The Capital Development Authority (CDA) is all set to start running a Mini Tourist Train in the capital. The train, expected to launch next week, will provide a unique travelling experience to tourists, with onboard commentary about the city’s major landmarks.
CDA Chairperson Imtiaz Inayat Elahi has approved plans to run the recreational tourist train to boost entertainment facilities for visitors and locals. CDA Member Environment said that CDA Environment Wing’s recently created Tourism Division has made all arrangements for operating the Mini Tourist Train in the city and a test drive has also been conducted.
The train will coast around the city on an approved route seven days a week at a speed of 20 to 25 kilometres per hour. The journey will start from Rose and Jasmine Garden and cover landmarks including the National Monument, Zero Point, Faisal Mosque, Kashmir Highway, Marghazar Zoo, Japanese Park, Saidpur Village, Jinnah Super Market, 7th Avenue and Fatima Jinnah Park.
A well-versed tour guide will inform visitors about the city’s landmarks, both in Urdu and English. The visitors will be taken on a 30-minute-long leisure walk at the Japanese Park, the mid-point of the tour, where they will be shown street performances and get photo ops.
The CDA official said that the train will operate on routes approved by the civic body in collaboration with Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) and the Rawalpindi Transport Authority (RTA) secretary. He said that armed security guards with metal detectors will also be deputed on the train for the safety of passengers.
The CDA chairperson has directed the authority’s Environment Wing to set up ticket booths, souvenir shops and benches along the route to facilitate visitors. The department has also been directed to provide ramps and wheelchairs for people with disabilities, and to install signboards at the starting and mid-point of the approved route.
The train fare is expected to be Rs200 for adults and Rs150 for children up to 10 years, while special concessions will be available for the physically-challenged visitors. Moreover, a 50 per cent discount will be offered to people during the train’s first month of operation.
During summer, the Mini Tourist Train will operate from 6pm to 7pm, while on Sundays the timing will be 10am to 11:30am. During winter, the train will run from 3pm to 4:30pm (11am to 12:30pm on Sunday); while in Ramazan, the train will operate from 5pm to 6:30pm.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2011.