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The Deccan Queen just turned 90 today. If you don't know who/what Deccan Queen is, continue reading. Deccan Queen is the first superfast train in India and has been serving the duty of transporting passengers along the Mumbai-Pune route since June 1, 1930.
The Deccan Queen is also famous for a number of ‘first-time' for the Indian Railways, the list includes some remarkable things such as the first Ladies Only coach, first Dining coach, first long-distance electric train, and first train with vestibule between the coaches.
Don't rush to Google, allow me to brief you about vestibuled trains. It is a passenger train whose ends of the coaches are open for passage yet they are built in such a way that the passage is enclosed for protection from external elements.
Initially, the train ran exclusively for the British during the weekends, it was from 1943 the British government started daily service and allowed Indians. According to sources, the Deccan Queen covered the 138kms between Kalyan and Pune stations in just 165 minutes. Which at the time was seriously quick as roadways can take around 5-6 hours.
At the beginning of service, the Deccan Queen came with two England built rakes and 7 coaches, and it was painted in silver, scarlet and royal blue – a livery that's been used ever since. With advancements in coach building, the old Matunga built coaches were replaced in 1966 with improved integral coaches built from the Perambur factory in Tamilnadu.
However, with time these coaches have been replaced thrice ever since independence. The coach was replaced for the second time in 1995 with an aim of increasing seating capacity and better pantry facility. At present, the Deccan Queen hauls 17 of the latest LHB coaches, which were upgraded in March 2020.
Even though the Deccan Queen has always been hauled by electric locomotives, it has seen many types of electric locomotives during the years. Initially, the hauling was done with WCP ½ DC, then it was replaced by WCM-1/2/4/5 DC locomotive.
Nowadays, it is hauled by WCAM-3 or the older WCAM2/2P DC/AC locomotives, sometimes you can even spot the Deccan Queen hauled by one of India's most successful locomotives, the WAP-7.
Thoughts About Deccan Queen Turning 90
This train and the route has been a testbed for many of India's innovations in Railway technology and strategies. 90 years of continuous service for a train is not only a remarkable feat but it shows the efficiency of the Indian Railways – the largest employer in India.