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Old 6th August 2021, 22:46   #46
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Originally Posted by Dieseltuned View Post

Rajdhani's enjoyed a huge clout in the IR world too such an extent that delays in the train's running were directly reported to the railway board.

One more interesting trivia is that IR used to run pilot engines just minutes ahead of the Rajdhani to ensure that the tracks are clear from any miscreant activities.
Was given to understand that one of the reasons they used to run pilot engines just minutes ahead of the Rajdhani was to ensure minimal delays in case of any breakdown of the engine - in which case, the pilot engine would be instructed to backtrack along the same tracks to be coupled to the train and resume the journey with minimal delay.
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Old 12th August 2021, 11:03   #47
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Originally Posted by Fx14 View Post
the pilot engine would be instructed to backtrack along the same tracks to be coupled to the train and resume the journey with minimal delay.
No - that's not the case usually. Pilot engine does not have the traction or gearing to pull Rajdhani rakes. Most pilot engines are diesel or WAG.
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Old 13th August 2021, 17:55   #48
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Originally Posted by Fx14 View Post
Was given to understand that one of the reasons they used to run pilot engines just minutes ahead of the Rajdhani was to ensure minimal delays in case of any breakdown of the engine - in which case, the pilot engine would be instructed to backtrack along the same tracks to be coupled to the train and resume the journey with minimal delay.
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Originally Posted by no_fear View Post
No - that's not the case usually. Pilot engine does not have the traction or gearing to pull Rajdhani rakes. Most pilot engines are diesel or WAG.
@ no_fear is correct. Pilot engines are mostly WAG category ones and not cleared to haul the Rajdhani. Also, IR has guidelines on when a 'train' or in this case an engine can back track. IIRC that decision to back track does not rest with the local station masters and line mans. They need explicit approval from the section controllers.

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Old 19th March 2022, 10:47   #49
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Update 18-Mar-2022

I travelled by the August Kranti Rajdhani Express from Mumbai Central yesterday. This train also sports Tejas style coaches now. I entered Mumbai Central after almost 4 years, and what struck me immediately was the fantastic polished granite flooring on the platform. More on the train, the journey and the on-board service:

Likes

* Neat exterior and interior
* Travelling Ticket Examiner was neatly turned out in a grey suit, and was checking tickets on a tab; no hardboard pads and multiple sheets of paper
* Fast - peak speed of 130kmph
* Fast resolution of complaints

Dislikes
* On board food service was mediocre - service pre-Covid19 was better
* while the flooring is squeaky clean, the hidden parts are almost never cleaned- eg.cushioned plank for the side lower berth, the leather between the inner edge of the upper berth and the partition panel etc.

Notable Omissions

* Issue of blankets, bedsheets and pillow hasn't resumed yet.

What was served

1. A few mins after the 1710 hrs departure - a small pack of nuts, a small pack of mixture, a pack of soan cake, bottle of water, hot water in a flask and a tea/coffee kit containing a tea bag, sachet of sugar, and a sachet of dairy whitener

2. Approx 2035 hrs (late service) - 2 parathas, a paneer veg, a portion of dal, some peas pulao, curd, pickle ending with vanilla ice cream. The veggie and dal tasted neutral with no spice.

What I missed - soup

The complaint and the resolution process

Dinner wasn't served until 2034hrs; I shot off a complaint on the RailMadad portal and the Pantry Manager, Train Manager were at my seat in less than 10 minutes apologizing, pleading to forgive their "bachcha" for the late service since the staff was in Holi mood etc. Like in all such cases, they gave a dressing down to the pantry steward asking him to take good care of me. I point blank told them that I didn't want VVIP treatment and that my intent of complaining was to improve their level of service

After a few minutes, I got a call from West Zone Control, who wanted to know if the issue was resolved, if I wanted action to be taken against the pantry staff, and asked for my suggestions for improvement. I told the caller that the intent behind my complaint was on time food service and nothing else, and they closed the complaint with an advisory to the pantry staff.

