am i nearly there yet?

#1 Mar 9th, 2011, 23:50
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  • twiddlebug is offline
#1
i really enjoy learning more and more about indian trains, but am still very much a beginner!

one problem i have is never knowing if we are about to approach the station i need. i can only go by the time and what time it should arrive but if it is delayed that goes out of the window.

also, i usually note from trains at a glance the previous station and the time it should be there, but not all stops are listed in trains at a glance.

so i read in another thread briefly that you can tell exactly where you are by some kilometre markings on the tracks... but despite some searching i could not find some more details on this.

can someone explain how this works so i can avoid pestering fellow passengers about whether i should be retrieving my luggage and preparing for disembarking yet (although that method also works pretty well!)

thanks in advance
karen
#2 Mar 10th, 2011, 00:20
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  • spike is offline
#2
At the Indianrail website you can find all train schedules including all stops with timings and duration of the stops.

www.indianrail.gov.in
#3 Mar 10th, 2011, 04:55
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  • scottyheather is offline
#3
We had the same issue when travelling. We never did find an alternative way of finding out where we were - we just used to ask another passenger around the time we thought we should be getting off - always worked.
#4 Mar 10th, 2011, 05:05
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  • nycank is offline
#4
Trains run late, so there is no alternative to a) asking fellow travelers b) Asking the Traveling Ticket Collector to inform you when the station is approaching.

There is also a geek-way
#5 Mar 10th, 2011, 07:47
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#5
Yes, don't be too shy & do spread the 'gospel' about your intended choochoo !stop! - amongst fellow passengers, wallahs, eavesdroppers, bisvuit bandits or anybody else that will listen. Inserting that little bug into everybody's ear - distributes responsibility & drastically lessens your chances of missing your station.
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. ~
T. S. Eliot

http://www.derekgrantdigital.com
#6 Mar 10th, 2011, 08:57
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  • unclelach is offline
#6

Hand-held GPS or GPS Mobile Phone

It seems to me that GPS might solve the problem. One would need to obtain accurate railway station coordinates in advance if your GPS unit lacked an adequate map. I have never tried GPS within a train but once found that a hiker/bushwalker's Magellan GPS worked well within a car, near the windscreen.

When I'm on Indian trains and unfamiliar with the route I ask fellow passengers for the name of the next stop.
#7 Mar 10th, 2011, 10:48
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  • suricate is offline
#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by nycank View Post Trains run late, so there is no alternative to a) asking fellow travelers b) Asking the Traveling Ticket Collector to inform you when the station is approaching.

Fellow travellers can often be as clueless if their destination is not the same as yours/ much beyond yours. The TTE can often be difficult to track down too. Who always know (including the current location, the next station (and beyond) and approx. time to it etc.), and can help, are the irctc staff / pantry car staff who are always around. Just ask.
#8 Mar 12th, 2011, 10:47
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  • steven_ber is offline
#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by twiddlebug View Post i really enjoy learning more and more about indian trains, but am still very much a beginner!

one problem i have is never knowing if we are about to approach the station i need. i can only go by the time and what time it should arrive but if it is delayed that goes out of the window.

also, i usually note from trains at a glance the previous station and the time it should be there, but not all stops are listed in trains at a glance.

so i read in another thread briefly that you can tell exactly where you are by some kilometre markings on the tracks... but despite some searching i could not find some more details on this.

can someone explain how this works so i can avoid pestering fellow passengers about whether i should be retrieving my luggage and preparing for disembarking yet (although that method also works pretty well!)

thanks in advance
karen
Hello Karen

As the others have said, you will be fine and shouldn't worry.

However, it's always great fun to know where you are at all times, and if all that's needed is a little advance research, then why not, the research is a great escape from work.

First, the basics.

There are kilometre stones/markers by the side of all train tracks in India, there's one every 100 metres, the trick is to work out where the distances are calculated from, you'll see (for example) 212/7, this means 212.7 km, the next one may read 212/8, this will mean you're moving away from the place from where the distance is calculated. then you just look at the appropriate timetable (in TAAG) and you can normally easily work it out.

You can also use the numbers on the steel uprights holding the overhead power cables, these won't give you as exact a reading, but they'll give you the kilometer distance, they also have 2 numbers, the first being the kilometer distance, and the 2nd being the steel upright number (but there can be dozens of steel uprights per kilometer).


OK, in reality......

Trains At A Glance (TAAG) is great, but some websites make the timetable seem dated, www.erail.in is easily the most user friendly train search website.

Always print the full route of the train including stopping times and most important, distances, you dont really need to, I just find it more convenient, here's the easiest way I found.

Find your train on erail and select it, then in the box below you'll have the full list of stops, copy it, and include either the top line (S.No, STN CODE etc.) or the bottom line (*Fare is an....), this makes it easier to paste (onto MS Word) in the form of a table, this allows you to then delete entire columns easily.

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Once you paste it onto Word, get rid of the extra (top or bottom) line, you don't need it.

Then delete the columns you don't want and save the word document (in my experience, I can't print unless I first save, then re-open), this is what you should be left with.


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The example used if for a train from Howrah (Kolkata) to Bhubaneshwar, and I know that the KM stones on that route are measure from Howrah, so, you wake up early and you want to know where you are, if the train is running late, and by far the most important thing, where will you next get a chance of a cup of chai.

Either look out of your window or go to the carriage door and open it, look for a km marker, you notice it reads 403/2, you look at your watch and it says 04:10, you see that the train seems to be running on time, so realise you must be dreaming and head back to bed.

403/2 means you have just under 9km till your next chai opportunity at Cuttack where the train will halt for 5 minutes, and another 36kms till Bhubaneshwar.

This is an easy example, and it gets more complex, but the basics remain the same, you may sometimes need to do a bit of Maths to work out where you are, but this is all part of the fun of travel.

There are also routes where this will not work, Mumbai-Goa-Mangalore is awful, the Konkan railways have a surcharge on tickets (because of the high cost of building the line), they get this surcharge by artificially increasing the distances, so all timetables have 'Chargeable distance' printed, and these don't correspond to the km markers.

Distances from Mumbai Central (to Gujarat & Delhi) have an extra 4km added, I think this may be because trains used to start from Churchgate (4km south of Mumbai Central), but it's confusing.

Look at a rail map and try to imagine what lines were built first, and from where, that will generally be the best way to work out where the distances are calculated from, then look at the branch lines, their km markers will mostly be from the nearest large city to the branch line's start, for example, the KM markers on the branch line to Jaisalmer are measured from Jodhpur.
#9 Mar 15th, 2011, 03:59
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  • twiddlebug is offline
#9
thanks everyone for advice...

PeakXV - "distribute responsibility" i like that!

steven_ber thanks SO much for your genius/geek reply! i can't wait to try that next time. i certainly don't mind a bit of maths. although i see some good geography / history is also required to work out which stations the distances are from....

really interesting, thanks for taking so much time to explain so thoroughly!

karen


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