Palace on Wheels: The World’s first famous Luxury train Palace On Wheels‘ (POW) trial run is scheduled to begin from September 28, in Rajasthan, after two years of pandemic restrictions.
Rajasthan Tourism and Development Corporation (RTDC) Chairman Dharmendra Rathore said on Saturday, RTDC is all prepared, as POW returns on the track, with a trial run from Jaipur to Sawai Madhopur, Bundi, Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Ajmer and returning back to Jaipur on September 28.
“Railway officers, state government and RTDC officials along with technical and mechanical staff would join the trial run, post which PoW will take its regular route,” Rathore said.
Palace on Wheels to be back on track, trial run from September 28
“Now the train will be operated on an ‘operation and maintenance’ model under the ‘Bharat Gaurav Train Policy’ of Indian Railways. With this, the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation will get a fixed revenue every year. However, the ownership of the train will remain with RTDC,” Chairman said, adding that the operation of the train is proposed from October 2022.
The state government and RTDC made representations to the Railway Minister over the issue. However, earlier, it was stressed by Indian Railways (IR) to accept the new policy of fix ‘haulage charges’ (fix payment) on daily or season basis, if the RTDC wanted to run POW.
Rathore further said, “When POW made a breakthrough in 1982 by introducing the first luxury train in the world, the RTDC and Railway was running it on a sharing basis of 44:56 percent ratio. However, it was shocking to note that the Railway Ministry was still adamant on one time payment, based on a new policy brought by the Modi Govt. The old agreement expired between the RTDC and IR in 2021”.
“Under the new policy, a rough estimate showed that the RTDC would have to pay Rs. 28-30 Crores for a complete season to the Indian Railways, whether or not it makes any profit,” he said, adding that presently the train’s new interior, furniture and repair works are underway in Jaipur.