Train Travel

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are a terrific experience. They run on time, unlike the ones in Italy, where I have traveled extensively as well as lived for 2 years.  Now, those who have seen the pictures of Indian trains completely covered with people will think I have lost my mind. Well, I am not including any of those pictures seen in the Gandhi movie and others.  The net is full of them if you must see.  Let me say we traveled with no guide and went on three trips : an overnight from Delhi to Ahmedabad,  an all day trip from Goa to Mumbai, and then an overnight from Mumbai to Ahmedabad. I am not saying that these photographs are not true, just that we didn’t see them now.  India has the 4th largest rail network in the world. It is also the 2nd largest public sector employer in the country.  I think most Indians would agree that this is a very positive legacy of the English. India has the second largest population in the world and is predicted to be first in global population in 2035.  That is  quite a few people to travel by train. And kudos to India, the trains ran on time, or at least the three we traveled on!  Bravo!  We were very pleasantly surprised because there were other times where things and people seemed to be on “Indian time!”

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Now the New Dehli Station is pretty much a struggle, I will admit that with people traveling, people dropping off loved ones….all just there…a snapshot of India….teachers, doctors, students, professors, day laborers, vendors…all trying to  get to their train. A small Indian microcosm!

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The worst part for me was the line for the x-ray screening of bags. There were lots of rushing , pushing people with heavy bags and there didn’t seem to be any train authorities to control the crowd. We did get through and headed up some steps and then down others to a platform. David had been told that on the outside of the car, there would be a list of beds and names and sure enough it was there.  Travelling in a group of 13 is a struggle with some straggling because of heavy bags, and it was hard to stay  together. We didn’t have bunks together but in the same car. three_tier_air_conditioned_

This is a  third class sleeper , three on each side. We also had two trains that were second class sleepers.

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Some people were still struggling to get on board.

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It seemed like a giant sleep over party!

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Some spaces were more crowded than others. images

Food vendors are back and forth all during the day and night. I do have to give you a warning about the food. We ate on the first train and everything was fine, but sometime between trips, we heard on the news that the government had done spot checks and found poor sanitation on trains  both for food preparation and serving.  We brought  things with us on the 18 hour, two train trip from Goa and were fine. The  people were trying so hard to sell us things, of course, I felt bad about not buying from them , but didn’t want to risk getting sick.

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Hmm. . . I think these guys got the memo. Notice the the covered heads and hands!

I love train travel to look out the window and see where I have been and where I am going. I like to be able to eat, get up, visit, and walk around. It seems so very civilized and unhurried opposed to air travel. I was a tad nervous about Indian train travel, without a guide and all on our own, but I hope we will get to do it again. Would I like to try 1st class, maybe. I have always wanted to go on the Orient Express, but I remember the very fancy French train we took to Thebes and the poor and destitute of Egypt lined up along the tracks waving at us. I guess that was the highlight of their day, but it was sad for me.Ahmedabad_Railway_Station_main_entrance

Anyway, it was good to be back home in Ahmedabad!

Namaste. . . . .T I I I

About annetbell

I am a retired elementary teacher, well seasoned world traveler,new blogger, grandmother, and a new enthusiastic discoverer of the wonderfully complex country of India. Anne
This entry was posted in India, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Train Travel

  1. Harsha says:

    Hahaha..I loved your experience with Indian railways…
    And I guess you had a very pretty journey..But sometimes it is other way round and the Rail Journey seem to be some kind of Hell but again as India is a Huge Country we just can’t get everything right everytime but it is still the best and I Just love my country.. 🙂

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  2. I was surprised “pleasantly” to find that you mentioned “on time” with Indian reference. :)))…. Another great coverage.

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  3. How about a Luxury Train the one named Palace on Wheels and other Deccan Odyssey

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  4. Baldeep Kaur says:

    Please do let me know if you have any plans of visiting Chennai. Would love to meet you in person!

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    • annetbell says:

      How sweet of you ! We just were through there on our trip. If we come again it won’t be until January 2015. We are hoping to do this again, and I would love to meet you for a chai! 😎 Namaste. . .. Anne

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  5. jayantadeepa says:

    Hi Anne,
    Despite being an Indian, and living in India, I must tell you that I hate the trains. They are not maintained well. Except perhaps the Rajdhanis.

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  6. sudharsan says:

    Oh! That’s great coverage….loved it the way you expressed…..and jayantadeepa is right, maintenance isn’t up to the mark….may be first class would have made you more comfortable i think….and train foods are risky…..

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  7. OyiaBrown says:

    Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

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  8. uthamz says:

    Indian railways is nothing less than a wonder , Anne .
    It is a universe in miniature. You can see all aspects of life – good as well as bad – there.
    Nice post . And pictures .

    utham

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  9. vagabondvirginia says:

    The train rides in India were definitely an experience. Did it seem strange to you that so many people were crammed on but they make such a big deal about the tickets? There were many times when I went to my seat only to find I was sharing it with a whole family.

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    • annetbell says:

      LOL! Well to tell you for someone who has never had a linear thought in my life, all these surprises are just part of incredible India’s charm! But now that you mention it all, you have a point! Remember the answer to all these inconsistencies. . . .T I I or This Is India!

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  10. skytash says:

    I have been travelling on Amtrak through the US and kind of miss the fun of the tea wallah coming by the trains the way he did in India. There is nothing quite like tea sold on Indian stations and trains!

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  11. Glad your experience was way better than mine. Still loved it mind, a colourful experience. MM 🚊

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  12. butool says:

    great stuff ..and kudos to you feeling so about sleeper class travel! giant slumber party ! LOL! perspectives matter and you have an amzingly positive one ..i love train travel too and would wish you all luck in your future journeys!

    Like

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