IRFCA Mailing List Archive

Messages 1461 - 1480

From: Jishnu Mukerji <

Subject: Re: Info on European Travel ...

Date: 10 Apr 1995 11:33:00 -0500

Excerpts from personal.IRFCA: 3-Apr-95 Info on European Travel ... Mohan
Ramakrishna@alante (460*)

> One of my friends (not an IRFCA member) is planning a trip to Europe this
> summer. He is interested in knowing about and getting more information
> regarding TGVs and European trains. Specifically, he is planning to travel
> London --> Brussels --> Amsterdam --> Cologne --> Munich --> Salzburg
> --> Zurich --> Lausanne. I would appreciate any information on
> trains/routes
> along the above planned (in the process ?) itinerary.

First of all get a copy of the April issue (or later) of the Thomas Cook
European Time Table. You can do so in the United States by calling
Forsyth Travels (1-800-FORSYTH).

Then, look into the information on Eurailpasses that will come in a
separate envelope with the Thomas Cook Time Table from Forsyth Travels
and see which one fits your frined's needs the best. It looks like your
friend will be travelling in Belgium, Germany, Austria and Switzerland,
so it might be appropriate to get a three country Europass (Germany,
France, Switzerland) and add on Belgium and Austria. This might work out
to be considerably cheaper than getting a full fledged Eurailpass. (BTW
Eurailpass is available for travellers of any age. The seconds class
variety is available for only those that are <= 26 years old). Even if
you ,ust get a Eurailpass look into getting a Flexipass rather than a
full fledged one to save considerable amount of money.

Getting a Europass or Eurailpass makes you eligible for getting a
discount on the London - Brussels Eurostar.

If I were doing this trip I would do the following:

London - Brussels Eurostar
Brussels - Amsterdam One of the several trains per day.
Amsterdam - Koln One of the several trains per day.
Koln - Mannheim IC (hourly service)
Mannheim - Munich ICE (hourly service)
Munich - Slazburg EC Mozart, or any other of the several trains per day
Salzburg - Zurich EC Transalpin or EC Maria Theresia (via Innsbruck, Buchs)
Zurich - Lausanne Hourly express service, take any.

If your friend is travelling on Euro/Eurail-Pass s/he will not have to
pay any of the supplementary charges for ICE/EC/IC. Eurostar is a
separate ticket, but Euro/Eurail-Pass holders get a discount. In summer
reservation is a good thing to have. Eurostar tickets, Euro/Eurail-Pass,
and the reservations that you friend needs can be obtained in the US
either through Forsyth Travels or directly from Rail Europe (a
subsidiary of SNCF - the French Railways) at 1-800-TGV-RAIL. Either of
those will confirm all reservations, issue the tickets/passes and send
the whole package to you via Fedex or Priority Mail.

Hope this information helps.


I just got back from Europe yesterday. Got to ride the Eurostar from
London to Paris and back. I will post a trip summary in the near future.

From: Jishnu Mukerji <

Subject: Re: Info on European Travel ...

Date: 10 Apr 1995 11:33:00 -0500

Excerpts from personal.IRFCA: 3-Apr-95 Info on European Travel ... Mohan
Ramakrishna@alante (460*)

> One of my friends (not an IRFCA member) is planning a trip to Europe this
> summer. He is interested in knowing about and getting more information
> regarding TGVs and European trains. Specifically, he is planning to travel
> London --> Brussels --> Amsterdam --> Cologne --> Munich --> Salzburg
> --> Zurich --> Lausanne. I would appreciate any information on
> trains/routes
> along the above planned (in the process ?) itinerary.

First of all get a copy of the April issue (or later) of the Thomas Cook
European Time Table. You can do so in the United States by calling
Forsyth Travels (1-800-FORSYTH).

Then, look into the information on Eurailpasses that will come in a
separate envelope with the Thomas Cook Time Table from Forsyth Travels
and see which one fits your frined's needs the best. It looks like your
friend will be travelling in Belgium, Germany, Austria and Switzerland,
so it might be appropriate to get a three country Europass (Germany,
France, Switzerland) and add on Belgium and Austria. This might work out
to be considerably cheaper than getting a full fledged Eurailpass. (BTW
Eurailpass is available for travellers of any age. The seconds class
variety is available for only those that are <= 26 years old). Even if
you must get a Eurailpass look into getting a Flexipass rather than a
full fledged one to save considerable amount of money.

Getting a Europass or Eurailpass makes you eligible for getting a
discount on the London - Brussels Eurostar.

If I were doing this trip I would do the following:

London - Brussels Eurostar
Brussels - Amsterdam One of the several trains per day.
Amsterdam - Koln One of the several trains per day.
Koln - Mannheim IC (hourly service)
Mannheim - Munich ICE (hourly service)
Munich - Slazburg EC Mozart, or any other of the several trains per day
Salzburg - Zurich EC Transalpin or EC Maria Theresia (via Innsbruck, Buchs)
Zurich - Lausanne Hourly express service, take any.

If your friend is travelling on Euro/Eurail-Pass s/he will not have to
pay any of the supplementary charges for ICE/EC/IC. Eurostar is a
separate ticket, but Euro/Eurail-Pass holders get a discount. In summer
reservation is a good thing to have. Eurostar tickets, Euro/Eurail-Pass,
and the reservations that you friend needs can be obtained in the US
either through Forsyth Travels or directly from Rail Europe (a
subsidiary of SNCF - the French Railways) at 1-800-TGV-RAIL. Either of
those will confirm all reservations, issue the tickets/passes and send
the whole package to you via Fedex or Priority Mail.

Hope this information helps.


I just got back from Europe yesterday. Got to ride the Eurostar from
London to Paris and back. I will post a trip summary in the near future.

From: T.H.Sanyal. <THS1@PSUVM.EMAIL

Subject: Re: Phones on Bombay Locals

Date: 10 Apr 1995 12:33:00 -0500

Jishnu Mukerji wrote:

>BTW, do the train crew have CB radio to keep in touch with the section
>controllers yet? It is said that the availability of such communication
>facility could have prevented the Howrah Rajdhani crash a while back.

I doubt that the concept of CB radio exists in India. I witnessed an
accident first-hand (I was in the train) in Aug 1985. There is supposed
to be some kind of portable telephone with the crew, but that did not
work. The driver had to walk to the nearest cabin to inform whomever
about the accident. This happened on the main line of the Eastern
Railway. Had the accident taken place on a branch line, our fate most
likely would have been worse.


From: Vengu Lakshminarayanan <

Subject: two new books on Indian Railways

Date: 11 Apr 1995 09:09:00 -0500

I would like to bring to your attention two new books on Indian Railways that
I picked up during my trip to India in January. Both books are by Bill
Aitken. I will copy out the jacket blurbs from the two books. (I just
received the books - I had them sent by mail).
1. "Travels by a lesser line", Indus (an imprint of Harper Collins, India),
183 pages, no photos, paperback, Rs. 70.ISBN: 81-7223-086-9.
From the back cover: In a railway marathon that covered 14 states the author
set out to find if it was possible to travel to all four corners of India by
the same gauge of line. The two month journey took him to Ledo, the eastern
most station in Assam, across the lush bamboo hills to the Bengali enclave of
Silchar, through wild Bihar and wooly Delhi to rajasthan and beyond to Bhuj
(then), the westernmost station. Diversions were made along the way to
Sibasagar, Tezpur and Jaialmer in the arid but not unlovely west. (the author
lets you into the secret of how to traverse UP by meter gauge when no main
lines appear on the map). The second part of the journey begins from
cotton-picking in Punjab, shimmies past Bikaner to Jaipur and joins the
longest route on the MG system - from Jaipur to Hyderabad - through Madhya
Pradesh and Maharashtra. From Andhra the Tirupathi Express Passenger is
replaced by the Madurai Pilgrim Express that introduces Tamil Nadu and -
across the ghat line- Kerala's magic waterways. Dhanushkodi's devastated
railway line beyond rameshwaram brings the traveller to the southernmost
metric station of Tiruchendur with its huge popular temple on the beach
overlooking the Gulf of Mannar, the end of a magnificent Bharat Darshan of
2. "Exploring Indian Railways", Oxford University Press (India), 279 pages, 33
photographs, a selected reference list, hardback, Rs. 350. ISBN: 0 19 563109
9, publication date: 1994.
This very entertaining personal account of the Indian Railways focuses on the
experience of the passenger and is packed with lively anecdotes. But it goes
much beyod that taking in every imagniable aspect of the railway's history and
current practices. LIttle escapes the author's fond, acerbic, and searching
eye, as it ranges from station bookshops and ministry bureaucracy to the
locomotive types and tracks, from the technical aspects of railway
administration to the broader issues of the effects of the railways upon
Indian culture and ttheir vital contribution to the economy.
The above was from the book jacket.
The publication date of the first book is 1993.
I have jsut finished reading the first book. Aitken's writing is somewhat
reminiscent of Eric Newby ("The big red train ride"), though he tries to
imitate Paul Theroux (The great railway bazaar, etc.). I certainly would not
rate him as a great travel writer (in the same league as Jan Morris, Paul
Theroux, etc.) but is good. The first book, I wish, had better proof readers.
One can see some bits of nationalism in the book (Aitken is a naturalized
Indian), something I don't particularly care for. I would be interested in
hearing from others who have read either these books or other books on Indian
rails and/or Aitken.
Happy Reading
Vengu Lakshminarayanan School of Optometry University of Missouri -- St. Louis
voice: (314)-553-6533 8001 Natural Bridge Road
fax : (314)-553-5150 St. Louis, MO 63121-4499

