IRFCA Mailing List Archive

Messages 701 - 720

From: Ajai Banerji <

Subject: This and that

Date: 14 Aug 1991 09:07:00 -0500

Brahmaputra Mail: Actually there are three trains between Delhi and Guwahati:
Northeast Express, via Allahabad, Barauni
Tinsukia Mail, via Allahabad, Kiul, Farakka
Avadh Assam Express, via Moradabad, Lucknow, Barauni

There is no mention of the Brahmaputra mail in the timetables of late 1990.

Railway ministers:
The process of ministers starting new trains for their constituencies
is generally considered to have started with T.A. Pai in 1972. Here is a
(hopefully) comprehensive list of ministers and their achievements:

Name Achievements

T.A. Pai, 1972-73, Mangalore Starting Jayanti Janata Express between Delhi and
L.N. Misra, 1973-75, Darbhanga Starting Jayanti Janata express between Delhi and
Samastipur, also sanctioned a number of lines in
North Bihar
Kamlapathi Tripathi, 1975-77, Varanasi
Started Kashi Viswanath Express from Delhi to
Varanasi, also extended Delhi-Lucknow express
to Varanasi
Kedar Pande,?, Bihar ?
Madhu Dandavate,1977-79, Rajapur(Maharashtra)
Extended Jhelum Express to Pune, introduced EMUs
on Lonavla-Pune route.
Ghani Khan, 1980-84 Started Gaur Express from Sealdah to Malda. Got
Malda detached from NF and added to ER, made it
a divisional HQ.
Bansi Lal, 1984?, Bhiwani Not much. Perhaps he speeded up the Bhiwani-Kalka
Ekta Express.
Madhavrao Scindia, 1985-89, Gwalior
Introduced Chambal Express (Howrah-Gwalior) and
Lashkar Express (Bombay-Gwalior), also improved
services in MP. Expedited Shatabdi Express which
went via Gwalior
George Fernandes, 1989-90, Muzaffarpur (originally from Mangalore)
Introduced new Bombay- Muzaffarpur train, also got
Konkan line started with the help of finance minister
Dandavate. Announced Goa Express but it never ran.
Janeshwar Misra, 1990-91, Allahabad
Wasn't around long enough to do much. Tried to stop
Rajdhani at Allahabad. Started new Delhi-Patna train.
C.K. Jaffar Sherif, 1991-, Bangalore

I should, however, point out that at least some of the above new trains were
definitely needed and should not be considered as unnecesary favours. The initial
Jayanti Janata to Cochin/Mangalore was definitely needed. Prior to 1973, the GT
express used to have more passengers to Kerala than Madras. (probably the northie
ministers thought that all southies are Madrasis, therefore there was no need for
any southbound train to go beyond Madras.) Likewise the Jhelum Express was the first
train connecting the important center of Pune to the north.

From: Dheeraj Sanghi <>

Subject: Another Train Accident

Date: 15 Aug 1991 13:42:00 -0500

Indian Train Accident Leaves 19 Dead, 150 Injured

BHOPAL, INDIA, (AUG 10) - At least 19 people travelling on the roof of a
packed train were crushed to death and some 150 more injured Saturday in
central India.
The train was passing under a bridge outside Gwalior city in Madhya
Pradesh state, of which Bhopal is the capital, when the accident occurred.
Hospital sources said some 12 people died instantly and seven died later
in hospital. They said about 150 more were still hospitalised.
Earlier, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported that the train was on a
60-kilometre (40-mile) journey to the town of Bhind from Gwalior when the
tragedy occurred.
Many passengers who could not find a seat inside the crowded train were
reportedly travelling on top of the coaches, a common practice on India's
state-owned railway network.

Copied from

From: aravind <

Subject: gwalior accident

Date: 16 Aug 1991 09:17:00 -0500

Was the train carrying the ill-fated
rooftop travellers an NG train? Are the NG lines around Gwalior
that heavily used?


From: vijayb <

Subject: AC exp., Rajdhani exp.

Date: 20 Aug 1991 14:54:00 -0500

Hi Folks,

Here's wishing Ajai a safe trip to Vancouver. Hope to have him back on the
net soon.

A friend got me the July '91 timetables for Central and Western Rlys.
Here are the schedules for the Bombay-N.Delhi AC exp. and the Rajdhani exp.

1) AC Exp.

Dn. Up
| /-\
\_/ Stations |
17 45 d Bombay Central a 10 10

20 58 a Surat d 6 27
21 03 d a 6 22

22 32 a Vadodara ** d 4 45
22 50 d a 4 25

4 55 a Kota ** d 21 55
5 00 d a 21 50

6 03 a Sawai Madhopur d 20 37
6 05 d a 20 35

10 50 a New Delhi d 16 50

** Vadodara and Kota are TECHNICAL HALTS ONLY.
Ex. Bombay Central on Mon., Wed., and Sat.
Ex. N.Delhi on Tue., Thur., and Sun.

