IRFCA Mailing List Archive

Messages 301 - 320

From: apte <

Subject: MG-BG Conversions

Date: 23 Oct 1990 09:42:00 -0500

Extending the list of MG-BG conversions, a significant one in the west
was Viramgam-Okha/Porbandar. This brought Rajkot, Porbandar, Jamnagar
and the westest (sic :-)) tip of India (the port of Okha) on the
BG map. An interesting aside to this, which
qualifies for the wierd-stations/chord-line category, is that a small
insignificant station called Hapa on the outskirts of Jamnagar received
major importance after the BG conversion. There now exist all kinds of
Hapa-XYZ express trains, which do not run upto Jamnagar. Even the ones
which do run past Hapa to Jamnagar (Saurashtra Mail), stop a lot longer
at Hapa than at Jamnagar. Any insight into why this was done?

Another important MG-BG conversion occurred in the East when the New
Bongaigon - Guwahati line was converted to BG. This, of course,
provided Guwahati with a direct link to Delhi, Howrah etc..

These two BG conversions made one of my imagined trains possible - a
West-East express between Okha and Guwahati (similar in concept to the
Jammu Tawi - Kanyakumari Himsagar Express.)

I had the following route in mind:

Kiul-Bhagalpur - Malda Town
Malda Town - New Bongaigon - Guwahati

I remember coming up with viable timings, with a total journey time of
60+ hours. Just thought I'd share it with you guys - sorry if I bored


(P.S.- I believe that the superfast NorthEast express uses an
alternative route via Barauni to between Allahabad/Mughalsarai and
Malda Town to get to Guwahati. Does anyone know how this route goes?
Is it shorter? )

From: Ajai Banerji <

Subject: Northeast Express

Date: 23 Oct 1990 10:54:00 -0500

Re Pushkar's query: The Northeast Express runs via Patna, Mokameh, Barauni,
Katihar, and Kumedpur. The last place is a little north of Malda.

Re MG/BG conversions: The main ongoing projects are:
Dindigul-Tuticorin(Karur-Dindigul new bg line is commissioned)

There are various projects in Rajasthan, but their exact status is not
However the above mentioned projects have been going on for some years.

From: aravind <


Date: 23 Oct 1990 18:21:00 -0500

I think that the BG route from Barauni to Malda goes via Katihar - another
recent MG-BG conversion.

A decade ago, most of NER was still MG - one could still travel from
Lucknow to Guwahati by MG. This MG route must have suffered
major disruption with all the recent conversions. Can some
knowledgeable soul post what's happening up there?


From: Vijay Balasubramanian <

Subject: Chord lines, BG-MG Conversons, etc.

Date: 23 Oct 1990 23:24:00 -0500

Hi Folks,

Ajai writes:
> The Shoranur bypass-most trains bound for Cochin/Trivandrum use this to
> avoid reversing at this station(which, if you recall, appeared in the popular
> film 'Julie'). Many of these trains carry Mangalore bogies which are detached
> at Palghat, about 50 km north of Shoranur and are hauled by various Palghat-
> Mangalore link expresses.

Some trains such as the Bombay-Cochin/Mangalore Netravati Exp., Dadar-
Cochin/Mangalore Exp., and the Rapti Sagar Exp. detach/attach Mangalore
coaches at Shoranur itself. Some other trains using the Shoranur bypass,
such as the Bombay-Kanyakumari Exp. and the Madras-Cochin Exp., halt at
Ottapalam instead. This is about 13 km. from Shoranur towards Palghat.

Aravind writes:
> (b) Bangalore City-Guntakal, completed in 1983. This provided a direct
> connection from Bangalore to Bombay, and a shorter route to New Delhi,
> but the increase of traffic has not been as much as in Example (a).

Before the conversion, the Guntakal Bangalore MG line used to have just
two daily express trains, both between Bangalore and Secunderabad. These
were the Venkatadri Exp. and the Bangalore-Secunderabad Exp.
I had an occasion to travel on the former from B'lore to S'bad, in Dec. 1981.
At Dharmavaram Jn., the Link exp. from Tirupati got attached to ours resulting
in a long 16 coach train. I always thought that this was the longest MG train,
till someone mentioned that the MG Assam Mail was even longer (22 coaches?).