Between two platforms at Mumbai Central - note how clean the portion between two tracks is
Mumbai Rajdhani Express | Experiencing the King of Western Railway in the Tejas Avatar-mumbaicentral_viewfrompf2.jpg

Platform2 at Mumbai Central - neat polished granite
Mumbai Rajdhani Express | Experiencing the King of Western Railway in the Tejas Avatar-mumbaicentral_underthe-canopypf2.jpg

Portion of the on-board snack
Mumbai Rajdhani Express | Experiencing the King of Western Railway in the Tejas Avatar-akrajdhani_snack.jpg

Display right above the cabin door - speedo error of 2kmph
Mumbai Rajdhani Express | Experiencing the King of Western Railway in the Tejas Avatar-akrajdhani_display.jpg
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Old 20th March 2022, 10:43   #50
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As an ardent fan of trains and Indian Railways since childhood, I have one perennial gripe, why aren't our coaches as modern and sleek as the European ones. We always have overdone exteriors (point in case the new DQ rakes), clunky interiors with a lot of things fit in as afterthought and downright lack of aesthetics. I understand our regular trains are heavily subsidized but the Rajdhani(s) and Shatabdhi(s) are the premium lot and do charge a decent fare. At least these coaches can be the greatest and latest. Compare our Raj sleeper to the Caledonian Sleeper I had the opportunity to travel in the past... They have really pleasant interiors and color scheme.

Picture courtesy - The man in seat 61. Any ardent rail fan would know this, its an one man team bhp of trains
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Mumbai Rajdhani Express | Experiencing the King of Western Railway in the Tejas Avatar-caledoniansleeperclub1large.jpg  

Mumbai Rajdhani Express | Experiencing the King of Western Railway in the Tejas Avatar-caledoniandoubleroomlarge.jpg  

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Old 20th March 2022, 17:20   #51
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Originally Posted by SR-71 View Post
I have one perennial gripe, why aren't our coaches as modern and sleek as the European ones.
IR is in itself a wholly complex ecosystem with a huge burden to SAFELY transport millions of It's citizens on a daily basis. Our Railways' single coach carries pax count equivalent to entire trains in the West.
2S coaches can carry upto 144 pax and SL have a max carrying capacity of 81 (LHB) and 72 (ICF) - these are the most heavily patronized classes on our network. To put things in perspective, a normal express train can sometimes carry upto 2000 pax in it's standard 24 coach rake composition.

To design such high density coaches, it's a given to miss out on some creature comforts which trains with low pax carrying capacity in the west offers. (read = private coupe with showers, dining cars, separate luggage racks etc). Still, I do believe the new LHB designs are quite modern and do provide all the basic amenities one needs during the journey (comfortable bunks to sleep, space to store luggage under the berths, adequate fans and effective AC, mirrors and bottle handles, clean toilets etc).

Quote:
I understand our regular trains are heavily subsidized but the Rajdhani(s) and Shatabdhi(s) are the premium lot and do charge a decent fare. At least these coaches can be the greatest and latest.
It all boils down to unit economics. Shatabdi and Rajdhani trains offer higher-speed travel with reduced travel time, at per km rates which are the lowest in the world.
Eg - Distance between Mumbai - Ahmedabad is about 500 kms. Shatabdi offers Executive Class at INR 2000/-. That comes down to about INR 4/- a km.
Mumbai - Delhi Rajdhani runs for about 1400 kms, and charges INR 3600/- for 2AC. Translating to INR 2.5/- a km.

Guess, IR offers the best services in it's premium trains at rates which are the lowest when compared to any railway system around the globe!


Quote:
Compare our Raj sleeper to the Caledonian Sleeper I had the opportunity to travel in the past... They have really pleasant interiors and color scheme.
The recent Tejas Rajdhani expresses do have soothing exteriors, and their interiors are definitely pleasant to the eyes. The ergonomics are spot on (except for a few here and there), and passengers do have reported a positive experience overall. Even our famed BHPian @VIGSOM recommends the updated Tejas Rajdhani fleets.

To sum it up, our 20 coach Rajdhani has a max carrying capacity of 1200 pax, atleast 5x more than the Caledonian Sleeper. Such is the high-density train setup of premium trains in India. I guess, the IR is doing a commendable job to serve all strata of our society by offering safe yet economical mode of railway transport.

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Picture courtesy - The man in seat 61. Any ardent rail fan would know this, its an one man team bhp of trains
You bet, he's an encyclopedia when it comes to knowledge on trains and railways around the globe. The content his portal has is very much unbiased and true in all sense
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Old 21st March 2022, 09:39   #52
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Originally Posted by vigsom View Post
I travelled by the August Kranti Rajdhani Express from Mumbai Central yesterday.
I am not a fan of those polished new platform floors. They only look good. The surface is slippery. All it takes is a little carelessness or a lack of warning after its just been mopped for someone to have a bad tumble. Not everyone wears a pair of grippy sneakers.

Unfortunate to hear about the food. Food on the Rajdhani is a highlight as they tend to over feed you. That said, some of the private food vendors on some express trains do beat the Rajdhani for variety.

For all the hate IR usually gets, quite pleased on how they responded to your complaint with a follow up. Its not often you hear of that. Heck, I doubt if our airlines follow this as well!

