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JAI Ho! Jaipur, Sep'12, My Double Standards?

 
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sumantra
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Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4485
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:16 am    Post subject: JAI Ho! Jaipur, Sep'12, My Double Standards? Reply with quote

JAI Ho! Jaipur, Sep'12, My Double Standards?
--------------------------------------------
The pun in the title is intended, for a change.
There are two parts of the pun.
First, the `JAI' refers to the airport code for Jaipur, and `Ho!',
a typical expression indicating a journey to the place. `Jai Ho'
of course, is also the catch-phrase of A. R. Rahman's catchy
title music for the film, `Slumdog Millionaire'.
The second part of the pun, may indicate why this report may be
slightly out of place. Why?
Why double standards on my part?
Is there a pun there, as well?
No, JAI is not a Code-F compliant airport, where a double-decker
B747 or an A380 may dock in.
No, the double standards are mine.
This is an aviation forum, where trip reports are generally
associated with air trips, or have some aviation links.
This trip started off as a possible air trip,

The expected itinerary was as follows:
AI 612 DEL-JAI on 01 Sep, 2012, and AI 611 JAI-DEL the next day.
I was going for a short-term course.
However, the organisers of the short-term course were short on
travel funds, and requested me to come by road.
What? 5 hours on the road, where one cannot sleep, one cannot
work, one cannot stretch out...ugh. Oh yes, NH 8 is one of the
best-maintained national highways, but there was no way I would
do this willingly.
I booked myself on the Ahmedabad Rajdhani on 01 Sep 2012, which
I could board after a day of work on Saturday(!) (it sets out
from the New Delhi Railway Station at 07:55 pm), but reaches
Jaipur at 12:30 am. I was able to get a II AC ticket on this.
My return would be on the next day, by the Ajmer Shatabdi.
Why the Rajdhani-Shatabdi combination?
Power-ports yes, so that I could work on my laptop,
uninterrupted. But that was not unique to the Rajdhanis and
Shatabdis, since most AC coaches (both old and new) on the
Indian Railways have power-ports.
The actual reason, as the reader would recount...is the food!
Yes, I also admire the food on the Rajdhanis and Shatabdis.

A trip report primarily on a train journey, on an aviation forum?
This was a bit different, as the novelty factor was there.
The brand-new Jaipur Double Decker Express train had just been
flagged off a week before the journey.
This report will cover the brand-new train!
I will ensure enough of aviation-related content in this trip
report, to justify its inclusion into the forum.

I remember two train journeys reported on this forum.
The first was by a forum moderator himself - Nimish's lovely
photo trip report on the then-item of high novelty/curiosity, the
Garib Rath. Nimish's report featured pictures of the
then-mysterious and always controversial middle side berth on the
III Tier (Economy) AC coaches. This is one trip report to remember!

Photo Trip Report - new RGIA airport at HYD and 6E HYD-BLR
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-post-42557.html

Of course, the trip features the rail journey as a part of a
trip, which featured the new Shamshabad airport at Hyderabad, and
a trip on Indigo, so in all fairness, it wasn't a rail journey
alone. The second one that comes to mind is member AirIndia0001's
lovely trip report on the new Delhi Metro Airport Express Line,
the day it was opened.

On-board the Airport Express Line!
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic10678.html

This had an aviation link, since it covered the route from
Rajiv Chowk to the IGI Airport, Terminal 3. He beat me to report
on the same, on my Mumbai trip, for which I took the Metro on two
legs:

On the cusp: DEL-BOM on IC863, BOM-DEL on AI660
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic11160.html

This was the trip report on my onward journey on Air India (IC),
and the return on Air India, on the common code, the next day.
Yes, 28 February, 2011.
To play it safe, and put some aviation content in it, I will also
write a bit about my 2010 air trip to Jaipur.

This trip report may be found at the following URL:
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12592.html

Why have I not written about my rail trips?
Of course, this is an aviation forum, but I have travelled
extensively by rail. From travelling beside an open window
(which I still enjoy), to official travel on AC trains, I have
enjoyed the incredible comfort of the trains - the incredible
leg-space, the presence of toilets on board, nice food,
power-ports (on AC coaches) allowing me to work on my laptop:
I love it all.

I had booked the trip on the Rajdhani-Shatabdi combination, when
a friend pointed me to the fact that this unique train had
started operations, why didn't I choose that option?
I did.
I also got a brainwave - Junior did not have his school that weekend.
Why couldn't I take The Wife, and Junior also along?
(`TW', and `Jr', hereafter).
What? A visit to one of the three cities comprising the `Golden
Triangle' on the tourist circuit? (Delhi-Jaipur-Agra).
Jr had not been to Jaipur before.
But then, we would have no time for any sightseeing.
I had been to Jaipur three times before.
At three months of age, this had been my first ever long trip.
The second and third came in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
TW had also been to Jaipur before.

