Golden Chariot will chug out of city today with full occupancy

Karnataka's luxury train, The Golden Chariot, will run with full occupancy for the first time since its launch four years ago, when it chugs out of Bangalore on Monday for its ‘Pride of the South' run across Karnataka and Goa.

For the only luxury train of south India, which faced challenges of occupancy, technical glitches and payment of haulage charges to the Indian Railways at the start of the tourist season in September 2011, the full occupancy seems to be a good comeback. In fact, the train saw six of its trips cancelled owing to these challenges this season.

In the 82 trips so far since its inception, 90 per cent occupancy rate had been the highest.

The train, operated by the State-owned Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC), can accommodate 88 travellers in its 44 cabins. “We have had travellers willing to pay premium rates to get accommodation on this trip, but they had to be turned down or accommodated in future trips,” train's project director M. Srinivas, told The Hindu.

“Our marketing efforts have paid off and Monday's trip is a definite milestone for us,” he said, adding that there was a demand for an additional 10 cabins (20 passengers), which could not be accommodated.

Full occupancy on this trip has been achieved due to two big group bookings from the U.S. and Austria with 60 and 20 passengers respectively. This full occupancy could be possibly because the train reaches Goa ahead of Valentine's Day.

Mr. Srinivas said the Splendour of the South, the next run of the train across Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, commencing on February 13, has over 80 per cent occupancy.

“We have been growing steadily over the years due to marketing efforts abroad,” Mr. Srinivas said.