3 Indian trains feature in world's top 25 iconic rail adventures

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New Delhi, Jan 23 (UNI) Three heritage trains of Indian Railways -- The Palace on Wheels, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway or Toy Train and the Deccan Odyssey -- have been listed among the world's top 25 iconic rail adventures.

The two other trains from the Asian region to feature in the coveted list are Eastern&Oriental Express (South East Asia) and Shangri-La Express (China).

The list of these celebrated trains has been published by a US-based Society of International Railway Travellers (SIRT) in a special edition of its magazine to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

The trains, chosen on the basis of travelling experience of the people, met stringent standards for service, accommodation, scenery, itinerary, off-train experiences and passenger enjoyment.

SIRT chief Eleanor Hardy said the 25 trains chosen represented the group's best-loved railway journeys.

The Palace on Wheels, comprising 14 air-conditioned deluxe saloons and equipped with world class amenities, is the flagship train of Indian Railways in luxurious travelling and travels between New Delhi and Rajasthan.

All the coaches of this resplendent train are named after former Rajput states matching the aesthetics and interiors of the royal past. Each saloon has a mini pantry, packed with hot and cold beverages and refreshments, and a place to relax and get together.

The second Indian train to figure on the global list is the Toy Train or The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, which is a narrow gauge railway that runs from Siliguri to Darjeeling in West Bengal. The train, built between 1879 and 1881, still powered by a steam engine.

It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.

Deccan Odyssey, the third train from India that has made the global list, is a luxury train that travels through Central India over a period of eight days, and has stopovers in Mumbai, Ratnagiri, Sawantwadi, Goa, Pune, Aurangabad and Nasik.

This train has 21 coaches out of which 11 are passenger cars and two presidential suite cars. It also has a conference car, which can be doubled as dance floor in the night and two restaurant cars.

In addition, there is a spa car.

While there are three trains from India, it is Canada which tops the list with four of its railways finding a place in it. These are: Canadian, Royal Canadian Pacific, Canadian Rockies Steam Express and Rocky Mountaineer.

From North America, there are two trains -- GrandLuxe Express (US) and Sierra Madre Express (Mexico).

There are two trains from South America and both of them belong to Peru. They are Andean Explorer and Hiram Bingham.

'Blue Train' and 'Pride of Africa ((Rovos Rail) are the two trains from South Africa, which also find a mention in the list.

Three trains from Australia -- The Ghan, The Indian Pacific and The Sunlander -- and seven trains from Europe -- Danube Express (Turkey), Al Andalus Express (Spain), El Transcantabrico (Spain), Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express (Russia), Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (Europe), Glacier Express (Switzerland) and Royal Scotsman (Scotland) -- complete the list of 25 trains.

UNI/SKS MS HT1505

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