My first trip to Bombay was when I was all of eight years old. it was going to wonderland. Despite the stink which had not reached the current day pinnacle as yet.
The stories of Indo-Pak war, the siren ringing and taking shelters from a potential bomb was all romantically adventurous, but the most fascinating of it all was the double Decker buses. Somehow getting on to the upper deck was thrill.
Bombay morphed to Mumbai, the hallmark of which became the ocean of human beings and stench, the Mumbai local trains somehow relegated the buses to being a second class citizen, maybe once the existing buses are retired they will be seen only in a museum, or read in BusyBee’s banter.
Few months’ back we read that a double Decker train had been launched from Mumbai to Goa. I decided I am travelling on that train. Somehow Mumbai never happened.
Finally over the week end when I had to travel guess what, my husband booked me on the train.
The train is a shatabdi. From LTT before you think Tamil Tigers, it is Lokamanya Tilak Terminus Kurla at 5.30 AM. The train 11085. As I arrived at the station with enough time on hands, I could peacefully look for C8U91 allotted to me, and guess what… the train had seven coaches, that is no C8
I ask the ticket checker, and he looks at me blank, and tells me the train is empty so occupy any slot in C4. Of course I did occupy C4U91 the train was really empty.
the first twenty and last twenty of every coach are on standard levels, numbers in between are duplicated as CU—whatever number or CL whatever number which essentially means more passengers can be accommodated. The train is fully air-conditioned.
Bio-chemical toilets are provided.
The train has an obscene running time like 12hrs to Madgaon. The train is scheduled to arrive at Ratnagiri at 11.45 but ambles in 12.15, after which, the coach C4 turned into the locker room for the catering staff, they were sleeping on the seats, eating, and having loud conversations. The train arrives at Karmali at 15.30 but takes another two hours to reach Margao!! And the train staff tell me that it usually takes more than that.
The Pantry car is terrible and nothing is available after Ratnagiri. It is a lovely train to travel by, but please carry your food along since it is a day journey. Every set of seat is provided with plug points for the Laptop/mobile.
Somewhere I could see lot of resources going waste, or maybe because I was travelling mid-week but this is a bi-weekly train.
It is definitely worth taking it as a way to chill.