Kalaburagi to Yeshwantpur: Ahmedabad-Yeshwantpur Express

I spotted this weekly Ahmedabad-Yeshwantpur express as I searched for tickets on the IRCTC website for my return journey after exam work at Kalaburagi (Gulbarga). I had seen the rake of this train multiple times in the past - this train has been running with LHB rakes since a very long time. I wanted to try this train - the timing seemed great and very convenient to me. It departed it a little before 1700hrs, and got to Bengaluru quite early in the morning - very convenient to have a short nape before heading to work. I checked with my counterpart at the college in Kalaburagi about the examination timings, and confirmed that we'd wrap it up by noon, before booking my ticket.

January 29, 2020:
The exam completed a little past noon. I was busy with some discussion with my accomplices there at the examination centre. We headed for a fairly late lunch - at the famous New Gurudutt Bhojanalaya, for some sumptuous Jolada Roti Oota (Lunch plate containing rotis (unleavened bread) made of Jowar (Sorghum Millet), rice and typical north karnataka styled vegetable curries to go along with). The food was finger licking delicious - I ended up with my stomach about to burst! I returned to my hotel room after food for some rest, before setting out to the railway station to board my train back to Bengaluru.

I was at the station a little before 1645hrs - I had been checking the National Train Enquiry System (NTES) mobile application almost continuously since afternoon, and had found that my train was running behind schedule by about 15 minutes. I had factored in this delay while reaching the station - the departure display boards at the station claimed the train would arrive at 1700hrs (about 10 minutes behind schedule) - but hadn't updated the platform number yet. There were a few other arrivals around this time - one to Vizag and couple of them towards Mumbai. Only two platforms were being used at the station on that day - presumably due to some track works on the other lines (track maintenance machines were spotted around the other lines). This restriction delayed my train further, which was probably detained at some station en route.

WDP4D #40400 rolling in to Gulbarga..

My train finally rolled in to the station at 1756hrs - an hour and 4 minutes behind schedule - with WDP4D #40400 of Krishnarajapuram powering the rake. The rake didn't have a general compartment at the leading end - causing a commotion on the platform as people rushed towards the general compartment at the trailing end. I got into my coach, B2, which was a fairly new coach. My berth was in the first cubicle itself - the berth had a pile of used of bed spreads (which the attendant cleared a while later). There were food waste on the floor - empty bottles, crumpled biscuit packets, and what not. The train did not seem to have on board house keeping personnel - all the thrash that had accumulated from the time the train left Ahmedabad was intact.

The train started off from Kalaburagi at 1801hrs - an hour and 06 minutes behind schedule now. I had some hopes of the train making up some time en route. The train had very little stoppages - and I was sure this would help. We rolled in to Wadi soon later - at 1837hrs. This is a zone change over point - the train is handed over from Central Railway to South Central Railway - the crew changed as well. Meanwhile, a lot of vendors from the station had barged into the coach - I picked up a plate of Vada Pav from them. Little did I know this would turn out to be my dinner for the day - read on. The train started off from Wadi at 1846hrs. I had tuned in to a movie on my phone by now - traveling alone in a train is a terribly boring thing to do.
Vada Pav from Wadi!

I remained occupied with the movie for the rest of the time - I had kept an eye on the vendors from the pantry all the time, trying to see if anybody came around to take orders for dinner. The train rushed through the darkness as we progressed towards Bengaluru. I was so engrossed in the movie that I hadn't realised how far we had travelled. We got to Raichur at 2013hrs - and departed by 2017hrs. Neither were orders for dinner taken, nor did any vendor come around selling dinner items! I was engrossed in the movie that I did not realise that it was quite late in the night. We rolled in to the next station, Mantralayam Road, by 2041hrs. The other co-travellers in the cubicle boarded here - the occupants of the lower berth, actually. We started off from Mantralayam Road by 2057hrs - about 52 minutes behind schedule now.

I realised that I had missed my dinner only as the other occupants in the cubicle pulled out their dinner! I wasn't very hungry - all thanks to the Vada Pav from Wadi. The occupants of the lower berth, an elderly couple, requested if they could lay down - indirectly meaning we had to open the middle berth and get to our berths. I was on the middle berth - I was quite happy to sleep early, since I hadn't had great sleep the previous night anyways. Meanwhile, the train had been detained at a station called Kosigi (2112hrs) - there was no signs of movement from there even as I finished watching the movie and actually slept (roughly around 2230hrs!!).

Tiredness and sleeplessness had taken a toll on me - I slept straight for the next 7 hours or so, and woke up briefly only as the train pulled in to some station - we were at Doddaballapura (time around 0515hrs). I slept off even before the train started from there. This was again good sleep, and I woke up this time only as the train was actually crawling in to Yeshwantpur station! We finally stopped on Platform 3 of Yeshwantpur station at 0636hrs - an hour and 51 minutes behind schedule. We had lost over an hour being detained at Kosigi itself - plus all the delays that had build up earlier. The train did make up some time.
Gulbarga (Kalaburagi) station! I loved that Indian flag out there!

Journey in a Nutshell:
Train Number: 16501 Ahmedabad - Yeswantpur Express
Loco link: WDP4D #40400 of Krishnarajapuram
Coach: B2, LWACCN #18xxxx built by Integral Coach Factory, Chennai. Based at Yeswantpur. [I seem to have missed the coach number accidentally]

Ratings:
Punctuality: 8/10 (Delayed at either ends)
Cleanliness: 6/10 (Food waste, thrash everywhere)
Catering: Was not served!

Overall: 8/10

I quite liked the journey - barring the delay, it was very comfortable. Even with the delay, the train got to Bengaluru much earlier than any other train would've. I'd surely give this train another chance, the next time I go to Gulbarga on a Wednesday!

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