Varanasi needed to be kicked off the bucket list and a new train being flagged off was just an impetus to plan the long pending trip.
I eagerly saw the photos of the swanky new Mahamana express and was in awe of the next gen state of the art infrastructure.
And then the internet went viral with pictures depicting how poorly the train was received by passengers. (Photos of broken taps, garbage strewn in coaches, filth accumulated in basins did rounds on social media)
I started reconsidering Shiv Ganga express as an option now.
But the curiosity to see those brightly painted purple Windows and green sleeper seats had the better of me.
So here I was, boarding the first AC coach of the Mahamana express, peeping into every cabin to see how different it is from the other trains.
Here are a few observations:
The coach had state of the art infrastructure which amazed me. Power window blinds, a wash basin in the cabin, toilet occupancy indicators, bell for the attendant were some features that stood out. Ergonomically designed stairs for the upper berth was another well thought feature.
Additionally there are around 8 charge points in each cabin.
The infrastructure gets a whooping 5/5.
Having traveled western railway for almost all my life, the services of northern railway came in as a slightly rude shock. But no, I have travelled in a Shatabdi to Amritsar and the services there were impeccable.
Mahamana Express has a bunch of highly unprofessional staff, mostly local attendants with no interest whatsoever in having you over. Their lack of training is evident.
On my way back to Delhi, the cabin is full of mosquitos. I ask the attendant if there is an All Out. No there isn’t.
The cabin cleaner promptly walks in at 8 pm. ( peak dinner time to spray phenyl and clean the compartment). Sigh!
What’s worse is attendants shouting on top of their voices. For someone who is used to Rajdhani and August Kranti travel, this added to the shock.
Services need to be much better and the only way they could be is to employ trained staff.
Sadly the services get a sorry 0/5.
There is no food included in your ticket price. Which is okay. But substandard food at a cost is not okay. They don’t have any facility of good packaged food items. The tea served in the first AC of a Mahamana express and the tea served in a first AC of a Amritsar Shatabdi or a Mumbai Rajdhani is poles apart.
Not even a Neer bottle is provided to a First AC traveller.
The food gets a 1/5.
The train is comfortable vis a vis its timings, it’s infrastructure, hygiene and clean toilets.
It is the best option for overnight travel. You get the whole day at Varanasi as it reaches at 8.25 am and departs Delhi at 6.35 pm. The timings are same on the return route.
A big turn off is that the first class compartment is (literally) miles away from the exit at the Varanasi railway station. It’s almost like you are being punished to have chosen the first class and you have to go on walking endlessly to board the coach.
This is quite troublesome for senior citizens ( who make up the majority of first class travel)
Another observation is that anyone, I repeat anyone climbs into the first class compartment, roams about and peep into cabins ( akin to a museum display). When the attendant is inquired about this, he shrugs and says, “We can’t do anything” putting a big question mark on the security of the train.
In my honest opinion, the train has great potential, if the services are as good as the infrastructure.
The ideal combo for me would be the infrastructure of Mahamana and the professionalism of Mumbai Rajdhani, in order for the first AC to really be the First AC in the true sense of the term.
The 22418 New Delhi-Varanasi Tri Weekly Superfast Express Train departs from New Delhi at 06.35 p.m. on every Monday , Wednesday and Friday to reach Varanasi at 08.25 a.m. the next day.
In the return direction, the 22417 Varanasi – New Delhi Tri Weekly Superfast Express Train departs from Varanasi at 06.35 p.m. on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from to reach New Delhi at 08.25 a.m. the next day.
Consisting of one First AC, one AC II Tier, Nine sleeper class , four General Class & two second class cum luggage van coaches , the 22418/22417 New Delhi-Varanasi-New Delhi Tri Weekly Superfast Express train stops at Ghaziabad, , Moradabad , Bareilly. Lucknow, Sultanpur & Jaunpur Citystations enroute in both directions.
46 thoughts on “Mahamana Express Train Review”
Enjoyed the post:) Mind if I share a photograph? Let me know.
