No Coro-lation

Keeping up a weekly post for over a year for a project of this ultimately ephemeral nature was never going to happen. It transpires that my viewing figures show absolutely no correlation to my postings anyway, I’ve had more hits over the last weekend than I usually get on the 2 weekdays after my usual posting. We’re in stasis right now anyway until the Autumn when we’ll need to start buying tickets, and I get to find out which of you are misinformed enough to actually turn up on the platform.

I have been continuing to monitor the behaviour of our target services. The now infamous Coromandel Express, service 2841 from Howrah (Kolkata) to Chennai Central continues to operate erratically. If it’s not Moaists in Bihar blowing up the tracks, then it’s typhoons in the Bay of Bengal submerging them. And if it’s neither of those two then it’s either a derailment of a goods train in Orissa causing havoc, or wild-cat strike action in West Bengal causing even worse.

Of course this is the one service where our itinerary demands that it turns up within 2 hours of it’s advertised arrival. Everything else has a contingency of at least 5 hours, and in most cases even if things are preposterously late we’ll just be able to turn round and go back. But if the Coro’ is late then we’ll certainly miss out on Rameswaram and if it’s really screwed up, as in canceled as it has been recently, we’ll be scrambling just to get down to Nagercoil in order to hit the southern tip of the country ready for the last leg back to Mumbai.

Photo by Claude Renault

The guys at Chennai Egmore take a breather after the mad dash to get us on the Rameswaram Express

To keep within the specification of getting back to VT within 2 weeks and a day, any contingency plan is likely to involve losing Kolkata, which would be a downer. Furthermore, neither 90DI nor bharatbyrail are of any use in solving the conundrum as they both insist that the only way to get from Darjeeling to Rameswaram is to spend the night in New Jalpaiguri awaiting the Guwahati-Bangalore Express the following day, which for those of you who are in the know is complete rubbish obviously.

Anyway, I hope you dig this weeks cool photo of cool coolies by Claude Renault, it is of course the only real reason for my post ;). And the Coro’ just arrived in today bang on time, so there is hope yet…



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6 responses to “No Coro-lation

  1. Thanks for sending me the link Mark. In Normandy this winter has been also very cold… Wish I were in india at the time..

  2. Murli

    Lester, Murphy’s Law: When things go wrong they will. There’s an old song, whatever will be, will be, .. I don’t remember the other lines at this late hour in India !

    I too share your concern genuinely, but I have hopes that these are passing phases.. Do remember that Europe/USA was grounded because of the ICELAND Volcano eruption ! Could anyone predict or do anything about it.. Yes, they found a roundabout way. So in the plan, we need to get what is called in railway parlance ‘slack time’ 🙂 Take this in the right sense please ! There are still miles to go before .. New Time table comes out in July.. then come winter time.. so one at a time ..

    Stay cool, and yes, I wholeheartedly share your concerns as well as of the others. Have faith in your capabilities, and I am sure we will find ways of making up/biting off some parts which may hinder the main plan. There’s something called Force Majeure which applies anyway so everybody will understand.

    Good wishes.

  3. Hi,

    I could not figure out if you went to Assam during your journey till now. I am from Dhemaji, though working in Chennai, and can help you regarding how to cross from Dhemaji to Dibrugarh. Also, I can arrange for you stay at my home. You can mail me if you require any assistance from me.

    • Lester

      Thank you Satyakam. We may change the plan slightly and try and get to the north side of the river the same day we arrive at tinsukia depending on what the situation is at Tipong. The idea to get the day trains and change and Rangapara, thus getting to see the line in the day rather than the night train on the Arunachal Express.Either way, the section from dibrugarh via the ferry and then getting to the railway line on the other side is the biggest unresolved variable. If there are 20 or more of us we’ll need to make sure there is enough transport om the other side. Can you accommodate 20 people in Dhemaji ?.

  4. Hi, I did not check this page for sometime as I had mentioned my email id while posting and was expecting a mail and not a reply to my post. Anyways, 20 people would be hard for my house to accommodate. But 5-6 people would be done without hassle. If you need any assistance do mail me at

    • Lester

      Just mailing you. We’ll most probably catch the Arunachal, if it’s running, after all. We will still need transport, though I have a few people who can help with that.

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