A Short Journey through Rain in Plains on a very Late Train

Hello Ghumakkars,

The following post is based on a post originally made by me to a closed Yahoogroup. I am posting this here as I could not resist the temptation of sharing an exhilirating train ride in monsoon here, based on the response that Karthik’s Train Journey to Thiruvalla got. This post does not contain any visual photographs. Hope you will like reading it through.

We had gone to Lucknow-our Home Station and had booked our return trip on the hallowed 5609 Abadh Assam express. We chose this train as we wanted to be home by Sunday(17.08.08) night as we did not want the kids to miss their schools as none of the overnight trains can give an assured timely arrival at Ghaziabad, our adopted Station. And there is no day train from LKO to GZB on Sundays except for Gomati and SwarnShatabdi, but then sitting in a confined space for 6 to 9 hours is tiring, especially so for ladies and kids.

So I had chosen this train which although has scheduled arrival and departure of 5:20 and 5:40hrs respectively, at Lucknow, I was assured of a comfortable Sunday waking up as while completing its 31 hrs of journey from Guwahati through WB and Bihar on single lines in many stretches, to LKO it invariably gets delayed by a couple of hours. I was relying on www.trainenquiry.com for an advance update on its running status. My train, that I would board on 17.08.08 from Lucknow, had to leave form Guwahati on 15.08.08 at 21:35hrs.

So far so good. After Rakshabandahan, my brother had decided to return a day before i.e. on16.08.08 by 4205 Padmawat Express. I went to see him off and sorted out the Side Middle Berth migration matter (please comment if you need further info on this matter) as his allotted berths had been changed on charting and these new berths were occupied by the original unsuspecting allottees of those numbers. However, matter was amicably resolved in a jiffy, just in time, when I took these unsuspecting passenger to the chart and showed them their new berth numbers.

On checking the running status of my train I came to know that it departed with a comfortable 8 hours delay from Guwahati. Now I was certain that we will get another lunch with our parents at LKO as it would not arrive before 14:00 hrs on Sunday instead of the scheduled 5:20, with more than anticipated and welcome delay. It is really rare that we get relieved by such inordinate delays of trains.

You will know what I meant from the previous sentence by reading follwing. Talking of delay reminds me of the fun we had while coming to LKO by 2230A LKO NDLS Superfast Special of 14.08.08 which was to leave GZB at 00:05 of 15.08.08. That was some day. On 14.08.08, since early evening TV was splashed with the continuously `being broken’ news of traffic jams arresting entire Delhi and NCR, probably as a result of a combination of reasons like incessant rain, security checks on IDay eve, everyone and their aunts deciding to leave the Town that very day, etc. People were continuously missing their flights, as continuously being broken as breaking news by the news channels-who else? It was just short of the Independence Day scenario or Armageddon for that matter. We were first hand aware of the festival rush at stations as one of my colleagues had gone to NDLS (New Delhi) early in the evening to drop his family for Lichhavi express. He came back bounced as parking had been banned at NDLS and no platform tickets were being issued. However, Lichhavi was nowhere in the sight of his poor kids and wife who were struggling to find their inches at the platform, whereas as per trainenquiry.com it was about to reach ALJN (Aligarh)!

It had been raining non-stop. So we thought we should not take a chance and we left for GZB(Ghaziabad Station), 20min from our home, at about 22:00, to reach there without facing any traffic snarls at 22:45 – the scheduled time of departure of 2230 LKO mail from GZB (Our train was at 00:05). The platforms were chockablock with the passengers of, well, LKO mail, Prayagraj, Rewa Express, Duplicate Lko mail (2230A), Triplicate :-) Lko mail (2230B) among many other trains. Since we had arrived quite in advance, we decided to wait at PF3 – by large the cleanest and most hospitable platform GZB got. The first announcement we heard said in an almost incomprehensible voice that LKO mail and PR had yet not been berthed at NDLS and further information will be conveyed as received. We knew we (Myself, wife, two kids, brother, wife, one kid) were going to have a long stay there.