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Originally Posted by SR-71 View Post
As an ardent fan of trains and Indian Railways since childhood, I have one perennial gripe, why aren't our coaches as modern and sleek as the European ones.
That is because we do not know how to look after them. For some weird or bizarre reason, we have this ingrained into our heads. If its not ours, you don't need to give a damn about it. You spit on it, break it, do whatever and we get away with it. Until that mentality changes, the best we're going to get are our Lhb's in their current form. I can't ever think of how we'd use a basin if they ever provided one inside the cabin! It will be filled with paan by the end of a long journey or will have water fallen on the floor which will make it an absolute nightmare for our cleaning stuff.

The sleek part is less critical as our trains rarely average more than 75kmph.

Our trains go through travel & terrain conditions that no other railway in the world can compare to. We have built our coaches to withstand abuse. This takes a front seat when it comes to designing one. Luxury comes a distant second or is virtually non existent for our daily use trains. At the most, I'd ask that we add a little more practicality, care and safety to the design. Those modern Lhb's still have a lot of sharp edges such as protruding screws and poorly fitted panels. The very least I can expect ICF to do is fix these.
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Old 21st March 2022, 10:28   #53
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Originally Posted by jigar1791@gmail View Post
The recent Tejas Rajdhani expresses do have soothing exteriors, and their interiors are definitely pleasant to the eyes.
The LHB Rajdhani's exterior of pale red and greyish silver does look pleasing. But the Tejas rakes just like the new DQ rakes have an in your face color palate, IMHO. But again these things differ from person to person. IMO the pale-red + silver-gray scheme that many IR trains have started using now is one of the best color palate IR has come up with in long time.

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Originally Posted by jigar1791@gmail View Post
To sum it up, our 20 coach Rajdhani has a max carrying capacity of 1200 pax, atleast 5x more than the Caledonian Sleeper. Such is the high-density train setup of premium trains in India.
Shouldn't it be all the more reason to make a classy coach happen. More revenue per track, that's how railways over the world crunch their numbers. We already have that, we just don't seem to be putting it to best use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jigar1791@gmail View Post
I guess, the IR is doing a commendable job to serve all strata of our society by offering safe yet economical mode of railway transport.
Undeniable, I doubt any other system in the world executes passenger traffic at the scale IR does. However contrary to my earlier assumption we are not the worlds largest railway network on passenger density basis. In fact we are not even second or third. Those recognition go to Chez Republic, Germany and UK respectively. We are actually in the 12th position. Note I am not talking about scale here, but passenger density per SqKm of track. Chez Republic does 122 Mil/SqKm, we do 22 Mil/SqKm as per a 4 year old stats.

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Originally Posted by sandeepmohan View Post
That is because we do not know how to look after them. For some weird or bizarre reason, we have this ingrained into our heads.
Couldn't agree more. There is also no respect for fellow passengers in our country. I had the opportunity of using ICE in Germany travelling from Munich to Frankfurt. I boarded the very first coach right behind the train driver so that I can have a view of the front. What I did not know was that it was a quiet first class. Apparently you are supposed to be quiet and not say a word in that small 10 seater cabin. I learnt it the hard way when I got a phone call that I had to pick up :-(. Such cabins will be super welcome in our country where people just play loud music on their phone unmindful of the impact it has on co-passengers.

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Originally Posted by sandeepmohan View Post
The sleek part is less critical as our trains rarely average more than 75kmph
Have to respectfully disagree on both account. I am not talking aerodynamics here. A boxy train can still be sleek and aesthetically pleasing. Look at the Tejas picture above, the water bottle holder, the display screen and that latch on the door outside, they are look so out of place and from stone age. Why cant we have better fit and finish is what I am cribbing about. Why do we always have to think about in the lines of Force Gurkha, why not think on the lines of a Kodiaq (Sorry no offence Gurkha owners). On the speed aspect, our average speed is very less cause of the slow downs for traffic, crossings, entering a large station and time it takes to accelerate from standstill when leaving a station and so on. Our Gatiman and Bhopal Shatabdhi does an impressive 160+ Kmph on sustained basis. Even lowly non-premium trains are known to do 100+ in the nights (Karnataka Exp. is a pretty good example). Our track infrastructure is what makes our trains slow not the train design.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandeepmohan View Post
Our trains go through travel & terrain conditions that no other railway in the world can compare to. We have built our coaches to withstand abuse. This takes a front seat when it comes to designing one. Luxury comes a distant second or is virtually non existent for our daily use trains.
We can still build aesthetically pleasing coaches to withstand terrain abuse. What we cannot do is build aesthetically pleasing coaches to withstand human abuse. They can always damage even the best looking coaches, sad!

