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Showing posts from April, 2010

GARUDAxperience!

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Garuda, a large mythical bird or bird-like creature that appears in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology, finds a very important place in India mythology. Garuda plays important role in Krishna Avatar in which Krishna and Satyabhama ride on Garuda to kill Narakasura. Garuda is related to the bird. Pause: Did you think I am writing something mythical? Then you are wrong! This is yet another post on my most loved automobile: Buses!

The character 'Garuda' was chosen by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation to identify their fleet of swanky "Air Conditioned Air Buses" aka Volvos. KSRTC was never used to branding their services, and hence this brand was advertised in bold on their buses - just two of them! However, the fleet never grew, and the name was taken over by APSRTC. In 2008, KSRTC sold their Volvos and replaced them with a brand new fleet of three Volvos. The Garuda brand was used yet again - but the advertising was not bold this time.

Since the time these Vo…

Metric Musings: Yet again!

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More than a year after the last trip on a Metre Gauge train, two musketeers from the same team join yet again for another metric exploration! This was again a trip on a very historic line - again a line laid by the Maharajah. The trip this time was on the Punalur-Shencottah line. This line was part of a huge Metre Gauge network in South India - with direct trains running from Kollam to Chennai on Metre Gauge. This small section, from Punalur to Shencottah, is the only surviving part of this grand line that was opened way back in 1903 by the then Maharajah of Travancore.

The 50 km long stretch (Punalur to Shencottah) is entirely in a ghat section, with speeds restricted to only 30 kmph. The gradients are in the range of 1 in 60 or so. This run takes about two hours, with about 9 stops in between. The run is entirely in a 'forest' route, with twists, turns, sharp rock cuttings and a few tunnels peppered between. The Kollam-Punalur stretch was closed on April 30, 2007, while the T…