He owns one of the finest trains on Earth and the one that takes tourists a distance of about 10,000 km between Moscow and Vladivostok on the Sea of Japan.
Tim Littler, British founder of luxury train tour company GW Travel, and owner of the Trans-Siberian Express (which he purchased after the breakup of the Soviet Union in the early '90s), was more than thrilled to take a ride on the centenary-old mini Neral Matheran steam train on Tuesday.
"We took halts between to capture strategic photo opportunities and took a fabulous ride in this India’s narrow gauge steam engine. It was an exciting journey," Tim who took a ride on the train said.
Accompanied by Indian Railway board’s director for heritage Rajesh Agrawal himself, Littler and his team of ten people who charter the best trains world wide on Tuesday chartered a steam engine run between Neral and Matheran. The team took a ride back by road and flew back to Europe.
"The basic idea of the tour is to promote the Neral-Matheran section internationally. The Central Railway should work out the logistics and promote the train so that it is convenient for tourists to reach there. The people of Mumbai seem to be sleeping about this exciting heritage in their backyard and they need to be more procative to preserve and promote this heritage," Agrawal told HT.
This is the first time in many years after its closure that the steam engine has been chartered out for complete run between Neral and Matheran for such hi-profile foreign tourists.
The steam engine that pulled the train has been brought from the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway for the Matheran line. The railways are celebrating the line’s centenary this Sunday by organising a huge exhibition and releasing a special postal cover.