Journey Onboard Shatabdi Express Train
First Shatabdi Express Train Service in South India
Shatabdi Express train services in South India first commenced its operations in 1994 between Chennai Central and Mysore via Bengaluru. The train has been in operation for over 25 years and recently celebrated its silver jubilee run in 2020 in Bengaluru. Shatabdi Express is now hauled by an Electric loco on its entire journey between Chennai Central and Mysuru, post successful completion of doubling and electrification infrastructure on Chennai Central-Bengaluru-Mysore section.
The train was run on Diesel locomotive only between Bengaluru and Mysore owing to the under-construction stage of doubling and electrification of track projects then. The journey time between the two cities presently is under two hours even with the availability of electrified and double line infrastructure, which otherwise is an opportunity to Indian Railways to operate this train with the increase in speed.
Shatabdi Express runs only for six days a week except for Wednesdays. The train originating from Mysuru halts only two stations i.e. at Bengaluru in Karnataka state and Katpadi station in Tamil Nadu state. At Bengaluru station, food and snacks are loaded to be served to the passengers en route to Chennai Central. The train otherwise has no facility of a pantry car and catering charges are levied from the passengers at the time of booking the rail ticket.
While the train originates from Chennai Central in at 6 a.m, reaching Bengaluru city at 10.50 am to finally reach Mysuru at 1 pm. The train originating from Chennai Central in the early morning offers wholesome breakfast consisting of sandwich bread, butter, cornflakes with milk, a South Indian dish usually idly vada, upma or pongal, or the choice of non-veg breakfast. Freshly brewed coffee/tea is served immediately upon the departure of the train and is also served the second time after breakfast. As the train leaves Bengaluru towards Mysuru, lunch is loaded from the base kitchen available at the railway station to serve it to the passengers. The lunch menu consists of hot tomato or vegetable soup and a choice of vegetarian consisting of the main course with rice, dal, curry, and dahi is served. The passengers also have an option to be served non-vegetarian food too. The menu for both vegetarian and non-vegetrain food is changed as per the demand and popularity and may vary on certain occasions.
My Experience Onboard Shatabdi Express
I recently traveled by Shatabdi Express from Bangalore to Chennai Central and my tickets were confirmed at the time of booking itself. The train departs from Bangalore at 4.15 pm while arriving from Mysore (departure 2.15 pm). I always travel by First Class Executive Chair Car. The journey by the same gives great comfort and privacy I need while traveling as the seat configuration is 2x2 rows with wide legroom. The train, as usual, arrived on platform 5 from Mysore. My designated coach E1 was at the front leading second from the loco. There was a great rush to board the train as the commercial stoppage at Bangalore is only for 10 minutes. I was allotted a window seat as per my preference and I was not disappointed with a clear view.
As soon as I settled in my seat I was provided with a complimentary packaged drinking water bottle- under the brand name Rail Neer. The train left Bangalore on time and the train is also accorded a high priority to run till the destination Chennai. At 5 pm tea and snacks were served to the passengers. The catering staff provided snack tray which consisted of one veg samosa (an Indian snack), bread toast, potato chips, tetra fruit juice, and a choice of either coffee kit or tea kit. I opted for a coffee kit as I enjoy drinking coffee, especially on trains. The coffee kit was supplied with a coffee cup along with hot water. I enjoyed the snack which was very tasty and the coffee served was also good. The train soon picked up its pace and now began to operate on a full-throttle mode.
I was seated in the trackside window which gave me glimpses of countryside view, crossing trains, stations, etc. I made a note of all the crossing trains and it was very interesting that at least 10 trains crossed Shatabdi Express to reach Bangalore in the opposite direction. Soon Jolarpettai station arrived at around 6.40 pm it was about to get dark outside. Since I was not able to see anything outside, I began reading a book on meditation. At 7 pm tomato soup with butter and breadsticks were served. The taste was excellent as the soup was served hot. I continued to read the book until reaching Katpadi station- the next only commercial stop for Shatabdi Express after Bangalore.
Our dinner was loaded at Katpadi railway station which is the next and only commercial stop after Bangalore. The food was immediately served hot to all the passengers. My dinner consisted of 2 paranthas, paneer curry, lentil soup, plain rice, curd, and pickles. The taste was delicious and the quantity served was wholesome to feed my hunger. After dinner, ice-cream was served as a dessert course which is also part of dinner. I finished my dinner at 9 pm and continued to read the book.
My destination arrived soon at around 9.30 pm and this was one of the best journeys in the Shatabdi Express train. The comfort of travel and the quality of food served is excellent and Indian Railways need to be appreciated for having such a wonderful train service made available to the passengers.
The popularity of rail travel has increased with the availability of Shatabdi Express across India. Many people prefer to travel by Shatabdi Express who otherwise intend to reach their destination in a short time. As also the catering amenities offered by the Indian Railways onboard while traveling has also benefited many passengers.
Shatabdi Express is a popular choice for travelers during festivals and holiday seasons which otherwise offers non-stop and high-speed connectivity between origin and destination.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.