Saturday, May 24, 2008

First ride on BEST's King Long!

My recent visit to Mumbai had a very huge surprise in store for me! BEST is now operating an Air Conditioned bus service to Navi Mumbai. The service is between Bandra-Kurla Complex and CBD Belapur on Route number "A-505". I decided to try out the service this time. I checked out the timing of the bus service at Belapur on 21-May evening. The bus was at 19.05. I had some other works - just finished it off and headed back to the bus station - but was literally shocked to see what was in store for me! It was this:



BEST is running a King Long to Navi Mumbai! The bus was MH-01-LA-6090 (1110/A). The bus was based at Anik Depot (near Sion in Mumbai). The bus was heading off to Sion in the evening. I walked around taking a few pics of the bus.





The driver came around, and opened the door of the bus for the passengers. The bus was left on, and the doors were closed. I entered the bus, and it was chilling inside! The interiors of the bus was awesome, and the windows were really huge in size!







The bus started off at 19.05 sharp from the bus station. There was one non-AC bus on the same route (505 Limited) right behind my bus. The bus driver had a convenient run across the small ghat between Belapur and Nerul. The other bus lost the race here. We then made a rather slow run to Nerul. Occupancy was rather poor in the bus, with just about 40% occupancy in the 47 seater bus. I took a ticket to Vashi - It cost me Rs. 15 (A limited stop bus charges Rs 6 for the same distance). The AC was cooling really effectively.

The non-AC bus overtook us at Nerul. Our driver was driver on 3rd gear when the situation demanded the second gear! The driver decided not to take the overtake lying down, and he floored the accelerator pedal! The bus hit a comfortable 70kmph is no time! He hit a top speed of about 80 kmph on the highway comfortably! He then had to decelerate due to traffic conditions!

The ride from Belapur to Vashi took about 20 minutes due to traffic. The bus picked up quite a lot of passengers at APMC, and all seemed to be regular passengers. The conductor said that only 1 King Long was run on the route, while the other buses were normal Leyland AC buses. I was a bit sad to get off the bus at Vashi. Just before getting down from the bus, got to have some chat with the driver. He was happy driving the bus, but was a bit sad about the gear shift. The bus had 6 gears and was a Manual transmission one. He said some of the newer ones had automatic transmission!

The AC was cooling too effectively that the temperature inside the bus was 18.3 degrees celsius! It was about 35 outside!!! I got off the bus at Vashi bus station. The bus made a hell lot of noise outside, but was very very silent inside!!! Overall a good challenge to Volvo! I sincerely look forward to make another trip on it soon! (A comparision of this bus to the Volvo would come very soon!).

Friday, May 23, 2008

Mumbai Revisited .... Final Update

Huh! The journey has finally ended! The train crawled into Yesvantpur at 0730, a full hour and 2 minutes after its scheduled arrival time here! We managed to reach Tumkur only at 0600, and the train kept a damn slow pace from there till somewhere around Nidavanda. Doubling is complete, and the section commissioned between Golhalli and Yesvantpur. The new line being laid to Shravanabelagola (on its way to Hassan) joins the Yesvantpur-Tumkur line at Chikkabanavar.

I took a BMTC bus from YPR to Majestic a.k.a Kempegowda Bus station. The bus left YPR at 0840 - a full hour after I reached the bus station! I made it to KBS by 0900, and then took a Volvo on route V356 on my way to Bannerghatta Road! Overall an interesting journey! Pictures are being edited, and should be up in a day or two.... Bye for now...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Yeah! The return journey has just begun! Am on board the karnataka sampark kranti express to yeshwantpur. The loco in charge is KJM WDM3A 14080 working long hood forward.
My reservation was originally in second ac but just got upgraded free of cost to first ac! Now let me travel king style! More would come soon!

Mumbai revisited... Update 7

Good morning.... The return journey is finally under way... Am on board the Pune bound Indrayani express from Mumbai. A trust worthy WCG2 (#20156) is in charge, and we are fast approaching the educational city of Pune.... We have already reached Shivaji nagar. More updates soon...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mumbai revisited - update 5

Oh! I almost forgot it!
I've reached thane. Got a room in a hotel near the station - can see all movements from my window! The train reached here at 16:19 with a delay of about 2 hours and 35 minutes. The loco pilots did a beautiful job... More on it later..... Bye for the day.....

