Book a loco train to Alwar for Rs 2 lakh

Planning to go to Alwar or chill out at the Sariska National Park? Indian Railways has a heritage package for you. From December 17, the Delhi division of Northern Railway will run the queen of old times, the steam loco train, to Alwar in Rajasthan twice in a month for tourists. All you need to do is log on to the website and make an online payment of R2 lakh if you want to book the entire 40-seater heritage steam train.

“We often dream of booking a steam engine train for college trips or other functions. The dream is now a reality and it’s not that expensive,” a senior railway officer said.

If you do want to book the entire train, there’s another option for you. A heritage ride for one person will cost R3,100 per ticket.

“There are people who would like to book a steam engine train for marriage functions in Rajasthan or a group of foreign tourists who would want to enjoy their trip in a steam train,” the officer said.

Then, there’s a two-day package costing R10,000 per head. This includes travel, meal and stay in a hotel in the Sariska National Park.

The tickets can be booked online or at the Delhi Cantt and Safdarjung railway stations.

“We will run the train every fortnight from the Delhi Cantt station,” said Ashwani lohani, DRM, Delhi division.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/NewDelhi/Book-a-loco-train-to-Alwar-for-Rs-2-lakh/Article1-782043.aspx

Published in: on December 18, 2011 at 12:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Black beauties” fire up India’s railway tourism

The pounding of pistons, the rhythmic chuff of a locomotive and storybook names such as “Fairy Queen” are all part of the allure of India’s old-fashioned steam railways, which once tied together this vast nation.

Now, heritage train aficionados are turning their passion towards the foreign tourist market, hoping for even more attention — and preservation — for the “Iron Ladies” they love.

“Steam heritage tourism is a potential tourism sector for the country,” said Ashwani Lohani, Divisional Railway Manager, Delhi, Indian Railways.

“The presence of raw fire that fires raw power in the belly of steam locomotives attracts tourists, and the unique sound, the rocking gait, the shrill whistle, the throbbing body and an open design… are features that impart an irresistible charm to these black beauties,” he added.

Lohani, once director of India’s National Rail Museum and who piloted the historic run of the Fairy Queen, an 1855 steam locomotive recognised by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest working locomotive, is hardly alone in his passion.

There are several fan clubs on social networking websites, as well as magazines and blogs about travel to unusual places.

Others pour their hearts into fashioning model trains or dreaming about doing so. A museum dedicated to train miniatures in the western city of Pune has over 400 working model trains which draw more than 500 people every week.

“There are people who come to purchase these models and stock them in their drawing rooms and there are those who just admire them but can’t afford to buy them because of their price, which vary from $100 to $300,” said Ravi Joshi, who runs the museum.

Now, with a growing number of foreign visitors coming for vacations and even weddings in India, tour operators are hoping to cash in on increasingly broad interest.

TOURISM STEAMING AHEAD

“There was a time when foreign travellers will be interested to travel only by luxury tourist trains of India such as Palace on Wheels,” said Ashok Sharma at travel firm Real India Journeys.

“Now there are hard-line steam railway travellers and photographers who come in huge groups every week. We refer to them as ‘narrow-gauged’ or ‘single-tracked.'”

Some 80 foreign tourists rode the Fairy Queen during its last season of roughly 12 to 14 runs, while more than 1,200 visited the National Rail Museum from October to December last year.

Yet despite growing interest, train enthusiasts feel efforts towards preservation have been few and far between after a noticeable decline in the number of steam trains two decades ago.

“Many countries, especially the UK, retained a sizable number of steam locomotives, primarily for the twin causes of heritage and tourism. India also could have retained more of steam than what it has,” said Lohani from Indian Railways.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/02/03/uk-india-railways-idUKLNE71200A20110203

‘Fairy Queen’ Ready to Haul Heritage Train

The ‘Fairy Queen’, the oldest surviving functional steam engine in the world is once again ready in this season to haul a heritage train from National Capital Delhi to Sariska National Park, Alwar, Rajasthan. This train, which is a great attraction among steam engine lovers across the globe, will run between Delhi Cantt. Station and Alwar from 23rd October 2010 to 12th March 2011. However, Northern Railway plans to run an additional trip on 9th October 2010 during the Commonwealth Games.

