Train spotting


(Photo courtesy :

There is this sub-genus among travellers that gets utterly fascinated by riding on large, moving lumps of metal. No, I am not talking about drivers & road trips, although they qualify too. Trains seem to hold this special intrigue for a certain kind of traveller – primarily old Brits with a strong colonial hangover, bespectacled Bongs with the same hangover and extraordinarily lazy travellers who love the soporific effects of rolling stock. In which last category, I find myself.

But, I cannot for the life of me understand these luxury trains that India seems to crave for – Palace on Wheels, Deccan Odyssey etc. These things stand for everything train journeys are not. For instance, squeaky clean carriages, well-behaved attendants & “international” food that eschews taste for the inestimable value that it can actually be digested. Why, I say, do we run these things?

Incidentally, Bill Bryson claims on expert authority that Trains Spotters (and their more dangerous cousins, Train Talkers) suffer from a rare form of autism. Anyway..


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