2) Rajdhani Exp.

Dn. Up
| /-\
\_/ Stations |
17 00 d Bombay Central a 8 35

21 30 a Vadodara d 3 54
21 40 d a 3 44

1 12 a Ratlam d 0 08
1 32 d a 23 48

4 05 a Kota d 21 05
4 15 d a 20 55

9 55 a New Delhi d 16 05

Ex. Bombay Central on all days except Mon.
Ex. N.Delhi on all days except Tue.



1. The AC exp. has only two passenger halts viz., Surat and Sawai Madhopur.
These complement the (passenger) halts for the Rajdhani exp.

2. The AC exp. is the only train not to halt at Ratlam. It is also the only
train not to accept passengers at Vadodara or Kota.

3. The AC exp. consumes almost the same time as the Raj. between Vadodara and
N.Delhi., although it is slower in the Bombay-Vadodara stretch. Moreover,
it has an 18-20 mt. halt at Vadodara. These seem to suggest that the AC exp.
is hauled by a WCAM-1 between Bombay Central and Vadodara, and by a WAP-1
between Vadodara and N.Delhi.

3. What puzzles me is that the Dn. AC exp. takes only 23 mts. more than the Raj.
between Bombay and Vadodara, whereas this time difference jumps to 54 mts. in
the other dirn.

4. The AC exp. has the distinction of having the longest distance between
passenger halts (Surat-Sawai Madhopur -> 764 kms.) as well as the longest
distance between halts (Vadodara-Kota -> 524 kms.)

5. The Dn. Rajdhani exp. has been slowed down by 40 mts.:-( It now takes 35
mts. more to travel from Kota to N.Delhi.

N.Delhi-Howrah Rajdhani exp.
This now halts at Allahabad for 3 mts. in either direction. Looks like our
ex. rly. minister (J.Mishra) succeeded, after all.

More later on the '91 time-tables,


From: Shaibal Roy <

Subject: Trip report

Date: 20 Aug 1991 11:21:00 -0500

It's hard to believe, but the tardiness in IR has seems to have
gotten even worse! I spent the last month in India, and almost
every train I took was late -- often by seven hours or more.
Some observations:

1. Too many superfast trains!

I found more "Superfast" trains than mere mail/express trains
on the schedule for the Puri-KGP-Howrah route!

2. Long, complex routes => delay

The trains traversing long, obscure, and/or complex routes seem
to be the most susceptible to delays. For example, the Cochin-Guwahati
*superfast* express was late by 7 hours, and the Guwahati-Trivandrum
sfexp by 9 hours. At the same time, lesser trains such as the Darjeeling
Mail, Kamrup Express, and Howrah-Puri express were running on time.

3. Once late, you might as well give up.

Once your train is delayed by more than an hour, IR seems to stop
caring about it. For example, the Guwahati-Trivandrum sfexp was late
by 2 hours at NJP, by 6 hours at Howrah, and 7 hours at KGP. At this
point, they simply let it sit at KGP for over an hour and let Dhauli
Exp (superfast, of course!) overtake it. Similarly, once the Puri-
New Delhi Superfast (what else is there?) Neelachal exp was late by
two hours, they let Kalka Mail (superfast, of course) overtake it.

This really pisses me off. The only motivation for doing this, that
I can think of, is to claim something like "This year 90% of all trains
ran on time." That is lame!

4. Shatabdi Exp.

After having endured trains that were late by 4, 4, 1, 7, 9, 4, and
4 hours, I wasn't looking forward to my last train ride in India: from
Agra to New Delhi on Shatabdi Express. This train was ten minutes late
at AGC. But it covered the 199 km from AGC to NDLS in 1 hour and 47 min
to arrive NDLS before time. I was impressed.

5. Long trains.

Some trains (Kalka Mail, GT Exp) had 21 coaches. Even Cochin-Guwahati
sfexp had 17 coaches. I didn't mind this at all until the kind IR staff
at Cuttack told me that there was no way to tell where the ACII coach was
located in the train. This meant that I had to find it by walking down
the lenth of the train during the five minute stop. As it turned out, there
was no cause for concern. The train stopped for more than fifteen minutes
(while running late by over four hours!).


