Sydney, Jan 23: Three heritage trains in India are among the world's top 25 iconic rail adventures.
According to the US-based Society of International Railway Travelers published the list in a special edition of its magazine to celebrate its 25th anniversary, these Indian trains are the Palace on Wheels, which comprises of 14 fully air-conditioned deluxe saloons, equipped with world class amenities to enhance the pleasure of traveling.
The 14 coaches are named after former Rajput states matching the aesthetics and interiors of the royal past. Each saloon has a mini pantry and a lounge to ensure availability of hot and cold beverage, and refreshments and a place to relax and get together. The train travels between New Delhi and most states of Rajasthan. The second Indian train to figure on the global list is the Toy Train or The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, which is a two feett (610 mm) gauge narrow-gauge railway that runs from Siliguri to Darjeeling in West Bengal.
The train was built between 1879 and 1881 and the journey is about 86 km long. The elevation level is from about 100 m at Siliguri to about 2,200 m at Darjeeling. It is still powered by a steam engine. A modern diesel engine is used for Darjeeling's mail. Since 1999 the train has been a World Heritage Site as listed by UNESCO.
The third train from India that has made the global list is the Deccan Odysse, a luxury train that travels through the heart of 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 with four coupes each. There are two presidential suite cars with 2 coupes each car. The train also has a conference car (can be redesigned as dance floor in the night) and two restaurant cars. There is also a lounge/bar car and one surprising addition is a Spa Car. Apart from the above there are generator cars with luggage store and staff car or spare car.
Society of International Railway Travelers president Eleanor Hardy said the 25 trains chosen represented the group's best-loved railway journeys.
"The World's Top 25 Trains are based on our own experience and that of our writers, editors, members and staff. The trains met stringent standards for service, accommodation, scenery, itinerary, off-train experiences and passenger enjoyment," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted her, as saying.
The world's top 25 trains as named by the Society of International Railway Travellers: North America:
- Canadian (Canada) Royal Canadian Pacific (Canada)
- Canadian Rockies Steam Express (Canada)
- Rocky Mountaineer (Canada)
- GrandLuxe Express (US)
- Sierra Madre Express (Mexico) South America:
- Andean Explorer (Peru)
- Hiram Bingham (Peru) Africa:
- Blue Train (South Africa)
- Pride of Africa (Rovos Rail) (South Africa)
- Palace on Wheels (India)
- Eastern and Oriental Express (SE Asia)
- Shangri-La Express (China/Tibet)
- Toy Train (India)
- Deccan Odyssey (India) Europe:
- Danube Express (Central Europe, Turkey)
- Al Andalus Express (Spain)
- El Transcantabrico (Spain)
- Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express (Russia)
- Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (Europe)
- Glacier Express (Switzerland)
- Royal Scotsman (Scotland) Australia:
- The Ghan
- The Indian Pacific
- The Sunlander