New double-decker train, Travel to a beautiful scenic place

_DOUBLE_1_1891890g -DOUBLE-D_1891902f DOUBLE-DECKE_1891888gTo travel from Hyderabad, India to Tirupati (a very beautiful, hilly scenic place) by road would take you around 9 hours (355 miles). Now if you want to drive along with horrendous traffic, and with all the fuel subsidies. It would cost you around 33 USD (one way) for gas(petrol) if you have your own vehicle.

Now, if you want to relax, and take it easy and sit in the comfort of an air-conditioned car and arrive safely at Tirupati in about 6 hours. It will cost you 7 USD one way!

As South Central Railway’s first air-conditioned, chair-car, double-Decker super-fast express.

It was driven by loco pilot Karimullah, who has 18 years of experience behind the locomotive wheel and assistant loco pilot Ramakrishna (three years). On its inaugural run, it was flagged off not by a ‘neta’ or a senior official, but by Abdul Rehman, a train lighting helper, as he would retire from service this month-end.

The Kacheguda-Guntur train no. 22118 will leave on Tuesdays and Fridays at 5.30 a.m. and reach at 10.40 a.m. with halts at Malkajgiri, Nalgonda, Miryalaguda and Piduguralla. On the return, no. 22117 will leave Guntur at 12.45 p.m. and reach Kacheguda at 5.55 p.m. The 10-rake train can carry 120 passengers in each, totalling to a whopping 1,200 passengers, the equivalent of 55 to 60 trains.

Starting from Wednesday, the same rake will leave for Tirupati at 6.45 a.m. and return by Thursday night, in time for its run to Guntur on Friday.

The unique selling proposition of the rake is that for the first time in Indian Railways, it comes with VESDA (Very Early Smoke/Fire Detection with Alarm System). There are 17 sensors at different points in each coach for the purpose. Each chair-car coach can seat 120 persons.

The fare to Guntur is Rs. 415 (around 7 USD, including taxes) and Rs. 720 (around 7 USD, including taxes) for Tirupati.


IndRail pass: Train rides in India

Indian Railways is a massive public enterprise. There is a separate budget every year for railways alone. It crisscrosses the entire country with more than 70,000 miles of tracks and thousands of stations.

If you would like to hop in and out to see the villages and towns and country side, then the best way is through Indian Railways pass available only for foreign tourists. An IndRail pass gives unlimited travel across the whole Indian Railways network in your chosen class for a time period which you choose.

For around 600 dollars one can travel in AC2 class with sleepers or any other class of trains below the AC class for 90 days. If you prefer a shorter durations A 7-day AC2 pass costs $135 , a 15-day pass $185 , a 21 day pass $198.

Now if you prefer not buying a pass and travel – you can get tickets on sleeper class AC1 (the top of the line) and travel for around 1000 miles (say Hyderabad in south India to New Delhi the capital) for around $65-70. But beware, that seats are booked well in advance – so you have to book sometimes months in advance and reserve your spot. A major advantage of the pass is that if you fall ill for a day or two and have to change your plans, or simply change your mind about when and where you want to go, you can do this with a pass but may have to forfeit regular tickets.  Unfortunately the closest authorized deal  SD Enterprises. Another key advantage is that an entire 2 or 3 week itinerary can be painlessly pre-booked from outside India, avoiding the frustration of finding trains fully-booked if you waited to buy tickets when you got there.

Of the luxury (and quite expensive), then there is palace on wheels, the most well known. The train has a 7 nights & days itinerary departs from New Delhi and during its eight day journey, travels around Rajasthan with stops in Delhi, Jaipur, Ranthambore tiger reserve & chittaurgarh, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Agra, and back to Delhi.

palace_mapDon’t forget to travel to Kerala. Kerala has a beauty of its own. 550km along India’s southwest coast, divided between the densely forested mountains of the Western Ghats inland and a lush, humid coastal plain of rice paddy, lagoons, rivers and canals. Its intensely tropical landscape, fed by the highest rainfall in peninsular India.  You can do jungle camping or other wise. Kerala Forest Dev Corporation (Govt run agency).


Happy Journeying