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Blog Entry# 1367096
Posted: Feb 12 2015 (07:51)

18 Responses
Last Response: Feb 25 2015 (18:22)
★★★  General Travel
Feb 12 2015 (07:51)   12839/Howrah - Chennai Central Mail (PT)

PKV*^~   19134 blog posts   77 correct pred (79% accurate)
Entry# 1367096            Tags   Past Edits
I travelled by this train from Howrah to Chennai on the 20th of October, 1979. Well nothing great about that as it was just one among perhaps as many as 25 journeys I have undertaken by this train in its various avatars as 3 UP, 6003 UP, 2603 UP , 2839 UP and now 12839 UP.
However, the intriguing part of this particular journey is that after it departed from Howrah at 20.35 hours, the first 4 halts for this train were like an entry from RIPLEY’S believe it or not. The stoppages at BURDWAN, DURGAPUR, RANIGANJ and ASANSOL may in fact make you think I was going to Delhi and not Madras. From Asansol we changed course and veered away
to Tatanagar before following the Howrah-Mumbai line up to Jharsuguda. Then followed yet another deviation towards Sambalpur, Titlagarh, Rayagada, Vizianagaram and finally Waltair. Thereafter it was familiar territory to Madras via Vijayawada.
This merry-go-round route was because of breaches in the tracks between Howrah & Kharagpur as well as in several places in Orissa, due to heavy rains and floods. As a result the Coromandel remained cancelled for more than a month while the Mail was diverted on a circuitous route through the Eastern Railway network. The South Eastern Railway authorities had published in the media the revised schedule of the train which was as follows :
Howrah 20.15
Asansol 00.15
Tatanagar 4.15
Rourkela 6.50
Jharsuguda 8.20
Sambalpur 9.20
Titlagarh 12.20
Rayagada 14.20
Vizianagaram 16.20
Waltair 18.10
Rajahmundry 21.45
Vijayawada 1.00
Madras 10.00
In accordance with the revised schedule, the train departed from Howrah with a delay of 20 mns at 20.35 hrs and reached Madras only 15 mns late at 10.15 on the 3rd day morning. Incidentally I returned by the 4 DN Mail leaving Chennai on 30th October and it traversed the same route. Only this time it took 3 hours more leaving Chennai at 18.15 and arriving at Howrah on 1st November at 10.50 am. In the 115 year-old history of this train, this was probably the longest distance it had covered.

13 posts - Thu Feb 12, 2015

Feb 12 2015 (17:08)
SRG*^~   36367 blog posts   198842 correct pred (76% accurate)
Re# 1367096-14            Tags   Past Edits
Imaginary ante...Ekkavallu ekkavachu :)

Feb 12 2015 (17:44)
Guest: 1412000a   show all posts
Re# 1367096-15            Tags   Past Edits
Agreed, this is very punctual train. I have travelled both this train and her room-mate Coromondel (as both of them share same rakes) the full distance. And both the trains reached their destination before-schedule. Even to be honest, I felt bit troubled when Chennai Mail brought me to Howrah at 03:50AM in the morning. I had to wait at HWH for 2Hrs. :)

Feb 12 2015 (19:43)
PKV*^~   19134 blog posts   77 correct pred (79% accurate)
Re# 1367096-16            Tags   Past Edits
You are right Avishek. In fact I would rate this as my MOST FAVOURITE TRAIN if not for anything else then for purely sentimental reasons. This was the train in which I undertook my first solo (unaccompanied) train journey as a 10-year old. It was the first and only train in which I had the privilege of a breakfast in the DINING CAR. That was also the first time I tasted OMLETTE & FRENCH FRIES, possibly in 1963. Above all IT WAS THE FIRST TRAIN IN INDIA TO BE HAULED BY A DIESEL ENGINE in the year 1965. So there is a great deal of history and nostalgia associated with it.

Feb 13 2015 (11:42)
Pilgrim~   1204 blog posts
Re# 1367096-17            Tags   Past Edits
Thank you. Even now it has an unbelievable TT- So many stops but covering in 28 hours, always punctual or early.

Feb 25 2015 (18:22)
गीतांजली एक्सप्रेस*^~   7653 blog posts   4612 correct pred (80% accurate)
Re# 1367096-18            Tags   Past Edits
Mail is still the first choice for the travellers between mas-hwh

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