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Updated: June 2, 2014 12:56 IST

Manpower crunch costs Chennai a luxury ride

    N. Anand
    R. Sujatha
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The Buddha circuit special train has been moved to Bangalore for maintenance
The Buddha circuit special train has been moved to Bangalore for maintenance

The Buddha circuit special train has been moved to Bangalore for maintenance

The dream of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), South Zone, to operate the ‘Buddha’ train from Chennai has come to an end due to shortage of manpower in the mechanical and electrical departments.

The train has been moved to Bangalore for maintenance. Henceforth, the special tour will be operated from Bangalore instead of Chennai, said an IRCTC official.

The Mahaparinirvana train, also known as the Buddha circuit special train, was operated from October to March. The fully airconditioned train was modified to accommodate foreigners and the tariff was in US dollars.

As the train remained idle in the yard from April to September, IRCTC officials thought it fit to provide Chennaities an opportunity to travel comfortably to various pilgrimage spots, in a luxury train. After winning a competitive bid, they drew plans to operate six to seven specialised tours till September.

IRCTC conducted its maiden trip to Shirdi in the first week of May and more than 250 pilgrims travelled on the train. The next trip to Kasi-Nepal will now leave from Bangalore on Thursday.

An IRCTC official said, “We had to restructure our tour packages from Bangalore. The tour will begin and end in Bangalore. In other words, Southern Railway’s loss will be South Western Railway’s gain.”

S. Sai Surya of Puducherry, who regularly visits Shirdi, found the train a comfortable way to travel.

“I was planning to go again in June-end. I am a regular visitor to Shirdi and I have a tough time getting reservations online as there is only one direct train from Chennai. We had travelled as a group of 20 pilgrims on the Buddha train and the pantry car served food of our choice. We enjoyed our trip immensely,” he said.

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