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Luxury Trains MessUp.

The train, meanwhile, stands isolated - it's the off-season, after all - in its latest blue livery.No official in Rajasthan is willing to take responsibility for ordering the repainting of the Royal Rajasthan on Wheels.Latest because the train has already changed colour twice, from its original majestic golden to sand yellow and now to royal blue.
The Congress, led by Ashok Gehlot, came to power and in the very second tourist season, then RTDC chairman Manjit Singh ordered that the train be painted dark yellow because he found that closer to the sand's colour. Golden was dismissed as "too light". So when recently the RTDC approached the railways with the demand to paint the Royal Rajasthan on Wheels blue, the latter refused to oblige.

Sources also reported that the railways had refused to undertake the train's maintenance for two months because the RTDC had failed to clear an outstanding due of Rs 23 crore against hauling charges.According to the railways, yellow paint had already been purchased in advance for renovation etc. and it could not afford the additional expense on a new colour.The RTDC was now in a fix. As the order to repaint the train blue had come from the "higher ups" and the railways had refused to bear the expenditure, the corporation purchased blue paint worth over Rs 4 lakh on its own.Accordingly, the royal express was done up in blue last week at the Ajmer yard, where it was sent for maintenance.

It is now standing on Jaipur's Baees Godam railway track and awaiting further renovation.

The repainting decision has left a lot of train employees feeling blue.RTDC sources said the train's name was yet to be written on the bogies and some miniature painting work was left to be done as part of renovation.The resentful staff says the train is already incurring a loss of Rs 5 crore every season."It has been turned into a vulgar joke because the colour does not match the spirit of the train," a senior RTDC official said.He pointed out that the colour of the Palace on Wheels - started as long ago as 1982 - was never changed. It kept its light golden hue matching the desert till the very end.