From: apte <

Subject: Bombay-N.Delhi Route

Date: 20 Aug 1991 13:04:00 -0500

The schedule of the new A/c Express, and the fact that Vadodara and
Kota are not passenger halts is very interesting. I am willing to
wager though that they are not going to remain that way for too long.
The 18 minute halt at Vadodara is definitely indicative of a loco
change. I don't think that technical halts at relatively big cities
like Vadodara are a good idea. As it is passenger demand far exceeds
train supply: to add trains that stop but don't pick up passengers is

It seems to me that the overall train structure on the Bombay-New Delhi
route, given the immense traffic, should be up for a major overhaul -
this new A/C Express is a mere stop-gap measure.

Some ideas come to mind:

1) Decouple the Bombay Jammu Tawi Superfast Express from the Sarvodaya/Hapa
Expresses. Make both sets of trains daily, with the BCT-Jammu Tawi
Express possibly running only between Bombay-New Delhi on 3 days, and
Bombay-Jammu Tawi on the other four as it currently does. In the other
set, maybe Sarvodaya Exp can run on 5 days and the Hapa Express on 2.

2) The Bombay Jammu-Tawi superfast should be speeded up to the level
of the current A/c Express (originally, the Bombay-Jammu Tawi superfast
used to cover Bombay-New-Delhi in ~ 19 hrs, if I remember correctly).

3) The new A/c Express should take passengers from Vadodara and Kota,
and its frequency should be increased to 5/6 days a week.

4) The Raj should be speeded up even further to whatever extent

This way, there will be 3 GENUINE superfast trains between Bombay and
N. Delhi, for most of the week, and at least 2 on every day of the week.

The halts and timings should complement each other:
Raj: Bombay-Vadodara-Ratlam-N.Delhi (16 hrs)
A/C: Bombay-Surat-Vadodara-Kota-Sawai Madhopur-N.Delhi (18 hrs)
Jammu Tawi: Bombay-Surat-Vadodara-Ratlam-Kota-N.Delhi (18 hrs)

Thus, the 4
important stations namely Surat, Vadodara, Ratlam and Kota would have
least two and in the case of Vadodara - 3 of these trains stopping

Enough rambling :-)

From: vijayb <

Subject: Bombay-Ahmedabad superfast Exp.

Date: 21 Aug 1991 17:18:00 -0500

Hi Folks,

Here is the schedule of the Karnavati exp.

Dn. Up
| /-\
\_/ Stations |
13 45 d Bombay Central a 12 40

14 22 d Borivali d 11 55

17 35 a Surat d 8 52
17 40 d a 8 47

19 33 a Vadodara d 6 52
19 38 d a 6 47

21 25 a Ahmedabad d 5 00

ex Bombay Central on all days except Wed.
ex Ahmedabad on all days except Wed.

1. The train compares unfavourably to other superfast trains in the Surat-
Vadodara section. It could easily travel this distance in ~1 hr. 40 mts.

2. The Dn. train is a bit slow in the Bombay-Surat section. Could be speeded
up atleast 15 mts.


From: vijayb <

Subject: Western Rly. Timetable, etc.

Date: 27 Aug 1991 17:36:00 -0500

Hi Folks,
Here is some more interesting info. from the '91 Western Rly. timetable:-

1. Bombay-Indore Avantika Exp. now halts at Kharchod (between Ratlam & Nagda)
2. Jammu Tawi - Hapa Exp. now halts at Wankaner (in the Viramgam-Rajkot section
3. The Sawai Madhopur-Jaipur-Phulera BG conversion project has commenced.
Once finished, this would bring Jaipur onto the BG map.

4. Bhildi-Mahesana-Viramgam BG construction/conversion has begun
5. The map indicates the construction of a new Godhra - Dahod - Indore BG line.
This would provide an alternate route between Bhopal and Vadodara bypassing
Ujjain, Nagda and Ratlam.

Railway ministers and their "escapades"

Tamisra writes:
>Samastipur Jayanti Janata (L N Mishra). Kamlapati Tripathi wanted to
>go further than any previous rly minister by making Varanasi the rail
>capital of India (Kashi Vishwanath to Delhi, Mahanagari to Bombay,
>Ganga-Kaveri to Madras). Under Tripathi, any other train introduced als
>should go through Varanasi, if at all possible. Tripathi continued to
>flex his muscle even when he was no longer the rly minister. Thus he
>frustrated a plan to let the Puri-Delhi Neelachal Exp take the main
>line between Allahabad and Mughalsarai (saving a good 2 hours off
>journey time). Madhu Dandavate could not start a train because Konkan

The popularity of the Kashi Vishwanath Exp., Mahanagri Exp. and the
Ganga Kaveri exp. is amply illustrated by the fact that these trains
get fully booked at least a month before the departure date(s).
Varanasi is probably the second largest city in UP (in terms of
population, at least) and as such needs fast direct trains to various
cities in India. It is sad that there no superfast trains which run
just between Varanasi and the four metropolitan cities of Bombay, Delhi,
Madras and Calcutta (Ganga Kaveri Exp. used to be a superfast train but
has been slowed down considerably. Saryu Yamuna exp. has been extended
till Muzaffarpur).

