Chennai - Trichur - Mangalore - Manmad - Pune - Raichur - Chennai
by N Gurumoorthy
Here is a trip report part 1 - first one that I ever wrote on a train trip. This was during my 2 week trip to India. I am still in India and want to write this one before I forget the details. I did scribble notes but most of the following is from my memory.
This trip was in one way a feasibility study for a much longer trip next year. Initially my plan was to take my parents along with me but then my father had to stay back - so it was just myself and my mother.
A circular journey ticket was booked for the following itinerary. Accomodation, travel by car within these cities were arranged either thru the Internet or thru local contacts.
- 21st Sep - 2623 TRIVANDRUM MAIL CHENNAI CENTRAL 19:30 TRICHUR 05:00
- 23rd Sep - 6349 PARASURAM EXP TRICHUR 12:40 MANGALORE 21:10
- 25th Sep - 2617 MANGALA LDWEEP KANKANADI 22:55 MANMAD JN 18:25
- 29th Sep - 6011 CSTM CHENNAI EX PUNE JN 18:15 RAICHUR 04:26
- 1st Oct - 6009 MADRAS MAIL ADONI 17:02 CHENNAI CENTRAL 05:40
On 21st Sunday evening, we reached Central around 16.00ish due to my insistence of getting there early :) My father and cousin had come to the station to send us off. Had some snacks at the Saravana Bhavan. Its eating area has some limited view of the platforms and must be a fun place to see the trains.
I saw the Coromandel and Navajeevan expresses arriving. Charminar and Yelagiri expresses were also leaving MAS. Nilgiri express was being brought into the station from the yard.
Trivandrum mail 2623 pulled into the platform around 6.00ish. We went near the coach AS2 and was told that we can occupy it only at 6.30. So I went till the end of the train to see what loco was being attached. I couldnt see (or probably dont remember what I saw) the loco. Then went back to Higginbothams to get a SR timetable and a TAAG.
One general observation about MAS. Compared to previous visits that I can recall - the station and platform seems to be cleaner than before. Way to go! Other thing that was interesting was the presence of a lot of police personnel.
We were given a LB, MB but no window seats :( But I managed to find that one of the window seats in our aisle was empty and grabbed it :) 2623 departed MAS exactly at 19.30. We were told by the coach attendant that there were several bridge work/repair near Thiruvallur (before AJJ) and likely we will be delayed. It was already dark outside I couldnt see much out of my window. Stood near the door for several minutes only to watch a few electric trains buzz by.
The attendant gave us the bedding stuff - blanket, pillow, etc. This was the only train we were also given a small hand towel. In all other trains - the attendants said they dont have it. why is this an inconsistent behavior? Then another guy came in to the coach asking for dinner orders. We didnt order since we got some idlies & curd rice for dinner from Saravana Bhavan - turns out to be a wonderful choice.
It was around 20.30 and we havent even reached AJJ. Remember that I had reached Madras on 19th midnight and went to our family deity's place for most of 20th. I still had a lot of jetlag which made me sleepy right around 20.30. I resisted by washing my face few times....but my eye lids had their own mind. so hurriedly I gulped down the delicious food. then I retired around 21.15. Didnt even see Katpadi...
On 22nd early morning I was half awake around 2.00am - thanks to Jet lag! I was some stations go by which would be likely Salem, Erode. Around 3.30am I couldnt sleep anymore..then I went outside to watch the pitch darkness. Asked the attendant und if we are approaching Shoranur. His answer was - ooh we havent even reached Palghat yet! We reached Palghat around 3.30pm. late by atleast 1.5hrs. Reached Trichur around 6.00am - 1hr late.
Got the CTJ endorsed by a guy at the enquiry desk in Trichur. Then proceeded to Guruvayur with the driver from the hotel waiting for more than 60min now. Day light had started to break in. The road was sprinkled with lots of nice houses - our driver says these are the result of inflow from Gulf.
Visited Kodungallur, Guruvayoor, Triparayar during the day. Had some terrible food on the way - cold dosas.
Saw Guruvayoor station - pretty small. Nothing much exciting happening except for periodic passengers to Trichur.
On 23rd morning we reached TCR jn at 9.00am after stopping at Vadakkunathar temple. Had almost 4 hours before our train Parasuram express 6349 would arrive. Sat in platform 1 hoping to see some trains passing by.
Saw Aalapuzha - Dhanbad pulling into platform 2 hauled by a WAP4 from AJJ. It had a dirty maroon rake. Then came in pfm3 - 303 Guruvayoor-Trichur passenger.
Shoranur-Cochin passenger pulled into the station with a diesel engine 11002 from Ernakulam. 6308 Aalapuzha- Cannanore express came into pfm 1. 5011 Raptisagar express was pulled by a reddish Erode electric loco 22232. 2618 Mangala express came in late by around 50min.
6302 TVC-Shoranur Venad express was pulled by an electric engine from Erode. 7030 Hyderabad-ernakulam express was arriving from Hyderabad into pfm 1.
Our train 6349 was late by 30min. Pulled into Trichur at 1.15pm. We got into the C1 bogie - it was near empty.