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Old 22nd February 2024, 13:25   #1
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Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience

Introduction

Some rides happen by chance; and this is an account of my chance ride from Mumbai to Pune the Vistadome way!

Background

I had to make two back to back official trips - one to GJ and another to MH, and decided that instead of doing flights back and forth to my current base in the south, I'd rather spend the weekend in Surat and continue my next leg to Pune from there. The plan was cast - travel August Kranti Tejas Rajdhani Exp to Mumbai, transit from Mumbai Central to Mumbai CST, and take another train from there to Pune. When I was examining evening options from CST to Pune, Vande Bharat Exp was there, but when I was looking to try something more unique, pop came the options of Vistadome on Pragati Express and the Deccan Queen. I chose Pragati Exp for multiple reasons:

1. Earlier departure than the Deccan Queen
2. Opportunity to try the Vistadome coach
3. Opportunity to explore a new route (Panvel to Karjat)

Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-vistadome_outsideview.jpg

Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-vista_insideview.jpg

Last edited by vigsom : 22nd February 2024 at 15:19.
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Old 22nd February 2024, 13:49   #2
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Re: Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience

Ride#1 - Surat to Mumbai Central by August Kranti Tejas Rajdhani Express

I've travelled by this train umpteen times from when it was introduced as Air-Conditioned Express (in the early 90s), but got to experience First AC on the Tejas coaches for the first time.

What has changed

1. Nice looking comforter in a neat looking bag
2. Neat carpet
3. Excellent washrooms
4. Complete coach cleaned before arrival at destination
5. Carpet covered with a vinyl cover to prevent it from getting soiled

What hasn't changed

1. The good old foldable table used by caterers to serve beverages and meals
2. The design of the berths is no different from First AC on other trains
3. Coach was freezing cold - common problem with all Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches

View of the First AC cabin - nothing different
Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-akexp_iaccabinview.jpg

Comforter put away in a zipper bag - quite neat
Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-akexp_comforter.jpg

Clean carpet
Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-akexp_cleancarpet.jpg

Black Coffee on board
Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-akexp_coffee.jpg

Cornflakes (milk on the way)
Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-akexp_breakfast.jpg

Followed by Upma neatly served
Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-akexp_upma.jpg

Crossing Vaitarna station before entering Virar
Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-akexp_vaitarna.jpg

Last edited by vigsom : 22nd February 2024 at 15:56.
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Old 22nd February 2024, 14:01   #3
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Re: Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience

Transit through Mumbai to Mumbai CST

I was at Pedder Road for a while, and when moving to the BMC Pay and Park at Altamount Road, I got this bonus sight - Antilia.

Antilia
Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-antilia.jpg

I was in that area for a while, and before leaving, wanted to use a washroom - here came the next surprise; an almost five star public convenience just next to BMC Pay and Park

Public Convenience at Altamount Road
Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-publicconvenience_altamountroad2.jpg

Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-publicconvenience_altamountroad.jpg

I was then back to earth and travelled in a Black and Yellow Santro to Mumbai CST. Saw something interesting there too - the new BEST SWITCH Double Decker Electric buses. Need to ride on the top deck sometime!!

Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-best_switchdd.jpg

Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-best_switchdd2.jpg

While at Mumbai CST, I found this puny "food court" right at the main entry to the CST station. Their plain veg sandwich was really light and fresh.

At Mumbai CST
Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-cstm_waitingarea.jpg

Last edited by vigsom : 22nd February 2024 at 15:28.
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Old 22nd February 2024, 14:35   #4
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Re: Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience

Ride#2 - Mumbai CST to Pune by Pragati Express

I'd reached the platform quite early, and so had to cool off for over an hour before the coach was opened. Before other folks could come in, I took a quick tour of the coach. The coach EV1 is at the fag end of the train on the CST - Pune sector. It makes little sense to take this coach on the Pune - CST sector as the loco would block views from the viewing gallery.

