Happy b’day ‘Deccan Queen’ & ‘Lalpari’
The iconic Pune-Mumbai train and the ST bus service turned 90 and 71, respectively, on June 1
Pune: One of the longest running trains between Pune and Mumbai, the ‘Deccan Queen’ and common man’s favourite Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) bus ‘Lalpari’ turned 90 and 71, respectively, on Saturday.
The grand celebrations were conducted by passengers and their groups at the Pune railway junction and the Swargate bus stand.
The Deccan Queen train was started by the British Great Peninsula in 1930. It was initially run as a weekend train to ferry British officials between the two major cities of Maharashtra. Deccan Queen was then converted to a daily service comprising two rides to Pune and back on public demand. This is also one of the longest running trains of Indian Railways that run as electric locomotives. For years, more than her counterparts such as the Pragati or Sinhagad Express, the Deccan Queen has earned praise from regulars due to its punctuality and speed.
Serviced with a lavish pantry, the Deccan Queen becomes the sole train to treat its visitors. Named as the ‘Pantry Car’, it sees a regular crowd of commuters who prefer to eat in the dining hub rather than at their seats.
Inspired from the breakfast that the British ate, the food menu involves serving simple dishes such as omelettes and toast bread to commuters at affordable prices.
The train is divided equally with passengers on either side, with the pantry in the middle. However, the general compartment and unreserved ticket holders face the maximum crowd every day. So crowded are these bogies that even moving in the compartments is difficult. Owing to this, a tiff between the unreserved and regulars can be witnessed daily.
On Saturday, Railway Pravasi Group chairman Harsha Shah and daily commuters cut a cake on platform number one to celebrate the occasion. The Railway band team was also present. NCC boys and girls enjoyed the celebration. The train was decorated with flowers and the pravasi group presented flowers to all passengers travelling from Pune to Mumbai.
On the other hand, the MSRTC ‘Lalpari’, which has been engaged in ferrying passengers for the past seven decades also celebrated its 71st anniversary on Saturday. The celebration was organised statewide in all departments and district level offices of the State Transport Corporation and at 568 bus stands.
A grand celebration was observed at Swargate, Shivajinagar, Pune station and Pimpri ST stand. The passengers were welcomed with sweets and a huge ‘rangoli’ was drawn at all stands. Mayor Mukta Tilak, ST Pune Divisional Controller Yamini Joshi and others were present. Common passengers always prefer to travel with ST buses and Lalpari is one of them.