Mysuru-Chennai Vande Bharat Express: A railway enthusiast’s experience
Indian Railways has come a long way. I was blown away by the effort taken by several teams in building this train. Just like how I found the Tejas coaches feature rich, this one has its great points.
BHPian vigsom recently shared this with other enthusiasts.
I consider myself fortunate to have seized an opportunity to travel by the new star of Southern Railway – the Mysuru Chennai Vande Bharat Express, on just its fourth day of operation. Having had some bittersweet experiences on trains in the recent months, I was just looking forward to another point A (Bengaluru) to point B (Chennai) journey, but was blown away by the effort taken by several teams in building this train. Just like how I found the Tejas coaches feature rich, this one has its great points. Read on.
How did I get to travel by the Vande Bharat Express?
I needed to get to Chennai from Bengaluru and was wanting a day express. Realizing that the Vande Bharat Express was operational, and that trains running in the morning were heavily booked, I decided to try the young stallion, which showed no dynamic fare, a catering charge of just INR 86 (for some not so high tea), and a convenient 3pm departure. What was surprising is that this train had just one halt, at Katpadi enroute from Bengaluru to Chennai. Opportunities like this don’t come every day, and so I went ahead and booked my place.
Arrival at KSR Bengaluru:
Platform 7 at KSR Bengaluru was nothing short of an exhibition of sorts with a whole posse of security personnel waiting to welcome the VIP (Vande Bharat Express). The tracks have never been this clean, and the escalators at the main entry and onto platform 7 were clean and functional. As the stallion rolled in, passengers and onlookers pulled their weapons(aka mobile phones) to take shots of the VIP. The security personnel were shouting out to onlookers to stay away from the track and did seem to mention that taking unsafe selfies might take them to smashaan (crematorium); the mood on the platform was kind of celebratory.
Vande Bharat Express rolling in with spectators all charged up:
First impressions of the Vande Bharat Express:
Just like the Tejas ,there was this wide entry, massive lobby, and a sensor-actuated sliding door led us to the air-conditioned cabin. The moment I sat down in my seat, I could feel the difference – the seats just hug the passengers, underthigh support was way way better than the Shatabdis, the cabin was overall well-appointed and most importantly, the temperature was well controlled unlike freezing zones that I’ve experienced in other trains of late.
- Classy on the outside – plain white with a blue band and blackened windows.
- Tremendous acceleration like the EMUs – key differentiator.
- Massive windows give an airy feel to the cabin.
- Seats offer good comfort.
- Blinds on all windows are manually operated but can be set at any position.
- Emergency communication system.
- Tray table is the best I’ve seen in an Indian train till date.
- Air suspension makes the ride much much smoother.
- CCTV cameras.
- Smoke detectors.
- Fire detectors and alarms.
- Bio-vacuum toilet.
- Jaquar taps on the washbasins.
Seat fabric will definitely wither away with use; leatherette would have been easy to maintain.
Noise insulation could have been better.
Experiencing the Vande Bharat Express:
Showcased below are some of what I observed keenly while on board.
The best seats I’ve sat in in recent times; however, I expect the seat fabric to start wearing off like in the Shatabdis:
Cabin view – Note the massive windows:
Grab handles on the aisle seats – useful to hold on to when moving down the aisle:
Magazine holder deep inside:
Bottle holders placed deep down:
Tray table is stable and well supported:
Tray table in the closed position – note the high quality hooks:
Seat recline control lever hidden:
Seat recline angle is good enough:
Power supply sockets (three pin and USB) under the seat – none on the side panels:
Rare sight to see a train skip Bengaluru Cantt:
Overtaking the Double Decker Express:
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