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Date: 20 Jan 1992 17:36:00 -0500

Hi Folks,

Dheeraj writes:
>BANGALORE - The inauguration of the Palace on Wheels, a railway
>journey through important places of tourist attraction in Karanataka
>and Goa states, scheduled to start earlier this month, has been postpond.
>I didn't know they had any such plans. I think such trains run only
>to Rajasthan and some places in Bihar. When did they plan the third one?

I believe the one running thru' important toursit/pilgrim sites in
UP and Bihar is the Great Indian Rover. This is a BG train in
contrast to the Palace on Wheels.

Looks like the 2nd Palace on Wheels would also be an MG train.
I wonder what places it would touch:- Vasco-Da-Gama, Bangalore City,
Mysore, Srirangapatna,.........

BTW, it is heartening to note that the Daund-Renigunta line has
been patch doubled in lots of places. At least the rly. map indicates
that nearly half of this section is now double tracked.

Ajai writes:
> The Pragati Express runs non-stop between VT and Pune, thus becoming he
>first non-stop train on this section. It should therefore be faster tha the
>Deccan Queen. However, unlike the Deccan Queen it does not have coachesset

The first non-stop train between Bombay and Pune was the Minar Exp.
before they introduced Dadar (Up. only) and Kalyan as halts. The Bombay
-Pune Pragati Exp. should have technical halts at Karjat and Lonavla;
extra elec. locos. (usually a couple of them) are attached between these
stns., and they provide additional tractive effort needed to encounter the ghats.
Hence, the Up. Deccan Queen would have just one halt more than the Up.
Pragati Exp. viz., Shivajinagar. However, the Dn. Pragati Exp. could
cover the 192 km. Pune-Bombay route without any halts.

I had expected the Pragati Exp. to be a non-stop train between
Bombay and Pune as there are four other Bombay-Pune trains catering to
intermediate stns. (Karjat, Khandala, Lonavla, etc.). Let me point
certain interesting features about Bombay-Pune as a terminii pair:-

- They have the highest no. of superfast trains (three) running just
between these stns. Incidently, all of them are daily trains and
have their own distinctive color (including the loco.). I am assuming
that the Indrayani Exp. continues to have this feature, and that the
Pragati Exp. runs daily. Moreover, all of them have a run-time of
around 3 1/2 hrs.

- They probably have the 2nd highest no. of trains running between the
two stns. (six). The top spot must go to Bangalore-Mysore (nine
daily trains). Note that all Bombay-Pune trains run daily
and five of them are vestibuled, as well.


From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 21 Jan 1992 10:56:00 -0500


Thinking of doing some travelling in India this summer-so I wanted to
check out some practical details from those who have been to India since
Since Indian Airlines seems to be very unreliable these days, it may be
worthwhile to travel by rail on some routes like Madras-Bangalore, Delhi-
Jaipur etc.
Are the reservation systems of the 4 metros linked together? For example,
could I buy a Bombay-Delhi ticket from Madras? From ads in Hindustan Times I
got the impression that you can get tickets from other metros from the
Delhi reservation centre. I'm not sure if the reverse is true.
It may be worthwhile to use an Indrail pass. Have any of you actually tried
buying an Indrail pass from here? I know there is a GSA called Hariworld
Travels with branches in NY and Toronto, but has anyone tried through some
other travel agent? I am sure your experiences will be of interest to
the net.


Subject: Traveling in India!

Date: 21 Jan 1992 16:35:00 -0500

An article about computerized reservations in India (in one of the IR
magazines) seems to indicate that one can get reservations for trains departing
from one of the metros, at any metro. In fact, one of my friends from
Poughkeepsie has gone to India, and he had asked his uncle at Madras to
reserve tickets for a Delhi to Calcutta journey on the Rajdhani Exp.

I, too, am in the process of planning out a few railway journeys in India
(this summer). Have any of you traveled on the Pandyan Exp. or the Madras
Quilon Mail via I class or AC sleeper? If so, did the coach have coupes
(similar to what we have on the BG I class coaches)? A more general question
would be: Do I class and/or AC 2-tier coaches on MG, have coupes? Your
answers would be most helpful.