Last edited by SR-71 : 21st March 2022 at 10:46.
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Old 22nd March 2022, 04:44   #54
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Originally Posted by SR-71 View Post
What I did not know was that it was a quiet first class. A boxy train can still be sleek and aesthetically pleasing.Our Gatiman and Bhopal Shatabdhi does an impressive 160+ Kmph on sustained basis. Our track infrastructure is what makes our trains slow not the train design.
I am aware of those quiet coaches in Germany and maybe some other countries too. I think its a bit crazy to have something like this. That's the German way though.

I did highlight design which has room for improvement. Our Lhb's are sort of okay, straight out of the factory. Its the on-line maintenance which is shoddy. When something breaks, coaches don't go back to ICF for repair. The local maintenance depot handles it. From an aesthetic perspective, I don't think they are capable of doing anything. Its the usual jugaad approach to fixing issues.

You're comparing a handful of our fastest trains versus several hundred that run below an average speed of 75Kmph. I'm probably generous about that figure. Its likely a lot lower. There is little use in looking at brief sustained speeds these trains do. Most trains now clock >100kmph. That does not mean they are fast for the trips they take. Even the Karnataka express is slow for the journey distance. I don't think we are after speeding up a multi day train journey. The inter city ones are the main contenders for a speed up and most are pretty good, or, are operating at borderline for what the infrastructure can support. Speed isn't entirely down to the track capability. The section, rolling stock, signaling are also considered.

Getting back to rolling stock, LHB's by design are safer too. Their ribbed roof structure is more stiff than the outgoing ICF designed coaches. The latter were pretty much crumple boxes designed to crush or worse kill you. Lhb's incorporated cbc coupling mechanism which would prevent telescoping of coaches in the event of a crash. Their braking and suspension systems are light years ahead of anything ICF made or could design. There is very little lateral oscillation on these coaches and next to no vertical oscillation. On the old ICF design, its scary once the train crosses the 100kmph mark. You are literally thrown around in your bunk. Some like this feeling. I don't.

As a country, I don't think we are ready (yet) for adopting the kind of modern coaches you get to experience in the developed world. Maybe when the Bullet train project completes between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. This will be out of reach for our common folk. I don't expect ticket prices to be anywhere below Rs. 10,000 on a flash train like this.
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Old 22nd March 2022, 10:22   #55
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Originally Posted by sandeepmohan View Post
That is because we do not know how to look after them. For some weird or bizarre reason, we have this ingrained into our heads.
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Originally Posted by SR-71 View Post
Couldn't agree more. There is also no respect for fellow passengers in our country.
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Originally Posted by sandeepmohan View Post
As a country, I don't think we are ready (yet) for adopting the kind of modern coaches you get to experience in the developed world.
This conflict between having better facilities versus the way public facilities are (mis)handled in our country is something I continuously think about every time I travel by train. The question I always come back to is what comes first? Do people learn to respect good facilities first and then we provide them or do we provide them and then the necessary behavior gets inculcated?

I think the key (with this and with anything really in our country) is introducing change gradually and incrementally. And all across the board.

(Plus, it's a myth that higher ticket prices translate to better behavior- you should see the way some of us "rich" (in monetary terms, not values!) Indians leave the toilets on international flights and hotels (it's no wonder we're among the least favorite travelers with international hotel service staff!))

So I'd say a good start by IR would be to ensure everything works as expected all the time, and not just on marquee trains like the Rajdhani and not just on the AC coaches. D compartments should be cleaned well too, bathrooms in sleeper coaches should have soap too, general ticket holders deserve waiting facilities too. Let's ensure this consistently. Gradually people will begin to expect better things and then also learn to use them well.

The problem with the government is they like to announce fancy projects like LCD display panels that show the speed of the train...when we should be first ensuring that the displays showing which coach will stop where on the platform work as expected on every platform and for every train! That will make more of a difference to more people. Before aiming for "quiet compartments", let's get TTs to remind people not to play loud music on their phones after 9pm without earphones. And put notices on trains about fines for that. Small things like that.

(PS: Obviously I'm not saying that the two can't go hand in-hand. But let's ensure the basic stuff works well too.)

Last edited by am1m : 22nd March 2022 at 10:29.
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Old 23rd March 2022, 10:10   #56
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I prefer to travel by train over air especially if the train journey is less than 15 hours. But my family especially wife and daughter refuse to do so due to the poor conditions prevalent in the toilets of our trains. Even the Rajdhani has horribly designed toilets where one literally brushes against the wash basin to reach the commode. I don't mind the bland décor as long as cleanliness is maintained, but surely these toilets can be designed to be more convenient.
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