The Indian Railways Catering & Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is gearing up to open bookings for the Royal Indian Rail Tours (RIRTL) – a joint venture between IRCTC and Cox & Kings to operate and manage the first pan-India luxury tourist train – the Maharaja Express while unveiling it at ITB Berlin. The train is scheduled to roll out towards the end of this year.
Dr Nalin Shinghal, director (Tourism & Marketing), IRCTC, said, “It is a latest state-of-the-art train with pneumatic suspensions, eco-friendly toilets and the largest cabins. Qualitatively, it will be a much better product compared to other luxury trains and we aim to compete with other international luxury trains.” IRCTC will co-market this product with Cox & Kings at ITB Berlin and open advance bookings followed by extensive campaigning for eight to nine months in focus markets of UK, USA, Russia, Australia and Japan.
For the domestic market, IRCTC will continue working on Bharat Darshan, popularly known as ‘Village on Wheels’ – an all-inclusive itinerary for Rs 500 per person per night available for various parts of the country. For the mid-market segment, which is IRCTC’s biggest market, it is tying up with ground partners across the country to offer all-inclusive packages. “We are looking at three times growth than last year with our hotels now being available on the website, launch of Ginger hotel and recently the Buddhist trail winning the National Tourism Award,” he added.
Maharajas’ Express super-luxury train unveiled at ITB Berlin
Maharajas’ Express, India’s first pan-India super luxury train, was unveiled at ITB in Berlin in the presence of Sujit Banerjee, secretary, tourism, Government of India, Rakesh Tandon, MD, IRCTC and Peter Kerkar, MD of Cox & Kings India.
The luxury train has 23 coaches with a passenger capacity of 82. It is the first luxury train that boasts of four distinct configurations. It has five deluxe carriages, six junior suite carriages, two suite carriages and one presidential suite. Dining options include two fine dining restaurants that seat 42 persons at a time, a bar, a lounge with its own bar, game tables and a club.