The 2010 trip was in January.
I had opted for Air India, when my colleagues had laughed at me.
What? Going to a place so close to Delhi, by air?
Some of them took a shared taxi, some of them chose the Garib
Rath-Shatabdi combination. My schedule had been the following:

Set out 16 Jan (Sat) for Jaipur from New Delhi
IC 7809: Air India (ATR-42) [Seat: 09C; PNR: RHRZ28]
New Delhi (DEL) - Jaipur (JAI)
[05:15 pm - 06:10 pm]

Why had I looked forward to that trip?
That was for a plethora of reasons.
I was to fly on an ATR-42 for the first time, and for the first
time on the erstwhile Alliance Air. I was looking forward to one
of the ATR-42s in the new Flying Swan livery, but that was not to
be. I got a very old plane in the Alliance Air colours, which had
been parked in front of the hangars facing the then Terminal 1-B
at the IGIA, New Delhi. What do I remember of the flight?
The flight had been delayed, and I had just been able to catch
the setting sun as we had taken off from New Delhi, on the main
runway 10-28, towards the west. There were some non-descript
snacks on board, and the captain had made a smooth landing at the
Sanganer Airport, Jaipur. JAI had two terminals - the old one
doubled up as the International terminal, since it had the
customs and immigration. The brand new terminal was for other
airlines, and it was on the other side of the runway.

What had I seen on this trip?
In terms of the tourist circuit, I managed to see the City
Palace, the very impressive Jantar Mantar, and a few, from the
outside: the Hawa Mahal, and the Jal Mahal on the road to the
Amer Fort.
The old city had its charms in terms of the famous LMB: The Laxmi
Mishthan Bhandar, the well-known confectioners of the city.
The Chokhi Dhani resort was a big disappointment for me in terms
of sights to see. However, the Rajasthani food on offer was too
much for me to resist, and I had my heart's fill (not to mention
the stomach as well!)

Set out 18 Jan (Mon) for New Delhi from Jaipur
IC 895: Air India (A321) [Seat: 09F; PNR: RIVIPD]
Jaipur (JAI) - New Delhi (DEL) [IGIA T2, International Terminal]
[05:15 pm - 05:50 pm]

The return was on an Air India A321. Yes, I love
this aircraft type. This was an `International Connector'. This
was the Dubai flight, IC 895, JAI-DEL-DXB. What do I remember on
this flight? The food was very satisfying, even on this very
short leg. There were many first-time flyers on this flight, many
going to Dubai for work. The loads were very nice. I had one of
these people seated beside me. He shyly asked me many questions.
I told him that I had never travelled this sector before (which
put him at ease), I had told him that he was lucky to be flying
to an exotic destination, and that the food would be terrific,
both on the JAI-DEL leg, as well as the DEL-DXB one. On the
flight, I helped him around with the IFE on the PTVs,
which he enjoyed. On my part, I was looking forward to coming in
on the IGIA International Terminal, or T2 - which was the
international terminal at that time. This was a terminal I
experienced only on my rare international trips, and this had
been renovated reasonably well, by January 2010.
While many of the passengers on this leg were the so-called
`labour class', I was quite satisfied to see none of the cabin
crew make any form of discrimination between the flyers. They
were cheerfully conversing in the chaste vernacular with those
who were not too comfortable in English.

Yes, my colleagues had laughed at me for choosing to fly on such
a short leg. I had the last laugh, however.
The A321 was a CAT-IIIB compliant plane, with CAT-IIIB trained
cockpit crew. As we landed, a very dense fog enveloped the
airport, and soon, the entire city. We had arrived on time, as
a white blanket enveloped Delhi. This had delayed the Ajmer
Shatabdi by a few hours, and those on the road, were particularly
affected, since they had to literally crawl along the highway
NH-8. I was the only one who was able to report back the next
morning, after having a good night's sleep!

The 2011 trip was on official one, but horrors of horrors, it was
by road. And what had I see on this trip?
Nothing, as far as the tourist circuit goes.
I had only seen the Amer fort from the road, while entering the
city. In terms of food, I had actually experienced quite a lot.
One of my companions was a senior colleague, who is much more of
a foodie than the eat-ernally lazy Sumantra is. He took us around
to the LMB, where he suggested delicacies for us to take back
home. Other places of interest included Niroz (of the laal-maans
fame), Rawat's Raj Kachori, and many more, which I found it hard
to remember. It did not help that this colleague accompanied us
on the way back, and I could not catch a moment's rest as he was
talking non-stop for five hours.

