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Old 30th May 2014, 23:01   #331
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Default Re: Delhi-Kolkata by Road | NH2 in Full Detail

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So is the trip starting tonight the 27th ? All the very best. Do let us know the conditions of the roads for others following later in June
Joy, you're quoting me from a 5-years-old post. This "cannonball" (as you described it) trip (start time 7:50 PM on 29 May 2014 from Delhi, and Kolkata destination reached at 8:15 PM today) just happened to be the 32nd - and the return will be the 33rd. Done in 24.5 hours, it took waaay too long for my liking.
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Trip #31 was completed uneventfully in 22 hours 50 minutes, starting at 4:40 AM on 30 June from Kolkata, ending at 3:30 AM on 1 July at Delhi.
Now for a quick update. I had said...
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With the Yamuna Expressway opening up, I anticipate a minimum reduction of 2 hours in travel time on this sector.
...but I had not really checked timings between sections in the last 2 years that I had not travelled on this highway.

The Etawah-to-Kanpur section is now easily the worst (and most dangerous) section of the whole road, especially if passing through at night. Poorly marked diversions make for a bad situation for even good drivers, the road surface on the diversions is potholed with multiple large unmarked bumps, and average speeds are really low (even past midnight when local traffic ceases). Add to that a steep toll for covering such a poor section, and I simply hated it.

We shall discuss the tolls part in a subsequent post in the coming days.

The other horrible section was the Allahabad bypass. Construction activity means you go off-road for about 500 yards before reaching the toll booth, to pay up Rs.170. For that, you get about 70 km of poorly maintained and deteriorating road surface, developing potholes at multiple places, with the culvert joints as badly engineered as ever - so much so that at speeds above 60-70 km/h, crossing those culverts leaves you airborne. The deterioration of the Allahabad Bypass over the last 2 years (I didn't need to pay a toll on this section the last time I covered this section in 2012) is very evident.

Add to this the fact that tea-stalls and dhabas have sprung up along multiple points on the 4-lane highway (definitely in collusion with the toll operator), where trucks simply pull over and stop (there is not a single truck lay-by on this section), blocking half the carriageway in any particular direction, and you have severe congestion at all hours of the day, even at ~5 AM, the time when we entered the bypass.

Allow me to discuss the other sections (of NH2) later, as we go along.

One of the reasons for the slow pace was that I lost all 4 filaments of my headlamp bulbs (and a spare) to a voltage surge due to a malfunctioning voltage regulator on my alternator, and had to drive the last 100 km on fog lamps and a prayer.

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 30th May 2014 at 23:25.
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Old 30th May 2014, 23:36   #332
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Default Re: Delhi-Kolkata by Road | NH2 in Full Detail

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...Set your own pace. Just because someone did Delhi-Kolkata in 18 hours doesn't mean your life's mission is to set a new record of 17.5 hours. If you are in such a rush, take a flight....
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... Done in 24.5 hours, it took waaay too long for my liking.
Not wanting to be the spoilsport - but so what if you could not beat your own or someone else's timing, this time around?

Last edited by mobike008 : 31st May 2014 at 11:31. Reason: Editing first name out as per SS-Traveller request
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Old 30th May 2014, 23:45   #333
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.. not wanting to be the spoilsport - but so what if you could not beat your own or someone else's timing, this time around?
It isn't about beating timings - it's about being at the wheel only as much as is necessary.

Have you ever driven 100 km in the darkness of night with only the OE fog lights for illumination?
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Old 31st May 2014, 00:14   #334
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Default Re: Delhi-Kolkata by Road | NH2 in Full Detail

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Have you ever driven 100 km in the darkness of night with only the OE fog lights for illumination?
Avidly looking forward to a gripping tale of this experience - SST
Pretty darn scary - having arrived at night without working headlights !!!
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Old 2nd June 2014, 22:49   #335
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Default Re: Delhi-Kolkata by Road | NH2 in Full Detail

One thousand six hundred and eight rupees. That is the total toll amount being charged presently to allow one to drive a light motor vehicle from Delhi to Kolkata. That's about Rs.1.05 per km on an average.

