Trip to Secunderabad onboard Duronto Express
It was a weekend holiday in the third week of June 2017. I intended to undertake a short two-day solo trip to Secunderabad. This time I decided to travel by First Class air-conditioned coach of the train number 12213 Yeswanthpur-Delhi Sarai Rohilla Duronto Express. The Duronto express is the premier category of trains operating in India since 2010. The trains offer amenities similar to Rajdhani Express services and often connect to major cities and towns in India.
I booked my tickets on IRCTC's web booking portal and my tickets were confirmed for departure on the 24th of June 2017. Accommodation in First Class air-conditioned coaches are allotted either in cabins or coupe, the status of the same is displayed after the chart preparation. As the D-day arrived, I started to prepare for the journey with a single piece of a backpack for my solo trip to Secunderabad. I wanted to do some railfanning at Yeswanthpur railway station, hence I left my home early to reach the railway station at 9 pm. My train's departure was at 11.45 pm. Since I arrived early I spotted some outgoing trains from Bengaluru via Yeswanthpur. I could not make note of any trains though.
The designated platform number 6 of Yeswanthpur railway station was abuzz with passengers getting ready to board Hazarat Nizamuddin bound Karnataka Samparkranti Express via Secunderabad. Though the tickets were easily available on train number 12649 Karnataka Samparkranti Express, I booked my tickets in train number 12213 Yeswanthpur-Hazrat Nizamuddin Duronto Express as I wanted to enjoy my first ride on this prestigious train.Soon after the departure of train number 12649 Karnataka Samparkranti Express to New Delhi from Yeswanthpur railway station platform 6, the station was still busy with the passengers who were otherwise waiting for the Duronto Express.
The train was shunted onto the platform at around 11.15 pm and my coach H1 of First Class air-conditioned coach was near the train's locomotive. The railway platform's exit point towards the locomotive did not have enough lighting arrangements. Hence as soon as the train was shunted, I decided to get into my cabin. I was allotted a four-berth cabin with a lower berth. Soon an aged couple occupied the cabin and requested me to exchange for the lower berth. I had no choice but to agree to their request. After a while, I enquired with the travel ticket examiner regarding the availability of a coupe. I was immediately told about the vacant coupe number 'E' and I readily agreed to occupy it!
This was in fact my first journey in a coupe in the First class air-conditioned coach. All my previous journeys in the First-class air-conditioned coach have been with cabin occupancy otherwise. The pantry staff then provided me with a complimentary water bottle. Food arrangements are similar to Rajdhani Express trains and it is included in the ticket cost. I had opted for vegetarian food and was expecting a dinner course after the train's departure. But the pantry staff informed me that dinner is not provided from Bengaluru but the food is served only in the morning starting with the breakfast before the arrival of Secunderabad. I was disappointed but I had no choice to sleep on an empty stomach for the rest of the night.
The train left Yeswanthpur railway station from platform number 6 bang on time. There was no crowd in the First-class air-conditioned coach and the coach was completely silent. I was awake until Yelahanka but could not do any railfanning as I fell asleep after crossing Yelahanka station. It was fun traveling solo in a coupe of the First-class air-conditioned coach but the journey was short only till Secunderabad. The next morning I woke up and had a cup of freshly served coffee from the coffee kit provided by the pantry staff. I was enjoying the scenic view of the outside world in the morning.
Soon breakfast was served which consisted of cereals with hot milk, choice of upma/cutlet, and a cup of coffee. It was time now for me to disembark the train as the destination arrived at around 8.50 am at Secunderabad. I got down from the train on a happy note and satisfied with the train journey.
Stay at the Retiring Room in Secunderabad
My next move upon arrival at Secunderabad railway station was to search for the retiring room, as this was my first trip to Secunderabad. I had already made an online booking for a retiring room at Secunderabad railway station through IRCTC's online web portal www.rr.irctctourism.com. I was allotted an air-conditioned single occupancy room. However, I was not aware of the location of the retiring room at Secunderabad railway station. I made some inquiries at the railway booking counter and was asked to approach the booking office on the first floor. As I went to the first floor, a display board greeted the passengers with room tariffs. Next to the display board, the retiring room booking counter was located near the entry point on the first floor. I presented my e-tickets, retiring room booking tickets, and identity card in order to register my name and obtain the room keys. I was given a computerized receipt and the booking clerk instructed me to approach the other side of the platform to reach my designated room.
I walked to the other side of the busy platform number 1 and approached the matron for room allocation. I was then allotted my designated air-conditioned single occupancy room which was the last room on the first floor. As soon as I entered the room, the ambiance was welcoming with neatly organized furnishings. The room had a single mattress bed, a study table, of course, the air-conditioner, and a hot water geyser in the attached bathroom. The room also had a modular switch with an inbuilt FM radio one could listen to in a free time. I settled down quickly and after freshening up left the room to have breakfast. I had no choice but to rely on the food vendors serving breakfast on platform number 1. I had idly vada and a cup of coffee for breakfast. Soon I stepped out of Secunderabad railway station and headed to the British Library near Jubliee Hills. After spending some time at the Library, I returned to my room at Secunderabad railway station. I had nothing to do for the rest of the day and hence decided to take a rest.
I woke up at around 4.30 pm but did not have a sound sleep owing to continuous platform announcements as my room was only located on platform number 1. I decided to do some railfanning and got down to platform number 1. At that point in time, I could not make any observations as no major trains were departing from Secunderabad railway station. I sipped a cup of coffee and took a stroll across platform 10, from where my return journey was expected on board Bengaluru Rajdhani Express at around 7 pm. I returned to my room and decided to check out at around 6 pm. The check-out process was smooth with handing over the room keys.
Return to Bengaluru by Rajdhani Express
I arrived at platform number 10, the designated platform for my return journey to Bengaluru. This time too I had booked for a journey in First Class Air-conditioned coach and I was allotted a coupe with upper berth. The train arrived at around 6.40 pm on platform number 10. My coach H1 was located on the rear side of the train and was the last coach of the rake. I quickly boarded the train and occupied my coupe. It had another passenger traveling from Hazarat Nizamuddin to Sri Sathya Sai Prashanthi Nilayam. I was disappointed as I could not get a lower berth. The train's departure was delayed from Secunderabad owing to a minor scuffle at the railway platform.
The train finally left Secunderabad only at 7.20 pm, at least 25-30 minutes behind the schedule. As soon as the train left, the travel ticket examiner verified my e-tickets and identity card. I requested him to allocate any lower berth, if available. He smiled and instructed me to occupy the next cabin with four-berths which was vacant! I was lucky that once again I got an opportunity to travel alone in a First Class air-conditioned coach cabin.
The pantry staff then started to make preparations for the dinner course. As usual, hot tomato soup was served along with breadsticks and Amul butter. The next vegetarian dinner consisting of two rotis, dal gravy, paneer subzi, dry vegetable subzi, curds, pickles, and ice cream were served. The meal was satisfying and wholesome. Soon after dinner, I prepared my bed but decided to stay awake for some time and watch through the windows in dark. We experienced a mild shower of rainfall after leaving Secunderabad and lasted for about twenty minutes. I was getting bored and decided to sleep.
The next morning I was woken up by the pantry staff and was offered a fresh cup of tea. I insisted on having coffee, but the staff informed me that they would provide only tea on the last leg of the train's journey. Soon my destination arrived at Bengaluru and we were stabled on platform number 9. Thus my journey ended on a happy and satisfactory note from Secunderabad to Bengaluru and returned home looking forward to start-off fresh for the day!
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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.