Luxury Trains in India
Indian Railways network is the second-largest in the world. Around 7,800
services operate in a single day over a route length of nearly 63,000 km.
The rail network is far more extensive than the air network and is the best
means to witness the varied Indian landscape. Choices include luxury tourist
trains like Palace-on- Wheels and the Royal Orient, superfast trains like Rajdhani and Shatabdi, the regular trains or the steam engine driven 'toy
trains' in the hill stations. Luxury tourist trains run only on particular
days of the week to specific tourist destinations. Railway time-tables can
be picked up from all railway station bookshops.
Another luxury train- Royal Orient Express also departs from Delhi Cantonment Railway Station and takes tourists through the colourful states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. In eight days time, Royal Orient covers the cities of Chittaurgarh, Udaipur, Palitana, Sasangir, Ahmedabad and Jaipur. Facilities in the train include multi cuisine restaurants, bar, library and toilets with hot/cold water.
Tariff per night, per person : From October to March, Single US$ 350, US$ 200 on twin-sharing basis and US$ 175 on triple-sharing. From April to September, US$ 263/150/135, respectively. Bookings are confirmed against a 10 per cent deposit. Fare for Indian tourists is Rs 7,480 per person per night.
Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express :
Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express are also fully air conditioned trains connecting metropolitan cities of Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and other important Indian destinations with national capital Delhi. The trains offer very good services and have significantly enhanced train travel comfort in India.
Tariff in A/c 2-tier sleeper from Delhi : Rs: 2,210 to T Mumbai, Rs: 2,250 to Kolkata
Rs 3,085 to Bangalore, Rs: 3,495 to Thiruvananthapuram, Rs: 2,995 to Chennai, Rs 2,605 to Bhubaneswar, Rs. 2,810 to Guwahati and Rs: 1,300 to Jammu Tawi.
Chair car fares : From New Delhi: Chandigarh Rs: 415, Dehradun Rs:. 465, Ludhiana
Rs. 490, Lucknow Rs: 700, Amritsar Rs. 595. From Mumbai: Surat Rs:. 435, Pune Rs:. 365, Vadodra Rs: 545. From Chennai Mysore Rs: 645, Bangalore Rs: 505. From Kolkata -Tatanagar Rs: 330, Bokaro Rs: 460, Kharagpur Rs: 225.
Konkan Railways connect all the states along the beautiful Arabian Sea coastline. Trains can run at speeds up to 160 km/hour on the Konkan tracks.
The Taj Express and the Pink City Express, both originating from Delhi provide fast links to Agra and Jaipur.
operate on narrow-gauge tracks linking cities in the plains to hill stations and snaking through picturesque landscape. The Kalka-Shimla Express covers 96 km with 102 tunnels, arched bridges and picturesque stations. The 120 seater Shivalik Express is another popular hill train with bay glass windows and wall-to-wall carpeting. Fare: Rs. 280 (one- way). The train leaves Kalka at 5:30 AM and reaches Shimla at 10:15 AM.
Next in the list of popular hill trains is The Deluxe Rail Motor Car which can seat upto 18 passengers with facilities like a transparent roof, TV/VCP, music and an altimeter. Fare: Rs. 340 (one-way). The Shivalik Queen was launched specially to attract honeymooners where couples enjoy complete privacy. The fare of Rs. 750 per couple covers meals.
The Nilgiri Mountain Railway covers a distance of 46 kms from Mettupalayam to the hill resort of Udhagamandalam (Ooty). At a leisurely speed of 33 km/hour, the train passes through landscape full of tea and coffee plantations.
The Darjeeling Hill Railway has the most narrow 2-ft. gauges. This little train is drawn by a 100-year-old engine and links New Jalpaiguri with the hill station of Darjeeling. Travellers can have a breathtaking view of the Himalayas throughout the entire route.
Matheran Railway connects Neral (on the Mumbai-Pune line) to the hill resort of Matheran. The distance is covered in 90 minutes and a splendid view of the hills and plains is offered.
The Fairy Queen, which runs from Delhi to Alwar is the oldest running locomotive in the world. This 50-seater train also finds place in The Guinness Book of Records. The fare of Rs.10, 000 covers meals, visit to Sariska tiger reserve of Alwar and stay at Sariska Palace on a twin sharing basis.
The Indrail Pass
The Indrail Pass is issued only to foreign visitors and NRI s with valid passports. Tourists can pay for this pass in US dollars, pound sterling or any other convertible foreign currency. The pass enables tourists to travel throughout India using the Indian railway system without paying extra money on services. The duration of Indrail passes vary. Indrail passes are also sold by GSAs in Oman, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Japan, the UK, the USA, Germany, Finland, the UAE, Bangladesh, South Africa and Kuwait.
Indian Airlines too sells Indrail passes through its e-overseas outlets in Bahrain, Doha, Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
In India, Indrail passes are available at Tourist Bureaus at major railway stations, with some authorised travel agents and at railway offices in many cities.
Indrail Pass Fares (In US$)
It is for information of tourists that there are special foreign tourist quotas on many trains. But to avail this quota, foreigners would have to show encashment certificates or else pay in foreign exchange.
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