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Old 29th April 2009, 10:48   #1
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Default Travelling by train after 20 years

Before I start, I do not have any Pics for this Trip. Pls don't kill me pls .

This trip to Varanasi was due for almost 6 months and was on my mind, every week for last six month. But more important things were pushing it back.

Other than for personal reason, this trip was very exciting for me, because I was traveling by train after almost 20 years.

Ticket booking was an experience it self. IRCTC site is a marvel of its own. It sucks, it works, with lucks :-)

Booked on Magadh Express (Delhi-Mughal Sarai) for 1st AC and return on Shiv Ganga Express

So I have the confirmed tickets and the excitement goes up. I never felt such anxiety while traveling all over the world.

Train was schedule to depart at 8:00 PM and I reached station 5:30 PM, first sign of anxiety.

Then getting familiar with platform, station, Chart Pasting wall, people etc. you have to be real anxious to do that.

Then I just heard announcement, Magadh Express arrived from Patna. I thought, very good, right on time, will leave on time as still 2 hour left for departure.

Just out of curosity asked one gaurd there, "kitne baje nikalge" (what time it will leave), reply "Arey abhee to aaye hae, niklege arran sae, barah aek baje" (just arrived will leave by 12:00AM or 1AM), I said what, its planned to depart at 8:00 PM, and he looked at my face, and was amazed.

I know I know I am travelling by Indian Railways after 20 yrs. Then cam the announcement at 7:00. Magadh express rescheduled to ddepart at 12:50 AM, full 6 hours late. I was like .

So I had nothing to do, did not even dared to leave station and go out to CP to walk around as it was really hot.

To Continue...

Last edited by Rehaan : 29th April 2009 at 13:18. Reason: 3rd smiley removed.
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Old 29th April 2009, 15:39   #2
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Hey, the system really sucks!!Though I haven't travelled by train myself in quite a while now but didn't think it is this bad!!! I can imagine the plight.
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Old 29th April 2009, 17:42   #3
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I know of long-distance trains that get delayed by hours and even days. Eg. trains from Guwahati to Kerala would be delayed by the time they reach TN. But I wonder why a train that arrived at a station on time would leave from there with so much of a delay. I travel on trains weekly and I am yet to see something like this down south.
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Old 29th April 2009, 17:50   #4
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1. You arrived at the station a full 2.30 hours before scheduled departure time.

2. You did not call up and find out if the train was delayed.

3. Your train was delayed by 6 hours and you still did not leave the station.

4. You had to 'get familiar' with the station, the chart posting wall etc.


Are you a foreigner? Even foreign travellers are a lot more casual about these things.

Please! Call and check, then arrive at the station with enough time for a smoke before you go into the compartment - dont bother about charts and platforms. Find someone sitting on your seat - kick him/her out, make yourself comfortable.

This is how we travel.
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Old 29th April 2009, 17:58   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supremeBaleno View Post
I know of long-distance trains that get delayed by hours and even days. Eg. trains from Guwahati to Kerala would be delayed by the time they reach TN. But I wonder why a train that arrived at a station on time would leave from there with so much of a delay. I travel on trains weekly and I am yet to see something like this down south.
yes it is surprising - but lets remember there is a world of difference between Northern and Southern Railways...( after having travelled quite exntensively in both )

@Steeroid - dont know about others but i would not trust the telephone based update on arrival of trains. firstly its difficult to get the lines, and quite often its incorrect ! so u mite arrive late for a train that probably left on time !

Last edited by narayan : 29th April 2009 at 18:00.
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Old 29th April 2009, 19:41   #6
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The railways does have an online train enquiry system (Train running information - TrainEnquiry.com) and this is very accurate and updated regularly after a train passes through a station.
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Old 29th April 2009, 19:51   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steeroid View Post
...
Please! Call and check, ....
This is how we travel.
Call whom? I guess the enquiry number is 139. How often has it worked?

Like someone said, Trainenquiry.com is a better option as the current status of the train is given there. But, not sure how it would help in this particular case as the train has arrived well ontime, but is being delayed for some uknown reason.
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Old 29th April 2009, 20:04   #8
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I agree With Steeroid here.

Also instead of asking just anybody you should ask either the 'Coolie' or a TTE guy for any train related information.

Also like he said as long as you have confirmed ticket why do you need to check the chart?

As for 139 While I do agree that at times it not easy to get through, ideally reaching station 30 mins max is sufficient.

Also delayed trains(by 2-3) thankfully are not as frequent as it used to be.

Last edited by Technocrat : 29th April 2009 at 20:05.
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Old 29th April 2009, 21:06   #9
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I remember, there was a "spot your train " on the Southern Railway Web site which showed where exactly a train was at that point.

Apart from 139, I thought, Airtel / Hutch also had the train timings on its services.
Nevertheless, from a very personal POV, I feel Indian Railways is really not as people make it sound. Like Narayan mentioned , there is a big difference between Northern and Southern Railways.
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Old 29th April 2009, 21:12   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T_Girl View Post
I can imagine the plight.
Actually the end was not that bad. I am will tell that later

Quote:
Originally Posted by supremeBaleno View Post
But I wonder why a train that arrived at a station on time would leave from there with so much of a delay.
Thats what exactly I asked them they said, sir, cleaning hota hae, checking hota hae etc etc etc

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steeroid View Post
1. You arrived at the station a full 2.30 hours before scheduled departure time.