The present Guntakal-B'lore BG line has 4 daily trains (Karnataka Exp.,
Udyan Exp., Hyderabad-Bangalore Exp., Hospet Hampi Exp.), 3 weekly trains
(Cochin-Ahmedabad Exp., Bangalore-Ah'md Exp., Trivandrum Rajkot Exp.), and
the Bombay/Dadar-Cochin/Mangalore Exps. which run 5 days/week between
themselves. So, one can conclude that the increase in traffic has been

This brings me to another bypass, the Krishnarajpuram bypass, to avoid
reversal at Bangalore City. All trains not terminating at Bangalore use this
(K'puram stn., situated on the Bangalore-Jollarpetai line, is the alternate

> (c) Pune-Miraj, completed in 1971(?). This put cities like Kolhapur on the
> BG map, but did not provide through connections for passengers going further
> south. I guess it remains a "dead-end" line even today? Have there been
> more tangible benefits from the conversion of this line? (Miraj-Bangalore
> will probably stay MG indefinitely).

The Konkan Rly. project must have put an end to plans of converting Miraj-
Bangalore, if any. A new daily train between H. Nizamuddin and
Vasco-da-gama, the Goa Exp., was introduced sometime in June 1990. It uses
the Pune-Miraj route with the inevitable BG-MG changover at Miraj.

Pushkar writes:
> Another important MG-BG conversion occurred in the East when the New
> Bongaigon - Guwahati line was converted to BG. This, of course,
> provided Guwahati with a direct link to Delhi, Howrah etc..

The first phase was the construction of a new broad-gauge New Bongaigaon
Guwahati line parallel to the existing MG line (in 1983?).
Trains such as the Tinsukia Mail and Kamrup Exp. could now go all the way
upto Guwahati. Then the Trivandrum Guwahati Exp. was introduced (two more
such Assam-South trains are now in operation with similar time schedules - the
weekly Guwahati Cochin Exp. and the weekly G'hati Bangalore Exp.).

A couple of years later(?), the Lucknow-Gonda-Gorakhpur-Barauni-Katihar line was opened to BG traffic. The BG Assam Mail was subsequently cancelled and
the superfast North East Exp. introduced instead. As a result, some imp.
stns. such as Khurja, Hathras, Shikohabad, Etawah, Fatehpur, Mirzapur, Buxar,
Ara, Danapur, and Mokama, were no longer linked to Guwahati by a direct train.
The Tinsukia Mail was then made to halt at Mirzapur, Buxar and Danapur
to partially alleviate the problem. A few years later, the Delhi-Katihar
Mahananda Exp. was introduced with a time+halt schedule similar to that of the
extinct Assam Mail. The North East exp. now stops at Aligarh, Tundla and

This conversion project has led to the introduction of a number of trains
some of which terminate at Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Chhapra or Muzaffarpur (Rapti
Sagar Exp., Vaishali Exp., Shaheed Exp., Purbanchal Exp., Sabarmati Exp. to
name a few); others such as the Avadh Assam Exp. and the Lohit Exp. 'run

> These two BG conversions made one of my imagined trains possible - a
> West-East express between Okha and Guwahati (similar in concept to the
> Jammu Tawi - Kanyakumari Himsagar Express.)

One of the eastound trains from Ahmedabad is the Ahmedabad-Gorahpur weekly
Exp. It employs the following route: Ah'bd-Vadodara-Ratlam-Nagda-Ujjain-Maksi-
Bna-Jhansi-Kanpur Central-Lucknow-Gorahpur.

One of my thought trains from Ahmedabad is the weekly Ahmedabad-Patna Exp.
with the following halts (sorry to bore you guys): Nadiad, Anand, Vadodara,
Godhra, Dahod, Meghnagar, Ratlam, Nagda, Shamgarh, Kota, Sawai Madhopur,
Gangapur City, Bayana, Agra Fort, Tundla, Etawah, Kanpur Central, Fatehpur,
Allahabad, Bhadohi, Varanasi, Mughal Sarai, Ara, Danapur

I am currently working on a Ahmedabad-Guwahati weekly exp. One way to
achieve this would be to simply extend the above train to Guwahati. But
there are other alternatives (criticisms are most welcome):

(Note: The Ahmedabad-Nagda and Kumedpur-Guwahati portions are fixed)