Mumbai revisited....update 4

Here we are.... The train finally managed to reach Pune a while back! We are currently running late by two hours and forty minutes. We had a maximum delay of about 4 hours in the morning!
More updates after i reach mumbai....

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mumbai revisited - update 3

Ah! Here of are - finally reached dharmavaram! We are currently delayed by 3 hours and 10 minutes.
The Bangalore - Kacheguda express which left after us was already standing at the station when we reached here! Am off to sleep.... More coming tomorrow!
Just left SSPN late by just 3 hours & 34 minutes! What a journey? More coming tomorrow....

Mumbai revisited - update 1

Oh what a start! The train that was to come at 15.05 came in only at 16.50! She came in with WDM3A 18536 of ERS in charge, and left with WDP4 20057 of KJM in charge at 1730 - with a delay of 2 hours and 5 minutes! The train was the held up at BYPL for unknown reasons, and we are now standing still at Chennasandra for reasons best known to the section controller himself!
Hopefully the train picks up some speed overnight.... Forgot to add this - its raining here...... Bye for now!
Note: we have started moving now....

Mumbai Revisted!


Its now time to go back to Mumbai once again! This is but a very short trip with time for nothing! Anyways, I am taking the 1014 CBE-LTT Express from Bangalore to Pune, and then a bus to Vashi. Returning by 2630 NZM-YPR Karnataka Sampark Kranti Express on the 22nd boarding at Pune!

Hopefully I can make updates, and be tuned right here....

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Railfanning at Thrissur on a mid-summer afternoon...

Summer afternoons are usually not a very good time for railfanning. But here, it was an opportunity that I was waiting for, and had no choice! At around 1100 on May 8, 2008 - I headed to Thrissur railway station from my Home in Kodungallur on a Private bus. The bus driver ensured that I reached Thrissur station by around 1215. The queue for tickets was pretty long. Just as I neared the ticket counter, a WDM3D of Erode pulled in with the Trivandrum bound Netravati Express. The train made a 10 minute halt at the station before starting.

I headed on to the platform to get a few pics. RPF guys were too high in number as compared to Panvel, and I was a bit scared to get my camera out. My first spotting was WAP4 #22549 of Erode with the Trivandrum-Shoranur Venad Express. The train was pretty crowded, and off-loaded about 75% of its crowd here! Just the train started to pull out of the station for its journey ahead, another WAP4 of Erode (#22661) pulled in with the Hyderabad-Trivandrum Sabari Express. Just as Sabari Express pulled out, the Mangalore bound Parasuram Express pulled in WDM2 #16671 of Ernakulam in charge. After clicking a coupled of pics, I headed straight to the station restaurant for lunch, but was too crowded. I headed out in search of Karnataka SRTC's Ticket booking counter to get a ticket for me and my dad to head back to Bangalore.

I got a ticket, and headed straight towards the railway tracks. I walked over towards the flyover running across the railway tracks just to see the Hyderabad bound Sabari Express in tow. I found out a way to get on to the tracks, and found a well built stone steps leading to the railway tracks! Just as I reached there, I saw WAP4 #22728 of Erode pulling in with India's Longest train - the Jammu Tawi - Kanniyakumari Himsagar Express. It was now time to hunt for another spot to click pics since the location I was in wasn't very good a point to get trains starting from Thrissur.

I walked towards Punkunnam on the railway tracks. It was now that I found out that the area that i was in was a slum earlier, and the authorities had just pulled down the shanties a couple of days back! Some slumdwellers were still squatting over the area, and they gave away a look at me. I walked over and found out a shady area to wait. The Thrissur home signal went amber indicating that some train was coming in from the Punkunnam side - that was WDM2 #17474 of Ernakulam with the Guuvayur-Thrissur Passenger.

After this spotting, I headed in search of another place, and walked up a slight grade. Suddenly I sensed another train approaching from the station. That was WDM2 #17473 of Erode with a Departmental rake. I then went to have some refreshments, and looked at a few other places, but did not find any interesting! I then headed back to my old place. After about 15 minutes, the advanced starter of the station turned green indicating a train coming from Thrissur. That was WDM3A #17894 of Ernakulam with the Nizamuddin bound Mangala Express. Just as Mangala Express went, WDM2 #16459 of Ernakulam headed towards Thrissur with a BTPN rake in tow.