Let us fast forward to 2012.
01 September, 2012.
The trip would start from the Delhi Sarai Rohilla Station.
Old-timers would recount that Delhi initially had only one
prime station, which is still officially called `Delhi Main'.
When the New Delhi station came up, the previous one because the
`Old Delhi Railway Station' at least, in common parlance.
Hazrat Nizamuddin came up to ease out congestion from the New
Delhi side, and Delhi Sarai Rohilla (DEE), for the Old Delhi
station. Delhi Cantt also was a start and end point for The
Palace on Wheels. Delhi Sarai Rohilla is also one of Delhi's
worst-kept secrets. It is amazing that many Delhi'ites do not
even know about the existence of the station, and for those who
know it, would not easily remember where it is. It is located
along a very narrow by-lane, and suddenly pops up from the middle
of nowhere. Thankfully, our cab driver knows the place.
We had set out from this very place last year around this time,
for a trip to Bikaner. Yes, Yours Truly, TW and Jr.

The itinerary for this leg of the trip was as follows:

Set out 01 Sep (Sat) for Jaipur (JP)
from Delhi Sarai Rohilla (DEE) at 05:35 pm
12986 Jaipur Double Decker Express, AC Chair Car
Coach C8U, Seats 89, 90 (Non-Window, Window) [PNR: 280-7688091]
to reach Jaipur (JP) 01 Sep (Sat) at 10:05 pm

The cab arrived well on time, and the heavy rains that had
lashed Delhi over the past few days, gave way to a slightly
cloudy sky with a hint of sunlight. We were lucky the last time
round, too, since the last time, we stood on a completely open
Platform number 1, waiting for our train. Had it rained, we would
have got completely drenched. This time, as we came in to the
station, the announcement said that the Jaipur Double Decker
would arrive on Platform number 3. So, it was up the over-bridge,
and down, again. As TW and Jr took the steps to get down from the
foot over-bridge, I clicked a picture of the week-old train.



The magnificent train was on the platform! We weren't the only
people excited to be on this unique train. There were quite a few
passengers excitedly clicking pictures. Each coach has an
overview of the seating arrangement - a very thoughtful feature.



When we entered, I went all around the cabin.
The main part of the coach has the two decks, with the single
deck seating only towards the two ends. The arrangement is quite
interesting. There is a little staircase going up on one side,
and down, on the other. The seating is just like a Shatabdi AC
Chair Car of the Indian Railways, just that it has two decks.
There were three seats on the port side, and two, on the
starboard. Beside the stairs, there are single seats. The
interesting arrangement is as follows: it starts as two rows of
3-2, then funnels into 2-2, and then 1-1, where the single seats
are. This has been very thoughtfully done, to funnel passengers
trying to get down at a station where the train does not stop for
a very long time. Second, the aisle is relatively wide enough,
and the ends of the upper deck, and the lower one, have some
extra space to store luggage. The entire design looks quite nice,
and thoughtfully done. The upper deck is appreciably high, and
the lower one, quite low! Here is a picture of the seats on the
upper deck, and...



...this is a view from a lower deck seat window - the reader can
see how low the coach sits - it is on the level of the platform
itself:



There were electronic information
boards on both sides, with information about what the next
station was, how many kilometres were there to the next station,
what the current speed was - this was quite nice!

By the time the train had reached the Gurgaon station, all seats
(at least, in our coach), had been occupied. Between the Delhi
Cantonment and the Gurgaon station, the IGI Airport was visible
on the port side, where portly Sumantra briefly took up position
to have a look at the thresholds for runways 09, 10 and 11, and
the Air India Engineering building between runways 10 and 11.
Runways 10 and 11 were in use, as a 737 landed on runway 28 in
the distance, and an Air India 777 left the taxiway after landing
on runway 29. It was fascinating not just for me, it was so for
TW and Jr, who were on the pre-designated star-board side. Jr was
excitedly enjoying his exalted position (physically, that is), in
side the train coach. He was excitedly looking at all the sights
around him, clearly enjoying himself.

Our host had rung up, requesting us to get down at the Gandhi
Nagar station rather than the main Jaipur station, as the former
would be closer to where we were supposed to be put up.
The rest of the journey did not have much to write about, as
darkness fell. The buy-on-board was patronised by the large
number of passengers quite well. We took a burger, which was too
hot for our liking. Talking of `hot', the coach was quite cold -
this is a problem I have seen at times with Indian Railway
coaches. They over-cool them. The control board was there in the
coach itself, I wonder - is this due to passenger preferences? Do
the majority of passengers want such a situation?