1. Nagda to Allahabad via Bhopal-Itarsi-Katni (Pushkar's route)
2. " to " via Bhopal/Maksi-Bina-Katni
3. " to " via Bhopal/Maksi-Bina-Jhansi-Kanpur Central

1. Allahabad to Kumdepur via Varanasi/Mirzapur-Patna-Bhagalpur-Malda
Town (Pushkar's route)
2. " to " via Varanasi/Mirzapur-Patna-Barauni-Katihar

b) Nagda-Bhopal/Maksi-Bina-Jhansi-Kanpur Central-Lucknow-Gorakhpur-Barauni-

1. Nagda to Chopan via Bhopal-Itarsi-Katni-Singrauli
2. " to " via Bhopal/Maksi-Bina-Katni-Singrauli

1. Chopan to Kumedpur via Chunar-Patna-Bhagalpur-Malda Town
2. " to " via Garwa Rd.-Sonnagar-Gaya-Kiul-Bhagalpur-Malda Town
3. " to " via Garwa Rd.-Barkakana-Dhanbad-Asansol-Andal-Sainthia-
Rampurhat-Malda Town

Ajai writes:
> Re MG/BG conversions: The main ongoing projects are:
> Gauhati-Dibrugarh
> Bhatni-Varanasi
> Bangalore-Mysore
> Dindigul-Tuticorin(Karur-Dindigul new bg line is commissioned)

Another ongoing project is the MG-BG conversion of the Manmad-Aurangabad-
Parbhani-Parli Vaijnath section, which would not only provide a short direct
route between Manmad and Secunderabad/Wadi (via Vikrabad Jn.) but also bring
Aurangabad onto the BG map.

....and that ends my ramblings for the day (phew!)



From: aravind <

Subject: by-pass

Date: 24 Oct 1990 12:32:00 -0500

One of the more recent and novel by-passes that has not been mentioned
is the CR-WR link north of Bombay. Do I remember Vijay posting a year ago
that it is now open to passenger traffic? How many trains actually use this
by-pass to jump between CR and WR?

New Delhi is directly connected to all NR lines emanating from Delhi Jn.
through by-passes, enabling trains to choose either station equally.

I assume that trains don't by-pass either Howrah or Madras Central?
In the case of Madras, there isn't much of a detour involved, unlike


From: J Mukerji <

Subject: Re: by-pass

Date: 24 Oct 1990 15:13:00 -0500

Excerpts from personal.IRFCA: 24-Oct-90 by-pass (558)

> I assume that trains don't by-pass either Howrah or Madras Central?

In case of Howrah, there are two possible ways of bypassing it to get
from SE Rly. to ER. One is at Tikapara Cabin and the other is the Andul
- Dankuni Chord. Both of these were freight only the last time I looked.

Some passenger trains e.g. Upper India Express, Darjeeling Mail, Sealdah
Pathankot Express, bypass Howrah and go into Sealdah, either via
Vivekananda (Bally) Bridge or via the Bandel - Naihati connection, (if
one prefers to call that bypassing).

Sealdah station has a bypass called the Kankurgacchi Chord which
connects the Sealdah South section with the the Sealdah North section,
bypassing Sealdah itself. There are through locals from Budge Budge to
Dum Dum Jct. and north that use this chord.

Jishnu Mukerji

From: Vijay Balasubramanian <

Subject: Re: Aravind's mail!

Date: 24 Oct 1990 13:50:00 -0500


> I think that the BG route from Barauni to Malda goes via Katihar - another
> recent MG-BG conversion.

There is a direct BG line from Katihar to Kumedpur (about 30 kms. from
Barsoi towards Malda), which runs parallel to the MG line. Hence, Malda Town
is bypassed by trains from Katihar towards Guwahati.

> A decade ago, most of NER was still MG - one could still travel from
> Lucknow to Guwahati by MG. This MG route must have suffered
> major disruption with all the recent conversions. Can some

A classic example to illustrate this is the Varanasi-Guwahati MG Exp.
Earlier there used to be a Lucknow-Guwahati Exp. (Gauhati, in those days)
running via Gorakhpur-Barauni-Katihar-Siliguri. There also used to be a
Lucknow-Gauhati Avadh Tirhut Mail. After the conversion of the
Lucknow-Gorakhpur section, the Lucknow Exp. started originating from Varanasi
as the Varanasi-Gauhati Exp. This used to employ the Varanasi-Aunrihar-Ballia
-Chhapra route, and from Chhapra it would proceed as its predecessor.
The AT Mail was restricted between Gorakhpur and Gauhati and was remnamed the
Dooars Exp.

