Journey to Mumbai by Flight
I always wanted to travel to New Delhi from Mumbai by Rajdhani Express train. I got an opportunity to travel to New Delhi in the month of February 2020. Rajdhani Express trains are premier trains operated by the Indian Railways with fully air-conditioned coaches. I have mentioned some facts about Rajdhani Express trains, you can read it here. The trains are fully reserved with the exception of the limitation on reservation against cancellation passengers (RAC) who are later allotted a berth subject to availability. I decided to travel to Mumbai from Bengaluru by flight and travel to New Delhi by 12953 Mumbai Central- Hazarat Nizamuddin Rajdhani Express.
I had booked the tickets for my first-class air-conditioned journey much early. My ticket status was confirmed but I was not allotted any cabin or a coupe. It is given to understand that the berth numbers for all the first-class air-conditioned passengers are allotted after the chart preparation and are usually done four hours prior to the departure of the train. The first-class air-conditioned passengers are offered berths either in a coupe that consists of two sleeping berths or cabins that have four sleeping berths.
For this journey, I intended to catch a 12 pm flight from Bengaluru to reach well ahead of time in Mumbai. I departed from Bengaluru at 12 pm by flight without any hassles and the flight journey was smooth. This was my first day-time journey to Mumbai on a flight. I arrived at Mumbai’s Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport at around 2 pm. The aircraft was parked at the tarmac and all the passengers were ferried to the airport’s terminal by the airline’s shuttle bus. As soon as I disembarked from the shuttle bus, I got an SMS alert indicating my berth number which was allotted to Cabin A with an upper berth. I was overjoyed but was expecting at least a coupe berth allocation which provides a passenger with full privacy. All the passengers disembarked and proceeded to exit the gates of the airport.
I had to catch a taxi to reach Mumbai Central railway station. I stopped by at one of the app-based taxi counters available at the exit gates of Mumbai’s Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport. The counter agent noted down my destination details and tried to book a cab with the help of SMS base one-time password. But due to some roaming and networking issues on my cell phone, my SMS with a one-time password was delayed and my cab could not be booked. The agent insisted to venture outside the exit gates and then try to book a cab with another app-booking counter available. I sighed and went straight to the app-booking counter located outside the airport’s terminal building.
My booking was successfully confirmed and I was allotted a cab based on the details received through the SMS message. A courteous security guard helped me to locate my cab at the parking lot. I got into the cab and we headed to Mumbai Central from Mumbai airport at around 3.40 pm. My train's scheduled departure time was at 5.40 pm from Mumbai Central Station.
Mumbai Central Railway Station Visit
The traffic in Mumbai was moderate and we reached Mumbai Central station within 30-40 minutes. I got off the cab and headed to Mumbai Central railway station to know the status of my train. The train was on time as per the departure display screen and since I was hungry, I headed to Comesum restaurant located opposite platform 1 at the railway station. I ordered for North Indian thali lunch which was worth INR-190 and consisted of two rotis, aloo subji, paneer subji, papad, vegetable salad, and curds. I relished the wholesome meals at the restaurant.
After lunch, I wanted to collect a printed railway timetable published by Western Railway. I have a hobby of collecting printed railway timetables as Indian Railways publishes at least five different railway zone timetables and they are only available at the respective railway stations under each zone. I enquired at the railway station’s reservation counter regarding the printed timetable book. The counter agent directed to visit the advanced railway reservation counter located opposite the railway station building. I quickly headed to the other building and had to wait in a line at counter number 1. When my turn came at the counter, I enquired about my requirement. The counter agent asked me to wait and he promptly went inside the office to get the printed timetable book. The book cost me INR 50 and it contains a detailed schedule of all the express and passenger trains falling under Western Zone. I was overjoyed upon purchase of the book and that also helped to keep myself preoccupied during my journey to New Delhi. The book was definitely a collector’s edition for an avid railfan like me.
After collecting the railway timetable book, I once again wanted to munch some snacks. I went to Comesum restaurant again and ordered crispy Samosas. The Samosas are the most popular snacks found in this region. I relished and enjoyed Samosas at the restaurant and headed to the platform to catch a glimpse of other trains. I noticed that the departure display board indicated my train’s platform and departure time. As also Mumbai has yet another premier Rajdhani Express connecting New Delhi. The train popularly known as Mumbai Rajdhani Express is operated by Western Railway and departs from Mumbai Central every day at 5.10 pm. Immediately after the departure of Mumbai Rajdhani Express, the other Rajdhani Express which was my scheduled train leaves Mumbai at 5.40 pm.
Onboard Rajdhani Express
As it was 4.30 pm now, it was time for Mumbai Rajdhani to get ready for departure. I quickly made a note of all the coaches while grabbing a cup of hot coffee purchased from the platform’s coffee vendor. At 4.45 pm, August Kranti Rajdhani Express arrived at the platform next to Mumbai Rajdhani Express. I quickly noted down my coach number H1 and embarked on it upon spotting it. The train’s coach was fresh and cleanly maintained. I occupied my seat in Cabin A of the coach. As soon as I entered the coach, I was greeted by the attendant and was given two English newspapers to read. I was overjoyed as this was my first journey to New Delhi from Mumbai onboard Rajdhani Express. Soon the cabin was filled up by another passenger heading to Surat.