It was getting too hot, and there was no action for another half-an-hour. The ex-slum dwellers now came around enquiring what was I doing! They couldn't understand half of what I said and headed back with a '?' on their faces! I decided to have a walk towards the station once again. Just as I reached the station, I noticed that the advanced starter was already green for the Mumbai bound Jayanti Express. WAP4 #22357 did the honors of the train. Just minutes after the express cleared out, the Mumbai bound Garib Rath express pulled in with Kalyan WDG3A #13302 in charge...

Garib Rath @ TCR

I decided to head back to my old spot to get a pic of the Rath pulling out. Managed to get a decent shot. I now had to wait for the Bhavnagar special. Just while waiting, WAP4 #22549 of Erode appeared for the second time with the same train - the Trivandrum bound Venad Express. Just a couple of minutes later, WDM2 #16843 of Vatva rushed through with the Ernakulam-Bhavnagar Holiday special in tow. I decided to call it a day and walked over to the road. I then took an autorickshaw to the Private bus station.

The bus station was not too far off. I then had my lunch from a restaurant near the bus station and took a bus from there back home! It was a damn tiring day, and I had a real nasty head ache as I reached home! Looking forward for more such opportunities!

The image that I took during my short session are here.... Do have a look at them and let me know your opinions....

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The road trip to Kerala....

It was all set to be a peaceful train journey till the time my dad managed to connect the truck driver who was transporting our house hold goods to Kerala. He informed us that he would be reaching our place the next morning itself! We had to rush to Kerala, and the same time informed my uncle to make arrangements for head-load workers to unload all those goods!

My sis-in-law called up a pretty major private operator to check ticket availability - I personally do not like traveling by them, and decided to check out government operators! We checked Karnataka SRTC first, but no tickets available. Later checked out Kerala SRTC, and got tickets on their bus to Thrissur at 10 in the night! The bus surely was a too late departure for us! We had no other option!

Myself and my dad reached Kempegowda Bus Terminus - the hub of inter & intra state bus operations from Bangalore - at around 2130. We searched out for the platform from where our bus would depart, and found that the bus was already there! The bus was KL15-6411, Fleet #RR213 of Thrissur depot



The conductor was standing at the door to check tickets of passengers, and was letting in only reserved passengers at the beginning! The bus started its roll at 2203 (scheduled time 2200). We had a slow run or rather crawled upto Electronic city. The bus lost most of her time here. WE reached Hosur well past 0010. The bus made a 15 minute halt here for those who needed to answer nature's call, and for some refreshments. The driver started playing Tamil film songs as he pulled out of the halt at Hosur! The idea behind playing songs in the middle of the night still isn't clear to me! We left the hotel at 0025. It was a good run thereon. We averaged 60kmph in most sectors! We made another halt at around 0530 in the morning at a small road side cafe for tea. The place was somewhere around Avinashi.

The bus pulled into Coimbatore SETC bus station at around 0700 in the morning - that was a 9 hour journey (pretty longer than actually required!). The bus dropped about 6-7 passengers here and picked up a similar number from there. The bus is a 45 seater, in a 2X2 arrangement. The bus is powered by a 160hp Cummins front mount engine, which powers the Air conditioners as well. The engine lacks power to tide over ghats with the AC on, and affects the timing severly!



We reached Palakkad at around 0820~0825. The bus filled up around 50 liters of diesel from here. About 30% of the passengers traveling in the bus got down here, and a few few got in. The Airconditioners were doing a good job, and kept us rather cool! The run from Palakkad to Thrissur took a long 1.5 hours, and bus really suffered a lot while tiding across the ghats en route! We finally reached Thrissur at 1000, bringing to an end a long 12 hour trip! The fare was Rs. 420 + Rs. 5 for reservation! The ride was comfortable - though not as much as a volvo. The seat was beautiful, and had good leg room. The bus scores about 3.5 on 5!

:: :: THE RETURN JOURNEY :: ::

My return journey was on 09 May 2008 by a Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation Volvo. Volvo services are named "Airavat" by KSRTC. Airavat is a historical character, and is a white colored elephant. Interestingly, KSRTC's Airavat Volvos too have a white color! My bus for the day was KA 01-F-8461. The bus was a pretty new Mark III variant of Volvo's B7R!