The Gorakhpur-Barauni-Katihar conversion screwed things up for these MG
trains. The Dooars Exp. nows starts from Katihar. The Assam Mail (which used
to run till Barauni) now exists only between Guwahati and Tinsukia. Its BG
counterpart is the North-East Exp. The Varanasi-Guwahati Exp. now employs the
following circuitous route:-
Varanasi-Ballia-Chhapra as before
Chhapra-Sonpur-Bachwara, parallel to the BG line (Bachwara Jn. is about 15 kms.
before Barauni)
Bachwara-Samastipur, parallel to BG line (reverses dirn. at Bachchwara)
Khagaria-Mansi (brief encounter with the new BG line)
Mansi-Saharsa-Purnia-Katihar (back to the loop)
Katihar-Siliguri-Alipurduar-New Bongaigaon-Guwahati (as before)

Definitely a last resort for Varanasi-Assam passangers; one can catch the
Tinsukia ML. or North East Exp. at Mughal Sarai.

One of my thought trains (not again!!!) in the heydays of Metre-Gauge was
the superfast triweekly Varanasi-Gauhati Kamakhya Exp. I have changed its
path to coincide with the above mentioned route.
Incidently, my favorite thought train is the superfast Brahmaputra Exp.
(Bombay V.T.-Guwahati-Dibrugarh Tn.). This would take about 22 hrs. between
Varanasi and Guwahati, about 2 1/2 hrs. less than the NE Exp.

> One of the more recent and novel by-passes that has not been mentioned
> is the CR-WR link north of Bombay. Do I remember Vijay posting a year ago
> that it is now open to passenger traffic? How many trains actually use this
> by-pass to jump between CR and WR?

I had mentioned about this earlier. Trains using this bypass are:
weekly Ahmd-Cochin Exp.
weekly Rajkot-Trivandrum Exp.
weekly Rajkot-Secunderabad Exp.
weekly Ahmd-Pune Exp.

So just four passanger trains per week! There must be some goods traffic
too. These trains have a locomotive changeover (WCAM1 - WCM[1-3]) at Vasai
Rd. This bypass goes thru' Bhiwandi Rd.

But this bypass will shoot into prominence once the Konkan Rly. comes into
existence. Reason: the line forks into two near Diva Jn., one branch going
towards Kalyan and the other joining Diva. The latter would be used
by trains departing from the North towards Mangalore/Trivandrum.

> I assume that trains don't by-pass either Howrah or Madras Central?
> In the case of Madras, there isn't much of a detour involved, unlike
> Bombay.

One could call the Gudur-Renigunta line, a Madras bypass of sorts (used by
the Kerala Mangala Exp, etc.). There doesn't seem to one for Howrah.



From: Vijay Balasubramanian <

Subject: Bypasses

Date: 24 Oct 1990 14:55:00 -0500


I recall that some trains used to skip Madras Central and go to Madras Beach
instead. e.g. the Navjeevan Exp. and the Ganga Kaveri Exp (they now terminate
at MAS Central). What was the bypass used then?

Also, Hyderabad is bypassed by trains leaving Secunderabad towards Wadi
(Minar Exp., S'Bad-Rajkot Exp.). I faintly remember Khairatabad as being the
bypass stn. Anybody care to elaborate?


From: anand <

Subject: Hyderabad and Madras bypasses

Date: 25 Oct 1990 01:14:00 -0500

The Hyderabad bypass is indeed as you described it however, the
Secunderabad-Bombay express used to turn around in Hyderabad. I remember
very clearly a trip from Secunderabad to Bombay, ther was an engine on
both sides of the train when we set out from Secunderabad (A WP by the way).
At Huderabad, one engine was merely detached and the other engine pulled
the train out to towards Wadi. This scheme was probably reasonable since
the distance from S'bad to H'bad is barely 10 Km.

