All India Rail Challenge

#1 Oct 13th, 2009, 02:21
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#1
Helloji!,
Not sure where to start in here, I guess I should have a good look about first, but this will do by way of an introduction.
I am looking to organise an epic circumnavigation of the indian rail system, starting at Mumbai and hitting Dwarka, Jammu, a place called Tinsukia which is way out east, the cape down south, and then back to Mumbai. I have an excellent charity called Railway Children that I aim to raise money for, and some high profile media contacts to help me market this, and some ideas for corporate sponsorship. I've been fishing about on various train spotter message boards for interested parties with mixed results, but I do have a nucleus of people already.
The entire trip would take a good 2 weeks, and even hardened rail nuts would be in need of counseling at the end of it if they did the entire trip. But you wouldnt have to do the whole gig!. You could just tag on for part of it and join in the party. I am aiming at around Feb 2011, so you've plenty of time to synch up for this.
I'll surf about some more in here to see where I should promo this. Note that I am not in any way a tour operator, I am just looking for other like minded souls who might be up for this.

Regards
Mark
#2 Oct 13th, 2009, 02:46
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#2
I found the edit button.
#3 Oct 13th, 2009, 03:11
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#3
Hi mark..
Welcome to IM..
Will think of joining up if i am free around that time..
idukki, thekkadi... idukki, thekkadi..
#4 Oct 13th, 2009, 14:47
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#4

Hello Mark and welcome to indiamike

That's an interesting idea, but can we have some more info please, I feel sure you'll get plenty of people to join you along the way, and maybe even some people to meet the train with some nice home made (Indian) food (You'll miss this most on long journeys).

Can we have some more details please.

Why the places you mention?

Dwarka isn't the furthest west, there's a line that goes west from Bhuj to Naliya, but I can't find if this line is operational, There's another station after Dwarka called Okha, but I'm not sure if the line goes north or west from Dwarka (I've not got my maps with me).

http://samit.org/irmap/07.jpg

Jammu isn't the furthest north, trains now run up to Udhampur, and there's also a line running further north, as far as Baramula, but I'm not sure how far south the line goes towards Udhampur, there's a load of mountains getting in the way, I don't know when the 2 lines will be connected, but it's likely that work was suspended during the monsoon, so perhaps the lines won't be connected before your trip.

http://samit.org/irmap/01.jpg

Tinsukia isn't the furthest east, there's a station called Ledo, interestingly, you may not have too much trouble getting train spotters to join you up to Ledo, Ledo is only a short distance from Tippong Colliery (there is accommodation at the colliery), the colliery has working steam engines, and they're really cute, Tinsukia Junction also has a 'steam graveyard', a place where loads of steam engines were left to rot, though steam enthusiasts have stripped them of anything collectable.

http://samit.org/irmap/06.jpg (the line no longer runs to Lekhapani)

Realistically, 2 weeks isn't enough, you need at least 3, and it's still going to be tough.

Do you plan to visit any of the projects your charity is working on in India?