The bus was working a "1900EKMBNG" schedule, and was supposed to reach Thrissur at 2030. Accordingly, myself and my dad reached the bus station at around 2020. (We had a mad run to reach there atleast at that time!). The bus station was pretty busy at that time. There were about 3 Karnataka SRTC "Rajahamsa" buses at that time to Bangalore. Kerala SRTC had two AC buses departing at 2100 to Bangalore! My bus did not turn up upto 2125! I was too tense on not seeing the bus even at 2120, and made enquiries at the ticket booking agency who confirmed that the bus is yet to arrive - the bus reached while we were talking!



The bus appeared pretty crowded as we boarded the bus. I was among the last to enter the bus since the vehicle started moving out even before I reached my seat (Seat #30). A Hindi movie starring Amir Khan, Anil Kapoor and Manisha Koirala was being played. Water in 500ml bottles were distributed to passengers by the conductor after he checked out tickets. He issued tickets to a few unreserved passengers in the meantime. Blankets were kept on our seats. The bus made a halt for dinner at Pattikad at around 2200. We overtook a Kerala SRTC AC bus here. The run from here onwards was awesome. We made a brief halt at Coimbatore, but no one boarded the bus here! The run was then non-stop upto Salem. The bus stopped at Salem at around 0330.

It was another non-stop run here onwards. The bus crossed Hosur at around 0555. The bus conductor switched on an FM radio station at around 0615, and played some kannada devotional songs on it. He came around wishing good morning to every one and distributing wet tissues for a fresh up! I requested him to alert me when the bus reaches Bommanahalli, the place where I would alight. The bus reached Bommanahalli at around 0650. We got down here and took a rickshaw home!

Overall: The Volvo is clearly a winner! Fare wise, Volvo is surely expensive that normal AC buses. The service by Karnataka SRTC lived up to my expectations, and is surely an example for other Government organisations!

There is a small collection of trip photos here.... please do have a look at them!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Back from Kerala...

I reached back home today! I came back on a Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation Volvo bus. The service is named "Airavat". The bus that did the honors was KA 01-F-8461. The occupancy was about 55~60%. The bus was pretty new and had new LCD info panels for the driver to inform him of any malfunctions in the engine! The run was silk smooth! The bus left Thrissur at 2125 (Scheduled time 2030!). We stopped at Pattikad for dinner, and in the process overtook a TVM-BGLR KSRTC (Kerala) AC bus. We overtook the TSR-BGLR AC bus after Coimbatore, and another unknown AC Airbus of KSRTC somewhere near Hosur. We reached Bommanahalli at 0650 (Bommanahalli is about 15 kms from Majestic).

More details of the entire trip some time later....

Friday, May 09, 2008

In kerala ... Update 1

The travel to kerala was eventful. The bus took 12 hours to reach Thrissur from bangalore. The ride was comfortable. The delay was mainly owing to road works and traffic blocks. The bus also had to visit bus stations en route. More on the road trip later.
It was an opportunity that I had been waiting for. I had to book tickets to in back to bangalore. I headed straight to Thrissur station to check out trains, but turned a blank. Then headed to the bus station, and managed to get tickets for tonights Volvo to bangalore. I then headed straight to the railway tracks....it was an interesting session! More on all these as soon as i reach back at home......

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Off to Kerala!

Yet another trip to Kerala begins here!

The only difference this time around is that instead of starting and ending in Mumbai, it is now Bangalore acting as the base!

I am taking a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus to Thrissur tonight from Kempegowda Bus Terminus (KBS). The bus would leave at 2200 from KBS. It is an AC bus. I have no information as to when would I return back, but most probably would reach back by Saturday/Sunday!

I initially had a ticket for tomorrow morning's Ernakulam Intercity, but had to prepone my trip urgently!

More information as and when time permits.....

Bangalore-Mumbai-Bangalore Road trip Statistics

User Fee collection details: (Compiled in the Mumbai-Bangalore direction - All rates for One-Way journey on Cars)

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Trip Details: Down Journey:

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UP Journey:

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There is a difference of about 6 kilometres between the UP and Down journeys - this is due is to the detour that we had to take to hire a room for the night at Satara, and a short trip from the hotel to a fuel pump for refueling! The average speed is on the lower side since we had a rather relaxed drive on Day 1, and the roads were pretty crowded from Hubli to Bangalore on Day 2!

Bangalore to Mumbai and back by ROAD!!!

