‘Heritage on Wheels’ train may turn into restaurant soon

May 8th, 2009 - 2:00 pm ICT by IANS  

By Anuradha Shukla
New Delhi, May 8 (IANS) After ferrying tourists to see the splendours of the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan for two years, the once popular “Heritage on Wheels” luxury train, currently consigned to the railway yard, may soon be transformed into a restaurant in Jaipur.

“It is rather sad that this beautifully-designed train is parked in a railway shed instead of carrying passengers. We don’t want the effort to go waste,” said B.K. Sharma, the general manager of the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corp that was running the service.

“A high-end restaurant is what we have in mind. With traditionally done interiors, this train-restaurant will be a unique concept in itself. We are confident it will attract both tourists and residents,” Sharma told IANS.

The fully air-conditioned luxury train service started operations in January 2006, with 14 lavishly decorated coaches, two restaurants and a well appointed bar-cum-lounge. But last December, it was left to idle away at a shed in Jaipur due to several reasons.

“We are exploring various options for a suitable spot where we can park ‘Heritage on Wheels’ in its new avatar. But what we know for sure is it will be inside the main Jaipur city,” said Sharma.

“We are giving final touches to the proposal. I feel it will come up for approval soon. Perhaps, after the elections are over, we will have concrete news to share.”

With the “Palace on Wheels” as a model, “Heritage on Wheels” was demanding a tariff of $300 per person per night for single occupancy, $200 for double occupancy and $150 for triple occupancy. The service covered three nights and four days.

The state’s tourism promotion officials said the service was suspended not just because of low occupancy but also because of a change from metre gauge into broad gauge on that sector. The service was running on metre gauge.

Some of the other luxury trains that operate in the country include The Deccan Odyssey, covering Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad, Ajanta and Goa, and The Golden Chariot, covering Bangalore, Mysore and Goa.

With the new plan now for “Heritage on Wheels”, officials hope well-heeled tourists will start coming on board to get a taste the country’s rich heritage.

(Anuradha Shukla can be contacted at anuradha.s@ians.in)

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