Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a public sector undertaking of Ministry of Railways, have operated seven Pilgrim special tourist trains from 25.10.2014 to 19.12.2014 and further three trains are planned till 12.1.2015. IRCTC plans to continue operating these trains in 2015-16.
New pilgrim destinations covered are Bijapur, Solapur, Badami, Melmaruvathur, Vaitheeswarankoil, Thiruvenkadu, Keelaperumpallam, Thirunallar, Alangudi, Surianarkoil, Kanjanur, Thirunageshwaram, Thingalur, Parasnath, St. Francis Xavier (Old Goa), Mecca Masjid (Hyderabd), Nanded Sahib, Nanak Jhira Gurudwara, Sri Patna Sahib, Kanchipuram etc.
Indian Railways promotes tourism by providing connectivity through trains to tourist destinations across the country. In addition, exclusive tourist trains/packages are also operated. Promotion of tourism by linking tourist places with tourist trains is a continuous process based on market demand, operational feasibility and availability of resources.
Pilgrim special tourist trains were announced in Railway Budget 2014-15 with the purpose of connecting various pilgrim destinations across India. This information was given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Manoj Sinha in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.