Sleeper train from Kolkata to Goa

#1 Aug 13th, 2007, 22:09
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  • Sarah Harrington is offline
#1
Hi, my husband and I want to travel from Kolkata to Goa by sleeper train in February 2007. I know tht the Amaravathi Express train no 2847 runs this route directly four times a week, is this the best route to follow and if so does anyone have any direct experience of the trip? I have been told that the trip takes about 23 hours and that it tends to run very late? Also can anyone suggest an alternative train route between the two that might be preferable.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Sarah
Last edited by machadinha; Aug 14th, 2007 at 06:32.. Reason: fixed title
#2 Aug 13th, 2007, 22:47
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#2
As this is the only direct train from Kolkata to Goa, it is by far the best option (although I think the journey time is more like 38 hours than 23!). Last time I travelled the route you still had to change in Vijayawada but it was already the best route. True the train may often be late, but this goes for any long distance service that crosses many major junctions with long single track sections.

If you want a quicker service you'll have to fly...
#3 Aug 13th, 2007, 22:47
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#3
It takes 35 hours and is the only train i could find,how the curry in Cheltenham ?

Tony
#4 Aug 14th, 2007, 20:38
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Hello Sarah and welcome to indiamike.com

More details would be nice, why Goa? if it's only to sit on a great beach, it's not the train journey that will disappoint you.

There are beaches much closer to Calcutta, also a flight to Bangkok, then a 3 hour bus to Hua Hin will get you better beaches than Goa.

(A flight to Bangkok, then another to Phuket or Krabi will get you only hours away from Ko Phi Phi, a truly picture postcard beach)

There isn't a faster train option from Calcutta to Goa, The train you mention doesn't have a history of running late, it's a new route, the train was only extended to Calcutta a few months ago, but I still wouldn't be surprised if it reached Goa a couple of hours late.

I'll try to explain what you can expect, I've researched the route, and I've travelled on a very similarly timed train (Delhi-Guwahati on the Bramaputra Mail), so I hope the following helps.

You should use 3-tier air con (or 2-tier) for such a long journey, there will likely be more families in 3-tier, and in my opinion, the children can really add to overall experience of the train journey, I never tire of observing the differences between English kids and Indian kids.

First, you need to think of the journey as a destination in itself, you'll see some amazing views, have some wonderful experiences and meet some amazing people, it won't be perfect, but overall it should be a good experience.

23:30, the train departs from Howrah station, you should be excited or at the very least looking forward to the journey, if not, fly to Mumbai then take a train to Goa.

You'll witness all the madness on Howrah station and you'll wonder how everyone on the platform will fit into your carriage, but you'll soon find out they're mostly family members saying goodbye to their loved ones, Inside the carriage you'll say a polite "hello" to a few passengers and then wait for the carriage attendant to 'make-up' your sleeping berth, you'll be wondering why this wasn't done before the train pulled in, it will be well past midnight by the time you get to sleep.

06:05-06:15-BHUBANESWAR (439KMS)
06:40-06:50-KHURDA ROAD (458)

One of the above stations should be good for getting a chai from the platform.

The carriage should now be waking up, other passengers will be taking their turn going to the bathroom and sink at both ends of the carriage, it will seem busy for a while.

Both these stations are only an hour away from Puri & Konark.

07:15-08:20, the train will pass close to Chilika Lake (Asia's largest saltwater lake), I've heard parts of this stretch can be very scenic, you should be having some great conversations with others in the carriage by now.

In this time, the carriage attendant will collect all the sheets and pillows and put the sleeping berths into the daytime position. (seats)

08:50-BRAHMAPUR (605)

Brahmapur is only 30 minutes from Gopalpur-on-Sea, said to be a nice place with a great beach.

30 minutes after Brahmapur you'll cross from Orissa to Andhra Pradesh.

By now, you should be eating food from your Tiffin.

http://www.indiamike.com/india/india...ourney-t41278/

12:00-12:10-VIZIANAGRAM JN -(821)

Another chance to grab a chai from the platform, and maybe some snacks.

13:27-13:29-DUVVADA (899)

This is as close as you'll get to Vishakhapatnam, this is one of the only trains that doesn't call at Vishakhapatnam.

By now you'll have realised how wonderful India looks from an open carriage door, you can spend hours just standing/sitting watching the world go by from one of those doorways.

By now, you'll be wishing you had saved up some loose change, it's amazing how quick you run out of it.

15:45-15:47-RAJAMUNDRY (1083)

After leaving Rajahmundry station you will cross the Godavari River on the 2nd longest rail bridge in India, you should try to imagine what this river looks like in full flow, it travels most of the way across India, but in the monsoon it often floods and brings death and destruction.

The area all around Rajahmundry sounds absolutely fascinating, further up the river there are massive gorges, the river is very deep in these areas, downstream the river separates into 2 main parts (with many other streams), near Narsapur a 'backwater cruise' started last year, wonderful houseboats similar to those in Kerala take (2-4) people on a 6, 12 or 23 hour cruise, the prices are ridiculously cheap and the scenery is said to be wonderful, there are also some great beaches nearby.

Bhadrachalam to Rajahmundry by River Steamer



18:45-18:55-VIJAYAWADA (1232)

Time for more chai and snacks.

The journey will be starting to get to you a little by now, but good conversation and good books, mixed with an occasional walk through the train and a sit down by the open carriage door will help time go by.

19:40-20:00-GUNTUR (1264)

Time to get out of the train and stretch your legs, 20 minutes is a lot of time, take advantage.

After leaving Guntur station, the carriage attendant will start to make up the sleeping berths.

By now, you'll be wishing you could have a shower, you'll sleep well tonight, a pity really, the area you travel through is said to be one of the most scenic in India, but you'll be passing through in the dark.

