Vistadome journey for scenic western ghats: complete planning guide - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Vistadome journey for scenic western ghats: complete planning guide

Vistadome is a luxury coach from Indian Railways. Vistadome has large glass windows, glass panels in the roof, large, wide, rotating, spacious seats and is very convenient to enjoy nature while the train moves.

Vistadome is India's attempt to match luxurious European railway coaches. Vistadome seats are promptly priced 3 times AC chair car prices and 10 times the non Ac (second sitting) ticket price.

Vistadome was recently launched between Bengaluru and Mangaluru, giving passengers amazing view of western ghats as the train passes through tunnels, bridges, waterfalls and so on. Hundreds of people have already taken a ride in Vistadome and social media is full of videos. Almost everyone have praised the vistadome service and it is indeed good. I took a ride recently and this is my review of Vistadome, along with all the FAQs, planning tips for your ride in Vistadome.

What to expect during Vistadome journey?
There were two vistadome coaches in the train I travelled. May be authorities may add more in future.
Each coach only seats 44 people (compared to 70+ in regular AC chair car), hence Vistadome is more spacious and comfortable than other coaches. Below are key reasons why Vistadome is special and expensive.

1. Less crowd: Each vistadome coach seats only 44 people as against 70+ in AC Chair car or sleeper coaches. Hence there will be less passengers and more space around.
2. Large windows & Glass panel in roof: Vistadome windows are super large and offer great view of scenery outside. Even AC chair car comes with large windows but Vistadome has larger windows and few glass panels on roof too.
3. Ultra luxurious seats: Seats in Vistadome coach have following provisions:
  • Only 4 people per row (2+2 layout compared to 3+2 in AC chair car) and only 11 rows as against 15-16 rows in AC chair car
  • Each seat has a seat back pocket, cup holder, grabbing handle, aircraft like foldable tray, armrest, push button recline
  • Seats can be rotated 360 degrees. You can rotate it in the direction of journey or rotate it 90 degrees to face the windows. (but if the row ahead of you turns the seat 90 degrees you won't be able to, some coordination is required between passengers
  • Individual charging sockets for each seats
  • No overhead luggage space. A dedicated luggage rack is available in both ends of vistadome coach
  • Seat numbers written in braille also for those who have impaired vision
  • Windows have curtains as well.
Seats can be rotated but not all rows can rotate fully (90 degrees) at once. Limited legroom if row above is tilted 90 degrees. Then better you also tilt 45 degrees...
Above: Aircraft style folding trays under armrest
Below: Individual Power outlet and luggage compartment
4. Observation deck: There is a dedicated observation deck towards one end of the vistadome coach. While train comes from Bengaluru towards Mangaluru the coaches are put at the end of the train so passengers could view the rear, but while train was being pulled up towards Bengaluru, we had vistadome coaches at the front, with engine ahead of us, so we didn't get open view.
Food options in Vistadome:
Unlike Shatabdi, no food included in vistadome ticket price. The journey between Bangalore and Mangalore lasts almost 12 hours so you will definitely need food. Vistadome has a small pantry- shown below, but it may get exhausted soon if everyone buys lots of stuff. Better carry some food or fruits of your own. Pulav was sold for 30 Rs per packet, cup noodle is 55 Rs. Reasonably priced but limited stock. Even the railway stations on the way may not have all shops open due to limited crowd.

Vistadome train information- Train number, timing, days of running
Vistadome now operates everyday between Mangaluru and Bengaluru but train numbers and timings are different. Check below chart for current info, check IRCTC website for latest updates.

#

Train #

From to

Days running

Timing

1

06540

Mangaluru Junction-Yeshwantpur

Sunday

9.15 AM from MAJN

Reach BLR 8 PM

2

06576

Mangaluru Junction-Yeshwantpur

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

8.50 AM from MAJN

3

06212

Mangaluru Junction-Yeshwantpur

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

11.30  AM from MAJN

4

06575

Yeswantpur to Mangaluru

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday

7 AM from YPR

Reach MAJN 5 PM

5

06211

Yeswantpur to Mangaluru

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

7 AM from YPR

Reach MAJN 5 PM

 

 

 

 

 


Vistadome train coach ticket prices:

From-To

Vistadome

AC Chair Car

Second sitting

Full distance

1400

525

155

Subramanya-Sakleshpura

625

265

70

Mangalore to Hasana

960

385

105


A few things to keep in mind while booking vistadome tickets:
1. Train starts from Yeshwantpur Junction in Bengaluru and ends at Mangaluru Junction (YPR and MAJN). Do not mistake it for Bengaluru city and Mangaluru central railway stations. You may miss the train. Be sure to go to right railway station.'
2. Tickets can be booked through IRCTC, but there's no explicit word called "Vistadome"- you have to book "Executive Chair Car" category in trains that have vistadome

Toilets:
Toilets in Vistadome are modern, have all facilities. Hope they are maintained well.

