2. A 30 – Day Train Ride: A Train Buff’s Russian Trans-Siberian Adventure

2. 30 – Day Train Ride

  In late 2007, I had this bug to get on long distance trains in India and sleep on these trains as many nights as possible. By this time I am married to Denise in 2006, and I held a part-time job as a volunteer coordinator with a non-profit organization in Las Vegas. Yes, Denise and I moved, to Las Vegas in 2001, from San Diego area. I told my wife Denise, that I long to travel on long distance trains in India, and not stay on many hotels. She agreed and with her blessings, I quit my part-time job in early 2008, and bought a 30 day Indrail Pass on AC2 (Air condition) trains.

  On this journey, my sleeping berth and seat reservations were made by an agency in London for free, because I purchased the Indrail Pass from them. This time I traveled on 19 express trains, and slept 24 nights on various trains. I traveled on the longest distance and lengthy time on Himsagar Express for 72 hours (3 nights and 4 days), from Kanyakumari in deep South India to Jammu Tawi in Kashmir North India. Another train journey which was 3 nights and 4 days, and took 72 hours with few hours delay was Guwahathi Express, Ohka in Western Gujarat to far Eastern city Guwahati in the state of Assam. All the other trains were mostly one night journey.

Just a reminder, India is one-third the size of USA. So short one night train journeys are the majority. This trip in 2008 I traveled on four Rajdhani Express trains, and they provide meals on their trains, of course its included in the ticket price. Rajdhani’s have fewer stops and run faster, and have “right of way” when delays occur. I enjoyed the 5 week trip to India, and thought I got fulfillment and content with long distance trains.


1. In My Early Years: A Train Buff’s Russian Trans-Siberian Adventure

  1.  In My Early Years

 I love train travel. Ever since I was 12 years old, I traveled overnight train from outside of Bombay to Hyderabad in South India. It was twice a year to the boarding school in Hyderabad, for 6 years till I was 18. I was the only student in the boarding, coming from a distant region to attend school and stay in boarding, and go home in summer and Christmas holidays. All the locomotive engines were steam from Pune to Hyderabad.

At age 18 I moved to USA in 1964, joined my dad and family. First time I returned to India was for 3 weeks in 1987, and most of the travel was by plane inside India, and one overnight train journey. It all started back in 1998, when I took off to India for 60 days. I quit my subcontractor position as a financial analyst at an aerospace company near Los Angeles, and told my girl friend Denise, I want to ride the Indian rails on a mass scale. She encouraged me to take that long trip. I let go of the apartment I was renting.

 So there I went, with a 60 day Indrail Pass, which allowed me to travel on any train, but had to make reservation for a sleeping berth. Indian trains are crowded , and requires lengthy planning. It helped getting reservations on AC2 (Air Condition) carriages on various trains, due to foreign reserve quotas. The longest duration I traveled was on Kerala Express, from New Delhi to Trivandrum. Kerala Express was a 3 day, 2 night travel. The train went through various states, all the way to deep South India. Some were electric engines.

On this trip all the other train journey’s were a one night journey, and did visit few relatives in various Indian states. I enjoyed the 60 day trip to India. This was primarily a spiritual pilgrimage journey. I thought I had a good fill with trains, for a while. I stayed at many hotels close to train stations, about 15 of them. Just before starting my journey, I came across “India by Rail” guide book, and was a great asset.