Please Help! Cochin/Munnar to Delhi
bigsleep1
India > India Travel - Getting There and Around > India Travel > Indian Railways
#16
| Member

Originally posted by: steven_ber View Post

The damn travel agent could have easily checked the FTQ on his PC, and in my experience, it's very unlikely that there'll be a place to book FTQ in Varkala, in the past I would have said I'll eat my hat if there is somewhere, but I need it for a Garth Brooks concert.

Just throwing out an alternative here.

I agree that the route of the Duronto is more scenic, though a big part of me thinks that all train journeys in India are scenic, especially if you're new to the country.

But all it takes is a bad window to ruin the journey (many are slightly darkened).

The BIG problem with the Duronto is that you can't get down at the various stations for a walk on the platform, and believe me, this is needed on long journeys, not just to stretch your legs, but to buy drinks, snacks, newspapers and magazines, and just to witness life on an Indian platform, it's all part of the overall experience.

The Duronto does stop for changing staff, but as it's not a passenger stop, very often the train halts at sidings away from the station, or at almost deserted platforms.

You could get a taxi from Munnar to Madurai, not cheap, but the train I will suggest costs almost Rs1700 less than the Duronto.

Train 12651 departs Madurai at 23:55 on the 12th and gets to Nizamuddin (Delhi) 42 hours later at 18:00 (almost the same times as the Duronto, but 2 hours faster), in 1A, you can get WL1, this will get confirmed.

One massive advantage of going from Madurai, you could get there mid afternoon and go to see the awesome Meenakshi Temple, then relax and enjoy a great meal and a few beers before boarding the train.


Wow, thanks everyone for the advice. Amazing.

I will definitely look into the Munnar to Madurai.. however I am sort of set on 2A class, unless someone can talk me out of it.

The price for 1A approaches an airplane ticket and I can't really justify that.

I suppose for now I will head into town, Varkala, and inquire there.

Any other feedback would be truly helpful... while I am native Punjabi I have never truly explored or seen India, which is why I prefer 2A train over flying!
#17
| retired

Originally posted by: rsmith View Post

I think there is also 2A seats (just 2 left) on FTQ on the Rajdhani for 13th May.


The Rajdhani is the train you'll need, it's your only chance of 2A (via the FTQ), I hope you can book it at Varkala, if you can, let us know, if not, you'll need to go to Ernakulam Jn station to book.

(if you do book from Varkala, send me a private message containing the PNR number of the ticket, it's a 3 + 7 digit number, sometimes booking staff can sell you a ticket from the general quota, and this would be a waitlisted ticket that's very unlikely to get confirmed, but I can check quickly to make sure the ticket is OK)

EDIT, you need 10 posts to send a private message (and there's a minimum time limit as well), so just reply with the PNR number, and an indiamike member will check if the ticket is ok, there's no risk involved in posting the PNR number, but Dave (or another moderator) will edit the PNR number from your post after it's been checked.
#18
| Member

Originally posted by: steven_ber View Post

The Rajdhani is the train you'll need, it's your only chance of 2A (via the FTQ), I hope you can book it at Varkala, if you can, let us know, if not, you'll need to go to Ernakulam Jn station to book.

(if you do book from Varkala, send me a private message containing the PNR number of the ticket, it's a 3 + 7 digit number, sometimes booking staff can sell you a ticket from the general quota, and this would be a waitlisted ticket that's very unlikely to get confirmed, but I can check quickly to make sure the ticket is OK)

EDIT, you need 10 posts to send a private message (and there's a minimum time limit as well), so just reply with the PNR number, and an indiamike member will check if the ticket is ok, there's no risk involved in posting the PNR number, but Dave (or another moderator) will edit the PNR number from your post after it's been checked.


Great news!

Ticket # is XXXXXXXXXX

I confirmed with lady at the ticket office that it was indeed an official ticket, and not just a reservation or wait list. She was very helpful, so in return of course we exchanged contact information and she will email me as she is trying to get her family to move to the United States, my home country, and she has a million questions. :)

Now the question is Munnar to Ernakulam. Bus? Taxi? Train?

Also I have questions about sight seeing in Munnar and Kochi, I will move that question to the appropriate form though.
#19
| Account Closed
Good stuff. Your ticket looks good to me.

I have forwarded the PNR to Steven who is the expert on this.

