Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Jan Shatabdi

Recently, had the pleasure of travelling in a Jan Shatabdi train on the Bangalore Hubli route.

The Jan Shatabdi is a perfect example of dilution of a brand. The Shatabdi was the 'millenium series' of trains - centered around (relatively, in an Indian context) reliable, quick intercity transport with minimum halts. All trains start with the same objective but as times wears on, the ministry changes and political bigwigs ensure the maximum halts at various places, making the Indian railways what they are today.

The Jan Shatabdi takes the Jan more seriously than the Shatabdi brand. Result, a train that arrives half an hour late, stops in between stations, has its share of "unreserved" passengers. Saving grace, the stuff sold inside is not pricey, just normal railway rates.

Dampeners: The seats and the aisle are too, too narrow. One coffee chap with his hot container and you need a flyover in the middle. And even if the railways doesnt tell you, if you have a kid, buy an extra ticket. Otherwise, you will trouble yourselves and your co-travellers no end.

There are no handles on the sides - so as to maximise space. Your regular 2nd sleeper class bogie seats 5 astride as does the original Shatabdi, this one does six thanks to "ideas"like this one.

Please, can this not be a 3-2 arrangement with wider aisles and wider seats? Does it have to be like poultry?

The airplane style seats, are just that, airplane style and amazingly rugged. The food table, is made of steel and quite sturdy. Only problem, with constant usage, one of them will fall on someones feet and that will be fun...

And, we have never mastered the art of travelling light on the railways. The overhead rack was packed even though there were empty seats and the passengers who arrived late had a tough time.

If they railways dont pay enough attention to this brand, it will soon be jun(k) Shatabdi...


Nikhil Narayanan said...

U seem to be prejudiced, is it this bad??

Neelakantan said...

well, it could be a lot better :)