The first privately-occupied saloon coach, complete with air-conditioned rooms, valet service, and attached bathroom, started its journey with six customers of a private tour operating company as the Jammu Mail pulled out of the Old Delhi Railway Station.
The six VIP customers were the first passengers to experience the grandeur of traveling in a saloon car. The facility opened to the public after a long time of exclusivity for railway officers.
According to Indian Railways officials, these saloon coaches are suitable for two families with four to six people. And, the trips can last up to five days.
Operated by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the saloon car has two private bedrooms with a bathroom, a spacious living-cum-dining room, and a well-equipped kitchenette.
ICRTC says that these saloons coaches are an ideal choice for those who seek privacy and exclusivity while traveling with a group/family. They have adequate space and facilities for meetings while on the move. Also, the saloons incentive trips and destination weddings.
The saloons also have a trailing window cabin. One can sit there and gaze at the landscape outside when the train is on the move.
The Indian Railways has 336 saloon cars across India, including 62 that are air-conditioned. Only two of the air-conditioned coaches are available to the public. These coaches will start and end their journey in Delhi.
In February, the authorities organized a promotional tour, The Great Indian Blog Train, for 60 bloggers from around the world on four of these luxury trains.