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Train Travel Becomes Luxurious, IRCTC Begins Giving Out Saloon Coaches To Public

Train Travel Becomes Luxurious, IRCTC Begins Giving Out Saloon Coaches To Public
The luxurious saloon coach. (Source - Twitter account of the Ministry of Railways)

Discovering India

Train Travel Becomes Luxurious, IRCTC Begins Giving Out Saloon Coaches To Public

Till now, these coaches or inspection cars were only available to top railway officials.

Members of the public now have a chance to experience train travel in the luxury of well-appointed saloon coaches.

The first such saloon coach left from Old Delhi Railway Station on Friday, carrying six persons on board on its journey to Katra in Jammu. This particular trip, booked through a private tour operator, is reported to have cost about Rs 2 lakhs.

According to Indian Railways officials, these saloon coaches are suitable for two families with four to six persons for trips of up to five days.

Operated by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the saloon car has two exclusive bedrooms with a bath; a spacious living-cum-dining room and a well-equipped kitchenette.

The first saloon coach had an AC attendant and a valet on board.

Privacy And Exclusivity

ICRTC says that these saloons coaches are an ideal choice for “those who seek privacy and exclusivity while travelling in a group/family”. They have adequate space and facilities for meetings while on the move, incentive trips and destination weddings.

For those who want to soak in the experience of travelling by train, the saloons also have a trailing window cabin. One can sit here and gaze at the landscape outside when a train is on the move.

(Image Courtesy –

A sample itinerary on the IRCTC website for a 3 nights/4 days trip on the Delhi-Agra-Delhi-Jaipur circuits pegs the tentative cost at Rs 1.70 lakhs per coach.

Bookings can be made through IRCTC.

A Taste of Luxury

The Indian Railways is reported to have 336 saloon cars across the country, including 62 that are air-conditioned. Right now, however, only two of the air-conditioned coaches are available to the public and these will start and end their journey in Delhi.

The idea is to give people other than top railway officials a taste of the luxury that train travels can provide.

The decision to make luxurious saloons available to the public came after a meeting between Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani and representatives of the travel and tourism industry in January this year.

India offers luxury travel on special trains like the Palace on Wheels and the Maharajas Express. In February, the authorities had organised a promotional tour, The Great Indian Bog Train, for 60 bloggers from around the world on four of these luxury trains.

(Read – The Great Indian Bog Train: Memorable Journeys Through History, Heritage, Culture)

What Are Saloon Coaches?

Saloon coaches have been used by senior railway officials like the General Manager (GM) of a Railway Zone since the British era for inspection tours to areas not easily accessible by road or air.

Here is an image of a window trailing inspection shared on Twitter by Eastern Railway.

These coaches or cars are attached to trains on scheduled services to the area that needs to be visited. The trailing window cabin is particularly useful when it comes to inspecting the track and attendant technical facilities.

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