Departure from Bengaluru
It was the month's first weekend of February 2020. I decided to spend some time in Chennai city by visiting the American Library and the British Library, both located in Anna Salai. As a first choice, I booked my ticket on 12028 Bengaluru-Chennai Central Shatabdi Express by First Class Executive air-conditioned chair car coach. I was allotted seat number 40 with the window in the E2 coach. As usual, I booked the rail ticket in IRCTC's online portal www.irctc.co.in and the booking was a hassle-free process. One can also book e-tickets on IRTCT's mobile app available for download on Google play store and Apple i-store.
As it was a Saturday, I woke up early at 3 am and got ready to leave home by 5 am. I sipped a fresh cup of hot coffee prepared by my mother. I left home on my TVS Jupitor at 5 am and it was a smooth fifteen-minute ride to Bengaluru city railway station. I parked the vehicle in the designated parking area and headed straight to platform number 7. But the train was yet to be shunted onto the platform. So I decided to visit the main entrance of the railway station through the foot-over bridge. Just then the train number 12657 Chennai Central-Bengaluru Mail train had arrived on platform 4. Platform number 1 was busy with the passengers waiting to board the train number 12608 Bengaluru-Chennai Central Lalbagh Express but the train was yet to be shunted. I visited the main concourse of Bengaluru city railway station and sipped a cup of hot coffee made available at the restaurant. Soon an announcement was made related to the arrival and departure of some trains including Chennai Central bound Shatabdi Express. I immediately rushed to platform number 7 as it was already 5.40 am and just twenty minutes were left for the train's departure.
Boarding the Train
The train was already shunted on platform number 7 and usually departs every day to Chennai Central from this platform. My coach E2 was occupied by most of the passengers and I settled down in my seat. My seat was facing towards Chennai Central and was towards the left side of the train. Hence I missed the crossing of the trains which was on the right side of the train. The train left Bengaluru city sharp at 6 am. The train made a steady move out of Bengaluru and arrived at its next commercial halt at Bengaluru Cantonment. The train was abuzz with most of the passengers boarding the coach from Bengaluru Cantonment. After a brief five-minute halt the train proceeded towards Chennai Central. The next commercial stop was only at Katpadi junction.
Soon after the train departed from Bengaluru Cantonment railway station, the pantry staff distributed complimentary water bottles and English newspapers with a choice of either The New Indian Express or The Hindu. I opted to read The New Indian Express and was preoccupied with the newspaper for a while. After crossing the Krishnarajapuram railway station, the pantry staff began distributing tea/coffee kits along with a pack of biscuits, sugar, milk powder, tea bags, and instant coffee powder. I opted to relish a hot cup of coffee prepared from the instant coffee powder.
After the departure from Bangarpete railway station, the pantry staff served the first course of continental breakfast. The breakfast consisted of hot milk, cereals, banana, and sugar. I enjoyed and relished the continental breakfast. Then I took out Samit Da's Indian Rail Atlas and started to look out for passing-by railway stations and referring them on the map. It was fun rail fanning all along the train's path till Chennai Central. We then slowed down upon our arrival at Jolarpet Junction railway station. There was no commercial halt over here otherwise. It was the time for the main course of the breakfast. The pantry staff served idly, Pongal, sambhar along with chutney. Later choice of coffee or tea was served after breakfast.
I was getting bored yet again and tried to get some sleep but was unsuccessful. I then took out the English newspaper again and began to read it. After some time we reached Katpadi railway station at around 9 am. I got down at this railway station to get some fresh air. The railway platform was busy with passengers waiting for Chennai Central bound Lalbagh Express that was arriving from Bengaluru.
Arrival at Chennai Central
It was then the time to leave Katpadi after a brief halt for five minutes. Our next destination was only at Chennai Central and was two hours away. I returned to my seat and started to look out of the window yet again. The landscape soon filled with urban dwellings and the sight of local trains operating in Chennai. We were nearing Chennai Central and we slowed down near Perambur and Basin Bridge Junction but there was not commercial stop. Our train slowed down as we approached platform 2A at Chennai Central railway station.
I got down from the train and headed to the first floor near the railway station's lobby to inquire about the availability of air-conditioned retiring rooms. I was informed by the matron regarding the non-availability and insisted I try my luck at the Men's air-conditioned retiring room on the ground floor. As instructed by the matron, I arrived on the ground floor and inquired about the availability of a single bed in the men's air-conditioned retiring room. I was happy to know about the availability and soon booked a bed in the retiring room. I was asked to fill out a simple form for registration along with my return journey e-tickets and a valid identity card.
I settled down in my bed and quickly headed out to have a cup of coffee. There were many catering stalls in the railway station's main lobby and I grabbed a cup of coffee from one of the catering vendors. I then headed to Gemini Circle to visit the American Library and after spending some time over there went out to visit the British Library near Spencers plaza on Anna Salai. I had to return back at least by 5 pm for my return journey to Bengaluru onboard 12027 Chennai Central-Bengaluru Shatabdi Express departing from Chennai Central at 5.30 pm. Thus my one-way solo trip to Chennai Central onboard Bengaluru-Chennai Central Shatabdi Express ended with a pleasant and satisfactory note.
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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.