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Old 11th March 2010, 16:12   #1
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Default Your best and worst train journey experiences?

I don't think this has been posted,but why don't we pen down some of teh best and worst train journeys we have had

My best as a kid was by GT Express New Delhi-Chennai-New Delhi 1978 in First Class. I remember enjoying the wide berth, getting royal treatment from the Attendant/Pantry.

Looking forward to tunnels somewhere between Itarsi and Nagpur,enjoying Nagpur oranges and the dark blue night light in the old style enclosure providing special effects.

The worst was by a local from Koliwada to VT where there was so much crowd(unusual for 2pm) that my round tiffin carrier became oval and so did I.

Another bad one was when I could not exit Avantika Express at Surat(1991) and eventually got off at an unscheduled stop just north of Surat at the Booze Hutments.
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Old 11th March 2010, 16:19   #2
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My best train journey was from London St Pancras to Paris Gare Du Nord and back, on the Eurostar. Cruising at 300 kmph under the british channel and over the french country side was pure bliss.

Worst train journey was from Mangalore to Jhansi by Mangala exp (prior to the konkan railway) and subsequent Jhansi to Kanpur by some other exp (name forgotten) and the return journey.
Hurricanes had disrupted rail roads near nellore, ongole areas, with no trains between chennai and vijayawada. Most trains were cancelled. We'd started from Mangalore the previous day. So we were re-routed from Tirupati back to Krishnarajapuram, Yeshwantapur and criss crossed all of India. we were late by over 58 hours. Had to get in to some train from jhansi to kanpur. There were 300 odd people in a reservation coach.
Return was even more painful. With half the trains cancelled, we got in to unreserved compartment of Mangala exp (decided to get off at yeshwantpur and take an over night bus from bangalore to mangalore). There would have been a 1000 people in there. I stood till Bhopal on one leg. Kept shifting my legs every hour. Was worse than travelling in Mumbai local!
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Old 11th March 2010, 16:57   #3
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The best times I had during train journeys were:
1. Delhi-Goa: Way back in 2001. We're a group of 5 best pals doing what guys do, especially when there's no one to complain.
2. Kalka-Dharampur enjoying the cool morning breeze sitting on the bogey footsteps of the toy train. We'd bought general class tickets but ended up doing the journey in first class.

Worst one, Delhi-Pune: Every minute was like an eternity with me waiting to flung myself into the waiting arms of my GF. For quite a lot of time I kept cursing myself for not buying an airplane ticket!
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Old 11th March 2010, 17:21   #4
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My best train journey (s) were the ones to Bangalore with parents from Delhi as a kid. Every two years on LTC we would travel by the GT Express till Madras in the First Class coupe. There the Bangalore bound coaches would be attached to the Madras-Bangalore Express. There used to be a layoff of about 3 hours for this transition.

One by one we used to go to Moore Market to buy imported trinkets etc. It used to be great fun. My fascination was for Cook's nail cutter...

The one vivid memory that remains is, one time my father booked all of us on a different train from Madras to Bangalore. We stayed in Madras for a week with our cousins and then took the famous Vrindavan Express to Bangalore. It was a memorable train journey.

I don't have any bad memories of a train journey.
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Old 11th March 2010, 17:35   #5
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Traversed all corners of the nation, but, I don't know why, a journey by Coromandel Express has always enticed me - I don't know why this one train has always enticed me so much - I recall once choosing to travel on it in general quota bogie while I had a reservation on the East Coast Express. Don't know what was so special about it - maybe the punctuality it maintained OR maybe the good food that use to be served on it OR maybe the fewer stops it had - it use to have only 5 stops between Chennai and Kolkata !!

The worst ever was Bokaro - Allepey express. If ever you want to make someone suffer, buy them a ticket on this one. There is a saying in coastal andhra that if you miss this train, you can very well catch it by walking to the next village - This when the track between Vizag and Chennai is a very fast one. Even a bullock cart can give it a run for it's money. My friend from railways use to tell me that apprenticeship starts for a driver of a passenger locomotive with such trains.
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Old 11th March 2010, 17:39   #6
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I also experienced the Norwegian Railway NSB in 2003-took a train from Oslo Gardermoen Airport to a place called Porsgrunn,from where we took a bus to our hotel.It was a Sunday and the whole place was deserted.

The train ride was good but cost a bomb-387Kroner for a 3 hr ride .

All said and done,Indian trains are a different experience - I deliberately travel second many times from Surat-Mumbai to enjoy "Bhel Bhel", "Khaman bolo khaman" , "sing khari time pass" and the like-something one does not see in ac travel.

I understand the Konkan Railway is super picturesque.

