Monday, December 15, 2008

Traveling by Indian Railways

After almost a decade, I made reservations for traveling by Indian Railways and the experience has been as easy as booking an air ticket on Southwest Airlines.

When I was in school, and the designated ticket-booker at home, one had to leave home early enough (and 30 days in advance) to reach the booking counter in Madras Central at 7 AM when the counter opened, , fill the form with the passenger names, ages and desired berth (UB/LB) and then watch the ticketing agent enter in all the details with a single finger. This would be followed by a confirmation of ticket availability, or  a discussion on whether RAC 26 had a chance of getting confirmed, give exact change or go back with exact change to pick up the tickets.

Cleartrip has removed much of the excitement (and pain) of getting the cardboard tickets (before computer-printed tickets were available) - now it's enter the orign and destination, the date and class, pay and print. 

We've planned a completely train-centric holiday this year-end with travel from Bangalore to Chennai to Shoranur and Trivandrum. It would be good not to spend 90 minutes to reach the airport, go through security, bad airplane food, cramped middle-row seats and waiting for luggage.  

Watch this space !