From: Sanjiv Narayan <

Subject: Repressed memories about Indian Railways

Date: 20 Apr 1995 12:36:00 -0500

Anurag wrote:

> Yes, there are mile posts on IR. But easier still, the poles have
> identifers painted on the which are of the form

> miles from important pt
> ----------------------
> identifer within the mile

Aah ! Those repressed memories come back flooding in. Other than counting
these mileposts on the Delhi-Kanpur route, I used to have a lot of fun doing
several things which I will be posting regularly as:

Repressed Memories of the Indian Railways

"Passing a small station"

Looking out of the train when it was zipping past a small station (such as
Dadri between Ghaziabad and Khurja) was one of the best experiences you
could have. Especially when you were on trains like the Kalka Mail or
Howrah AC Deluxe (going at 100+ kmph), and you would pass inches from the
platform (generating a dust cloud in the summer months). The whole station
would pass in seconds and I would be straining my eyes to see as much as I
could in that short time.

- Where was the ticket office ?
- Where were the restrooms ?
- What stuff could that guy in the tea stall be selling ?
- Where were all these people sitting on their bundled posessions going to ?
- Whose cycles were these leaning on the steps leading to the control cabins ?
- What games were those children playing on the platform ?
- How many of all these people actually buy tickets ?

And then there was always the impeccably dressed station master or other
functionary, who would be standing there holding out the green flag. For him,
it was perhaps the crowning event of the day, having all these big city people
in the train gaze at him. I bet Cindy Crawford never had a captive audience
this big 12 times a day (in each direction, too !!) peering at her.

At times the station master also had a red flag in his hand, but always
held out the green one. I always wondered what would happen if he suddenly
held the red flag out. Would a train carrying 1500 people between Delhi
and Calcutta at 100 kmph really stop because this person was waving a red
flag at Mitavali station on the Hathras-Tundla section) ? I bet he felt happy
in the knowledge that he had the power to halt all these city folks with
his red flag.

Then, if the station happened to be a junction, with a branch line going off
somewhere, I would try and find the names of places for which you had to
change trains at such a junction. More often than not, the names of places you
could go to were written on the yellow boards at the two ends of the platform.
Something like the following (which appears in Burhan Jn. near Tundla from
where the branch line to Etah takes off):

"Change trains for Etah, Shivala Tehu, Jalesar, Shahnagar Timarua"

(These are actual places in NR, not made up). I was always puzzled why such
information was only posted at the two boards at the ends of the platform.
Presumably to allow people to figure out when they had to get down and take
their connection. But what if somebody was in one of the middle coaches,
sleeping as the trained pulled into the station, and then woke up ? How would
he know that he had to change trains here - very bad !!. And even worse would
be if you are on an express train passing the station at 100 kmph and then
you read (on the yellow boards as they fly by in front of you) that you had to
actually get off at this station to make your connection !!!

Oh ..No.. No.. I can't handle these repressed memories any longer.

Sanjiv Narayan

From: Jishnu Mukerji <

Subject: Re: Repressed memories about Indian Railways

Date: 21 Apr 1995 10:46:00 -0500

Excerpts from personal.IRFCA: 20-Apr-95 Re: Repressed memories abou..
Anurag (800*)

> while are on this topic, some of the smaller stations have really
> strange names - one wonders about their origins. "narayan pakuria
> murail" I have been through, "jethachandan" and "udhaliya chacha" I
> have heard about. There is a delightful stretch in the foot of the
> aravallis which has a string of such names. Does any one remember?

There is a string of such goofy names between Ringus and Jaipur. From my
vague memory travelling from Ringus to Jaipur you pas by

Chhota Guddha
Govidgarh Malikpur
Chomu Samod
Bhatho ki Gali
Nindhar Benar
Dahar ka Balaji

Then there is Dundhlod Makandgarh between Loharu and Sikar, and Ranoli
Sishu and Baori Thikriya between Sikar and Ringus.


From: J.J. Rainbow <

Subject: India trip info

Date: 27 Apr 1995 18:28:00 -0500

The reasons for having an IndiaRail pass are that all reservations are
done automatically for you, and can be made be to a year in advance, as a
foreign tourist, and I understand that Indians living overseas count as
foreign tourists. All that you have to do on arrival in Delhi etc, is
confirm your bookings at the International Tourist Office at the right
station. The agent selling you the ticket should give you instructions on
where to go.


From: Jishnu Mukerji <

Subject: Re: India trip info

Date: 27 Apr 1995 10:04:00 -0500

Excerpts from personal.IRFCA: 27-Apr-95 India trip info "J.J.
Rainbow"@newcastle (461*)

> All that you have to do on arrival in Delhi etc, is
> confirm your bookings at the International Tourist Office at the right
> station. The agent selling you the ticket should give you instructions
> on where to go.

As of Feb '95 the only place that was willing confirm all my
reservations was the New Delhi International Tourist Office on the first
floor of New Delhi Station (and a few other locations around Delhi).
Apparently reservations on Indrail Pass that are made through a GSA are
given against something called Headquarters quota that is managed out of
New Delhi. The zonal tourist offices e.g. the one in Fairley Place in
Calcutta can give you information about the portion of your itinerary
that is under their control. To get confirmation for the rest they have
to get in touch with Delhi, or the appropriate zonal reservation office
and that can take some time, like a day or two.

This situation is improving progressively as the zonal reservation
computers are hooked up together to provide better access to all
information from all reservation offices.


From: stevem <

Subject: Sino-Indian Rail Link

Date: 05 May 1995 06:44:00 -0500

The following article appeared in the April 25th Journal of Commerce on page
1, by N. Vasuki Rao:

China is floating the idea of a China-India railway link that would
slash thousands of miles off the sea route and ultimately join Asia with
Cheng Zhengning, a legislator from China's southwestern Yunnan
Province, has proposed a 1,305 mile link from Baoshan, near the Myanmar
border, to Calcutta. Baoshan is a transportation hub, a center for goods
distrubution and a border-trade zone for the province.
Mr. Cheng said the line has good economic potential because areas
along the proposed route are rich in forest, minerals, hydropower, and tourist
Moreover, said one Indian official, all countries in the region have
rail lines right up to each other's borders. Lines linking Bangladesh, Indian
and Pakistan exist as they did when the three formed a single country before
Experts agree that the proposed rail link, which would lop some 3,700
miles off the sea route via the Straits of Malacca off Malaysia, is
technically and financially feasible provided there is strong political
"It is a futuristic project but will have great value," said Sujit
Dutta, a research associate with the Institute of Defense Studies and Analysis
in Delhi.
"The linking of regions will reduce security problems and integrate
South Asia, and rebuild relations that existed before the Cold War," he said.
But the line must link Calcutta and major cities in Bangladesh to
ensure a sufficient flow of goods, he said.
Myanmar, known until the summer of 198 as Burma, is slightly smaller
than the state of Texas. It is bordered by Laos and China to the northeast,
Bangladesh and India to the northwest, Thailand to the southeast, the Andaman
Sea to the south and the Bay of Bengal to the southwest.
India put forward the idea of a trans-Asian railway in 1985, but no
action was taken for lack of political will.
"The time has now comes to seriously consider the proposal," said the
Indian official, who asked not to be identified by name.
The railway division of the Bangladesh Communications Ministry,
meanwhile, is preparing a feasibility report on a railway linking China with
Iraq via Southeast Asian and the Indian subcontinent.
Linking China with Iran via India would be difficult, however, since
China and Iran use standard-gague track, while India, Bangladesh and Pakistan
use broad-gague and Burma uses meter-gague.
One way to solve this problem would be to shift goods and passengers
from one train to another. Still, a trans-Asian railway project will face two
major hurdles; ensuring security and obtaining the required financial
Insurgencies are common in Myanmar and parts of India's northeast.
And, though a huge investment won't be needed because of extensive networks
already in place, obtaining the necessary funds from sources such as the Asian
Development Bank or World Bank may prove difficult.
For funding from such multilateral institutions to be approved, the
project must have the suppoort of Western nations and Japan, Japan, however,
reported has been lukewarm to the Indian proposal, fearing its shipping
interests would be compromised by an Asian railway link.
Western countries, especially the United States, also have cool
relations with Iran and Iraq and may not not support a trans-Asian link.
Meanwhile, the China-India Highway, also known as the Stilwell
Highway, is being built jointly by China, Myanmar and India. It begins in
Baoshan and runs via Tengchong and Myitkyina.
The China-Myanmar section has been opened to traffic, Chinese
officials said.

