Sunday, September 21, 2008

A lesson in train timings

The other day I had to leave to Indore via Bhopal. I had booked my train tickets well in advance online. Every other day I would check in the drawer if the print out was still there. Every other day I would remove it & check if I had booked it for the same date I actually needed it. This is something that I check & cross check a lot of times ever since I booked a train ticket for the wrong date for one of my cousins. I thought I had it correct this time. That is until the day of travel. Precisely until 2 hours before the time of travel.

I was all set with my luggage and food packed. For some reason I was keen on looking at the train ticket again & as I was doing so I got a call from a friend who was traveling with me. He said, “I called the call centre & they say that the Gorakpur Express has already left in the morning” It didn’t take long for me to realize what a foolish thing I had done. The print out was right in front of me and the Departure time was 7:30. The longer I looked at 7:30 the more evident it became as to what a big mistake I had made.

We were all geared to travel in the evening & were looking for a train that would start in the evening. While checking the various trains available I remembered that the Gorakpur Express was the only train where tickets were still available. But where I slipped was in the timing. If the train was to start at 7:30 in the evening the timing on the ticket should have been 19:30 and not 7:30 and I had missed that part. So the date was correct but the time was wrong this time.

When the realization dawned, I was stunned. Now what do we do. We had to be in Indore the day after at any cost and it would take 24 hours to reach Bhopal by train & another 4 hours by Taxi from there to Indore. Luckily I didn’t really have to think much about it because my friend & the other co passenger had his plan in place. There was the Karnataka Express starting that evening at 7:20 PM from the City Railway Station & he proposed we get in to it.

That is what we eventually did. Rushed to the City Railway Station & got into the Karnataka Express. A guy at the station overheard us talking to a few touts about getting ourselves tickets & approached us offering his one ticket. He said he was not traveling & just wanted to check if we would want to use his ticket. The three of us traveling deliberated on this option a lot & also considered the other options which were to listen to the touts. Eventually we bought the ticket from the guy who was not traveling. Got ourselves another two tickets from the ticket inspectors & got into the train.

I feared it would be a long night. Luckily it wasn’t like that at all. We were able to get ourselves two berths for the night.

I guess from now on I will have to do a double check one for the date & the second for the time.

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