The latest edition of Samit Roychoudhury’s excellent Indian railways atlas is available on line now, click here.
SatNav in Assam
I wanted to use that as another cheap trick with the post title, but Samit Roychoudhury’s new edition is a more worthy theme . Our men in the field in Assam, Satyakam and Navadeep, have been helping me sort out the Ledo-Tipong-Singphow-Dibrugarh-Bogibeel-Dhemaji section. It turns out that this Singphow lodge is the genuine tribal peoples set-up. More-over, their recipes are tribal secrets!, so this a gastronomic target par excellence. So we’re definitely doing it. We also have transport worked out with three Maruti vans (seats 8 each) between the 15 of us, so that’s Rs 400 a head which tallies with what we are paying elsewhere (this is down from an initial quote of over Rs 1,000 per head a day). The top and bottom of all this is that your “hidden extras” are now certainly under £20 total for all three road trips.
The colliery is best left till nearer the time, though the lads are making enquiries on our behalf. They don’t steam the engines every day apparently, but they are used regularly so we just need to make sure we’re on a steaming day. There is a possibility we may be able to go inside the colliery. I didn’t think this was going to be an option, and you will be forgiven if you don’t fancy the idea given that it has recently suffered a major collapse and in view of recent media coverage which nobody on the planet could have possibly avoided.
I’ve also been informed that the ferry, contrary to one report I had which I think is for the next pier down the river, just goes from Bogibeel on the south to one point in the north. I have been imagining an issue where we aren’t sure which pier to get off on the north. So as such I’m not concerned now about coughing up for a multi-lingual chaperon.
The gang is now 15. We lost one of the two outstanding folks, but we kept the photographer!. We’ve one remaining possible on the list, but I’d guess that we’re done now with the official gang. I am due to meet up with Steven at Shankar’s on Sunday to pick up the tickets and make a final decision on what train we are getting out of Amritsar. I’ve had a number of Indians turn up in the last week as a direct result of Todd’s excellent plug on GlobeTrooper here. Alas, despite declaring themselves as definite as soon as they spoke to me, they have subsequently failed to respond even just to say “sorry, I was temporarily insane, this trip is too silly for me”. I fully expect some people who just happen to be in the area will start turning up when we are a lot closer. You can probably book this thing weeks, even days, in advance of launch. But you are almost certainly going to be doing major sections of it outside AC2. And I’m expecting some feedback from our agents in the field about the details behind the whole circular ticket deal as, truth be told, no one seems to have ever bought one that lasted more than a few trains.