Railways stations in India need to be seen to be believed. They are spectacles of pandemonium as trains arrive and leave stations. In this carnival, passengers, well-wishers and vendors of all types jostle for space and room to move.
The Indian Railways is the third largest rail network in the world, carrying passengers and freight amounting to millions. It is a miracle how thousands of trains operate smoothly through the nook and cranny of the country connecting one end of India to the other.
If you are a railway novice, you must be prepared with tips on how to board the train. In this pandemonium at stations, if you wait at the wrong end of the platform, you are headed for big trouble. Especially, if you are carrying luggage and you are standing at the wrong spot in relation to a train which stops only for a few minutes, you are in serious trouble.
Here are a Few Tips on How to Spot Your Train and Board at the Correct Point:
- The first thing on arrival at the station is to find out which platform your train will stop. Next, you must ascertain the particular point on the platform where your carriage will come to stop. This is vital as standard trains are very long with most having 18 carriages and some even up to 24 carriages on popular routes. One cannot imagine the plight of passengers who stand at the wrong end of the platform when the train arrives.
- Most stations feature boards that display details of trains arriving and departing, the platforms where they are stationed, and the order of their carriages. Search for this board or when in doubt, consult a railway employee.
- There is a number indicated on the board above each carriage. Check your ticket for the carriage number. Compare this number to the number on the board on the carriage of the train.
- One can also observe a series of numbers on the ceiling of the platform, all along its length. These numbers indicate the points at which the carriages will stop. Station yourself at a point corresponding to the number of your carriage as indicated in your ticket. This will place you at the right spot when the train arrives.
- The platform of the railway stations is mostly overcrowded and total chaos sets in when the train arrives as all want to get inside first. Not only will you have to dodge the milling crowd, you have to dodge boxes, crates, steel trunks and bags. If you feel brave, get ready to push through. Otherwise, it is best to stand back and wait till the pushing hordes of people board the train.
- Inside the trains, the cabins of the compartment are numbered berth wise. But don’t be surprised to see someone else occupying a seat indicating your number. They will move when everyone else finds their seat and arrange their luggage.
- If you find all such details complicating, hire a Coolie (porter) to help locate your compartment and seat and secure your luggage for a fee.
These are some tips for boarding your train at an Indian Railways station.