Words: Imtiaz Ullah
Trains are one of the most important modes of transportation in India, it acts as a lifeline for millions of Indians. Unquestionably, its keeps the blood flowing!
My love for trains started when I was studying law in Pune and I had to travel to my native place, Assam. During my college days, flights were an expensive affair, hence, I mostly settled for trains. Without any iota of doubt, window seats were a treat and I was always flabbergasted to see the real beauty through train journeys.
Welcome to Indian Railways
Logo source- Wikipedia
India has some of the most spectacular and unforgettable rail journeys in the world. There’s no better way other than trains to enjoy India’s outback, cities, coastal towns and regional areas in comfort.
Indian Railways (IR) is India’s national railway system operated by the Ministry of Railways. It manages the fourth largest railway network in the world by size, with a route length of 67,368-kilometre (41,861 mi) and total track length of 121,407-kilometre (75,439 mi) as of March 2017. Routes are electrified with 25 kV AC electric traction while thirty three percent of them are double or multi-tracked.
There is no other Railways like Indian Railways in this earth
In India, train journeys are euphoric. No sooner the trains stops in platform, the passengers rushed to get into the train. There was a little commotion as passengers searched for their seats. The discussion in train journey can be really interesting ranging from politics, religion, bollywood, sports and food. Also, Its India’s largest employer!
Now that I am settled in life and time being the essence most of my travels are now done in a flight. Nonetheless, when I see a train now, I could not help but wonder about the stories of the people I met during my journeys. So many stories must have passed by me though I don’t recollect all.
A sleeper class (A non air-conditioned crowded coach) is an experience in itself. There is a bewildering variety of people on trains whom I had observed closely, luggage will be dumped all over, someone chucks food out of the window, someone else collects. Initially, there will be reluctant smiles but will turn into animated discussions, gupshup over chai is common. To run away from this frenzy, I used to spend countless time sitting or standing near the door looking aimlessly at the vistas of agricultural land, flowing rivers, mountains, tea gardens, at night as the train passes by a village the dim light from the houses at the villages would draw my attention.
At night all hue and cry made by the people will take over by an eerie silence with the chuk chuk sound of the train which is a rhythm in itself.
The abrupt wakening in the wee morning hours, by the vendors shouting for breakfast. As if I had set an alarm early in the morning.
The train journey instilled the interest of travel in me. The journeys surely have a charm of their own. Nostalgia, in my case!
Some noteworthy train journey India that should never be missed are:
- Konkan Railway
- Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
- Kangra Valley Railway
- Kalka Shimla
- Train ride to Haflong
- Vasco Da Gama to Londa
- Matheran Hill Railway
- Desert Queen
THAT’S ALL FOR TODAY, FOLKS!
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