Monday, January 2, 2012

The Shatabdi Express - Pune Hyderabad

For all those traveling from Pune to Hyderabad and the other way round, the Indian Railways has introduced the Shatabdi Express which is a nice option to try. The first big thing about this train is that it covers the distance is 8 hours as opposed to the regular 12-13 hours or more. The second thing is that its a day train and starts at Pune at 550 am and reaches Secunderabad at 150 pm, turns around, starts at Secunderabad at 250 pm and reaches Pune at 1115 pm. It is air conditioned and has a chair car facility, since it is a day journey, i.e. no berths. The regular chair car has 3 and 2 chairs which is a bit cramped with all the luggage and not much space for it, while the first class has a more spacious 2 and 2 chair arrangement which is far more comfortable. The Shatabdi is a fair enough option to explore if the timings fit in. The food and beverages are included in the fare and add some excitement to the journey.

The regular chair car disoriented me a bit as everything is slightly out of alignment, as if everything in the coach has been given to some trainee carpenters, workmen - the trays, the seats, the paneling, and almost everything looks a bit fragile and off alignment. It is amazing at how it looks, like some scene out of 'Inception' with many things at angles that one would not expect.

The food and stuff came on time and that was a saving grace - generally okay. The service of the IRCTC staff has all good intentions though it may not be top class. The coaches have plugpoints for those who wish to use their laptops or charge their mobile phones at every seating station. I'd recommend the first class though its double the price of the regular chair car for the simple reason that it is more spacious and fr less crowded. I suddenly see this train as a wonderful option to travel to Pune now and hope to make more trips in the coming months.

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