June 8th, 2017 by admin

In January 2015 and February 2015, I have travelled to and fro on the Duranto train of the Indian railways for the first time. This train was launched with much fanfare by the then Indian railway minister Mamata Banerjee. The train is supposed to be super fast and very convenient express train. In these journey we were two people and had bought tickets for AC 3 tier. Well, yes the train was convenient and service was good. The train has only 3 stoppages in its entire stretch of around 1900 kms from Bangalore to Kolkata. Once the train leaves, you are provided with water bottles. But note that on the second day, you will have to purchase drinking water. In all they provide 2 bottles. These bottles are branded as Rail Neer.

Then little later they provided bread stick with butter, salt and pepper. For lunch or dinner, you will get to select veg or non-veg while buying the ticket. On top of that, the pantry guys will again confirm with you. On lunch and dinner, you have roti, some rice, a veg curry / dal, a non veg curry (chicken) and sweet curd (sometimes sour white curd) as dessert. In breakfast and evening snacks one can have tea / coffee with boiled egg, bread /butter /zam and frooti. I think this menu might change.

The food service is good and done on time. The cleaners are also good. They spray deodorant, clean and wipe the compartments.

As this was an AC coach, we were provided with pillows, bedsheets and blankets. But towards the end of the journey, the pantry service and the cleaners expect some tips. I have seen every one pays them generously.

April 10th, 2016 by admin

On April 5th, 2016 the much hyped Gatimaan express (train # 02050 /02049) was flagged off. This part of Indian PM Narendra Modi’s election campaign promise of running semi high speed trains in India. So under 2 years he has a train on the ground which is touted as the fastest train in India. Well at present it is the fastest train in India at a top speed of 160 km/hr. Now how fast is the fastest train from former fastest train? Well it’s a mere difference of 5 – 10 km/hr. The runner up is the Delhi – Bhopal Shatabdi express which runs at a top speed of 150 – 155 km/hr. It was the first Shatabdi train and was launched in 1988 on the birth centenary of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Are we saying since then we could progress a mere increase of just 5 – 10 km/hr!

Well on speed (gati), I don’t see much gati! But it does score point on service. It introduces for the first time hostess on Indian train and infotainment. Like the shatabdi and Rajdhani expresses,┬áLinke Hofmann Busch coaches were used. These coaches are now made in India at the┬áRail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, Punjab under transfer of technology from LHB Germany which is now part of Alstom, France. IRCTC has also offered tour packages synchronized with the time of Gatimaan express.

It definitely good addition for anyone who wants visit Agra from Delhi in the morning and return in the night. For a tourist who wants to see more of Agra than the Taj Mahal and Agra fort, one day is not enough. The Gatimaan express runs on all days except Friday (Taj Mahal remains close on Friday). It is a new standard when it comes premium trains in India. But did it really achieved its intended goal of semi high speed !!

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