Things that can be improved:
1. Put some cameras in front of the engines and show live feeds in display units available. Passengers can see what is ahead- waterfall, bridge, tunnel etc and plan well. Also show upcoming station etc.
2. Passengers will need food during 11-12 hour journey. Do factor 100-150 Rs extra if required but provide a welcome drink, meals, evening tea/snacks. Passengers will anyway spend that much (55 Rs for cup noodle, 30 Rs for pulav, 10 Rs per tea/coffee etc)
How to save money while planning vistadome tour?
It is not essential to book entire journey from Bengaluru to Mangaluru. Most exciting scenery is between Sakaleshpura and Subramanya Road. If you don't want to spend 1500 Rs per person, book for part of the journey. Below are some options
- Take overnight bus to Sakaleshpura, explore Sakaleshpura for half a day and then board Vistadome at Sakaleshpura to Subramanya/Mangaluru stretch
-Take overnight train to Mangaluru, explore Mangaluru, next day book Vistadome-Mangaluru to Sakaleshpura and Book AC chair car or second sitting from Sakaleshpura to Bengaluru
- People from Udupi/Mangaluru can book vistadome from Mangaluru till Sakaleshpura/Hassan, spend some time exploring around and return same day night in some other train bound for Mangaluru or Karwar.

Vistadome vs other options
While Vistadome is luxurious you will get same view even from a deen dayal coach if you can stand by the door or peep through the window. AC chair car is 60% cheaper and has similarly large windows, but is 2x crowded than vistadome so less space and more people

Where to sit/how to plan best photos and videos in vistadome?
  • Unfortunately for best photo and video you have to go and stand by the door or in front cabin. Large glass windows will have reflection of the light inside and water droplets outside so may distort your photos a bit.
  • While going from Mangaluru to Bengaluru, on your left side you will have valley view, on your right side you have higher chances of finding waterfalls, hills.
  • Overhead glass panel is effectively useless, except sky view it doesn't offer much.
My Vistadome Experience:
All my previous train travel were because I wanted to reach the destination. For the first time, booked vistadome journey just to experience the newly introduced coach. Ticket availability was scarce-I had booked 2 weeks in advance. I am based in Udupi and didn't want to go all the way to Bengaluru, so I booked only Mangaluru-Hasana section. Could save a bit on this. Now I think it would have been enough to book till Sakaleshpura alone. I reached Mangalore, took auto to Mangalore Junction railway station, enjoyed the journey till Hasana, spent 4 hours in Hasana town roaming around and took another train at 9.20 PM back to Udupi. Vistadome average speed was about 25 kmph- left Mangalore at 9.15, reached Hasana by 4 PM- 7 hours for 200 kms. View was great- sat in my seat for half the time, spent at the door for the rest. After 1.5 years happy to indulge in a bit of train travel.

! spent about 100 Rs on food- 55 Rs cup noodle, 30 Rs for 2 wada, 2 coffees during my 9 AM to 4 PM ride.

Because of interior lights, passing through tunnel was not fun. There was no complete darkness. Overall it is a good one time experience, can't afford to keep spending so much for every journey between Mangalore and Bangalore. Train ticket + cost of reaching railway station/home+ food = 2000 Rs per person one way total spending.

Vistadome Video coming soon, Watch this for now

Let me know if you have specific questions on Vistadome train travel. I will try to answer.

Vistadome is being launched in other scenic routes across the country-read Sandeep's post here 

11 comments:

  1. Looks great, Thanks for details post on Vistadome Coach.
    Safe travel. Stay Safe.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Informative and very good coverage. Also liked that you brought some points that could be improved.

    ReplyDelete
  3. very informative and crisp writing

    ReplyDelete
  4. Lol I was also wondering what's the use of the overhead glass panels. Instead they could've made luggage racks there. Passengers would've felt comfortable and safe having the luggage with them.

    ReplyDelete

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