By sheer coincidence, or statistical inevitability, someone who is currently on an extended adventure in India has had just the same idea as yours truly. In fact uncannily similar. This bread based activity left from Old Delhi station last Tuesday evening on a solo mission covering virtually an identical route but starting and finishing in Delhi, and doing it all in second class sleeper.
To his credit, if he is worthy of any, by adopting an SL only policy he’s going to take 5 days longer than we are planing to as there is no SL on many of the fastest trains. As if doing this on your own, in SL, with what appears to be blissful naivety, wasn’t hard enough as it is, he’s chosen to do this during the monsoon. This increases his chances of hitting a massive delay somewhere, and missing a connection, by an order of magnitude. If he gets back to Delhi in 20 days it will be an incredible achievement. There’s a large blue splodge covering most of Assam on the current weather chart http://news.bbc.co.uk/weather/forecast/1557. The whole of the north east coast is going to get seriously precipitated upon next week according to the beeb. He’s using the same Coro to Boat Mail connection in Chennai, leaving Howrah on Tuesday. It’s going to be a soggy journey and a real splash and dash across town to get to Egmore. If he gets as far as the Cape on schedule I think we’ll send him a medal.
Edit, having met everyone on the group (I’m on the trip right now) and been able to reflect on the test pilot’s motives and integrity, I now realise I’ve been a bit too charitabel to this guy.
So good luck mate, if you’d like we can discuss the matter face to face and I’ll tell you what I really think.
Heat off the Coro
The Coromandel Express has avoided a possible vote of confidence. I’ve been getting some serious lobbying for alternative routes avoiding Kolkata, but the news just in gets the Coro out of the dock. The connecting service, the Rameswaram Express, has been shunted back 1 hour 45 minutes. This means that any 2 hour delays to the Coro, which are infrequent but common enough to be of concern, are now of no concern at all. We’ve still only 4 hours between trains, which is about the tightest we have anywhere, but the Coromandel has only failed to make that date twice. And that was on account of there not being any railway lines due to a typhoon. Even a derailment couldn’t budge it from getting in just 3 hours slow.
I’ve given all the prospective contenders a nudge to see if they are still up for it. A couple of people have had to drop out for various reasons, some quite sad. I’m also still waiting for a few others to get back, but we are looking like a fairly solid 20 or so, plus another 10 may be’s. About half of the 20 are native Indians, and several of the rest are expats/Indian origin. There’s a good range of age and gender and also experience. We even have a group of 3 or 4 avid young adventurers who have never been to India!, they aren’t going to forget this trip in a hurry.
My obligatory flickr photo this time is of Trivandrum at Monsoon time. There’s something of the Spielberg about it don’t you think ?