Never shy away from the common man’s class; you will be pleasantly surprised with the comfort it offers, especially in winters/monsoon.
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Sleeper Class train travel – this would be the default mode of transport for most of us in the 80s and 90s and beyond until affordable air travel and deeper pockets spoilt us all with air-conditioned coaches and air travel. This is a brief travel account of my 300km countryside train ride in Sleeper Class a few months ago.
Why Sleeper Class?
Very simple – there was no accommodation on the AC classes on this train and I had to travel that day. While chance of confirmation of AC accommodation was slim given that I was boarding at a remote station, sleeper class berths were available aplenty. So, “Follow the Blue Ocean strategy “, I said to myself.
Palakkad Jn. – one of the cleanest railway stations I’ve encountered
What I liked
- Pure countryside air to breathe
- Clean coach and reasonably clean washrooms
- Berth comfortable enough for a journey in good weather
- Opportunity to savour local food enroute (vadai, sundal(chhole), superb home made tea served by lady hawkers)
What I didn’t like
- Wind in the face can make one’s eyes go itchy and watery; this is especially true if one travels immediately after the monsoon or during dry spells during the monsoon
- Can get nasty if too many unauthorised passengers get in (fortunately I didn’t experience that)
- Some fans need a nudge by a comb to start moving
Groundnuts at Unjalur
Home made tea sold by a hawker at Kodumudi – this was the best tea I’ve ever had anywhere during any travel
I chose a side upper berth so that I could keep myself away from the wind, and the pollens, as I didn’t want itchy eyes, continuous sneezing and a runny nose. I was perched on top for most of the journey except when the train had stopped. There were several unscheduled halts but given the float this train had, it made it to my destination in good time.
Inside the coach – very neat
Washroom – not too bad
Halting at Uthukuli – known for its butter
- Never shy away from the common man’s class; you will be pleasantly surprised with the comfort it offers, especially in winters/monsoon. Travel rates – beats even ordinary buses hollow
- This is the class where one can see hawkers and their local fare; something that one rarely gets to see in the Airconditioned coaches
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