Surviving Our Longest Train Journeyon August 8th, 2011 at 5:43 pm
Last night’s train journey, at 15 hours and 600 miles, was the longest one in our plan and if we didn’t catch it we’d have a problem on our hands, so being cautious I’d booked a backup train. To minimise cancellation costs I needed to cancel the backup train before we caught the planned one. But there was an almighty lightning & thunderstorm going on at the time and trains are sometimes cancelled due to mudslides onto the tracks. Luckily I could track our train using indiarailinfo.com so when it was a couple of hours away I cancelled our backup.
As it was delayed we decided to wait in our wonderful hotel rather than the not-so-nice train station. As 6:30pm we set off and 300 yards down the road our driver stopped to take a mobile call. Then a motorbike pulled up besides us to give us the two rucksacks that had fallen out of the back unnoticed. Those hand-luggage bags contained all of Amy’s medication! Thank God we got them back. Later on during the wet 45 minute ride it seemed our driver was lost, we had only 45 minutes to get to the train station; it wasn’t looking good. Finally we got there only to find that the train had been delayed even more, but at least it was still running.
This was the first station that I’d been too that had nothing written in English, well nothing of use, but finding our platform we waited, and waited. Indian trains are normally at least 20 carriages long so you need to be in position for your carriage before it arrives. Suddenly the signs about our train went blank and I couldn’t understand why, suddenly I realised it had switched platforms. Picking up all the luggage we moved to where our carriage was now due to appear at. I just knew I’d be relieved when we got on this train.
Getting on the train was easy, finding our compartment was easy, finding our berths was easy too. Quickly I locked up the luggage but it seemed I was the only one who did. We had been alloted one lower berth, one middle and two uppers which Amy and I had decided to take. Amy gets up the ladder first and gets down even quicker: someone has spilt some sweetcorn and it’s attracted some quite small cockroaches – not the best start to our first overnight train!
After ten minutes of a cockroach search-and-destroy mission by myself Amy’s bed was ready and she tentatively got up the ladder again. The rest of the beds were made up and the train departed the station. We were on our way. It was nice and cosy up in the top, listening to music and appreciating the gentle swaying motion of the train as it made its way towards our destination, Aurangabad.
All of us woke up at different points during the night as people left and others joined our compartment of 6. At 7am we all woke up and we’d done it, we’d survived our longest train journey, the one I was most worried about. Five hours later we glided into Aurangabad where we’re going to stay for three days, in one place…bliss.