Saturday, July 11, 2009


The rake was shining bright, the early morning sun reflecting off the sun drenched stainless steel shell. There was no paint, and the only colour was the blue strip that ran across the length of the coach. The vertical yellow stripes at the end of the coaches were there to indicate that this was CBC stock. The interiors were well designed and the capacity in the CC was 78. The first and the last rows had a 2 x 2 configuration, and the rest had the usual 3 x 2 configuration. It was a JS type seating, where one half of the seats were laid out facing the other half.

There were only 3 toilets per coach, the space for the fourth taken by the rather elaborate pantry area. The coaches contained indicators as to which toilets were engaged, and were working—after all, these are early days, ain’t they? The toilets themselves were modular and of the controlled discharge type, as informed by an official on board. The interiors were squeaky clean, and the soap dispensers actually contained liquid soap! There was a mug too, placed without the mandatory chain that tries to keep it safe! The toilet was smaller, or at lest seemed so, with wide full wall mirror above the wash basin. A person like Ranga, Mark1 would find it rather difficult to enter and exit, as I too found out! You need not hold the tap pressed—just press and leave it—the tap would retract itself in the few seconds you need to wash. The

There were no covers for the head-rests on the seats, which meant that the dandruff, liberal doses of coconut oil and the like would get transferred from person to person! The officials informed that the covers would be ready—surprising that the rake was idling close to a month and a half and no action was taken towards getting this done. The biggest problem was the lack of a wash basin at either ends of the coach. It is seldom noticed during the day, but right after dinner in the evening, the long queues near the toilets said it all—it was a goof-up of sorts not to make a provision for a wash basin at either ends of the coach.

The last coach has the vestibule connected to the brake van and the generator car. The guard’s cabin can be accessed by sliding open the vestibule door—both guards I approached were only too eager to have us in to pour out their woes of the cabin design. The ALP of 2007 also informed me that it is likely that 2007/8 will be allowed 120 kmph shortly on the MAS JTJ section.

The next part containing the outward journey from MAS to SBC follows……


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