From: vijay%bucket <

Subject: Info. from the Dec. 1994 Bradshaw time-table (finally!!)

Date: 15 Jun 1995 10:42:00 -0500

Hi Folks,

Here's some info. from the time-table, some of which could have changed in the past 5 months.

First the recently introduced Rajdhanis. Have compared them to
the next fastest train serving the same terminii-pair.

* -> indicates halts added later.

1. N.Delhi - Bhubaneswar, weekly
Kanpur Central, Mughal Sarai, Dhanbad, Asansol, Howrah, Cuttack

d. N.Delhi 17.00 -> a. B'neswar 18.30; 4 hs. 50 ms. lesser than Purshottam Exp
a. " 10.00 <- d. " 8.50; 5 hs. 23 ms. "

2. N.Delhi - Guwahati, weekly (increased to tri-weekly)
Kanpur Central, Mughal Sarai, Patna, Barauni, Katihar, New Jalpaiguri,
New Bongaigaon*

d. N.Delhi 17.00 -> a. Guwahati 20.30; 5 hs. 20 ms. < North East Exp.
a. " 10.00 <- d. " 6.00; 7 hs. < "
(a significant reduction)

3. N.Delhi - Howrah (via Patna), bi-weekly,
Kanpur Central, Allahabad, Mughal Sarai, Patna,
Madhupur (seems to be a techincal halt, although arrival and dep. times
have been given)

d. N.Delhi 17.15 -> a. Howrah 12.50; 4 hs. 10 ms. < Poorva Exp. (via Patna)
a. " 9.40 <- d. " 13.45; 2 hs. 55 ms. < "

Note that the Up. Poorva Exp. gets overtaken by two Rajdhanis between
Aligarh and Tundla.

4. H.Nizamuddin - Trivandrum Central, weekly
Jhansi, Bhopal, Nagpur, (Balharshah - technical halt), Vijayawada,
Madras Central, Erode, Palghat*, Ernakulam Town

d. N'muddin 9.30 -> a. T'drum 6.25; 8 hs. 25 ms. < Kerala Exp.
a. " 16.30 <- d. " 20.00; 8 hs. 42 ms. < "

A huge margin. The former comparison is based on Kerala's run-times
between N.Dehi and T'drum, rather than between N'muddin and T' drum.

Comparing it to the TN exp. between N'muddin and Madras:-

3 hrs. 15 ms. faster from N'muddin to Madras (TN's run-time from N.Delhi)
3 hrs. 57 ms. " Madras to N'muddin ( " till N'muddin)

5. H.Nizamuddin - Jammu Tawi, weekly, halts -> N.Delhi, Ludhiana

d. N'muddin 20.15 -> a. J.Tawi 5.45; 30 ms. < Malwa Exp.

The time-table fails to indicate the arrival time at Nizamuddin. The run
-time comparison is between N.Delhi and Jammu. Sadly, the Bombay - Jammu
Tawi Swaraj Exp. has dropped to the 4th spot after the Rajdhani, Malwa, and
Delhi-Jammu superfast. The Jammu - Bombay Exp. fares better and gets the
3rd spot after the Rajdhani and Jammu-Delhi superfast. Can't imagine that
the Bombay - Jammu Tawi exp. used to cover N.Delhi - Jammu in about the
same time as the current Rajdhani Exp.

To finish the Rajdhani story, here is the comparison chart for the remaining
four Rajdhanis.

Section Run-time Next fastest train Time difference

Bombay-N.Delhi 17 hrs. Swaraj Exp. 3 hs. 15 ms.
N.Delhi-Bombay 16.5 hrs. Swaraj Exp. 4 hs. 5 ms.

Bombay-N'muddin 17 hs. 15 ms. Swaraj Exp. 2 hs. 40 ms. +
N'muddin-Bombay 17 hs. 20 ms. Swaraj Exp. 3 hs. 15 ms.

+ between Bombay and N'muddin (NOT N.Delhi)

N.Delhi-Howrah 17.5 hrs. Poorva Exp. 6 hs. 15 ms.
Howrah-N.Delhi 17 hs. 10 ms. Poorva Exp. 5 hs. 40 ms.

Note that the Poorva Exp. loses nearly 1 hr. 35-50 mts. b'coz of the
longer route (via Varanasi or Patna).

N'muddin-Bangalore 34.5 hrs. Karnataka Exp. 6 hs. 15 ms.
Bangalore-N'muddin 33 hs. 45 ms. Karnataka Exp. 7 hs. 43 ms. +

+ between Bangalore and N'muddin (NOT N.Delhi)

Looks like the Bangalore Rajdhani has been speeded up between Secunderabad
and Bangalore City to take it further away from the Karnataka Exp.

More later with the Shatabdi info. and then other trains,


From: vijay%bucket <

Subject: Shatabdi info. from Bradshaw

Date: 15 Jun 1995 13:50:00 -0500

Proceeding onto the Shatabdis.

* -> indicates halts added later.

1. N.Delhi - Chandigarh, 6-days-a-week (now extended to Kalka once a week)
Ambala Cantt has been recently added as a halt

d. N.Delhi 10.20 -> a. C'garh 13.10; 1 hs. 18 ms. < Himalayan Queen Exp.
a. " 13.40 <- d. " 16.45; 1 hs. 7 ms. "

2. N.Delhi - Amritsar, 6-days-a-week, halts -> Ludhiana, Jallandhar City

d. N.Delhi 16.20 -> a. Amritsar 22.35; 40 ms. < Shan-e-Punjab Exp.
a. " 11.50 <- d. " 5.35; 45 ms. < "

3. Bombay Central - Ahmedabad, 6-days-a-week,
Borivali, Surat, Bharuch*, Vadodara

d. Bombay 6.25 -> a. Ahmedabad 13.10; 50 ms. < Karnavati Exp.
a. " 21.15 <- d. " 14.30; 50 ms. < Karnavati Exp.

4. Madras Central - Mysore, 6 days-a-week, lone halt at Bangalore city

d. Madras 6.00 -> a. Mysore 13.15; 40 ms. < Lalbagh Exp.
a. " 21.15 <- d. " 14.00; 5 ms. < Lalbagh Exp.

Comparison is between Madras and Bangalore.

To wrap things up, here is the comparison chart for the remaining
three Shatabdis.

Section Run-time Next fastest train Time difference

N.Delhi-Bhopal 7 hs. 45 ms. Tamilnadu Exp. 1 hs. 42 ms.
Bhopal-N.Delhi 7 hs. 45 ms. Tamilnadu Exp. 1 hs. 59 ms.

N.Delhi-Lucknow 6 hs. 25 ms. Neelachal Exp. 1 hs. 20 ms.
Lucknow-N.Delhi 6 hs. 25 ms. Neelachal/Gomti Exps. 1 hs. 35 ms.

N.Delhi-Kalka 3 hs. 45 ms. Himalayan Queen Exp. 1 hs. 25 ms.
Kalka-N.Delhi 4 hs. 5 ms. Himalayan Queen Exp. 55 ms.

More later about other trains,


From: vijay%bucket <

Subject: Other recently introduced trains!!

Date: 16 Jun 1995 11:15:00 -0500

* - halts added later (as far as I can remember)

1. Nizamuddin - Sambhalpur Hirakud Exp., triweekly, 2AC, 2
Agra Cantt, Gwalior*, Jhansi, Bina, Saugor*, Damoh*, Katni, Shahdol,
Annupur, Bilaspur, Champa*, Raigarh, Jharsuguda, Sambhalpur R.

