Apr 14 2009

The Overnight Train From Udaipur To Jaipur

Those that have spoken to me about catching the overnight train will know that it's something I was anxious about. Being a Dad just means that you get to carry all the luggage and with a suitcase/rucsack each plus a backpack I've got a lot of carrying to do. Train stations in India are very busy and apparently you're likely to get your wallet lifted - although I'd fancy my chances here more than at night in Fareham, Southampton or Portsmouth.

We arrive at the station and I check our tickets are okay and which carriage we're on and which first class cabins we've got allocated. Looks like we're split up but never mind, we'll cope.

So we find out where our carriage will stop and we wait. I notice a family of 11 waiting too and I guess they're on First Class too. The train pulls in and our carriage has a cross between two-tier air con class and first class which means there's only about 10 first class berths. The doors open and the French family rush on board and claim all 10 first class berths! We get on and have nowhere to go. Great, I think, but I've got confirmed tickets and my name is on chart on the outside of the train. I check their e-ticket, they booked after me and only have 5 confirmed tickets, the other 6 are waitlisted (see other train booking article for info). They're in trouble, I'm not.

The daughter speaks fluent English so I explain their situation. They're not best pleased and I get the feeling that the Dad is going to get an ear-battering if they ever get to their destination, Agra.

The Train Ticket Examiner arrives, explains the situation as I did but they argue. So I tell them that he's offered them a way out with 6 berths in three-tier AC class. Either that or 6 passengers are staying in Udaipur.

Eventually they vacate our rooms and we go to sleep...and I haven't even mentioned Agincourt! (Emilie, Caro and Nico: sorry, it's an English joke, hope you're not offended.)

We arrive an hour late at 7am at Jaipur and eventually find our driver to take us to Ranthambhore, home of the tigers, and I'm relieved on three counts: we survived the train; we've got a taxi; this means that our reservation at the Raj Palace is good too as they sent the taxi to Jaipur.

So all my worries were unfounded and I'm really glad that I'd read (IndiaMike's) Steven_ber's brilliant article about wait listed train tickets before I got to India. Shame those French people didn't.

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