P.S. Just received my Aug. 1991 issue of Indian Railways. Will post details

From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 24 Jan 1992 18:07:00 -0500


Thought this may be a good time to discuss the different layouts of
AC coaches (especially for Vijay's benefit :-)
On BG, the standard AC I has 18 berths (4*4+1*2). There are now a number of
mixed AC I cum II sleeper and AC I cum chair car. The former type now runs on
the TN express and a few other trains, which have 10 AC I berths (2*4+1*2) and
20 AC sleeper berths (3 bays of 6 berths plus 2 more?). The latter has 10 AC I
berths and 32 chair car seats. It used to run on the Madras-Howrah Mail a few
years ago, but I would imagine that the chair car wasn't popular for a long
journey like this.
The standard BG AC II sleeper has 46 berths (7 bays of 6 berths and the last
bay has 4 berths (the side upper and one upper in the interior are absent to
make way for the AC unit).
The standard BG AC chair car has 71 seats.
On MG, there do not seem to be full AC I coaches. There are mixed AC coaches
with 4 AC I berths (a single compartment) and 18 AC II berths (4*4+1*2?)
The standard MG AC II sleeper has 31 berths. Unlike its BG counterpart, it
has individual compartments which can be locked as in first class. There are
7 compartments of 4 berths and one with 3 berths (the AC unit takes up space
for one berth). I travelled in one of these compartments on the only time I
went on an AC sleeper on MG.
The AC chair cars on MG have 40 seats. These are found only on the Vaigai
and Pallavan expresses.
There are also AC chair cars on the narrow gauge Satpura express between
Gondia and Jabalpur.

From: ruman <


Date: 24 Jan 1992 20:31:00 -0500

When I was doing my PT at the Coach workshop in Matunga they had a
model of a single decker chair car with 144 seats. Do they have it in operation
anywhere in India ?
Someone was assking about computerisation of reservations. Before
George Fernandes derailed it there was a plan to computerise the booking
offices at Dadar Thane and Borivili in suburban Bombay. Does anyone know
what happened to George Fernandes plans of providing tea etc in earthern pots
made by village artisans etc on the major express trains.
The four major metros are indeed interconnected and as far as I know
one can book tickets at any of the places (though only at specific counters)
for trains departing from any of the other metros.
I have had an argument with a fellow desi who claims that the Bombay-Delhi
route by the western railway has the tracks welded into a continuous section
all along the way. Could some clarify this. I was under the impression
that this had been done only on the shatabdi routes.
Also please any updates on the diesel EMU's and their operating performanc
Also any news of the proposed Hyderabad light railway?.
Some months back on rec.railroad there was discussion about tracks
where 2 gauges run simultaneously. Does any one know of any place in India.
I know that between Ghatkesar and Secunderabad on Sec'bad-Kazipet section
there is a third track which has the metre gauge line between the broad gauge
lines (:-) obviously where else could it be).
Another query I had for the knowledgeable posters from Bombay , that has
been bugging me for a long time is that , near the motorman's door just below
the window , on all suburban trains there is usually some letters stencilled
either JO or PAC or MAC . I did muster up enough courage to ask a motorman
about it , but he said that he had no idea what it meant and looked at me ,much
as he would look at some crazy chap. I feel it has something to do with
the frequency of maintenance rather than type of rake etc, because I have seen
them in all sorts of rakes.

thanx in advance for all the flood of info I hope to get from u junta.
ps: thanx to dheeraj ajai vijay and others who took the trouble to answer
my queries last time. As far as the maps go there appears to be something
promising here on melvyl, the uc library system , some illustrated maps
of 1912 of the railways of south india and much more. a real busy schedule
hass kept me from getting the books and going thru them.

pps: for whatever it is worth the JO is always written in dark red, the PAC
either in light or dark brown and the MAC in parrot green.

From: aravind <

Subject: Trip Report

Date: 28 Jan 1992 18:31:00 -0500

Some observations on a recent trip to Madras and Bangalore (Jan 10-23):

- Madras Central station has enough garbage between its tracks to be
host to a large family of rats (bandicoots?). I observed them
from my seat inside the Brindavan Exp. while the train waited in
the station. These guys are not in the least affected by train
movement ...

