Aboard the Kolkata Mail, the star of India's railways

The Kolkata Mail, the legendary express train that once traversed the British Empire under the name Imperial Mail, is not a tourist train. However, it is still the best way to traverse a country with a diverse population. Depart in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), and head east, towards the capital of West Bengal, Calcutta (Kolkata), a distance of 2,160 km. Frantic queues surged towards the basic general class carriages, where people gathered on wooden benches, priced at six euros per seat for the forty-hour journey (minimum) to the terminal. In the air-conditioned second class carriage, we were still looking for a place to sleep as the train moved slowly. After an hour, the suburbs of Mumbai finally moved away. Dark red curtains closed around the passengers, who slowly fell asleep. No more noise. The Kolkata Mail races across rural Maharashtra like a ghost train…

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Nature takes its time…
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Nature takes its time…
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>>> Full report to find in GEO Magazine May 2017 (n°459, Cinque Terre).

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Serena Hoyles

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