2. Nizamuddin - Visakhapatnam Samta Exp., tri-weekly, 2AC, 2, shares schedule
with above train till Bina
Mathura, Raja-ki-Mandi, Agra Cantt, Gwalior, Jhansi, Bina, Bhopal,
Itarsi, Betul, Nagpur, Gondia, Dongargarh, Rajnandgaon, Durg, Raipur,
Mahaamuad, Bagbahra, Khariar Rd., Harishankar, Kantabanji, Titlagarh,
Kesinga, Rupra Rd., Narla Rd., Ambodala, Muniguda, Therubali,
Singapuram Rd., Rayagada, Parvatipuram Town, Parvatipuram, Bobbili,
Vizianagaram, Simhachalam

A slower train between Raipur and Vizianagaram. Gets grouped with
trains such as the Bokaro - Alleppey Exp.

3. Nizamuddin - Jabalpur/Nagpur/Bilaspur Gondwana Exp., superfast, 2AC, 2
Train terminates at Nagpur on 4 days/week, goes till Bilaspur on
other 3 days,
At Bina, a portion of the train gets cut-off and heads towards Jabalpur
Agra Cantt, Gwalior, Jhansi, Lalitpur*, Bina, Bhopal, Itarsi, Betul,
Amla, Pandurna, Narkher, Katol, Nagpur, Gondia, Rajnandgaon, Durg, Raipur

Jabalpur train - Saugor, Damoh, Katni

Comparatively more halts in the Itarsi - Nagpur section.

4. Purshottam Exp., New Delhi - Puri superfast, 2AC, 2, 5 days-a-week
Kanpur Central, Allahabad, Mughal Sarai, Gaya, Koderma, Gomoh, (via
Mahuda-Adra) Purulia, Tatanagar, Kharagpur, Balasore, Bhadrakh,
Jajpur Keonjhar Rd., Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Khurda Rd.

All trains besides the two Rajdhanis stop at Koderma. Why is that?
Politics again?

J'pur Keonjhar Rd. has also shot into limelight with all trains excluding
the Coromandel, Guwahati-Trivandrum set, Rajdhani and Falakanuma, stopping

5. Falakanuma Exp., Howrah - Secunderabad, 2AC, 1, 2, tri-weekly
Kharagpur, Bhubaneswar, Khurda Rd., Berhampur, Palasa, Vizianagaram,
Visakhapatnam, Rajahmundry, Vijayawada, (via Nadikudi to S'bad)

Ignores Cuttack (must be employing the Naraj Marthipur bypass).
Slower than Coromandel by 40 mts. (Up.) / 15 mts. (Dn.) between
Howrah and Vijayawada.

Cuts down the run-time by about 5 hrs. when compared to the East Coast exp.

6. Okha - Puri Exp., 2AC, 2, weekly
Dwarka, Jamnagar, Hapa, Rajkot, Viramgam, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat,
Nandurbar, Jalgaon, Bhusaval, Akola, Badnera, Wardha, Balharshah,
Sirpur Kaghaz Nagar, Manchiryal, Ramagundam, Warangal, Vijayawada,
Rajahmundry, Samalkot, Annakapalle, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram,
Srikakulam Rd., Palasa, Berhampur, Chatrapur, Balugaon, Khurda Rd.

Bit of an upstart. Does quite well in the various trunk routes. Is the
only train to ignore halts such as Mithapur, Surendranagar, Amalner.
One of few trains to ignore halts such as Anand, Murtijapur,
Chandrapur, Khammam.

Shares schedule with the Navyug Exp. between Wardha and Vijayawada,
and with the Tirupati - Puri Exp. between Rajahmundry and Puri. Although
the Okha - Puri Exp. leaves Vijayawada nearly an hour BEFORE the
Tirupati - Puri Exp., it gets overtaken by the Konarak Exp. and
ends up sharing its schedule. Good line utlization!!!

7. Baidyanath Dham Exp., Patna - Puri, 2, weekly
Mokama, Kiul, Jasidih, Madhupur, Vidyasagar, Asansol, Burnpur, Adra,
Bankura, Bishnupur, Midnapore, Kharagpur, Balasore, Bhadrakh,
Jajpur Keonjhar Rd., Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Khurda Rd., Sakhi Gopal

Interesting halt pattern. Is the only train to ignore Jha Jha and
Chittaranjan besides the Rajdhani but stops at Vidyasagar.

8. Howrah - Kathgodam Exp., 2AC, 2, daily
Srirampur, Seoraphulli, Chandannagar, Bandel, Bardhhaman, Durgapur,
Waria, Andal, Raniganj, Asansol, Sitarampur, Rupnarayanpur,
Chittaranjan, Jamtara, Vidyasagar, Madhupur, Jasidih, Jha Jha, Kiul,
Barauni, Dalsingh Sarai, Nazirganj, Ujiarpur, Samastipur, Pusa Rd.,
Dholi, Muzaffarpur, Goraul, Bhagwanpur, Hajipur, Sonpur, Dighwara,
Chhapra, Ekma, Duraundha, Siwan, Jiradei, Mairwa, Bankata, Bhatpar Rani,
Bhatni, Deori Sadar, Chauri Chaura, Gorakhpur, Basti, Gonda, Bara Banki,
Badshahnagar, Lucknow, Shahjahanpur, Bareilly, Rampur, Bilaspur Rd.,
Rudrapur City, Haldi Rd., Lalkua, Haldwani

Has a decent halt pattern only between Bhatni and Rampur. In fact, it
does pretty well in the Lucknow - Rampur section skipping stations such
as Hardoi.

9. Varanasi - Gorakhpur Exp., AC Chair Car, 2
Varanasi City*, Aunrihar, Mau, Belthara Rd*, Lar Rd*, Salempur*,
Deoria Sadar, Gauri Bazar

Most of the trains in the Varanasi-Bhatni section have been dumped with
an overdose of halts such as Varanasi City, Dullahapur, Belthara Rd.,
Lar Rd. As a result, all trains have about 6-8 halts in this short
section. Earlier, the Saryu Yamuna Exp. used to have a lone halt at Mau.

10. Sadbhavana Exp., Delhi - Muzaffarpur/Samastipur (earlier used to terminate
at Sultanpur itself), 4 days-a-week

Ghaziabad, Moradabad, Chandausi, (ignores Bareilly!!!), Shahjahanpur,
Hardoi, Lucknow, Nihalgarh, Sultanpur, Jaunpur City, Varanasi,
Varanasi City, Aunrihar, Jakhania (experimental), Dullahapur, Mau,
Belthara Rd., Lar Rd. (experimental), Salempur, Bhatni, Bhatpar Rani,
Mairwan, Siwan, Chhapra, Sonpur, Hajipur, Muzaffarpur (terminates here
on two days)

I am puzzled that it chooses to ignore Bareilly. Is there some way of
bypassing Bareilly while going from Chandausi to Shahjahanpur? The
Bradshaw doesn't have a map. Anyway, Varanasi gets an additional
train to Delhi/Muzaffarpur, and I'm happy :-).

11. Saharanpur - Lucknow Exp., daily
Muzzampur Narain, Bijnor, Gajraula, Moradabad, Bareilly, Shahjahanpur
Is the only train (besides the Himgiri Exp.) to ignore Laksar

12. N.Delhi - Sri Ganganagar Exp., daily
Shakurbasti, Rohtak, Jind, Narwana, Jakhal, Bathinda, Abohar

13. Ranikhet Exp., Delhi - Kathgodam, daily
Ghaziabad, Moradabad, Rampur, Bilaspur Rd., Rudrapur City, Haldi Rd.,
Lalkua, Haldwani

14. Bombay V.T. - Tiruvanathapuram Exp., 2, weekly
Dadar, Kalyan, Karjat, Lonavla, Pune, Daund, Kurduwadi, Solapur,
Gulbarga, Wadi, Yadgir, Raichur, Adoni, Guntakal, Gooty, Anantapur,
Dharmavaram, Krishnarajapuram, Bangarapet, (bypasses Jolarpettai),
Tirupattur, Salem, Erode, Tiruppur, (bypasses Coimbatore), Pondanur,
Palghat, Ottapalam, Trichur, Alwaye, Ernakulam, Shertalai, Alleppy,
Ambalapuzha, Haripad, Kayankulam, Quilon, Varkala

d Bombay V.T. 12.15 -> a. Trivandrum 6.25 (3rd day)
a " 21 30 <- d. " 4.30

One of three trains to ignore Trivandrum Pettah (Dn. dirn.). The other
two are the Vanchinad and Rajdhani Exp.

Saves 2 hs. 35 ms. w.r.t Bombay - Kanyakumari Exp.
4 hs. 35 ms. w.r.t Kanyakumari - Bombay Exp.

