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Old 2nd May 2013, 14:26   #1
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Default My Experience with the Chennai <-> Bangalore Double Decker Train.

I happened to travel to Bangalore last weekend. I chose to return to chennai by the Double Decker Train that is newly introduced on this route though tickets were available at about the same price (tatkal fare) on Brindavan Express and Volvo Buses. It was just the urge to try out the new train and also to brag a little about it on Facebook and team-bhp!!

However, I was in for a bad ride that left me sore at the end of the 6 hour journey. What I disliked about the train was that they have crammed in 120 seats per coach with scant regard for comfort of travelers. I got seat no. 56 which is a single seat packed in a corner. This seat reminded me of the last row in Quanto. It is barely enough for a person of average build like me. At 5' 8", I was just able to squeeze in and get out of it by banging my knees against the seat in front a couple of times. If I were 6' tall, I guess I would have had to go for knee replacement surgery if I managed to fit myself into that trap!

Usually, seats in AC Chair Car are well-cushioned and push-back. I found the push-back lever but there is not even 1mm gap at the back to push the backrest behind!

The AC in C5 coach in the so-called new train was not working since the train left Bangalore. Passengers there tried complaining and no one seemed to care about it. Only when it stopped at Jolarpet, the passengers got out and made enough noise for the authorities to take notice and fix the issue! I heard from other passengers that the AC in the upper deck is not effective at all while it is better in the lower deck.

The train does manage to grab quite a few eyeballs and at every station, you can see people happily clicking photos on their mobiles. That way, it did feel good to be clicked! Once we were at Katpadi (I think), local TV crew got hold of the AC issue and had gotten there with cameramen and an anchor who was quizzing passengers who were caught unaware in the tamasha.

Another concern I had is if the railways was compromising on safety of passengers by packing in 120 people in a coach that usually holds 72 people. Is it not putting more tons (or quintals or kgs) on each wagon wheel eroding off the tracks and wheels? What would happen to the passengers in case of an accident given that there is a whole deck above the lower deck? Hope these were taken care of during the design phase.

Overall, it was a ride that could well be forgotten. I would prefer to travel by Shatabdi or LalBagh Express rather than this Double Decker Train.

Some pictures below may explain my trauma!


My Experience with the Chennai <-> Bangalore Double Decker Train.-cornerseat1.jpg

My Experience with the Chennai <-> Bangalore Double Decker Train.-cornerseat2.jpg

My Experience with the Chennai <-> Bangalore Double Decker Train.-legroom.jpg

My Experience with the Chennai <-> Bangalore Double Decker Train.-exterior1.jpg

My Experience with the Chennai <-> Bangalore Double Decker Train.-exterior2.jpg

My Experience with the Chennai <-> Bangalore Double Decker Train.-upperlowerdeck.jpg


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Last edited by bblost : 2nd May 2013 at 14:32.
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Old 2nd May 2013, 15:05   #2
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Default Re: Double Decker Train travel experience

Heard the same from other blogs/news sites as well. So once the novelty dies down, unless improvements are made, guess people will try to avoid it. Also read that the number of rest rooms were inadequate as it was 120 people instead of the usual 72. And what is with this fixation of not removing the plastic covers? How are the passengers expected to sit on them and not slide off? Though in your case, I guess the limited room in the front took care of that

But given the rush of people going from BLR - CHN and vice versa, this train will run full anyway
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Old 2nd May 2013, 15:50   #3
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Default Re: Double Decker Train travel experience

Brindavan Exp had double decker way back in the early eighties. Is this the Brindavan Exp or a different train ?

That legroom is just pathetic. And the lower deck passengers seem to be at eye level with the station platform. God knows what will happen in case of an accident. Really bad design.
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Old 2nd May 2013, 16:04   #4
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Default Re: Double Decker Train travel experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by esteem_lover View Post
Brindavan Exp had double decker way back in the early eighties. Is this the Brindavan Exp or a different train ?

That legroom is just pathetic. And the lower deck passengers seem to be at eye level with the station platform. God knows what will happen in case of an accident. Really bad design.
This train runs 30 mins ahead of Brindavan in both ways. Its just called MAS-SBC-MAS Double Decker, no name as such.
I feel the timing is not good either. When there is Brindavan already running at that time, they could have slotted this to arrive Bangalore at around 12p which would slot it between Shatabdi and Brindavan.

Last edited by tharian : 2nd May 2013 at 16:04. Reason: typo
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Old 2nd May 2013, 16:57   #5
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Default Re: Double Decker Train travel experience

The train body itself is so deformed (read: uneven) that it looks like a damaged piece, hammered to make flat. Plus, the body also looks very flimsy. Seems like I can kick and cause a dent in the body.
I thought Sutlej used to make Bus Body and Seats. Seems they have got a nice contract to make train seats too. The sponge of the seat looks nice, not sure how you felt. But really sorry state of affair in legroom area.