Just an update-I came in from Jamnagar this afternoon in a 3AC and was pleasantly surprised to see curtains for every bay and for the side berths like 2AC
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Old 11th March 2010, 18:27   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vigsom View Post

The train ride was good but cost a bomb-387Kroner for a 3 hr ride .

All said and done,Indian trains are a different experience - I deliberately travel second many times from Surat-Mumbai to enjoy "Bhel Bhel", "Khaman bolo khaman" , "sing khari time pass" and the like-something one does not see in ac travel.
Wow! 387 Kroner is a bomb for 3 hr ride?

I spent 310 gbp for a 2 hour ride from London to Paris. That's roughly 10 times the amount you spent

Not to boast. But I rarely travel in AC in india. It's always sleeper for me.
I was very surprised and happy once that they gave me a free upgrade from sleeper to 3A. I was travelling home on occasion of my wedding anniversary
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Old 11th March 2010, 18:43   #8
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In 2003 I went to Delhi. While I wanted to study for the UPSC exams, my family had other plans for me - they wanted me to work with my uncle and understand how his factory works. Needless to say I was not amused a bit. After 1.5 months of pretending to like stuff, I decided to come back home.

That train ride from Nizamuddin to Bombay Central was one of my favorites. The anticipation, joy and hope of getting back home was enough to make a normal 17 hour journey into a BEST one. That day I realized, no place like home - no place like Bombay.

I want to do the Bombay - Goa Konkan railway trip in the monsoon, BUT I end up driving to Goa each time.
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Old 11th March 2010, 18:52   #9
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Best: Lille-Paris-Lille in a TGV Fast train @ 300+ KMPH
With only one day to see Paris, had to catch a cab from Ghent (Belgium to Lille). The onward journey was cheap , but return was really expensive as the trains were packed and we had to travel in first class.

Best in India: Chalakudy - Calicut (Don't remember the train name). When me and my cousin reached the station early morning in pouring rain standing in an auto (yes, Standing), the train was on the other side of the platform and moving. All doors on our side was closed. So we climbed the steps of the train and were holding on to the side handle for some distance before we got in. Hell of a Ride it was!

Worst: Chalakudy-Dadar in Jayanti Janata Express- 3 days of tiring travel.
Thanks to Konkan, now the distance is covered in one day.
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Old 11th March 2010, 20:10   #10
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Pretty much covered all sectors in the country. The first two main travel sectors to me as a child was Kota to Bombay and Kota to Chennai. Bombay was smooth, but for Chennai travel, all hell broke loose.

I have seen both GT and TN. GT used be the numero uno and then was reduced to a mere commoner stopping at all stations. Reason: enter TN express. One classy train, even today.

Even Coromandel was a great fancy.

First use of GT, was we used to travel from Kota to Chennai. The best way to catch GT was to take a godforsaken passenger train from Kota to Bina (yes that is the most famous region for Chambal dacoits.) We (my parents) encountered one as well, although the guy had surrendered.

Well back to the passenger romance. There were two passenger trains from Kota to Bina. One started at 8AM and reached by 3PM, while the other started at 5PM to reach Bina by 1AM. There was no time guarantee of both these trains. GT used to arrive at Bina at 3AM and we could not take the risk of arriving at Bina very close to GT's arrival time. GT stopped at Bina for a mere 2 minutes. So we used to take the 8AM train. Now our house was another 50KM away from Kota, and those days there was no transportation at early hours.

So in summary we ended up in Kota, a day earlier to catch the passenger so as to catch GT to go to Madras !

This passenger train ride was one hell of a ride. The seats were all a bed of ground nut covers with Doodwallas all over the place smell yuck. The train used to stop at any place which had a board and a bench. Once it stopped in the middle of nowhere and stood there for an hour. I peeped out to see what was happening. What I saw was a guy emerging out from a nearby lake, wiping himself with a towel, walked up to the steaming steam-engine and then the train started. I was in the first compartment of the passenger and hence a witness to this august ablution ceremony !

Folks this is just one of the millions that I have gone through. Not very sure if its the best or the worst !

Many a time it was smooth sailing in TN and Rajdhani to Chennai/Bangalore
or from Agra to Bangalore in KK on a newspaper
or enjoying the newly laid Konkan railway from Karwar to Bomabay
or sitting on top berth of an un-reserved second class from Bombay to Karwar
or trying the comfortable AC 2-tier of Mangala on the Konkan railway,
or umpteen travels from Kota to Bombay
or ..........

There are many many more short stories which can keep going on and on.
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Old 11th March 2010, 21:07   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iceman7 View Post
That train ride from Nizamuddin to Bombay Central was one of my favorites. The anticipation, joy and hope of getting back home was enough to make a normal 17 hour journey into a BEST one
August Kranti Rajdhani Express?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaguar.runs View Post

Worst: Chalakudy-Dadar in Jayanti Janata Express- 3 days of tiring travel.
Thanks to Konkan, now the distance is covered in one day.
Yes,Mumbai-Kanyakumari Exp was a slowish train but always kept it stime.This was my favourite when there was no computerised reservation here ;I used to avail of the three berth quota here to travel Mumbai CST-Salem and then connect to Trichy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
enter TN express. One classy train, even today.

