The Vande Bharat Experience

I still can’t stop smiling 😃. There are several things from our rich ancient cultural heritage, to be proud of as a Bharatiya but fewer things to be proud of since 1947….. seeing the Vande Bharat express rolling into the Chennai Central station changes that. A wholly made in India train that is world class and made in 1/3rd the cost of what importing such a train would have entailed. Thank Mr. Sudhanshu Mani, the creator of Vande Bharat.

Read – ‘Had to touch Railway Board chairman’s feet to get approval’: Vande Bharat Express train creator Sudhanshu Mani.

The story above is true. Please follow Mr. Sudhanshu Mani on Twitter @ManiSudhanshu58 to know more.

We boarded the 5.50 am Chennai-Mysuru Vande Bharat at 4.45 am all thanks to Krishnan who ensured we were at the station early. The executive chair car was empty and I got to take some cool pics and a short video.

We were served tea and coffee as soon as the train started its run. A little later we were served Corn Flakes and then a full fledged breakfast. There were Tamil and English newspapers on offer. Krishnan used the restroom and it was spotlessly clean, a huge relief for paranoid folk like me who never use public toilets and certainly never on trains.

The train gathered speed and touched 130 kmph and Krishnan and I were grinning like school kids. Stations went by in a blur and soon we reached Mysuru station exactly on time, 6.5 hours later.

Watch my short video on the whole Vande Bharat experience. Please do follow my YouTube channel for more such travelogues and unique experiences.

A few suggestions for further improvements –

  1. Serve Indian food – why Kellogg’s corn flakes when we have desi nutritious Poha or Dalia or Upma etc.
  2. Traditional Indian sweets to replace the Lotto choco pie and please serve tender coconut water rather than the unhealthy “Real” fruit juice !!
  3. Insist on passengers giving away their trash like on an airplane. The seat pocket in front of us was filled with biscuit crumbs :(.
  4. Please get an Indian voice to record the announcements. Some foreign accent struggling and mis-pronouncing our city names is totally a lowlight.
  5. The food tray that’s stowed into the armrest doesn’t open fully. Needs a better design like on airplanes.
  6. The steps to climb into the coach need to be lower, almost touching the platform floor.
  7. Didn’t notice a Divyang entry – is the train wheelchair friendly ?
  8. Announcements about historic locations enroute. For e.g Mahendravadi is a historic location on the way to Mysuru. It’s from the Pallava era, but it just went by without anyone the wiser.

Overall, a world class experience !!! Do travel on the Vande Bharat. We had booked on the Delhi-Varanasi Vande Bharat in 2020 but had to cancel due to the onset of the pandemic. So happy that we finally made our trip aboard one.

#VandeBharat #WorldClass #SudhanshuMani

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