Tuesday, September 25, 2007

trains, trains and more trains

i've still to come across a kid who's not fascinated with trains. and this is a fascination which doesn't go away even with age. (i remember going berserk when buying a railway set complete with engines and tracks and bridges and the works. i was ostensibly buying this for my 6 year old son!)

there are many people who are passionate about trains and collect all possible information, trivia, photographs, etc that they can lay their hands on.

i think trains have an almost magical quality of making us dream and think of adventure and the unknown. it is also very romantic for many of us with visions of trains chugging into the setting sun! (i think i got a bit carried away there :-) )

i've spent most of my childhood near railway stations and trains tracks, thanks to the fact that my father was a railway employee. and because of this i can boast of having travelled and also driven in all kinds of trains and engines and trolleys.

i've even operated a turn-table which was used to turn steam engines around to point in the opposite direction. i've shovelled coal into the belly of a steam engine. i've pushed a trolley while balancing and running on the track and hopping onto the moving trolley while it is in motion just like the gang-men would do it. i've seen tokens being passed to the assistant fireman by the signal-man using a token-ring at small stations. (here's an image of the tokens and the passing with the ring.)

i consider myself very fortunate that i have been exposed to things which many children today can only dream of. the only steam engines my son knows are 'thomas and friends' which he watches on the computer or on tv. (his grandfather once made his his day when he managed to get him to sit in an electric engine with the driver at panvel station while we were waiting for our train to arrive.)

but i am sure our kids will also be saying the same things when they have had kids and are similarly reminiscing about their childhood. i wonder what memories would they be cherishing?

for those of you who are interested in trains and related pictures, you can view this album - trains & more (http://picasaweb.google.com/ckguruprasad/TrainsAndMore)

another very good resource is - IRFCA - The Indian Railways Fan Club

and if any of you have similar fond memories you would like to share with the rest of us, please send in a mail or post your comment.


~nm said...

:) Thats right. I think there are NONE who is not fascinated by trains!

Somehow looking at my son squealing in delight looking at all those trains arouses my interest and fascination in trains so much more. :D

I was so awed at how closely you have seen trains and the works.

nani said...

wow! i want to go on a journey right now. please grant me few days leave......

Bhasker said...

Hi - I don't know when was the last time you travelled by train, but with air-travel getting cheaper and time becoming more precious, train travel has become something of a luxury that you remember with nostalgia. Since my son loves all things 'train', we have been promising him a train journey for some time now, but it a telling comment on our way of life, that I find it really difficult to fulfill my promise. In fact, I remember a beautiful serial called 'Yatra' which used to air on DD (I think!), which explored the Indian pysche by following the adventures and travails of a group of passengers who travel from Kanyakumari to the North somewhere. In the course of the journey, someone falls in love, relationships are (re)defined, scoundrels are deal with, people 'find' themselves.....it was a fasinating narrative that kept us hooked. I must try and capture that spirit and take my son on that promised train ride; that way he will savour a new experiene while I would be reliving my old memories.....

Anonymous said...

Blessed dear GURU!

Who is not fascinated by TRAINS???!!! If some one says he is not, Then he doesnot how to enjoy life & is an egoist.
Ofcourse Air travel & modern days work culture & life style may be hampering the train travel & the JOY in it. Travelling by Air is fascinating for the first timer only. Then it starts boring.
One is ONE with the NATURE all the time when travelling by train. We can enjoy various food stuffs (hot hot samosas, pakodas, idli-wada,batata wadas & pav, fruits & shopping trivials. If you are in a Group of people you will not know how the time passed before reacing the destination. As you can sing, eat by sharing each ones food, play cards, antaksharietc.etc....
I travelled once by 1st class in train from Cochin To Trivendram. Boarded at 6/6.30 am with three of colegues. Reached destination by 11am. This early morning train journy is for me is UNFORGETFUL till today. We fully enjoyed the NATURE which opened up the Back Waters & the coconut trees & people travelling by the small boats. No doubt we were also playing cards. But nature was simply fascinating. I always yarn for repeating that journey with family/alone.

When we are on the subject of trains, My request to Mumbaites to brood & make awareness about the SKY BUS Rail of Kokan Railway to be IMPLEMENTED by Authoroties instead of METRO RAIL. Konkan Rails project COSTS less than Half of the Metro cost. Does not NEED LAND Aquisitition. No REHABBILITATION of the Displaced persons as There is no need to DISPLACE The people. No DIGGING of Under Ground Tunnels. ONE MINUTE FREQUENCY. NOISELESS A/C Travel & Pollution free.

Suresh Dixit

The hObBiT said...

hi GP,

U must visit the Railway Museum at Delhi! It's one of the lesser known tourist locations but it's an absolute treat!!!

I had the chance to visit it with friends in 2005 and it was such a delight n quite educational too.

It has all sorts of engines and coaches and some rare treasures like the old coaches from the days of the Maharajas - like Baroda and other esrtwhile princely states.

We were so completely fascinated by the place and even clicked some really cheesy snaps like the scene from the film DDLJ when shahrukh pulls kajol onto the train; lying down on the tracks in front of a train and even climbing onto the top of the coach aka virar local!

It was a brilliant experience!! highly recommended!