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.
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…