The Neelanchal exp. was originially introduced VIA VARANASI. In
those days (late 70's), the only trains to run via Allahabad-Varanasi-
Mughal Sarai were the tri-weekly Deluxe exp., the bi-weekly Jayanti
Janata exp., the tri-weekly Neelachal exp., and the daily Upper India
exp. All the other Allahabad-Mughal Sarai trains ran via Mirzapur.
The Neelanchal Exp. was, thus, only the third superfast train to link
Delhi with Varanasi and the ONLY train between Varanasi and Tatanagar/
Orissa. Then Mr. Hot-Shot G.K.Choudhary decided to reroute the
Jayanati Janata exp. via Lucknow-Gorakhpur, thus, destroying the only
direct link between Varanasi and Barauni/Muzaffarpur and eliminating
one of the three superfast trains between Delhi and Varanasi.
Naturally, the rerouting of the Neelanchal exp. via Mirzapur was one
mishap too many.

It is unfortunate that Allahabad-Varanasi is still single line and
non-electrified. This discourages most of the trains to employ this
route which run via Mirzapur instead.

Ajai writes:
>Madhavrao Scindia, 1985-89, Gwalior
>Introduced Chambal Express (Howrah-Gwalior) and
>Lashkar Express (Bombay-Gwalior), also improved
>services in MP. Expedited Shatabdi Express which
>went via Gwalior

He also introduced the Ahmedabad-Gwalior exp., extended the Taj exp.
to Gwalior five days a week, and extended the Chhapra-Jhansi Mail & the
Bundelkhand Exp. to Gwalior. He made the Tamilnadu Exp. and the Andhr
Pradesh exp. halt at Gwalior.




Subject: Rly Ministers

Date: 28 Aug 1991 16:02:00 -0500

>Railway ministers and their "escapades"
Good title!

I wrote about
some Rly Ministers favoring their hometowns....original deleted

Vijay apparently likes Varanasi being favored, because he says:

> The popularity of the Kashi Vishwanath Exp., Mahanagri Exp. and the
> Ganga Kaveri exp. is amply illustrated by the fact that these trains
> get fully booked at least a month before the departure date(s).
> Varanasi is probably the second largest city in UP (in terms of
>population, at least) and as such needs fast direct trains to various
>cities in India. It is sad that there no superfast trains which run
>just between Varanasi and the four metropolitan cities of Bombay, Delhi,
>Madras and Calcutta (Ganga Kaveri Exp. used to be a superfast train but
>has been slowed down considerably. Saryu Yamuna exp. has been extended
>till Muzaffarpur).

My comments:
It is certainly possible that Varanasi (and possibly other cities)
needs fast trains to various cities, but there should be some objective
criteria to decide on new trains not dependent on where the Rly
Minister's hometown happen to be. Note that the largest city of UP
(Kanpur) is not connected with Bombay or Madras by superfast service
(at least it was not so connected during Tripathi's reign)
so why should Varanasi have a claim ahead of Kanpur?

Vijay further says:
> The Neelanchal exp. was originially introduced VIA VARANASI. In

Was it not because it was started during Tripathi's reign?
There has been a long standing demand for a good train between Orissa
and Delhi. It is curious that IR needed four iterations before
discovering the best route for such a train! Utkal and Kalinga
Expresses were so slow that passengers could do better by changing
trains at Howrah, and most did so. I have never heard about this
crying need for a train bet'n Varanasi and Orissa, and judging
by the way these trains can be proliferated by Ministers, there
was no reason to have Neelachal to do double duty.

Rest of Vijay's comments deleted.......

I repeat: We cannot depend on lucky coincidence of real need of
travelling people and the whims and fancies of Ministers or MP's.
There should be objective criteria to assess the need for new


From: Dheeraj Sanghi <>

Subject: Advanced Reservations.

Date: 28 Aug 1991 16:49:00 -0500

How far in advance can a seat/birth be reserved in IR these days.



