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 !


boon2 said...

but are the ticket prices comparable to Deccan airlines? Make it 16years since i travelled by train in India but reservation experience feels so familiar though i use todo in Bangalore.


Shankar said...

Train food should be equally bad. And toilets too. Probably Satapdi Express is better maintained. Enjoy the holidays.

Girish said...

Back after multiple train journeys - train food is not too bad, bathrooms are patchy - some are well cleaned and sanitized - others smell from 30 feet away and fares are much cheaper than driving or flying