IRCTC's luxury express in south may hit Golden Chariot's bookings

IRCTC's luxury express in south may hit Golden Chariot's bookings

IRCTC's luxury express in south may hit Golden Chariot's bookings

‘Southern Jewels-Monsoon Special,’ a new premium train introduced by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC) in South India is likely to affect Karnataka’s own luxury express, the Golden Chariot.

IRCTC’s announcement has not gone down well with the state government in general and the tourism department in particular. They suspect foul play and opine that this is the reason why the luxury expresses of Karnataka and other states are bleeding. Sources in the tourism department told DH that before launching the service in South India, IRCTC had sought help on destinations, which the department provided.

Kishore Sathya, tourism manager, IRCTC, said that the six-year-old Maharaja’s Express is being introduced in South India for the first time. “We are here for healthy competition. The Golden Chariot covers selected places in Karnataka whereas we are offering destinations in other states,” he said.

The Maharaja’s Express also covers North India. It runs from Delhi to Agra and to Udaipur on the same route as Palace on Wheels.

To cater to all sections of society and as an introductory offer, IRCTC is offering tickets at Rs 53,200 for single occupancy, while a Golden Chariot ticket costs Rs 1.82 lakh. Both offer seven nights and eight days onboard luxury trains.

Naveen Raj Singh, secretary, Tourism Department, said that rather than competing with each other, IRCTC and the tourism department should complement each other. “We should be allowed to cover some sectors and they should cover others. We should be allowing each other a level-playing field as our haulage charges are killing us. If the haulage charges are reduced, then we can also slash our rates,” he said.

Maharaja’s Express
It has 23 AC coaches accommodating 88 guests, offering onboard dining, excursions in AC Volvo buses, twin sharing beds, deluxe cabins, two bars-cum-lounges and two restaurants. Travel route from June 24 is from Mumbai to North Goa, then to Anegundi, Hampi, Mysuru, Srirangapatna, Ernakulam, Alleppey and ends at Thiruvananthapuram.

Travel route from July 1 is from Thiruvananthapuram to Chettinad region, then to Mahabalipuram, Mysuru, Srirangapatna, Hampi, Goa and Mumbai. It has 44 AC cabins for 88 guests, two restaurants, one cigar and lounge bar coach, spa, gym room, conference room, excursion in AC Volvo buses and onboard dining. Tourists spots covered are Mysuru, Kabini forests, Shravanabelagola, Belur, Halebid, Hampi, Badami, Pattadkal and Goa