The initiative is a part of ‘Paryatan Parv’, a brainchild of the Union Tourism ministry to showcase the country’s cultural diversity.
“The focus of the programme is to encourage people to explore all our beautiful places,” said a railway official.
The special train chugged off from Udhagamandalam at 10 am with ten passengers. The train with three coaches has a total seating capacity of 120 seats with 80 in the first class and 40 in the second class.
Starting its journey from Udhagamandalam at 10 am, the train reached Ketti in half-an-hour. The train commenced its return journey at 11 am, reaching Udhagamandalam at 11.30 am. The round-trip service was halted at Ketti for about 30 minutes to help tourists explore the station.
The second trip had a better occupancy rate with a total of 38 passengers with 19 each in both the classes.
While the second class ticket is priced at Rs 300, the first class fare is Rs 400. Each passenger was gifted a cap, a booklet and snacks.
Railway officials said two round trips will be operated on September 23 as well.
Officials said that they earned Rs 3,300 in the first trip and Rs 13,300 in the second trip through ticket sales.
Railway officials are hopeful of making the round trips a permanent fixture in the hills.
“Now it is an off-season and hence, the crowd is less. But during the peak season, there will be more demand. If the response is good, then the round trips will be made permanent in the coming weeks,” said an official.