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Journey to Coimbatore by Shatabdi Express

Introduction

I arrived in Chennai the previous night by Bengaluru-Chennai Central Shatabdi Express at 9.30 pm on the third weekend of April 2018. Soon I checked in to Hotel Sky Residency located on Walltax Road adjacent to Chennai Central railway station. I had opted for this hotel through an online hotel booking portal and found the best hotel at easily affordable prices. I had to prepare the next morning being a Sunday, to leave to Coimbatore from Chennai Central. I had already booked my tickets onboard Chennai Central Coimbatore Shatabdi Express by air-conditioned First Class Executive coach and my ticket was confirmed with the seat number assigned in the last row of the coach.


As soon as I checked in to my hotel room, I headed out for a quick stroll and to explore dinner options. Soon I relished a sumptuous vegetarian dinner at Hotel Shiva Sagar located on Walltax road. The restaurant offered a variety of vegetarian dishes with an option to choose from South Indian and North Indian dishes. I opted to have a North Indian dinner thali consisting of two butter Rotis, a vegetable curry, dal gravy, paneer dish, fried rice, curds, choice of sweets, and curds. I never miss an opportunity to visit this restaurant in Chennai as it offers delicious food options.

Departing from Chennai Central Railway Station

I returned to my room to have a good night's sleep. I had to wake up early morning at 5 am and start preparing for my journey. After a good sleep, I woke up at 5.30 am and had a cup of coffee after a fresh up. The hotel did not have any option to have breakfast in the morning and I had no option to venture out to have some food for breakfast. As usual, I headed to Shiva Sagar restaurant on Wall Tax road yet again and decided to have hot idly vada and a cup of filter coffee. After breakfast, I had only an hour's time to prepare for my check-out and head to the Chennai Central railway station to board the Shatabdi Express at 7.20 am. The check-out process was smooth and hassle-free and after a brief five-minute walk I reached the Chennai Central railway station main entrance. I had to stop by at the entrance to view the reservation charts that display the details of wait-listed passengers. As my ticket was already confirmed, I just stopped by to view the train chart just for the sake of a rail fan's curiosity.


As soon as I entered the Chennai Railway station, I grabbed a couple of English newspapers to keep me preoccupied during the train journey. I also noticed the display screens indicating my train's departure from platform 2A. I also had some time to grab a cup of fresh filter coffee from the coffee vending stall located on the platform concourse. My designated coach i.e. the First Class Executive air-conditioned coach E1 was at the rear side near the platform entry point of the train. It was a hassle-free process to locate my coach and settle down in my seat. The train's coach was full owing to a weekend holiday as the train departed from Chennai Central on a busy Sunday at 7.20 am. I could also hear continuous announcements related to the arrival of several trains terminating at the Chennai Central railway station. It was a railfan's delight to watch the arrival of trains onto the adjacent platforms.


Soon it was time to leave from Chennai Central and the train left bang on time at 7.20 am. The train made steady progress through Chennai Central outer and Basin Bridge junction. The train then picked up its normal speed after crossing Basin bridge junction. I was seated on the right side of the train facing the railway track and to my delight, it was easy for me to spot incoming trains to Chennai Central approaching from Arakkonam Junction. As soon as the train left Chennai Central railway station, all the passengers including myself were provided with a complimentary water bottle and an English newspaper. After crossing Arakkonam Junction the passengers were provided and served hot beverages with a choice of a hot cup of coffee or tea. I chose to sip a cup of coffee, which was provided with a cup of hot water, instant coffee powder, sugar, and milk powder. I relished the coffee and it was very tasty.

Enjoying the Delicious Lunch

The train made its first commercial stop at Katpadi Junction. Some of the passengers bound to Erode and Coimbatore embarked at Katpadi junction railway station. After a brief five-minute halt the train proceeded with its usual speed to its next commercial stop at Jolarpet junction. Soon after leaving Katpadi junction railway station, the passengers were served breakfast. The first course of the continental breakfast consisted of cereals served with hot milk and a banana. After the continental breakfast, the main course of breakfast was served which consisted of Pongal, dosa, chutney, and sambhar. A choice of a hot cup of coffee/tea was again served at the end of breakfast.

