The rich legacy of railways, chugging with a luxury retreat, is slowly losing its ground. The pristine sheen of old coaches seems fainting as there is an inflow of new, polished and shiny AC coaches.
Once upon a time, trains in India offered classy compartments. They enjoyed all kinds of amenities on board. There were plush carriages (coaches) which were divided into individual cabins or suites. The ultra-luxurious interiors were well-equipped with carpets, electric lights, fans, wood-work, royal-size beds/berths, showers, servant quarters, etc.
Some of the trains had ‘Air-Conditioning’ facility in First Class, where a big block of ice was lowered into a slot on the floor or on top of the roof. The fans were directed at the block for giving a cooling effect! First Class also had the added luxury of a shower unit. There was electric lighting attached to each berth, providing individual reading lights, and at least two electric ceiling fans. Such was the grandeur of these compartments. These cabins were like a separate room or suites which had their own doors that opened on either side of the carriage to the platform. There were many such rooms in each carriage. It was luxury at its best and such opulence is difficult to be seen anywhere in the world on general trains today. Also, the corridors which we see today in trains were nowhere seen in those times.
Each compartment looked like a living room. With four berths, plenty of space, and an attached toilet for every compartment, the First Class coaches portrayed luxury from every nook and corner.