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June 20, 2012

Kalka-Shimla heritage toy train gets solar lighting system

     Shimla: In a first of its kind, engineers of Indian Railways have pioneered solar lighting system in the heritage toy train that runs on the narrow gauge from Kalka to Shimla in Himachal Pradesh. In 2008, the Kalka-Shimla Railway was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the World Heritage Site Mountain Railways of India. This initiative of solar electrification was taken up with an aim to provide clean and pollution free environment to the passengers and tourists as well as save on fuel. Divisional Electric Engineer, R K Gupta, said that the solar panels had lessened the electricity load and was successful in reduction in the fuel bill. "We have tried this narrow gauge system and we have reduced the load of each coach by 500 kilogram. So, in all there are seven coaches and in six coaches we have provided this system so total load reduction is about three tones. So, in this way, we are able to save our fuel cost also," said Gupta. On their part, the passengers, mostly tourists, were also excited to see the solar panels fixed atop the six coaches of the heritage train. Anuradha Gupta, a passenger, said that solar panels should be set up on most of the trains across India to avoid pollution and save electricity. "I would like to give a message that tourists should come here and see that it is such a nice train and other trains should be run based on solar system to control pollution," she said. On a rough estimate, the solar lights would save 4.5 lakh rupees annually.
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