Luxury train Deccan Odyssey back on the rails in brand-new avatar
The uber-luxury train Deccan Odyssey is set to be relaunched by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation and Indian Railways after a five-year hiatus. The train has been completely refurbished and will feature new amenities, including wooden flooring, glass bottles, and a fire-fighting system. It will be run by technology MNC Ebix and will cost ₹6.5 lakh per couple for a seven-night and eight-day journey. The train will run on six routes, including new destinations like Varanasi and Delhi. The Deccan Odyssey is one of India's five luxury trains.
Mumbai: The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and Indian Railways, which jointly own the uber-luxury train Deccan Odyssey, are to relaunch it on Thursday after a gap of nearly five years. Chief minister Eknath Shinde will flag off the train at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus along with deputy chief ministers Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar.
Deccan Odyssey was commissioned in 2004. Run by government agencies initially, in 2014, it was completely outsourced to travel agency Cox and Kings to run its on-board and off-board services, sales, marketing, and operational activities for a period of five years. The company subsequently went bankrupt. When the pandemic hit, the train was relegated to the sidings of Dadar and Nahur, rusty and in bad shape. It has now been completely refurbished and will emerge in a brand-new avatar.
“The makeover was done in Mumbai,” said MTDC managing director Shraddha Joshi-Sharma. “Deccan Odyssey now has many new features. Earlier, we had vinyl flooring, which would result in humidity and odour. We now have wooden flooring and polypropylene carpets. All the plastic bottles have been replaced with glass ones, and the LPG cylinders in the kitchen have been substituted with induction systems. We have a robust fire-fighting system, fireproof curtains and bio tanks. We are also trying to get an electric engine.”
The train, which will now be run by technology MNC Ebix will cost a whopping ₹6.5 lakh per couple for seven nights and eight days. MTDC will get 2.5 per cent as its profit share. The train will run on six routes, to which new places like Varanasi and Delhi have been added. In Maharashtra, the train will also travel to Ramtek, Warora, Jalgaon and Ajanta-Ellora.
Inspired by the imperial carriages used by the maharajas of yore for travelling, each coach of the luxury train is inspired by a different royal era of Maharashtra, ruled by diverse dynasties. It comprises 21 coaches, of which 11 are for travellers and the rest for dining, a lounge, a conference car and a health spa.
India currently has five luxury trains – Palace On Wheels, Deccan Odyssey, Golden Chariot, Royal Rajasthan On Wheels, and the Maharajas Express.