Tuesday, 7 January 2014 00:06
By P. Waruni
A luxurious yet affordable travel option to experience the picturesque scenery of the island in a vintage steam locomotive is now available with JF Tours launching last its latest ‘Viceroy II’ which made its maiden voyage from Colombo Fort railway to Mount Lavinia last week.
At a cost of Rs. 10 million, the Viceroy II which will operate every first and last weekend of every month, has been refurbished in period style to reflect an ancient charm to be compatible with the authentic ‘Viceroy Special’ that made its debut in 1986.
The 75-year old train that has two air-conditioned observation saloons and a restaurant car has been upgraded to have comfortable reclining seats with tables, fine dining, a bar, high-end sound systems, and WiFi facilities.
While JF Tours calls it a “great budget travel option but with value for money”, it noted that the dual-purpose luxury carriage is designed to increase the seating capacity of the Viceroy Special to accommodate larger groups as well as to be attached to the public service trains for the benefit of individual passengers and smaller groups in a more affordable manner.
The beautifully restored Viceroy II will give the tourists as well as locals an affordable option of travelling without having compromise on comfort.
Highlighting the features of travel packages available during the maiden voyage, JF Tours Head of Tour Operations and Sales Development Kanchana Dissanayake proudly said with Viceroy II being the only tourism travel in Sri Lanka, rail vacations can be arranged for a group of 24 or individual point to point travellers to identified destinations.
While advance tickets will be on sale for travel for both one way and two ways, during an overnight tour travellers are given the choice of either arrange for their own accommodation or leaving it in the hands of JF Tours.
“We dedicate this opportunity both foreign and local enthusiasts for reasonable price we charge only Rs. 3,500 for each passenger from Colombo to Kandy. In addition to that, passengers can also book personal seats as they fit. We give special focus for foreigners because this will help to attract the worldwide travel enthusiasts to Sri Lanka,” said Dissanayake.
“It is more than the destination as a luxury hotel on wheels which is beyond the comprehension of point to point travel. Everything including meals has been taken care of, so what lucky travellers have to do is to sit back and enjoy the holiday that is adding value for their money,” he added.
The company is confident that the Viceroy II being a cost effective version of Viceroy Special will help make a real difference to individual passengers or smaller groups who are looking for value for money.
JF Tours and Travels has been in operation for over three decades and reached a real milestone with the introduction of the Viceroy Special. To date it is the only resemblance to the concept of ‘heritage railways’ which has added a new dimension to railway tourism in many parts of the world.
Pix by Lasantha Kumara