- Electrification of Jollarpettai-Bangalore is nearly complete; I
spotted a gang installing the poles outside Bangalore City.
The overhead wiring was complete up to Krishnarajapuram
(15 km from Bangalore City).

- Conversion of Bangalore-Mysore was supposedly hit by flight of Tamil
labor. Reworking of Bangalore City station under way. (Some Tamil
workers have returned, judging by what I heard them speak). Entire
southern portion of the BG side is being redesigned to link up the
Mysore line. Not clear from my visit how the northern side will be
reworked. Further not clear how many extra BG tracks will be
added. I only saw one pair of tracks "out of service", with
"hacking" of the platform-concrete in progress to widen their space.

- While I was in Bangalore, the rly minister made a speech which
was promptly paraphrased in the newspapers the next day.
He talked about giving priority to electrification and gauge
conversion, and claimed that MG was in some way hindering
"development". He seemed to be implying that the key heavy-duty
MG lines were candidates for conversion, but not the branch lines.
I was left wondering whether that included such MG arteries like
Madras-Villupuram. Anyway I don't propose to hold my breath on
this one ...

The hon'ble guy did mention in his speech that the target date for
completion of Jollarpet-Bangalore electrification was March 31 and
the Bangalore-Mysore conversion was June.

- I did read an announcement from SC Rly announcing the cancellation
of all services on Manmad-Aurangabad from Jan 18 in connection with
that gauge-conversion project. There was no indication of what the
new BG services would be. Maybe Vijay has the scoop on this one,
from his uncle in Bhusaval ...

(I think the railways, comparatively, are among the better-run
operations in India. For instance, the Madras-Bangalore line has
seen several improvements in the last decade like improved signalling,
concrete sleepers, welded tracks, electrification, and so forth.
I assume that this is the case with most of the trunk routes. ...)

Have fun,


From: C. S. Sudarshana Bhat <B536HIND@UTARLVM1.EMAIL

Subject: Manmad-Aurangabad

Date: 28 Jan 1992 19:36:00 -0500

Since the topic is of immediate concern to me, I'll have to say something
on it ;-).

Last week, I had received a letter from my parents that the Manmad-Aurangabad
section is going to be closed for a month or so, so that the Broad Gauge can
be completed for my visit in the Summer ;-) ;-) ;-). So Aravind's (and,
sometime back, Vijay's) rumours/news IS [are? ;-)] NEWS! Panchavati's
direct run from Bombay to Aurangabad will do a lot of good to tourism in the
Marathwada region, what with Ajanta and Ellora, Bibi-ka-makbara, etc. getting
MORE attention (OK, OK, I am off-tangent!).


From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 28 Jan 1992 19:16:00 -0500

More rail news

It was nice to hear from our Bangalore correspondent. BTW, Aravind, I
may have to travel from Bombay to Bangalore and vice versa during July/
August. Is it difficult to get seats on the Udyan Express at that time?
I did a little checking on the Indrail Pass and found that in Canada you
can only buy it from the GSA (Hariworld Travels). You can, of course, buy
the pass after reaching India. But it is easier to fix reservations if
you buy it in advance.
Some more news: The Lashkar express (Bombay-Gwalior-Agra) and the Chambal
express (Howrah-Gwalior-Agra) are being cancelled from January. These trains
were the creation of Madhavrao Scindia. Some other trains from Howrah are
being cancelled, though details are unclear.
The Mankhurd-Vashi section is to open in April. Work is underway to provide
a flyover at Raoli, which will enable CR trains to run from Andheri to Vashi
without reversing.
Reconditioned coaches are being used to carry Maruti cars in express goods
trains for export.
Finally, the November 1991 Bradshaw had many interesting changes, some of
which Vijay has mentioned. If you go through it carefully, you will see
some significant changes in services in Punjab. A few passenger trains on the
Amritsar-Jalandhar and Amritsar-Khem Karan section have been suspended (so as
to avoid night journeys). All trains on the Batala-Qadian branch are suspended.
The Tata-Amritsar express has been out back on the main line instead of the
diversion through Dhuri and Patiala, and its timings have also changed to
avoid running through disturbed areas at night.

