Karnataka Tourism’s flagship luxury train, the Golden Chariot is now available for charter at only $70000 (Rs. 3,500,000).

The minister said: “Around 80 tourists can travel in the train per tour. By introducing the charter service, private individuals or organizations can have their tours. All the facilities would be provided by KSTDC.”

Anand Singh said the charter service will be introduced to popularize the service. “KSDTC is yet to work on modalities on the charter service. Golden Chariot will continue to have regular trips as per existing schedules. From October to March there will be four trips in each month,” he said.

The ministry will invite tenders from private players in a sealed ballot arrangement and the train will be completely let out to the winning tender for independent luxury train tours for the trains’ 2 journeys – The Pride of the South and the Southern Splendor. The rental for the former is further subsidized at only $64000 (Rs. 3,200,000)

Anand Singh said the railway ministry, which is facilitating Golden Chariot operations, reduced the charge for using its infrastructure. “Earlier it was charging `36 lakhs per tour. Now it has been reduced to around `24 lakhs. The railway ministry’s decision has given us a respite.”

The move has been welcomed by many and although it remains to be seen whether the KSTDC has played its cards right, it is a move in the right direction.