Sure Erin! Feel free to share with credits 🙂
Will do 🙂 Thanks. I’ll link photo back to your blog.
The train looks impressive…but its not about the beauty is it, but the service. I love the purple color on the outside of the train…one of my fave colors 🙂
Mine too 🙂
A good review- Need to send it to the railway minister for guidance on the way forward…
Thanks! 🙂 I did tweet it to him and the ministry.
That is sad actually….good infrastructure and bad management! Great reviewing Divsi…honest, informative yet a good read.
Thanks a lot Kala 🙂
Though, I’m a regular commuter on this route, yet Mahamana is to be experienced. I concur with you…. it’s the combo of services and infrastructure that passengers delight… just infrastructure sand services is a semi forlorn affair.
Please do share your thoughts after you have traveled. Would love to read.
The train has potential, as you said. But, I think they are compromising a lot in the question of security. I would think thrice before going for it…
A neat, precise review… 🙂
Thanks for reading Mani:)
Good one, Divsi
I’ve been curious about this train ever since I saw the images. A very nicely written review. Looks like the ‘service’ has miles to go.
I was curious too 🙂 Thanks a lot for reading Sid 🙂
Looks interesting! Indian trains have come a long way. 🙂
Indeed. Given the population they cater to, definitely, yes!
In a year or two, I would want to see the state of this train. Just out of curiosity.
Thanks for the small review Divya 🙂
Haha! :p Read my mind, didn’t you 🙂 Thanks for reading Anoop!
Awesome and complete review. From your review I see the train service in India is improving and or at last trying to get better from previous time we had six years ago.
Thanks Indah! Definitely yes. Hope it does gets better and bigger 🙂
Good to hear about clean toilets. Did you find any food vendors on the platforms along the way? One of the great joys of train travel used to be the different food along different platforms and stations, but that seems to be going away.
There are food vendors on the platforms. Some of them also board the train.
Totally agree. Nostalgia at its best!
Cool Post 🙂 Cool and Crisp.
You are spoiled! You get to travel 1AC!
Ha!Ha! True dat!… Me? I do 3AC … Or, max -2AC
Nice to read your review.
Thank you Rupam!:)
I just love a long train journey.As a frequent traveler on Indian Railways, I’m wondering-you didn’t mention 3 AC…is it possible that there isn’t any? And no pantry car? It seems as if it is just an updated look with a few improvements and with a convenient schedule. The design of these coaches is probably something we will see more of in the future.Thanks for a very interesting post!
Hi! I did not travel the 3rd AC in this train. This train has one First AC, one AC II Tier, Nine sleeper class , four General Class & two second class cum luggage van coaches.
There is not food being made on board this train. They source it from outside.
The infrastructure is awesome and I would love to see it in many more Indian trains 🙂
Thanks for reading!
Whoa, your way of writing made me feel like I am travelling all the through your experiences. Thank you for this updated and amazing info.
Thanks a lot 🙂
obviously it was not the best ride ever, but I love how you told the story with a delightful sense of humor 🙂
Glad you liked it 🙂
Lovely review. So amazed to know about this train. I’ve lately started liking travel by sleeper class though; shows us an entirely different India. Glad I read this.
Thanks 🙂 I concur. Trains show us an entirely different perspective of India:)
This is super impressive. For the train experience I have had in India, I am super impressed with how they have upped the level..
Hehe when did you travel last in an Indian railway?
Maybe about 2-3 years I think.. I’ve done the shatabdi for a small distance. But its been a while since the long distance travel..
this is absolutely classic, I impressed with it…
That is impressive. This is bound to make many happy travels.
I just hope this infrastructure is made a part of every indian train 🙂
Landed up here as we are on this train in a few days. Thank you very much for the food and beverages update,shall carry our own, as we do sometimes.
The location of 1AC is often an issue – the island Express, for example, lands up at Kanyakumari Railway Station with the 1AC further away from the exit than the ocean.
Shall also provide an update after our journey.