The recently reopened toy train facility at Nandankanan Zoo in Bhubaneswar caught fire on Friday, putting an end to rides for tourists.
Nandankanan Zoo deputy director Sanjeet Kumar reported that the train’s engine caught fire after the 16-hour journey after which it was stopped to avoid any mishaps.
It was a moment of relief for the zoo authorities as the 60 passengers on the train managed to exit the train safely on time.
Although the exact reason for the fire in the train locomotive is unclear, it is believed that a short circuit in the battery that provides the energy needed to pull the train led to the crash.
The deputy zoo director said the toy train will remain off-limits to tourists until it is repaired and cleared to safety standards.
Currently, RITES Limited, a central power unit under the Ministry of Railways, is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the tracks for the little train.
The sooner RITES rectifies the problem and allows the train to resume, the sooner we will start the ride again, said deputy zoo director Sanjeet Kumar.
Nandankanan Zoo added a brand new attraction, the eco-friendly toy train to its other facilities last Friday after the state’s forestry minister was inaugurated. The new facility which is making a return to the zoo after almost 7 years has been set up at a cost of Rs 3.05 crore.
To make the ride accessible to everyone, the zoo authorities have kept ticket prices reasonable. For children it is Rs.20 while for adults it is Rs.50.
The train has 4 cars towed by a motor on a 1.2 km wide track line.
Nandankanan Zoo first deployed a toy train in 1985, and it ran on a 1.6 km track and carried up to 60 visitors for a 20-minute ride. But its service was shut down in 2014 after Odisha’s government canceled its deal with a private operator.