Indian Railways is stuck in the 1940s

I traveled to Mumbai on Tuesday and returned back to Pune on Wednesday. And I traveled by train.

I have never been a fan of traveling by train in India, but sometimes one just does not have a choice. And in India, since there are no private railway companies, we just have one option – the Indian Railways.

For all the noise about Lalu Prasad Yadav doing great things for the Indian Railways, here are some hard facts from just one journey:

  • The railways stations stink. Pune Station is supposed to be one of the most important stations in the Central Railways division. The stinking smell is overpowering. It’s surprising that I survived waiting on the platform for the train to arrive.
  • Speaking of platforms, is there really a platform number 2 in Pune? All I saw was some mud, dug up and scattered all around. One had to be extremely careful not to trip over and fall.
  • The train bogeys stink. What’s that smell? Shit! Shit? And this inside the ‘Chair Car AC’ bogeys. You know, the ones which are supposed to be ‘Air Conditioned’!
  • That’s right, the Chair Car bogey is ‘supposed’ to be Air Conditioned. Is it, really? Looks like the air is pulled straight from the toilet, chilled and blown at full speed into the bogey.
  • There is no temperature control – You are alternatively frozen and fried, depending on whether the AC is working or not.
  • The chairs in the bogeys are from the pre-independence era – at least, that’s how they looked to me!
  • Forget the chairs, the train bogeys look as if they are straight from the pre-independence era!
  • Was the train really moving on rails? It didn’t seem like that to me. The bogey was shaking and bouncing around so much, I started to wonder if the train had gone off-track! You know, cross-country ‘railing’ by Indian Railways!

After every journey by train in India, it takes me a couple of days to ‘forget’ the stinking smell that my nose is very keen to ‘remember’. A shower doesn’t help!

Hopefully, Lalu has made enough money off of Indian Railways – he should be proud of his ‘achievements’.