The Platform Family Picninc

Kids having all the fun
So we decided to have a field day and spread our bedsheets at a cleaner and drier spot near some young students leaving for bandhing/bandhaoing rakhees. It was a three continuous leave package festival season and no wonder I came to know later that on that weekend Delhi wore a deserted look. We treated our kids with Kurkure and Chips and ourselves with the Chai and cold drink. I am station chai ka piyakkad, and a special fan of chai of GZB PF1-2. We were having so much fun and remembering our childhood days, when our parents would spread sheets at moonlit platforms in some nnodescript stations. Our place was comfortable and we though we could easily spent the rest of waiting. We took a couple of snaps for posterity. I knew that our train will come at PF-2 but idea of moving to PF-2 was not very exciting. Then some Keeda katoed me and I though of doing some survey and eventually FOBed down to the enquiry counter on the city side of GZB.

BTW, GZB is one of those rare stations where no PF is approachable without using FOBs. The caring gentleman behind enquiry counter gesticulated ‘two’ by showing two fingers. I tried to confirm as expected , “Do baje ayegi?” He repeated his gesture and said two number platform. On asking time he said “barah”. It was already 23:50, so I mobiled my brother to wrap up our set up from PF 3 and move to PF1-2. Fortunately we did not have much luggage. So we were there on PF 1-2 of Ghaziabad, which is entirely different in demography from PF-3. Incidentally I guess 2229/30 is the only set which is taken on PF3-4 in its both directions. Otherwise very few eastbound trains are taken on PF3-4 as most others, including Shatabdis, are taken on PF1-2.

PF1-2 is although a heaven for tastebuds, with the host of its assorted Pakori stalls and its thick teas, it looks neglected in cleanliness and sanitation. As soon as any local from Delhi side arrives, alighting passengers converge on these stalls to have their fill before they embark on the onward journey on foot, by road or by another connecting train. Though there are quite a few number of benches with fans above them, all of them were full occupied down to the Sahibabad end of platform. The floor of platform was not so hospitable as it is undergoing replacement of tiles. The PF is also home to quite a few beggars/alike of all excuses.

Even after 00:30 there was no announcement about our train, though the announcer, whose voice was more comprehensible on this platform probably because of absence of echo as there are no walls here, was informing that the LKO mail and Prayagraj were at NDLS platforms. Since all schedules had gone haywire, manual announcement had taken over from the recorded system. So here we knew that we were going to have a longer PF family conclave. We looked for some cartons to spread beneath our bedsheets. The benign stallowner gave us a big carton, on which we rested our backsides for another two hours before we eventually boarded our train to find our berths occupied by initially unrelenting waitlisted passengers, only to check and inform their allotted berths by calling 139, one by one. They gratefully vacated our all six berths and moved to their alloted confirmed/RACed berths in other coaches. Thankfully, the train was vestibulated. They told us that it was utter chaos at NDLS and that the chart was nowhere to be seen. I informed them that number 139 is one point solution for all passenger matters/queries, well, except for the running status of trains on which 139 was clueless that night. LKO mail, ShramShakti, Prayagaraj, had already went past us in the half hour between 01:00 and 01:30. There must have been something really serious at NDLS for these trains to get delayed by such an order. I wondered whether IR had deliberately delayed these trains to help the passengers who might have been stranded in traffic snarls that night.

Coming back to “Gauhati”, as 5609/10 is known in local parlance, the train has been known to never turn up before 09:00 at LKO, especially in its VB(Vacuum Braked) days which lasted till not so long ago, as this train was probably one of the last BG ones to be converted to AB(Air Braked). We have done a few trips by it in its VB days also and most of time it used to be like, “Abhi vacuum nahin ban raha hai…chal nahin sakti…”. Once it remained berthed at LKO PF for more than a couple of hours for this very reason.

Now, I was reassured in that I knew that it had been converted into AB (Air Braked). Sunday morning was a delightfully monsoon one, with an overnight drizzle greeting us. I checked the status at trainenquiry/139 and found that our train had made up about one hour in the night of 16.08.08 while it passed through Begusarai, Mujaffarpur, Hajipur, Sonpur, etc and the ETA for LKO had receded to 12:35 from 14:05 or so. But as day passed, the rain was unrelenting and the train started losing time.

At noon, the trainenquiry ETA (Expected Time of Arrival) for LKO was 13:30, though adding up from where the train actually was gave us that it wont arrive LKO before 15:30. Now reasons for worry started piling up as we had long back finished our Gauhati bonus lunch with parents. The train would reach GZB not earlier than 01:30hrs, which was not a very good scenario, going by the L&O situation here, even if the pick up discomfort to brother was kept aside. And add to that the expected condition of an inordinately delayed rake running through rain and thousands of kilometers.