Talking of food, the buy-on-board was a big disappointment, to
me, at least. TW was not bothered too much, being the meticulous
planner that she is, she had got along quite a few goodies ofr
the three of us. There were items which would catch Jr's fancy -
at least, keep him occupied and his little tummy, just full
enough for him to be in good spirits. He is a terrible eater,
more so, on journeys where he feels that the time spent in eating
eats into the time to be spent on having fun. I have a serious
difference of opinion on this point, here. Nothing, I repeat,
nothing should come in the way of food. My friends would recount
that I boarde the Pune Shatabdi in 2003 with seconds to spare,
just because of a sudden desire to diver the taxi to a Chitale
Bandhu outlet, just to buy some Shrikhand, mini-Bakarwadi, and
Amba-barfi. As most Punekars would agree with me, these are just
about the best one can ever dream of. There I go digressing,
again...yes, the buy-on-board the Jaipur Double Decker train was
very disappointing not just in terms of the edible fare, it was
too less in quantity for the large number of hungry souls on
board! If you missed an item the first time, you missed it.
The very few stops on board this train meant that the empty
stocks were not replenished. There were few runs of the water,
flavoured milk, fruit drinks, and cold drinks, too. Other items
included the chips-wafers-salty savouries, burgers, patties,
sandwiches and the somewhat filling vegetable biriyani, which I
wanted to have, but TW reminded me that it was I who had
requested for some dinner to be reserved for us, when we landed
at the Guest House.

We got down at the warm Gandhinagar station, on platform number
2. Our hosts picked up up from there, and took us to the Guest
House where we would spend the night. We were quite tired, and Jr
did not get his usual quota of sleep on the train.
We hit the bed (of course, after doing justice to the dinner).
The morning alarm saw me reach out for the phone on the
bed-stead - wait, where had the bed-stead disappeared? The cell
phone slammed onto the floor in the darkness, when the
realisation hit me - we were in Jaipur, not our home.
I quickly got up and got ready. I had work to do!

I was done at around 11am, and I went back to the Guest House.
The weather was quite warm, when it suddenly got dark, and it
rained a bit. We had tentatively planned to go out a bit. The
plan was to have a quick get-away just before lunch, this got
postponed to an after-lunch one, and finally, to a brief shopping
trip on our way to the station, as the strain of the past few
days took its toll on TW and I, when we fell fast asleep, with Jr
wide awake all the time. The taxi arrived on time, and we set
out for the Jaipur station, with a short stop at a handicrafts
shop en route from Malaviya Nagar. The city was overall quite neat
and clean, so was the station. The itinerary for our return trip
as as follows:

Set out 02 Sep (Sun) for New Delhi (NDLS)
from Jaipur (JP) at 05:45 pm - 05:50 pm
12016 Ajmer Shatabdi Express, AC Chair Car
Coach C9, Seats 06, 07 (Window, Middle) [PNR: 243-8955350]
to reach New Delhi (NDLS) 02 Sep (Sun) at 10:40 pm

Our train arrived some ten minutes before schedule.
On the date of our travel, the Ajmer Shatabdi had still not yet
upgraded to the new-style coaches. We got an old coach train, as
we made ourselves comfortable on seats 06 and 07, port-side seats
(we were on the `2' side, with 3 seats on the other),
with an awesome amount of leg space. Even though the coach was
old, it was relatively clean, and had power ports on each row of
seats. As soon as the train started, the coach attendants came
with bottled mineral water, and the snack tray. TW noted the
twinkle in my eye, as the laptop which had come out some time
back, went into hibernate mode very soon, as the tray manifested
itself almost instantaneously on my lap replacing the laptop, and
presented itself for my consumption.
Jr was interested in all things he was supposed to avoid.
There was the usual tea sachet, with two tea bags, a sugar sachet,
and one for milk powder. There was a tasty kachori, two eclairs
(which immediately made their way into my pocket, saving them
`for a rainy day'), a mango drink, a spicy potato shred mixture
(which Jr had set his eyes on, and was having, shred by shred,
without a care in the world), a very tasty Haldiram's sohan
papri/batisa/patisa (a layered sweet made from besan: ground
gram), which was quite filling. Around 7pm, the soup tray came
with two soup sticks, a butter chiplet, and tomato soup.
TW and I plotted to choose a Continental option, for dinner.

In the early days of the Howrah Rajdhani Express, they used to
budget for two continental dinners per coach. That was the time
when there used to be a Chair Car - the Sealdah Rajdhani also had
it for some time, at one time, only the Bhubaneshwar Rajdhani had
it, and now no Rajdhani has the AC Chair car! I remember the
Howrah Rajdhani Express of those days, when the ticket was just
like an airline ticket jacket, with the Howrah Bridge shown on
the left, and the Qutub Minar, to the right. Those were the
journeys when I used to ogle at the ice cream, as Mummy used to
melt some, and give it to me. I had tonsil problems, and was not
supposed to have ice cream. My fascination for ice cream started
since then, and the moment the Doctor gave me the green signal for
the same, I started making up for all the years of not being able
to partake of this wonderful creation.