From: apte <

Subject: Re: Ministerial Escapades

Date: 28 Aug 1991 15:04:00 -0500


Since I started this thread, I am compelled to increase my contribution
to 4c :-). When I started by saying that Railway ministers need to
rotated over the country, I was obviously kidding. But in the absence
of any coherent policy of introducing new services,
this seems to be a way in which specific demands get
met. In some cases they may be justified, as Vijay pointed out in the
case of Varanasi, or as Ajai pointed out for the Mangalore Jayanti
Janata Express, and the Pune-Jammu Tawi Jhelum Express. The down side
of course is that a lot of not-so-justified things also occur, such as
the spate of trains from Gwalior by Madhavrao Scindia, or requisite
things don't happen such as possibly the necessity of more trains
from/to Kanpur (as opposed to Gorakhpur :-)).
As a "big picture" scenario, therefore I
fully agree with Tamisra that this ad hoc way is a completely wrong way
of going about implementing a coherent and logical system of trains.
This ad-hocism is evident the current state of the Bombay-N.Delhi route
that I commented upon in my recent posting, too.

But given the current state of politics, and that IR is run by
beauraucrats who know how to do only 2 things - ignore the people and
suck up to politicians - I wonder when we will have a logical train
implementation policy.


P.S. A short note about the Neelanchal. I remember reading that part
of the motivation, (in addition to Kamlapati*ji*'s inclinations :-))
for the Neelanchal and the Ganga-Kaveri was to connect the main holy
places (for Hindus). Thus the G-K had this curiosity of not going to
Madras Central, but finishing at Madras Beach where it connected to the
MG G-K to Rameshwaram, while the Neelanchal went off the main line to
Varanasi to connect to Puri.

From: vijayb <

Subject: This and That!

Date: 03 Sep 1991 15:00:00 -0500

Railway Ministers & their escapades
I consider it as some sort of a chain reaction. When a minister comes to
power he/she might feel that it is solely upto him/her to promote rail services
thru' his region, lest it remain neglected during succesive years (when
ministers from "other" regions might show up). IMHO, a coherent
implementation policy will be there to stay once a particular minister decides
to "break the chain".

Reservation rules
In reply to Dheeraj's query, reservations are allowed a maximum of 60 days
in advance irrespective of the class and train (except for certain short
distance day trains).

Bangalore City
This is in reply to Aravind's puzzle. With the conversion of Mysor
-Bangalore to BG, I am pretty sure that the MG line at one end of the
current MG/BG platform (indicated as PLATF in the diagram) would be
replaced by a BG track. A separate BG yard could be built south of the
station (a bit away from the factory) with connections to all the BG
lines at Bangalore City stn. Moreover, another track could link the
line from Mysore with this yard, thus, providing a route for north-bound
trains originating from Mysore.

In this scheme, the new BG platform would be accesible to trains onl
from Mysore (and terminating at Bangalore itself), whereas the other
BG platforms could be accessed by ALL BG trains passing thru/terminating
at Bangalore.


From: apte <

Subject: Station specialities

Date: 05 Sep 1991 08:40:00 -0500

I'm sure all of us Frequent Railers have had our apetites whetted by
the culinary wizards of the stations of India in our travels (and
travails!). So what if the hygiene standards were no exactly to the
liking of the Surgeon-general? :-) On a railway journey certain stuff
tastes simply to good to be true! Let me start the ball rolling with
my favorites:

Dahanu Road: "Dal", dry fried dal, with salt, chili, onion, masala

Valsad: Chikkus- the best in the world

Surat: "Farsan" - gujju gathias and sev and other potpourri

Vadodara: "Sugam" dairy stuff - milk, shrikhand, gulab jamuns etc..

Karjat, Lonavala: Chikki of course!

Mathura: "Petha" decadently sweet and delicious mithai

Bhusaval: Classic "special" chai

Itarsi: Masala milk at one favorite vendor of mine

Satna: A special "alu tikki"

Allahabad: Apple juice on PF1 (probably at other stations too, but I've had
it only in Allahabad) and subzi-puri.

Wow, I get hungry just thinking about these. Others want to share
their favorites?


From: vijayb <

Subject: Central Rly. time-table

Date: 05 Sep 1991 18:16:00 -0500

Hi Folks,

Here is some interesting info. from the July '91 Central Rly. time-table.

1. Goa Exp. is a daily superfast train between Hazrat Nizamuddin (near Delhi)
and Vasco-Da-Gama (in Goa). It has I Class, II Class and II AC sleeper
accomodation. The BG/MG changeover occurs at Miraj.

Dep. Nizaumddin 12.25 Arr. Miraj 20.00 (next day) Arr. Vasco 06 00
Dep. Vasco 20.30 Dep. Miraj 07.00 Arr. Nizamuddin 14.45 (next day)

It takes about 1 hr. 15 mts. less than the Jhelum Exp between Pune and
Nizamuddin. Halts between Nizamuddin and Pune are: Agra Cant, Gwalior,
Jhansi, Bhopal, Itarsi, Bhusaval, Manmad, Ahmednagar, Daund.