Just outside Madras Central is the famous "cloverleaf" junction at Basin
Bridge. It looks like this:

| To Gudur
/ | \
/ | \
/ | \
/ | \
to Arakonam \ | / To Madras Beach
\ | /
\ | /
\ | /
|Basin Bridge Junction
Madras Central

The space marked B is a bridge (a flyover really).

While travelling to Madras, I have never in my memory not stopped at
Basin Bridge!

R. Anand

From: Vijay Balasubramanian <

Subject: Another bypass!

Date: 24 Oct 1990 16:06:00 -0500


Thanks for the prompt reply, Anand.

The Tatanagar bypass, connecting Kandra and Sini, is used by the
Howrah/Gomoh - Chakradharpur passengers.

| To Chandil (and then to Muri/Purulia)
+ Kandra
/ \
/ \
To Sini Gam- Tatanagar To Kharagpur
Chakradharpur -harria

As far as I know, there is also a Kharagpur bypass connecting the Hwh.-Bombayand Hwh.-Madras trunk lines. I could never really catch sight of this, b'caus
of the complicated track layout at this stn.


From: Vijay Balasubramanian <

Subject: Quiz

Date: 24 Oct 1990 16:38:00 -0500


The recent discussion on bypasses has led me an interesting question:-

Q. What is the maximum number of bypasses used by a train? Name the train.

Could it be the Navyug Exp.? It uses the following bypasses:
1. Jullundhar City bypass (stops at J. Cant instead)
2. Wardha bypass (Wardha East)
3. Kazipet bypass (Warangal)
4. Arakkonam bypass
5. Coimbatore bypass (Podanur)


From: aravind <

Subject: Hyd bypass

Date: 24 Oct 1990 19:13:00 -0500

I believe that there is a triangle of BG lines outside Hyd-Secbad
that contains the Hussain Sagar lake. The third side of this "triangle"
is the Hyd bypass .....

Anand has provided an excellent drawing of the lines outside Madras Central.

Thanks a million Vijay, for all your long and elaborate elucidations ..
The current MG route description in NER was quite educational.


From: Ajai Banerji <

Subject: More puzzles

Date: 24 Oct 1990 14:37:00 -0500


Solution to last week's problems
1)Travel from Ahmedabad to Bangalore by metre gauge.
If through bogies are used, this can be done with only 3 changes.
The suggested route is:
Ahmedabad to Chittaurgarh by the Mewar Passenger
Chittaurgarh to Secunderabad by the Jaipur-Kacheguda Meenakshi Express
Secunderabad to Hubli by through bogie on Venkatadri express and another
train from Guntakal
Hubli to Bangalore by various trains.
Thus, one has to change at Chittaurgarh,Secunderabad and Hubli.

2)Delhi to Madras by metre gauge.
Here 4 changes are required.
Delhi to Jaipur by various trains.
Jaipur to Secunderabad by the above mentioned Meenakshi Express.
Secunderabad to Pakala by the Venkatadri Express.
Pakala to Villupuram by the Tirupati-Madurai Express.
Villupuram to Madras Egmore by various trains.
Thus, one has to change at Jaipur, Secunderabad, Pakala and Villupuram.

Of course, our resident guru Vijay was right.

3)The Delhi Deccan Railway featured in the book "Bhowani Junction". This book
is worth reading.

Here is a new puzzle, which was inspired by the impending US invasion of
Iraq. Imagine you are commanding the bomber wing of a hostile military force
attacking South India(which can be considered to be Kerala, Tamilnadu, Karnat-
-aka and southern AP).You have only enough resources to spare to conduct two
raids on railway installations in South India. You have to ensure that no broad gauge train can enter from the North. Which two bridges would you attack?
After having done this, you now hear that troops are being rushed from the
North by metre gauge trains. You can conduct one more raid to stop this. Which
line would you attack to prevent metre gauge trains from entering the South?
Also note that your planes cannot fly north of Secunderabad(Important hint)
BTW, this is not just an armchair exercise.I understand that the Indian
army does conduct studies of this sort(though obviously focussed against
Pakistan). Presumably the Pakistani armed forces (and the CIA?) have conducted
this type of study on India too.

From: Manish Malhotra <

Subject: Re: Puzzles

Date: 24 Oct 1990 19:49:00 -0500

Damn ! I was right !!!

