Bengaluru to Palakkad: 16316 Bengaluru-Kochuveli Express

Although this trip was decided about a week in advance, I hadn't booked any tickets until about 2 days before the trip. I was initially planning to take a post noon bus -  I wanted to be at TW's place early in the morning. I was confused about what bus to take, and kept procrastinating my booking. I decided to look at trains for some reason - and I was quite excited to see a train (16315 SBC Kochuveli Express) with tickets at waitlist #12. I procrastinated further - I finally booked a ticket through the IRCTC website later in the evening, two days before the journey. My ticket was at waiting list #10 now! I briefly considered booking a tatkal ticket - it was available even until late evening on the day before my journey. I decided to take the risk and wait to see if my ticket confirms!

September 21, 2019:
I had left home with a huge backpack - my plan was to head to the station in the evening after office; provided the ticket confirms, that is! I received a message from IRCTC in the afternoon - with a good news. The ticket had confirmed, and like the icing on a cake - I received a side-lower berth as well! The stage was set for a fabulous journey - I was quite excited about this journey that popped up as a surprise (the journey was sure to happen, but travelling by train was the surprise).

I left office as usual - walked out to the bus stop right outside the office, and quickly got a bus to Majestic. I decided to carry on to the bus station instead of getting off near the railway colony - which would've allowed me get to the station earlier. I took the longer way - walked back through the dreaded subway that connects the bus station to the city railway station aka Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna Station Bengaluru. I was surprised to see the subway was vacated - all the vendors were evicted and the entire subway was cleared! I got to the station quickly - headed directly to the foot over bridge.
The train..
While on the bridge, I spotted my train - parked on Platform 5. I spotted that my coach was towards the rear end of the train - easy to spot due to the characteristic hump on the roof! I headed first to the business end - to check what locomotive was in charge that evening. Needless to say, it was a WAP7 at the job - a dirty, washed-ages-ago locomotive, WAP7 #30479 from Royapuram shed - the loco was named 'Thangam'. The loco was powered down, and the rake was getting its hotel load from the front generator car. I slowly walked back towards my coach - B2, which was the 18th in the formation! My coach was a fairly new one, a July 2018 built coach, in Humsafar livery. I headed to my seat, and settled down soon later.
WAP7 #30479 of Royapuram all set to work the Kochuveli Express

Humsafar liveried coach for me!
A vendor from a food stall in the railway station came around taking orders for dinner - I picked a veg meal. The food was supplied before the train departed as well - the label on the food container mentioned that the food was supplied from the Central Kitchen at Bengaluru station. The train got moving at 1654hrs - 4 minutes behind schedule. The coach wasn't full at that point of time - more passengers joined at the next stop, Bengaluru Cantonment (1705hrs). Back in the days when the train was started, it had very few stops - it seems to have been saddled with more stops these days. I spotted the rake of the Bengaluru - Kanniyakumari express being shunted out from Baiyappanahalli yard towards Bengaluru City. Our next stop was at Krishnarajapuram (1721hrs) - the coach filled here, and we got moving by 1723hrs.

We made a quick stop at Whitefield (1736hrs) and rushed towards Bangarpet. The train was at mps for most of the time and we made very quick progress. It was quite dark outside, and began pouring down soon later. As it got darker, my journey got boring - traveling alone in a train is the most boring thing - especially when you are surrounded by families! I tuned in to a movie on my phone - the train rushed towards Bangarpet in the mean time. My co-passenger had moved to his berth (side upper) - this gave me seats all for myself. We got to Bangarpet by 1816hrs - and started off by 1819hrs - we overtook the Okha Tuticorin Vivek Express here. It was an Utkrisht rake, with a WDM3D doing the honours (couldn't check the number, but it seemed to be from Vatva shed)

It got even more dark now, and the WAP7 got busy with rushing the rake towards its destination. The movie kept me engrossed. We had a stop at Kuppam (1847hrs). Interestingly, most passengers in my bay had started having their dinner by 1900hrs - it was sure that the lights in the bay would be turned off early, and I thought it was prudent that I too finish my dinner. Dinner was served as two containers - one containing Chapati and a vegetable curry, and the other containing a vegetable 'biryani' and a pickle. The vegetable curry served with the chapati was among the best I've seen in recent times - it had cashews and lots of vegetable! The gravy was rich and really tasty. The chapatis were soft and filling. The rice was so-so. It was light on masala, but on the drier side - would've preferred it being served with a raitha though.
The dinner!

The train made a longish wait at Jolarpettai bypass cabin for quite a while, before we were allowed to the main line. We got to Tirupattur by 1953hrs, and got moving by 1956hrs. By this time, berths were up, bedrolls were being spread - there was a shortage of blankets, which was duly sorted out by the coach attendant. Lights were off soon later - I had to get off a little past midnight, and I thought I must catch up with some sleep as well. The bedspread was out - I spent some more time watching the movie. I tried sleeping - but it was too early! I was awake till we got to Salem (2133hrs) - the stop was short, and we got moving by 2135hrs.

I slept soon after Salem - did notice the train stopping at some station, but didn't have the energy to notice where we were. I slept for most part of the journey after Salem. I had left an alarm for 0115 - I woke up much earlier than that though. We were passing Walayar as I woke up - I remained on the berth till we passed Kanjikode. I got off my berth as the Palakkad MEMU shed came into sight - the train rolled into Platform 3 at 0123hrs - 4 minutes before scheduled arrival time!

Journey in a Nutshell:Train Number: 16315 KSR Bengaluru - Kochuveli Express
Loco link: WAP7 #30479 of Royapuram
Coach: B2, LWACCNHM 188811 built by RCF, Kapurthala in July 2018. Based at Kochuveli.

Ratings:
Punctuality: 10/10 (On time)
Cleanliness: 10/10 (Was clean)
Catering: 10/10 (Awesome food by Relish!)

Overall:
10/10

Amazing journey this time. I had traveled by this train long ago - shortly after it was introduced. The number of stops have increased since, and the train has now been extended to Mysuru as well. The train got LHB rake a few months ago as well. Getting tickets on this train is easier compared to the other train heading to South Kerala (of course, except the weekly trains) due to its early departure time from Bengaluru! I liked the journey - and would surely keep this train as an option in the future as well!

Comments

Sunup said…
I take this train to Ernakulam and back every weekend. While I agree the journey in the AC classes is comfortable, it's horrid for SL passengers at least till Kuppam. It'd be packed with UR and MST passengers till Kuppam and families boarding with kids and heavy baggage have a tough time boarding at KJM and WFD. No amount of tweeting to RPF, DRM Bengaluru and Rail Seva helps. In the return direction too, it's the same story. Crowd starts building up from Kuppam onward.
Are you attending the IRFCA meet at Chennai in 2020? I missed out, since the registrations opened last Sunday when I was at Ernakulam and was filled that day itself.

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