Even Coromandel was a great fancy.
True - both classy trains.

I am told the otherwise infamous Bandra-Gorakhpur Avadh Express serves some of the best food.
Same with Gnaneswari Deluxe Kurla(LTT)-Howrah
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Old 11th March 2010, 23:07   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post

I have seen both GT and TN. GT used be the numero uno and then was reduced to a mere commoner stopping at all stations. Reason: enter TN express. One classy train, even today.

Even Coromandel was a great fancy.
Very true - There were some of these trains which had a character about them - All three of them in there have it. Some of the other trains which had a character about them were:

Prayagraj express - It use to literally fly between Kanpur and New Delhi

Mumbai Rajdhani - Maybe the multi-starrer movie added to it's fame

Kamrup Express and North East Express - Very old trains which connected to the entire NE at one point of time - Getting reservation was a nightmare !!

Something special happens in the stations as these trains arrive - It is as if the arrival and departure of these select few of such trains is the main event for the day at the station !!

- When it comes to some of the best stations in India, Vijaywada leads the way and by some margin - It is a traveller's paradise !! Following it would be Howrah for it's sheer size and Mumbai CST for it's architectural beauty.
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Old 12th March 2010, 00:07   #13
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My best and worst are actually entwined with each other and happened within a span of 36 hours. Indeed it is a return journey that went from one extreme to the other.

This was almost 20 years ago, my Father and I travelled from Delhi to Kota on Dehradun Express. We were in 1AC and in the coupe was a Sardar gentleman. The Ddoon express leaves Delhi around 9pm and reaches Kota at 7 in the morning. As the train rolled out of Delhi and dinners are polished off everyone gets ready to sleep. Lights out and soon everyone is off to Lala land. Half an hour of peace and quiet and then suddenly without warning it is as if the skies have fallen on us BHUURRRRAAAAAAHHAHH....PHEEEUSSHHH...BUURRRRAAAAAA HHAHH...PHEEEUSSHHH...BHURRRRAAAAAAHHAHH...PHEEEUS SHHH...

Lights come back on and Dad, I and the 4th copassenger are looking at each other and then at the Sardarji who is blissfully unaware of the cacophony and carrying on with his BUURRRRAAAAAAHHAHH...PHEEEUSSHHH...

We could do nothing but look again at each other in bewilderment, needless to stay the rest of the night was spent in fitful sessions of sleeping and then waking up to the ...BUURRRRAAAAAAHHAHH...PHEEEUSSHHH... We got down at Kota along with the Sardarji and looking at three very red pairs of eyes staring at him the gentleman had the courtesy to apologize to all admitting that his snoring was indeed a few dozen octaves higher than anyone else on the face of the planet.

That was the Worst Journey ever.

Now comes the best journey. We finished our work at Kota and came back to the station for the journey back to Delhi. I go to look for the concerned official to get confirmed berths and get a coupe with two berths. As I come back to the bench where Dad is sitting my eyes behold a scene nothing short of Horror it is the same Sardar Gentleman taking the seat next to Dad and greeting him like a long lost friend. Being Punjabis good mood prevails but on the inside both my Dad and I are wondering where the bombs will fall tonight.

Soon the train comes in and indeed the Sardar Sahib boards the 1AC but thankfully gets in to the coupe at the far end. We are at the other end almost next to the attendant's coupe. Soon the train pulls out, sometime later dinner comes and goes so it is time to sleep again. The attendant comes in to make the bed and as he is making the beds with the door open it is a sense of deja vu as we hear it unmistakably clear and crisp just like last night but thankfully damped due to the distance BUURRRRAAAAAAHHAHH...PHEEEUSSHHH.

I and Dad look at each other and then we burst out laughing, we laughed so much that even the attendant was infested and joined us. We laughed till it hurt us to laugh anymore. I believe that was the best laugh I have shared with my father ever, we continue to laugh together but that one in the coupe was indeed the best & therefore that return train journey from Kota to Delhi is the best one for me.

Last edited by khoj : 12th March 2010 at 00:20.
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Old 12th March 2010, 13:50   #14
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The best has to be the "Rajdhani", quick clean and efficient and the worst was my daily commute from Kandivali to Churchgate in Mumbai for a year...packed like sardines as they say!!
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Old 12th March 2010, 15:29   #15
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@ KHOJ. Lala land! BUURRRRAAAAAAHHAHH...PHEEEUSSHHH. I died laughing these.
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