15. Bombay V.T. - Allahabad Exp., weekly
Dadar, Thane, Kalyan, Igatpuri, Nasik Rd., Manmad, Bhusaval, Burhanpur,
Khandwa, Itarsi, Bhopal, Bina, Jhansi, Banda, Manikpur

d. Bombay V.T. 5.05 -> a. Allahabad 10.00
a. " 23.35 <- d. " 16.10

Shares schedule with the Ratnagiri/Saket Exps. between Bombay V.T. and
Itarsi, but takes 5 - 5 1/2 hrs. more time between Bombay and Allahabad
b'coz of its unique route. Allahabad-Bombay passengers would use this
train as a last resort. It's probably more for Bombay/Allahabad -
Banda/Jhansi/Bhopal commuters.

Has a decent run-time between Itarsi and Allahabad. Is the only train
to ignore Niwari, Mau-Ranipur, Harpalpur, Mahoba, Atarra, Chitrakotdham.
(these belong to the Jhansi-Manikpur section)

More later,


From: S Pai <

Subject: Rail holidays listing

Date: 24 Jun 1995 13:03:00 -0500

This is from _The_Independent_ of June 18. The phone numbers are
accordingly oriented to residents of the UK, but if you're interested in
actually going on any of these tours I'm sure travel agents in the US or
elsewhere will be able to handle these.



---------------------------Start of included matter---------------------------

The Independent, Travel section, June 18. Author: Jill Crawshaw


Snowcapped peaks and waterfalls form the backdrop of the Flam Railway in
Norway, which starts at sea level and climbs 2,845ft over a distance of only 12
miles; the train's engine is specially constructed with extra power and
several sets of brakes. The journey is included on a Norwegian State Railway
seven-night "Troll Path" holiday, visiting fjords, forests and folk museums, and
costing pounds 663-pounds 692, with flights, rail fares, accommodation and some
meals included. Journeys on the fjord express, and the Bergen to Oslo trains,
are part of the holiday.

NSR Travel 0171-930 6666


Vietnam's "Reunification Express" tour from Guerba Expeditions is based on
the railway rebuilt to celebrate the independence of the country following the
Vietnam war, during which it was largely destroyed.

The 15-day trip includes major highlights between the two capitals, Hanoi
and Saigon, with stops en route for exploration. The itinerary: two days in
Hanoi, overnight train to Hue, rail through the Hai Van pass, visits to Da
Nang and Hoi An, then by coach to Quang Ngai, Nha Trang and Da Lat. The price
of pounds 1,620-pounds 1,735 includes UK return flights, all travel, hotel and
sleeper accommodation, and some meals.

Guerba Expeditions 01373 826611


"Learn to Drive a Steam Engine" weekend breaks are being offered throughout
the summer by the Youth Hostels Association (YHA) at the Ironbridge Youth Hostel
in conjunction with the Severn Valley Railways. The price of pounds 179 per
person (over-18s only) includes two nights' full-board accommodation, a half-day
course on the railway learning how to fire up and drive a steam engine, plus
signalling and brake-van experience, as well as a ticket for all Ironbridge
Gorge attractions and a year's free membership of the YHA.

Ironbridge Youth Hostel 01952 433281


The best bargain for under-26s, the Inter-Rail Pass provides for unlimited
travel in 26 countries during a 28-day period, and costs pounds 249. Those who
prefer to concentrate on fewer countries in less time can buy one-, two- or
three-zone passes. A one-zone costing pounds 179 for 15 days gives unlimited
travel in Spain, Portugal and Morocco, for example, or in France, Belgium, the
Netherlands and Luxembourg.

For those aged 26 and over, an Inter-Rail 26+ Pass offers unlimited travel
for pounds 209 for 15 days, pounds 269 for a month, with 19 countries including
Scandinavia and the former Eastern European states. The cards can be bought at
main line stations, and some travel agents. A passport or other proof of age is

Most countries also have their own individual rail passes; national tourist
offices will supply details. France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria have some
particularly good bargains and routes. In France, for example, there are special
rail passes for under-16s, over-16s, frequent travellers, students and OAPs. The
Eurodomino Rover offers unlimited rail travel on any three, five or 10 days
within a month, from pounds 118. The Carte Couple allows discounts of 25 per
cent for couples on the high-speed TGVs and specific journeys on regular
trains. The Carte Kiwi is for under-16s, Carissimo for under-26s and Carte
Vermeil for senior citizens, all with up to 50 per cent reductions.

Details from French Railways, 179 Piccadilly, London W1V OBA; or Rail Shop
0345 300 003


The Eastern and Oriental Express is the luxury rail service between Bangkok
and Singapore, a 1,200-mile journey taking 41 hours, with two nights and a full
day on board. The carriages have been lavishly refurbished in colonial style by
the same team responsible for the Venice Simplon Orient Express (VSOE). A
one-way ticket from the Magic of Orient costs pounds 760, though shorter
segments of the journey from Kuala Lumpur and Penang cost pounds 600 and pounds
480 respectively. A two-week holiday, including the full rail journey, with
return flights from the UK and hotel stays in Bangkok, Penang and Singapore, and
some meals, costs pounds 1,536-pounds 1,618.

Magic of Orient 01293 537766


Described as the most luxurious train in the world - and priced
accordingly - the restored Edwardian "Pride of Africa" sets off on 5 July on its
rail safari from Cape Town to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, returning to Cape Town
on 20 July. Voyages Jules Verne's one-way, 3,700-mile journey takes 12 days,
with tours to Kimberley, Kruger, Victoria Falls and Zambian game parks on the
way. The train carries 46 passengers in 12 wonderfully restored coaches, which
are drawn by any of three vintage locomotives at various stages of the journey.
The cost is pounds 5,074 northbound, pounds 4,954 southbound, including return
flights, hotel accommodation in Cape Town and Dar es Salaam, full board on the
train and sightseeing tours.

Voyages Jules Verne 0171-723 5066


The prima donna of India's rail network, the revamped, broad-gauged
"Palace on Wheels" is due to re-start in September on one of the world's great
exotic journeys, through Rajasthan from Delhi. Among the highlights of the tour,
which can be arranged through Greaves Travel, is Jaipur, where passengers
disembark and mount elephants to view the Amber Palace, the Lake Palace at
Udaipur, the fortress of Jodhpur, then cross the desert to the Golden City of
Jaisalmer - and as a fitting finale, to the spectacular Taj Mahal at Agra.

Liveried staff, the original features of the old Maharajah carriages (but
mercifully with modern bathrooms), and Indian and European cuisine make the
"Palace on Wheels" an impressive mobile home for a week. The cost of pounds
2,013 is fully inclusive on the train, but excludes air fares. Many other rail
journeys in India are available through the same agent, which specialises in
Indian travel.

Greaves Travel 0171-487 5687


A number of rail journeys in South America are offered by Journey Latin
America. Among them are: the Expreso Arica from La Paz in Bolivia, through the
bleak plains and canyons of the Andes to Arica in Chile; the Expreso Santa Cruz
from Santa Cruz in Bolivia, through the Mata Grosso to the Brazilian border; and
the Expreso Cuzco from Lake Titicaca, climbing up to over 14,000ft to Cuzco. A
three-week tour, the "Pelicano", visiting the deserts, mountains, Inca ruins and
jungles of Peru, Bolivia and Chile, includes three train journeys - the
Arica-La Paz railway; by train through the Peruvian Central Valley to Cuzco;
and the rail excursion up to the Lost City of Machupicchu. The tour costs pounds
2,370- pounds 2,486, including flights, transport, excursions, accommodation and
some meals.

Journey Latin America 0181-747 8315


Journeys on Switzerland's cog-and-wheel railways, cable cars, funiculars,
vintage paddle steamers and the Glacier Express are included in rail tour
holidays offered by two specialist operators, Swiss Travel Service and Kuoni.

On the Swiss Travel Service's 10-night "Highlights of Switzerland" tour, you
stay in Lucerne, Wengen, Zermatt and Davos, travelling by train and sampling
the network of mountain railways in each centre. Lucerne, for example, has the
steepest cog-and-wheel railway in the world, climbing to the 7,000ft summit of
Mount Pilatus, while Zermatt has the highest cable car in the Alps at 12,530ft.

The day's Glacier Express journey passes over nearly 300 bridges and through
90 tunnels, and is considered one of the most spectacular rail journeys in the
world. The 10-night, half-board holiday with flights, and first-class Swiss Rail
travel, costs pounds 1,100. It includes a half-fare season ticket offering a 50
per cent reduction on the Swiss Transport network of lake steamers, railways,
postal coaches and cable cars.