2. Samta Exp. is a biweekly train between Nizamuddin and Visakhapatnam. It goes
via Jhansi-Nagpur-Durg-Raipur-Titlagarh-Vizianagaram. It has II class and
II AC sleeper accomodation.

Dep. Nizamuddin 08.40 Arr. Visakhapatnam 01.45 (third day)
Dep. Visakhapatnam 22.45 Arr. Nizamuddin 16.30 (third day)

Looks like the Raipur-Visakhapatnam Link exp. (connecting to the Chhatisgarh
Exp. at Bilaspur) is no longer in existence. I am not sure about the
Kazipet-Visakhapatnam Link Exp. (connecting to the Dakshin exp. at Kazipet)

Samta Exp. halts between Nizamuddin and Nagpur: Mathura, Raja-ki-Mandi, Agra
Cant, Gwalior, Jhansi, Bina, Bhopal, Itarsi, Betul

3. Bombay-Varansi exp. is a daily train with I and II class.

Dep. Bombay V.T. 11.10 Arr. Varansi 14.30 (next day)
Dep. Varanasi 23.30 Arr. Bombay 04.25 (next day)

Halts between Bombay V.T. and Allahabad: Dadar, Kalyan, Igatpuri, Nasik Rd.,
Manmad, Jalgaon, Bhusaval, Khandwa, Itarsi, Jabalpur, Katni, Satna, Manikpur

Its complements the Mahanagri since the arrival and departure times of the
Dn. Bombay-Varanasi exp. are similar to those of the Up Mahanagri and vice versa.
Note that the Mahanagri does not halt at Jalgaon and Dadar (Dn. only) and
has halts at Thane, Burhanpur, Pipariya, Narsinghpur, and Maihar.

[ Looks like the IR authorities have decided not to introduce any superfast
service between Bombay and Varanasi. Why be so stubborn?
At present, an avg. of 3.5 trains per day connect Varanasi to Bombay and NONE
of them are superfast ]

4. Bombay-Firozpur Punjab Mail halts at Sanchi, and has experimanetal halts at
Mandi Bamora and Kosi Kalan. They have screwed up my train.

5. Jhelum exp. halts at Harda, Hoshangabad (exp.), Vidisha (exp.), Lalitpur,
Babina, Raja-ki-Mandi and H.Nizamuddin (Dn.). Looks like this decision is
related to the introduction of another Delhi-Pune train.

6. Gitanjali exp. halts at Badnera (one more in a long list of halts added over
the years)

7. Andhra Pradesh exp. halts at Agra Cant. and Mathura (Dn.)

8. Kerala exp. halts at Faridabad (Dn.)

9. Bombay-Lucknow Pushpak Exp. halts at Lalitpur (tchah!)

10. Surat-Varanasi Tapti Ganga exp. halts at Jalgaon and Burhanpur

11. Indore-Howrah Shirpa Exp. halts at Vidisha (exp.) and Shankargarh

12. Durg-Bhopal Amarkantak exp. halts at Kareli (next to Narsinghpur). Used to
travel non-stop between Jabalpur and Itarsi, intially.

Pushkar's experiences w.r.t. feasting on IR stn. delicacies reminds me of a
similar discussion during the early IRFCA days. Here are my additions:
Igatpuri - Batata Vadas
Bhusaval - Bananas
Nagpur - Oranges
Allahabad - Guavas and Ginger Tea
Itarsi - Garam Dudh (hot milk)


From: vax135!aravind <vax135!

Subject: more on Bangalore City

Date: 05 Sep 1991 18:22:00 -0500

The solution I had in mind for alleviating the bottlenecks at
Bangalore City was, in addition to the sort of thing Vijay proposed, to
close the small, under-used parking lot on the north side and provide
some connectivity there, so that there is access to both ends of the
new BG platform(s).

Anyhow, we won't be kept in the dark too much longer. Something real
will have to be done soon.

Any one else out there who cares about what happens at Bangalore?


From: vijayb <

Subject: Train video, etc.

Date: 10 Sep 1991 16:04:00 -0500

Hi Folks,
I recently received a copy of the "Great Railway Journeys of the World:
the Deccan" by mail. I ordered it from Videos Unlimited (1-800-523-0823),
the price being $30 + shipping'n'handling. The video is on Brain Thompson's
week long journey from Bombay to Cochin by various trains. The first leg is
from Bombay to Poona on a Bombay-Pune holiday special, altough the video
cover erroneously indicates it as the Bombay-Madras Mail. There is a shot of
a twin-diesel hauled non-vestibuled train on a single line section (probably
in the Daund-Guntakal section). What train could this be? The Nizamuddin-
Bangalore Exp., perhaps? Or one of the Bangalore-Madras trains? Note that
the video was shot in the early 80's (when Guntakal-Bangalore was still MG).

