By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, July 31, 2018: Odisha is most likely to have own a luxury train, similar to the iconic Palace on Wheels, showcasing the beauty of places like Puri, Bhubaneshwar, Cuttack and Konark to the outside world.

The ministry of railways had invited proposals from around 15 states to own tourism tins in February. However, only Odisha had responded to this ambitious plan.

Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) appears all set to enter the elite league of states like Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka that manage luxury trains targeting overseas consumers.

The plan was finalised after a meeting between the railway officials and Odisha chief secretary A P Padhi in Bhubaneswar recently.

Now, Indian railways operate five luxury trains namely Palace on Wheels, Heritage Palace on Wheels (both by Rajasthan), Deccan Odyssey (Maharashtra), Golden Chariot (Karnataka) and Maharajas’ Express (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation).

Heritage Palace on Wheels was the last such luxury train that Railways had launched, in December 2017.

Promotion of the luxury trains is normally the responsibility of the respective train-operating tourism corporations. While Palace on Wheels and Golden Chariot are run on revenue-sharing basis, Maharajas’ Express and Deccan Odyssey are operateOdisha all set to join states having own ‘Palace on Wheels’ trainlocomotives or the operation of the train.

Railways is set to provide coaches to states at a reasonable rate, while interior designing, hospitality, routes and destinations will be decided by the concerned state government. The name of Odisha’s new train is yet to be finalised. Interestingly, more than 90 per cent of the passengers on these trains is foreigners.

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