Friday, January 31, 2014

20 Train Travel Tips, especially for Senior Citizens

20 Train Travel Tips, especially for Senior Citizens

I got a brief note from my friend Shyam Singh on train travel safety. I expanded that note into a twenty plus enumeration.

  1. As most of the services relating to train travel are outsourced they have mechanisms to get complaints and look into it. These relate to cleaning within compartments, catering, toilet cleaning etc. Don’t suffer inconvenience.  Do use the channels to complain. Things are bound to improve.
  2. Before you set out to the station ensure you have correct ticket, necessary Id cards and details about Reservation, platform etc. I have made mistakes of noting time of departure incorrectly and in one instance even the date of journey !! This resulted in missing the train or getting into wrong trains!
  3. Try to spot genuine passengers, preferably a family and introduce yourself briefly – sufficient enough to identify you. Will be useful if you become unconscious or get involved in some accident or emergency.
  4. Ensure free movement near the entry / exit doors of the compartment. If obstructions are seen, have them moved out, through persuasion or complaints.
  5. Secure your luggage by locking them up properly.
  6. Be wary of passengers, especially singles, who may be getting off at intermediary stations at night. You are likely to lose your baggage unguarded.
  7. Learn where emergency Door / exit windows are provided and how to open / operate them
  8. Do not accept food drink or eatables from strangers.
  9. When you go for toilet in the night see that you do not leave valuables in the seat. Be extra careful when train is halting at a station. Somebody may walk away with your luggage even by mistake.
  10. Always carry a small notebook where important contact names and phone numbers are noted.  Realize that your mobile may be stolen / lost. Both contacts from your own place and in the destination city are necessary.
  1. Always carry essential medicines in addition to your regular  medicines for BP Diabetes etc  Take your medicines at appropriate times.Carry water and snacks. Arrival or availability of food may be delayed beyond endurance.
  2. Carry a foldable umbrella, candle or torch, pen knife, tissue etc
  3. Spread out cash in different pieces of luggage to minimise loss.
  4. Leave at home photo copy of all your ID Cards (credit Debit Aadhar PAN etc)
  5. DO not accept to carry unknown people’s baggage.
  6. Do not carry inflammable / dangerous prohibited goods.
  7. Note down emergency numbers (say Railway Protection Force) mentioned in compartments – you may be in apposition to reach that place during accidents.
  8.  Do not lend your mobile phone to strangers.
  9. Do not reveal too much about yourself as that may attract misuse / misrepresentation.

Points 21 to 26 have been contributed by Dr T Thomas
21.              Keep at least 1 litre drinking water in the baggage for emergency. Use the bottled water available in train/platforms during the journey. Similarly the medicine stock carried must be sufficient for at least 3 times the duration of the stay at the destination
22.              Carry a list of emergency contact Nos.  of 2-3 physicaly fit persons at the source and destination stations. Spouses' name may be included just for information only. If he/she is morbid, getting an emergency call may only add to their physicsal or mental miseries. 
23.              Carry a detailed time table for the forward and return journeys which can easily be downloaded from the railway website. Also carry a brief time table of other trains between the source & destination.

24.              Avoid travels which starts after 22.00 hrs and reaches before 04.00. In case the only train reaches the destination before 04.00, donot leave the station before sunrise. Relax only in restrooms/platforms where there are many people present. Take care to move to the middle of the platform avoiding both the ends. Donot doze off on the platform. Keep alert by taking tea/coffee etc if required.
25.               Always travel light. If more luggage is unavoidable carry the same in a strolly bag; Often we find no porters  at several stations except during peak hours. 

26.              Avoid the use of high end/smart phones during the journey as this is an attractive booty for thieves. If one must, keep it locked up in the baggage in the silent mode. An ordinary phone will eminently meet the need for communication during the journey.

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