India's Exquisite Maharaja's Express Train Service


By William Stolerman

Last Saturday the Maharaja's Express made its maiden voyage, offering travellers in India the finest transport imaginable. At a minimum charge of $800 per person, per night - the quality of service is exceptional.

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Promoter Thomas Thottathil said: "It's travelling like royalty. You get treated like a king. That's the whole idea."

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The 23-carriage train was built from scratch and carries 84 passengers in various levels of refinement. For instance the presidential suite costs $2,500 a night, occupies an entire carriage, includes two cabins and even a bathtub.

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Aside from the private areas, the train houses two restaurants serving Indian and Western food, a bar, card tables and an observation lounge. On top of that, the suspension has been specially engineered to cope with the notoriously unreliable Indian railway lines and all carriages have been fitted with air conditioning and carpet throughout.

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The major advantage of the new service is that the Maharaja's Express can travel throughout India, whereas other premium services are generally restricted to individual states.

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Its first journey is a week-long trip from Kolkata to New Delhi, with stops in Varanasi and Agra to see the Taj Mahal. Another itinerary will see the Maharaja's Express travel to the southwestern city of Mumbai.

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The entire Maharaja's Express is available for charter.

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