Following the steps of Rajasthan, Maharashtraand Karnataka, now Odisha is keen to have its own Super Luxurious Tourist trains styled in old Maharaja legacy.
The development came after the Indian Railways in an effort to boost tourism, proposed to states to have Tourist luxury trains like Maharaja Express, PAlace On Wheels, Deccan Oddysey.
In February this year Indian Railways wrote letter to 15 major states of india with a proposal and also inviting them to have Maharaja Styled Train for their own states.
These major 15 states includes Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujrat, Odisha etc.
Out the 15 states, only Odisha responded actively and shown keen interest to have such a train in their state.
In the recent developments, to make the interest turn reality. Odisha Chief secretary met Indian Railways Tourism Officials in Odisha earlier this month (July).
Now a team of Odisha govt officials is going to meet railway officials here at Railway Ministry to chalk out ways to execute the plans.
As per the plan, railway ministry is ready to provide coaches to the state at reasonable rates.
Odisha government will the train coaches can make, design, interior design, provide hospitality , tourist route, stoppages, destinations all their own.. even the marketing is to be carried out by the Odisha government.
Indian Railways will only charge for the LOCO or the operations of the train, termed as Haulage Charge.
To popularize such Super Luxury Tourist Trains in India Indian Railways has been reduced almost by 50% the haulage charges. Earlier the haulage charges or the operating cost of such Train would be somewhere around Rs 80 lakhs for a Trip ) 7days). Now the haulage charges would cost somewhere around Rs 40 lakhs per trip (7days).
Odisha Govt is looking forward to popularize its tourist destinations like Puri, Bhubaneshwar, Cuttack, Konark, Sambalpur, Talasari Beach etc. Odisha Govt is is planning to have such Train on routes in next 2 years.
If the plan comes into execution, India will have it's 6th such Super Luxury trains whereas in states Maharashtra has Deccan Oddysey, Rajasthan has Palace on Wheels and Heritage Palace on Wheels, Karnataka has Golden Charriot and IRCTC run Maharaja Express.
These super luxury tourist trains are too costly in terms of fares where a basic fare could be Rs 3-4 lakh per person and this is the reason the about 95% occupancy of these trains are by foreigners.