The history of India’s original luxury train.
At the time of the British Raj, when trains were revered as the most convenient form of transportation (many still swear by it in today’s date.); Maharajas and British royalty of course, had to travel in style. Thus, the concept and initiation of the Indian Luxury Train was brought about. Considered, a 5 star hotel on railway tracks, The Palace on Wheels was specifically designed for the purpose of transporting royalty from one destination the the next.
Rulers of princely states of Rajputana, Gujarat, the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Viceroy of British India travelled by these luxurious coaches. After independence, these coaches were parked and remained in this state for a quarter of a century until in 1981-82, when the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation and Indian Railways launched a special heritage tourist train for providing a unique memorable experience to the tourists visiting Rajasthan.
The name Palace on Wheels was derived from it’s royal background of the coaches. Gradually State govt. and railway department brought many infrastructural changes in the coaches while keeping the same aesthetics of the interiors alive, matching the interiors of the royal state. The train was replaced by the air-conditioned broad gauges new train, which had 14 saloons, 2 restaurant cum kitchen cars, one Bar cum Lounge and 4 service Cars. The cabins of each saloon are attached with bath and shower. The train also has a well-appointed lounge, library and bar.
The Fairy Queen, is the oldest working Steam Locomotive in the world, built in 1855. It was completely over hauled in 1996 & resumed commercial operations in 1997 for 2 Days/1 Nights Tourist circuit from Delhi to Alwar.as Fairy Queen train tour In 1998 it was Certified as the world’s oldest working locomotive by the Guinness Book of World Records.
Operational Status: On request.
The luxury version of Palace on Wheels train is Royal Rajasthan on Wheels train that departs from Delhi and covers Jodhpur, Udaipur, Ranthabore, Jaipur, Chittorgarh, Agra, Khajuraho and Varanasi, coming back to Delhi.
The passenger coaches which were originally meant to be the personal railway coaches of the erstwhile rulers of princely states of Rajputana, Gujarat, the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Viceroy of British India. These coaches were not being used by the Indian Railways after independence in normal passenger trains on account of very rich and traditional interiors.
The name “Palace-on-Wheels” (POW) was derived from its royal back-ground of the coaches & first introduced in 1982. A new meter gauge air conditioned Palace-on-Wheels was introduced in 1990 & had 13 Saloons, 2 Restaurant cum Kitchen car, one Bar cum Lounge and 4 Service Cars. In order to further increase the amenities on the train and due to over all gauge conversion in the state, a new broad gauge Palace-on-Wheels has been constructed. & has been running since 1995. It’s 14 Saloons are inter-connected, the interior matching the aesthetics of the royal states. The cabins of each saloon name attached with showers.The train also has a well appointed lounge, library, bar & dining cars.
In the past 20 years of operations, the Palace-on-Wheels has been rated as one of the best ten luxurious rail journeys in the world.