Punjab to launch new luxury tourist train

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New Delhi, Oct 1 (UNI) A luxury train of Punjab will be soon on the track to provide tourists a chance to visit popular destinations in Northern India.

The Union Ministry of tourism would provide grant to the Punjab government's project, which was aimed at promoting the tourist destinations in Punjab and other states in North India as part of Incredible India campaign.

The new luxury train would be modelled on the existing 'Palace on Wheels' and 'Heritage on Wheels' in Rajasthan, Deccan Odyssey in Maharashtra and Golden Chariot in Karnataka, A Memorandum of Understanding for the proposed train was signed here today between Ministry of Railways and Punjab Government in the presence of Tourism Minister Ambika Soni, Railways Minister Lalu Prasad and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

The proposed tourist train will have all the elements of luxury and comfort on board for the tourists with well-trained staff to offer hospitality to the tourists.

With an assistance of Rs 7.25 crore from the Tourism ministry, the luxury train will cover popular destinations like Amritsar, Dharamshala, Anandpur Sahib, Patiala, Kurukshetra, Jaipur, Agra, Delhi in the itinerary of seven days.

The project is expected to be ready for operation within two years.

The tourism promotion material of Ministry of Tourism would be made available in the train free of cost and posters of Incredible India would be displayed in all coaches of the train.

Indian Railways will share the capital cost of the rake and undertake its operation and maintenance.

Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board will undertake the overall management of the project including provision of on board and off board facilities and its marketing in India and abroad.

The rake comprises saloons, restaurant cars, multiple cuisines, lounge bars, observation cars with a viewing gallery, gym, spa, beauty saloon, library, games room and a computer center.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Soni said the Indian Railways had a critical role in the promotion of tourism in India.

''It offers safe, affordable and convenient mode of travel for hundreds of millions of tourists,'' she said, while pointing out that it had transported an estimated 450 million domestic travelers last year.

She said her ministry expected a substantial support from the Indian railways for increasing the number of tourists in the future.

"The process of establishing world class stations, opening of new routes, provision of additional trains to popular destinations and the creation of budget accommodations at Railway stations are steps in the right direction, which will promote tourism," the Minister added.

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