Have you seen movie “The Burning Train”? I think it was on Vinod Khanna’s idea about Rajdhani Express, film was also shot on Mumbai-Rajdhani express.
Rajdhani Express, India’s one of the luxurious train, start from National Capital to state capitals like Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkatta, Trivendaram, Guwathi etc. There are many *road* trips on ghumakkar, and missing one on specific train, and a long trip like BAngalore – Delhi. So, I thought of writing on Rajdhani Express, I do not have any picture for this trip.
Recently, we went to Ghaziabad from Bangalore, air tickets prices are high now days and I have to buy 4 tickets, so we thought of taking trip by Rajdhani Express. Train is cheaper, bought 2 full tickets, 1 half ticket for my son and daughter traveling free. Train fare is 2800/- for IIAC, which is quite good and you pay 1500/- for the kids above 5 till 12 years of age. I booked the ticket for my mother while coming back, and this is again @ 50% off (30% senior citizen and + 20% off old age women), jai ho “Bhartiya Rail”.
Rajdhani Express starts from Bangalore @ 8:20 PM and reaches Delhi 3rd day @ 6:00 AM. From Delhi, it starts @ 8:50 PM and reaches 3rd day 6:35 in the morning. It’s good, you can work for the whole day and catch up the train in the evening, relax for another day in the train and following morning you will reach Delhi. As soon as train starts its journey, water bottles gets served, after few minutes, you are served with tomato soup with soup sticks and Amul butter (I have not seen soup sticks since long). As soon as you are done with your soup, attendant asks your choice for the dinner, veg / non-veg. Serve nice food around 10:00 PM followed by desert like ice-cream. While you are having your dinner, another attendant gets your bedding, pillows, 2 bed sheets and a blanket. You can ask more if you want, they are happy to provide the same if they have in stock. After a nice dinner, it’s sleep time now.
Wife and kids are always happy traveling in train. Wife is happy to save some money and husband is their for next 34 hours without any work and to take care of kids. Kids are happy as they get lots of space to play, mother and father with them for next 34 hours without any work. My son use to carry his own bag which contains toys and board games to keep all of us busy. While coming back, we actually worked on my daughters Doll house. They love to go up and down from lower to upper berth and upper to lower berth. My daughter learned climbing up all by herself this time. My kids are lucky that they always find someone else as well to play with them in the train, while going they found 1 bachelor guy and while coming back they found couple of other kids. Our cabin becomes kid’s room for next 2 days.
Morning tea is served around 6:00 AM, before you reach Hyderabad. Hyderabad is the 1st main stoppage while traveling from Bangalore, it reaches Hyderabad around 7:00 in the morning and stops for about 20 minutes. Rajdhani is good for the travelers to and from Hyderabad as well, we did this during our visit to Hyderabad in August (yes NDM, I have to write about Hyderabad trip as well).
Around 9:00 AM, you are served with breakfast and news paper, I think they took breakfast from Hyderabad. You enjoy your breakfast and news paper and kids are ready for Hangama in the train. Next station is Balarshah in Maharastra sometime 1:00 PM and during your lunch hour. Next is Nagpur around 4:30 PM during your evening tea. There are lots of vendors on the platform selling Nagpur Oranges, I suggest not buying those as they are not the best oranges they would be selling there. After about an hour leaving from Nagpur, you are served with evening snacks along with Jumpin juice. Bhopal-MP is the next stop, by that time your are already done with your dinner. Nagpur soup and dinner were little different and you will like it. You cross Jhansi-UP somewhere around 1:00 AM, you pass through Chambal/Gwalior (Read Nandan’s Khajurao story for detail about chambal). Train also passes Agra and Mathura, but do not stop there and the last stop is New Delhi – Nizammuddin Railway Station.
We were suppose to reach Delhi @ 6:00 AM, but due to the Mumbai terror strike (8-29th Nov), all trains from there were running late, hence, Rajdhani was also running late. Around 6:00 AM I thought we must have reach Delhi, but I saw Agra Cant platform board. We reached Delhi for about 4 hours late. No complain, as attendant served us the tea, normally they don’t serve it on the last morning of the journey.
Rajdhani express is full A/C and 3 classes, 3 tier sleeper, 2 tier sleeper and Ist AC, no chair car and general. For people traveling with kids, I think II AC is a good choice as you get lot of space, every cabin of 4 has curtains for your privacy. Some people are so private, that you see them only while boarding or getting off, otherwise they are always hidden behind the curtain. To get the food, they are so shy that, they take out a hand on attendant call and take out the same hand while giving back the empty plates.
All food is on the house, lunch and dinner have dal, roti, paneer/chicken, curd, salad, rice and desert. Morning tee also get served with biscuits and candies, evening snacks have smaosa/cutlets, sweet, breakfast has cutlets/omlette, vegetable sandwich. For very small kids, it’s better to carry your milk, as they do not have milk other then powder milk.
All the Rajdhani express are now sponsored by AirTel or New York Life insurance, and they have their cleaners on board along with the feed back form. Bathrooms are somewhat clean, you can find soap dispensers, perfume dispenser, toilet seat covers (first time I saw them in India and that too in Rajdhani). Train coaches also have perfume dispensers, light on board music, coaches gets cleaned several time, but still you can find cockroches and mouse (good for kids for fun or to keep them quite).
I heard that Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani is vey nice, it has all new imported coaches. I also heard that Bangalore Rajdhani also have Wi-Fi, but there is none, may be coming on your way soon. You can find electrical points to charge up your cell phone or laptop, but most of them are 2 pins, so carry a converter if you have 3 pin plug. There are still lots of scope for improvement, but I hope they will come soon. You will miss TV, as I was missing a lot, I wanted to get the information about Mumbai tragedy, but your cell phone works most of the time.
“Bhartiya Rail, sadev aapke liye”