But…Read on…

Our train, which was almost entirely empty, arrived at about 15:15 at LKO and we comfortably boarded our compartment S10. We originally had 6 berths, which were reduced to 4 as brother had left a day earlier. As usual we got the end bay and our numbers were 66,69,70,72- no, this coach was not SMBed. It was still raining, but except for some wetness of the floor, our coach was unbelievably clean, to our relief and disbelief. The only other passenger so far in our bay was a young man, on 65.

So as the train moved, We encroached on 71 and spread our bedsheet (not the one used at GZB) and lodged both our kids on the SL for their window delight, that too in rain. Let me tell, it is really rare, that we travel in day train now-a-days as it is considered a waste of time, but I had taken this calculated risk to have a fun filled day ride during monsoon. So far I had been kind of repenting my decision, due to more than needed delay and rains.

But I felt an adrenalin rush when the train picked up speed against the rain and I said to myself that the pilot was going to have some fun with an empty 24er rake with just one AC and that too presumably empty. And that is precisely what he did. In a jiffy we were racing through Malihabad while rain was sporadically relenting.

After Dilawarnagar the rain relented but the LP didn’t. He kept pushing the notches up and now we had opened the window pans. The countryside was a sight to behold, emerging a misty green, much like someone’s glowing body after a long long shower, and the Dashahari Mango orchards of Malihabad, with their midget plants, had turned kind of a blackish shade of extreme green. The misty view was clear to a fair distance, enabling us a birds eye view of the fields basking in the green glory. I have never seen this region with such a pervasive vegetation. So the news that this rergion was having one of its all time best monsoons was not untrue afterall. For sometime, whenever I would speak to my parents, they would tell us that it was raining there, whereas, here in NCR we had been managing with just the sight of some local clouds. Local clouds, because many times, it rained in front of our office while the backside had only clouds and some sterile wind. Gods have been caring in that they never lashed the entire NCR in one go. So ii you were stuck in NOIDA due to a rainled traffic jam, you would have the relief of a freer travel when you reach Ashram as there would be no rain-pains. Lately there has been some rain here also and the delhi roads which were like the “Gaal of you-know-who” have now turned into a ‘Gaal of Om puri’ with due respect to the thespian. So it is not always and to everyone that rain brings pleasure.

But it had certainly done so to our family that day. My son had just been gifted a toy camera with filmroll (they still exist), by his aunt and I goaded him to capture that intoxicating sight of mango orchards. The wind splashed our faces as if we were driving through the enchanting hills of Garhwal, with open window pans. After a long long time I was having a train journey of this delight. In fact I do not remember when I last had one such. We were kind of soaking in the experience, while sipping the pantry tea which was far better than what we get on most flights. And why not, the train was coming from Assam, of all places. The Tata Tea train TVC started playing in my mind. To add to the joy, there were no local passengers to obstruct/obscure our joyride, as probably our coach was fifth from last and also due to the strict TTE who did a really commendable job in not allowing any unauthorized persons to travel in our coach. In fact he went to the extent of picking a fight with some police official who was keen on traveling on an upper class ticket of another train running behind ours. Despite all kind of genuine or otherwise reasoning with the TTE, the gentleman officer had to purchase proper tickets for the train.

In BE(Bareilly), our FIL-MIL had to come to see us at the station, with our favourite Kipps sweets.. And it is only Shranmjeevi Express, a SF that does LKO-BE in about three and and a half hours, but our Loco Pilot of my kind saw us in BE at 19:15 after having left LKO at 15:45. Obviously there was no train ahead of us to hinder our speed. I was wondering whether there is an empty slot for a train leaving LKO at 14:00 to land at NDLS at about 22-22:30, at least on Sundays, and whether such a train will shunt the SwarnShatabdi return trip from LKO. There is a Neelachal express but it does not touch LKO on Sundays, as it runs as Puri express and goes via Kanpur on alternate days.

