Adapted from compilation by Terry Martin and David Churchill
The passenger coaches of DHR have changed enormously over the years. They have always been, and still are, regularly refurbished and rebuilt to suit the particular traffic requirements of the time.
The early coaches were simple 4-wheeled open sided benches on a flat wagon (known as 'trolleys') for third class, or small enclosed vehicles for first and second class. The only survivor of these is a 4-wheel coach No 119, built in 1903, which is now in the National Railway Museum in New Delhi.
The first bogie coaches were introduced in 1906, and bogie coaches gradually became predominant, although the last 4-wheelers remained in use until the 1960s. A great range of bogie coach designs have been used over the last 110 years, some very spartan, others very luxurious, and with evolving body styles.
The number of coaching vehicles peaked at about 139 in the 1940s, and there are still 72 in the stock list, although this includes those in the museum, on the heritage list and a number stored as not needed at present. The oldest coach still on the line dates from 1917, although most are relatively new and built in 1989 or later.
An outline of coaches currently to be seen on the line follows. The numbers given are as carried in 2016.
Himalayan Princess' (No 124)
The oldest surviving passenger vehicle on the line, built in 1917, although subject to some rebuilds since. Notable for the wooden 'twisted' pillars and carvings on one end, which was originally open. Used as an inspection saloon for VIPs and not in normal service.
Everest' (No 14)
Another saloon, built in 1943. Notable for the curved glazed end and luxurious interior. Sometimes used on chartered trains.
Tenzing Norgay' (No 149)
A dining car converted from a luggage van in 2001. Fitted out to provide pre-prepared meals for 12 passengers. Used on special charter trains generally running in the evening to provide a very unusual experience.
Gorakhpur coaches (Nos 26-28, 75, 93, 146-148, 151-155, 157)
These remain from a large batch of coaches built in 1967/68, although most have been rebuilt since. Luggage/guard vans 147 and 152 are saved as 'heritage stock' and are in near original condition. In addition, No 75 is in the Eastern Railway Museum at Howrah and No 93 is in Ghum Museum, as rebuilt in the 1980s.
Jodhpur coaches (Nos 104-107, 109-115, 117-121)
These are from a batch of new second class coaches built in 1989/90. Some are still in near original condition, whilst others have been modernised and in particular refitted internally with more luxurious seating and decoration. In addition, Nos 106-107 (erroneously numbered 27 and 148) are on display at the NF Railway Museum at Tinsukia.
Kalka coaches (Nos 160-164)
5 vehicles built in 2000/03. Similar in appearance to the earlier coaches they have seen a lot of service.
Mysore coaches (Nos 71, 86, 108, 116, 122, 158)
6 modern style air-braked coaches built at Mysore in 2001. Some were officially rebuilds of earlier coaches. Very different in appearance from any previous coaches. After some initial teething problems, they have been widely used in recent years.
Kurduwadi coaches (Nos 601-605, 801-810, 903-908, 921-928, 1906-1909)
A substantial number of new vehicles built at Kurduwadi in batches from 2007 until 2016. They are all in a basically similar 'modern' style and have had to be adapted before suitable for use on DHR. Consequently, many are stored out of use since DHR has far more coaches than the current traffic requires.