You’ll find the whole trip more interesting if you buy Samit Roychoudhury’s Great Indian Railway Atlas, either direct from him or sometimes Stanfords in London stock the atlas.
#5 Oct 13th, 2009, 18:04
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#5
Good morning steven.
IRFCA have been fixing up my geog on a few issues already, such as ledo being even further east, but as we'd aready be virtually in Burmah I'll make an exec decision on doing that. Oh!, it's near tippong!, damn it. I had been avoiding toy trains as I didnt want it to look like some fancy trip, but that place is of course famous after palin's visit (I find his stuff quite teeth grating usually, bless him, but that one was rather good). I cant really go all the way there and not do that.
I noticed your report of the graveyard at Tinsukia, I hope there's still some carcasses left there to lament on a rest and recupertion stop.
Okha, according to my map, is north east of Dwarka, the line curls round at the end of the peninsula. I do hope Dwarka is going to win the battle of the west as it's such a worthwhile destination.
Udhampur came as a complete suprise. Note: I am talking 2011, thats 18 months away, so goodness knows where they'll have got to by then.
As for linking up on the ground with Railway Children, if I can get my media contacts to fly then we'll naturally want to do something with their operation in Mumbai, but I'm not proposing to do lengthy stops on the way.
On the food front, of course I am hoping to get someone to turn up with some tiffin boxes of fresh chapati's and some of mama's special recipes. I'm obviously not going to survive for 2 weeks on chai and bombay mix.
I know 2 weeks is stupidly short, but I wanted to make it a real challenge and not just some kind of holiday. I'm a dad and clearling of for 3 weeks, which is obviously what a 2 weeker woudl entail, will be hard enough outside the summer hols, which of course we cant do as it would be monsoon. I've done similar things before but this would be a genuine test I know. Tippong would be half way round so a rest day there can be sanctioned, but the rest has to be asap. I originally thought of finding someone who would do an alternative route as part of a contest, but I think making it one gang that people can join in on for parts would have a much better chance of making a splash. The best stab so far in IRFCA is 11 days!! (vsp claims to have a strategy for 8, but I'm waiting to see that).
#6 Oct 13th, 2009, 21:43
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#6
Here is my new provisnal plan, courtesy of Bushan on IRFCA.
I'm going to have to loop in Ledo obviously, so that's at least another day, +1 more having a go on the steam train, but it stands at 11 days and 11 hours without those additons, which is an amazing feat of computation if nothing else. 7,226 miles, not including the emu ride across Mumbai and a taxi in Delhi.
I can see this Tippong thing being problematic, because any sane individual will want to spend a lot more than 24 hours there after making such an effort to get there, I could be on my jack jones when I get back on the train .


Day1:
2009 from BCT to ADI (13:10)
5636 from ADI (19:20) to DWK (05:04 day 2)

Day2:
leave by 9569 (14:00) and arrive to BRC on day 3 (01:30)

Day3:
Take 2903 from BRC (03:05) from BRC. Reach NZM at 18:30.
Take 2445 from NDLS (20:50) and reach UHM on day 4 at 08:00

Day4:
Take 2446 from UHM (19:00) and reach NDLS on day 5 (06:05)

Day5:
Take 2436/2436A and reach TSK at 03:45 on day 7.

Day7:
Take 5933 from TSK (07:45) and arrive at GHY (19:30)

Day8:
Take 2516 from GHY (06:30) and arrive at TVC (23:30) on day 10

Day 11:
Take 6128 from TVC (03:40) and go to NCJ (05:30)
Take 2633 from NCJ (06:20) to CAPE (06:50)

Day11:
Take 2666 from CAPE (07:50) and come to NCJ (08:10)
Take 6123 from NCJ (09:00) to TVC (11:05)

Day11:
Take 6312 from TVC (15:15) to PNVL (21:05 or 22:25).

Day12:
Take an EMU to CSTM.
#7 Oct 13th, 2009, 22:06
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#7
So, you're just trying to touch all points rather than going via the 'outer circle'?

Are you allowed a boat trip?

Okha to Mandvi (then bus to Bhuj) could be an option (if there's a boat).

Then Bhuj to Abu Rd, sleep in Mt Abu, morning in Mt. Abu, then 15:00 train to Jammu, up to Baramula (should be open by the time you travel), then back down to Jalandhar for train (departing Fridays) direct (not via Delhi) to Tinsukia. (then head to Ledo)

Then towards Kolkatta, then train to Nagacoil or CAPE, then to Trivandrum for train to Panvel/Mumbai.
#8 Oct 13th, 2009, 22:16
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#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark_Lester View Post I wanted to make it a real challenge and not just some kind of holiday.

I originally thought of finding someone who would do an alternative route as part of a contest,
Just a thought......

By the time you work out the route, and the timings, you'll likely find that you'll be averaging something like 25km per hour over the entire route.