After my last trip from Mumbai to Bangalore by train, it was now time to get back to Mumbai to shift our house hold articles. We were shifting majority of them to Kerala, while a few necessary ones were to find their way to Bangalore. A packing company was arranged for, and transport arrangements were made.

We began our trip to Mumbai from Bangalore on May 01, 2008 at around 0421 on my brother's Toyota Innova!


At the start of the trip...

It was pretty windy and cool in the morning. We reside at Kodichikkanahalli on the Bannerghatta Road. Roads were pretty empty in the morning, and we made a very quick progress upto Yeshwantpur. Truck traffic on the road was pretty high after Yeshwantpur, and works on the Service road from Yeshwantpur to Nelamangala made matters really worse. It was a painfully slow progress upto Nelamangala Toll Plaza. Nelamangala is the first of 17 toll plazas that you have to cross on your way to Mumbai (it is 18 if you travel upto Mumbai City, we went only upto Navi Mumbai). Out of the 17 toll plazas, you need to pay cash at 14, while you need to show the toll receipt of the previous plaza at the remaining 3!


Nelamangala Toll Plaza - the first of 17 toll plazas on the way!

You need to shell out Rs. 22 at Nelamangala before your proceed! The road works are complete from Nelamangala to Tumkur Byepass. Tumkur Bye-pass is yet to be completed, and the signboards there are a bit confusing - you need to take a right at that "Y-Shaped" junction. We took a left, but realized the mistake just as we entered the road itself!



Works are complete all the way from Tumkur to Chitradurga Bye-pass. We stopped for breakfast. This was the first halt of the day. We covered 204 kilometers in a minute less than 3 hours - an average speed of 68.38kmph. It was my brother at the wheels till here. I took over after Breakfast, and did the honors upto Belgaum. The worst stretch in this highway is from Chitradurga to Haveri. Roads are in a real bad condition, and work on the 4-laning is progressing slowly (dead in some places!)



You end up driving zig-zag all the way. Speeds were in the range of 65-90 rarely hitting above 110. To make matters worse, there were two accidents causing more diversions! You need to transverse Ranebennur Town, and it was pretty crowded. The town would be entirely bye-passed once the works on the bye-pass is completed! We stopped somewhere near Dharwad for refueling - had covered 243 kms from Chitradurga @ 66.27kmph! We then headed straight to Belgaum, where were stopped at Hotel Sankam Residency for Lunch. That was a distance of 62 kms covered @100.54kmph!!! The lunch was brilliant, except for the fact that the desert took a long time to reach our table - we lost 67 minutes for lunch!

The road from Belgaum to Kolhapur is awesome! 4-Laning is complete, and is concretized in many sections! The road was pretty empty, and was twisty-curvy!



It appears that there is a good number of buses on the Belgaum-Kolhapur section, and majority were run by NWKRTC! We crossed over into Maharashtra in style, with a stylish board welcoming us into Maharashtra (The only sad part is that the board was entirely in Marathi with no english boards elsewhere!)



It was my brother at the wheel all the way from Belgaum, and were going non-stop. The traffic on the road increased as were neared Karad. There was pretty heavy traffic as we crossed Satara. Khambatki Ghat is one interesting section where the down traffic goes through a tunnel, while the UP traffic needs to climb up and down a ghat!


Khambhatki Tunnel...


Inside the Khambhatki Tunnel...

This ghat section of about 8 kilometers is separately tolled! The traffic could be attributed to the fact that the section is shared by the traffic coming from the popular hill station at Mahabaleshwar! We made our first halt post lunch at Soul Curry Restaurant near the way to Pimpri MIDC. That was 341 kms covered in 4 hours and 19 minutes - Average speed of 78.99kmph! The food at the hotel was good, but the service was too slow. We lost 47 minutes here! We hit the Express way at around 1840. We covered 109 kms from the hotel to my home in Belapur, Navi Mumbai in about an hour and 19 minutes @ 82.78kmph!


Sunset at the express way....

Overall Down Journey details: Total Distance: 959 kilometers; Time taken: 15 hours and 24 minutes (including breaks; deducting all breaks - 12 hours and 54 minutes); Average running speed (taking into account only the actual running time): 74.34 kmph!