In this heritage travel, Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation will provide a comprehensive two-day tourist package including on ground catering, boarding, lodging transfer facilities, visit to Sariska National Park, cultural programmes etc. The Fairy Queen train would depart from Delhi Cantt. on day one at 09.00 a.m. to reach Alwar at 3.00 p.m. the same day, and the passengers would be lodged in Hotel “Tiger Den” at Sariska, as has been done in the past. On day two, the train will depart from Alwar at 1.00 p.m. (noon) to reach Delhi Cantt. at 6.45 p.m. the same day. It will stop for 10 minutes each at Garhi Harasuru, Pataudi Road, Rewari, Ajarka and Khairthal stations enroute in both the directions.

Tariff for full package would be Rs. 10,200/- per adult & Rs. 5,100/- for a child (half fare). Journey between Delhi and Alwar with sight seeing and stay at Sariska would be Rs. 7,100/- per adult and Rs. 3,550/- for a child while one way train journey between Delhi and Alwar only would be Rs. 3,200/- per adult and Rs. 1,600/- per child.

The tourist train will take about 2 trips every month from Oct 2010 to arch 2011. The first trip will commence on 23rd October 2010 and the subsequent trips will be on 13th Nov, 27th Nov, 11th Dec., 25th Dec., 8th Jan 2011, 22nd Jan, 12th Feb., 26th Feb. and the last rip would be on 12th March 2011.

http://www.pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=65786&kwd=

Heritage Nilgiris Mountain Rail to get a facelift

The UNESCO acclaimed World Heritage Nilgiris Mountain Railway (NMR), whose train featured in the famous’Chhaiyaa, Chhaiyaa’ song, is all set to get the much-needed facelift.

The metre-gauge train, which chugs through the beautiful terrain of the Nilgiris mountains and has won the hearts of local and foreign tourists for over a century, requires extensive repairs.

The Mettupalayam Coonoor section of the mountain railway was thrown open to public on June 15, 1899 and the line was extended to Udhagamandalam in 1908. Southern Railway (SR) has chalked out a two pronged approach to address both track and locomotive issues for the 46.61 km long metre gauge rail line.

“We intend to complete track renewal for close to 17 kms of track which have been identified out of the total section, along with reconditioning of steel sleepers,”SR Spokesperson Neenu Ittyerah renewal for close to 17 kms of track which have been identified out of the total section, along with reconditioning of steel sleepers,”SR Spokesperson Neenu Ittyerah told media.

She said tenders would be floated very shortly to choose the contractors for the facelift works of the track.”New rack chairs, which are an integral part of this specialised track structure, are being manufactured in our own workshops,” she said.

However, the railway official said there would not be any additional coaches or any modification to the train on the route.

Southern Railway officials said since there had been disruption in services on the NMR recently, the Railway has already sanctioned four new steam locomotives, which were being manufactured at the Golden Rock Workshop.

However, the first of these locomotives would be available after a year or so.” Until such time, special efforts have been made to improve the stock of critical spares and to ensure the highest quality of the same. Already two locomotives with oil fired systems have been inducted into the circuit. These have performed well and it is proposed to convert more locos in a similar fashion,” officials added.

We intend to complete track renewal for close to 17 kms of track which have been identified out of the total section, along with reconditioning of steel sleepers,”SR Spokesperson Neenu Ittyerah told media.

She said tenders would be floated very shortly to choose the contractors for the facelift works of the track.”New rack chairs, which are an integral part of this specialised track structure, are being manufactured in our own workshops,” she said.

However, the railway official said there would not be any additional coaches or any modification to the train on the route.

Southern Railway officials said since there had been disruption in services on the NMR recently, the Railway has already sanctioned four new steam locomotives, which were being manufactured at the Golden Rock Workshop.

However, the first of these locomotives would be available after a year or so.” Until such time, special efforts have been made to improve the stock of critical spares and to ensure the highest quality of the same. Already two locomotives with oil fired systems have been inducted into the circuit. These have performed well and it is proposed to convert more locos in a similar fashion,” officials added.

Southern Railway runs four pairs of trains per day on the Nilgiris Mountain Railway, of which one pair runs between Mettupalayam and Udhagamandalam and three pairs of trains are operated between Coonoor and Udhagamandalam.

We intend to complete track