Swiss Travel Service 01992 456123

Kuoni 01306 742500


The narrow-gauge steam railways of Eastern Germany are the subject of a
week's special-interest break in September, from Moswin Tours. The tour,
accompanied by a bilingual guide and railway consultant, is based in Rabenau,
and explores the five remaining narrow-gauge steam lines in Saxony. The price of
pounds 665 includes flights, half-board accommodation and excursions, and the
company can also arrange German rail passes - the regional pass offers five or
10 days' unlimited travel within a 21-day period, available in any of the 15
regions of reunited Germany, and can be used on any scheduled train in the
chosen region. A five-day second-class regional pass costs pounds 59. The
National Rail Pass (sometimes called the Eurodomino Rover pass) offers freedom
of the entire German rail network, for three, five and 10 days in a one-month
period. A five-day second-class rail pass will cost pounds 145.

Moswin Tours 0116 271 9922


"Al Andalus" is Spain's vintage luxury train, with lots of mahogany
panelling, velvet upholstery and genuine 1920s decor, but modern showers and
air- conditioning. The itinerary from Mundi Color starts with the flight to
Madrid, stayng one night at the Palace Hotel, then taking the high-speed AVE
train to Seville, where passengers board "Al Andalus" on its journey to
Cordoba, Granada, Ronda and Jerez. There are sightseeing tours in each centre
and some meals in local restaurants. The train stops at night to ensure
peaceful rest.

After four nights on "Al Andalus", you return on the AVE to Madrid for a
further night at the Palace before the flight home. The holiday costs from
pounds 2,099 including flights, all meals on the train, the train journey from
and back to Madrid, two nights in hotels, and sightseeing.

Mundi Color 0171-828 6021


Names like Jaws of Death Gorge Bridge, Deadman's Creek and Calamity Tunnel
are graphic reminders of the price paid for laying railway tracks through the
Rockies - the region on the itinerary of Travelpack Canada. Snow, ice,
avalanches and wild animals hampered every mile of progress. Some gradients defy
engineering ingenuity even now, hence the mile-long freight trains with three
engines at the front, six in the middle and three behind.

Passengers can take the "Rocky Mountaineer", with observation decks, a diner
car and sleeping accommodation, from Vancouver on a two-day journey to Jasper
or Banff. This trip is included in a variety of rail adventure and Canadian
Rockies holidays costing from pounds 599 for five days (excluding flights).

A marathon Trans-Canada excursion takes 10 days to travel the 3,000 miles or
so, first aboard "The Canadian", a newly restored 1950s style train, from
Toronto via the Great Plains and Manitoba to Jasper, then staying in hotels in
Jasper, Banff and Lake Louise - and finally aboard the "Rocky Mountaineer" for
the leg to Vancouver, with a night there and in Toronto. The 13-day holiday
costs pounds 2,765 including transatlantic flights, rail fares, hotels, and some
meals, or pounds 2,199 without the flights.

Travelpack Canada 0161 707 4404. Other firms with Canadian rail tours:
Jetsave 01342 328511; Unijet 01444 4591910; BA Holidays 01293 617000; and Bales
Tours 01306 885991 !

----------------------------End of included matter----------------------------

From: S Pai <

Subject: Kangra line : travelogue

Date: 27 Jun 1995 22:58:00 -0500

[The complete article may be found in _The_Independent_ of June 18. -Satish]

---------------------------Start of included matter---------------------------

"On the Goddess Line to heaven" by Tim McGirk

OLD DELHI station. It is 9.26pm, but the air is still roiling hot like the
inside of a tandoori oven. I'm carrying water, a suitcase and an assortment of
locks and chains that would baffle Houdini and, I hope, the Indian railway's
fast-fingered thieves. My train, the Jhelum Express, leaves at 9.30, but I
don't know from which platform. While I'm frantically scanning the monolithic
timetable on the station wall - India runs over 7,000 passenger lines a day - a
cow wanders in, chewing a discarded chapati, and also seems to be consulting
the rail schedule. The Jhelum Express leaves from platform 10 and I now have
three minutes to get there.

One slight problem: between me and platform 10 are probably 40,000 people,
many engaged in the same furious search for their trains. We stumble along
platforms, up and down stairs and elevated walkways, jostling past porters
balancing impossible bundles on their turbans, and we pick our way through
fields of picnicking families and sleeping Sikh soldiers. It is dark and
scalding hot. To add an infernal touch, every so often a grease fire spits from
one of the puri-seller's cauldrons. Hawkers swarm everywhere, frying omelettes,
slicing mangoes, pouring tea as thick as mud, and offering a far better standard
of novels than you'd find at a British Rail newsstand. Just 30 seconds before
the two sharp whistles blow for departure, I swing on to my air-conditioned,
second-class sleeper, drenched in sweat but exultant.

[...] Although Indian trains are usually reliable, a simple, short journey can
drag on for spectacular lengths of time, in which the train skids into some
kind of Twilight Zone and remains there, stuck. [...] In the guidebook, India
by Rail, an often-told joke is quoted of the conductor who catches an old man
travelling on a child's ticket. "When I started this journey," replies the old
man, "I was a child."

[...] Instead, my Indian friends who know their trains pointed me towards the
Kangra line in the mountain state of Himachal Pradesh. One station in the
Kangra valley, Palampur, perches on the edge of the Dhaula-Dar, the imposing
outer range of the Himalayas. From Delhi, this trip entailed an overnight ride
on the Jhelum Express which reached the junction of Pathankot, on the border
of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, at 7.30am.

There, I had an hour's wait before a so-called express was due to take me on
the last leg of my journey along the narrow-gauge Kangra line. This was one of
the few narrow gauges the British laid; most of India's narrow gauges date back
to the private railways operated by the maharajahs and nawabs and were absorbed
into the main network after independence. [...]

Built at the turn of the century and finished in 1929, the Kangra is a
breathtaking ride. The British were in such a panic to escape the scorching
heat and the malaria that they blasted their way up through the hills, ignoring
natural contours and aesthetics. You can understand their haste; until then,
they had to travel up to the hills by donkey or camel. Eleven camels were
recommended per family, double that number if the memsahib insisted on bringing
along the grand piano, as some did. The Kangra Line rises along the ridges,
leaping across the jungle canyons and ravines of the Himalayan foothills with
971 steel and stone bridges. It took engineers three years to lay the 164kms of
track up the Kangra valley. They were pestered by tigers, troops of monkeys,
locusts and landslides. Worst of all were the monsoon floods which swelled the
rivers by 40ft, sweeping away their bridges.

Before travellers from Delhi get to the cooling reaches of the Kangra
valley, however, there is the journey. As the Jhelum Express pulled out of the
capital, I found my berth and chained my suitcase to the floor. The thieves
are magicians. You close your eyes for a few seconds, mesmerised by the train's
raga-like rhythms, and your suitcase, camera and rucksack, all stashed under
the seat, have dematerialised.

The train was headed for Jammu, a site of pilgrimage, and many of my
fellow passengers were families on their way to the Vaishnudevi shrine. Bliss
for an Indian is to be riding a train to a holy temple or mosque, loaded with
aluminium tiffins stacked with curries, biryanis, pakoras, chapatis and sweets
for the trip. Anxious to avoid eating more of the gooey Bengali sweets that
these kindly gourmet pilgrims kept plopping into my hands, I went and stood in
the open doorway. The night in the Punjab plains was black and pungent; I felt
as if I was brushing against the side of a slumbering water buffalo.

As a final precaution against thieves, I wrapped my suitcase around my foot
and slept like prisoner attached to his ball and chain. The train's movement
sounded like a slow drumming, coming from deep in the Indian earth to summon
the monsoon rains. The next morning, only a few minutes late, I reached the
Pathankot junction. Unshaven and rumpled, I leaned into the station
superintendent's office for information about the Kangra line. He was in deep
discussion with a group of signalmen, their green and red flags in hand. He
asked me to return in 15 minutes. "Go refresh yourself. We have a bath in the
first-class waiting room," he suggested. I did as he said, and found that the
first-class waiting room was mainly inhabited by first-class mosquitoes.

When I returned to the office, the superintendent was still busy and waved
me to a chair. My porter stood outside the door impatiently. The Kangra train
left in a few minutes. I had a moment's panic when I noticed that the wallclock
and the wristwatches of the superintendent, the signalmen and switchmen were
all running on different times. Suddenly, my own watch seemed unreliable, too,
and I could hear the seven warning bells meaning I had only five minutes before
the train scooted off.

"Yes?" the super said, finally, turning to me. I asked him the name of the
most scenic station. "Palampur," he replied, then he recited all 30 names on the
line. "We call this the goddess line, because 60 per cent of our stations are
near temples." I thanked him and, following my bandy-legged porter, dashed to
the train. The diesel engine looked like a Fifties fridge and it pulled six or
seven ancient wooden wagons.

