My worst experiences in Indian Railways in 45 years of rail travel

My worst experiences in Indian Railways in 45 years of rail travel

Washrooms in LHB 1AC and 2AC trains are horribly managed. Today, I ended up with a clogged WC.

BHPian vigsom recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

After some great experiences on trains, many of which I’ve penned on the forum, my most recent ones (in the last 2 months) have been nothing to write home about; I’ve been taking a train almost every week and my experiences have been the worst in my 45 plus years of rail travel. Here is a list:

  • LHB 1AC and 2AC coaches are supremely uncomfortable – they are set at extremely low temperatures, and passengers face severe jerks when the train departs or slows down – have faced this in trains 12656, 22907, 22908, 22904, 12971, 12972, 12472, 16587, 12927 to name a few. The older coaches (Utkrisht) are still well kept and temperature control is excellent.
  • Washrooms in LHB 1AC and 2AC trains are horribly managed – they leak water from the top, the toilet tissue is almost non-existent, have faced water-out situations, vacuum flush doesn’t work most of the time and early this morning on Train No. 12472, I ended up with a clogged WC.
  • TTE on board train No.12472 at New Delhi on 28/09/2022 was particularly rude when he came to check my ticket in 1AC. The door at my cabin in coach H1 was extremely hard to open and when I opened the door half with some difficulty after he knocked, I told him I had boarded at Delhi, he asked me rudely why I was standing in the way; so much about TTEs’ demeanour. I’ve reported his behaviour to the Railway Minister. This is the first time I’ve encountered a rude TTE in 45 plus years and I hope it doesn’t happen again.
  • Overcharging and no billing in ALL pantry cars- this is an old disease and hasn’t been cured even after 4 decades. Just to cite an example – I was charged 150 rupees for lunch on train 12656 ex MAS 11/09/2022. When I complained to RailMadad, the Pantry Manager of all rakes called and gave me some cock and bull story about “special lunch” not being part of the standard offering. He also pleaded with me to give him another chance and requested me to get in touch with him when I was travelling next. End result – I have stopped depending on pantry offerings except for the routine tea/coffee.
  • NTES – Train Enquiry does not provide realistic arrivals/departures for trains – it is over-optimistic and paints a very rosy picture about trains arriving on time at a station while in reality, they never make it on time. Eg. a train which is 2 hours late at Bhusawal is shown as being on time at Surat, which is 335km away. How on earth will an express train cover 336km in 3.5 hours is beyond science.
  • Availability status shows tickets unavailable or high on waitlists and one is forced to take tickets from the originating station under GN quota. However, when we board the train at intermediate stations, we find several berths empty.
  • Linen – almost invariably, the linen provided in “brown sealed packets” is just ironed and re-issued. I’ve noticed several times the linen coming out of the brown sealed packet is dirty; same with pillow covers.
  • Rail Madad portal is a hit or miss; some issues are genuinely resolved while some are unilaterally closed without even discussing with the complainant. Worst responses are from Northern Railway.

Sorry to state this, but my worst experience in Indian Railways all these years has been in the recent months and a big blot on all the good work that’s been done and that I’ve personally seen in the last few years.

Here’s what BHPian sukhbirST had to say about the matter:

Thanks for bringing out important facts which we generally ignore, though have faced them often. Will be careful about linen, food etc. Have been informed about trains being changed, cancelled or combined post covid. Also, there are issues like restoring travel concessions that media or people like you have brought out.

Here’s what BHPian jkrishnakj had to say about the matter:

The issues you articulated (barring the coach jerking during stops) are exactly the ones that make people drive/fly. My last 2AC journey by Rajdhani to Hyd was a tough one too. I had the berths closer to the door. It’s just a Lower/Upper berth/seat configuration facing the train wall, meaning, you can’t even stretch your legs while seated. Never felt like a 2AC at all.

As for train running times and actual status, I rely on the ‘Live Train’ app. So far, 100% of the time it’s shown the right timings, right platform numbers and the right count of where my coach is, from the engine side.

Whilst the railways have improved a lot over the past years (clean platforms, clean coaches at origin, food delivery at seats etc.) they still have a long way to go.

Here’s what BHPian apachelongbow had to say about the matter:

My only train journey in recent history (meaning the last two decades) was the Delhi Mumbai Tejas last April. In short, it was a fast (between 130 to 140 kmph) journey, with seamless acceleration, bang-on timing and very neat interiors with spotless linen. The TC actually has a connected tablet to check tickets, the food was average, but sufficient and timely.

I had assumed that IR had really, really improved based on my experience, until I read the above posts.

Here’s what BHPian Malyaj had to say about the matter:

Just returned from Aleppey / Cochin trip and had mixed experiences.

Bangalore to Ernakulam North – 16526 Kanyakumari Express

Coach – 2nd AC

We were unlucky to get the 2nd AC coach (HA1) which was shared with the first AC (half-half). There were two more coaches A1 and A2 which were further away and newer, but somehow we always get saddled with the worst coaches and seats.

Horrible, ancient, jerky coach that rammed into the coach behind it every time the train started from a standstill or accelerated. Couldn’t catch a wink during the night. The curtains looked like they had been salvaged from debris. Extremely run-down surroundings all over. AC was meh.

Return journey 16319 SMVB Humsafar Express

Coach – 3rd AC

This time coach was newer, the interiors better and the coach not jerky. We got seats 71/72 near the door, which was jammed and passengers struggled to open it all night. Again couldn’t sleep for a second. The following morning coffee and breakfast vendors kept walking up and down every minute with their announcements and it got really irritating. Why do we need these services literally every minute? What a racket.

On the bright side, both trains were more or less on time, and the linen was spotlessly clean.

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