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India – “Christmas Special” – Christmas/New Year

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  • Duration: 18 Days
  • Location: India
  • Available Seat: 24
  • Price: £tba

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Tour Details
Not everybody enjoys the enforced downtime in the bosom of one's family at Christmas; unless you live among the northern fells or the Highlands of Scotland, it is rarely a "White Christmas" and indeed can be a miserable experience. Since our "World Steam Tours" days in the early 1980's, we have found that the "festive season" is the perfect time to head for the warmer climes of the Indian sub-Continent (except for Darjeeling, where it can be decidedly chilly!) Hence our proposed "Christmas Special" tour detailed below. The tour was originally planned for 2022/23, hence the days/dates, but the timing will be similar in whichever year we are able finally to operate it!

Dec. 16 Fri. London/Delhi AI112 21:30/11:20*

Dec 17 Sat.   ….Transfer to hotel. Afternoon visit to Railway Museum (which opens daily except Mondays). Overnight in Delhi.

Dec 18 Sun. Transfer to Gahri Harsaru (27kms from Delhi) for a run with WP7200 to Farrukhnagar, (12kms) and return. Its regular departure time was 09:30 but ours will presumably be a charter, and assuming that the loco. faces west, this is a trip best taken late morning/afternoon. Continue by train to Rewari, for visit to locomotive depot where a number of historic Indian locomotives are based and serviced. Return to Delhi (18:02/19:35 to Delhi Sarai Rohilla for dinner and overnight.

Dec 19 Mon. Depart New Delhi 07:40 for Kalka arr. 11:45. Connect into “Himalayan Queen” departing Kalka 12:10 for Shimla arr. 17:30. Dinner and overnight Honeymoon Inn ***, 0.6 miles from railway station.

Dec 20 Tue.  Special train with KC520 Shimla – Kaithlighat and return. Dinner and overnight Shimla.

Dec 21 Wed. After early breakfast, by road to Palampur (120 miles) for special train with 2’ 6” gauge “ZB” 2-6-2 No. 66, Bagnall 1952, to Baijnath Paprola 14kms) and return, with multiple run-pasts. Afterwards by road to Pathenkot Cant. for Tr. Exp 12356 departing 21:50 for Lucknow, arr. 12:25 Thu……

Dec 22 Thu. …and transfer to Hotel I.P Palace or similar, near to railway station, for lunch, accommodation in day rooms until departure at 17:35 by Tr. RDi 12436 to New Jalpaiguri, arr. 12:15 Friday.

Dec 23 Fri.    By road to Darjeeling, for 3 nights HB at Ramada Darjeeling Gandhi Road (opposite railway station).

Dec 24 Sat.   In Darjeeling

Dec 25 Sun.  In Darjeeling

Dec 26 Mon. Depart Darjeeling by Tr.52540 08:00/15:10 to New Jalpaiguri (or by road if group wants more time photographing morning trains in Darjeeling; then Tr. 12346 19:25 arriving Kolkata (Calcutta) Howrah station at 05:10.

Dec 27 Tue.  Transfer to hotel for breakfast, followed by the whole day exploring Calcutta, photographing its trams, marvelling at the traffic on the Howrah bridge, and visiting the Howrah railway museum.  Dinner and overnight Calcutta.

Dec 28 Wed. Today we take Express 12703 departing Calcutta Howrah station at  07:25 for the 125kms to Kharagpur, for a journey with the Garratt to Medinipur, a distance of 22 kms or so, returning in the afternoon and transfer back to Calcutta. Because of the short distance we will try to achieve more than one return run, so that tour participants can both ride, and photograph, the train. The engine is an “N” class 4-8-0 + 0-8-4 Beyer Garratt, built 1929 at their works in Gorton, Manchester. Return to Calcutta for dinner and overnight.

Dec 29 Thu.  After a leisurely morning in Calcutta, we transfer to the airport for our flight departing 13:50 for Coimbatore arr. 18:30, and transfer the 50 miles or so to Ooty for dinner and overnight.

Dec 30 Fri.    Full day photographing and riding the “toy train” from Ooty to Coonoor and v.v.  n.b. we will have to pre-book tickets for a selected journey(s) on this popular service. Dinner and overnight Ooty

Dec 31 Sat.     Another full day Ooty. Dinner and overnight.

Jan 1 Sun.    Today we travel by road to Mysore, calling in for a visit to the Mudumalai wildlife sanctuary en route – see elephants having a bath! and on to Bangalore for dinner and overnight.

Jan 2 Mon.   Bangalore is the location of one of the oldest working steam locomotives in the world – East India Railways No. EIR21, a Kitson Well Tank 2-2-2 of 1855, and which is planned to operate on the line to Mysore (or part of it, as the whole line is 145kms long!) If indeed it is operational, we will have a charter train on the line towards Mysore, and back, before retiring to our hotel in Bangalore for dinner and overnight.

Jan 3 Tue.    BLR/BOM 12:00/14:30?  and overnight in Bombay? maybe a day or two there  before flying back to London? Or BLR/GOI  17:00/18:10 for a few days relaxation on the beaches of Portuguese Goa before flying back to London 06:55 GOI/BOM/BOM/LHR 13:55 with Virgin Atlantic.

This itinerary assumes that the MAWD at Guwahati (and the trip on the Bramaputra river which was packaged with it) no longer operates. Should it be reinstated we will try to include it in this comprehensive itinerary. It also assumes that rail timetables, airline schedules etc. will have returned to something like normal by the time of our tour. As these things are by no means certain, no deposits are needed now – just register your interest info@enthusiasthols.com so that we can keep you personally updated as to progress. We are in constant touch with the railway and tourism authorities in India – whose 2021 global conference “Romancing the Rail” highlighted their commitment to reviving heritage steam operations in India as conditions and funds allow. 

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