The next leg is from Pune to Guntakal by the Dadar-Madras exp. Brain
discusses a little bit about catering and shows us the kitchen at Daund stn.
He is somewhat shocked to learn that his omlette dinner has not materialised
and proceeds to have the regular Indian thali. He switches to an MG train at
Guntakal and is pleased to note that a steam loco. is in charge. A few shots
of the steam loco. shed at Guntakal ensues. Our man opts to travel in the
guard compartment between Yelahanka and Bangalore City.

Next on the list is Bangalore to Mysore followed by a bus journey up the
Nilgiris to Ooty. Of course, Mr. Thompson chooses the Ooty-Mettupalaiyam MG
train on the downhill journey. The last two stns. to appear on the video are
Conoor and Cochin.

Bombay Rajdhani Exp.
I recently found out from a friend that the Raj. always halts just before
entering and just after encountering the long bridge across the Thane creek
(between Borivali and Virar). In fact, sign-posts on either end of the bridge
read "Halt: Raj only". These are needed in order to render the 2nd diesel
loco. inoperable while the train is on the bridge, so as to reduce the
resulting vibrations. Moreover, one loco. is sufficient to haul the train
at "crawl speed" across the bridge which IMHO is in pretty bad shape.

Will post excerpts from the March issue soon.


From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 20 Sep 1991 16:42:00 -0500

Letter from Canada

This is to officially inagurate the first branch of IRFCA outside the
US-I'm now at U of British Columbia at Vancouver. Nice to see that you
have kept things going. Thanks, Dheeraj, for sending the archives of
the last few weeks.
I travelled part of the way by Amtrak's Coast Starlight from San Jose
to Seattle. (There isn't any Seattle-Vancouver train now, though there
is a bus which connects to the major Amtrak trains.) The 24-hr trip in
coach class was reasonably comforable, though one would think twice about
having to endure coach class for a longer trip.
It was rather crowded, in fact this is probably one of the few Amtrak
routes in the west which is heavily used. Even though coach class is
supposed to be fully reserved, it took quite a while to find a seat.
The train was punctual in the sense that it started from San Jose 30 mts
late and reached Seattle 60 mts late.
Food was reasonably priced though the lunch menu seemed to consist mainly
of 4 types of burgers.
Vancouver now doesn't have much interest for the railway buff (Jishnu,
please correct me if I'm wrong). You can see the grand but deserted CNR
terminal that has precisely 3 departures a week during the winter (the 3.5
day trip to Toronto). In the summer an additional train leaves 3 times a week
to Jasper. The trains from North Vancouver (BC Rail, not Via) are a little
more frequent. During the summer they have a package tour involving a
1930s steam loco hauling a train for a few hours journey to Squamish in the
north, and you can come back by ship. This seems to be quite popular with
the locals.
Vancouver also has a rapid transit system billed as the world's most
advanced. It consists of driverless 3-4 car units which have a peak frequency
of 3 minutes or so. The system uses linear induction motors which is
apparently a great innovation (you technical experts might know more about
I also found that Canada has a counterpart of the Indrail pass which
allows you to travel over the entire country for 90 days for about $500
or so. (However, passenger services have been slashed quite heavily in
the last couple of years, so it will probably take much less than 90
days to cover all the passenger routes in Canada if one was masochistic
enough to do this. Even major cities like Calgary and Regina do not have
passenger services now.) At least in the US there are comparitively few
major cities untouched by Amtrak. The most important Amtrak-less city
in the US might be Columbus, though you might also consider San Francisco
which is served by nearby Oakland.
Bye for now.

From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 24 Sep 1991 14:05:00 -0500


I am sure that many of you will be interested in getting the current
issue to see the latest developments. I feel it may be worthwhile to
order in bulk. Probably I can get it to you for $5-10. How many of
you are interested? Once I get a few names I will check the airmail
rate from the publisher.

From: vijayb <

Subject: Extent of traveling!

Date: 25 Sep 1991 14:33:00 -0500

Hi Folks,
Thought it would be fun to exchange info. about the routes we have
traveled on in India, or elsewhere (as far as we can remember). Here
is my list of non-overlapping routes along with the approx. route km.

