Narrow Gauge Panoramic Coaches Ready For Run In Kalka-Shimla Heritage Route

Narrow Gauge Panoramic Coaches Ready For Run In Kalka-Shimla Heritage Route

by Arun Kumar Das - Wednesday, May 31, 2023 11:32 AM IST
Narrow Gauge Panoramic Coaches Ready For Run In Kalka-Shimla Heritage RouteA train on the Kalka-Shimla Railway track at Taradevi station (Pic via Wikipedia)

Narrow gauge panoramic coaches manufactured by Rail Coach Factory at Kapurthala for Kalka-Shimla Railway are currently undergoing extensive oscillation trials before being pressed into service.

Aiming at attracting tourists, these coaches are being planned to be in operation on Kalka-Shimla heritage route shortly.

The prototype coaches made for the trial of four coaches include each AC Executive Chair Car, AC Chair Car, Non AC Chair Car and a Luggage Car.

RCF was entrusted with the project to design and manufacture a new narrow gauge rolling stock for Kalka-Shimla Railway (KSR).

The project posed significant challenges for RCF as there was no digital data for modelling of narrow-gauge tracks for development and verification of coach designs which developed around 1908.

Notwithstanding the above limitations, the RCF Design team worked tirelessly to recreate the required design inputs using the experience garnered over years of developing rolling stock designs for IR Broad Gauge system.

3D models were created by the RCF Design team by using the old blueprint and sketches available at Kalka workshop. These models were then used as the baseline for development of the new designs for modification of the bogies and development of all new shell superstructure and furnishing designs.

After the Railway Board gave the design approvals, two prototype shells of Air-conditioned Chair Car and Luggage Car were manufactured in September 2022 which were rigorously tested by RDSO in October 2022 for static stress analysis at RCF.

In December 2022, these 2 semi-furnished shells were transported by road to Kalka workshop and tested on Kalka Shimla route at speeds higher than the present sectional speed to determine the stability and ride quality.

After successfully testing the shells under static and dynamic conditions, RCF developed the interiors suiting the new design. The prototypes of these fully furnished AC Executive Chair Car, AC Chair Car.

RCF will be manufacturing 30 such state-of-the-art narrow gauge panoramic coaches including 4 AC Executive Chair Cars (12-seater), 8 AC Chair Cars (24 seater), 13 N, on-AC Chair Cars (30 seater) and 5 Luggage Cars.

Narrow Gauge Panoramic Coaches Ready For Run In Kalka-Shimla Heritage Route
Narrow Gauge Panoramic Coaches Ready For Run In Kalka-Shimla Heritage Route

These coaches have a lightweight shell with upgraded bogies and improved air brake system.

These coaches will have power windows and darkening vista glass in upper classes, Slide window in second class for panoramic wider view so that the passengers can experience the beauty of the mountains and valleys.

The coaches will also be equipped with modern safety features like CCTVs and fire alarms, anti UV coated window glasses, powered doors, heating/cooling package AC, linear concealed fans, linear LED lights, modular seating rail mounted seats with flip backs, restaurant type seating with luxury seats for executive class, onboard mini pantry, luggage bins, inter-car gangway (Vestibule) etc.

Each train of new design panoramic coaches will consist of seven coaches – one AC Executive Chair Car, two AC Chair Cars, three Non-AC Chair Cars and one Luggage car.

Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at

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