A first-class fare cost 114 rupees (pounds 2) for a 96km trip. Had I
travelled second class, the ticket would have set me back only nine rupees.
Sadhus, Hindu holy men, travel for free, and there were many of them on the
goddess train, rag-haired men with their faces painted in ash and turmeric and
carrying bronze tridents.

With a sound like a tree full of startled birds, the Kangra train began
its slow chug towards the Himalayan foothills. Anywhere else in the world,
these would not be considered foothills but impressive mountains. There were
eight of us crammed on to a bench built for four in a cupboard-sized
first-class compartment, while in second class many seats were empty. Another
box of gooey sweets was pressed on me. The train climbed imperceptibly; it was
almost as if the earth was falling away beside the track, shaping itself into a
river gorge, a pine ridge or the bright-green mosaic of terraced rice
paddies. Every so often, we would cross a dry riverbed strewn with giant
boulders; in two months, the monsoons would batter the Himalayas, the snow
would melt, and the rivers would grow to over a mile wide and run devastatingly

It was while crossing one of these dry river-beds that the Dhaula-Dar range
framed itself in the train window, where it remained for the rest of the
journey. The peaks, turbanned with snow and clouds, seemed to give off an
effervescence. Everyone was in a good mood, though it might have had something
to do the fragrance coming from the fields of marijuana growing wild behind
every station. At each stop soldiers arriving on home leave threw out their
duffel bags and jumped off the train. Tiny schoolchildren were herded on and
off the train like geese, and farmers' wives boarded with baskets of pale
purple aubergines or apricots. Drifts of violet bougainvillaea carpeted the
platforms. The train's coming was a big event. Boys along the track broke into
a run as if trying to race the engine and then gave up with an exhausted wave
as if to say: next time, I'll beat you.

The scenery is not alpine. Out of the train window, I saw snowy ranges
floating above rice paddies and groves of bamboo. The Scottish engineers who
built the Kangra line would probably strongly disapprove of the monkeys
trapezing across the steel gridwork of the bridges. The Kangra valley inspired a
school of miniature painting whose subject was often the playful antics of
Krishna, the cosmic lover, and Radha, his divine consort. They belong here in
the Kangra, cavorting in the waterfalls and smooching under the mango trees.
Today, an artists' colony high up the valley keeps the traditions alive.

Disembark from the train anywhere in the Kangra valley and there is much
to explore. From Kangra station, the hill town of Dharam-sala where the Dalai
Lama lives in exile is only 23kms away. It is not unusual to see a Tibetan yogi
meditating in a cave or studying at one of the many Buddhist monasteries that
have sprung up in the valley. The train also stops at Baijnath, a 2,000-year-
old Hindu temple with a fearsome stone carving of Kali, the goddess of
destruction. She is thin-teated and frightening, with a garland of skulls. I
saw a blur of movement behind the statue and out from between Kali's legs
slithered an evil-looking chameleon with turquoise claws.

On my return journey to Delhi I was seduced into making a reservation from
Pathankot junction on a train with the sweet-smelling name of the Shalimar
Express. It is a mistake I hope never to repeat. The Shalimar arrived two hours
late, and seemed to wander on its own like a free-range chicken all over
northern India. The next afternoon, six hours late, it rolled into Old Delhi
station. The same cow was there, chewing and gazing rather wistfully at the
Indian Railways timetable!

From: Arun Kumar <

Subject: house peons and trolleymen

Date: 03 Jul 1995 12:25:00 -0500

Dear IRFCAns,

This is in response to Rachel Tolen's inquiry.

My father worked for the indian railways from about
1957 to 1991. He started his career as an ASTE (Assistant
Signalling and Telecommunications Engineer, became a DSTE
(Divisional STE) in about 1969, and ended his career as
a Senior DSTE (position created as a sop for DSTE's who
would never make it to CSTE (Chief STE))in 1991. Throughout
this period the family lived mostly in railway housing
in Calcutta, Asansol (in the terrible coal-mining region
of Bihar), Jaipur, Bombay, Kota (Rajasthan), Baroda, Ahmedabad,
Rajkot, Ajmer, and Hyderabad.

In the very beginning of my father's career, "trolleymen"
really were people that pushed trolleys on the track during
track inspections. It was very hard work indeed. I have been on
a manually-propelled trolley once or twice, as a child taken
along for a ride. The trolleymen would push hard for many
minutes at a time, and then jump on and ride. A trolley could
seat four on two benches set back-to-back, if I remember right.
Or was it two on a single bench facing fore or aft?
The trolleymen of course could never be expected to sit on
those benches, at a level with their superiors, and they would
perch on the sides like dark yakshas, their beautiful bodies
shining in the sun.

I also remember that there was also always a "house peon"
assigned to each officer who, while he did carry files back
and forth on occassion, was mostly considered a domestic servent,
as were the two trolleymen assigned each officer. Later,
when the job of trolleys was taken over by electrically-propelled
units and still later, I think, by track-recording
machines in special coaches, the house-peon post
tended to disappear. The trolleymen were retained.

One trolleyman would always accompany the sahib on tours
of duty in "carriges", while the other stayed behind to do
all the housework. If the family all went with the sahib, both
trolleymen would go, hefting the luggage, the surahis, and
a box of very important-looking files profusely adorned with
crimson tags and ribbons. The office jeep or van would take
everyone to the station.

Most bungalows came equipped with an outhouse. The outhouse
could be let out to a trolleyman, on condition that the
trolleyman's wife would work as domestic help. Thus
bungalows with outhouses meant more luxury for the

In places like Bombay, the cramped room at the back of the
apartment, and mostly out of it, was usually let out to a
family of two or to a single woman, who would in return
consideration work a few hours each day for the memsahib.
If the woman in the outhouse was sexually-active, as many in
the city were, it was a major headache for the memsahib.
It was OK for the outhouse women to get their jollies
somewhere away from the home at night, so long their performance
at work wasn't hampered the next day, but cladestine visits
by amorous suitors and paying clients to the outhouse
through the back-entrance were grounds for ejection.
Children in a Bombay outhouse were considered a no-no. As
help became more difficult to find in Bombay, the outhouse
women were also paid a negotiated amount over and above the
rent-remission, and their sexual needs came to be more
liberally interpreted. Also in Bombay, there was one trolleyman,
not two, and that trolleyman did not do housework. The memsahibs
in Bombay worked harder, though they still had time for their
afternoon naps and cards.

While the lot of trolleymen was marginally better than that
of the domestic servent, I think that from the sociologist's
point of view they are better treated as a single category.
Trolleyman did get free medical care for their families, like
the officers, and did, at least nominally, belong to a labor
union. Meager pay, extended periods of separation from the
family, and generally uncivil treatment, characteristic of the
middle class's attitude towards the working poor, blighted
the lives of trolleymen as they darken those of the domestic
servant in the Indian city.

That takes care of my lunch hour. Some of my recollections
may not be accurate, partly because I lived in a boarding
school, and visited my parents only during vacations.

Incidentally, there is a wonderful study of domestic labor
in Calcutta in the seventies by Professor Satyesh Chakrabarty
of the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta, an economic
geographer. ("What do I mean when I talk of the 'imperatives of
technology'? I mean that if you go to a place where they are
building a road, and if you stand there in the middle of the
road with a road-roller coming right at you, then in those last
few moments of pristine clarity you will realize exactly what
I mean when I say 'the imperatives of technology'."). I cannot
locate a proper reference at this time. If I do, I'll post.

Arun Kumar
Southwestern Bell
Austin, Texas
Compression, signal processing, and applied math

From: S Pai <

Subject: IR YDM3, YDM5 & WDM4 classes

Date: 05 Aug 1995 23:29:00 -0500

------- Start of forwarded message -------

From: (larry russell)
Subject: IR YDM3, YDM5 & WDM4 classes
Date: Sat, 05 Aug 1995 17:09:53 -0700

Many thanks for the info supplied to my request for locations of the 2 meter
gauge classes of GM's. A mention was made of riding behind a YDM3 on the SE
Ry near Nagpur. Isn't this all BG territory? or at least former NG? I would
be interrested in hearing more about this. Also the WDM4's had been seen in
the NR section, are they still there? I approach this planned journey with
some trepidation but some of the excellent advice I've recieved will help
greatly. My database (on my MAC running 4th Dimension) is pretty good on IR
diesels but only until about 1985 or so and spotty after that. I know
Varanasi has built much since then but can't get stock totals for each year.
Perhaps someone can help. Thanks.
Larry Russell
Associate Editor
Extra 2200 South
("The Locomotive Newsmagazine")

------- End of forwarded message -------

From: Anurag Acharya <

Subject: Re: train mishap

Date: 27 Aug 1995 11:40:00 -0500

>It seems to me that running a single or two trains a day that are
>flagships and run 40kmph faster than the rest of the traffic is less
>disaster prone than running umpteen trains a day at higher speeds and at
>short headways. This is because when there are only a few crack
>expresses everyone is aware that they are a special case and they get
>the special attention. But when higher speed is the norm that extra
>attention disappears and unless the system is built to protect trains in
>the new situation, the propensity towards accidents with greater number
>of casualties increases as time goes on.

