New Delhi, Apr 5 (PTI) Trains running on the three heritage railway lines in the hills will soon have air-conditioned coaches, Chairman Railway Board Ashwani Lohani said today.

While the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway or “the Toy Train” has successfully conceived, developed and run two air-conditioned narrow gauge coaches from April 1, the other two, Lohani said, would have air-conditioned coaches in the next three-four months.

“Hill railways are very important. We are revamping the stations, we have given powers at the divisional level to fix rates for tourist charter and have also decided to appoint five directors for the five hill railways. This will greatly promote tourism in the area,” Lohani said, adding that these trains will have one AC coach each.

Three of the hill railways, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, and the Kalka-Shimla Railway are collectively designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name ‘Mountain Railways of India’.

The fourth railway, the Neral-Matheran Railway, is on a tentative list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the fifth is the Kangra Valley Railway.

The ministry last month also issued directives to all divisions to consult with the IRCTC to give commissions and discounts to authorised travel agents and tourists.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.