First started as a weekend service in 1930, now a daily service, country’s first super-fast train, the legendary Deccan Queen Express connecting Pune with Mumbai turns 86 today! Regarded as the lifeline for thousands of office-goers who commute to work in Mumbai, “Dakkhan Chi Rani” as the localities mention it, the train makes its way through the beautiful landscape of Bhor Ghats and covers a 192 km long journey in 3 hours and 10 minutes.
Deccan Queen is one of the most favorite trains among the Railfans. Every year on 1st June, season ticket holders, Railfans and the railway authorities have a grand celebration on the train’s birthday. To mark the momentous day, daily commuters decorate the coaches and the loco with garlands and balloons followed by a small puja and cake cutting ceremony. To mark the occasion, last year 85 kg cake was cut and distributed among the passengers.
Unique Dinning Car
The Deccan Queen is the first train to feature an on-board restaurant-cum-dining coach, the “Dinning Car”. The dining car offers table service for 32 passengers and has modern pantry facilities such as microwave oven, deep freezer and toaster. It is also wonderfully furnished with cushioned chairs and carpet. Commuters sit and enjoy the popular items on the menu of this 86-year-old dining car. Popular items on the menu include baked beans with buttered bread, cheese toast sandwich, cheese omelette, pomfret bread with potato chips and chicken cutlet, served in customized crockery. Its ambience complements the delicious food. ”Sitting by a window of the dining car and sipping a cup of coffee while the train is slowly winding its way up the Bhor ghats is heavenly” says Aakash Karnani, Railfan based from Mumbai.
Story of the Hawkers
Apart from the passengers, Deccan Queen is the best friend of many hawkers who sell accessories, food items, jewelry and much more on the train. Some of the hawkers have been selling items on this train for many decades now.
Other Unique Facts about the Deccan Queen Express
- The train has set a record for longest on-time performance (timely departure and arrival)
- It is India’s first Superfast and vestibuled train
- Deccan Queen started as a weekend service for British race fans visiting the Pune derby
- The train is so popular among regular passengers that 2 of the 5 first class coaches and 2 of the 11 second class coaches are reserved for seasonal pass holders only.
- When the workforce used to be male dominated, the Deccan Queen was nicknamed “The Husband Express” because it transported men to their jobs in Mumbai in the mornings and took them back home in Pune in the evening
The train makes a technical halt (to test train’s brakes) at Monkey Point where passengers amuse themselves with the hordes of monkeys