(about Bhowani Junction)

From: aravind <

Subject: Re: quiz

Date: 25 Oct 1990 08:44:00 -0500

The BG bridges: Krishna bridge outside Vijayawada and
Krishna bridge outside Raichur in the Guntakal-Wadi section.

the MG bridge: the Krishna bridge on the Dronachellam-Secbad section
(i don't know where this is, but one must exist!)

Note that troops can still be transported via Miraj
(with a change of "carrier" there ...)


From: Vijay Balasubramanian <

Subject: Re: More Puzzles

Date: 25 Oct 1990 12:03:00 -0500


If I am not mistaken, these "strategic" BG bridges are over the Krishna
river, the first one between Krishna Canal Jn. and Vijayawada, and the second
one near Krishna stn. between Wadi and Raichur.

The MG bridge is also over the Krishna river near Gadwal, between
Mahbubunagar and Kurnool Town.


P.S.: There is another river that crosses the Wadi-Raichur line near Kosgi
and the Guntakal-Secunderabad MG line near Kurnool, and then merges
into the Krishna river. I wonder what river this is! The Tungabhadra,

From: anand <

Subject: PostScript diagram of rail lines near Pragati Maidan in Delhi

Date: 26 Oct 1990 17:54:00 -0500

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From: Vijay Balasubramanian <

Subject: Just a suggestion!

Date: 26 Oct 1990 13:37:00 -0500

Hi guys,

How about aquainting us with some of your interesting train journeys on IR
and/or your frequently traveled routes? This will not only give you a chance
to relive some of your exciting moments on Indian trains, but also encourage
all the IRFCAites to contribute to the net.

BTW, here are some excerpts from recent correspondence between Ajai and


>From Ajai:

....Re your query about the trip from Ernakulam to Saharanpur, remember that
the bg Madras-Trivandrum Mail came into being only in 1975 after the conversion
of the Ernakulam-Trivandrum section.
In the bad old days, there was no Kerala Express or Mangala express.There
were Cochin-New Delhi bogies which were attached to the GT at Madras. From
Cochin, they were hauled by various trains such as the 20 Cochin-Madras Mail,
the 42 Cochin-Madras Kerala Express, and sometimes the Cochin- Mangalore
Malabar Express upto Shoranur and the West Coast Express thereafter. All
these options included a lengthy stay in the sidings at Madras.
Other problems included transferring from NDLS to DLI as most northbound
trains left from DLI.We usually took a Delhi-Saharanpur passenger which left
DLI at 14.45. If the GT was late we took the Delhi-Haridwar pasenger which left
around 18.30.
While returning, we took a passenger which left Saharanpur at 07.00......
......How times have changed. Now we take the Kerala Express and the Shalimar
Express. It is difficult to catch the Ludhiana super express as the time is
too close to the arrival of the Kerala Express, and also it is fully reserved.
While returning from Saharanpur there is no convenient train connecting the
Kerala Express, so we take a taxi which reaches Delhi in 4 hours.
To give an idea of the improvement over the years, I give a rough timetable
of 'Then' and 'Now'
Monday 18.00-leave Ernakulam by 42 Kerala Express
Tuesday 11.00-arrive Madras
Tuesday 19.30-leave Madras by GT
Thursday 10.00-arrive New Delhi
Transfer to Delhi Jn by road
Thursday 14.45-leave Delhi by passenger
Thursday 20.30-arrive Saharanpur
(total time about 74.30 hours)

Monday 12.30-Leave Ernakulam by Kerala Express
Wednesday 12.00-arrive New Delhi
(No need to change stations now)
Wednesday 16.00-leave New Delhi by Shalimar Express
Wednesday 20.30-arrive Saharanpur
(total time about 56 hours), ie almost a full day is saved.

If this was the condition in the 1960s, God only knows what it was earlier.
The Delhi-Madras route was the last trunk route to be completed. The last link
was the Balharshah-Kazipet section in 1929.

