Do you know that there is something special about the Compartment C3 on the Panchavati Express? Well, this particular coach deserves a special mention as it is maintained and managed by the regular passengers who take a keen interest in keeping the coach sparkling clean and well-maintained.
Recently, the coach marked its 10th anniversary, embarking huge celebrations at CST (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) and Nashik Station as well. Over 1000 regular passengers participated in the celebrations and almost 90 people made it to the anniversary trip.
Termed as “Adarsh” or ideal coach, the 1st Class Chair Car has a seating capacity of 70 passengers and boasts of some interesting features which makes it special in comparison to other coaches of Indian Railways. Even though the Railway staff does regular maintenance work, passengers actively participate in coach chores like cleaning, providing first aid assistance, pest control, and maintaining regular records. The idea was the brainchild of Mr. Gandhi, president of Rail Parishad, an NGO. Even though it was not a smooth ride for him at the beginning as the concerned authorities were apprehensive about the idea of passengers’ direct involvement in the upkeep, but eventually the idea got approved in 2007 and there has been no looking back since then.
Adarsh Coach allows only 1st class ticket holders and has a definite set of rules for every traveller. For instance, no calls are allowed for some part of the journey, there is set timing for meditation and reading and also there is a ban on tobacco, card playing and alcohol.
“If required we ourselves clean the coach with a broom and also do dusting,” says Bipin Gandhi, a regular traveller on the route.
“Our passengers don’t even throw a chocolate wrapper in the coach and now it’s their habit that they keep things clean around themselves everywhere.”
We don’t call them passengers,” Mr. Gandhi says, “they are the members now.” There are 400 such ‘members’ currently, and on the special occasion, Om Prakash Tiwari, another regular commuter and general secretary of Rail Parishad said that the NGO gave certificates of loyalty to around 50 people who have been members for all ten years.
Awards and Accolades
The Rail Parishad plays a perfect host for events like anniversaries, birthdays and even wedding receptions for the new-weds in the train. It also has a mark in Limca Book of Records for being the first IRCTC train in India where a wedding took place between Shyam and Sarika Jadhav, two of its regular commuters.
The coach has another feather in its cap- it entered the Limca records on two occasions- 2012 and 2015. The first one was for its cleanliness and the second award came when the members wrote 100 letters to the Indian Railways and got replies for each and every letter.