Showing posts from 2011

The year, 2011 was...

Yet another year comes to an end... a quick recap of what the year was: This was yet another crawler year - the 12-months took ages to finish. This year saw quite some heavy busfanning, and very light railfanning. Thankfully, did not have any major illness over the year. This year had lots and lots of traveling - over 26000kms by my car (driving solo). This included three drives to Bangalore, and one to Coorg! I fulfilled by long desire of setting foot at Dudhsagar falls, and also a ride on the iconic Nilgiri Mountain Railways! I lost my dearest pet - my little paru is now no more. Poor lil' cat lived only 7 months - miss you always. Nothing really new happened this year.. each day passed as just another . Quite a lot of journeys, the way I like. The next year hopefully has all the action I love, with lots of fun-filled journeys. Although a crawling year, I really had not much time to blog - a lot of travel experiences are still to be written. Hope to finish all of them n

Club Class.. Back-to-Back: Part-2

Like I had said earlier, a back-to-back trial of the Volvo and the Mercedes Multi-Axle buses was on my agenda for a long time. I had posted my review of the Volvo ride earlier (read here ). Here comes the review of the Mercedes Ride: Part-2: November 20, 2011. Bangalore to Thrissur by KaSRTC Airavat Club Class (Mercedes Benz) [Trip Code: 2120BNGEKM] The day was tiresome - I had attended a wedding of a friend that afternoon, and later had a get-together of fellow railfans near Majestic. I reached home pretty late - only by around 1900hrs. Since my bus was to leave at 2120, I had to leave home latest by 2015hrs. I did manage that feat - my brother dropped me at Shantinagar Bus Terminus. My bus was already there, and they had also started boarding.  I left my baggage in the luggage boot - this time, they gave a baggage tag (The last time I got a Baggage Tag in KaSRTC was three years back!). This was the same bus that I had traveled about a month back (read here ): KA-01-F-9278 of De

Club Class.. Back-to-Back: Part-1

A back-to-back trial of the Volvo and the Merc Multi-Axles was on my mind for a long time. Although there has been close incidences, I've never been able to do a "back-to-back" trial till date. A personal reason gave me a chance to make a very quick journey to Bangalore (A real quick journey). The tickets were booked only a day prior to the journey - both ways by Airavat Club Class. I took the Volvo B9R from Ernakulam to Bangalore, and the Mercedes Multi-Axle from Bangalore to Thrissur. Part-1: November 18, 2011. Ernakulam to Bangalore by KaSRTC Airavat Club Class (Volvo) [Trip Code: 2035EKMBNG] My bus was to leave from Ernakulam KSRTC Bus Station at 2035  - I left my home (about 42 kms away) at around 1835. I missed a bus just as I reached a bus stop - there began my delays. I got into a small bus (can't be sure if I can call it a bus - it had all of 18 seats!) which dropped me at the nearest Town - Kodungallur - by about 1855. I got a bus towards Ernakulam (RAM9

TN finally bites the pill

Its inflation every where - the value of every commodity - except currency - has appreciated in the recent times. Petro Cos announce price hike as if they were calling in at an auction - One increases the cost by Rs 2 today, the next Co responds next month with a Rs. 2.50 hike and so on. I still have a copy of a bill for refueling diesel at Rs. 9 a litre (that was back in 1996/7 period)! With the cost of fuel increasing almost on a daily basis, every transport corporation in the country revised their ticket rates. The State Government of Tamil Nadu were hesitant to increase fuel prices since a very long time - a hike in prices would hit their vote banks badly - who cares of the health the Transport Cos. For every loss they make, it is the Common man who has to fund by the way to increased taxes. Fares of buses in TN was hiked last in 2001 - the price of diesel has doubled since. TN buses charged 28 paise a Km (For Ordinary/City/Town buses) and 32 Paise a km (Mofussil buses). Now, the

My first tryst with a Metro..

I saw the first ever Metro train in my life while passing through Delhi on my way to Chandigarh, back in June 2009. The silver, sleek train rushed through a bridge above my train - I looked at it in awe, but time constraints did not let me have a closer look. Two years down the lane, the Metro descends on my favorite city in the South - Bengaluru. Although the Metro missed a lot of deadlines, it came with all the fun.  Coincidentally, I was in Bangalore during the time the Metro was inaugurated. Some personal commitments did not let me get on the metro for the first week of its operations. I had planned a ride on the Metro on Diwali day - but that too had to be postponed. Finally, I was going on the day immediately after Diwali - October 27, 2011 to be precise. I took a bus from my place to KR Puram via Ring Road. I waited there in the hope of getting a Metro Feeder bus - I wasn't aware that this route wasn't covered by feeder buses. But there were umpteen buses going there -

Club Class'd.. finally!

Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is a pioneer in introducing newer age technologies among the Government run Transport Corporations. KSRTC was the first to bring out Volvo buses, way back in 2002. From then, KSRTC built up a strong fleet of those white swedish beauties, naming them after the Mythical character, Airavat. KSRTC increased their presence on many routes, and became the preferred premium operator on every route they ran on. About 8 years after they created history, they repeated history again with the introduction of Multi-Axle buses - the first for any state transport undertaking. The Multi-Axle buses of KSRTC are called "Airavat Club Class" - the buses are a notch above their regular Airavat services. The buses come with 49 seats - 44 of them with calf-support, and the rest are regular limited-recline seats. Airavat Club Class was initially Volvo B9Rs. The Multi-Axles were flagged off on 27th November 2010. These buses have replaced regular Air

My first on KPN

KPN - K.P.Natarajan - Travels is an infamous travel operator based in Salem, Tamil Nadu, India. The operator is credited with perhaps the highest reach to places in TN from Bangalore - but has earned a misreputation of being an unreliable operator in the past few years. KPN is a very old operator, existing since the mid 1900s. The operator started expanding sometime in the mid 1990s, and is now a formidable operator on many routes. They also have to their credit a good transparent online ticket booking system. They are also the biggest Multi-Axle Volvo operator between Bangalore and Tamil Nadu. I had been planning a trip on KPN since a very long time - It had even reached the point of booking a ticket. But that ticket was cancelled later due to some other issues - this time, I was determined to make it. Accordingly, I booked a ticket on KPN's Multi-Axle Volvo departing from Coimbatore on October 16, 2011 at 1300, to Bangalore. I reached Coimbatore by a KSRTC bus from my place, an

Do Not overtake from the left...

This is one rule that is seen on highways often - a rule that needs to be followed meticulously. In many places, traffic police seem to enforce this rule with enthusiasm. Recently, the Kochi City Police came with an idea of "Model Road".  They declared the Edappally-Vyttila-Aroor section as a "Model Road" - where all motorists were required to follow all highway rules. The rules imposed were - maximum speed of 70kmph for light vehicles, strict lane discipline and no overtakes through the left. The cops were enthusiastically pulling up violators - overspeeding was caught using speed radars, and traffic wardens were posting at many places on the road. So far so good. However, the police said "No Overtakes from the left" - but they never tried understanding why motorists were overtaking through the left. The Government of Kerala even launched a video campaign as part of their "Road Safety Campaign" - the videos included those intended to induce al

Pandemonium square...

After three years of planning, booking and cancelling, I was finally at it – heading to Dudhsagar falls, near the Karnataka-Goa Border. I was accompanying Jayasankar on the trip. We were taking the Bangalore-Dharwad Siddaganga Express from Bangalore to Hubli, and then the Hubli-Vasco Link Express to Dudhsagar. Jay had arrived that morning at Bangalore, by the Chennai-Mysore Shatabdi Express. I was running late, and had to make a dash to the station. In the meantime, Jay got lunch for both of us. I just got into the station when Jay called up and said our train was on Platform 9 already, and I need to rush. The time was around 12:15 – and the scheduled departure of our train was 13:00. I walked through Platform 1, and then walked through the trolley path. Just as I reached Platform 7, the DEMU towards Bangarpet (Marikuppam?) started off. The train literally crawled out – it took too long to clear out. Once it cleared out, I headed towards Platform 8. I was heading to Platform 9 – a

On Kallada G4, after 4 years!

Kallada G4 - a smaller company, part of Kallada Group run by four brothers - recently introduced a new Volvo B9R service between Bangalore and Changanassery via Ernakulam and Alappuzha. Kallada G4 is a smaller operator compared to the brother concern Suresh Kallada. G4 operates all of 3 services - one each to Changanassery (B9R), Guruvayur (Semi-Sleeper Non-AC) and Kottayam (Sleeper Non-AC). Since the bus was new, booking on this service was a no-brainer - they did not have online reservation at that time, and I had to make a visit to their agent - Friends Travels at Madivala for the booking. The booking process was quick. The fare was Rs. 900 (compared to Rs. 950 on Suresh Kallada). The bus was almost empty at the time of booking. Interestingly, the bus that would carry me back was parked right outside the office at that time - had a quick look at the bus. Fast Forward to September 01, 2011. I was at Madivala by around 2045, for a 2130 departure. My last journey on a Kallada G4 bu

The ocean of milk..

Warning: Very long post. Might not be suitable for the general audience. It was chilling cold – sending shivers through my spine – I get off the train. Armed with a flashlight, I find my way to level ground. In the mean time, the locos let off a long horn, and starts off with a jerk. Jayasankar and me walk on to the other line to let the train clear off. Behind is the station building, which was well lit at that hour. The clears off, and we walk towards our shelter for the next two hours. It is a small chapel – with a couple of low height walls which serve as a bench. We settle down on one of them, rest our bags, and try to catch a few winks.  We barely manage to sleep, while the chugging sound of the DG3As reverberates across the Ghats. The loco pilot kept blowing the horn to break the eerie silence of that hour – silence is not an apt word here. The roar from the waterfall nearby filled the atmosphere. All of a sudden, we see some flashlights across the line – a group of about 20