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Mark_Lester Oct 18th, 2009 18:49

The Great Circular Indian Railway Challenge
We are putting together a mother of all train journeys great circular railway challenge. The plan is, starting from Mumbai, to travel to Dwarkar, Udhampur, Ledo (via Murkeongselek), the Cape and back to Mumbai as quick as possible entirely by train (bar a little bit of cheating here and there).
If you are interested in doing all or any part of this, providing moral or nutritional support of any kind, or just declaring your astonishment at the stupidity of such a project, please get in touch.

the current plan goes something like this

Saurashtra out of Mumbai up to Dwarke
Saturday dep Mumbai 20:25, ar 15:07
then a "bit of cheating" to get he Porbander Saurashtra back up to Ahemedabad

dep Porbander 20:25 (or Jamnagar 23:15) arr Ahmedabad 06:00 (it's now Monday morning)

then the Jammu Tawi Express
Monday dep Ahmedabad 11:10
Tuesday arr Jammu 19:25

A well earned night in a motionless bed

Wednesday bounce through Udhampur
dep Jammu 07:40 arr Udhampur 09:10,
dep Udhampur 11:05, arr Jammu 12:45,

Sealdah Express to Moradabad
depart Jammu 19:15
arr Moradabad 10:45 on Thursday

Then a well earned Rajdhani to Tinsukia
dep Mordabad 12:25
Friday, on board
Saturday, arr Tinsukia Jn 03:45, depart Tinsukia 08:55, Arr Ledo 10:45

Sunday, dep Ledo 07:15, arr Dibrugarh 10:45, cross Brahmaputra and get train to Rangiya (not sure from what station yet)

It's possible we could get off at Rangiya on the way out and get the Uranchal Express down to Murkoeng Selek, but we'd have to organise for the Rajdhani to make an unscheduled stop.

Arunchal Express
Monday arr Rangiya 06:00,

Guwahati-Bangalore Express
dep Rangiya 07:30

Tuesday on board

Wednesday arr Chennai 04:30,

Gupuvayup Express
dep Chennai 07:50 arr Nagacoil 21:25 bus to CAPE
And sleeeeep
Thursday dep Cape 10:30, arr Trivandrum 12:45,

trivsndrum-Delhi Rajhdani
dep Trivandrum 19:15

Friday arr Panvel 22:55, metro to VT.

The original thread is here

mridula Oct 18th, 2009 20:42

Why :D :D :D

Mark_Lester Oct 18th, 2009 22:31


Originally Posted by mridula (Post 840089)
Why :D :D :D

Because it's there!. [banana]
I'm also using the standard excuse of doing it for charity.

anujbudhkar Oct 19th, 2009 00:54

there's an even faster plan made by me, which is possible for all days (i.e. irrespective of days). Check it here:
before i proceed, let me tell all station codes:
BCT: Mumbai ccentral
OKHA: okha
DWK: dwarka
RJT: rajkot
BRC: Vadodara
JAT=Jammu tawi
NDLS: new delhi station
TSK: Tinsukia
DBRT: Dibrugarh terminus
GHY: Guwahati
BZA: Vijaywada Jn
MS: chennai egmore
MAS: chennai central
NCJ: nagercoil Jn
CAPE: kanniyakumari
TVC: trivendram central
TNA: Thane
LTT: Lokmanya tilak Ter
CSTM: Mumbai chattrapati shivaji terminus (VT)

I did it in 11 days 11 nights. Moreover I covered westernmost (dwarka
and not okha), easternmost (Ledo and not any other station),
southernmost (CAPE) and northernmost (UHP=udhampur) stations. This one includes And That too FOR A DAILY RUN (all days possible schedule). however, 2 road journeys are
involved: MAS-MS and NCJ-CAPE. Here is the schedule.

