It’s said that 30 million people travel on India’s railway system every day – a statistic not hard to believe if you’ve ever scrambled though the mêlée of porters, chai wallahs and passengers trying to board a long-distance express out of New Delhi station. Legions of employees keep the wheels turning, from the humble kitchen attendants who whip up delicious curries in the ‘pantry car’, to the redoubtable TC – or ‘Ticket Controller’ , in his pristine white trousers and peaked cap. No such hurly burly, however, attends trips on the glittering ‘Palace on Wheels’, nor its equally splendid sibling the ‘Deccan Odyssey’, two of the world’s great luxury locomotives.

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