Lakhimpur Kheri: Vistadome coaches with wide windows and reclining seats, will soon be a part of a heritage train that will take passengers on a 100 km ride through the core area of the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve.
The coaches arrived at the Mailani railway station last week. The six coaches were manufactured in Mhow (Madhya Pradesh) and sent on a freight train.
Chief public relations officer North Eastern Railways, Pankaj Singh, said, “The operating schedule of the train will be finalised soon. The heritage train will definitely boost tourism in Dudhwa Tiger reserve. The heritage train is named so since it is meant to display the national heritage of the country, in this case, the tiger reserve.”
The local people feel that the unique experience of a train safari will put Dudhwa on the international tourist map. “Tourists now look for comfort and ease of travel. This train would provide both while also taking them through scenic forests. It will definitely increase the tourist footfall,” said Gyan Prakash, a local resident. The project, however, has had its share of controversies.
It may be recalled that Lucknow-based wildlife enthusiast Kaushlendra Singh had filed a plea against the project in the Allahabad high court in 2018 soon after the state forest authorities had announced the train for the Mailani-Nanpara railway track.
The track is open to passenger trains. Singh’s latest plea argued that the fresh plan was “an open defiance of the HC order as well as the retraction of the forest department from its own commitment filed on oath to the high court”.
“The contempt petition has become inevitable to protect the wildlife from fatal accidents on the railway track,” he said.
The tiger population in Dudhwa is estimated to be over 100. Field director of Dudhwa, Sanjay Pathak, however said that he has not yet received information on the functioning of the heritage train.
“Other trains on the track already have the necessary permission to run at a prescribed speed limit,” he said.