2. You did not call up and find out if the train was delayed.
Just did not clicked in my mind

3. Your train was delayed by 6 hours and you still did not leave the station.
I had no other option but to stay there, as it was really hot out, and was not possible to go back to gurgaon and come back.
Also I was scared if they again reschedule it for early departure

4. You had to 'get familiar' with the station, the chart posting wall etc.
Ok I know that was too much

kick him/her out, make yourself comfortable.
Ya now I know, that is the way it works
Quote:
Originally Posted by Technocrat View Post
Also like he said as long as you have confirmed ticket why do you need to check the chart?
Mine was 1st AC confirmed but Cabin and berth was not decided while booking

Continue:

Ok, well thought of spending 5.5 full hours at platform was scary and I was not sure how I will spend that. Tried to fiddle with ipod for some time, but I can not listen with headphone for long time.

But one of the most interesting part was observing different people. All kind all type, funny scary, silent, noisy, young, old and so on.

But the worst part was that there is no provision of food at platform other then those useless snacks.

Anyway some how I managed 6 hours. And train arrived at platform on 12:15. but till this time also there was no chart. So I was not aware of my cabin or berth. Also no TE turned up to paste the chart on the compartment.

So after some time, it became free for all. Anyways there were not many passenger on AC1, though site was showing WL3.

So I decided to take one cabin which has only two berth and took the lower berth and stretched my legs. Lucikly no one turned up for the upper berth, that mean whole cabin was mine. Locked the door after TE checked the ticket, and sold all my donkeys and horses for a glorious sleep.

AC was chilled and bed was ok for comfort. They provided, blanket, badsheet, pillow and towel. Surprisingly there was a panel inside the cabin which tells the occupancy status of toilets, like in flights. Toilets were clean and american style.

At 5 in morning heard of a familiar voice "Chai Chai chai". I was needing it badly. 4 Rs for Tea and 5 Rs for Coffee. He told me the breakfast will be available by 8. So I bought something to eat at Kanpur station.

Also while walking trough the compartment I observed that half of the cabins were empty.

One of the worst part of AC compartment is that you do not get a clear view of outside.

Anyways I reached Mughal Sarai station at around 12:00 PM. Tea guy told me to drop out from Platform 1 and I can get the taxis for Varanasi.

Looked out for Taxi, all were Ambassador, and non AC. I negotiated for 250 rs for Varanasi. Switched on my GPS where I had already marked my destination, D S Research Center, Ravindera Puri, Varanasi. I asked from which route you will go, NH or bypass and he thought I know this place very well. I was talking about the name of places we were passing through. looking the GPS and driver was thinking as if I am local.

He took the plantoon bridge to Varanasi and I reached my destination.

More to come. Continue later...
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Old 29th April 2009, 21:54   #11
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Welcome Back to the world of trains man. Nothing comes close(except for driving of course)
There is a mandatory ritual before one embarks on a Train Journey, which you seem to have skipped. Either ask any Mallu or PM me and i can guide you in totality
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Old 29th April 2009, 22:01   #12
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I can understand how you felt. I personally had a similar experience, having taken a train after a span of 10 years. Felt very different at first, but then it all settles down and you begin to enjoy the ride.
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Old 30th April 2009, 10:14   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rkbharat View Post
...Ticket booking was an experience it self. IRCTC site is a marvel of its own. It sucks, it works, with lucks :-)...
Well, the irctc site does become horribly slow at times (particularly during day peak hours) but i still feel the railway reservation system in India has improved a lot than what it used to be earlier and its all because of irctc.
Anyways, the experience of travelling in train after so many years must have been a different experience altogether.
Just to add one small thing, long back there was this 1st class non-ac coupe and the journey in these types of compartments were really great as compared to the present day A.C coupes.
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Old 30th April 2009, 10:50   #14
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Interesting posts. A lot of people seem to be having negative experiences / thoughts against Indian Railways. Freinds, I have travelled by Indian Rail numerous times. Very long distances across the length and breadth of the country. During my travels I used to try to understand the systems. After meeting people who manage the traffic, trains, signals, stations, ticketing, etc. my respect for the system has multiplied manifold.

I do agree that there are instances where it can get on ones nerves, but trust me, mostly the system runs on the best of its capacity. For example, the grand chord, i.e. Delhi Howrah line handles run at 120 - 130% of its capacity. With little or no time to maintain the tracks. People are do a tremendous job by keeping the trains running. For the distances our trains run and the density of stations we have, our average speeds are among the best in the world. I know most of you will smirk at that.

The signalling systems are fool proof that the airline industry started following it post the Saudi Arabian Airline and Kzakistan Airline mid air collision over Charkhi Dadri near Delhi.

I admire the Indian Railways! And I do agree, there is lot they can and that they need to do to improve the systems further.
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Old 30th April 2009, 11:43   #15
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With 6 hours at hand you could have taken the metro to any part of city and be back after partaking a specialty, say Faluda Kulfi of Chandini Chowk or Chache de Bhature at University etc. etc. !!

In 1AC you get all meals and tea served in china. In fact if time and schedule permits it is better to go Delhi Mumbai this way and arrive in center of city 10AM than early morning flight and taxi to city center. The on time performance is generally very good.

Due to higher costs not many travel in this class but if i have to shell out for hotel in another city or suffer sleep deprivation I would rather choose 1 or even 2 tier AC.

Waiting for the balance...
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