Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Back to Railway Tracks ... via Business Train.. 

During my childhood days, traveling via train for spending vacations in Lahore was always so much fun. With the passage of time, transport system turned into shambles. For the last number of years, I have rather traveled from planes, coaches or cars... sigh I miss those old days !

Recently, my cousin "Aemad" opted to travel via business train which charged Rs. 5000/ticket. I had requested him to provide me regular updates. I got enough messages and few pictures from him which I find worthy enough for consolidating them at one place. So just in case if you have ample time and need to save some bucks then following post might just help you like me for giving another thought of traveling via train.

Visited Karachi Cantt. Station by 1430 PST, there's a boarding process which all passengers have to go through. It was simple, however the luggage bogie was at the end. So everyone had to carry their luggage (if in excess of 10Kg). 10Kg per ticket is allowed with the passengers (as hand carry). As of now, this private business train has no lounge in Karachi but I got the update that lounge in Lahore was really good. It was comparatively better than Lahore Daewoo Terminal. 

Train seats were comfortable and reasonable, though not a huge difference compared to the seats of conventional trains. I was also told that the cabin itself was similar to like Karokaram Express. A capacity of 6 people per cabin with 9 total compartments, taking the cumulative figure to 54 per bogie.

dispenser was available at the end of each bogie

bogie as viewed from right from the front of his compartment

Washrooms are usually a nightmare in trains and you know you can't bear not to go for like so many hours ! So in any case during some time of journey, you are bound to download ;-) An update on this was that washrooms were satisfactory with two washrooms per bogie, one with commode and other with flush (WC)! A liquid handwash and rose petal toilet paper were at your service. Tap water flowed with wonderful pressure and a dedicated person was there to clean the toilet after use for ensuring cleanliness.

liquid handwash and tap with wonderful pressure

washroom with commode and muslim shower !

No internet facility was available as of now which they seemed to have been marketing. Probably they will later fix evo services in each bogie so that a handful of customers can be facilitated. The sockets in the train were perfectly running and my cousin benefited from it by charging his laptop and blackberry ! Soft pillows and blankets were available on demand. Nimko and biscuits were being served with evening tea or juice. Most of these items were from Bunny's (brand from Lahore) and it seemed to be their favorite corporate partner for snacks ! TV was there but what I got to know from him was that it never worked as unfortunately no channel was available. A host of customer service officers were roaming around, to make it really look like a business train they dressed them in black suits.

snacks time ! sponsored by bunny's

Food among all turned out to be the most exciting feature, it was made by PC Lahore and Marriott Karachi. Menu included Chicken Karhai, Pullao, Daal, Naan, Custard and unlimited drinks. You know what, all this was included in the ticket price, what else a man wants ? !! Dinner was served by 8 in the night whereas for breakfast they had omelet, bread, butter, jam and tea. No wonder, this was served by the similar catering service too.

early morning breakfast !

early morning breakfast

catering service by pc and marriott

It was mostly a non-stop journey as there were just couple of stopovers, one was at Rohri and other was at Khanewal. The former lasted for 15 minutes whereas later one was for around an hour. Interestingly both destinations were reached before the expected time ! 10 in the morning was supposed to be official arrival time in Lahore but then it reached half an hour earlier there too. Oh yes, journey lasted for around 17 ~ 18 hours.

I hope this brief post is enough to make you ponder for giving it a go ! I might just need to squeeze out some time from work to try it soon before God forbid the service deteriorates like other trains.... I hope not ! 

1 comment:

  1. I have to say, thoroughly enjoyed reading this post!
    Simple, interesting, with every nitty gritty detail mentioned.
    Now, I really hope I get to travel on this too.