It was my journey on Rajdhani Express. Though the train / route has been around for several years, I always wen on the old faithful AP express, whenever I went to New Delhi.
Actually it my friend who suggested it. She thought instead of traveling by the boring AP Express, why not take the grand Rajdhani. The added attraction was the food on the train. 2nd AC ticket cost about Rs.100 more than economy airfare,that time. We felt it was a alright as we wanted to EXPERIENCE this particular train journey!
And how our hopes and expectations came crashing down (!!!!); we came to know only 24 hrs. later!!! It is a lesson learnt and will be implemented every time in the future.
I appreciate all things clean and beautiful. At 6.30 in the morning, Secunderabad Railway Station is clean and sparkling. I have seen a few railway stations in this country. Secunderabad station is still in the top 3.
Rajdhani which is always on time, came half hour late to the platform. Never mind that, we were in a jubilant mood and got inside and settled down for luxurious journey. For once I didn't have to cook several meals / pack snacks for a train journey! What a treat!
You can imagine, if we were in the station by 6.30 am, we must have left the house at 6 am; must have been ready by 5.30 am; must have got up by 4.30 am latest, if we didn't want to miss the train?
Yes, I got up around 4 am. and was at the station and waited a half hour extra. You know what I am driving at? No? Hunger!!!
No coffee or tea until breakfast time which was 1 hour later. Ok, we told ourselves, we will wait and not start eating our dry snacks and spoil our appetite for the delicious morning meal!
Finally it arrives at 9.30 am. And all the food items were packed in aluminum foil separately. Gave2 slices of toast. Can you believe it? The quantities were so less, it was enough for a child!
The mid morning drink was a packaged Nimbooz masala soda. Come on, Indian railways can do better than that ....
There was no sense of cleanliness or hygiene. Didn't expect the cartons of food to be kept on the floor of the passage. The lunch started off with Soup with a couple of bread sticks and a pack of butter. Lunch and dinner were identical. In fact veg and non-veg meals were identical except chicken in the place of kofta in the same gravy. Everything tasteless, lacking in imagination or care, meager quantities!
Coming to the journey itself, the rest of the occupants in our compartment were a small family of husband and wife and two young kids. The elder one was a girl of 6, who was very quiet and well behaved. the younger one was a boy of about 3 years. He was hyper, whiny and crying all the time. Nothing would pleas him for more than 2 min. The mother was fed up doing nothing, and father had to bear the brunt of her complaining and criticism. They didnot know I understood their language, or they would not have been so vocal about their displeasure with each other; or, may not! Couples!!!!
A ray of hope for the railways is always some of their staff, who tirelessly serve the most difficult passengers too with a smile. We were lucky to have the privilege of meeting one such wonderful person.
The toilets were same as on any other train. Only difference here is the two Indian WCs on one side of the bogey! The faucets in one toilet was at the back of the wc. How anyone can reach and use it is anybody's guess. Is it so difficult to get the basics right, I sometimes wonder!
The last straw was the destination station, ie. Nizamuddin railway station, jam packed, filthy, over crowded, hot .......
All in all, it was not such an enjoyable journey, with sub standard food and service, and the ticket fare being so expensive. My first and last journey in this train.
But you can make up your mind.