India’s first saloon coach with air-conditioned rooms, attached bathrooms and valet services started it’s journey on Friday from Old Delhi Railway Station. Six customers of a private tour company availed of the services of the saloon car facility — initially reserved only for railway officials. Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) officials told news agency PTI that the officials used the facility to reach remote areas not connected by road or air.
The saloons or inspection cars can accommodate two families and are adequately built to facilitate stay for up to five days. They comprise of two bedrooms, a lounge, a pantry, a toilet and a kitchen.
The cost of chartering this saloon coach is around Rs 2 lakh, IRCTC said. The luxury coach has a living room, two air-conditioned bedrooms – one twin bedroom and the other similar to a AC First Class coupe with attached baths, dining area and a kitchen. The valet service will be chargeable in future.
M/s Royal India Train Journeys booked the saloon coach for its premium customers travelling to Jammu via Jammu Mail. The entire journey will take four days following which the saloon will be back in Delhi. “This will be an all inclusive tour where the guests will be offered all the comfort of a hotel. Exclusive staff will be available for services on board. Railway also provides one AC attendant and one saloon attendant for ensuring hassle free travel,” IRCTC said.
The saloons are available for charter for the common people and the details are available on the IRCTC website. Railways has a total of 336 saloon cars across railway zones, among them 62 are air-conditioned.
The decision to make such saloons available to people was taken soon after a meeting of Chairman of the Railway Board, Ashwani Lohani, with travel and trade associations in Delhi in January this year.