Kannur to Bengaluru by train!

August 08, 2019:
The alarm went off at 0600hrs! I had planned to go out for some bus fanning in the morning. I was a little tired to wake up at that time, and snoozed the alarm. I finally got off my bed by 0630hrs - rushed with the morning rituals and started off from the hotel I was put up in. I had rained cats and dogs the previous night - the effect of the torrential downpour was evident everywhere. The road had lots of puddles, and a lot of hoarding had be blown away by the wind! I was flummoxed by the complete absence buses of Fort Road - buses from Bengaluru should've been standing there at this point of time! I flagged down an autorickshaw to get to the KSRTC bus station at Caltex Junction. The driver casually said the buses hadn't come from Bengaluru since the road was closed. I assumed he was talking about the road closure in Makkutta pass, and ignored his comment.

I noticed that KSRTC buses from Bengaluru weren't present at the bus station either. I did some bus spotting there, and took a local private bus to return to my hotel. As I neared my hotel, the rainfall got stronger and it literally poured down as if somebody had left a tap open. I ran to a shelter outside a shop to avoid getting wet - the rain was so strong that the umbrella was of no use! While waiting in the shelter (which was right next to the office of Golden Travels), a headload worker there was discussing about the Bengaluru road closure - the same thing that the auto driver was discussing. I quickly clarified which road was he talking about - it seems the alternative route through Mananthavady was closed the previous night due to the rain! I froze for a second - how would I get back to Bengaluru now!

I quickly dropped into the office of Ashoka travels (I was planning to take this operator that night back to Bengaluru) - and checked with them. They confirmed the worst. The road was closed and buses were all stuck in Mananthavady. They were unsure if services would operate that evening - and asked me to wait until afternoon for a confirmation. I was fully confused now. I had almost booked a ticket on Ashoka travels the previous night - but decided to wait and watch for some other reasons. I was pre-occupied for the rest of the time thinking about the alternatives I had. I briefly considered applying leaves for the next two days and headed to TW's place instead - but leaves were very precious, and I couldn't afford misusing them.

I was back in my hotel room - got ready and headed to the college for examination work. I was tuned to the television during the time I was in my room - channels beamed scary images of flood that was already affecting large portions of the state! On my way, the car driver was discussing about the flood - he said how the hilly areas of the district was already flooded and people were being evacuated. He also said quite a lot of trains were delayed as well! On the way, we passed a river - the river was certainly at spate, and had almost flooded the low lying areas around it. It was still raining, and there was no sign of the rain abating there. I had no clue what was happening!

I got busy with the examination once I was at the college - it went on till afternoon. After the examination, I quickly checked ticket availability by the only train that connected Kannur to Bengaluru (on that day - the other train was cancelled on this day). I wasn't expecting any seats to be available - but, I was in for some shock which I found that waitlisted tickets were available. The waitlist number meant there was a possibility of confirmation. I had a word with TW, who wanted me to book the ticket ASAP. I booked a ticket quickly - and got waitlist #8. I quickly checked availability for tatkal tickets - they were available aplenty. So this made it sure that my ticket would get through.

Charting was done as I was returning to the hotel from the college - and my ticket got confirmed! I was relieved. I took some rest after getting back to the room - and continued watching TV which wasn't giving any positive news. Things were getting worse in the state - the possibility of a resumption of bus service wasn't in sight. I had some shopping to do - I got stuck at the hotel as it began pouring down soon after I finished shopping! I got to room with about an hour to go for my train - I had to rush through packing, got ready and rushed down to the reception. I had to get a vehicle to get to the railway station - although it was walkable, but I had some baggage and it was difficult to lug all that in the rain. I managed to get an auto after searching for a while - got to the railway station about 15 minutes to go for the train.

The train was parked on Platform 2 - necessitating carrying the bag over the foot-over-bridge and then walking down to the coach. The platform had puddles of water everywhere and I had to struggle to get to my coach without getting wet. I headed to the front to see what locomotive was working that evening - Erode's WDM3D #11111 was preparing for the long run to Bengaluru. My coach, B1, was a June 2012 built one from RCF, Kapurthala. The interiors were fairly neat - the floor had wetness since people had got in from the rain. The train started at 1806hrs - a minute behind schedule. The rain was heavy - and it continued pouring down as the train slowly moved towards Thalassery. The other passengers in the bay had already boarded. I was terribly bored, and decided to tune in to a movie on my phone.
WDM3D #11111 from Erode all set to start off...

I received calls from TW and my home enquiring my position - and all of them seemed relieved when they heard I was taking the train instead. I continued watching the movie as the train slowly rolled into Thalassery (1835hrs). I was hoping some food vendors came in - but nobody came. We started from Thalassery at 1838hrs - 13 minutes behind schedule. I was engrossed in the movie that I didn't notice the stoppages the train made - but it stopped twice before we got to Kozhikode (2003hrs). I was hoping to get some good food at Kozhikode - but not a single vendor turned up inside the coach or even on the platform! We started off from Kozhikode at 2010hrs - 45 minutes behind schedule. I had to depend on the onboard vendor - who passed on some coloured rice with potatoes as 'Vegetable biryani'. There was no salad or spoon with it - just a packed of pickle, which helped flavour the rice a little bit.