:: :: R E T U R N J O U R N E Y :: ::

The return journey began at 1630 hours on May 04, 2008. We had a busy day and hence decided not to drive much into the night. I took the wheels, and hit the expressway. The car was pretty heavily loaded, and the car wasn't able to put up enough power at the ghats on the Expressway - affecting speed and fuel efficiency hard! We managed to cover only 92 kilometres in 70 minutes! We made a short halt at the last food plaza on the expressway for a tea and some snacks! The food on the expressway is pretty expensive, and is not something really encouraging!

After that very short tea break, I once again hit the highway and we had another non-stop run thereafter. The Pune Bye-pass road was pretty crowded (we reached there at a time when most offices close for the day!), and we took pretty lot of time to make it to the Katraj Bye-pass. The new Katraj bye-pass is a beautiful section, one which many of us would enjoy driving on! There is one very beautiful viaduct on the way. The highway too was pretty busy. We decided to halt for the day at Satara. We hired a room at Hotel Maharaja Regency. All hotels that we enquired in Satara had all AC rooms occupied! The receptionist at our hotel gave the reason as a movie shooting! The hotel had real good rooms, and the climate was on the cooler side! We covered 232 kilometres in about 3 hours and 17 minutes on Day 1 with an average speed of about 70.66kmph!

We began Day 2 at 5:36AM on May 5, 2008. The day being a Sunday, the highway was a bit less crowded. It was all trucks and intercity buses occupying the roads at that time. There were very little private vehicles on the road. Most truck drivers appeared to be sleepy already since the trucks were slowly moving to the right lane, then sharply moving back to the correct late! Almost all vehicles tend to come to the right lane if you blow a horn while overtaking them! It was a non-stop run all the way to a roadside hotel somewhere in Karnataka. We had a short break for breakfast here. We covered 163kms in just 108 minutes @ 90.56 kmph! This run formed the base of the day's run, and helped us reach Bangalore pretty earlier than we had imagined!

We left the hotel after a rather prolonged break of 29 minutes at 07:53. I kept speeds in the range of 110-130kmph all the way. We stopped at the end of the Dharwad-Hubli byepass road for change of charge! My brother took over from here, and I settled for a seat at the back of the car! We made another halt at around 1140 for fueling - covering about 307kms after breakfast with a speed of about 80.79kmph. We made another short hop before stopping for lunch at Reliance A1 Plaza near Chitradurga Bye-pass. That was a distance of 58 kilometres covered in an hour!

We started off at 1325 after lunch. It was then an almost non-stop drive upto home! We made short halts some where near Jayanagar for getting some fruits, then a short halt near home to get milk for the evening, finally landing up at home at around 1700 covering about 205 kilometres after lunch in about 215 minutes at an average of 57.21kmph! The road from Chitradurga to Tumkur and beyond upto Bangalore was heavily crowded!

Overall Return Journey details: Total Distance: 965 kilometers; Time taken: 14 hours and 54 minutes (including breaks; deducting all breaks - 13 hours and 28 minutes); Average running speed (taking into account only the actual running time): 71.66 kmph!

Some notes about the route:
  • The work on 4 laning is complete in all stretches except for Tumkur Bye-pass, Chitradurga Byepass, Chitradurga town, Ranebennur Byepass and some areas around Haveri. This would count for about 80-100 kilometres!
  • There are 18 toll plazas between Yeshwantpur and Mumbai including two on the Expressway.
  • For a Car you would end up paying about Rs. 561 towards Toll alone if you travel only upto Vashi in Navi Mumbai. You need to pay another Rs. 25 if you enter into Mumbai city limits! That takes the total amount to Rs. 586! User fee is not charged for some 170 kilometres on the way since the works are not yet complete - once this is done, the total user fee could go up further!
  • You can maintain speeds in the range of 100-130kmph consistently in the Haveri-Panvel stretch. The worst stretch on the route is Yeshwantpur-Nelamangala, and Chitradurga-Haveri. It is either too crowded, or the road is the real bad shape!
  • There aren't any major ghats enroute except the Khambhatki Ghats, which you need to transverse only in the Mumbai-Bangalore direction (you transverse the ghats through a Tunnel in the opposite direction!).
  • Private vehicle traffic is generally on the lower side, and most of the traffic is comprised of trucks and buses. The traffic is generally light between Hubli and Kolhapur, and pretty heavy between Satara and Mumbai!
  • The Mumbai-Pune expressway is a real delight to drive, and I hit a top speed of about 155kmph on the expressway!