1. Delhi-Mirzapur-Gaya-Howrah (1445 km)
2. Bombay V.T.-Nagpur-Howrah (1968 km)
3. Bombay Central-Vadodara-N.Delhi (1384 km)
4. Kalyan-Madras Central (1226 km)
5. Kharagpur-Madras Central (1547 km)
6. Wardha East-Vijayawada (1021 km)
7. Allahabad-Janghai-Varanasi (141 km)
8. Allahabad City-Madhosingh-Varanasi (via MG - 124 km)
9. Varanasi-Mughal Sarai-Patna-Sitarampur (546 km)
10. Asansol-Adra-Gamharia [next to Tatanagar] (160 km)
11. Janghai-Pratapgarh-Moradabad-Ambala Cant (820 km)
12. Jammu Tawi-Ambala Cant-Panipat-N.Delhi (586 km)
13. Bhusaval-Naini [next to Allahabad] (907 km)
14. Gooty-Bangalore City (350 km)
15. Kalluru-Guntakal-Dronachellam-Secunderabad (via MG - 408 km)
16. Secunderabad-Wadi (195 km)
17. Arrkonam-Jolarpettai-Bangalore East (285 km)
18. Jolarpettai-Coimbatore-Mettupalaiyam (316 km)
19. Madras Egmore-Thanjavur-Tiruchchirapalli (401 km)
20. Dindigul-Vriddhachalam-Villupuram (263 km)
21. Dindigul-Palani (59 km)
22. Mayiladuturai-Karraikovilpathu (30 km)
23. Neral-Matheran (30 km ?)

The total route km comes out to be 14212 km. India has a total
of ~61,900 km. of track, which means that I have covered only about
23% of the network. Long way to go!


From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 29 Sep 1991 13:17:00 -0500


Compiled from Hindustan Times, Times of India, Railway Gazette and India West

Steam locomotives to continue beyond 1995:
Former Railway Minister Madhavrao Scindia had planned to retire all
steam locos by 1995, but the railways do not seem to be in a hurry to
get rid of them. Steam locos are still extensively used especially on
the Western and Southern railways, although the Southern zone had
stopped broad gauge steam services some years back.

Electrification projects:
Although the Railways planned to electrify 10,000 km of route by
2000, the Planning Commission has not made sufficient funds available
and so only about 2,500 km may be electrified by then. As of today,
the Delhi-Madras route is fully electrified and the Bombay-Calcutta
and Bombay-Itarsi-Delhi routes are on the verge of complete electrification.
However, it appears that the balance electrification of the Madras-Calcutta
and Madras-Bombay routes will not start in the next few years.
Major electrification projects announced recently include:

Improvements to suburban services in Madras:
The first phase of the Madras Beach-Luz project will be opened in mid-1992,
when trains will run from Beach to Chepauk. Also, a new suburban terminal
will be built at Vilivakkam, where local services from Gudur and Arakkonam
will terminate.

Konkan Railway facing trouble:
Funding for the Konkan Railway has been reduced in the recent railway
budget and the people in the Konkan region now fear that the project may
drag on beyond the scheduled completion in 1994. Meanwhile, people in
Goa have protested against the existing route and said they will launch an agitation if the route is not changed.

Conversion project:
Work has started on the conversion of the Chhapra-Aunrihar section from
broad gauge to metre gauge.

Infiltration to India via rail:
BSF forces at Atari station detected 21 persons who were locked in wagons of
a goods train coming from Pakistan. They said they were Mohajirs and
Bangladeshis who had been forcibly put on the train by the Pakistan Rangers.
Although there have been several instances of forced repatriation of
Mohajirs and Bangladeshis from Pakistan in the past, this is the first time
that the railways have been used for this purpose.

World Bank to aid Pakistan Railways:
The World Bank has announced funding for the Pakistan Railways subject to
certain improvements being carried out. Earlier the bank had suspended aid
to the railways when its instructions were not carried out. The bank is also
appointing consultants to study the railway's operations.
The improvements include a government subsidy to uneconomical lines as
well as closure of nine uneconomical lines. One of these was the 298-km
long narrow gauge line from Bostan to Zhob (Fort Sandeman), which had only
one pair of trains a week. Passenger services on the famous Khyber Railway
from Peshawar to Landi Kotal had stopped earlier.
Although there has been some talk of privatization, this was denied by
the minister. However a new container transport corporation is to be
started soon which may involve some private sector participation.

Miscellaneous news from Pakistan Railways:
Computerized reservation facilities are to be started soon at Karachi
and Lahore.
Two express trains have been renamed. These were the Zulfiqar Express
(between Karachi and Rawalpindi via Larkana) and the Shah Nawaz Express
between Karachi and Larkana. These trains were named after the former
PM and his son.
Although several of the obscure branch lines in Pakistan are to be closed,
at least one of them has got a new lease of life. This is the 735-km long
line from Quetta to Zahidan, which presently has two pairs of trains a week.
For the last few years these trains ran upto Kuh-i-Taftan, a few km short of
the Iranian border. Services across the border to Zahidan were resumed a few
months ago. There is a long-term plan to use this route as part of a Trans-
Asian railway project once Zahidan is connected with the rest of the Iranian