In the winter of 1990, I was travelling from HWH to NDLS on Rajdhani.
About seventy to hundred miles outside Delhi, the train stopped with a
jerk. It was a foggy morning and the sun was not yet up. And there was
a goods train less than fifty yards ahead of our train. No one seemed
to know very much about it. By no one I mean no one on the
Rajdhani. There was no "bhains" (water buffalo) around. And no "akal"
either..... It took an hour and a half to get the goods train moving.

This was when there were fewer highspeed trains and Rajdhani was the


From: Lee Rogers <

Subject: Indian Rwys in 1947

Date: 28 Aug 1995 22:18:00 -0500

I note some discussion about the size of the railway network in 1947, as a
means to determine the amount of advance that took place in the later
decades. The length of system is rather clouded because of the options by
which railways were classed. Prior to that time railways in Burma and Aden
were treated as part of the Indian Railway scope. My data refers to
situation as of 31March1947, reported in miles. There were 16
classifications which were further divided into individual workings. The
Indian Govt Rwy worked by Govt was reported at 31194.4 miles. This was
treated as Class 1.
Class 2 was Indian Govt Rwy operated by specific states - at 376.6 miles
Class 3 - Branch Line companies under guarantee worked by branch firm - at 177.9
Class 4 - Branch Line companies under guarantee worked by main line - at 82.6
Class 5 - Branch Line companies under rebate, worked by main line - at 406.8
Class 6 - Branch Line companies under guaranted & rebate - at 100.4
Class 7 - Companies subsidized by Govt of India - at 307.7
Class 8 - Companies subsidized by Province Govt - at 51.1
Class 9 - Lines owned by unassisted companies/bodies - at 92.9
Class 10 - District Board Lines - at 59.6
Class 11 - Companies lines subsidized by District Bds - at 258.2
Class 12 - Indian State lines worked by Indian States - at 6374.7
Class 13 - Indian State lines worked by main lines - at 910.2
Class 14 - Companies lines guaranteed by States - at 38.6
Class 15 - Lines in foreign territory - at 73.5
Class 16 - Misc lines - at 19.1
Total for 15 classes was 40524.2 miles

At that time the Main lines of 1600mm gauge had 5842 steam, 25 diesel, 48
electric locomotives. The Main line meter gauge had 2472 steam, 0 diesel, 4
electric locos 75 & 60cm gauge "main line" had total of 273 steam, not shown
by allocation
Secondary railways of meter gauge had 174 steam, the two narrow gauges had
112 steam
Third level railways of meter gauge had 20 steam and two narrow gauges had
146 steam.

What can be confusing is that tables related to finance have 16 classes,
based on ownership and concession while the operation lines have three
classifications based on pre-1942 annual revenue groupings.

Of the very narrow gauge in Class 3 of operations 19 operations were listed
in 1947.

01.Ahmadpur-Katwa, 75cm, 32.2 miles, opened 30May1917
02.Arrah-Sasaram Light, 75cm, 56.2, opened 01Mar1911
03.Bankura-Damodar River, 75cm, 59.9, open 15Dec1916
04.Baraset-Basirhat Light, 75cm, 52.2, open 01Feb1905
05.a. Bengal Provincial, 75cm, 33.3, open 7Nov1894
05.b. Dasghara-Jamalpurganj, 75cm, 8.3, open 1Sep1917
06.Bukhtiarpur-Bihar Light, 75cm, 33.0, open 01Jul1903
07.Burdwan-Katwa, 75cm, 32.5, open 01Dec1915
08.Cutch State, 75cm, 72.0, open 01May1905
09.Dehri-Rohtas Light, 75cm, 24.1, open 6Feb1911
10.Dholpur State, 75cm, 55.4, open 24Feb1908
11.Futwah-Lslampur, 75cm, 27.0, open 02Apr1922
12.Hawrah-Amta Light, 60cm, 43.9, open 01Jul1897
13.Howrah-Sheakhala Light, 60cm, 19.8, 20Aug1897
14.Jagadhri Light, 60cm, 3.3, open 11Aug1911
15.Kalighat-Falta, 75cm, 25.3, open 28May1917
16.Matheran (Hills) Light, 60cm, 12.6, open 22Mar1907
17.Mewar State, 100cm (meter), 145.7, open 01Aug1895
18.Scindia State, 60cm, 294.4, open 02Dec1899
19.Tezpore-Balipara Light, 75cm, 20.1, open 09Aug1894
Total - Route miles = 1061.2, running track = 1062.4, sidings 130.2, total

Only Line 5a and 14 were unassisted in funding. Line 1, 3, 5b, 7, 11, and 15
were branch lines under guarantee.
Of course these figures include lines which later became operations in
Bangladesh and Pakistan. BG track of North Western was 4959.4 miles, and
most [if not all] of the 75cm gauge shown for Mainline Systems was probably
the Bannu and Tank lines now in Pakistan.
I hope this helps those interested.

From: Sridhar_Shankarnarayan <

Subject: Ramblings from California

Date: 20 Dec 1995 01:46:00 -0500

Hi folks,

Back with some more, this time from the west coast. The last weekend I found
myself in the Bay Area. On hearing that the railway museum in Sacramento was
one of the better ones, I decided to visit the same. So I pointed my car in
the direction of sacramento on I-80. A little after an hour I found myself in
the general area but took me a little longer to actually get to the museum,
actually just by the intersection of interstates 5 and 80.

The museum has two parts: static displays and a tourist railroad. The tourist
railroad is presumably operated in summer. It is composed of 4 pullman
coaches hauled by a pair of EMD F units in warbonnet livery (Santa Fe). The
static displays are interesting in their own right. There is a reasonably good
collection of steam and diesel locos along with some rolling stock and other
related stuff. On the steam front, there is the steam loco which hauled the
Scott's special. Scott special was the train which in 1905, on Santa Fe,
covered the 2265 miles between San Francisco and Chicago in under 45 hrs (44
hr 45mts). In doing so it bettered the then record by a cool 11 hours. I was
depressed to learn that the 1905 train was air breaked and ran 90 mph on some
sections. There is also mention of a 2.3 mile section in Illinois being closed
at an average speed of 106mph. These are feats IR would be hard pressed to
match today. Anyway, back to the display. There is also the 'cab forward'
steam locomotive from Baldwin, the final evolution in steam technology.
(Incidentally, Baldwin also designed our WPs; IR sourced WPs from builders
from all over the world- US, Canada, Austria, Japan and ofcourse, CLW, all
made to the original Baldwin design). These locos were operated by Southern
Pacific (SP) in the dying days of steam, as some of their tunnels overwhelmed
the crews with the smoke and heat.On the diesel loco fron they have some EMD F
units and and an ALCO FA uint. There is also an Pullman coach with simulated
train movements complete with sound effects !

A couple of hours east on I-80 leads to Donner Pass on the Sierra Nevada
mountains. SP has a spectacular line through the pass leading from Sacramento
to Reno, NV. The area sees quite a bit of snow and has some spectacular
mountain trackage and tunnels. Most of the line is double track, however, SP
was beginning to single track some of it. The impending merger (takeover) by
Union Pacific (UP) will hopefully put and end to it. On a related note, the
impending UP/SP merger is to lead to the abandonment of the supposedly spectacular
Tennesee Pass division in of SP (actually, Denver and Rio Grande Western) in
Colorado, due to severe grades (upto 3%) making operation inefficient. I would
love to see the same before that happens.

Sridhar Shankar
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From: Kartik Pashupati <

Subject: Swiss Railway Web Page

Date: 24 Dec 1995 18:45:00 -0500

I came across a neat Web page featuring a guide to Narrow Gauge Trains
in Switzerland. The page has several interesting links that I haven't
yet explored. The URL is:

<A HREF=""></A>

I discovered the page through a link in the Thomas Cook home page.
In case you aren't aware, Thomas Cook (yes, the travel agency) features
links to several pages, including various guides to India. One of the
links is a direct link to the Maharashtra Tourism gopher site on ernet.

"Only Robinson Crusoe had everything done by Friday."

THE UNIVERSITY OF WEST FLORIDA, Dept. of Communication Arts,
11000 University Parkway Building 36
Pensacola FL 32514-5751.
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