It was getting dark and colder and I was still reflecting on the day ride that we just had . After BE upto MB(Moradabad) the LP maintained the speeds, though after MB, as there were quite a few crossings and some cautions also as doubling work and rail replacement is under progress, our average speed came down. However we were at GZB PF-3 at 00:30hrs.
I also saw that electrification was progressing at brisk pace between MB and LKO. It looked as if some stretches around Hardoi were already charged! However, this trip with a Diesel at the helm through the Gangetic plains being showered with a kindly rain was one electrifying experience which I wanted to describe as closely as I possibly could in words and share. It is low on details and high on emotions but hope you will enjoy reading this. All of us caught cold that day.

Please send in your bouquets. I hope there would not be any brickbats:-)

40 Comments

  • nandanjha says:

    Whooo…..

    I need to rush out but I would at least spill the beans for all the acronyms :), which may make sense to some and none to most.

    LKO Lucknow (Capital of UP, start point)
    GZB – Ghaziabad (city close to Delhi, end point)
    WB – West Bengal
    NDLS New Delhi Station
    NCR National Capital Region (Delhi and most of it sub-urbs like Noida, Gurgaon. It actually goes much deeper)
    PF Platform
    FOB Foot Over Bridge
    RAC Reservation Against Cancellation (also against un-used HQ (head quarter) quota and other quotas)
    VB Vacuum Break (In Bihar, we used to call this Bhakam (V is Bh), when you pull a chain vacuum gets released or something like that. To make vacuum, you need to put on a pump kind of thing, long story)
    AB Air Break (long story)
    BG Broad Gauge
    ETA Estimated time of arrival
    SMB Side Middle Berth (its not there in all trains, I guess only in those which are overnighter). I personally think that its a bad idea for non-overnighter trains.
    TTE Traveling Ticket Examiner.
    FIL-MIL Father-in-Law / Mother-in-Law

    Joke time Whats different between in-laws and out-laws (Outlaws are wanted)

    BE Bareilly
    SF Superfast (When Shramjeevi was started, it used to compete with Rajdhani in terms of time it takes to cover Delhi-Patna)
    MB Moradabad, right Rajiv ?

    What a narration. I would come back and comment more but just wanted to write this so that you dont have to write another post explaining the acronyms.

  • Rajeev Tivari says:

    Nandan, Thanks a ton for the definitive ready reckoner on the acronyms, most of which wouldn’t have made any sense to most, and all the added interesting info. I had done some disencryption by inserting expansions in some places,
    but your addendum has added a lot of value to the post. thanks. Will wait for more from you. Thanks for the kind words as well.
    And comments of others are eagerly awaited too.

  • Rajeev says:

    Now I am on broadband. (the previous comment was from my mobile)
    Nandan, I must say, you are bang on target on every acronym and honestly this shows that you are clued in to railway things as well. SMB, VB, AB, ETA are not so commonplace acronyms.

    You are correct on MB. I have just shown the joke on in/out- laws to my wife who is asking your flat no in AG.

    Shramjeevi has been my favourite train. Though now a days I do not get tickets and half day FL.

    Cutting the long story on VB/AB short, I would just mention that braking effectiveness of AB is much higher and the braking distance shorter. The expert drivers can halt train within a few centimeters of the intended spot. In VB, braking was more of an art form. Hence the permissible speeds were lower in VB trains.

    I would like to delinteate a bit the SMB also for the benefit of Ghumakkars prone to travel on IR. Recently IR has introduced Side Middle Berths between the Side lower and Side Upper berths in all three tier sleeper coaches excluding IIIAC of Rajdhanis. This has increased the number of berths by 9 per coach, diregarding RAC. In the day time the passenger of SMB will have to sit in the main bay.

    This has led to widespread dissentment across passenger interest groups. Even the roll out of the new coaches is without a sunset clause. I mean, the already allotted berth numbers (booked on non SMB basis) would change if the coach turns out to be a SMBed coach.

    My advice to the train travel bound in india is that remember to confirm your berth number from the chart at PF/coach or from the helpline 139, which is very useful and reliable in this matter, before boarding your trains. It is quite likely that your seat number might have changed, if it is a three tier.

  • nandanjha says:

    :)

    Let me mail you separately on this.

    On a VB, it takes 1 KM to stop a train. When brakes are applied, you would notice ths sudden drop in speed and a kind of back-pull. Thats what I remember. I am sure AB would be much more effective.

    I need to read this again and probably comment again.

  • Rajeev Tivari says:

    That would be perfectly alright:-)

    You have very aptly described the behaviour of a VB train. Since the braking force was limited, braking was soft and there was a serious time lag.

