Quick one to Trivandrum: 06128 Chennai Egmore "Special" Train

Its been almost a year and a half since Covid hit the country. Kerala has been under terrible COVID stress since early this year. The state went through a series of lockdowns - the last one lasting over two months. Localised locked downs extended this duration to another month more. The last time I traveled out of my house was some time in April and its been really long without traveling. In fact, it reached a point where I hadn't even traveled outside the boundaries of the local self-government (the Municipality). 

While life dragged on high and dry, one fine day, this message arrives signalling my next opportunity to travel. This was a short and quick trip to Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram) - I decided to travel by train both ways - for two reasons: this trip was to be quick, and I had to be back in my hometown before too late in the night. Road traffic seemed to be on an all-time high, and I did not want to spend a tiring evening wading traffic. Without much thoughts, I headed straight to the IRCTC website to book my ticket. I had a confusion here - if I should travel the previous evening and stay overnight in Trivandrum or travel overnight to Trivandrum. I opted for the latter since I was really unsure of getting an accommodation at Trivandrum. 

I had two options for traveling overnight - the Guruvayur-Chennai Egmore special and the Madurai-Trivandrum "Amrita" Special. The latter would mean I arrive a little late in to Trivandrum, while the former would get into Trivandrum quite early. However, the former had very little chances of being delayed enroute - this sealed the decision. I decided to redeem my IRCTC points for this booking - the redemption process was simple and quick. I was traveling by an AC Coach again after 17 months!

August 24, 2021:

The train was to depart at 2258hrs - I had reached Thrissur railway station by around 2200hrs. I had driven my car to the station, and I was now busy hunting for a parking spot. I missed the entrance to the parking, and ended up driving around for a while before getting in to the parking. The parking charges for overnight parking was Rs. 150. A walk-through tunnel with an IR-thermometer was installed at the entrance. The device screens all passengers at entry. Limited access to platforms has certainly made platforms emptier and finding a place to wait has become easier. I really hope IR continues this process of controlling access - it makes it easier for passengers. 

There was a steady stream of departure towards Shoranur - trains to Bengaluru, Silchar, Chennai, etc. There were a lot of people waiting for the train I was to travel in. Most people seemed to be headed to Tamilnadu. More stores on the platform had opened this time around, compared to my last journey. I picked up a coffee and some bite to go along. My train pulled in by 2302hrs with WAP #30378 of Royapuram doing the honours. I knew that this was to be a very short halt, and had to hurry with getting in to the train - there were a few people to join the coach here, as well. I was traveling in a 2014 Integral Coach factory built AC 3-tier coach (WGACCN #14126) based at Chennai Egmore. The coach was in fairly great shape, and very clean as well.

Railway Coffee.. That is an emotion!!

We got moving by 2304hrs, and quickly sped out of Thrissur. I was just settling down - the bedrolls were gone, so were the curtains. Its quite a hassle travelling without bedrolls - the lack of curtains let all the light in as well. Air-conditioning was maintained at bearable temperature, thankfully. We rolled in to Irinjalakuda by 2327hrs and departed a minute later. Meanwhile, I was preparing to sleep - I had carried a bedsheet along with me. I tried sleeping - but couldn't sleep for some reason. 

We stopped next at Chalakudy (2337hrs) and then at Ankamaly for Kalady (2356hrs). This train makes plenty of stops on the way. I was slowly drifting asleep as the train made its next stop, at Aluva (0009hrs). I finally slept when the train was stationary at Ernakulam Town station (0029hrs). It wasn't the kind of sleep I wanted - it was very disrupted and I kept waking up multiple times. I had a sense of insecurity - a fear of my bag being stolen (something I usually do not have, when traveling in AC coaches - I avoid night journeys in Non-AC coaches for the fear of being robbed).

I kept waking up time and again through the night. I was dead tired by morning due theo the lack of sleep. I was fully awake by the time the train reached Kochuveli. I finally alighted at Thiruvananthapuram Central station at 0431 - 4 minutes before scheduled time. I was really tired after the journey, and badly wanted to crash on to a bed. It was raining heavily at the time, and I had to wait at the station for a while, before I could walk out and hunt for a room to sleep for a while!

Do watch this small mash-up of video clips from this journey as well:

Journey in a Nutshell:

Train Number: 06128 Guruvayur Chennai Egmore 'Covid' Special Express
Loco link: WAP7 #30378 of Royapuram
Coach: B1, WGACCN #14126, based at Chennai Egmore.


Punctuality: 10/10 (Departed minutes delayed, Arrived before time!)
Cleanliness: 10/10 (Absolutely clean)
Bedroll: Not Available.
Catering: Not Available.


Although I couldn't achieve my target of sleeping, the train is a great choice to travel overnight to Thiruvananthapuram. Certainly an option worth considering!