New Delhi: Bringing alive the magic of steam-hauled trains, the Indian Railways put into service its renovated heritage steam loco Azad WP 7200 for hauling the iconic tourist train, the Palace on Wheels, on a trip from Delhi Safdarjung station to Patel Nagar station on the Ring Railway circuit Wednesday. Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani flagged off the steam-hauled luxury tourist train in the presence of senior officials of the board and the Northern Railways.

WP 7200, also called Azad, was built in 1947 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works, Philadelphia, USA.

Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani flagged off the steam-hauled luxury tourist train in the presence of senior officials of the board. Photo: @RailwayNorthern
Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani flagged off the steam-hauled luxury tourist train in the presence of senior officials of the board. Photo: @RailwayNorthern

The pride of the steam loco fleet, the bullet-nosed WP locomotives were the mainstay of broad gauge passenger train operations of the Indian Railways for a long time till 1995 when they were finally retired. Thereafter the heritage steam locos were revived by a committed Railway team. They now undergo regular maintenance and overhauling at the Railway’s Steam Centre, Rewari.

Tourists pose for photos in front of the luxury train ‘Palace on Wheels’ which started its 12th tour, from Safdarjung Railway Station in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: PTI
Tourists pose for photos in front of the luxury train ‘Palace on Wheels’ which started its 12th tour, from Safdarjung Railway Station in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: PTI

The running of the heritage steam trips on popular tourist sections is undertaken by Railways from time to time.

Photo: @RailwayNorthern
Photo: @RailwayNorthern

Currently, a seven-night tour on India’s oldest luxury train — Palace on Wheels — during the high season, depending on the kind of accommodation, costs 363,000 to 756,000. The exquisite and exclusive Palace On Wheels has luxurious cabins, wall to wall carpeting, a well stocked bar, two dining cars and a very personalized service.

Photo: @RailwayNorthern
Photo: @RailwayNorthern

The luxury saloons or the inspection coaches in the royal train are used by the President of India, Prime Minister and senior railway officials, to rejoice in an opulent journey. Saloons or inspection cars - comprise two bedrooms, a lounge, a pantry, a toilet and a kitchen - are apt for two families to travel.

Photo: @RailwayNorthern
Photo: @RailwayNorthern
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