    AB is a positive braking system, with almost nil lag and a higher braking effort. In case of emergency application, one can feel how hard it brakes.
    The AB works on positive pressure like automobile brakes.
    I think that is enough AB VB Puran.

  • Cuckoo says:

    Whoooo, what a long recount !!

    I had one memorable train journey from Mumbai to Chennai.. sitting whole night near the toilets. My first & last on that route. :D

    Will write about it sometime.

  • Cuckoo,
    Great to see you here. Thanks for going through the admittedly long recount and valuable note.

    Your mention of your Mumbai-Chennai train journey reminds me of a similar one I did from Bangalore to New Delhi, about 13years back. My ticket was waitlisted and TTE had allowed me to board a Sleeper coach on my passionate requests citing genuine reasons. The days were spent sitting on the trunk of a warrant holder and slept on floor in the nights when a 10year old kid fell upon me from the middle berth… Some experiences remain lifelong.

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Well narrated post with some useful information on railways.

    Though it’s a matter of personal liking, I would have appreciated the minimal use of abbreviations.

    Look forward to your next post.

  • Rajeev says:

    Dear Ram,

    Thanks for reading and the kind words. I am glad that it draw your attention and you read and commented on it.

    I agree that new abbreviations are some kind of speedbreakers, but as I have mentioned elsewhere, this post was originally written for an audience conversant in those abbreviations and train numbers. I am sorry I could not fully adopt the post as probably I hurried up its posting here, though I had inserted expansions for most abbreviations at their first instance. On a lighter side, had I expanded every acronym at all its instances, the post could have become irreadably long, not that it is short otherwise:-) See the length of Nandan’s explanatory comment.

    Honestly, I did not plan to post it here initially, as I thought it did not completely fulfil the requisites of being a Ghumakkar post. But eventually I did post it here, and I am thankful for the reception it got here.

  • Rajeev says:

    Update:
    I have added a few snaps taken at Ghaziabad station, while we waited for our train.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Ram – You are 100% right since a user wont be able to figure out but the fun is more with those acronyms for IR junta :). This post is probably for IR enthusiasts.

  • Rajeev says:

    Very right Nandan. They are commonly known as Railfans, though not so commonly found:-)

  • Rajeev says:

    …I know atleast four of them for certain among the Ghumakkar authors…

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Not sure whether you know but Roopesh is one big Railfan. He wrote couple of stories here. Dont know whether he read this or not.

  • Rajeev Tivari says:

    Nandan, I new and counted him in my tally:)He is one of the veterans.
    It would be great if he reads and comments on this post.

    Nandan, For the records I would like to add something here. My post is too user-centric to be a hardcore ‘railfanning’ trip report. It does not have any loco numbers, loco shed names, loco names, sightings and identifications of other trains, no footplating, no discussion with the LPs, no report from the intermediate stations, no technical details from station and the activities there, no mention of which loco was hauling which goods train with which kind of wagons, what is the situation of catenary, what were the speeds, etc:-)

  • sameer sharma says:

    Dear Rajiv,

    A well written ghumakkar post. I would say this is two steps close to receiving your PHD on IR(caught the abbreviation bug).Nandan is Dr. Nandan for his knowledge(from ghummakar university of india).

    Rajeev, this is very heavy fuel for new ghumakkars but still a passionate read.

    Long live IR.

  • JATINDER SETHI says:

    Here is another acronym for Nandan to decipher,faster than reading the above mail-its mail train….ASJTRIPOAVLT? Good we got air travel now.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Its to do with air travel ?? If yes, then is this one single acronym is it something like ASJT and then some of RIPO followed by AVLT or some other combination.

    Am I close or missing by a texas.

  • Rajeev Tivari says:

    Dear Sameer,
    Thanks so very much for your visit and the appreciation.
    I am just an understudy in IR.
    Sethi saab has thrown a challenge for Dr. Jha.

