Maharashtra: Indian Railways to re-introduce 'Black Beauty' with vistadome coach on Matheran hill route soon

Maharashtra: Indian Railways to re-introduce 'Black Beauty' with vistadome coach on Matheran hill route soon

The Indian Railways planning to introduce old steam locomotives also known as 'black beauty' in new look on Matheran hill railway; the locomotive will be hydrogen fuel propelled and have vistadome coaches for public to revel in the scenic beauty.

Kamal MishraUpdated: Friday, January 06, 2023, 09:27 AM IST
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Maharashtra: Indian Railways to re-introduce 'Black Beauty' with vistadome coach on Matheran hill route soon | Representative Image/ Facebook

Mumbaikars will be able to see the 'Black Beauty' with transparent vistadome coaches, which feature glass ceilings, glass windows, rotating seats and an observation space, chugging along on the Matheran hill railway by the end of this year.

The electric-hydrogen engines will be given the appearance of steam-spewing locomotives. These locomotives will be equipped with a vintage horn and will periodically spew harmless “green” steam vapour to keep up the appearance of old locomotives, officials said.

Hydrogen fuel-propelled engines to be given appearance of 'Black Beauty'

"The Indian Railways plans to introduce old steam locomotives, also known as 'Black Beauty' in a new avatar on the Matheran hill railway. The other heritage train routes identified for the introduction of "black beauty" in a green avatar are Kangra Railway, Bilmora Waghai, Mhow Patalpani, Marwar Devgarh Madriya, Kalka-Shimla Railway, Darjeeling Hill train, and the Nilgiri Mountain Railway," said a senior official of Indian Railways.

"The trains on these heritage sectors will now be pulled by electric and hydrogen engines in place of the traditional coal and diesel locomotives" said the official.

"The engines will be given the appearance of the old steam-spewing locomotives. These trains will have vistadome coaches from where passengers can enjoy the natural landscape of the region," the official said.

Work on the prototype underway at Tamil nadu workshop: Official

Another senior railway official said that Indian Railways has started working on bringing back the “back beauty” with a new look.

"The prototype of such steam engines is being shaped at The Golden Rocks Workshop of the railways in Tamil Nadu. The workshop at Ajmer could also be equipped with such facilities. The coaches of these proposed heritage trains will be retro-fitted with a hydrogen propulsion mechanism," said an official.

Official says hydrogen propelled engines will be used for commercial purposes by year end

There are several other sectors where these trains can be rolled out to promote tourism, the official said. "The hydrogen propelled engines will also be used for commercial purposes by the end of the year," he said.

The Union cabinet had on January 4 approved the National Green Hydrogen Mission, which is aimed at making India the global hub for the production of green hydrogen. The total outlay for the mission is Rs19,744 crore, of which the government has allocated Rs17,490 crore for the Strategic Interventions for Green Hydrogen Transition (SIGHT) programme, Rs1,466 crore for upcoming pilot projects, Rs400 crore for research and development, and Rs388 crore towards other mission components.

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