From: aravind <

Subject: Udyan exp etc

Date: 29 Jan 1992 08:48:00 -0500

Regarding Ajai's query, the Udyan Exp. does tend to be overbooked,
since it's the only direct Bombay-Bangalore train. First class and
2 AC sleeper berths need to be booked a month in advance in the off-peak
months (like now). 3T berths are available two weeks or so ahead of time,
but I suspect peak times are a lot worse.

Even in July/August, Ajai should book at least 3 weeks ahead ....

One morr piece of news from our beloved minister: A new "Rajdhani-type"
express between Bangalore and New Delhi via Sec'bad is (may be??) in
the works....


From: Dheeraj Sanghi <

Subject: Own Your Wagon Scheme.

Date: 03 Feb 1992 16:55:00 -0500

> From M.N.S.


Didn't oil companies own the wagons to transport oil and petroleum
products already.


From: aravind <

Subject: rail news filtering thru m.n.s

Date: 03 Feb 1992 17:59:00 -0500

Could someone enlighten me as to where the following spots are
in the railway map?

bombay, feb 1 :pti: defence minister mr sharad pawar,
today said he would put in a request to the railway ministry
for introduction of a new train +sai express+ between manmad
junction and pilgrimage town shirdi.
mr pawar, who inaugurated the first all india sai bhakta
convention at the shivaji park in central bombay, was
responding to a plea made by the chairperson of the +sai baba
that other pilgrimage towns in maharashtra such as pandharpur
were worthy of development for provision of more facilities to
visitors. he said shirdi sai baba with his vision of +one god
for entire mankind+ represented an exemplary ideal towards
which people should strive to emerge from the tangle of
religious discords.

question: where is "shirdi" ???

also, of note ...

Mangalore-udipi section to be ready in 2 months
mangalore, feb 1 pti: the 68-km mangalore-udupi section
of the konkan railway project from mangalore to bombay is
expected to be commissioned as targeted in the next two
months, and the entire work is likely to be over by october
1994 - a year ahead of the five-year schedule,mr e sreedharan,
he said despite this speedy completion and modern and
scientific system of construction control, the cost was likely
to escalate to rs 1800 crore as per current indications.
mr sreedharan said of the four states concerned --
maharashtra, goa, karnataka and kerala -- the first two had
paid in full their respective shares of rs 22 crore and rs 10
crore to the corporation.

From: Dheeraj Sanghi <

Subject: From pti news in M.N.S.

Date: 03 Feb 1992 17:02:00 -0500

mangalore-udipi section to be ready in 2 months
mangalore, feb 1 pti: the 68-km mangalore-udupi section
of the konkan railway project from mangalore to bombay is
expected to be commissioned as targeted in the next two
months, and the entire work is likely to be over by october
1994 - a year ahead of the five-year schedule,mr e sreedharan,
konkan railway corporation chairman, said here today.
the rs 1400 crore project for broadgauge trains to
travel at a speed of 160 km per hour is being undertaken for
the first time in india.
he said despite this speedy completion and modern and
scientific system of construction control, the cost was likely
to escalate to rs 1800 crore as per current indications.
mr sreedharan said of the four states concerned --
maharashtra, goa, karnataka and kerala -- the first two had
paid in full their respective shares of rs 22 crore and rs 10
crore to the corporation. karnataka had paid rs 10 crore of
its share of rs 15 crore and kerala had paid rs three crore of
its rs six crore share. he added. pti akn rkn sm


From: C. S. Sudarshana Bhat <B536HIND@UTARLVM1.EMAIL

Subject: Shirdi

Date: 03 Feb 1992 20:08:00 -0500

Reply to Aravind's query :

Shirdi is famous for the Sai Baba of Shirdi (who is different from the
Sai Baba of Puttaparti). The nearest railway station to Shirdi (at present)
is Kopargaon, which is on the Manmad Daund route (which lies in the path of the
KK or K Express along its New Delhi-Bangalore trip). Geographically,
Shirdi is South-West of Manmad (within 50 km <- my ROUGH estimate). When I
had last visited India two years ago, I'd been to Shirdi (from Aurangabad)
by bus - takes about 4 hours if memory serves me right! BTW, Jhelum Express
also passes through Kopargaon. But I doubt if there is *any* MAJOR train
which halts at Kopargaon ...



