Maharajas’ Express is a luxury train offering services within North-West and Central India. The train was launched at Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin (ITB Berlin) trade fair in March 2009 and started commercial operations in March 2010 following two trial trips.
Royale Indian Rail Tours Ltd. (RIRTL), a 50:50 joint venture (JV) between Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and M/s Cox & Kings India initially managed the train. The luxury train is now wholly owned and operated by IRCTC, a public sector enterprise under the Ministry of Railway. The train’s passenger coaches were manufactured by Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai.
The train has won the World’s Leading Luxury Train Award conferred by World Travel Awards (WTA) for two consecutive years in 2012 and 2013. It is also one of the world’s most expensive trains for travel, with the Presidential Suite costing approximately a minimum of $6,500 to a maximum of $23,700 per journey depending on the itinerary and travel on a single or sharing basis.
The train operates from October to April each year, avoiding the harsh summer seasons.
Coaches of the Maharajas’ Express
Maharajas Ehas 23 coaches accommodating 88 passengers. The coaches include five Deluxe Suite cars, six Junior Suite cars, two Suite cars, a Presidential Suite car, a bar car and a lounge car, two restaurant cars, a kitchen car, a staff coach, an Executive Managers & Tour Managers coach, and two generator coaches.
Accommodation features on the luxury train
The Presidential Suite of the Maharajas Express is called ‘Navratana’ (Nine planetary gems) and provides a cabin area of 448ft2. It features a living room equipped with sofa, a twin bedded bedroom, a double bedded bedroom and environmentally friendly washrooms. The suite can accommodate four passengers.
The four Suites of the Maharajas’ Express are all double bedded, provide a cabin area of 220ft2 and accommodate four passengers in total. Each suite is provided with a living room equipped with upholstered arm-chairs and side table. The two rail coaches of the Express Suites are named after the precious gems Heera(Diamond) and Neelam (Blue Saphire).
The Maharajas’ Express has 20 Deluxe Suites of which 15 are twin bedded and five are double bedded. The Deluxe Suites offer a cabin area of 112ft2 and accommodate 40 passengers in total. The coaches of the Deluxe Cabins are named after the precious gems Hakik (Agate), Firoza (Torquoise), Katela (Amethyst), Beruz (Aquamarine) and Pitoniya (Bloodstone).
The train has 18 Junior Suites of which 12 are twin bedded and six are double bedded. The junior suites provide a cabin area of 150ft2 and can accommodate 36 passengers overall. The coaches of the junior suites are also named after the precious gems Moti (Pearl), Panna (Emerald), Manik (Ruby), Gomed (Hessonite), Moonga (Coral) and Pukhraj (Saphire).
Amenities and features on the Indian express service
All cabins of the luxury train feature panoramic windows and are provided with temperature controls, LCD televisions, DVD players, direct dial telephone and internet facilities. Other common amenities in all cabins include a writing table, a mini-bar, luggage holds underneath the bed, personal safe, individual air conditioning, wardrobe and en-suite bathroom facilities.
Complimentary tea, coffee, mineral water and light snacks are provided throughout the journey, and the train provides 24 hours butler and paramedic services.
Safety features of the train include electronic smoke detection system, CCTV, RFID door locks, and air ambulance service for emergencies. The train is also fitted with pneumatic hydraulic suspension system for comfort, and features an onboard water filtration plant and controlled discharge toilet system (CDTS) in all cabins.
Dish TV’s Mobile Train Technology incorporating Gilat Satellite Networks’ satellite antennas is equipped in the Maharajas’ Express, to provide Live TV experience within the cabins. The cabins are fitted with 110/230V sockets and each cabin is provided with its own electronic safe deposit box.
Dining cars and bars
Mayur Mahal (Peacock) and Rang Mahal (The Palace of Colours) are the two restaurants featured within the train. The two thematic restaurants can accommodate 42 persons each and serve all onboard meals including breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Piped music is provided and the menu changes each day, comprised of a mix of Indian and international cuisines.
Two bars are present within the train; a lounge bar named The Rajah Club, which features an exclusive boutique, and a thematic Safari Bar, which serves exotic drinks, cocktails and snacks. The latter can be reconfigured to serve as an informal business meeting room and as a venue for festive events.