Priscilla Kibbee

I love to travel all over the globe shopping for textiles to add to my wearable art. I have taught quilting to school children in Nepal, seminole patchwork to seamstresses in Thailand, and jackets and embellishment to quilters in Turkey where I also served as a judge at 2 of their International Quilt Shows. I have created garments for 5 Fairfield and Bernina Fashion Shows and teach classes on embellishment and wearable art. Lately I have been leaning more toward making art quilts.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Indian Train reservations

Over the last few days I have been making reservations for e-tickets for three trips on Indian trains on a trip to India-Nepal this fall. Tickets can be purchased 3 months in advance. Its advisable to book them as quickly as possible as the best spots fill quickly. I am not traveling by first class day coach as shown below which is very comfortable. Bags are stored on the racks over the seats.
The efficient reservation system means that you can safely forget any photos you've seen of overcrowded Indian trains with people on the roof or hanging on the side - these photos show suburban trains, or basic unreserved 2nd class on long distance ones. On fast long-distance trains in AC1, AC2, AC3, or AC Chair Class, all passengers have an assigned seat or sleeping berth so there's no overcrowding. Don't expect pristine western standards anywhere in India, but you'll find AC1, AC2, AC3 and AC Chair class fairly clean by Indian standards, with both western-style and squat toilets usually in a reasonably sanitary condition. See the train interior photos below. On the other hand, Sleeper Class gets much grubbier than the AC classes and unreserved passengers can sometimes enter the coaches making it crowded. 2nd class unreserved can be incredibly crowded. Toilets in sleeper class or basic non-AC 2nd class seats can leave a lot to be desired...

The destination and car number are clearly noted on the sides of the train.

And most stations have a car number on the overhang of the roof of the station where your particular car stops. The porters all seem to have this down to a science and know exactly where your car will be when the train stops. They are a wonderful feature of Indian train stations especially for people like me with overstuffed bags.

First Class AC train compartment. Four berths to a compartment with a lockable door. Top of the line on Indian trains. I managed to book this type of compartment on a trip from Delhi to Ahmedabad this fall...and with a 50% senior discount the trip is costing me about $24. its about 500 miles. The senior discount is for females over 50 and is 50%. The discount for males is only 30%. Now that seems fair...right? The female discount used to be 30% which I felt at the time was terrific.
Not every train has the above coaches. 2AC is more common. The difference is no door and two berths on the end. The end berths..which I prefer...have curtains. I booked a trip from Ahmedabad to Jodhpur (about 250 miles) for about $9 with the senior discount.
The main berths in a 2AC car.

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