The opening of the coach door from the pantry side (we were
seated right near the centre of all the action) brought in whiffs
of chicken curry into our coach. All this proved to be a complete
disappointment. There were no Continental trays on board, and the
Indian food wasn't exactly either very high on taste, though it
was quite high on spices, and fatty acids. There was the usual
Indian green salad: cucumbers and carrots and a large green
chilli julienne with a slice of lemon, but no tomato. There was a
salt sachet which I did justice to. There were two paranthas.
Gone are the days when I used to look forward to travel on board
the Rajdhani just to partake of the lovely Rumali Roti that they
served on board. As a little child, I even forced my father to
take me to the pantry just to see the chefs preparing the sinful
handkerchief-thin (hence the name `Rumal', or a handkerchief)
preparation of refined wheat flour (maida). There was a carton
of plain curd/yogurt, which was possibly the only item apart from
the salad, that was not oily. The main course had masoor/malka
dal (red lentil pulses), which wasn't much tasty at all, and a
chicken curry, which could have had a PCRA sign beside it,
`because oil isn't going to last forever'. The dessert was
vanilla ice cream - a flavour which both TW and I like. Jr was
asleep by now, and TW tired at the effort of making him sleep, did
forego the ice cream. I certainly didn't mind the offer!

Food-wise, I have enjoyed the First class aboard the Rajdhani
Express trains with the new coaches, the best. This includes the
two on the New Delhi-Calcutta route, and the New Delhi-Mumbai
route. The Howrah Rajdhani, the Sealdah Rajdhani, the Mumbai
Rajdhani, and the August Kranti Rajdhani. I should also mention
the Bhopal Shatabdi and the Lucknow Shatabdi in this context.
The former is on the Delhi-Agra route, which also has
additional places of tourist interest such as Gwalior and Jhansi,
right up to the lovely city of Bhopal, which is an important
point on the Buddhist circuit, because of the proximity to
Sanchi. In fact, the Sanchi Stupa can be seen right from the
train, if one is seated on the starboard side, from Bhopal.
This sees a very large number of tourists - Sri Lankan, Thai
and Japanese. This is in addition to tourists from all over the
world, on the Delhi-Agra route. The Lucknow Shatabdi has had the
unique honour of having its chefs and catering staff trained by
the Taj group in the mid-2000s, and right from that time, I have
enjoyed both the travel, as well as the food, on this wonderful
train. What sets the Rajdhanis apart in the First Class is no,
not the separate shower enclosure in place of a toilet, not the
thoughtful design of each coupe with lots of little nick-knacks
all around, but the service. In this respect, the Mumbai and
August Kranti Rajdhanis excel, since the food is served
individually to passengers, in plates and cups that have been
warmed before. The crockery is fine glass (I remember the La
Opala brand on most occassions), and the food items, plentiful,
and very tasty, indeed. The Howrah and Sealdah Rajdhanis have one
more extra item in the dinner, usually a fish orly (that
sometimes becomes `Fish Oily', though). I remember a trip on
board the Howrah Rajdhani (via Patna) from Howrah to New Delhi,
where we got an extra snack because the train was late. This was
as recent as 2007, when the three hour delay led to a welcome
snack of an apple, a sweet (sandesh/barfi!), tea and biscuits, as
a very nice gesture from the train manager.

The Kalka Shatabdi also has PTVs in the Executive AC Chair cars,
which is quite a novelty. My parents have travelled on this,
once. I look forward to some official Chandigarh trip, where I
can enjoy this comfort, too!
Sadly, all that was a far cry from what was served on the Ajmer
Shatabdi that day. The old coaches were good, but the rattle did
not permit me to concentrate for long periods on my laptop, or
any reading. The food was a complete let-down.

While I have seen a steam engine as late as 1983 at Kharagpur
Junction (the longest railway platform in the world!), I have
never had the good fortune of riding in one. In the 1970s, diesel
engines were still a bit of a novelty, permitting efficient train
travel in areas which had not been electrified till then. The
Rajdhanis used to excite me as such path-breaking trains. I have
had many a memorable journey on trains, and have many memories
associated with trains and train journeys. I discovered the 1072
metres of the Kharagpur platform, when I ran a good part of the
entire length of it in going to platform 2A, from the complete
other side, where I had mistakenly gone. And I made it to the train
I wanted to catch, too. Jr's first long distance trip was at 6
months of age, when we visited Pachmarhi and Sanchi. On the
return trip on the Bhopal Shatabdi, a bench-press with his little
legs had resulted in my dinner tray taking wing, and completely
flooring me as to how he had managed it. There are so many
memories, I guess I will have to pen them down, relevant to each
trip that I write about, instead of some mindless mind-wandering
sessions in this report, here.

