Chandrakant Patil, Pune district guardian minister, and thousands of commuters will congregate at the Pune railway station on Thursday as the iconic Deccan Queen will complete 93 years of service.
On June 1, 1993, Deccan Queen was the first deluxe train introduced by the railways to serve two important cities, Pune and Mumbai, and was aptly named after Pune, which is also known as Queen of Deccan.
At first, it ran just on weekends, but due to high demand, it started offering daily service. It has never used steam power and has been functioning on electricity since day one. When locomotive engines failed, it occasionally received diesel engines.
As per the information given by the railways, the Deccan Queen, initially, had only first-class and second-class accommodation. The first class was abolished on January 1, 1949, and the second class was redesigned as first class, which continued up to June 1955 when the third class was introduced on this train.
This was later re-designated as second class from April 1974 onwards.
The coaches of the original rakes were replaced in 1966 by anti-telescopic steel-bodied integral coaches built by Integral Coach Factory, Perambur. These coaches incorporated the improved design of bogies for better riding comfort and also improvements in the interior furnishings and fittings. The number of coaches in the rake was also increased to 12 from the original 7 coaches providing additional accommodation. Over the year the number of coaches in the train has been increased to the present level of 16 coaches.
In June 2021, one vista dome coach was attached to the Deccan Queen. On August 15 of the same year, one more Vista dome coach was added to the same train, looking at the positive response from passengers.
Kishore Chavan, a regular passenger, said, “It has been over ten years now that I have been travelling by this train. As the Vista dome coach has been added it certainly is a positive experience for passengers.”
“From its inception, apart from providing high standards of comfort to the passengers, the train has witnessed various improvements such as the introduction of coaches with roller bearings, replacement of end-on-generation coaches with self-generating coaches with 110 volts system and introduction of first- and second-class chair cars providing increased accommodation to passengers. The distinctive colour scheme of cream and Oxford blue with red band above the window level was adopted as the colour scheme for this train,” said Ajay Kumar, Pune railway division spokesperson.
The five first-class chair cars in the old rake were replaced by five AC chair cars providing an additional seating capacity of 65 in a dust-free environment.
Also, the nine-second class chair cars provide an additional seating capacity of 120 seats compared to the old coaches.
Thus, the new rake provided a total seating capacity of 1417 as against 1,232 seats in the old rake i.e. an increase of 15 per cent over the years.
As of today, the Deccan Queen train’s revised composition is four AC chair cars, eight-second class chair cars, one Vista dome coach, one AC dining car, a guard cum brake van and a generator car.