Saturday, September 22, 2007

Train Travel and Indian Railways

Most of us have pleasant memories of train travel. We associate train travel with vacations and holidaying. My earliest memories of train travel use to the three day- two night journey from one corner of the country to the other for our summer holidays and thus so far in my life i continue to love train journey and longer the better. The last week from UP to Gujarat , just over a thousand kilometer distance and had booked my tickets through eticketing services provided by the railways.

My onward journey was booked in AC 3 tier and the train was late only by 4 hours and managed get into my berth, only to find that there was one more person claiming my berth. The train was late and I was feeling sleepy, but still managed to hold on till the TT came and sorted out the issue. The problem seems to be with more one person, so I started wondering if there has been a major goof up in the railway reservation system itself. But we were in for a pleasant surprise, the TT came and informed us that I had been upgraded to AC 2 tier and the person claiming my berth had been upgraded from Sleeper. Same had been done for quite a few people. Most of the travelers in the 2 AC were people who had been upgraded and i could hear them speak to their friends on mobile.

The benefit to Railways would be that they would have managed to clear up some of the wait listed travelers into sleeper and made some more money. But over and above it is the positive word of mouth which would have spread among people. Through this they have managed to create a positive image for railways which they might encash it at some point later in time.

Well the story doesn't end here, I had booked my return ticket back on the same train a few days later and I was expecting another upgrade. I was not being greedy , but this being the off- season the AC 2 is usually empty, but I was disappointed to find that it had not happened. Out of curiosity I went around the AC 2 tier compartment to find it almost empty. So what had actually happened with on my onward journey was possible on the return journey but obviously some initiative had to be taken from some ones end to do the up gradation... so it make me wounder about the problem with execution of good schemes and being more customer responsive



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