    Respected Sethiji,
    I am deeply honoured with your comment on my post. Thank you so much.
    I am sure Nandan will be able to decrypt your poser. What is in a name:)
    flights are there, and most are of very short duration, many times much shorter than the time taken to and from airport:)
    Regards
    Rajeev

  • Rajeev Tivari says:

    My previos comments was posted before reading Jhaji’s comment.
    But I still stand by what i said;)

  • Roopesh says:

    Dear Rajiv – Nandan pointed out to me about this post. It was a great reading your experience to and fro from LKO. It is amazing how you have enjoyed this trip with so much trouble (waiting for hours with wife & kids). That is true railfan spirit, come what may journey on trains are mostly composed of fond memories :-) Incidentally I too have traveled upto BE by Avadh Assam. Its a train from bygone era and traveling by it all the way from New Delhi to Guwahati is somewhere there at the back of my mind. The train was slow from the start. It started late from DEE due to late incoming train. I distinctly remember dark green dress of Pantry personnel of this train which I have not seen anywhere else.

    Thanks for calling me a veteran in railfanning arena. Although I have been around for a long time but I am moderate and folks like you are real fanatics:-)

  • Rajeev says:

    Dear Nandan, thanks for pointing out to Roopesh about this post.

    Dear Roopesh, thanks a lot for your visit and the precious comment.

    The romance of Rail travel is unparallelled, and now you are going to get Train Hostesses too:-) Here IR comes, airlines! Back in time, when I used to go near a trunk rail track, I would feel as if I was going to tap on a highway network connecting the entire country and that that was the line that physically going to places far apart. Trains are/were fascinating, to most of people.

    Roopesh, I am not as hardcore fanatic as the others you know. I am just a lazy, armchair romantic, albeit with a technical quest. I remeber, it were probably your pages which directed me to Delhimetro and IRFCA about a decade back. Btw, Mr. Jaideep Gupta was also appreciative of this post.

  • Patrick Jones says:

    Sorry, Rajeev.

    Tried to read your post a few times but couldn’t make much headway. None of your fault but probably due to my allergy to numbers as the post is all about dates, times and TNs (oh, train numbers, I mean)

    ;-)

  • Geetha Saravanan says:

    Hi Rajeev,
    Fascinating account. What I loved most was the green misty fields in the rain and the tea. Great combination. Thanks also for the info on the different brakes and the additional side middle beths.

  • Rajeev says:

    Dear Patrick,
    Thanks for the visit and the feedback. I will be careful. At least will try putting dates and times in long format, without any numerals ;-)
    Btw, Try reading the portion in bold, which has less of those :-) This was the central theme beneath all the abbreviations and numbers.

  • Rajeev says:

    Hello Geetha,
    I am delighted to read your kind word about the post. I started from the idea of conveying that very experience , but all the peripheral details got added up eventually.

    Thanks a lot and will look forward to your valuable comments on the yatra reports I have posted.

  • Smita says:

    OOooof! This is really good!! I mean, really.

    I’m not such a great fan of ‘Rines’, especially in the ‘Plines’ (Hills are ok when it’s raining); and I’m not an expert on the ‘trines’ either but your story was so high on expression, energy and involvement that I was on the edge of the seat. And for some moments I started planning to go to GZB stn, PF 1-2 when it rains (on a weekend) next, and have the damn chai and pakori.

    I gonna do that!

  • Rajeev says:

    Smita, I am feeling rewarded by your maiden (right?) comment on my work. Thanks so much for the kind words. They mean a lot and I feel my effort redeemed, after all those pointers on excess of abbreviations and numbers.

    I bet you will enjoy the assorted pakories with the yummy chutney on Ghaziabad PF:1-2. Last week there was some fire incident due to gas cylinders and I heard authorities were banning all such vendors from using gas cylinders on platforms. I will try to check the status and inform you.

    Btw, is that how Pihu pronounces them:-) I am clueless.

    And Can you pl help Nandan in solving the puzzle thrown up by Sethi Saab above. I had dropped some hint in my comment.

  • Smita says:

    Thanks, Rajeev.

    The ‘Rine’ was the rain pronounced by Eliza (Audrey Hepburn) in the song where professor Higgins gives her this phrase to clean her diction… so this was my stunt.

    And hey, you know the Pihu connection! Wow, someone knows!

    Hmmm… c’mon Jha, you don’t need a hint to break the code. It is is right here on the top of this post!!

  • Rajeev says:

    Thanks, Smita for the update on Rine.

    I am privileged to Know the entire network of connectionS, probably :-)

    Now what is keeping our Jhaji from breaking the code that Sethi Saab so ingeniously built! It sounds like a geniune acronym, with a ‘Trip’ concatenated in it.