Some sections are expensive. The Yamuna Expressway is one. Rs.320 to cover 197 km. That is Rs.1.62 per km of rather well-spent money, in my opinion. Four lanes on each side, well marked with luminous markers, plus a hard shoulder to park in an emergency. No potholes, no bumps, almost as smooth as a billiard table.

Compare this to the Allahabad Bypass. You scrabble up to the toll point over a rocky, dusty, dirt road as you approach from the Kanpur side (while they spend YOUR money to build some high-tech toll plaza to take more of your money). Then you have two measly lanes on each side, and no hard shoulders, no truck lay-by and no refreshment or fuel stops for the next 70 km. Tea and refreshment shops have been allowed to spring up along the crash barrier on the left side, and trucks pull up there in long queues. These trucks park haphazardly on the left lane (since there is no hard shoulder for emergencies or any parking otherwise), with just one lane for you to squeeze through. Add to that the irregular levelling of the road surface at every culvert (and there are too many of those culverts anyway), where driving at 80 km/h leaves you airborne for a few milliseconds.

At Rs.2.43 per km this is daylight robbery.

Etawah to Kanpur is roughly 157 km. At Etawah Anantram toll gate, you pay Rs.70. Then another Rs.120 at the Barajore toll gate just a few km short of the Kanpur elevated corridor. That's a total of Rs.190 - or Rs.1.21 per km. For a non-existent, unsafe, poorly marked road with so many diversions that you lose count of them after a while. Each diversion is narrow, and suitably decorated with bumps and/or potholes. Trucks slow down here, and ther is no space to pass them. Almost 3 hours of torture, and you pay money in the hope that there will be a better road here sometime next year. Maybe. And then again, maybe not.

The other tolls before Etawah along the NH2 (Tundla, Garau) have humongous traffic jams due to the road surface near the toll plazas looking like the lunar surface. Traffic backs up for 1 km at any time, and more during peak hours. I ask a not-so-unfriendly toll collector why this is so. His reply: Aise hi karke rakhna padhta hai, nahin toh log paisa nahi deke bhaag jaatey hain. (We need to keep the road surface in this state, otherwise people run away without paying.)

Ever heard of a boom barrier? Not in western UP, I suppose they generally haven't!

Over the years, I've seen this road become a little better every year. This year, it is definitely in worse shape than in 2012, apart from the Yamuna Expressway that replaces the rather congested route along the old NH2 from Agra to Delhi.

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 2nd June 2014 at 22:52.
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Old 3rd June 2014, 08:04   #336
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Default Re: Delhi-Kolkata by Road | NH2 in Full Detail

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One thousand six hundred and eight rupees. That is the total toll amount being charged presently to allow one to drive a light motor vehicle from Delhi to Kolkata. That's about Rs.1.05 per km on an average.

Ever heard of a boom barrier? Not in western UP, I suppose they generally haven't!
Haha, this seems like a verbatim reproduction of our conversation last evening. Including the boom barrier question.

Needless to say, I was planning to do this section within this month. Now I'm having second thoughts. Will drive the i10 (not Predator) this time, so no creamy torque delivery over good stretches. Further dampener.
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Old 3rd June 2014, 10:07   #337
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Default Re: Delhi-Kolkata by Road | NH2 in Full Detail

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Over the years, I've seen this road become a little better every year. This year, it is definitely in worse shape than in 2012, apart from the Yamuna Expressway that replaces the rather congested route along the old NH2 from Agra to Delhi.
IIRC it was in poor shape in December and January. From what you describe, it's probably far worse - definitely something to watch out for this Saturday. I will be likely passing Etmadpur around 6:30/7:00 AM (right after the YEW). I guess the issues will start from that point on. Any idea how much time I should plan for the 250 odd km from Etmadpur to Kanpur?

On the Allahabad bypass - it may be that the trucks had blocked one lane completely due to being tea-time ?
I do not recall trucks having stopped on the lane/parked haphazardly - but that was probably because it was dusk (coming from Delhi) or morning (going toward Delhi).

Oh and by the way - how was Kanpur to Allhahabad Bypass and conditions around Fatehpur?

