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109-year-old steam engine restored for private charter in north India
Shekhar Niyogi, Kolkata, April 14, 2014

A CENTURY-OLD steam engine was repaired and reinstated to tug three chartered coaches end-March along a 22km UNESCO World Heritage-listed train track in north India.

Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a division of Indian Railways, is offering the 109-year-old KC520 for private charter that includes three coaches for 40 passengers at a total cost of Rs96,000 (US$1,594) inclusive of service tax and food.

The Kalka-Shimla train track was built by the British colonial government in 1903. The one-hour journey begins at 2100 feet above sea level and ends, crossing 102 tunnels, at 7000 feet in Shimla.

Shimla hills have two five-star Oberoi hotels as well as several three- and four-star hotels.

Rajat Sawhney, managing director, New Delhi-based Rave Tours and Travels, said: “The charm of an old-world destination like Shimla gets a befitting crown in the form of an ancient steam engine that still works well.

“It is not only attractive to leisure tourists but a hot sell for MICE clients and small incentive groups. The romance of train journeys can be explored with this product as it is so rare.”
Other scenic train journeys on narrow gauge tracks are in Darjeeling in east India and Ooty in south India.

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