India’s Luxury Train, Palace On Wheels To Remain Off Tracks This Year Due To COVID-19

by Sanjana Shenoy
India’s Luxury Train, Palace On Wheels To Remain Off Tracks This Year Due To COVID-19

Every year, during the month of September, India’s luxury train, Palace On Wheels (POW) gets ready for the first ride of the season. The luxurious train goes through a process of renewal and refurbishment. But not this year. Palace on Wheels, may not run this year as intended due to the coronavirus pandemic. Officials at the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation took a consensus to halt the train till at least December 2020. While no formal announcement is made for the same, the luxury train will remain off tracks this year until at least the end of the year. The Indian Railways earlier customized coaches and added handsfree facilities for post-Covid travel.

palace on wheels
Facebook/ Palace On Wheels

Palace On Wheels Cancelled Till Atleast December 2020

India’s most luxurious and famous Palace on Wheels train that is bearing the brunt of the virus, as it will remain off the tracks this year, or more likely, won’t run till December 2020. Although any official announcement is pending, a senior official at Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) said to TOI, “We have not decided as yet. We are keen to start, but there are travel advisories for non-essential travel. Resumption of scheduled commercial flights is a big factor given the fact that the majority of travellers on the train are from foreign countries. Also, it all depends on which direction the COVID-19 moves,”

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Palace On Wheels Cancelled Trips In March & April Due To COVID-19

RTDC operates Palace on Wheels in joint collaboration with Indian Railways. The train, which reflects the beauty of the country, is one of the biggest tourist draws in India. It’s also quite popular among foreigners and NRIs. These people take up around 90 per cent of the seats of the train. The train has 84 berths and it takes 8 days to complete the journey.

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The Palace on Wheels passes through some of the prominent royal heritages of Rajasthan, snaking through deserts and wildfires and bird sanctuaries along with the historic monument of love, the Taj Mahal in Agra. However, this year, the journey won’t be taking place. Given the pandemic situation, people are apprehensive about travelling anywhere. The train was cancelled in March and April too due to the outbreak of the virus. So, the railways did not cancel or refund the trips already booked, but rebooked for the current season. However, the Palace On Wheels won’t resume services until at least December. If museums have always fascinated you, then go on a virtual tour of the museums around the world.