By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, June 30, 2018: The Indian Railways is working on a plan with Odisha state government owned Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) to introduce a luxury train on the lines of ‘Palace on Wheels’ to lure more high-end, and foreign tourists, official sources said.

The luxury train will operate in Odisha, which has a large number of tourist destinations and a vibrant culture.

Odisha chief secretary A P Padhi held talks with the additional member of Railways (Tourism and Catering), Sanjiv Garg on Thursday about the possibility of launching a luxury train service, the officials said.

The railways board has dispatched a letter to the Odisha government to initiate the proposed luxury train service in the state.

“We got the first proposal today. We will go through it properly and inform the Railways after proper government’s order,” Padhi told the media persons.

The luxury train project will be a joint venture between the Odisha government and the railways. “Railways will operate rakes and take the haulage charges. But the interior furnishings will be done by the state. Even the state will decide the route of the train,” a senior railway official was quoted as saying.

The Indian Railways have five luxury trains operating under its wings – Palace on Wheels, Maharaja Express, Golden Chariot Deccan Odyssey, and Heritage Palace on Wheels that are running in the Indian states of Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Karnataka.

A luxury train in India is ideally fitted with nine coaches for various facilities, and twelve or thirteen coaches for tourists. Each coach has berth for 88 passengers. It takes about INR 2.5 crore to make each and every coach. Such trains are also known as ‘Train Cruise’ which link famous destinations such as Bhaitarkanika, Chandipur, Konark, Puri, Similipal, Chilika, Balugaon, Debrigarh, and Sambalpur.

The tourism department has been asked to prepare a feasibility report for the proposed luxury train service. This will cover all aspects including infrastructure facilities, economy, administration, business and management, an official in tourism department said.

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