There wasn't much to write about the rest of the trip.
We entered the NCR well in time, a good 50 minutes before our final
destination. Gurgaon, Delhi Cantt were two stops on the route, as
the train snailed its was to New Delhi, bypassing the platform at
Delhi Sarai Rohilla, all the way to platform number 2. We got
down, and two phone calls later, our friendly cab driver picked
us up, and dropped us home. The food did not go too well with my
tender disposition, either. Some loud flatulence from my end
(well...a posteriori reasoning) saw Jr mutter in his sleep,
``that sounds like a f*rt''.
TW and I burst out into laughter, as we looked forward to some
rest before the Monday morning school routine started!
---
Links to my previous trip reports:

24. PNQ: PeNning Queued Reports, Dec 2011
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12557.html

23. Little BHO-Peep, Nov 2011
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12496.html

22. The Call of the Vaigai! Madurai, Oct 2011
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12465.html

21. Eats, Shoots, and Leaves: Beijing, 2011 Part 3
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12452.html

20. No Panda-monium: Beijing, 2011 Part 2
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12389.html

19. North By Northwest...er, AI and CA: Beijing, 2011 Part 1
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12348.html

18. Going Bananas over Oranges: Nagpur, Aug'11
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12333.html

17. To the City of Joy and back, on Air India: Aug'11
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12238.html

16. To Chennai, Mar'12 with a Celebrity Captain!
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12196.html
(This is out of sequence owing to sheer excitement, and nothing
else!)

15. Marble Rocks, Marbles Rock; Jul 2011
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12157.html

14. The Fish-Eye Beckons! Madurai, on Air India. Jul 2011
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12136.html

13. To Russia, with Awe: Moscow, 2011, Part 3: Monino!
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12091.html

12. To Russia, with Awe: Moscow, 2011, Part 2: The Central Museum
of the Armed Forces
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12016.html

11. To Russia, with Awe: Moscow, 2011, Part 1: The Overall Trip
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic11717.html

10. The City of Lakes: Mother's Heart, Heart of the Motherland
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic11556.html

9. Mostly Indoors, in Indore:
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic11533.html

8. Inter-metro Shuttling on AI: DEL-BOM on AI810, BOM-DEL on AI888
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic11449.html

7. On the cusp: DEL-BOM on IC863, BOM-DEL on AI660
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic11160.html

6. DEL-BOM on IT308, BOM-DEL on IC166
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic10986.html

5. DEL-MAA on IC439, MAA-DEL on IC802
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic10809.html

4. DEL-PNQ on IC849, PNQ-DEL on IC850
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic10510.html

3. DEL-MAA on IC429 (A321), MAA-DEL on IC7602 (CRJ7)
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic10401.html

2. DEL-NAG-NDC, NDC-BOM-DEL on G8
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic10169.html

1. IGI T3, AI 314 DEL-HKG and AI 311 HKG-DEL
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic10018.html
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ameya
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smile

Another fantastic, foody TR

Waiting for many more ... Smile (We know you have some pending reports )
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ameya wrote:
Waiting for many more ... Smile (We know you have some pending reports )

Oh thanks a lot, Ameya! We also know that you have a keen observation, and a fantastic memory Smile Yes, the next one will be a two-part family trip to Hampi, circa Dec 2011.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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jbalonso777
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic TR sir! Its not see a few diversions from this forum, but very well in limits with aviation Smile

-Double decks: I remember seeing a few pictures on IRFCA.org. But the only 'real life' double decker I have seen are the Mumbai-Surat Flying Rani 2S coaches. It was only last year, when I used to see the rakes on the Mumbai Central Siding. Everday, A Duronto, Ahmedabad Shatabdi, the two Rajdhani's, etc. But once in a while, The Flying Rani as well.

-I agree with you about roads. I am not such a road traveler to be honest. Worst part, SL has spoilt me with less amounts of traffic anywhere. This will be hard to overcome.

-Power ports. I have seen these on a few 3A coaches on the HWH-CSTM Mail (via NAG). But when I traveled on Duronto (LHB), summer 2010, I used it to great extent because the laptop wouldn't work without electricity!

-To be honest, I don't like train travel all that much. I don't get to sleep with all that shaking, the food usually took control over my stomach, toilets are okay and the trains don't go to absolute high speeds (I was under the illusion Duronto did 200+, silly me!).