What I liked about the Vistadome coach

1. Beautifully upholstered seats
2. Transparent panels on the roof
3. Luggage rack just outside the coach on one end - no overhead bins as in other coaches
4. Wide viewing gallery at the rear end makes one feel as if one's riding in an AC caboose

What I disliked

1. Washrooms (available only at one end of the coach) poorly kept
2. Roof glass panels were all dirty - unobstructed view of the sky overhead was lacking
3. Some passengers placed their feet on the panel in front; poor decorum

Small yet significant observations

1. One can't take pictures from the Viewing Gallery in low outside light - the reflection overpowers the camera
2. Best views from the Vistadome coach Viewing Gallery are enjoyed when the coach is at the rear of the train and when outside light is good


Let the pictures speak

Vistadome coach as viewed from outside
Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-vistadome_outsideview.jpg

Viewing Gallery with the loco in front - this is how the view would have been on the Pune to CST sector
Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-vistadome_viewinggallery.jpg

Viewing Gallery - unobstructed view when the coach is at the end of the train
Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-vistadome_viewinggallery2.jpg

Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-vistadome_viewinggallery3.jpg

View of the cabin from the Viewing Gallery
Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-vistadome_insideview1.jpg

Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-vistadome_insideview2.jpg

View of the cabin - just Wow!
Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-vista_insideview.jpg

View of the roof - note that the transparent panels are letting some light in but aren't clean
Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-vistadome_roofview.jpg

Luggage rack
Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-vistadome_luggagerack.jpg

Some passengers who love to stretch and dirty the panel in front
Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-vista_footonpanel2.jpg

Views from the Viewing Gallery enroute Panvel to Karjat
Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-vistadome_pnvlkarjatview1.jpg

Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-vistadome_pnvlkarjatview2.jpg

Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-vistadome_pnvlkarjatview3.jpg

Panvel - Karjat line merging with the main Ambernath - Karjat line
Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-pnvlkarjat_mergewithmainline.jpg

Banker locos coming in to get attached - views from the Viewing Gallery will be lost, but enough shots already taken
Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience-karjat_bankerlococoming.jpg

Last edited by vigsom : 22nd February 2024 at 16:12.
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Old 22nd February 2024, 14:53   #5
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Re: Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience

Mumbai CST to Pune by Pragati Express (Contd.) - The bonus bit!!

Now for the bonus - like a picture is worth a thousand words, a short video is worth a thousand pictures. The following videos will hopefully give you all a great virtual experience.

Mumbai CST to Thane


Panvel to Karjat


At Karjat


Summing it up

There were many firsts in this twin trip; the first time I

1. travelled First AC in a Rajdhani Express with Tejas coaches
2. saw Antilia
3. experienced a five star public convenience on an Indian street
4. saw SWITCH Double Decker EVs
5. travelled Vistadome
6. saw a lugagge rack outside the cabin on board an Indian train
7. saw the movement of a train from the rear end - an experience only a freight train guard can otherwise get

My only request to Indian Railways is to have the transparent panels on the roof cleaned from the outside.

Truly memorable ride!!!

Last edited by vigsom : 22nd February 2024 at 16:16.
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Old 22nd February 2024, 16:23   #6
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Re: Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 23rd February 2024, 07:16   #7
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Re: Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience

Mumbai - Pune stretch is quite urbanised. I would suggest doing the Mumbai - Goa stretch by Vistadome, that is more enjoyable. I did it in Dec 2017. It was fantastic!
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Old 23rd February 2024, 11:03   #8
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Re: Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by vigsom View Post

Summing it up

There were many firsts in this twin trip; the first time I

1. travelled First AC in a Rajdhani Express with Tejas coaches
2. saw Antilia
3. experienced a five star public convenience on an Indian street
4. saw SWITCH Double Decker EVs
5. travelled Vistadome
6. saw a lugagge rack outside the cabin on board an Indian train
7. saw the movement of a train from the rear end - an experience only a freight train guard can otherwise get
Adding something you missed mentioning in your list considering point 2 is mentioned:

