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A train all for themselves

By Feroze Ahmed

CHENNAI SEPT. 30. Corporate houses, which hire buses and planes, can now charter trains.

About 700 Larsen and Toubro employees and their families will have a complete nine-coach train all to themselves when they set off on a three-day, two-night tour to Goa from Chennai. They will leave for Vasco on Wednesday, and will have stopovers at Renigunta, Tadipatri and Guntakal. In Goa, they will stay in two five-star resorts, go sightseeing in 20 buses, and feast on free food and beverages — all for Rs. 2,175 a person.

The arrangement is a novel tie-up between L&T and the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) — reported to be a first in the country — in which a corporate house has chartered an entire train.

"The IRCTC already offers value added packages in tie-ups with tour operators, and arranges chartered coaches for tourists and religious groups. But we are now focussing on chartering entire trains for corporate clients," said V. Sriram, Group General Manager, Southern Region, IRCTC. The entire package will cost the Recreation Club of the Engineering Construction and Contracts division, L&T, Rs. 24 lakhs, of which about Rs.14 lakhs will be used to pay for the train. To make it easy on the pockets, the company will subsidise the cost to each employee by about 30 to 40 per cent, according to R. Balasubramanian, club vice-president, and Head (Southern Zone), ECC Division, L&T.

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