-Not too many Rajdhani's and Shatabdi's I have traveled on (obviously, I have lived only for 15 years!). HWH-Ranchi, BLR-Mysore Shatabdi and August Kranti, SDAH and HWH Shatabdi's are all I can remember. But the BLR Mysore was on EC!

-Humiliating: Being an Indian, parents stayed in North India for a long time, but STILL I haven't done the Golden Triangle Route yet! Foreign friends of mine here simply cannot believe it! I need to wait. One fine day, it will happen.

-Can you remember the registration of the aircraft? It could be the same ATR aircraft I pictured in my TR!

-I need to visit those places for sure! Sounds very, very interesting indeed!

-Well, SriLankan A330's and A340's are filled with labour class PAX, no matter where they fly (other than Europe, of course). But I have heard many of friends and a few teachers say how they lost their belongings on those flights. Thank God EK is there to save us!

-Delhi fog, yes. One of my friends 'On Time is a wonderful thing' flight was delayed for more than 6 hours. But, being 'India's coolest airline', they let every one of the pax see the cockpit, take pictures, pose etc! Ugh! Evil or Very Mad

-This year, I had a genuine chance to go to Delhi on the Rajdhani Express from Kolkata, for the Indian GP (oops, did I just let go of another upcoming TR preview? DAMN! Razz ) But anyways, I really want to go Delhi in the near future!

-Descriptions of the coach, fantastic as usual! Sounds (and looks) very neat, sleek and modern!

-I remember going by bus on the WE Highway, looking down runway 9, seeing all the possible plane tails. It was only AI and IT I used to see, because Terminal 1A was right there. But the highlight was looking at an EVA Air MD-11F taxiing out of the runway! Yes, Winter 2007.

-BoB in Indian Railways? I thought they gave full meals, even though we had to pay? Burgers, I'm surprised! I thought IR was always the ones who keep feeding their passengers!

-COLD! Its always chilled when I travel on trains! Another reason why I never get to sleep on trains!

-HAHAHAHA those 'sudden' moments just pop up, don't they?! I also love the cookies (shrewsbury?) they make, specially in Pune!

-Once again, I'm surprised to see BoB on Indian Railways! But a pretty okay selection, although as you mentioned, they may get over fairly quickly.

-You always reach a different dimension of thought when you sleep. Same happened to me, as I mentioned in my TR! It just feels funny when you realise!

-Weather I've heard changes fairly quickly in Jaipur, yes? Although, I'm sure it won't be as drastic as CPT like I saw!

-That's a BIG surprise! IR trains reaching before time! Earliest I've reached at a destination was 3 minutes late!

-Wow! Another fantastic food description! The 2 Eclairs is always standard in snacks! But the 2 more meals after that, fantastic as compared to the BoB on the Double Deck! But Continental menu still exists!

-Are you sure, sir? I remember seeing the Ac Chair Car coach in the SDAH Rajdhani a few years back, before getting on to the WAP5. Not sure about today, but even I was surprised to see the AC Chair Car on that long distance train.

-You reminded me of that Mercedes advertisement, where a man, ever since childhood, still doesn't know the taste of ice cream!

-Fantastic descriptions once again, also the childhood memories!

-Another great insight about the food all throughout follows, gives us all a lot to go through for sure!

-Well, cost cutting everywhere! They won't replace the coaches so soon, and also the food! Its all going to take a long time!

-HAHAAH! Funny way to end the fly away trip! Food really disappointed you for sure, didn't it?

Nice TR, thanks a lot for sharing! Very unique, as compared to the usual airline TR's we give! Looking for more, for sure!

Regards
Jishnu
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shivendrashukla
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Sumantra,
Excellent TR as usual, but no pics of Food? Now now, that is not good ;P.

Cheers
Shivendra
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jishnu, thanks a lot for the very detailed comments!

jbalonso777 wrote:

-Double decks: I remember seeing a few pictures on IRFCA.org. But the only 'real life' double decker I have seen are the Mumbai-Surat Flying Rani 2S coaches.

I too was pleasantly surprised to the the Flying Ranee (yes, that is what they call it!) 2S coaches. So much so that I simply hopped on, luggage and all, almost as the train was leaving for the siding, when a railway attendant shouted at me, ``kAy zAlA? tu kuTe zAyelA? siding-lA zANAlI gAdI-madhye Ahe tU...'' (What is the matter? Where are you headed? You are on a train headed to the siding)

jbalonso777 wrote:

-To be honest, I don't like train travel all that much. I don't get to sleep with all that shaking, the food usually took control over my stomach, toilets are okay and the trains don't go to absolute high speeds (I was under the illusion Duronto did 200+, silly me!).

