Saloon coaches of Indian Railways: As the demand for saloon coaches has not been so satisfying, Indian Railways is all set to modify its plan in order to offer its saloon coaches to the public. According to an Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp (IRCTC) official, Indian Railways will offer its saloon coaches to the public on the basis of the experience over the first three months of the scheme, which was launched in the month of April. Also, it will offer fixed destinations and will not insist that the entire car can be booked only by one particular group, according to an HT report.
Since, the time the scheme was launched, the saloon coaches have been booked only twice. The saloon coaches, which are like mini-houses on wheels are generally used by railway officers for inspection, however, earlier this year, Indian Railways decided to give a luxury makeover to these saloon coaches and open them to the public.
At present, the destination can be decided by the person who is booking the coach by paying the equivalent amount of money for the first class AC ticket fare on it, for 18 passengers. Now, under the new plan, the saloon coach will be launched by IRCTC for Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand in February 2019. Also, different families will be able to book the saloon coach. The saloon coach has 2 bedrooms, a pantry, a dinner lounge, a kitchen, a toilet and separate space for attendants.
According to an IRCTC official who was quoted in the report, in three months, the saloon coach was booked only twice, once for Pune and once for Jammu. The price range for booking the saloon coach lies between Rs 50,000 to one lakh. The IRCTC official also stated that it has been advertising about the saloon coaches through social media. Rather than allowing just one family, they have decided to allow different families to book it. Also, they have no problem to accommodate 2-3 families in the saloon coach if they are ready to share the coach and split the fare, the official stated. Based on the destination, IRCTC can attach the coach to the train going in that direction. In the coach, up to 18 passengers are allowed, the official added.
There are two saloon coaches under the Northern Railway that can be used by the public. Moreover, if the new scheme by IRCTC becomes popular, more coaches can be converted into luxury hotel rooms on wheels.