Arriving at Mumbai Central Railway Station From Bengaluru
I had to travel to Ahmedabad from Bengaluru for a personal trip. Though Bengaluru had several options for direct flight connectivity to Ahmedabad and apart from a three-day rail journey, I opted to travel by Mumbai Central-Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express departing from Mumbai Central (every day) at 6 am. For this, I had to book an overnight flight ticket to reach Mumbai and then proceed to Ahmedabad.
My flight was scheduled to leave at 1 am in the early morning at Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport. I started off at the airport from my home at 8 pm. I availed BMTC which operates round-the-clock air-conditioned shuttles to the airport from Kempegowda Bus Station i.e., the city center. I reached the airport wading through moderate Bengaluru traffic after an hour’s journey at 9.15 pm. I had plenty of time in hand as the departure time of the flight was 1 am at night. I quickly grabbed some snacks that included hot crispy samosas and a cup of fresh filter coffee. Next, I entered the airport’s terminal building after my e-ticket and photo identity card were verified by the security at the entrance of the domestic departure hall.
I quickly made it through the security check and it was hassle-free as I just had a single piece of cabin baggage. The boarding gates were announced at around 11 pm and I quickly settled down in of the seats available near the boarding gate. My cell phone charge was draining out and I had to find a USB slot to charge my cell phone and this activity kept me preoccupied till the opening of boarding gates.
Soon boarding gates were open and I was the first to board the plane, as usual, I had requested for last row window seat and the passengers from the last row were insisted to board first by the crew. The flight was full to capacity and I had not expected it owing to the weekday schedule of the flight. This is was my first overnight journey to Mumbai and it ended soon within one hour and forty minutes. All the passengers were made to embark at Terminal 2.
We arrived in Mumbai at around 2.45 am. It was almost 3 am when I made it to the airport. It was now time to hunt for app-based taxis. The passengers rushed to the other side of the arrival hall and enter the taxi parking area to board the cabs. An app-based taxi counter was available and I successfully booked the cab with help of an SMS-based one-time password to reach Mumbai Central. Our taxi left the Mumbai Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport at around 3.15 am heading towards Mumbai Central railway station via Worli Sea Link. We arrived at the Mumbai Central Railway station at 4.10 am. It was a good one-hour journey from the airport.
Boarding Shatabdi Express
My train to Ahmedabad i.e. Mumbai Central-Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express was scheduled to leave from Mumbai Central at 6 am. By 5 am passengers to local bound trains started to arrive at the railway station. The railway station in the morning was calm and serene. I grabbed a cup of fresh Nescafe coffee from the coffee vendor. Gujurat Express also bound towards Ahmedabad was ready to leave Mumbai Central at around 5.40 am. My train was slated to depart from Mumbai Central at 6 am and it arrived on the platform soon after the departure of Gujurat Express. I searched to buy some English newspapers but the shops remained closed till 6 am at the Mumbai Central Railway Station. As soon as my train arrived at the platform, I occupied my coach i.e. First Class Executive Air-conditioned Chair Car and my seat was Window number 48. The passengers soon began to arrive and occupy their respective seats. Soon it was time to leave Mumbai Central and the train left exactly at 6 am.
The next scheduled stop of the train within Mumbai was at Borivali at 7 am. As the train moved, one could spot high-rise skyscrapers, apartment complex buildings, and passengers awaiting local trains at all the local suburban railway stations. After the departure, all the passengers were served a choice of a fresh cup of coffee/ tea. Shatabdi Express trains are also known as premium category trains similar to Rajdhani Express trains. The passengers on board Shatabdi Express are also served Morning Tea, Lunch, Evening Snacks, and Dinner similar to Rajdhani Express trains. As also, the food is inclusive of ticket prices and the passenger has an option to choose from vegetarian or non-vegetarian food served on board. The passenger also has a facility to opt-out of food in Shatabdi Express trains and otherwise pay for only the ticket fare. I relished hot cup of coffee served with hot water, milk powder, instant coffee mix, and sugar. As the sun started to shine, many passengers in the coach got active and began to talk and some were busy reading newspapers provided by the pantry staff.
Apart from Borivali, the train had scheduled stops at Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, and Nadiad. We were served breakfast before the arrival of Surat and immediately after the departure from Borivali. The breakfast spread consisted of the following vegetarian food items-
- Cereal breakfast of Cornflakes with hot milk
- Two pieces of milk bread
- Upma dish
- Veg cutlets
- Boiled peas and potato fries
- Fruit Jam/ Tomato Sauce
- Choice of Coffee Tea
I enjoyed the breakfast served onboard by the pantry staff. This was my first continental breakfast served on the train as all the while I had tasted only idly, vada and dosa for breakfast while traveling in South India in trains. To keep myself preoccupied I began reading English newspapers and soon we arrived at Surat railway station. I got down there to get some fresh air at the railway station and one could see some platform construction work going on in the railway station. The train had just a five-minute halt over here. Soon the train left Surat and I got an excellent view of the countryside of Maharashtra and Gujurat states. It was filled with greenery and often one could spot river bridges too.
Lunch in the Train
After the designated halts at Bharuch and Vadodara, we were served with lunch course. Hot tomato soup was served after we left Vadodara Junction. The soup was tasty and had a refreshing taste. We arrived at Anand station, which is famous for the Amul brand of dairy products, and we left the station soon.
After Anand, we were served with vegetarian lunch as per the options provided while booking the ticket. The lunch has the following food items
- Dal gravy
- Paneer subji
- Two rotis
- Jira rice
Though I had ample time to take a nap, I decided to gaze through the windows as this was my first train journey to Ahmedabad from Mumbai Central.
Arrival at Ahmedabad
We arrived at Ahmedabad railway station and the final destination bang on time at 12.45 pm. All the passengers disembarked quickly and I headed to IRCTC’s flagship air-conditioned retiring room. Ahmedabad railway station had got the recently built IRCTC air-conditioned retiring room which consisted of well-furnished rooms along with other facilities such as bottled drinking water, air-conditioned rooms, and tea/coffee maker.
I enquired at the reception regarding my pre-booked room and was allotted within few minutes without any hassles after verification of my room ticket, e-ticket, and my identity card. Thus this wonderful journey onboard Mumbai Central-Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express came to an end on a happy note.
Travel By Shatabdi Express
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:
You are building up an interesting portfolio of well described and interesting travel accounts. I have not been to India, so I find that this article gives me a fascinating insight into travel there.