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Why I prefer the train to Daewoo

November 21, 2011

Train exterior

On the way back from the Eid holidays I decided I would take the train back to Lahore instead of using my usual means of conveyance for long journeys, Daewoo bus service.

Recently a lot of stories have been in the media about the dismal state of the Pakistan Railways; with horrific stories of people being stuck in the middle of nowhere for 4-5 hours due to the engine having run out of fuel. So I was prepared that I might have to endure some level of ‘khawari’ (English translation for this word is under process….)

I am happy to report that my train from Rawalpindi left only ten minutes late. And actually arrived five minutes before the expected arrival time. The train does take longer then the bus; my train left shortly after4:30PM and arrived at 9:55PM at the Lahore station. So that is five and half hours whereas Daewoo does the same in about four and half. But since I had no reason to rush, it made little difference to me.

The train was clean, it wasn’t spick and span but I think for something which is  government owned it was satisfactory. I was traveling in the ‘parlour’ which is air-conditioned and I think the most expensive class. But expensive is not the right word because a one-way ticket only costs RS 650. Whereas, a Daewoo ticket for the same route is now over RS 1100. So its only ‘expensive’ when compared to the “kahNmi” (economy) class on the train.

Interior of the train

So what do you get in the parlour? Well the first thing you get is touch sensitive doors. By that I mean that the  glass door through which you enter the bogie has has a little ring of green LEDs about where you would expect to find a door handle. Touch anywhere inside the ring and the door slides open and a few seconds later close automatically. How cool is that!

Other than that you get two rows of seats with an aisle down the middle  with each aisle having two seats. The seats can be reclined really far back, you get a foot rest, fold down table and you can order hot food and beverages . The menu is rather lacking in choice since you can only get chips (french fries) and or fried chicken. I had a cup of hot tea which cost 20 RS which I thought was reasonable priced.

So as far as the seats and the comfort level the trains is much better than Daewoo. The amount of leg room, is much more in the train and when you recline the seat all the way back it really feels very spacious indeed. The only small annoyance, is that the train does not provide little cushions as found on Daewoo, so finding that comfortable spot on the seat can take a bit longer.

The train is  a much more relaxing journey because there is no sudden turns, honking, braking etc. I find that in the bus I am sub-consciously/consciously very much aware of what the driver is doing or not doing, e.g thoughts like “that was a bad gear change” or “why does he have to wait so late to overtake” etc etc.  But on the train you (or at least I) really can leave the driving to the driver.

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The only problem is that the Lahore Railway station (aka tahsion) is quite far from my college whereas Daewoo bus station is almost in walking distance. This means that either you have to take a rickshaw from the railway tahsion which costs about RS 150 I found out last time I traveled by train

In the spirit of taking alternative transport I opted for the public option. First of all because I wanted to know if it is possible at 10pm and also just how expensive and long would it take. I was surprised to find out that you can do the same route for  RS 35 on the Lahore Public transport system but the time it takes is significantly more.  and  It took me a while though to figure out which van goes past FC College.

It seems the way to go is to take the Noh Nahumber (#9) van from the railways station to Chaburghi and from there switch to the Punj Nahumber (#5) bus. I think the Punj Nahumber runs the length of Ferozpur Road. It cost me RS 15  to get to Chaburghi via #9 and then RS 20 on the second leg of the journey.  I don’t suggest that people take the public transport option unless you really are on a tight budget. And if you have luggage don’t take the vans, they are way to crowded and people end up stepping on your bags.

So the  more relaxing, slightly slower train cost me RS 685 (650 + 35).  Whereas, the Daweoo would have cost probably close to RS 1200 when you include the rickshaw costs. I hope that the trains keep running in Pakistan, it seems according to certain sources that the government actually wants the workers to strike so that they can push for privatization.

Was able to take some nice photos from my train window one is shown below and others are included in the slideshow above.

Photo I took from my window in the train

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 5, 2015 6:39 am

    I wish the government would upgrade tracks between Lahore and Islamabad – it wouldn’t cost much and would allow us to boost train speeds to 80 miles per hour. Fast, reliable half-hourly service along this route doesn’t have to be a dream. All we need to do is upgrade the trackage now.

  2. Ali permalink
    October 27, 2016 4:37 pm

    Travel between rwp-lhr is merely a 15% good(acceptable) face of blood sucking Pak railways. Daewoo is overall a v.good service and worth paying indeed.

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