Soon we arrived at Jolarpettai junction railway station at around 10 am in morning. A couple of passengers embarked the coach heading to Coimbatore and after a brief five-minute halt the train proceeded and changed the track towards Salem, Erode, and Coimbatore junction. The Jolarpettai junction railway station has a deviation of tracks toward Chennai Central, Bengaluru, and Coimbatore. This was my first trip in the daytime from Chennai Central on Chennai Central-Jolarpettai-Erode-Coimbatore junction rail section. So I was hooked on to my window seat without a wink after the train's departure from Joalrpettai junction railway station. The sight of agricultural fields, farms, and hills was worth a daytime journey, especially by train. Also, the sight of incoming trains from Coimbatore towards Chennai Central added to the rail fan's delight on this route to Coimbatore.


After some time at around 11.30 am we arrived at Salem Junction and some passengers disembarked at this station. We left Salem after a brief two-minute halt and proceeded to Erode, the next destination. Soon the pantry staff was making preparations for lunch to be served onboard to the passengers. As a first course, hot tomato soup was served. The tomato soup was tasty and relishing. We then reached Erode junction and our lunch course was loaded from the railway station's base kitchen to be served to the passengers. As soon as the train left Erode, the pantry staff yet again were busy serving lunch to all the passengers. The lunch consisted of two rotis, a vegetarian curry, dal gravy, paneer subzi, jeera rice, curds, and pickles. Ice cream as a dessert was served after completing the main course.

The last station before reaching Coimbatore arrived at Tiruppur at around 1.10 pm. Tiruppur is an industrial suburb area of Coimbatore city and most of the passengers disembarked at this railway station. Now our final destination at Coimbatore was just an hour away. The train made its way to Coimbatore bang on time and entered platform 4 of the railway station. Thus I successfully completed my first day-time journey to Coimbatore from Chennai Central by Chennai Central-Coimbatore Shatabdi Express.

Return to Chennai Central

I had made plans to return to Chennai Central on the same day. I had already booked my return tickets by the same train i.e. Coimbatore- Chennai Central Shatabdi Express leaving Coimbatore at 3 pm to return to its final destination at Chennai Central by 10.15 pm. Upon disembarking upon my arrival at Coimbatore, I decided to make a quick tour of the entrance of Coimbatore railway station. After a short ten-minute tour of the railway station, I headed back to platform 4 to board the train now ready to leave as Coimbatore- Chennai Central Shatabdi Express at 3 pm. My designated coach was yet again First Class Executive Air-conditioned chair car and this time I had got aisle seats in the middle row of the coach. The train left Coimbatore bang on time at 3 pm. The coach did not witness much crowd as expected. However, the coach became busy after arriving at Tiruppur which saw as many ten passengers board the E1 coach of the train. As soon as the train left Tiruppur railway station at around 3.45 pm, the pantry staff distributed welcome drinks along with a complimentary water bottle.


The train soon made its way to reach Erode railway station at around 4.30 pm. The train thus witnessed anticipated crowd bound to Chennai Central on a busy weekend holiday. The E1 coach was now fully reserved from Erode railway station onwards and there was no vacant seat in the coach. Soon after we left Erode railway station, the pantry staff made preparations to serve evening snacks and tea to the passengers. The evening tea consisted of hot samosa, a tomato sauce sachet, dry fruits, choice of coffee or tea. I relished the snack and beverages served by the onboard pantry staff and it was delicious. Soon it was getting dark outside and one could not do any train spotting or railfanning in the dark. I had no choice but to start reading a book. At 7 pm, the pantry staff served hot tomato soup with butte chiplet and breadsticks. The soup had a relishing taste. By 8 pm, the pantry staff was making preparations to serve the last course of the meal of the day i.e. dinner. I opted for a vegetarian dinner and it consisted of two rotis, panner gravy, dal fry, aloo subzi, jeera rice, curds, and pickles. A vanilla ice cream was served as the dessert course to all the passengers.


The journey from Erode railway station to Chennai Central was uneventful as it was dark outside and thus we were unable to make any spottings. We soon arrived at our destination i.e. Chennai Central at around 10.15 pm. My connecting train to Bengaluru was at 11.15 pm and the journey to Bengaluru was by Chennai Central-Bengaluru Mail departing from platform 5. After disembarking from Shatabdi Express I quickly made my way through the busy station to my designated train on platform 5. Soon it was time to leave and the train was ready to leave Chennai Central bang on time at 11.15 pm. We reached Bengaluru at sharp 5 am, the usual expected time at platform number 4. I enjoyed this one-day solo trip which ended on a happy note and reached my sweet home within thirty minutes from Bengaluru railway station.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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