A race with a car could be interesting.
#9 Oct 13th, 2009, 22:57
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#9
well, as it happens, I did divide 11 days and 11 hours into 726 miles and came up with 26 mph. my recent experience of India though is that it's actualy harder to get about on the roads today than it was back in the old days. the roads are zapped and full of traffic. We drove up to Corbett from Bareily and I dont think we averaged anything like 26 k let alone mph.
there's these guys who do rickshaw chalenges who might be up for something, I've pinged them but I think they are busy somewhere in mongolia right now. one of their teams is called Farce India, so I could ask them.
The outer cicrle idea sounds intriguing indeed, but there's also an advantage in doing delhi as I might be able to take on some recruits and supplies.
Also, I am having difficulty working out the return journey from Ledo to Tinsukia. 5603 is listed as going down the line to Ledo, but when I search for Ledo to Tinsukia is insists there are no trains. I incremented the train number in time honoured fashion and it reckons thr return run starts at Tinsukia. Such are the ways of the Indian Railway timetable.
#10 Oct 14th, 2009, 01:41
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#10
1st rule, forget the Indian Railways website, it's not very user friendly.

Try erail.in

Ledo-Tinsukia trains.

I don't know why the Intercity Express isn't showing, it ran from Ledo a couple of years ago.

So.....you're taking the easy option and coming back via the same line , you could cross the Brahmaputra River (at Dibrugarh) and come back via the north bank.

(there's a line from Rangiya Jn (north of Guwahati) to Murkong Selek, this line is being converted to broad gauge at the moment, it's also being extended east to the new road/rail bridge near Dibrugarh.)

Edited to add.....

If you (or we) can think of some interesting additions/challenges, I may join you for the whole of the trip.
#11 Oct 14th, 2009, 01:57
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#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by steven_ber View Post That's an interesting idea, but can we have some more info please, I feel sure you'll get plenty of people to join you along the way, and maybe even some people to meet the train with some nice home made (Indian) food (You'll miss this most on long journeys).

Can we have some more details please.

Why the places you mention?


Jammu isn't the furthest north, trains now run up to Udhampur, and there's also a line running further north, as far as Baramula, but I'm not sure how far south the line goes towards Udhampur, there's a load of mountains getting in the way, I don't know when the 2 lines will be connected, but it's likely that work was suspended during the monsoon, so perhaps the lines won't be connected before your trip.


The railway line within Kashmir valley is now complete and the entire Line from Baramulla in the north to Qazikund in the south will be commissioned before the end of October, when the Prime Minister visits Kashmir.

The track from Qazikund to Udhampur is far from complete. There was a major controversy regarding its alignment and the number of bridges and tunnels. There was seepage of water in some tunnels under construction. It will be a long time before the tracks in the valley are connected to those with the rest of India.
#12 Oct 14th, 2009, 01:59
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#12
Quote:
Originally Posted by steven_ber View Post 1st rule, forget the Indian Railways website, it's not very user friendly.

Try erail.in

Ledo-Tinsukia trains.

I don't know why the Intercity Express isn't showing, it ran from Ledo a couple of years ago.

So.....you're taking the easy option and coming back via the same line , you could cross the Brahmaputra River (at Dibrugarh) and come back via the north bank.

(there's a line from Rangiya Jn (north of Guwahati) to Murkong Selek, this line is being converted to broad gauge at the moment, it's also being extended east to the new road/rail bridge near Dibrugarh.)

Edited to add.....