Last edited by Soumyajit9 : 2nd May 2013 at 16:58.
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Old 2nd May 2013, 21:32   #6
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Default Re: Double Decker Train travel experience

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Originally Posted by Soumyajit9 View Post
The train body itself is so deformed (read: uneven) that it looks like a damaged piece, hammered to make flat. Plus, the body also looks very flimsy. Seems like I can kick and cause a dent in the body.
All railway coaches have the same flimsy look due to the uneveness in the metal. From the local EMUs to the top Rajdhani LHB coaches have the same finish., but obviously are solid stuff. The LHB coaches are made of stainless steel for lighter weight which probably makes it even more uneven when seen from an angle. Either ends from the doors to the end are actually crumple zones on non-LHB coaches, not sure on these.

And this double decker is based on the LHB coaches. You cannot expect anything more from a Govt owned factory even when it is churning out coaches of German tech , can you?

Last edited by tharian : 2nd May 2013 at 21:54.
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Old 2nd May 2013, 22:27   #7
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Default Re: Double Decker Train Experience

The indian railways clearly has not given a serious thought about passenger comfort at all. The leg room as you mentioned is just not comfortable for a normal sized human being.
I felt the same regarding the safety point of view, i hope Railways carried out all the required tests and analysis with regards to the weight on each coach which they have tried to double up the number of passengers.
Travelling in normal Lalbagh/Brindavan express chair car is much better and Shatabdi would be far better than this i feel.
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Old 2nd May 2013, 22:44   #8
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Default Re: Double Decker Train travel experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by esteem_lover View Post
Brindavan Exp had double decker way back in the early eighties.
Double Decker coaches were in use for a short period during the 1980's in the Venad express, running between Trivandrum and Ernakulam. Those coaches being non air conditioned, had a very peculiar problem of dust making entry through the lower deck windows, especially from the platform of Railway Stations.

Last edited by rajeev k : 2nd May 2013 at 22:46.
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Old 3rd May 2013, 12:45   #9
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Default Re: Double Decker Train travel experience

That seat you were assigned should never have been put in at all. The spacing between other seats should have been expanded by a few inches to accommodate the space at the back.

Same old horrible garbage being rolled out by Railways with new paint. I demand privatization of all rail lines. I'm sure a private organization would handle current operations with half of the current staff and expenditure. I.R is a drain on our tax money.
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Old 3rd May 2013, 14:16   #10
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Default Re: Double Decker Train travel experience

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Originally Posted by hellmet View Post
I demand privatization of all rail lines. I'm sure a private organization would handle current operations with half of the current staff and expenditure. I.R is a drain on our tax money.
While I may not agree that a private player would most certainly a boon for the passengers, but yes he would definitely get the job done in half the expenditure. Gurgaon express way and toll plaza is a classic example of how private players mess up big time.

Having said that, yes the railways is the single largest unit to eat into our taxes and on all the wrong heads. Wouldn't mind if the expenses were being done on safety and upgrade. Instead the money is going down the drain with umpteen passes and un-explainable perks and what not for railway employees.
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Old 3rd May 2013, 14:54   #11
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Default Re: My Experience with the Chennai <-> Bangalore Double Decker Train.

For me, the fit and finish is not so convincing, the body paint is not doing any good to the eyes. Its less comfortable in the areas of leg room and as someone before me has mentioned there isn't enough washrooms for the crowd. But the only good this thing is going to do is allow more passengers from Place A to Place B.

Thanks for posting this.

Cheers.
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Old 3rd May 2013, 15:07   #12
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Default Re: My Experience with the Chennai <-> Bangalore Double Decker Train.

The single deck seats in other parts of the country I've traveled (Durgapuar-Kolkata, Ahmedabad-Surat) face each other (16 seats, 2 sets on either side facing each other at the front and back of the compartment), and hence leg room is less of a problem. But the push back was not effective on these too. The other seats, both on the lower and upper deck were the same as the normal shatabdi seats.

I've not traveled on the lower deck but i think you may get a lower perspective from these -better for photographs!!
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Old 3rd May 2013, 15:07   #13
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Default Re: Double Decker Train travel experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by New.Novice View Post
While I may not agree that a private player would most certainly a boon for the passengers, but yes he would definitely get the job done in half the expenditure. Gurgaon express way and toll plaza is a classic example of how private players mess up big time.

Having said that, yes the railways is the single largest unit to eat into our taxes and on all the wrong heads. Wouldn't mind if the expenses were being done on safety and upgrade. Instead the money is going down the drain with umpteen passes and un-explainable perks and what not for railway employees.
Absolutely right about the perks. We must also account for the innumerable number of townships built for employees, and the freebies and subsidies (facilities, healthcare, etc) provided to them.

BSNL is another mammoth in the room no one wants to speak about. Speak about losing votes.
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Old 3rd May 2013, 17:37   #14
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Default Re: My Experience with the Chennai <-> Bangalore Double Decker Train.

I was thinking to give it a try, but after this amazing review, a big NO. I'd rather prefer Volvo buses any day. Comparing Shatabdi with this is like comparing the comforts of a Dreamliner with an ATR.
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Old 3rd May 2013, 19:09   #15
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Default Re: My Experience with the Chennai <-> Bangalore Double Decker Train.

Is there any body in INDIA on the lines of FAA, which approves designs of trains ? or Is it only our expert railway engineers making these designs. I am not too sure about the safety of these coaches in case of a crash.
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