booking trains while in india

#16 Feb 21st, 2008, 20:07
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#16
A series of very impressive posts, kudos to all!!
#17 Feb 21st, 2008, 20:29
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#17
Both my girlfriend and I always booked train tickets on the fly on different treks through India and it worked like a charm. Granted for me itís been three years now since my last visit; maybe times have changed since then. You do though need to plan a few days in Ė donít expect to get a ticket on the first day unless your lucky. Try and plan your itinerary ahead which will help you book tickets for future segments of your trip without having to worry if you can get a ticket or not when the time comes. You can always, as far as I remember, return the ticket for a minimal fee if you canít or donít want to use the ticket already purchased.
#18 Feb 22nd, 2008, 13:25
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#18
It's my understanding that the internet has completely changed the playing field in terms of train bookings. Everyone I talked to who'd backpacked around India 3-5 years ago was all "Oh, just book them as you go along, it's way easy!" Now that anyone can book online up to 2 months in advance, from anywhere in the world, tickets go FAST.
#19 Feb 23rd, 2008, 05:37
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#19

thanks for the advice

thanks for all the advice. yes ive never been to india before so stumbling across this website has been invaluable, in terms of the nitty gritty stuff. i have read the lonely planet guide book from top to bottom, and i have been researching the place for some time so im not going in completely blind. the train reservation system has been something new though and thanks to all of your advice, which scared me into action, i have now booked my first few train rides and am the proud owner of e-tickets to take with me. woo-hoo.i have booked tickets on the kanchankanya express from sealdah to new jalpaiguri, new jalpaiguri to darjeeling-toy train,and new jalpaiguri to mughal sarai to get to varanasi. this had to be the mahananda exp. for this leg. im pretty happy so far ive got the seats, times and dates that i was after. i know there has been alot said about taking the toy train but hay its a once in a lifetime experience. sorry for repeating my questions and sounding incredably nieve about train travel but everybody has to start somewhere, im sure you all did!
#20 Feb 25th, 2008, 17:47
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#20

Lightbulb Ensure that you are on the right train always

Dear Starr,
Do try the Poorvotar Sampark Kranti-Budelkhand or Guwahati Okha as Mahananda is a slow and may get crowded if possible? The trick is know what trains to avoid like plague and what trains to go after and being stubborn about them! It is better to have a quieter train rather and arrive an hour later than being weary and sick even before the adventure began. It is like in the UK to know what in advance when orange shirts meaning network rail and the ubiquious engineering works will be more numerous on the track and perceive that so as to avoid it.

Make sure you are taking the train to NJP via Alipurduar road not New Alipurduar as the scenery is breathtakingly pretty as it goes via the wooded forests Doars and tea plantations. go to the website www.irfca.org it is an encylopedia on IR and turn to BBC4 and Sir Mark Tully's journey in one of the world's oldest trains I think, the Mail. There is a website in the UK called the Darjeeling Himalyan Railway preservation society who have been at the forefront of saving the little railway. If you love trains then there is Royston Ellis's new book in Amazon and Lines of the Nation by Laura Bear who teaches at the LSE.
Cheers
York_Katni
#21 Feb 25th, 2008, 17:52
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#21
Quote:
Originally Posted by York_Katni View Post Dear Starr,
Do try the Poorvotar Sampark Kranti-Budelkhand or Guwahati Okha
Very useful info York_Katni, the only problem is that tourists wouldn't have a clue how to find those trains, the train name is very often limited on the Indian Railway website.

Have you any tips about things to look for when searching for the best or worst trains between two places?
#22 Feb 25th, 2008, 18:04
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#22
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Originally Posted by York_Katni View Post Royston Ellis's new book
I have the 3rd edition of India By Train by Royston Ellis, this was printed in 1997, is there a newer book?
#23 Feb 25th, 2008, 18:33
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#23

Lightbulb Trains to avoid and trains to travel

I am indeed referring to the 1997 edition of Royston Ellis and the book is still a good read and informative. The idea Steven is to make people find out what suits them best by looking themselves. I am sure you will agree that Mahananda and the BP Mail can be avoided by a first time traveller as not all people can be Lawrence of Arabia played brilliantly by Peter o Toole. It is difficult for many to have the knowledge you have about IR[ On another note as regards to the budget Lets see what populism is in store may there be a thousand trains to Patna!] nor it is easy to keep pace with a train enthusiast who sees no difference between the WDPs or here the GE class EWS powers of Crewe and Tughlakabad marshelling yard and katni junction, Crewe and Thruso junctions are no different but no less special to Itarsi or Jhansi! I agree I tend to assume many variables and must be careful next time.

Logic dictates that with some preliminary knowledge the journey can be made much more comfortable if one avoids obvious trains which over a period of time has a bad name for punctuality like the notorious Amarnath Express often late by 12 hours at least compared to the Dibrugrarh Amritsar Express which in spite of the long distance manages to keep time or for the crowds such as the BP Mail or for the dirty conditions in the NFR stabled rakes of GHY-MS express whose tales are all too well known to travellers. It is better to stretch one's leg at a station and change trains by taking the Guwahati Puri and then an onward connection to the south rather than enduring the ordeal of a dirty and horribly late running train! I hope you can follow what I am trying to say. All it needs is research most of which can be done from a computer.
#24 Feb 25th, 2008, 19:05
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#24
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Originally Posted by York_Katni View Post All it needs is research most of which can be done from a computer.
I guess google searches on the train name can be useful.