Last edited by joybhowmik : 3rd June 2014 at 10:10. Reason: Corrected: Fatehpur
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Old 3rd June 2014, 10:21   #338
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Default Re: Delhi-Kolkata by Road | NH2 in Full Detail

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...how much time I should plan for the 250 odd km from Etmadpur to Kanpur?
4-4.5 hours.
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On the Allahabad bypass - it may be that the trucks had blocked one lane completely due to being tea-time ?
At 5:30 am?
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how was Kanpur to Allhahabad Bypass and conditions around Fatehpur?
That section is good. 180 km in 2 hours 15 minutes. No local traffic because of the hour of the day (3:15 AM - 5:30 AM).

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 3rd June 2014 at 10:23.
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Old 3rd June 2014, 11:36   #339
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Default Re: Delhi-Kolkata by Road | NH2 in Full Detail

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At 5:30 am?
Years ago, I have seen trucks parked haphazardly off Manesar on NH-8 around 6 AM.
The reason ? - shut eye!
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Old 3rd June 2014, 15:40   #340
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Default Re: Delhi-Kolkata by Road | NH2 in Full Detail

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The Etawah-to-Kanpur section is now easily the worst (and most dangerous) section of the whole road, especially if passing through at night. Poorly marked diversions make for a bad situation for even good drivers, the road surface on the diversions is potholed with multiple large unmarked bumps, and average speeds are really low (even past midnight when local traffic ceases). Add to that a steep toll for covering such a poor section, and I simply hated it.
Totally agree! And seeing the state, I am not sure if things are going to improve any time soon. Even the Kanpur bypass which was in good shape earlier seems like a mess now. Broken median, wrong side traffic et al. It was horrible!

The tolls are another story! 3 of them actually look like illegal ones. Add to that at least 2-3 people can be seen always on each lane. 1 operator, others simply to pass around the tickets and change. Wonder what they get for providing this service and finally how much actually filters down for the road works.

Also as one approaches Etawah, the undulations in the roads become much more frequent and unpredictable. Had a really scary experience on one as I couldn't spot it in time.

ATB for the trip back!
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Old 4th June 2014, 14:01   #341
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Default Re: Delhi-Kolkata by Road | NH2 in Full Detail

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Originally Posted by joybhowmik View Post
IIRC it was in poor shape in December and January. From what you describe, it's probably far worse - definitely something to watch out for this Saturday. I will be likely passing Etmadpur around 6:30/7:00 AM (right after the YEW). I guess the issues will start from that point on. Any idea how much time I should plan for the 250 odd km from Etmadpur to Kanpur?

On the Allahabad bypass - it may be that the trucks had blocked one lane completely due to being tea-time ?
I do not recall trucks having stopped on the lane/parked haphazardly - but that was probably because it was dusk (coming from Delhi) or morning (going toward Delhi).

Oh and by the way - how was Kanpur to Allhahabad Bypass and conditions around Fatehpur?
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4-4.5 hours.

At 5:30 am?

That section is good. 180 km in 2 hours 15 minutes. No local traffic because of the hour of the day (3:15 AM - 5:30 AM).
Hi SS-Traveller & Joy

On Allahabad Bypass, the trucks are often parked as so called "Line Hotel" have mushroomed and some of them have shifted from old road as trucks no longer go towards city.

Last time on way from Patna, I stopped (late night around 10-11 PM) for quick face-wash and had a discussion with a Dhaba guard kept for managing parking.

The Nos of trucks parked increases considerably during early hours as the drivers stop to catch unbearable sleep. The open stretch give them enough wind to cool off. Many trucks park on the bridge as air carrying water is cooler & more windy.

This was evident even on YE, when I traveled last between 3 to 4:30 AM

Many trucks on Allahabad bypass travel in wrong direction as they want to avoid toll for small stretch, which they need to take, while coming from Lucknow, Ramnagar or one more connecting place to Allahabad

Poor Planning you may say or trick to catch everyone for toll.
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Old 25th June 2014, 10:32   #342
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Default Re: Delhi-Kolkata by Road | NH2 in Full Detail

The 33rd one-way trip:

Left Kolkata at 11:10 PM to drive all night, and reached home in Delhi at 9:40 PM exactly. That's 22 hrs 30 min hours to cover 1532 km.

