I and RB had gone to Bengaluru on a family mourning in early hours of 6th December by an Air India flight. I was to come back on 8th by train after the fourth day havan for the departed soul. We booked our return via train, as it was very reasonable ( 1/4th of the flight tickets) and fortunately I was able to book our tickets in 1st AC. It was a long journey of 33 hours. It took 36 hours, if I take start and end of journey from home to home. The train covered a distance of 1661 km. The road distance from home to station in Bengaluru was 6 km and in Ahmedabad, it was 21 km.
The train starts from Bengaluru at 9.50 pm and it’s arrival at Ahmedabad is shown as 6.55 am. The Gandhidham Express (Train no. 16506) passes through Karnataka and Maharashtra to enter Gujarat via diamond city Surat.
The SBC station , Bengaluru was very neat and clean. The train was to start from platform 8. We had a small bag with trolly and we walked up to platform 8. Traveling light has its own advantages. 🙂
Train arrived at 9.20pm, half an hour before the time of departure. We were allotted coupe no. C and it was a 2 seater coupe. So, coupe C was our private room for next 33 hours. Neat and clean, with plush seats, the coupe has the old world charm of train traveling. A small almirah to hang clothes was also provided. It reminded me of my honeymoon trip from New Delhi to Jammu Tawi in 1984.
The long journeys provide forced rest and relaxation, lots of sound sleep and reading, the “me time” and great choices of foods on the way. Thanks to “Food on Track” initiatives by Indian Railways, passenger is spoilt for the choices. This train has pantry and they served good food. Throughout the journey, there were railway vendors serving snacks, sweets cold drinks, water and tea/coffee. I have ordered Domino’s Pizza to be delivered at Miraj Station at 12.40 pm. We reached Miraj around 2.15 pm. The yummy hot and fresh pizza was waiting for us. It’s a boon to have hot meals of own choice during travels. An innovative thought and service, this gets phut due to delay in trains. I missed my dinner as we reached the Kalyan station at 11 pm instead of 9.30 pm. As train was getting late, I ordered dinner through pantry car which saved me from starvation. 🙂
The train started on right time at 9.50 pm from SBC Bengaluru . And then entered the “slow motion mode” and continued the whole journey like this reaching Ahmedabad 90 minutes late.This train was made to stop so often , sometimes on stations, which were not scheduled halts, sometimes, just anywhere. Indian railways must do some serious time management strategies to ensure right time arrivals. In one of my earlier travels to Bengaluru via Pune, I missed the train to Bengaluru , in spite of a gap of 5 hours. I missed meeting an old friend and train to my next destination. 🙁
I always make it a point to be awake during day time in train journeys as I find the change in scenery every moment very fascinating. It’s like seeing a new canvas every second. The large fields, children waving at moving trains, villages along the railway line, people waiting at railway crossings for the train to pass, I love all these sights.
Two nights and one day was spent in this train and I got down at Ahmedabad at 8. 30 am. During the entire journey, the coupe , gallery and the four toilets were cleaned 3 times a day and were always clean and dry. The blankets, sheets, hand towel and pillows were clean. The attendant was available throughout the journey , which is not so generally. Overall, this train was very well managed internally. The arrivals at every station was delayed by 1 hour – 2 hours, if only Indian railways has better time management.
This is what I saw on the way –
Overall, It was a good journey as I spent my time without any household worries and spent reading , listening to music and just lazily looking out of the window.
Photo courtesy : Neerja Bhatnagar
Camera – Honor 9i