The train made an unscheduled halt at Parappanangadi, and then a scheduled halt at Tirur - I didn't notice the time since I was still watching the movie! We got to Kuttipuram by 2107hrs. By now the berths were being pulled up - I also pulled up my berth and got set to sleep. The train started from Kuttipuram at 2110hrs. I resumed watching the movie after getting to my berth. We got to Shoranur by 2140hrs, and departed by 2145hrs. I was quite close to TW's place then - made it a point to ring her up, and talk for a while. We rolled into Palakkad Junction by 2220hrs - the halt here was long, and we departed only at 2231hrs - 41 minutes behind schedule now. I slept soon after we started from here.

I had woken up quite early that day, and slept soon after I wanted to. I had a nice long sleep - the newer LHB design coach that this train had, ensured a very comfortable sleep. Sways were well within control and the AC temperature was perfect for a nice long sleep. I hadn't left an alarm since I was traveling till the terminating station anyways. I woke up a little past 0700hrs - the train was running in barren terrain and I was unable to understand where we were. As if to answer my doubt, the train pulled in to the loop line at Kelamangalam station - we were still short of Hosur, and a delay was imminent. We crossed a train here (I was still on my berth - the train had the new Utkrisht livery) and started moving again by 0715hrs.

We got to Hosur by 0732hrs - we crossed the Bengaluru-Ernakulam Intercity express train here. We started off at 0738hrs - 2 hours and 28 minutes behind schedule! The train had cleared the entire rain ravaged Kerala with minimal delay, but the delay increased after it crossed into Tamilnadu! The railways has been screwing up trains quite badly these days - almost all my recent trips were heavily delayed. We crossed another train on the way, and got to Carmelram by 0827hrs. A lot of passengers got off here, and we started at 0832hrs. We reached Banaswadi by 0851hrs and quickly departed by 0853hrs. I was hoping of getting to Yeshwantpur by 0930hrs - but the hopes were dashed as the train pulled up at the Home signal of Yeshwantpur (0917hrs) - a train from the Tumkur was allowed in to the station first. After sometime, a DEMU came from Banaswadi side, overtook us and proceeded towards Yeshwantpur. We finally entered Yeshwantpur Junction at 0941hrs - an hour and 41 minutes late.
Waiting to be allowed into Yeshwantpur..

Journey in a Nutshell:
Train Number: 16528 Kannur Yeshwantpur Express
Loco link: WDM3D #11111 of Erode
Coach: B1, LWACCN 11981 built by RCF, Kapurthala in June 2012. Based at Yeshwantpur.

Punctuality: 8/10 (A delay of 1h 41m at destination)
Cleanliness: 10/10 (Was clean)
Catering: 2/10 (Terrible food!)

Overall: 6/10

This happens to be the sole option for passengers from Malabar (Northern Kerala, except people of Kasaragod district) to travel to Bengaluru. The ride was comfortable - the LHB coach made it all the more comfortable as well. The journey from Kannur to Bengaluru took 15 hours and 35 minutes, covering a distance of about 660 kilometres - in comparison, the journey by road takes only about 8 hours!! The train is not an option for passengers traveling the entire distance unless they can't travel by bus! I wouldn't fancy taking the train again - unless I get into a situation like what happened the other day!


C.A.Raghu Ram said…
Glad to hear that you reached safely despite the adverse weather conditions.

The train (16528 Kanur Yeshwantpur via Salem) in which you travelled was cancelled subsequently for a week as railway track was inundated in various parts of Shornur-Calicut stretch.

Generally this train gets delayed between Salem and Hosur (Is it a single line stretch ?)

Road route to Bangalore from Kasaragod and Kanhangad were relatively unaffected in the recent Kerala floods.

This happens to be the sole option for passengers from Malabar (Northern Kerala, except people of Kasaragod district) to travel to Bengaluru.

Other trains: 16518 (Thu, Fri and Sat) Bangalore Express which departs from Kannur at 5.00pm and goes via Mangalore, Hassan, Mysore. It has a longish wait at Mangalore

16512 (Sun, Mon, Tue and Wed) Bangalore Express which departs from Kannur at 5.00pm and goes via Mangalore, Hassan, Sravanabelagola. It has a longish wait at Mangalore

(A train to Bangalore from Coastal Karnataka is attached to 16518/16512 from Mangalore, I am not sure about the details )

16566 (Monday Only) Mangalore-Bangalore via Kannur, Kozhikode, Coimbatore, Kuppam, Bangarapet, Yeshwantpur

The journey from Kannur to Bengaluru took 15 hours and 35 minutes, covering a distance of about 660 kilometres - in comparison, the journey by road takes only about 8 hours

By Road its 311 km (as per Google Map-roughly half the distance of Train Route). Being a ghat road, people with Car/Bus Sickness prefer train, though it takes nearly double the time

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