A trip to Araku by train is a must on the itinerary of most tourists as it offers a breathtaking view of the green hills and valleys besides the thrill of going through tunnels as darkness envelops the coaches even in broad daylight. Many tourists shout in glee to hear the resound in the tunnels.
The introduction of a Vistadome (see through glass coach) on the Araku Passenger in April this year, has doubled the interest of tourists in train travel. It’s a different matter that the second Vistadome coach, which was promised to be attached to the train, has not been done to till date.
The Araku train had a long waiting list on all days in all classes – 2nd sitting, sleeper, executive CC (Vistadome) and AC 2-tier – from September 22 to October 6 (the day on which it was cancelled).
“Tourists from West Bengal are upset over the cancellation of the train. The train passing through the tunnels is the main attraction for them. Having no other option, many are making alternative plans to visit Araku by road but the trip is no match for the train journey,” says S.K. Panja of ‘Nimantran’, a restaurant in the city, to which around 1,000 tourists visit every day during the tourist season.
“We are coming to Visakhapatnam from Kolkata for the first time. We wanted to travel by train but are disappointed on being told that the train service was suspended,” says Rahul Chatterjee, who came with his family members.
“We wanted to see the tunnels but the partial cancellation of the train has upset our plans. The officials concerned should take measures for the early restoration of the track, opins Babu Hazra, another tourist from West Bengal. He has also expressed concern at the lack of cleanliness at RK Beach.
The Lawson’s Bay Beach, developed recently, should be opened to the public. The Araku train should be run twice a day at least during the peak season to cater to the huge demand, feel the tourists.