Er...I do not mind the shaking too much, actually, but this is a personal preference, since I have loved train travel all through. My 6 years as a Mumbaikar saw me use the local trains also extensively. I simply loved the sights, sounds and smells (the brake oil Wink ) High speeds: hmm...you must try out the 150kmph section on the Bhopal Shatabdi between Gwalior and New Delhi.

jbalonso777 wrote:

-But the BLR Mysore was on EC!

This is perhaps the most pedestrian of all the Shatabdi routes. Hardly any food, and a slow train. I travelled on it last year in December - a trip report will cover this section, too.

jbalonso777 wrote:

-Humiliating: Being an Indian, parents stayed in North India for a long time, but STILL I haven't done the Golden Triangle Route yet! Foreign friends of mine here simply cannot believe it! I need to wait. One fine day, it will happen.

Jisnhu, I am in the same boat as you! I have done Agra and Jaipur only recently, since my first out-of-station trip (at 3 months of age) to Jaipur doesn't really count. And I have been a Delhi'ite, for the most part of it!

jbalonso777 wrote:

-Can you remember the registration of the aircraft? It could be the same ATR aircraft I pictured in my TR!

Jisnhu, I debuted with the trip reports late in 2010. Such fine things in life did not interest me that much, in Jan 2010 Sad

jbalonso777 wrote:

-Delhi fog, yes. One of my friends 'On Time is a wonderful thing' flight was delayed for more than 6 hours. But, being 'India's coolest airline', they let every one of the pax see the cockpit, take pictures, pose etc! Ugh! Evil or Very Mad

Hey - a cockpit visit? I would even forego free food offered on 6E if I was in that situation!

jbalonso777 wrote:

-This year, I had a genuine chance to go to Delhi on the Rajdhani Express from Kolkata, for the Indian GP (oops, did I just let go of another upcoming TR preview? DAMN! Razz )

Slu...urp. We would love to read about this...please post a trip report, quickly!

jbalonso777 wrote:

But the highlight was looking at an EVA Air MD-11F taxiing out of the runway! Yes, Winter 2007.

What a coincidence - I clicked the beautiful Eva Air MD-11F on a 2007 trip, BOM-FRA-ORD on AI 127! It was 16 Jun, though.

jbalonso777 wrote:

-That's a BIG surprise! IR trains reaching before time! Earliest I've reached at a destination was 3 minutes late!

Jishnu, many a time, I will have to give it to the Indian Railways. Pittance-paid employees, working across a wide range of climatic conditions, antiquated systems, long distance across different terrains - still manage to bring the train in, well on time, many a time.

jbalonso777 wrote:

-Fantastic descriptions once again, also the childhood memories!

Kiddie memories stay Smile

Thanks, once again! -Sumantra.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

shivendrashukla wrote:
Excellent TR as usual, but no pics of Food? Now now, that is not good ;P.

Thanks for the kind words, Shivendra...but yes, no food pictures even on a train trip - you can well imagine how disappointed I was with the food Sad
Cheers, Sumantra.
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Spiderguy252
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brilliant, that double decker train. Smile
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Nimish
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lovely report - thanks for posting! I'm (personally) open to any kind of trip report posted on this forum - could even be a road trip or a train trip or a cruise. However will ask the other members and mods to comment here if they are not OK with non-aviation trip reports coming in this forum.

Back to the report, I think this double decker train will be a hit - double capacity with the same rake size. I wonder though, if the bottom level will be unpopular given you're below the platform level on most stations? I thought I heard somewhere that BLR-MAA was a target for this type of rake, any idea when?
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spiderguy252 wrote:
Brilliant, that double decker train. Smile

Thanks, Varun!
Cheers,
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nimish wrote:
Lovely report - thanks for posting! I'm (personally) open to any kind of trip report posted on this forum - could even be a road trip or a train trip or a cruise. However will ask the other members and mods to comment here if they are not OK with non-aviation trip reports coming in this forum.

Thanks a lot for the kind words, Nimish! I have added enough aviation-related material in this report, just in case...hence I covered a 2010 Jan trip to the same place, with descriptions, if not images. I did not debut with report-writing, then.

Nimish wrote:
Back to the report, I think this double decker train will be a hit - double capacity with the same rake size. I wonder though, if the bottom level will be unpopular given you're below the platform level on most stations? I thought I heard somewhere that BLR-MAA was a target for this type of rake, any idea when?

Very valid point, Nimish - The Wife's first remark on entering the train was exactly the same. The lower level is almost at the platform, and may be somewhat unnerving for some passengers. Such a rake could do well on most Shatabdi routes, but...the catering should be better, in my humble opinion, at least! Food running out is not something at least I(!) look forward to, even if it is BoB. The Ajmer Shatabdi was disappointing as far as food goes Sad
Cheers, Sumantra.
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