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Indian Railways in another first has decided to operate dedicated Vistadome Express trains in Assam and West Bengal in a bid to provide a boost to tourism sector on those two popular routes. This is also for the first time that on a single day two trains with Vistadome coaches began their operations in the beautiful areas of North Bengal and Assam.

“Railway infrastructure is fundamental to the revival and deepening of the tourism sector in India especially in the north-east. An integrated approach in rolling out of tourism connectivity routes through Vistadome coaches will not only help theIndian Railway but also play a pivotal role in realising India’s potential tourism business and deepening the tourism sector in India. Given the ongoing pandemic and the changing market dynamics, there is an urgent need for policy measures to provide for improved tourism-related regional connectivity in the northeast, especially through a progressive rollout of Vistadome coaches coupled with private sector participation, said Vishnu Sudarsan, Partner, J Sagar Associates.

Also Read: How Vistadome coaches can prove to be a gamechanger for Indian Railways

“The new Vistadome coaches of Indian Railways will play a pivotal role in the revival of tourism and tourism infrastructure in India. The Indian Railways will benefit from introducing PPP measure in generating revenue for Indian Railways in respect of railway tourism and tourism-related railway infrastructure. Several new models of PPP, both in terms of ticketing and asset monetisation will help pave the fundamental framework for revenue generation from tourism infrastructure and tourism railway. In this regard, IRCTC will have a significant role in providing end-to-end ticketing and tourism packages. Whilst, at the same time, attracting private capital and private participation will help achieve efficiency and quality in service delivery. Lastly, there is an urgent need for an integrated policy approach to help the investment so as to unlock the opportunity," he further said.

The trains will be operated by the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) zone of Indian Railways. NFR chief public relations officer Guneet Kaur said, "Introduction of these Vistadome trains will help to generate additional revenue for the railway and also for local people of these areas. NFR hopes that the initiative to boost the tourism sector of Assam and North Bengal will be very well patronised by the local people as well as by visitors from other states." NFR general manager Anshul Gupta said the special trains will be run on the two routes considering the immense tourism potential in the sector.

Timings of the Vistadome trains:

Guwahati-New Haflong Vistadome train service in Assam

The special Vistadome train service between Guwahati and New Haflong will initially run on two days a week -- on Wednesdays and Saturdays -- with stops at Manderdisa and Maibong stations. The train will depart from Guwahati at 6:35 am and reach New Haflong at 11:55 am, covering a distance of 269 kms through the North Cachar Hill region. During the return journey, the train will leave New Haflong at 5 pm to reach Guwahati at 10:45 pm.

New Jalpaiguri- Alipurduar Junction Vistadome train service in West Bengal:

The New Jalpaiguri- Alipurduar Junction Vistadome train will initially run three days a week -- Friday, Saturday and Sunday, she said. The train will depart from New Jalpaiguri at 7:20 am and reach Alipurduar Junction at 1 pm covering a distance of 169 km through the Dooars Hill region of north Bengal. During the return journey, the train will leave Alipurduar Junction at 2 pm and reach New Jalpaiguri at 7 pm. The train will stop at Siliguri Junction, Sevok, New Mal Junction, Chalsa, Madarihat, Hasimara and Raja Bhat Khawa stations.

Features of Vistadome coaches: 

The Vistadome coaches have large glass windows and glass roofs to provide 360 degree view of the open sky, mountains, tunnels, bridges, hills and lush green forests to the tourists. It will also have observation lounges for the purpose of site seeing

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