The train left Mumbai Central at 5.40 pm. The next scheduled halt within Mumbai was at Borivali and a couple of passengers got on board my cabin and the cabin was full with four passengers. I enjoyed the views of Mumbai's urban landscape with tall skyscrapers, apartment complexes, and the flow of local sub-urban trains alongside the tracks. As soon as the train left Borivali, I was provided with a welcome drink consisting of a tetra pack juice. I also learned that I will be traveling alone from Surat as the rest of the passengers would be disembarking at Surat itself.
Soon it was snack time. As you are aware Rajdhani Express trains in India offer onboard catering services that include evening tea, dinner, lunch, and breakfast, and the cost of food is included in the ticket. A passenger otherwise has a facility to opt out of the food menu while booking an advanced e-ticket. Also, a passenger has an option to choose from either vegetarian or non-vegetarian food while booking the e-ticket, while I opted for vegetarian food. The snacks and evening tea were quickly served by the onboard pantry staff and consisted of the following food items-
- Wet tissue
- Savories consisting of cashews
- Tomato sauce
- Choice of Coffee/Tea
I enjoyed the snacks served by the panty staff along with a hot cup of coffee. Coffee was provided with hot water, a milk powder sachet, and an instant coffee powder along with sugar.
Dinner in the Train
Soon it was getting dark outside and the journey was uneventful. The train made its scheduled stops en route at Vapi and Valsad before arriving at Surat at around 9 pm. At 7 pm pantry staff enquired about starter to relish and offered the choice of sweet corn soup and hot tomato soup. I opted for hot tomato soup. The soup was served with butter and two breadsticks and it had a very refreshing taste. Around 8 pm, the pantry staff inquired about the choice of food i.e. vegetarian or non-vegetarian food. All the passengers in the cabin opted for vegetarian food. The pantry staff soon began to serve the food on bone-china cutlery. Only the first-class air-conditioned passengers onboard Rajdhani Express are served with bone-china cutlery. While the passengers traveling in air-conditioned 2 tier and air-conditioned- 3 tier coaches are served with food through disposable aluminum foils. The dinner was served hot and fresh and it consisted of the following items-
- Two rotis
- Aloo subji
- Paneer gravy
- Dal gravy
- Jeera Rice
- Ice-cream for dessert
After finishing the dinner, the pantry staff finally served desserts with a choice of either butterscotch ice cream or vanilla ice cream. I opted for vanilla ice cream. Soon it was time to wind up for the day. I was given bedroll consisting of the following items by the bed-roll attendant of the train’s coach-
- Hand towel
- Two Bedsheets
I quickly made up my bed and settled down to sleep. At this time, we were nearing Surat railway station and as mentioned earlier all three passengers got down at Surat. I was the only passenger then traveling up to New Delhi.
Arriving at New Delhi
The next day I woke up at 6.30 am and freshened up. I started to gaze through the windows and got a good view of the countryside en route to New Delhi. The pantry staff came into the cabin and inquired about my choice of early morning beverages. I opted for a cup of coffee and it was served with a cup of hot water, milk powder, instant coffee powder, and sugar. At around 7.30 am I was asked about the choice of either vegetarian or non-vegetarian breakfast. I opted for a hot vegetarian breakfast and was offered the following items
- Cereals with hot milk
- Two white pieces of bread
- Fruit Jam
- Tomato Sauce
- Choice of Upma/Poha
- Vegetarian Cutlet
- Aloo Fries
- A Banana
- ‘Barone’ chocolate
After breakfast, I was offered a fresh cup of hot coffee. I enjoyed the breakfast as the sun was gazing through early morning windows. The journey was uneventful as I was the only passenger in my cabin. I was looking at the passing by railway stations with the help of the Indian Railway atlas. Soon my destination arrived at the exact time of 11 am at Hazarat Nizamuddin, near New Delhi. I disembarked and immediately rushed to the unreserved ticketing counter to get my tickets to travel to New Delhi. A sub-urban local train to New Delhi operated at 12 pm from Hazarat Nizamuddin. I had plenty of time in the meanwhile. I yet again grabbed a cup of hot filter coffee on platform 2 and enjoyed railfanning. I could spot Thiruvananthapuram bound Kerala Express, Amritsar bound Sach Khand Express and Inodre bound Malwa Express on the train’s platform. Soon it was 12 pm and my local suburban train arrived on platform 2 and I hopped on o to the train. I reached New Delhi within a span of 20 minutes. Thus my maiden journey to New Delhi from Mumbai onboard Rajdhani Express ended on a happy note.
Travel By Rajdhani Express in India
Tips to Travel By Rajdhani Express in India
- Tips to Travel By Rajdhani Express Trains in India
Rajdhani Express is one of the premium and super-fast trains running in India. It connects to New Delhi, India's capital city to the other state capitals with rail connectivity in a timely manner. It offers the passengers a premium comfort of travel,
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.
Varun Dambal (author) from Bangalore on May 17, 2021:
Liz Westwood from UK on May 17, 2021:
This is a detailed and interesting account of your journey. It will be of use to other travelers.