I'd love a stats book including average occupancy levels for each class in each train, and the punctuality of each train on a weekly, monthly and annual basis.

I bought the 'Annual Statistical Statements' publication on my last visit, but this doesn't inlude any of the above info.

The booking clerk's manual would also be useful.
#25 Feb 25th, 2008, 20:43
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#25

Talking to add to your points

Following www.trainenquiry.com even if it may not be an epitome of reliablilty [the hopelessness of the Amarnath is deduced with cartisian clarity!

Following availability statistics to get a rough sample of the clientelle of each train [ each train tends to be patronized by different groups for example the Godavari from Hyderabad to Vizag is the bureaucrat's train and it comparison a low profile train such as the VSKP-Nizamabad may be less busier,or in the UK the 7.20 AM from Leeds to London is for the FT crowd ,by twiddling aroud with from and to stations to understand the logic of the quota structure may give a tentative idea like squeezing the best fare out of the nationalrail website. Following IRFCA is also not a bad idea and talking to veteran train travllers who have "done" sections and also getting to know trains as entities with a history and personality of their own also may help partially.
#26 Feb 27th, 2008, 14:33
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#26
hey york, thanks for the tips, unfortunately i had to book the mahananda train as it was the only one left not booked out and i have looked up the stations that the toy train will be going through and their is no mention of alipurduar road or new alipurduar anywhere..not sure what you are talking about??
#27 Feb 28th, 2008, 02:13
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#27

Alipurduar

Hello Starr,
Alipurduar [APDJ] comes in the scenic branch line from New Jalpiguri[NJP] to Guwahati [GHY]joining the main line again after Alipurduar junction[ there are two Alipurduars like Bicester North and Bicester town or the 2 Pontefract stations in the Sheffield -York section and should be a short ride away by taxi or bus or rickshaw]. It is a short ride from NJP and considering that you are taking the trouble to do the great DHR railway in its entirity[are you a railway enthusiast by any chance?], you may well consider finishing this section[NJP-APDJ] also,it is spectacurlarly scenic. You can find more information about the Doars Area in Google [with the Manas tiger reserve home to some of the rarest species of wildlife nearby and the area being the source of many morning teas the world over(Unilever the British MNC is said to have a huge setup here) and the teesta river rushing by, plausibly the opportunity fresh water fishing; for more over to short story writers of Ruskin Bond's illk]. It is a vestige of the Raj and Brit Burra Sahibs fleeing the summer heat had to find cooler pastures! New Alipurduar[NOQ an odd station code] comes on the main route from Calcutta to Guwahati.


Just as tourists "do" the DHR railway connisours, also consider it as an omission if the doars are not covered. Obvioulsy it is not worth the trouble coming back for the 4 hour ride which is known for its scenery and is one of the pretty railway routes[the other being the section from Dimapur to lower Halflong and the route via the Central Provinces[ alluding to Kipling] Calcutta- McCluskiegunj[an Isreal that was never realized] -Singraulli- Katni-Jubbulpore are equally breathtaking and pass through dense jungle[ one must be well equiped with food whe travelling in the 1448 shaktipunj express and crowds can be avoided for miles] with forests never seeming to end] in India like the Settle-Carlilse railway or the blue moutain railway in Australia! The weekly thrice [not sure of its frequency] Teesta Trosa from Calcutta should go to Alipurduar.


The trains to GHY taking the main line that is via NJP-New Alipurduar[NOQ] -New Cooch Behar[NCB]- New Bongaigon[NBQ]- Barpeta Road[BPRD] Rangiya-Guwahati and further on terminating at Dibrugarh[DBRT] via Chaparmukh and Tinsukia Junction do not take the detour via Alipurduar but go via New Alipurduar barring the JhaJha GHY Express and the Poorvotar Sampark Kranti and Mahananda[refer to the www.indianrail.gov.in indian railway map for inference]. The North East in general is a very beautiful place to visit in terms of natural scenery and has not been discovered as yet or the swarm of humanity will not be endless!


There is said to be a passenger train from NJP to Alpurduar which is said to amble through the country side and forest and returns back in the evening after leaving early in the morning and is very popular with people wanting to explore the Doars and enjoy the scenic ride .Mr.Steven can provide detailed timings if he has the Eastern zone timings. As a matter of fact Mahananda comes from Alipurduar. Hope this addresses your doubt?
Best Regards
York_Katni
Last edited by York_Katni; Feb 28th, 2008 at 20:29..
#28 Feb 28th, 2008, 14:29
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#28

weblink for manas national tiger reserve

http://www.webindia123.com /wildlife /parks /assam/manas.htm no spaces it is continuous
Last edited by York_Katni; Feb 28th, 2008 at 20:05..

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