Staff Reporter

It will be the first disabled-friendly luxury train

BANGALORE: With just over two months for the launch of the Golden Chariot, Karnataka’s luxury train, the colour and logo for the much anticipated train were unveiled here on Monday. The Golden Chariot will sport the classic colours of royalty — purple and gold, while its logo is a mythological animal having elephant face and the body of a lion.

Tourism Secretary I.M. Vittalmurthy told presspersons here that purple was selected as it symbolises elegance and sophistication. “Deep purple is also a symbol of royalty, and gold represents the golden jubilee celebrations of the State,” he said. “The luxury train will provide a window to Karnataka’s rich culture, heritage and wildlife during the six-night-and-seven-day sojourn starting every Sunday. The cost per seat will be around $300 and the train will carry 88 passengers at a time,” he said.

The gestation period for the project was around three years, and even with 30 per cent occupancy rate the train would be viable, he added.

Historical monuments, standing as testimony to the skill and craftsmanship of the previous generations at Mysore, Srirangapatna, Sravanabelogola, Halebeedu, Belur, Hampi, Badami, Pattadkal and Aihole and the wildlife at Kabini would be showcased to the travellers of the luxury train before it terminates in Goa. Mr. Vittalmurthy said: “Golden Chariot is also the first luxury train to be disabled-friendly.”

Bijapur left out

Incidentally, Gol Gumbaz in Bijapur has not been included in the itinerary of the luxury train due to lack of rail connectivity, and it is also true with the coastal Karnataka region for the same reasons. While Bijapur could not be connected due to the gauge conversion work between Gadag and Bijapur, the Hassan-Mangalore line is yet to be opened to passenger traffic.

Mr. Vittalmurthy said that though they wanted to add Gulbarga to the itinerary, it would cause inconvenience as tourists had to travel 200 km by road. “Hopefully, we would be able to connect the luxury train to Bijapur once the conversion work is completed,” he added. According to the Indian Railway officials, the Gadag-Bijapur line gauge conversion is likely to be completed by 2008.

Similarly, while the train terminates in Goa, coastal Karnataka is not represented. Mr. Vittalmurthy said that they decided on Goa as it would make the project financially viable, and that the Deccan Odyssey, Maharashtra’s luxury train also terminates in Goa. “Connecting coastal Karnataka would be thought after Hassan-Managlore route is thrown open for passenger services,” he added.