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Solapur to Shirdi: MSRTC's all new Non-AC Seater cum Sleeper

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As I drew up plans to head to Shirdi after examination work at Bijapur, I looked at various options on the internet. No direct buses turned up - no trains either. I had the option of taking a train to Pune - but the train got there at a very odd hour, thus spoiling my sleep, plus getting me to Shirdi quite later in the day, which would make it a very tight visit. I recalled my journey to Shirdi the previous year, and it was a helluva experience getting to Shirdi from Pune - and I badly wanted to avoid repeating that experience this time (read it here, if you haven't read about it yet!). I briefly considered going via Hubli - but it seemed to add too much of traveling time. I looked at options from Solapur instead - two interesting options popped up - one was a Shivshahi seater coach, and the other was a non-ac seater-cum-sleeper coach. The second option quite grabbed my thoughts - I did a round of research on the internet to find if it was a new bus, or would I end up in a run do…

Bengaluru to Bijapur: VRL Volvo B9R Sleeper coach

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Bijapur was my second examination duty. The travel options to Bijapur (Vijayapura) was limited, just like Kalaburagi. There were, actually, a lot of options among non-AC buses - but I was specifically looking for AC buses. I decided to pick VRL, again, this time - their Volvo Sleeper instead of the seater, though. I was traveling on a Friday, and VRL had priced their Sleeper at a 50% premium - I had no choice, but to find out the best offers on the internet, and the ticket was booked using the Abhibus mobile application. 
January 31, 2020: I had spent almost the entire day trying to figure out which bus would be taking me to Vijayapura (Bijapur) that evening. A fairly newer bus had operated the route the previous night, and I had hopes of that repeating. The bus details were updated later in the evening - an older bus was listed, and I found it was converted from a seater coach to a sleeper coach by VRL's in-house workshop at Varur, Hubli. I was quite eager to see how it goes. 
I …

Kalaburagi to Yeshwantpur: Ahmedabad-Yeshwantpur Express

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I spotted this weekly Ahmedabad-Yeshwantpur express as I searched for tickets on the IRCTC website for my return journey after exam work at Kalaburagi (Gulbarga). I had seen the rake of this train multiple times in the past - this train has been running with LHB rakes since a very long time. I wanted to try this train - the timing seemed great and very convenient to me. It departed it a little before 1700hrs, and got to Bengaluru quite early in the morning - very convenient to have a short nape before heading to work. I checked with my counterpart at the college in Kalaburagi about the examination timings, and confirmed that we'd wrap it up by noon, before booking my ticket.

January 29, 2020:
The exam completed a little past noon. I was busy with some discussion with my accomplices there at the examination centre. We headed for a fairly late lunch - at the famous New Gurudutt Bhojanalaya, for some sumptuous Jolada Roti Oota (Lunch plate containing rotis (unleavened bread) made of …

Bengaluru to Kalaburagi: VRL Volvo B9R

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The exam season beckons again - another trip to Kalaburagi (Gulbarga). I was quite confused this time around - I was half minded about taking a train. However, trains were waitlisted, and this kinda reduced my confusion. Coming to buses, there were just two AC options - one is the tried and tested VRL, and the other was Orange. (I did not consider NEKRTC this time around - not a fan of the Corona, and getting a lower berth on the Corona is like a lottery). I did not fancy traveling by Orange - its a fairly old bus, and the fares were quite high. VRL was my call - I did not reserve my ticket until a few days before the journey though. I booked through my favorite booking site - did pocket a fairly good discount as well.

January 28, 2020:
I had been checking the VRL website since quite early in the day trying to find which bus would take me to Kalaburagi that evening. The bus number was updated a little after noon - a fairly older bus was allotted that day. I received messages from VRL…

Thrissur to Bengaluru: Salabham Mercedes Benz 'DreamZ' Sleeper coach

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MG built sleeper on Mercedes Benz Chassis launching tomorrow!

The very next day, the all new "Dreamz" built on Mercedes Benz OM2441 Chassis was launched by MG Bus & Coach, at the BusWorld Expo in Bengaluru. This happened in September 2018.

The launch bus was handed over to Salabham travels later. Some things went wrong. The bus didn't come to the road until early 2019. They ran the bus on routes - then went off roads for some time, and then again relaunched during Christmas 2019.

How can I not try this bus, was the question I had. The timings of this bus while it runs from Bengaluru to Thrissur was not very comfortable for me - I had to try it out in the opposite direction for sure. The bus terminates at Madiwala, and hence I had to budget for travel time from Madiwala till my residence - this effectively ruled out this option if I had to reach Bangalore on a working day. My turn to try this bus came when I looked for tickets to return after an extended holiday for M…

Hosur to Thrissur: Kochuveli Garib Rath Express

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I had booked this ticket quite in advance - Makar Sankranti holiday, plus a plan to take a couple of day leave to make it a long holiday at home. I opted for a lower berth, and ended up getting a side lower berth - I was worried from the moment I saw this. The side middle berth would surely make it claustrophobic, and I always have a fear of congested places. In the run up to the journey, a lot of things changed, and I ended up having to change my boarding point to Hosur.

January 14, 2020:
I had reached Hosur a little before 1930hrs, on a bus from Chennai. After alighting outside the bus station, I spent some time walking aimlessly - around the bus station and the flower market opposite the bus station. The flower market was busy - Tamil Nadu was celebrating its biggest festival, Pongal, the next day. The entire area was busy - people were every where. I kept wandering around for some more time, before I headed to a restaurant nearby for dinner. I had to spend a lot of time - my train…

Chennai to Hosur: KMRL Kalaimakal Travels AC Sleeper

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One email from Chennai - about a presentation at Chennai - turned a lot of my plans upside down. I had plans to go home for Makar Sankranti - spend a few days with my darling daughter. The original plan was to spend 5 days at home - certain situations in office made me cut this down to 2. Now this email threatened to cut it down to zero! I was missing my cutie really badly - and really wanted to go home. I looked at all possibilities to head home from Chennai - trains were sold out, buses were selling at astronomical fares (low cost airlines would be ashamed). I did not want to spend that kind of money to travel. In fact, tickets to Bangalore weren't cheap either.

At this point, I decided to retain my original booking from Bengaluru to Thrissur by train. I had reserved a ticket by train a few months in advance - I hadn't reserved my return ticket though. I began searching for trains from Chennai to Bengaluru - with the hope of being able to connect to my train from Bengaluru …