To Ajai: starting off with the Bombay-Varanasi route, my most frequently
traveled one. Varanasi is my home-town (I was born there and lived there
for six years), and would invariably be in our vacation list.
In fact, it would also be the last and relaxing phase of our trip,
so that the journey back to Bombay would be from
Varanasi. Before the introduction of the Mahanagri Exp. in Oct. 1980, the
Dadar-Varanasi Exp. (more commonly known as the Kashi Exp.) and the
Hwh.-Bombay ML. via Allahabad used to be our "transporters". The Bombay
Ml. takes about 5 hrs. less than the Kashi Exp., but was not always preferred
b'caus of the inconvenient timings at Mughal Sarai (it dosen't go via
Varanasi): ~07.30 towards Bombay, ~00.15 from Bombay. Still, it continues
to be my favorite train to commute between Bombay and Varanasi. The UP
train from Bombay leaves around 21.15. Hence, a major portion of the
Bombay-Bhusaval electrified route would be encountered in the night.
I would contend to stand at the door from Jalgaon to Bhusaval (~ 1/2 hr.),
so as to share some precious moments with the elegant WAM-4 hauling our train,
its pantograph greedily licking the catenary wires. In winter, this required
facing a blast of cold air in the wee hours of the morning, but I would
stand undaunted from my position beside the door. Some other exciting
moments would be in the single line section after Satna where, if I was in
luck, our train would stop at a crossing so that I could experience the thrill
of another train thundering past us. The next thing to look forward to would
be Allahabad where our WDM-2 would give way to a WAM-4 or WAP-2 (the
slant-faced 8-wheeled locos.). Once, I was ecstatic to spot the Rajdhani Exp.
at Mughal Sarai, just before detraining. The Rajdhani Exps. are my favorite
trains. How I got to travel in both of them one after the other is another

The Kashi Exp. is a stinker between Allahabad and Varanasi, as it behaves
as a passanger train stopping at all stations but two.
It takes about 4 hrs. to cover the
~130 km. distance (avg. speed ~32 kmph.). It used to be hauled by a WP
between Allahabad and Manikpur, but is now hauled by a diesel loco. between
Allh'd and Bhusaval (or Itarsi, maybe since B'val-Itarsi is electrified)....

....The popularity of the Mahanagri Exp. after its introduction is apparent by
the fact that it started out as a bi-weekly train, went thru' a
four-days-a-week run period, and is now a daily train. It takes about the
same time as the Bombay Ml. in the Dn. dirn., but the up train is ~1 1/2 hrs.
faster. But the standard of cleanliness maintained by its fellow passangers
continues to decline with the result that traveling by 2nd class sleeper on
this train is an ordeal even from train freaks like me. The alternative is to
travel on the AC 2-tier sleeper instead, paying nearly four times as before,
or go back to the good ol' Bombay Mail.....

.....This brings to the Mahanagri Exp. journey in summer of
1981, which took me to Bombay in time to join IIT. A friend of mine was
supposed to be in another coach but traveled with us instead, b'caus his
coach was removed at the last moment!
The train stopped at a crossing a little while after Naini. Both of us got
down, crossed the adjacent track and patiently waited on the other side.
About 10 mts. later, we caught sight of the speeding Ganga Kaveri Exp.
The brilliant green'n'yellow coaches dazzled past us as we stood agape, rooted
to the ground. It was all over in a matter of seconds.

Of course, on two occasions, the maddening rush of Bombay-Varanasi
commuters during the peak seasons, forced us to use the services of the
Bombay-Bhagalpur Janata Exp. This combines the negative aspects of both the
Kashi Exp. (more travel time) and Bombay Mail (goes via M.Sarai instead of
Varanasi). After Itarsi, it would stop at Bagra Tawa stn., or a stn.
before/after to allow the Bombay Ml. to overtake it. That was fun, as
you can well imagine. The next overtaking would be by the Jabalpur-
H.Nizamuddin Qutub Narmada Exp. (now Mahakoshai Exp.) at/near Sohagpur
after Jabalpur.

The sad story is: there is no real superfast train connecting the two cities.
One of my favorite thought trains is the Brahmaputra Exp. (you must have
seen the details in a previous mail of mine), and I have spent many an hr.
fantasizing about traveling on this beauty between Bombay and Varanasi.
And then I came with a superfast exp. just between Bombay and Varanasi,
the tri-weekly Malviya Exp. Halts:- Dadar (Up. dirn. only), Manmad,
Bhusaval, Itarsi, Jabalpur, Allahabad. Of course, there are techincal halts
at Igatpuri and Kasara (dn. dirn. only).