night 1: 9005 BCT 20:25,
day 1 DWK 15:07
DWK to RJT by 248 pass, 22:44- 4:30

day 2: RJT to BRC by ST Intercity 9060. BRC 12:45
BRC-JAT by either swaraj, hapa-jat or jam-jat. BRC dep 13:53

day 3: JAT arr 14:40
JAT-UHP by 5JUNR, 16:05-17:50,
UHP-NDLS by 2446 uttar sk 1900-0605,

day 4: NDLS arr 6:05
NDLS-TSK by DBRT raj 2424 or 2426,

day 5: in DBRT raj

Day 6: TSK arr 5:00,
TSK-LEDO by passenger,
LEDO-TSK by same passenger, TSK arr 19:45
TSK-GHY by DBRT raj, dep. 21:20

day 7: GHY to MAS by 0202/2508/2510/2516. 06:30
day 8: in train. (for GHY-SC exp, alight at BZA, catch GT exp, alight
at MAS. around 6:30.)
day 9 04:30 arr mas. Then MS-NCJ by Guruvayur exp. arr. NCJ 21:25
NCJ-CAPE by road.
CAPE-TVC by mumbai express overnight journey.

Day 10: TVC-TNA by Nethravati exp (10:00)

Day 11: arr TNA 17:30

Mark_Lester Oct 19th, 2009 01:37

Thanks Anuj. We've got another loose requirement which is to try and keep to the edges, e.g. we'd like to do the Arunchal express and also take the route that the adi-jat express takes in western punjab.
But yours is still a great plan, and the connections seem OK though I havent checked it out to see if there are any rogues like the Lohit express in there ;).

prasanth.kumar81 Oct 19th, 2009 01:39

Hey Mark,
This seems to be an interesting tour. Do you actually plan to do this tour. If yes When?
I might join in for a majority of the tour. Say from Mumbai to Chennai.


smakkar Oct 19th, 2009 01:59

Same question, when? Looks very tempting :)

Mark_Lester Oct 19th, 2009 03:42


Originally Posted by prasanth.kumar81 (Post 840268)
Hey Mark,
This seems to be an interesting tour. Do you actually plan to do this tour. If yes When?
I might join in for a majority of the tour. Say from Mumbai to Chennai.


Prasanth, Smakkar,
Happy Diwali if that's appropriate. I do intend to do this, but not till about February 2011!. I'm going to try and raise money for Railway Children and so want to get a good run organising and promoting this. We also need to get the route details thoroughly researched, discussed and organised, Getting fed properly will be a key issue.
Steven Ber is also provisionally on the train (I dont think he could bear someone else doing this before him) and I also have at least one taker from IRFCA. I dont expect to get too many daft enough to attempt the whole thing, but it would be really great if we can get people to join in for parts. Tippong colliery is something of a pilgrimage for experts, but people coming all the way from Britain or America to do that would probably want to spend longer than just a morning there. They could for instance join us on the Rajdhani out of Delhi which we'll be boarding at Moradabad, stick around at Tippong for more than a night, then do some real cheating and say fly down to Chennai and join in again.

prasanth.kumar81 Oct 19th, 2009 16:50

Hey Mark,
Feb seems to be a good time to carry out this epic journey. Feb is genrally off season as far as railways are concerned. Also the climate would be ideal at that point of time here. Neither too hot nor too cold.

I have 2 observations/Suggestions.
1) I could not find the Train from Moradabad to Tinsukia Rajdhani.
2) How about also adding Ooty to the trip. That would even cover the highest point on Indian railways.


dillichaat Oct 19th, 2009 17:26

Guys, what type of class are you planning to do this thing in (I know, what's available in the trains you want to take I guess)? Not 2nd unreserved I hope?

Sounds like a totally ridiculous, pointless type of thing to do....I love it :)

Anyway, I'm interested and will be following the thread. Work and wife permitting I'd like to participate, at the very least I can sneak over, do part of the trip and bring some decent food and booze.

Mark_Lester Oct 19th, 2009 17:27

The service out of Moradabad is the 2436 Thursday Delhi - Dibrugarh Town Rajdhani.

