Lucknow - Banaras
by Vaibhav Sarin
I have just returned from Banaras after completing my trip and now as a norm I am submitting my trip report. Persons who accompanied me on this trip were Mr. Roopesh Kohad and Nikhil Arora. Nikhil would be heading for US next month hence I wish him best of luck. Before I start with my trip details I want to thank Mr. Atul Singh without whose support this trip couldn't have been a major success. So Atul thanks a lot once again.
LkO shatabdi is India's finest train in terms of rake it has but unfortunately the political pressure is screwing the train. Recently GZB has been added to the list of its stop. Now the total number of halts this shatabdi has now is 3 and they are Gzb, Aligarh and Cnb.
Now guys there was a lot of speculation in the group regarding the speed of the train well the reality is that help u rendered to us. Our itinerary for this trip was following:
- 9th July depart for BNB by janshatabdi
- 8th July depart for LKO by from LKO
- 10th July visit to MGS and back plus local sightseeing
- 11th July visit to DLW and board the train for NDLS in evening
- 12th July arrive in NDLS at 7:45am in morning
shatabdi the max running speed of the train is 120kmph and the train runs only at this speed on unrestricted sections. Windows of the coaches are quite big hence even if a person gets an aisle seat he will still be able to have a spectacular view. The standard of catering is fantastic but my beloved friend roopesh was hungry for more even after whole breakfast had been served and I believe this is quiet true and is valid for all shatabdi. The best thing, which I noticed in the train, was that the toilets were being cleaned at regular intervals in the train, which I haven't seen in any of the shatabdi. The loco that hauled our shatabdi was a p5 Navodit 30011.
The LkO shatabdi that is scheduled to arrive at LkO at 12:20 PM arrived 10min late I wonder this is becoz of the new stop that has been introduced. Overall I am quite impressed with the LHB rake and dying to see some more LHB rakes in action.
On 9thjuly morning we boarded the Jan shatabdi for Varanasi from Lucknow. The train was hauled by a WDM-2 of alambagh shed LkO. The train departed at rite time from LkO at 6:50 am in the morning. The max speed achieved by the train was 90kmph. The line from Lucknow to Varanasi is a single line section with semaphore signaling. The occupancy of the ac chair car seemed to be good when compared with Jan class. My personal opinion is that I think that Jan shatabdi is gonna fail miserably because first of all the food served in Jan class was not fulfilling and secondly imagine the train running in high speed and windows all open and while ur having food all the packaging and tissue papers tend to blow up there making a little messy.
Anyway once our train reached amethi I decided to get my tkt upgraded to the ac chair car while roopesh and nikhil decided to stay in the Jan class only. I went to the TT with a humble request of upgradation. The TT gave me a vacant seat and said that he follows me soon. After few min he came and told me that since my ticket was combined one with roopesh name also included in it hence I have to pay for 2 persons I simply said ok but later when I offered him the money he asked only for 290 bucks and he simply kept in his pocket and no receipt was issued to me hence I can say I had bribed a TT of a shatabdi.
The ambience of the Jan ac chair car is far better. I must tell all the guys that the ac chair car of Jan shatabdi is far better than the normal ac chair car coaches of normal shatabdi. The differences that I could note were that the walkway in the coach was carpeted which is not there in the shatabdi. The seats I must say were like that of an executive class. The fittings and all were really nice and new stylish buttons for fans and all were present.
Finally we reached Varanasi 10 min before time inspite of the fact that we had stop at many small stations in between becoz the line was occupied hence I can make out that plenty of slack time has been given to this train. Varanasi to be very frank is a very dirty city with a severe electricity problem. The only clean places which we got to see in the city were Sarnath (place of Buddhists importance), BHU campus and DLW.
There are a lot of temples in the city but I must warn anybody who if intends to go to temples here that the priests are big thugs so plz beware of them. With help of atuljee we were able to footplate in the Varanasi mugalsaria passenger. Well the max speed allowed on the loco was 50kmph and during the run we crossed the legendary rail cum Road Bridge over the river Ganges. It was really a cool experience but I much better experience which I got was from a boat ride in the river it was really superb.
I have only 3 words to describe the whole of DLW and they are big, clean and green. DLW is really a fantastic and must for all rail fans. Everything is well organized with each part being developed at different unit and being brought in together at one point where the assembly bay is present. A lot of machines are present in dlw and really huge one like the 45 degree boring machine which bores round holes into engine blocks in which the pistons would move. A lot of CNC (computerized numerically controlled) machines are being used for the manufacture of certain components where accuracy is very important.
When we visited DLW diesel locos i.e. wdm-2 were being made for NTPC and they looked really beautiful. When we had a chat with atul about these locos he told they were dirty so now I wonder which would be the beautiful ones. We were also able to get a view of some unfinished wdg-4 and one wdg-4, which had been blasted by the naxalites in AP. All the power packs being used currently in the WDG-4 are imported ones. The good news is that DLW has got an order from Vietnam railways for supply of 10 ydm-4,s . The test trials for the Malaysian prototype loco are complete now and that loco was bale to touch 122kmph which is a great feat. Guys now no more wdp-3a will be produced and right now DLW is concentrating on wdg-3,s wdm-3a and wdg-4 .
Now the last leg of our journey was the shivganga express. I must say that the train is really good. It's a 19 coach long train and food provided in the train was fantastic . there is an half hour stop in allahbad from where a wap-1 takes over. The loco which hauled our train was 20070 from GZB . There was also an 20 min stop at kanpur. The quality of bedding provided in the train was really of high quality and very clean. Till allahbad the train was hauled by a wdm2 of gonda of NE railway.
And with this I end my trip report.