8. Seeing a police car.... which was a Land Rover
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Old 23rd February 2024, 11:46   #9
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Re: Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by vigsom View Post
Viewing Gallery with the loco in front - this is how the view would have been on the Pune to CST sector
Is the vistadom the first coach in Pune - CST route and the last in the CST - Pune route? That would be so lame as the viewing gallery becomes pointless in Pune-CST route and with the bankers attached between Karjat and Lonavala, we lose out on the usefulness of the viewing gallery in the ghat section in the CST-Pune route. Shouldn't the coach positioning be the other way round?
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Old 23rd February 2024, 11:49   #10
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Re: Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience

Just did a Bangalore - Mangalore and back in the vistadome coach the previous week and we loved it. Was great to be in a train after a long time and it also brought back wonderful memories. Your pedder road visit also made me feel nostalgic about Mumbai. Great fun to read.
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Old 23rd February 2024, 15:08   #11
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Re: Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience

Great trip report! Iíve been meaning to try a Vistadome trip but so far havenít been able to. Reports and travelogues like these only whet the desire to make the trip soon.

One question - if the Vistadome is the last coach and has that delightful view out the back, where is the train guard located? Isnít the guard, with the emergency brake controls usually in the last coach?
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Old 23rd February 2024, 18:49   #12
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Re: Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience

Hey,

Your review of the vistadome coaches was very nice. I have travelled many times in these coaches on the sector between Mumbai to Ahmedabad. The shatabdi express 12009/12010 both have 2 of these vista dome coaches, EV1 & EV2, one near the engine and other at the end of the trains.

These coaches compete with the Vande Bharat (Executive Class) train on the same sector.

But i always feel that these coaches are more exclusive than Vande Bharat. Also these coaches are not connected internally to entire train, you cant go any other coach once you board the train. A negative side to this is, since these trains are usually booked with catering, the entire food items, like plates etc are kept in the viewing gallery, spoiling the purpose and view of it. Otherwise in terms of service since the staff only has to serve to one coach on the entire journey they keep coming to you in case you want to tea/coffee.

Just an anecdote, when once i was travelling in this coach, the catering staff came to offer tea/coffee, despite me saying no, he kept saying sir please take it (in a good way), I did take the coffee on his instance. This kind of hospitality is not there in Vande Bharat, where it is very mechanical on what they serve and when.

I always try and book Vistadome when i have to travel in this sector, but because of limited seats, i sometimes have to go for VB.
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Old 23rd February 2024, 19:52   #13
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Re: Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by vharihar View Post
I would suggest doing the Mumbai - Goa stretch by Vistadome
Thank You for the tip!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SR-71 View Post
Shouldn't the coach positioning be the other way round?
Good point; from what I know, the Deccan Queen sports the Vistadome coach in the rear on the Pune - CST sector.

Quote:
Originally Posted by megazoid View Post
Your pedder road visit also made me feel nostalgic about Mumbai. Great fun to read.
Thank You, @megazoid. The surprise package for me was Antilia that I got to see unplanned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacifica View Post
Isn’t the guard, with the emergency brake controls usually in the last coach
Thank You, @Pacifica. The LV (last van) need not always be the guard's car (EOG or Luggage Car). I've seen many cases wherein the LV is a milk tanker, or an Inspection coach or something else. The guard car would be the penultimate coach in such cases.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanyam_2612 View Post
- Your review of the vistadome coaches was very nice
- entire food items, like plates etc are kept in the viewing gallery, spoiling the purpose and view of it
Thank You, @sanyam_2612. Caterers will never change; On Shatabdis, the galleys would be a royal mess. Give them trolleys and they'd still hold the meal trays to their chest and serve. Not once have I seen them being organized and neat in laying trays, or serving.

Last edited by vigsom : 23rd February 2024 at 19:55.
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Old 24th February 2024, 00:00   #14
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Re: Train Ride from Mumbai to Pune in a Vistadome Coach | A Memorable Experience

Wow! Some of the shots look stunning and encourages me to take a ride soon in one of these. First time I saw these coaches was at NJP junction. I believe the route further east from NJP will present a visual treat to passengers of these coaches. Also read in news paper that Ranchi- Giridih intercity express has been equipped with vista dome coaches as the section goes through dense forests and some valleys.

Thank you sharing these reports on railways which reignite and romanticise the old days when there was a certain attraction towards trains.
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