Daily Reflections

The magic of rail travel


Nearly 90% of Indians would have travelled by train, once or several times. Till Air Deccan happened, we were blissfully unaware of “low cost” flying and went long distances by train or car or bus … I remember the first time I travelled “First class” – one of the summer vacation trips from Guwahati to Tirunelveli. Dad was very particular that we travel in every class of travel and every mode of travel :). It was fascinating to be given bedsheets and seeing toilet rolls in the toilet. I used to write poetry in notebooks and I pulled off a long roll of toilet paper and wrote several poems on them. It’s still lying around somewhere.

The other interesting trip was having to stop at Allahabad for almost a whole day for a connecting train and two gentlemen that we had met on the train took me to watch the Rekha-starrer movie “Kali Ghata”. What super fun. My parents were unconcerned and this was when there were no phones !! What a nice world it was.

Then the solo trip that I made from Hyderabad to Jamnagar via Vadodara. Made three good friends that stayed friends for a long time. Infact one of them is right here in Delhi :). Ofcourse the return trip was the more eventful fight-with-Shiv Sena trip.

Krishnan took the most special train trip of our lives in May 1990 … But that deserves a separate blog :). Our many train trips from Delhi and the special contacts for train tickets at the old Delhi station, oh, there are several “rail” related stories.

What set off this reminiscing of train trips ? The following 23 interesting facts about Indian Railways has been doing the rounds on Whatsapp today. Read and enjoy another train trip. Now hopefully we will get to be on a bullet train soon in India.

23 amazing facts about Indian railways you never knew 😀

1. Indian Railway is constructing the highest rail bridge over Chenab, in J&K
Five times the height of Qutub Minar, it will be taller than the Eiffel Tower.

2. Loco-pilots (train drivers) are paid more than an average software
engineer. Salaries are to the tune of Rs. 1 Lakh per month and more.

3. No loco-pilot has abandoned the train even in the face of certain death.

4. The Indian Railways website gets close to 12 lakh hits per minute. Hourly traffic on IRCTC.com is more than annual traffic of some of the most popular Indian websites. It can support almost 5 million threads at one time. But, we’ve got more people than that. Hence the never ending trolls.

5. The slowest train goes uphill at the speed of 10 kilometers per hour
You can jump off the train, light up a smoke, take few drags and climb on the train again. It’s the Mettupalayam Ooty Nilgiri Passenger train.

6. If the tracks of Indian railways were to be laid out, they would circle the
earth almost 1.5 times

7. The trains got toilets after Indian Railways completed about 50 years!
Back then, passengers had to wait till the next station to answer the call of nature! Thank Okhil Chandra for making Indian Railways do the
needful. He wrote a letter to Indian Railways and finally, there were toilets in 1909!

8. Back in the old days, elephants were used to position the cartridges

9. Its 161 years old! 16 TH April, 1853. That’s a long time ago.

10. The station with the longest name is Venkatanarasimharajuvaripeta
And it’s sometimes spelled with ‘Sri’ prefixed. Quite a mouthful.

11. Most unreliable train in Indian Railways is Guwahati-Trivandrum
Express It is late on an average by ten to twelve hours. Gosh!

12. The longest tunnel in the country is 11.215 kilometers long! It is the Pir Panjal Railway tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir.

13. The station with the smallest name is called ‘IB ’: It’s in Odisha

14. Before the Automatic Point System was installed, hundreds of guards lost their hands and fingers trying to fix it manually. Every time a train got delayed and we complained, an Indian Railways employee probably lost his limbs for us

15. The longest running train covers a distance of 4273 km between Dibrugarh and Kanyakumari: It’s called the Vivek Express

16. The shortest distance covered between two successive stations is 3
kilometers. It’s between the Nagpur and Ajni station.

17. A train covers a distance of 528 km without a single stop. It’s the Trivandrum – H. Nizamuddin Rajdhani Express.

18. Lucknow is the busiest junction in the nation: 64 trains come in and move out, every day.

19. A massively successful organization – running 11,000 trains.

20. Indian Railways transports almost 2.5 crore passengers daily
That’s nearly the total population of New Zealand, Australia and Tasmania put together!

21. The Rail Museum in Delhi is the largest in Asia. It has working and non-working models both.

22. The railway station of Navapur is built in two states; half in Maharashtra
and the rest is in Gujarat

23. Indian Railways has a mascot – Bholu, the Guard Elephant

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