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The Indian Railways inherited 17 royal saloons of the Maharajas of yore. Only 9 out of those 17 have survived. 1 of the 9 is the 917-built royal car used by the Nizam of Hyderabad which was sold to the territorial Army. The rest 8 are resting at an open space at New Delhi’s National Rail Museum.
Indian Railways floated an Expression of Interest on 21 December 2017 seeking proposals from private firms to refurbish the bogeys of these 8 trains and operate them as restaurants on a revenue-sharing basis on a 25-year lease. At a meeting on 9 January 2018, representatives of five catering chains from India and an internationally known travel firm showed interest.
In 1980, the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation consolidated an agreement with the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation to run the first Palace on Wheels train. The luxury train started operations in 1982 and was discontinued in 1992.
A “Maharaja-style” wine and dine experience in luxurious rail coaches could soon become a reality.
Image Credit: NRAI
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