If you (or we) can think of some interesting additions/challenges, I may join you for the whole of the trip.
The eastern rail lines now extend all the way to Arunachal Pradesh. There is a train named Arunachal Express.
Arunachal Express/5813

Code Station Name Arrives Departs Halt Day# Distance Speed Elev
RNY» Rangiya Junction» 19:15 1 0 - 53m
KBY Khoirabari 19:55 19:56 1 min 1 28 42 79m
TNL Tangla 20:21 20:22 1 min 1 40 29 89m
ULG Udalguri 20:53 20:54 1 min 1 62 43 104m
RWTB Rowta Bagan 21:12 21:13 1 min 1 74 40 -m
MJBT Majbat 21:27 21:28 1 min 1 83 39 119m
NMM New Misamari 22:10 22:11 1 min 1 113 43 -m
RPAN* Rangapara North* 23:15 23:25 10 min 1 124 10 90m
VNE Viswanath Chrli 00:22 00:24 2 min 2 175 54 -m
HML Helem 01:02 01:03 1 min 2 207 51 89m
GPZ Gohpur 01:27 01:28 1 min 2 226 48 79m
TBH Tatibahar 01:56 01:57 1 min 2 249 49 -m
HMY Harmuti 02:21 02:22 1 min 2 267 45 88m
NLP* North Lakhimpur* 03:50 04:15 25 min 2 296 20 97m
GOM Gogamukh 05:11 05:12 1 min 2 340 47 -m
DMC Dhemaji 05:51 05:52 1 min 2 366 40 103m
SPTR Silapathar 06:46 06:47 1 min 2 389 26 -m
TQM Telam 07:49 07:50 1 min 2 425 35 -m
MZS• Murkeongselek• 09:00 2 450 21 131m

http://indiarailinfo.com/train/82
#13 Oct 14th, 2009, 02:36
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#13
Quote:
Originally Posted by steven_ber View Post
Ledo-Tinsukia trains.
kwl
Quote:
Originally Posted by steven_ber View Post If you (or we) can think of some interesting additions/challenges, I may join you for the whole of the trip.
Well, that sounds like an offer I cant refuse, though I guess it's going to take some negotiation. With "interesting challenges", and an itenary which isnt just plain stupid (which is what I was prepared to go for) I'm going to have to save up a lot of brownie points to pull this off with my "local administrative authority", as there's going to be no way I can get out of the front door and back again inside 4 weeks.
But your undoubted expertise and experience could very rapidly transform this from being some half baked mad cap scheme into something the officianados from all creeds and cultures can go for, at least in parts. Doing either side of the bramaputra sounds fantabulastic. It's a truly incredible river, especially that section north of Dibrugh which I've been looking at on google.
Is July/August just not feasible ?. Actually this is a fairly important point, what's the best time of year irrespective of school holidays ?.
Anyway, we've got plenty of time to discuss this, I'll go with your imaginaton and we'll see what we end up with.
#14 Oct 14th, 2009, 03:07
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#14
I seem to have been hit by the censor, but in principle I'm all ears, lets work out what doing the perimeter would involve. I'll try posting again later if my extended reply doesnt make it.
I'll go play with this user compatible timetable site you've given me.
#15 Oct 14th, 2009, 03:46
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#15
Here's a quick itinerary covering the 'outer circle', it can maybe be improved, but my girlfriend is sharpening the knives in case I stay online any longer.

The ADI-Jammu train goes via Jodhpur and Bikaner, the Moradabad-Tinsukia train stays north of the Ganges, and the Chennai-Nagacoil train goes through Tamil Nadu instead of Kerala.

Saturday dep Mumbai 20:25

Sunday arr Dwarka 15:07, dep Porbander 20:25 (or Jamnagar 23:15)

Monday arr Ahmedabad 06:00, dep Ahmedabad 11:10

Tuesday arr Jammu 19:25

Wednesday dep Jammu 07:40 arr Udhampur 09:10, dep Udhampur 19:00, arr Jammu 20:25, depart Jammu 22:45

Thursday, arr Moradabad 09:40, Moradabad dep 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)

Monday arr Rangiya 06:00, dep Rangiya 07:30

Tuesday on board

Wednesday arr Chennai 04:30, dep Chennai 07:50 arr Nagacoil 21:25 bus to CAPE

Thursday dep Cape 10:30, arr Trivandrum 12:45, dep Trivandrum 19:15

Friday arr Panvel 22:55, metro to VT.
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