I have some serious connections in Conoor, so Ooty is very tempting. But it's not really "on the edges", and it's really somewhere I could take the family and actually have a normal holiday. Getting that lovely train up there, just to jump straight back on and go back down, while being dog tired cos we've been at it now for a fortnight, might just finally crack me up if I've not lost it altogether by then already.
So may be, but probably not for me. But if we do end up with associated splinter groups, you could always do that as an alternative to the cape and meet us up again for the run back into Mumbai.

Mark_Lester Oct 19th, 2009 17:46


Originally Posted by dillichaat (Post 840581)
Guys, what type of class are you planning to do this thing in (I know, what's available in the trains you want to take I guess)? Not 2nd unreserved I hope?

we still have to have a discussion on whether we are going to allow AC1 or if that's just too sissy. There are a few local trains in there, but I dont propose we hang out in anything unreserved for any serious manoeuvres, that really would be mental.


Sounds like a totally ridiculous, pointless type of thing to do....I love it :)
Volunteers with supplies of fresh chappatis, and even a bottle of gin, will be honoured guests indeed. What corner of the country are you Dilli ?

dillichaat Oct 19th, 2009 19:59

I'm in Delhi :) but can move around very easily. Will be in the country until 2012 at least. AND I have a good supply of high-quality booze available, that will certainly not be the problem :)

Travelled around extensively by rail in India before I came here for my job. Did Mumbai-Aurangabad-Jhansi-Varanasi-Kolkata (staying in the Railway hotel)-Darjeeling-Kolkata-Hyderabad-Chennai and then as far south as possible, crossing the country at Kannyakumari and back up by rail via the west coast with a detour to Bangalore, Hospet (Hampi) Goa etc all the way via Delhi to Amritsar. Travelled mainly in AC3 or SL then, AC1 was/is way too expensive and anyway, not available on many trains iirc (but Steven_ber is the authority on anything related to trains in India and he'll know better).

Think the timing will be essential, most of the times I took trains they were on time but if there were delays it were hours rather than minutes, something that could seriously screw up your plans if you have onward journeys planned.

I loved the long hours, talking, reading, feeling grimy, ordering frooti, chai and garam soup :) and observing the other passengers, would love to do it again.

Mark_Lester Oct 19th, 2009 20:55


Originally Posted by dillichaat (Post 840668)
Did Mumbai-Aurangabad-Jhansi-Varanasi-Kolkata-Darjeeling-Kolkata-Hyderabad-Chennai- Kannyakumari - Bangalore, Hospet (Hampi) Goa -Delhi-Amritsar.

Goodness gracious me!, how long did that take ?.

As for the connection risks, most of it is OK but we've 3 danger points at Moradabad, Rangiya and Chennai from what I can see.

My number one worry train as the plan currently stands is the run from Jammu to Moradabad. From what I can see most of what runs on that route is pretty bad. The Sealdah seems like the best bet but we've only 1 1/2 hours to burn. The Lohit is capable of leaving 7 hours or more after it's scheduled. But all that is solved by just doing the obvious thing and going via NDLS.

There's a question mark over the Arunachel express on the way back up from Murkeong Selek, there isnt any reliability info on (which is even better than, and we've only 90 minutes between it's scheduled landing at 6:00 at Rangiya and the 7:30 departure down to Chennai. Doing it the other way round, and getting the Arunachel express down from Rangiya on the way out also has it's problems cos the Rajdhani doesn't stop at Rangiya, Opinion is divided on how easy it's going to be to get it to stop. So this bit needs further research.

The Guwahati Bangalore express down to Chennai from Rangiya needs to be inside 3 hours (and 20 mins), but we can bluff it at that stage. If we get as far as Chennnai still on the plan we'll have done well.

sdsudarsan Oct 19th, 2009 21:01

2011 is still some distance away! By then, few better and faster routes as well as trains (with many GC projects and FEDL projects getting over). Let us see what IR has for us :)

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