Date: 04 Feb 1992 11:10:00 -0500

Hi folks,
Here is some info. from
BOMBAY - The 47 km long Roha-Dasgaon section of the Konkan Railway
is fast nearing completion and is expected to be thrown open
for passenger traffic by the first week of July this year.

Recent IRFCA mail seems to suggest that the Konkan Rly. project is
proceeding on at a decent pace.

I wasn't aware that Kopargaon is the nearest stn. for Shirdi. Thanks for
filling me in, Sudarshana. I have been to Shirdi a couple of times (from
Bombay on MTD buses). Would the new train that Aravind mentioned (Sai exp.)
run between Manmad and Kopargaon? At present, there are three exp. trains
halting at Kopargaon:- Jhelum Exp., Ahmedabad-Bangalore Exp., and
Maharastra Exp.

Also, the concept of a Rajdhani-type train between Delhi and Bangalore
defies all logic. Such a train would consume at least 30-32 hrs. and
traveling by AC Chair could be a very uncomfortable experience....unless the
train has minimal AC Chair Car service and is comprised mostly of I AC and
II AC sleeper coaches. But then, again, is there sufficient demand to justify

Mixed AC Coaches
I believe that the Andhra Pradesh Exp. has a composite I AC - AC Chair Car
coach similar to what Ajai talked about in an earlier mail. In fact,
the Bombay - Jammu Tawi superfast Exp. used to have such a coach. I suspect
that most of the trains having both I AC and AC Chair Car service (such as the
Shramjeevi Exp., the Steel and Ispat Exps., the Gomti Exp.) employ such coaches
I have also witnessed a composite I AC - I class coach on the Kashi Vishwanath Exp.

South Central Rly. time-table (July '91)
From the map, it appears that the following sections of the Daund-Renigunta
line are double tracked:-
1. Akalkot Rd. - Gulbarga - Wadi - Thangundi (~70 km)
2. Chegunta - Krishna (10 km)
3. Yermaras - Raichur ( 9 km)
4. Marichetal - Matmari ( 7 km)
5. Nacherla - Guntakal - Gooty - Rayalcheruvu (62 km)
6. Kondapuram - Muddanaru (22 km)
7. Cuddapah - Bhakarapeta (16 km)
8. Balapalle - Renigunta (24 km)

Bombay - Pune (192 km)
Renigunta - Madras (100 km)
TOTAL route km. of double track 512 km.
Bombay - Madras 1280 km.

Hence, about 40% of the Bombay-Madras trunk line is double-tracked.
A pathetic situation when compared with other major trunk routes.
Maybe, we should send this report to our beloved rly. minister :-).


From: aravind <

Subject: addendum to Daund-Renigunta stats.

Date: 04 Feb 1992 12:59:00 -0500

In counting the total double-tracked length, Vijay appears
to have skipped the Pune-Daund section (about 70 km??). Also
is there no stretch of doubled track between Daund and Akalkot?
(on CR)?? So it seems that SCR has been doing its bit to
double the infamous Daund-Renigunta stretch, but not CR?

also, the MAS-Renigunta stretch is ~130 km, I think (a
little more than Vijay's numbers) ...


From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 04 Feb 1992 19:49:00 -0500


Thanks, Aravind, for the info on the Udyan Express.
When you were at Bangalore, did you hear anything about the new pattern
of services after the Mysore conversion is over?
From the timetable, it appears that the Mail is the only one of the Madras
trains which could be easily extended to leave/arrive at Mysore at reasonable
hours. But if this was extended, there would be other operating problems. The
Mail and Express share rakes, i.e. when the Mail arrives from Madras it turns
back and goes as the Express. Thus they run two pairs of trains with only two
Extend the Brindavan, perhaps? But then you'd need two rakes instead of one
as there wouldn't be enough time to have two round trips in a day with one rake.
Incidentally, the GT Express and Kerala Express also share rakes (at least
they used to a few years ago.) When the GT arrives at NDLS in the morning it
goes back as the Kerala. The gap is around 3-4 hours, just enough for cleaning and maintenance. On a long run from the south 3-4 hours lateness is nothing unusual, so the Kerala's departure gets delayed. I have got stuck in Delhi several times because of this. Hope things have improved now.