Some random observations:
The section from Kanpur (western end of the elevated roadway) to the start of the Yamuna Expressway took 4 hr 45 min (2:15 PM to 7 PM). On the YEW, maintaining an exact 100 km/h, I still got a Speed Violation notification on the LED display at the Jewar toll gate, but was too tired to even bother to ask why.

The really good section through JH-BR is from Dobhi (the integrated octroi checkpost) till the eastern end of the Sone River Bridge. The rest of the road from WB-JH to BR-UP border is bumpy with rolled tar and potholes galore.

Crossed the Ganga Bridge at Varanasi at 9:00 AM - the morning traffic from the BR-UP border till the Allahabad Bypass was miserable. Allahabad bypass in the late-morning hours did not have trucks parked along it to block one of the lanes (as noticed on the previous trip), but the number of two-wheelers driving the wrong way is huge, and the risk of accidents is high. Inquired at the western end (Kokhraj) tollgate, to be told that the locals are difficult to control, the local police have shrugged off any responsibility, and any complaint needs to be lodged with the company operating the tollway.

Road repair work is in progress on the Panagarh stretch in WB. Since we crossed the stretch past midnight, faced slow-moving but not jammed traffic - but expect traffic to be really bad in the daytime till the repair work is over.
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Old 25th June 2014, 12:20   #343
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Default Re: Delhi-Kolkata by Road | NH2 in Full Detail

Well, it was my first time from Kolkata to Delhi (enroute to Ladakh) and back and I must say, barring the section between Kanpur and Agra (start of YEH), I liked the entire route.

The major irritant for me was right at the start, West Bengal. I guess 5.5 hours from my Howrah home to the JH Border with 2 hold ups and 4.5 hours on the way back with 1 hold up was just too much for what is essentially only a little over 200 clicks. Traffic lights on an NH, Traffic volunteers at the crossroads with Lathi's, encroachment near Durgapur-Asansol, bumps and then there were some shopping malls just off the NH2 at Durgapur. I am not even speaking about Panagarh (which used to take 2 hours to Darjeeling more from our home 2 years back, this time it took 3.5 on the way up and 3 on the way down).

Not surprising that on the way back, while I was searching for a Welcome to West Bengal signboard, all we saw was 5-6 signboards in quick succession saying "SLOW" "SLOW-DOWN" etc.

The average speeds increased right after crossing over to JH and with it the stress levels came down.
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Old 25th June 2014, 13:00   #344
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I guess 5.5 hours from my Howrah home to the JH Border with 2 hold ups and 4.5 hours on the way back with 1 hold up was just too much for what is essentially only a little over 200 clicks.
...while I was searching for a Welcome to West Bengal signboard, all we saw was 5-6 signboards in quick succession saying "SLOW" "SLOW-DOWN" etc.

The average speeds increased right after crossing over to JH and with it the stress levels came down.
It took us almost 4 hours, travelling overnight and with roads empty of local slow-moving traffic and pedestrians, to make it from near the airport, across the Belghoria Expressway, to the border. Average speed a little less than 60 km/h.

At the western end of the Kanpur elevated corridor, we had covered 1049 km in 15 hours - or an everage of ~70 km/h.

By the time we got to the entry point of the YEW, it was 1302 km in 19 hr 45 min - the average climbed down to 65.9 km/h. Once again, thanks to steady cruise speeds across the YEW, the final average built up to ~68 km/h.

So, there are essentially 3 bottlenecks that push up travel times on this sector:
  1. The Tundla-Kanpur section, because of ongoing widening work (~250 km);
  2. The eastern end of the Allahabad Bypass (Handia) to the eastern end of the bridge over Sone River (~220 km);
  3. The section through WB (from the JH border) till Kolkata (~215 km).

As for weird signs, I hope you've noticed octagonal red STOP signs on the highway all over UP. Some nutcase expects the highway traffic to come to a complete rolling stop and give way to slow-moving traffic merging from side roads on to the highway.

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 25th June 2014 at 13:02.
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Old 26th June 2014, 22:00   #345
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On the YEW, maintaining an exact 100 km/h, I still got a Speed Violation notification on the LED display
Same here. And I was driving a Bolero! They did not say anything, so neither did I.

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