02:30-02:45-DRONACHELLAM (1597)
04:05-04:10-GUNTAKAL (1666)

If you're awake when you call at any of the above stations, you should be able to get a chai (and you'll want one), if you do, buy the carriage attendant a chai as well.

A few carriages are added to the train at Dronachellam, these carriages have travelled from Hyderabad.

Guntakal is a very busy junction.

06:28-06:30-HOSPET (1781)

You should be awake by now, and chances are that you'll feel like shit, and the long journey will really start to get to you now, especially if the train is running late, however, all is not bad.

There should be some foreign (or Indian) tourists joining the train at Hospet, it is the closest station to Hampi, you may also be able to get a morning paper and/or magazines on Hospet station.

Hampi: Everything you want to know.

09:20-09:30-HUBLI (1925)

More Chai and snacks.

11:08-LONDA (2015)

From Londa the journey is said to be wonderful, through the western Ghats and down to the palm trees of Goa.

11:40-11:50-CASTLE ROCK (2040)

This is now the really scenic section, soon you'll pass right in front of Dudhsagar Waterfalls.

Dudh Sagar Water Falls

13:43-MADGAON (2127)

Time to get off the train and work out how the hell you'll get to your hotel, you'll be glad to get off though.

Advice on 37 hour train ride

Still fancy the journey?
.
SOS: Missing Person...

Please look at this thread, even if you are not in India.: Have you seen Jonathan Spollen?

He could be anywhere now: You might have met him, be able to help, or give information.
#5 Aug 14th, 2007, 20:44
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#5
Nice Steven.....I seem to have completed the journey
#6 Aug 14th, 2007, 21:42
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#6
Thank you all much for your replies! The answer to Steven Ber's question "why Goa" is that I have rented a house in Anjuna for the season for the last 5 years! We have made a lot of Indian friends there and use it as a base for other travel in India. (By the way Steven thank you for your amazingly helpful reply!)

I did in fact use this train service to visit Hampi in February this year and it was fine going from Goa to Hospet as the train originates in Goa, but coming back it was over 5 hours late arriving from Calcutta and then we lost another 4 hours in delays waiting in sidings for passing trains, particularly over the Western Ghats!! Actually doubled the journey time!

Do you know how easy it is to "break the journey" or it is true that you have to reconfirm your tickets with the relevant Station Master and this can take hours! I understand that it is possible to break you journey twice if the distance travelled is over 1000 km?
Regards
Sarah
#7 Aug 14th, 2007, 21:57
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  • steven_ber is offline
#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarah Harrington View Post
Do you know how easy it is to "break the journey" or it is true that you have to reconfirm your tickets with the relevant Station Master and this can take hours! I understand that it is possible to break you journey twice if the distance travelled is over 1000 km?
Regards
Sarah
Very easy if you're in India. (as the break journey tickets cant be booked over the net).

You'll find full details in the 'Train Fares' thread, first go to the 'Train Info' thread (link in my last post) and you'll find a link.

The first break of journey must be after 500kms, and as you say, you're allowed 2 breaks if traveling over 1000kms.

You book the whole ticket at the same time, and all reservations at the same time, there is no need to re-confirm.
#8 Aug 14th, 2007, 23:29
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#8
Dear Steven,

I am thinking about travelling from Ledo to Jammu Tawi via Kanniyakumari, I wondered if you'd like to describe the entire journey to me....

Seriously though that was a great read, and yes the stretch along Chilika Lake is beautiful.

By the way I bet I wasn't the only one watching Sanjeev Bhaskar's India programme last night who, when he was complaining about the ceiling fan on the train, was shouting at the telly "Turn the thing off then, there's a switch above the window!"
#9 Aug 15th, 2007, 00:35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbird View Post Dear Steven,

I am thinking about travelling from Ledo to Jammu Tawi via Kanniyakumari, I wondered if you'd like to describe the entire journey to me....
If I was one of those people who wanted to touch all corners.....

I got to Trivandrum, but not Kanniyakumari, but even worse, I got to Margherita (2 stops from Ledo), but not to Ledo.

(I would like to have stayed on the train till Ledo, but was told I had to get a bus from Margherita, I felt a little dissapointed when the bus then called at Ledo. )

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbird View Post By the way I bet I wasn't the only one watching Sanjeev Bhaskar's India programme last night who, when he was complaining about the ceiling fan on the train, was shouting at the telly "Turn the thing off then, there's a switch above the window!"
I've recorded it, but still not watched it.
#10 Aug 15th, 2007, 00:48
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#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by steven_ber View Post If I was one of those people who wanted to touch all corners.....

I got to Trivandrum, but not Kanniyakumari, but even worse, I got to Margherita (2 stops from Ledo), but not to Ledo.

(I would like to have stayed on the train till Ledo, but was told I had to get a bus from Margherita, I felt a little dissapointed when the bus then called at Ledo. )
If I'd made it to India when I was a lot younger I would definitely have wanted to visit all the furthest points of the network, but I'm not bothered about such things any more... the journeys are quite long enough already.... Having said that I would have been as frustrated as you were to be so close to the end of the line but not quite get there.
#11 Aug 15th, 2007, 04:54
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  • machadinha is offline
#11
Steve... hats off to another amazing write-up. Next best thing to being there!

That Jammu-Kanyakumari stretch I wouldn't mind doing some day. Not even that long, compared to some more complicated routes, I think.

--> Ahem, 71 hrs. direct, according to http://www.indiagroove.com/. Well, compared to a bad connection I once had from Chennai-Varanasi that took around 60 I think if it wasn't 84 (should only be 40 direct), that's still fast. (Looking up Ledo only now. Er, interesting route yes )

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