From: aravind <

Subject: new B'lore-Mysore services

Date: 05 Feb 1992 08:39:00 -0500

There was no one I could turn to for info on new services in the
new BG bangalore-mysore section. In any event, the reason for
the Madras-Bangalore mail and express to share rakes is that
there's no room in bangalore city to store empty rakes for
a whole day.

i suspect that new long-distance services will only be gradually
introduced, depending on how the demand develops, and after allowing
for some stabilization...


From: C. S. Sudarshana Bhat <B536HIND@UTARLVM1.EMAIL

Subject: Why 'rakes'?

Date: 05 Feb 1992 08:02:00 -0500

Pardon my ignorance, but why are rakes called 'rakes'? Aren't they just
normal compartments? And isn't it that 'compartments' is a word for the layman
and 'rakes' is an 'official' description of the 'bogies'? I was confused
when I first heard the word rakes (before I joined IRFCA though!), and
took my own sweet time to realize the meaning of the term (unless I am

PS : It would be difficult for me to understand whether my roommate was
saying 'rakes' or 'wrecks' ;-) ;-)

From: Jishnu Mukerji <

Subject: Of rakes, bogies and compartments

Date: 05 Feb 1992 09:29:00 -0500

Excerpts from personal.IRFCA: 5-Feb-92 Why 'rakes'? C. S. S.
Bhat@UTARLVM1.Email (492)

> Pardon my ignorance, but why are rakes called 'rakes'? Aren't they just
> normal compartments? And isn't it that 'compartments' is a word for the
> layman and 'rakes' is an 'official' description of the 'bogies'? I was
> confused when I first heard the word rakes (before I joined IRFCA
> though!), and took my own sweet time to realize the meaning of the term
> (unless I am wrong!!).

My understanding is that a "rake" is an ordered set of "coaches" (or as
some call them "bogies") that remain together for a period of time and
are used in one or more trains.
For example, back in the 70's the same AC express "rake" used to run on
some days of the week as the New Delhi - Howrah AC Express, and on
certain other days as the New Delhi - Bombay AC Express. When "rakes"
are used in multiple trains like this they are said to run in a "link"
(sort of like a link in a chain I suppose).

A "compartment" is an enclosed section of a "coach" or a "bogie" (e.g. a
four berth "comaprtment" in a I Class "coach" or "bogie").

In the US "rakes" are more commonly called "consists". Also in the US
the more common usage is to call a "coach" or a "bogie" a "car", since
in US usage, a "coach" is somewhat like what one calls a "Chair Car" in

The term "bogie" used alone in technical parlance, or used in the term
"wheel bogie" refers to the sets of four wheels (sometimes even six
wheels) that a "coach" or "car" rides on. Typically, each "coach" or
"car" rides on two "wheel bogies". It is possible however, to have a car
run on more than two bogies specially for heavy-weight freight cars
(Ooops Goods Wagons).

Of course, what is described above are the usages that I have come
across. I am sure that there are other usages that other members of the
mailing list will enlighten us about.

Now as for why a rake is called a rake? I don't have a good answer.

Jishnu Mukerji,
+1 908 522 5024,
UNIX System Laboratories Inc.*
(*A subsidiary of AT&T)
SF 1-346, 190 River Rd.,
Summit NJ 07901


Subject: Re: Daund-Renigunta stats.

Date: 05 Feb 1992 11:14:00 -0500

Aravind writes:
>In counting the total double-tracked length, Vijay appears
>to have skipped the Pune-Daund section (about 70 km??). Also
>is there no stretch of doubled track between Daund and Akalkot?

>also, the MAS-Renigunta stretch is ~130 km, I think (a
>little more than Vijay's numbers) ...

Thanks for pointing out the (glaring) errors. Here are the
revisions to the "status report".
1. Gangapur Rd. (NOT Akalkot) - Wadi - Thangundi (93 km)
2. Pune - Daund (76 km)
3. Renigunta - Madras (137 km)

The total length of doubled track turns out to be 648 km., which
implies that about 50.6 % of Bombay-Madras is double-tracked. Hey,
that's definitely a better figure than 40% ! BTW, the Central Rly. map
indicates that the entire Daund-Gangapur Rd. section is single line.


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