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What are some prestigious and Famous trains introduced in the past?  
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Aug 18 2011 (19:02)

Entry# 622     
WDP4 20065
What are some prestigious and Famous trains introduced in the past?

Aug 18 2011 (18:23)
Blog Post# 222731-0     
१२३०१ कोलकाता राजधानी १२३०२*^~   Added by: WDP4 20065  Aug 18 2011 (19:02)
The Grand Trunk Express
This train, affectionately known as the 'GT' started running in 1929 just after the construction of the Kazipet-Balharshah section, which was the last link in the Delhi-Madras route. Initially it ran from Peshawar to Mangalore and took about 104 hours, one of the longest train routes. Later this service was changed to Lahore-Mettupalaiyam. In
1930 it reached its present status while running between Delhi and Madras.
As a prestigious train, it was one of the few to have the early methods of air cooling by ice blocks. It also carried a parcel van for urgent consignments. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the train used to run with a completely air-conditioned rake (First AC and AC Chair Car) on two days of the week, and with its usual rake on other days, and hence was sometimes known as the AC/GT Express. The train had a 21-coach rake in the 1980s, later extended to 22 and finally 24 coaches. Its first-class coaches were of the corridor type with extra large windows. The GT's coaches (along with those of other premier trains in the 1970s) also had noticeably better suspension as well.
Frontier Mail
The Frontier Mail was flagged off on Sep. 1, 1928, from Colaba Terminus, the main station on the BB&CI (later Western Railway). It was a replacement for the earlier Mumbai-Peshawar Mail. In winter (Sep. - Dec.), the Frontier Mail started from Ballard Pier (Mole Station) to connect with P&O steamships; this is the portion referred to as the "Duplicate" section of the Frontier Mail in old railway schedules and articles.
Leaving from Mole Station the train ran for a short while on tracks of the Bombay Port Railway and the GIPR via Bandra Jn. finally reaching its home tracks of the BB&CI Railway. For the rest of the year the train terminated at Colaba, but a separate train ran to Ballard Pier for the steamer connection. There were also times when the train ran this extra bit on some days of the week alternating with the normal route.
The train's route took it through Baroda, Ratlam, Mathura, Delhi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, and finally to Peshawar. (The section beyond Delhi was run by the North Western Railway as train No. 3.) Peshawar was close to the frontier of British India in those days, hence the name of the train. It used to be the fastest long-distance train in the subcontinent.
Originally the BB&CI introduced it to rival the Punjab Limited of the GIPR, which also went from Bombay to Peshawar. The train had a reputation for being unusually punctual. Originally the rake had 5 coaches and a luxury dining car cum lounge car. As a prestige train of the BB&CI, the train offered plush conveniences on board, and the passengers had access to luxurious retiring rooms at stations along the way. It had air-cooled cars (using ice blocks) from about 1934.
After Independence, it went only up to Amritsar, via Delhi, from Bombay. The train has now [1996] been renamed "Golden Temple Mail".
Punjab Mail
The Punjab Mail runs between Bombay and Firozpur. This was the GIPR train; there was another train of the same name that ran for a while between Calcutta and Delhi on the East Indian Railway. The Punjab Mail made its debut on 1st June 1912. Like the later Frontier Mail, the Punjab Mail too used to connect with the P&O steamships on fixed mail days and would steam off from the Mole Station; on other days it departed from Bombay's Victoria Terminus.
For a brief period, an extended service called The Punjab Limited operated between Bombay VT and Peshawar, on the GIPR and NWR; this was a rival to the Frontier Mail, but does not seem to have lasted as a service for long. (There is some doubt whether the Punjab Limited was an entirely separate special service or a special extension of the Punjab Mail.) The Punjab Mail was among the fastest trains in pre-Independence India (probably the fastest one at various times). The train had air-cooled cars in 1945.
It was hauled by a variety of locos. XC locos were used after the rake was extended by the addition of third-class cars in the 1930s. In 1929-1930 EA/1 electric locos were used experimentally. The train later ran electric-hauled until Manmad, where a WP took over. From 1968 the train was diesel-hauled until Jhansi and by 1976 or so it became diesel-hauled all the way. A WCAM-1 loco was used a few times in an attempt to provide continuous haulage without locomotive changes, in the 1970s. Since then, and continuing today, it is hauled by a DC locomotive until Igatpuri and an AC locomotive thereafter towards Delhi and Firozpur.
Flying Ranee
The Flying Ranee ('ranee' = queen) runs between Mumbai Central and Surat. The origin of the Flying Ranee was a BB&CI Weekend Special in 1906. This stopped running after April 24, 1914. The train was restarted as the Flying Queen on 1st May 1937 (at the inauguration ceremony the train was also referred to as the 'Flying Ranee, Queen of the West Coast'). This time it was aimed at business travellers and it did the Bombay - Surat route in 4 hours flat, hauled by an H class 4-6-0 with poppet valves. Speeds regularly averaged 50mph, in those days (and still) a remarkable performance. The train was again discontinued in 1939 owing to the war situation.
On 1st November 1950 the train again steamed off from Surat at 6am, this time as the Flying Ranee and has been running since then. The Flying Ranee was one of the few trains in India to have an observation car, and one of the earliest to have an on-train telephone service. Among other luxuries for this prestige train were a radio and gramophone located in the dining car. With an average speed of 80km/h, it was one of the fastest medium-haul trains in India until the late 1960s.
Around 1965 it was hauled by WP locos dedicated for this train. In June 1977 the train switched to electric traction, being hauled by a WCAM-1; this arrangement lasted even today with a WCAM-2P ocassionally taking charge. On Dec. 18, 1979, double-decker cars were added to the Flying Ranee's rake (the second such train in post-Independence India, the first being the Sinhagad Exp.). The rake today usually has 18 cars.
Deccan Queen
The Deccan Queen between Mumbai and Pune is one of the more prestigious and popular trains with a long history. It started running on June 1, 1930, on the GIPR's DC electrified route, hauled by EA/1 class loco No. 4006 (new class WCP-2, new No. 20024).
When inaugurated, it had two custom-built 7-car rakes; one with a silver livery with scarlet trim, and the other with a navy-blue livery with gold trim. These had accommodation for 61 first-class passengers and 156 second-class passengers (initially the train had only first-class accommodation). These were replaced by the standard ICF-built anti-telescopic coaches in 1966.
The train has been almost always electrically hauled. The train has been hauled by many different classes of DC locos: WCM-4, WCM-2, WCM-1, sometimes WCM-5. On one occasion when the WCM-1 in charge failed, a WCG-1 (EF/1) hauled it from Lonavala to Mumbai. It has been hauled a few times by WCAM-2P locos; it is now hauled by a WCAM-3 loco. On rare occasions it has been hauled by a WDM-2.
When introduced, as the first passenger train to be electrically hauled, it cut down travel time between Mumbai and Pune to 2h 45m. (The previous best time for this being 3h 26m with steam traction -- the Poona Race Specials of the GIPR from about 1901, which required three locomotive changes and one reversal en route. The regular service on this route by the Poona Mail took about 6 hours!) The Deccan Queen was one of the earlier trains to regularly get a vestibuled rake, and was perhaps the first also to have a dining car and a ladies coach.
Originally a weekend train, in the 1940s it became a daily service. It now has a run time of nearly 3.5 hours, with a rake of 16 coaches and a restaurant car. Unusually, several coaches on this train are reserved entirely for season ticket holders.
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