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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Jaipur Delhi Doubledecker Train experience

Once I decided to make an impromptu visit to Jaipur (more about it later), I was looking for possible transportation options back to Delhi. While checking through available trains, what accidentally caught my attention was the double Decker train. It would have gone unnoticed if I had not read the news that there’re plans to introduce this double decker train between Chennai and Mysore. Double Deckers are not common in India, so I decided to try this train, even though it meant losing couple of hours of site seeing opportunity in Delhi (This train reaches Delhi by 10AM. If I’d taken some other transportation to reach Delhi by say 7 AM, I could have visited few more places)
For my planned Sunday morning journey, when I checked on Thursday afternoon, 100+ seats were available. Since connection was slow, I thought I’ll book later. Friday morning 4 AM I suddenly woke up and remembered that I’ve not yet booked the ticket. Logged into IRCTC, last 2 seats were remaining. Happily booked one of them. While booking the ticket, there were no option to indicate if I want upper deck or lower. Only Window/Non Window could be specified. Luckily I got a seat in upper deck, an aisle seat.
Sunday morning 5.30 AM I reached Jaipur railway station, which was at a walkable 1.5 km from my guest house (Shahar Palace). Within minutes the double-decker train pulled into platform number 2. Its scheduled departure was 6 AM. Like me for many it was new experience, many people were clicking photos of it. My attempt to board the train first and take some good photos of empty train before passengers rush in failed, as many eager passengers boarded as soon as it halted took their seats half an hour before departure time.
Fare: For a journey of 294 kms between Jaipur and Delhi Contt, the ticket fare was Rs 385+ 20 Service fee + payment gateway charges. Almost proportionate to Shatabdi express fares. No complementary food like in Shatabdi.

From the outside: The compartments are a bit higher than regular compartments, but not two times as one would have expect. This is because Lower deck sinks below the normal level. Train had some 14 compartments in total, each with some 120 seats. I didn’t notice any first class compartment.

From the inside:  All compartments are chair cars, with a 3+2 configuration. Similar to Shatabdi or other chair cars, at the centre of the compartments passengers face each other. As mentioned earlier, lower deck sinks below platform level. A small set of steps takes passengers to upper and lower decks. There’re few solo seats as well and some seats at middle level (near the steps). There’s no provision to indicate where you’d like to sit. Only luck can get you best seat. Charging points and window curtains are provided.  There were few extra passengers standing all through the journey.
Train was clean and neat, couple of armrests, including mine were damaged a bit here and there.

I felt leg room is more than Shatabdi by an inch or two. Seat recline was only marginal. Couldn’t really feel it.
Travel experience: Overhead luggage space was soon filled up and passengers started feeling shortage of the same and began re-arranging bags to make more space or find other places to keep their luggage. Very few hawkers strolled through my journey that lasted 4 hours. In fact people felt hungry and there was hardly anything coming by. Some passengers started asking any seller for tea and other things, for which the reply was "its over" or "it'll come". Once a seller enters a compartment, he'll either take upper deck or lower deck to go to next compartment. Going back one more round to cover the other deck might seem like waste of time to him. Almost all vendors who sold food stuff emptied their baskets in no time. Sample rates: Water bottle: Rs 15, Samosa Rs 11 per piece, Frooti tetra pack: Rs 20, Cakes at MRP.

I didn’t feel the speed of the train, but compared to 7 hour bus journey 2 days earlier (Gurgaon-Jaipur), I feel 4 hour travel time by this train is pretty fast. Double decker doesn’t stop at too many places. It has only 4-5 stops in its entire journey. 

A nice sunrise by the side and green country side of Rajastan/Haryana made the journey pleasant.
Train pulled into Delhi Cantonment at about 10.15, 10 minutes beyond schedule. Overall a very good service by Indian Railways running this double decker train. They should introduce more such trains and I hope Mysore-Bengaluru-Chennai double decker starts plying soon.


Deepak Madhyastha said...

surprised. Train looks clean and neat, usually it is not. Think it's a new train.

Vishal Rathod said...

Super review. i have great passion for trains. I will try double decker between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Thanks for sharing.

D.Nambiar said...

So cool. Even I hadn't heard of this double decker train.
Aren't the scenes great from the upper deck! I just experienced that a couple of months back. :)

Thank you for this info, Shrinidhi. :)

Debopam said...

I have seen this train in Howrah station many times but till now could not make out an opportunity to board it..... Thanks for such a nice review.....

Dheeraj Sharma said...

Lovely write up or review. Never knew these are present for Delhi - Jaipur as well. Would love to try it soon! Thanks!!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Deepak: Yes, it started only recently

Vishal: sure, thanks

DN: Scene is a bit better from upper deck, but not so good from lower deck, as it sinks below platform level

Debopam: Thanks

Dheeraj: Do try.

Sandeep Shande said...

thanks for sharing the experiences.
The A/C double decker train b/w Bangalore-Chennai wll be running soon

Arnab Maity said...

Proud of Indian Railways! Made me remember the local double decker trains at Sydney. I hope it remains the same as it looks in your pictures

Loggy : லோகி said...

Nice review Shri.. i'm planning a trip to Delhi-Jaipur shortly.. Will keep this on my to-do list..

Muhammed Aftab Qamri said...

Superb Indian innovation, late but not behind.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Sandeep: Waiting for that

Arnab: Yes, hope it remains clean and reliable

Logesh: Sure

Muhammed: Agree

TheAnand said...

Wasn't this introduced some years back and at the time, it was non-ac and all the dust and crap swooped into the compartment in the bottom decks...this seems to be much better...carries much more than the standard 70 something people in a coach

Bhupi said...

Tomorrow I am going to board Delhi to Jaipur Double Decker first time. I am very much excited about it and hoping for a nice journey. Sitting for 5 hours seems to be tiring but if the chairs have sufficient space in between, it may not. Will share you guys my experience after returning back.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Bhupi: Hope your ride was good. Do share your experience.

Anand: Not aware of the year old variant you've mentioned.

shikha said...

Thnx for d nd my parents vl board this train today...nw i v keep in my mind wt u told..sply d food..thnx

virender said...

God Bless you for such a lovely post. Your blog caught my immediate attention because my wife's name is Nidhi ( 42 years association). I am also relieved because my wife 's shoulder is broken& has a painful knees to boot. Are toilets OK as being someone with problems of movement this info would be important. How does we reach the train at Delhi Cantt/Jaipur? She cann't climb stairs? Would b greatful for any inputs.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

No need to climb stairs both in Jaipur and Delhi Cantt...

Toilets are at the central level, so little bit of climbing up and down will be required (few steps), unless your seat is in middle level (there're few such seats, but no way to select them-assigned randomly)

Hope this helps

Anonymous said...

kindly reply where to keep big trolly bags in dd trains?


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