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Pune’s Beloved ‘Deccan Chi Rani’ Celebrates Its 93rd Birthday in Grand Style

Pune's Deccan Queen, the iconic superfast train that shuttles between Pune and Mumbai, is probably the only train in the country whose birthday is observed by its loyal commuters every year. Fondly known as the "Queen of Deccan," its 93rd birthday was celebrated with great fanfare in the presence of Pune District's Guardian Minister Chandrakant Patil on Thursday morning, with regular commuters cutting a cake at the platform before the train departed for Mumbai to the beats of Dhol Tasha.

A Journey Through Time

The history of Deccan Queen is a tale of two cities. The Deccan Queen commenced its maiden journey on June 1, 1930; since then, it has been an inseparable part of Pune’s history. Over the last 92 years of its colourful history, the train has grown from being a mode of transportation between the two cities into an institution – to becoming an emblem of regional pride; the Deccan Queen has become an integral part of Pune’s cultural identity.

The train’s introduction marked an important milestone in the history of the Indian Peninsula Railway, the forerunner of the Central Railway. In honour of Pune, also known as the ‘Queen of Deccan,’ the train was appropriately named after the city.

Modernisation Through The Years

A steel-bodied anti-telescopic integral coach was developed by Integral Coach Factory, Perambur, in 1966 to replace the original coaches of the original rakes. It was necessary to improve the bogies, fittings, and furnishings to improve riding comfort. As a result, 12 coaches were added to the rake, up from seven originally. Over the years, the number of coaches on the train has increased to the present level of sixteen coaches.

From its inception, apart from providing high standards of comfort to the passengers, the train has witnessed various improvements, such as the introduction, for the first time in India, of coaches with roller bearings, the replacement of end-on-generation coaches with self-generating coaches with 110 volts system and introduction of first and second class chair cars providing increased accommodation to passengers. The distinctive colour scheme of Cream and Oxford Blue with a Red band above the window level serves as the colour scheme for this train. Deccan Queen is also the first train in the country to have a dining car, which is still an attraction. Although, several with such dining cars were stripped of them in the intervening years. Deccan Queen’s facility has undergone an upgrade, and new features have been added.

Commemorating 93 Years

With great enthusiasm and fanfare, the Deccan Queen celebrates her 93rd anniversary. Its history has been marked by a number of prominent individuals. Pune Railway Station hosted a special event dedicated to this majestic train and its illustrious legacy. To commemorate the grand occasion, the Pune Railway Station was adorned with vibrant decorations and nostalgic photographs showcasing the journey of the Deccan Queen through the decades. The train itself underwent a makeover to pay tribute to its glorious history. The coaches were decorated with archival photographs depicting the train’s journey since its inception. Special exhibitions on the train’s heritage were organised onboard, offering passengers a chance to relive the past while embarking on their journey.

Nostalgia and Memories

The Deccan Queen has been a constant companion for generations of Puneites, and many have fond memories associated with their travels on this iconic train. Passengers were encouraged to share their nostalgic stories, photographs, and memorabilia, creating a sense of collective reminiscence and preserving the train’s cultural heritage for future generations. The train holds many records, including being India’s first superfast train, the first vestibule train, and the first train to have a ‘women-only’ car.

Looking Towards the Future

As the Deccan Queen embarks on its 94th year of service, the authorities have unveiled plans to enhance the train’s comfort and modernise its amenities while preserving its iconic charm. Upgrades such as improved seating arrangements, enhanced Wi-Fi connectivity, and eco-friendly initiatives are being introduced to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience for passengers.

The 93rd birthday celebration of the Deccan Queen served as a remarkable testament to the profound impact this train has had on the lives of Puneites over the years. With its rich history and promising future, this beloved train will undoubtedly continue to hold special meaning for the city’s residents and the countless travellers who embark on this iconic journey.

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