Just to clarify. Were you able to buy that ticket at Varkala?


ADD - The official site for checking PNRs is here http://www.indianrail.gov.in/pnr_Enq.html
#20
| Omnipresent

Originally posted by: bigsleep1 View Post

Now the question is Munnar to Ernakulam. Bus? Taxi? Train?


The best option would be a taxi. Board from your hotel and get down at the train station.

A bus would involve going to the bus stop and then from the bus stop to the train station. Also you will have to leave when the bus is scheduled which may be not in time with the departure of your train.

There is no train connection from Munnar to Ernakulam.
#21
| Member

Originally posted by: Dave W View Post

Good stuff. Your ticket looks good to me.

I have forwarded the PNR to Steven who is the expert on this.

Just to clarify. Were you able to buy that ticket at Varkala?


ADD - The official site for checking PNRs is here http://www.indianrail.gov.in/pnr_Enq.html


Yes, I bought the ticket in Varkala, I went before Noon, apparently before Noon and after 8AM is the best time?

I think after Noon the situation might be different.

I bought mine with absolutely no hassle, there wasn't even a queue.
#22
| Member

Originally posted by: aarosh View Post

The best option would be a taxi. Board from your hotel and get down at the train station.

A bus would involve going to the bus stop and then from the bus stop to the train station. Also you will have to leave when the bus is scheduled which may be not in time with the departure of your train.

There is no train connection from Munnar to Ernakulam.


Awesome, thanks for the help.

Only consideration is that I might stay in Kochi for a couple days to check it out.

Trying to discern how many days to spend in Munnar vs. Kochi.
#23
| retired
That's a confirmed foreign tourist quota ticket.

Berth 37 is a lower 'inside' berth (not a side berth), this is an equal first choice, the other being an upper inside berth.

The inside berths are better than side berths in 2A, especially on a Rajdhani, they feel longer, and because only 2 people share a seat 6 feet wide, there very spacious, you will notice this most when food & drinks arrive, plenty of room, look across to the side berths at meal times and see the hassle they have trying to cope with food and drinks.

A lower berth gets the window seat (away from the aisle) and there's no need to climb up to your berth to sleep.

An upper berth has the advantage of being able to climb up to the berth to sleep/escape at any time of the day. (leaving you to stretch out/sleep in the lower berth)

You'll be in a bay of 4 berths (facing each other), 2 lower and 2 upper, a curtain can be drawn across to get more privacy in the bay, though each berth doesn't have their own curtain.

If another foreign tourist books (using FTQ), they'll get berth 38 (the upper berth), if not, that berth will go to someone on an RAC or waitlisted ticket, either way, see how you get along with that person, they may allow you to use their upper berth during the day, and if the person looks like they may struggle to get up to an upper berth, offer to swap, most tourist I've met still prefer the upper berth, you could also offer to swap with the upper berth passenger opposite, but if you do swap, find out where they'll be getting off the train.

Can you give us details of where you purchased your ticket at Varkala?

At Varkala train station?

Was there a special window for foreign tourists?
#24
| Member

Originally posted by: steven_ber View Post

That's a confirmed foreign tourist quota ticket.

Berth 37 is a lower 'inside' berth (not a side berth), this is an equal first choice, the other being an upper inside berth.

The inside berths are better than side berths in 2A, especially on a Rajdhani, they feel longer, and because only 2 people share a seat 6 feet wide, there very spacious, you will notice this most when food & drinks arrive, plenty of room, look across to the side berths at meal times and see the hassle they have trying to cope with food and drinks.

A lower berth gets the window seat (away from the aisle) and there's no need to climb up to your berth to sleep.

An upper berth has the advantage of being able to climb up to the berth to sleep/escape at any time of the day. (leaving you to stretch out/sleep in the lower berth)

You'll be in a bay of 4 berths (facing each other), 2 lower and 2 upper, a curtain can be drawn across to get more privacy in the bay, though each berth doesn't have their own curtain.

If another foreign tourist books (using FTQ), they'll get berth 38 (the upper berth), if not, that berth will go to someone on an RAC or waitlisted ticket, either way, see how you get along with that person, they may allow you to use their upper berth during the day, and if the person looks like they may struggle to get up to an upper berth, offer to swap, most tourist I've met still prefer the upper berth, you could also offer to swap with the upper berth passenger opposite, but if you do swap, find out where they'll be getting off the train.

