Now charter a train to your destination

Mumbai: Next on the itinerary of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism
Corporation (IRCTC) is ‘chartered tour package’ to destinations of your choice.

The first such train will begin from February 19 from Vasai Road in Mumbai to Goa via Ahmedabad.

Owing to the immense popularity for its recent initiative – the Bharat Darshan scheme – the IRCTC was flooded with requests from different communities and corporate clients asking them to design short and comfortable packages. With the summer vacations round the corner, IRCTC has already chalked out three such packages – Goa, Tirupathi and Vaishnodevi.

Bela Meena, additional general manager, IRCTC, said, “We came across lots of people while undertaking the Bharat Darshan project who were ready to pay more
for additional comforts. Besides they were not all keen to visit the places we had chalked out in the itinerary. This is the reason we designed the concept of a ‘chartered train’, which will be for specific destinations. We also plan to offer the entire coach if we get around 60 people from the same community wanting to travel to a particular location.”

Talking about the requests she said, “Interestingly we came across a large number of people from the Jain community wanting to travel to their pilgrimage sites in Gujarat and Ahmedabad. Some corporates, too, have approached us with similar requests.”

The chartered train will come at a price as it will be a specially designed
package with added facilities. “Unlike the Bharat Darshan package where we do not charge the ’empty haulage’ and the ‘detention’ charges, the passengers travelling in the chartered train will have to bear these charges. Empty haulage is the charge incurred while assembling the coaches from various places together and detention charges are those which are incurred when the train is detained at a particular destination while the passengers go site seeing.”

When asked whether IRCTC would be required to seek permission from the Railway Board before charting the new package she said that it has already received an approval. Currently, the corporation is flooded with various requests from people asking to plan packages for destinations in East India like Darjeeling during the summer vacations.

This is the second such venture of the railways after the successful Bharat Darshan scheme, which was announced by the Union Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav early this year. “We use a 7-coach non-AC sleeper class train plus a pantry car and two service locomotives to carry 504 passengers for Bharat Darshan. However, in the chartered train scheme we hope to carry 900 passengers on 15-coach train which comprises six 3-tier AC coaches and six sleeper class coaches besides pantry and service locomotives,” said Meena.