New Delhi: The first privately-occupied saloon coach, complete with air-conditioned rooms, valet service and attached bathroom, today started its journey with six customers of a private tour operating company as the Jammu Mail pulled out of the Old Delhi Railway Station.
The six VIP customers will be the first passengers to experience the grandeur of travelling in a saloon car, after the facility, which till now was primarily reserved for railway officials to reach places not connected by road or air, was opened to public, the IRCTC said.
The first charter service has been booked by M/s Royal India Train Journeys for its six premium customers for a saloon travelling from Delhi to Jammu. The cost of chartering this saloon coach is around Rs 2 lakh, the IRCTC said.
The saloon has a living room, two air-conditioned bedrooms – one twin bedroom and the other similar to an AC First Class coupe with attached baths, dining area and a well-equipped kitchen. It will also have a valet service, which will be chargeable in the future.
“This will be an all-inclusive tour where the guests will be offered all the comfort of a hotel. Exclusive staff will be available for services on board. Railway also provides one AC attendant and one saloon attendant for ensuring hassle-free travel,” the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) said.
The four-day tour started today and the saloon will be back on April 2. It was attached to the Jammu Mail at the Old Delhi Railway Station for onward journey to Katra. From now on, the saloons are available for charter for the common people and the details are available on the IRCTC website, it said.
The decision to make such saloons available to people was taken soon after a meeting of Chairman of the Railway Board, Ashwani Lohani, with travel and trade associations in Delhi in January this year. The Railways has a total of 336 saloon cars across railway zones, among them 62 are air-conditioned.