Can you give us details of where you purchased your ticket at Varkala?

At Varkala train station?

Was there a special window for foreign tourists?


Wow, unreal insight. I am fine with bottom or top, but probably would prefer a window.

I get sort of claustrophobic, also I am tall and lanky (6 feet 3 inches) so all of this news is great.

One question, are there areas where you can stand and look outside, like in between the boxcars? I went on a train once and had my feet dangling outside, not sure if it was safe or not, but kinda want to experience it again.

As for Varkala, I can offer some more insight.

I purchased at Varkala train station, like I mentioned earlier it was prior to noon.

There was a separate counter titled "reservations" that was clearly separated from the other 3 lines which I am presuming were general ticket lines.

I approached the attendant and specifically asked for FTQ, I also had my requirements written down and showed her the paper. She was very sweet and helpful.

Any other questions, let me know!
#25
| Omnipresent
When in Cochin see the Mattancherry Palace and the synagogue. Also if interested visit Kodanad early in the morning.
#26
| retired
Thanks for the Varkala info, good to find out about a new place, and so pleased I never offered to eat my hat, they don't taste as good as they used to.;)

Originally posted by: bigsleep1 View Post



One question, are there areas where you can stand and look outside, like in between the boxcars? I went on a train once and had my feet dangling outside, not sure if it was safe or not, but kinda want to experience it again.



Sadly, and for a number of reasons, the Rajdhani trains are the worst for 'sitting by the open carriage door', there's 4 main reasons.

1, no Sleeper Class carriages, these are non-AC carriages with removable windows (many people don't know that there is a glass window in Sleeper Class because they're almost always moved out of the way), and it's common to find people sitting by the open carriage door.

2, the Rajdhani's are fast trains, and once you get past about 40kmph, it's less fun sitting by the open carriage door, and other people are more likely to ask you to close the door, and they're only thinking of your safety.

3, one of my biggest concerns on Rajdhani trains is, the catering staff seem to completely block about 25-30% of carriage doors whenever meal time is approaching, they have a lot of food/drinks to arrange and distribute and they block many doors with their equipment.

4, Rajdhani trains are classed as premium trains, and it feels like the staff are under strict instructions to stop people sitting by the open carriage doors.


I'm certainly not saying that you can't open a door and sit there, but it may be easier to walk down to the 3AC carriages, and if the staff request you to close the door, smile, close the door, go back to your seat for a little while, then find another door to sit by.

It feels great to have your legs dangling out of the door, but it's dangerous for 4 reasons.

1, station platforms can seem to appear out of nowhere.

2, it's not unusual to find a tree branch scraping along the side of the train.

3, the carriage doors are heavy, and can swing closed as the train speeds up or slows down, the first time one of these doors hits you unexpectedly, you know about it.[shock]

4, if it's a Sleeper Class or unreserved carriage, people throw rubbish, food and drinks out of the windows (and sometimes they spit), and this can all land on you.

The best thing to do is, open the door fully, then sit on the floor (cross legged works best for me) with your back firmly against the door, then watch the world go by.

Remember that doors at one end of the carriage open the opposite way the those at the other end, meaning that at one end, you'll be facing the direction of travel if sitting with your back against the open door, at the other end, you'd be facing the direction you just travelled from.

Another problem with Rajdhanis, the train staff can be a real pain towards the end of your journey (they know where you're booked to get off), they come looking for tips, and seem to expect big tips, as a foreign tourist, I find they look real disappointed if I give Rs100, but I've never seen an Indian give more, and very often they give considerably less.

Don't let any of the above put you off the Rajdhani trains, they're great trains, very comfortable and punctual, it's just nice to know a few of the negatives before you travel.
#27
| Member

Originally posted by: steven_ber View Post

Thanks for the Varkala info, good to find out about a new place, and so pleased I never offered to eat my hat, they don't taste as good as they used to.;)



Sadly, and for a number of reasons, the Rajdhani trains are the worst for 'sitting by the open carriage door', there's 4 main reasons.

1, no Sleeper Class carriages, these are non-AC carriages with removable windows (many people don't know that there is a glass window in Sleeper Class because they're almost always moved out of the way), and it's common to find people sitting by the open carriage door.

