Travelling in a private two bedroom, lounge, kitchen and toilet setup aboard a train could soon be a reality with the Railways exploring ways to facilitate such luxurious journeys. It will come at a price though, which officials say could be “exorbitant”.
Railways is set to give non-railway personnel a taste of travelling in its saloons or inspection coaches and is exploring ways to promote it. In a first of its kind meeting between chairman Railway Board Ashwani Lohani and travel and trade associations held in Delhi on Thursday, the issue of how the luxurious saloons could be promoted for the use of the general public who want to travel in style was raised.
Lohani conceded that there was a demand for this kind of travel and asked his officers to plan to make at least two such saloons available in Delhi for tourism purposes. He also asked IRCTC to chalk out routes on which they can be made operational. Lohani also asked the railways’ tourism and catering arm to come out with a brochure on such coaches.
Officials say that saloons or inspection cars, perfect for two families to travel, are adequately built to facilitate stay for up to five days. They comprise two bedrooms, a lounge, a pantry, a toilet and a kitchen. They are now most commonly used by senior railway officials to reach accident sites and remote railway lines not connected by road or air. The closest to this kind of luxury that a common passenger can avail is the tourist car, which can be booked by large groups, but has amenities essential only for an overnight journey.
The Railways has a total of 336 saloon cars across railway zones, among them 62 are air-conditioned. Railway officials, however, ruled out using more such saloon cars for works other than official. “This does not mean that we will push all our saloon cars for this purpose. They are extremely significant for inspection purposes and cannot be spared. With these two, we just want to give the common man an experience of travelling in luxury,” said an official.