Note:- Your mail need not be as lengthy as the stuff above. After all, there
cannot be too many hopelessly addicted train freaks around:-).

Looking forward to a dramatic increase in activity within the next few days,



From: Vijay Balasubramanian <

Subject: Indrail Pass!

Date: 26 Oct 1990 15:20:00 -0500


This was posted (by your's truly) in response to a note in SCI.



The Indrail Pass enables visitors to travel as they like from any point to
any point over the Indian Railways, without route or train restrictions
including Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains, within the period of validity.
Indrail passes are sold only to foreign nationals and Indians residing abroad
holding valid passports against payment in US $ or pound sterling. A tourist
traveling on Indrail pass is exempted from paying reservation fee, sleeper
charges, supplementary chargesfor traveling by superfast trains or for meals
provided in Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains.

The fare structure is as follows: (fare in US dollars per adult)

Period of AC First Class First Class/ Second Class
Validity AC 2 Tier/ (Non-AC)
AC Chair Car

1 day* 65 29 12
7 days 220 110 55
15 " 270 135 65
21 " 330 165 75
30 " 410 205 90
60 " 600 300 135
90 " 800 400 175

* for sale by General Sales Agents only.

An Indrail pass has to be validated before commencing the first rail journey,
by getting the columns of "first day and last day" properly filled in by an
authorized official. To facilitate rail tourism, the Indian Railways have
introduced the Indian Rover scheme which envisages confirmed train accomodation
provided booking is made a minimum of 90 days in advance.

Outside India, Indrail passes are sold through General Sales Agents in London,New Yosk, Paris, Sydney, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Toronto, Bangkok, Port Louis,
Helsinki, Sharjah and Kuala Lumpur.

In India, Indrail passes are available for sale in Railway Offices at New
Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Agra Cantt., Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Bangalore
City, Chandigrah, Gorakhpur, Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Rameswaram,
Trivandrum Central, Vadodara, Varanasi, Vasco-da-gama and Amritsar. In
addition, these passes are sold through outlets at international airports
in Bombay, Calcutta, Calcutta and domestic airport at Madras. Recognized travel agents are also authorized to sell these passes in Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta and

Source:- The "Trains at a Glance" Time-Table, May 1990.



From: Ajai Banerji <A.AJAI@Macbeth.Email

Subject: The Long Ride

Date: 26 Oct 1990 17:56:00 -0500


As some IRFCA writers are fond of planning new trains, perhaps this may
give them some ideas.
In mid-1986 I was to travel by the Kerala Express from NDLS to Ernakulam. At
that time the scheduled time was about 48 hours.
There was some flood damage on the Wardha-Kazipet section,so the train had
to be diverted. As experienced North-South travellers know, the standard
route for diversion in such cases is Itarsi-Manmad-Daund and then along the
Bombay- Madras route. On this occasion, however, the diversion was only from
As you might guess, the diverted route became Wardha-Bhusaval-Manmad-
Daund-Guntakal-Krishnarajapuram-Jolarpettai and then resumed the regular
route of the Kerala Express. As is usual in such cases, the diverted train
had to yield priority to virtually all other trains. As the meal pickups are
based on certain assumptions of timely running, we got used to having
breakfast at 1 pm and lunch at 5pm. Naturally, no one dared to order supper
as it might turn up in the middle of the night, so everyone took their chance with the platform vendors. Ultimately the scheduled 48-hour journey stretched
to 73 hours. A rough timetable is given below:
Leave New Delhi16.00, Monday
Leave Wardha, 08.00, Tuesday
Leave Bhusaval, 20.30, Tuesday
Leave Daund, 09.00, Wednesday
Leave Guntakal, 21.00, Wednesday
Leave Jolarpettai, 08.00, Thursday
Arrive Ernakulam, 17.00, Thursday
(Total time 73 hours)
You might like to compare these timings with those of even slow expresses.
The superfast Kerala Express was indeed reduced to a pathetic state, partic-
-ularly on the Bombay- Madras section which is still mostly single track.
While talking of food on the railways, I would think that the Bombay- Madras
route probably has the worst food amongst the trunk lines. At the other end
of the scale, probably the best food I had in a railway dining-room was at
Ambala Cantt. I used to eat there regularly in 1979; it was still good on my
next visit in 1985. No doubt other netters will suggest other stations.