2, the Rajdhani's are fast trains, and once you get past about 40kmph, it's less fun sitting by the open carriage door, and other people are more likely to ask you to close the door, and they're only thinking of your safety.

3, one of my biggest concerns on Rajdhani trains is, the catering staff seem to completely block about 25-30% of carriage doors whenever meal time is approaching, they have a lot of food/drinks to arrange and distribute and they block many doors with their equipment.

4, Rajdhani trains are classed as premium trains, and it feels like the staff are under strict instructions to stop people sitting by the open carriage doors.


I'm certainly not saying that you can't open a door and sit there, but it may be easier to walk down to the 3AC carriages, and if the staff request you to close the door, smile, close the door, go back to your seat for a little while, then find another door to sit by.

It feels great to have your legs dangling out of the door, but it's dangerous for 4 reasons.

1, station platforms can seem to appear out of nowhere.

2, it's not unusual to find a tree branch scraping along the side of the train.

3, the carriage doors are heavy, and can swing closed as the train speeds up or slows down, the first time one of these doors hits you unexpectedly, you know about it.[shock]

4, if it's a Sleeper Class or unreserved carriage, people throw rubbish, food and drinks out of the windows (and sometimes they spit), and this can all land on you.

The best thing to do is, open the door fully, then sit on the floor (cross legged works best for me) with your back firmly against the door, then watch the world go by.

Remember that doors at one end of the carriage open the opposite way the those at the other end, meaning that at one end, you'll be facing the direction of travel if sitting with your back against the open door, at the other end, you'd be facing the direction you just travelled from.

Another problem with Rajdhanis, the train staff can be a real pain towards the end of your journey (they know where you're booked to get off), they come looking for tips, and seem to expect big tips, as a foreign tourist, I find they look real disappointed if I give Rs100, but I've never seen an Indian give more, and very often they give considerably less.

Don't let any of the above put you off the Rajdhani trains, they're great trains, very comfortable and punctual, it's just nice to know a few of the negatives before you travel.


Wonderful insight!

One last worry, I am assuming the train makes other stops, and I have been told there is time to get off and go for a bit of a walk, pick up some snacks. Is that true? How do you know how long you have? Better to just ask an attendant?
#28
| The Silent One

Originally posted by: bigsleep1 View Post

Wonderful insight!

One last worry, I am assuming the train makes other stops, and I have been told there is time to get off and go for a bit of a walk, pick up some snacks. Is that true? How do you know how long you have? Better to just ask an attendant?

There would be stops and you can have a stroll..
It is usually a good idea to take a print of the train schedule so you know which station is due next and in how much time. You also get an idea about the time it would halt at each station.. (it is available online too.. go to indianrail.gov.in and then follow steps there)
Before the train moves on usually you will hear the engine blow the horn as well..
However its always good to be near your bogie even when you get down, avoid boarding the train while it is moving (not telling you to miss your train, just asking you to be in it before the train starts moving.. ;)).
Move out where you have more than 5 mins or so, else just get down near the door of your bogie, stretch your legs, look around and get in when you see the signal going yellow near the engine of your train..
Also try and pick stuff from the train pantry, should be better than what you get on the platforms.. Exceptions are always there, for. eg. you have various food kiosks like comsum or others which are pretty decent and at times, they have some person moving about before the station who would bive you a printed menu paper with a phone no. where you can place your order and it would be delivered at your seat. (but you will be getting enough food in the train itself, tea/ coffee and a bit more too..)
Sar Pass Trek , Rohtang, Munnar, Badrinath Kedarnath, Vaishnodevi, Goa, VOF, Kedarkantha, Kuari Pass, Brahmatal Trek
#29
| Omnipresent
Good idea to print the stops of the train.

When you get down at the platform look towards the engine. During the day a green flag will be waved from the engine. A similar flag will be waved from the end of the train where the guard is seated. During the night it would be a green light. Once this is signalled the train is ready to depart from the station.
#30
| Account Closed
The train schedule can be found here http://indiarailinfo.com/train/timetable/trivandrum-central-hazrat-nizamuddin-rajdhani-express-12431-ers-to-nzm/1334/52/748.

If you eat all of the food supplied on the Rajdhani you won't need much in the way of snacks.

The loco will give a hooter blast just before the train starts to move. Usually some of the train staff will get down for a break. I watch them and get back on when they do.