A luxury train for tourists, the Golden Chariot, is all set to restart operations from March 2020. The train will be run by Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC), the tourism arm of Indian Railways.
The operations of the only luxury train in south India had to be suspended last year due to heavy losses by the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC), which was then running it.
The KSTDC will hand over the train to IRCTC soon, following which the corporation will carry out internal refurbishment and begin regular operations from March.
The KSTDC signed an agreement with the IRCTC in New Delhi on Tuesday to market and operate the Golden Chariot. Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi said the train will boost tourism in Karnataka and other southern states. “This MoU is an important step towards the Prime Minister’s call to the countrymen to visit at least 15 tourism spots in the country. This train will boost tourism in Southern India,” he said.
Rail Tourism Redefined! The Luxurious #GoldenChariot is here to enchant tourists!
Experience the unforgettable with its new itinerary of magnificent destinations, world class amenities, lavish saloons, fine dining, bar lounge, business center, gym and ayurvedic healing! pic.twitter.com/oFr4Tte22X
— Suresh Angadi (@SureshAngadi_) November 19, 2019
Angadi also directed the IRCTC and the KSDTC to make sure the train’s tickets were affordable for the common man.
Golden Chariot commenced operations in 2008, as a joint initiative between the state government and the Railway ministry.
It consists of 18 coaches with as many as 44 guest rooms, having a capacity of 84 guests in total. Each cabin is equipped with various features, including a small wardrobe, vanity desk, LCD TV, electric sockets for recharging batteries and a private washroom.
Earlier, the train ran two tours — ‘Pride of South’, a 7-night journey to places like Bengaluru, Kabini, Mysuru, Hassan, Hampi, Badami, and Goa, and the ‘Southern Splendour’, also a 7-night trip to places like Bengaluru, Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Puducherry, Thanjavur, Madurai, Thiruvananthapuram, Kovalam, and Kochi.
Once the services begin this time around, the Golden Chariot will cover tourist destinations in Karnataka, Kerala, Puducherry, and other south Indian states.
According to details shared by IRCTC, the new itineraries of Golden Chariot shall be a mix of culture, history, nature, and wildlife. Other places like Mysore, Chikmagalur, Halebid, Bandipur, Bijapur, Hampi and Goa have been proposed to be included in the itinerary.
Besides the Golden Chariot train, IRCTC also operates the popular Maharajas’ Express luxury train.