to gaze out at the scenery.
What could be better: The lights inside the cabin could be more muted so that their reflection in the glass doesn’t disturb the viewing or photography.
What’s amazing: The pushback seats are really comfortable, with proper cushioning and ample leg room. The fact that they can be rotated 360 degrees is fantastic, as you can decide which side you want to face during different sections of the journey, depending on where the waterfalls and valley views are.
What could be better: The spacing between seats could be increased. Now, unless everyone turns their seat, you land up getting into each other’s space a bit. And the unfortunate seats that face a non-window section should either be removed or made available at a cheaper rate.
What’s amazing: The observation deck at the back gives you a panoramic view of the tracks and surrounding countryside. You get a close-up view of the coupling when a banker locomotive is attached at Karjat station to help push the train up through the Bhor Ghat until Lonavala.
What could be better: A more comfortable wraparound seat and increased number of hand railings would make it safer and more comfortable, especially for children and senior citizens.
What’s amazing: The tech is sound. There are sliding doors enabled with motion sensors. A fire safety system is in place.
What could be better: The signage around the sensors needs to be clear. We saw several confused people trying to press and push everything in sight, including the emergency override knob, which meant the door stopped closing automatically!
What’s amazing: The amenities are great. Passengers can make use of the mini pantry that has a microwave and a refrigerator. The toilets are spotlessly clean. They have all the hygiene essentials you would find in an airplane loo – disposable seat covers, toilet paper, bidet spray, etc.
What could be better: No food and drink vendors are allowed inside this coach, not even from the railway pantry. We think the journey would be even better if we could enjoy some hot tomato soup and those IRCTC vegetable cutlets that are laced with sheer nostalgia.