  • nandanjha says:

    Sethi Sir -Jai Ho.

    Brilliant.

    If it was not for Smita’s hint, I would have been all over. A short journey through rain ……………. I think in my last attempt I was not off by a Texas but I was off by everything-but-Texas.

  • Rajeev says:

    Nandan, thanks for protecting my faith- “I am sure Nandan will be able to decrypt your poser.” Then there was this hint – “What is in a name:)”

    Then in my comments on your Sarnath report I said – “Sorry to bring a reference of the abbreviated post of mine…”

    Eventually Smita’s hint worked and you flew back from across everywhere but Texas to the plains of UP:-)

    Thanks Sethi Sir:) for giving us this opportunity to have some code-breaking fun. I hope this is the correct answer. Time to give marks please:-)

  • Prakash Mishra says:

    This is really a nice post. Let me add smth to this story to what happened at the NDLS.I too went through a similar experience on the same day at NDLS and probably a little bad from my place in south delhi to NDLS. I had to board Prayag Raj for allahabad. Though, the train was at the PF 12 at 10:00 PM, just 30 mins late than it’s scheduled departure time and the charts were on their place at more or less the same time. The train got tightly packed soon and everyone was expecting that it would depart at 10:30 and it really did but not towards the direction it was supposed to. Actually, it was moving in the oppposite direction and was shifted back to yard for reasons not known. Just at the same time i tried calling at IR’s 139 IVRS only to hear that the train is running as per it’s scheduled time. Anyways PR was rested in the yard for almost 30 mins and in the mean time a shatabadi was green signled from PF11 and The LKO mail had taken it’s place on PF 11. PR again took its place at the PF 12 ,LKO mail standing beside. But PR was again shifted back to yard and anyhow it finally left delhi at 12:40 . I guess LKO mail to left at more or less the same time.i read yours uttaranchal post too thats really very informative ,lucid and nicely worded like all your posts.

  • Rajeev Tivari says:

    Dear Prakash,
    Thanks so very much for your kind words about this post and the others.
    So, this was how the trains got delayed that fateful night. The passengers of my train told something about PR being stuck at the PF.
    Thanks for the update.
    Try and go through my Orissa posts. Hope you will like them too.
    thanks

  • Prakash Mishra says:

    Hi Rajeev,

    I have already gone through that post and i really liked that too. I am planning for a hill trip soon and the uttaranchal post gives a good first hand information. actually i began visiting this site only after reading that post. Your’s account of the journey is very beautiful and full of minor details,one should remember while going there…….Thanks.

  • sanjay says:

    rajeev,

    i thought i would zip through this write up in a jiffy when i got air braked. and now vacuum nahin ban raha hai so i cant move away. you see i am dual fitted!!

    i wish i had read some more indian railway stories, apart from good old ruskin and his night trains, to be able to say with some authoirty that this is right there.on the top. but i have a feeling that it is.

    this write up is laced up with some appropriate snaps too but as i have pointed out elsewhere too you need a change of cameras. its pacy, inspiring and demands a repeat trip or an imitation trip.

    i have done one such trip to bhadni (nepalese border) on meter gauge from gorakhpur on a monsoon night. but i was alone with some constantly changing co passengers. some day i hope to write about it.

    but i must mention that this trip of yours is distinct because you convey a mood poignantly and lucidly. it exhilarates, elevates, saddens and lives a mundane secular life too. it is significant for not being particularly significant. that is attained, primarily by feeling and secondly, by an immense facility of expression. you have both.

    keep it up.

  • Rajeev Tivari says:

    Sanjay, finally…thanks.
    it was the insignificantness that is tried to be celebrated in this mundane piece.
    i am deeply honoured, accomplished and challenged by your note.
    now looking forward to your entry in case you like this adda, which i am sure you do.
    yes, i know camera needs change. and lot of cash as well.
    i lost my humbly able dscw5 to trains, at station to be specific. so the station kind of deserves the lo-fi.

  • Rajeev Tivari says:

    Why not to start with the Corbett and the breathtaking collection of snaps of yours from there?

  • sanjay says:

    ok i hope i am welcome here

  • Rajeev Tivari says:

    You are probably not left with reasons to doubt as Nandan has already exhorted you to write here.

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