A few months ago, I went from Varanasi to Delhi on the Kolkata Rajdhani, one of India’s premier long-distance trains. It had been a while since I’ve had occasion to travel by Rajdhani, and it made a pleasant change, especially since I was traveling First A/C. It seems to me that there are significant distinctions between the Rajdhani trains on different routes, i.e., some are more luxurious than others. That’s certainly the case with the Shatabdi trains, which are the premier short haul trains. The Bhopal Shatabdi, for instance, is far more luxurious than the Dehra Doon Shatabdi.
There were shower rooms with geysers for hot water and individual folding trays for meals or work (in First A/C only, of course.) It was the shower rooms that really impressed me. Although I had seen shower rooms, I don’t ever remember seeing a geyser on a train before. I didn’t use the showers, as I was headed straight for what was passing for home at the moment. However, both of the other people in my compartment did. I was quite impressed with how well they managed. Both of them were able to make themselves quite presentable for meetings they had to go to. It was an overnight train and neither of them looked too spiffy before hitting the showers. The showers are definitely a boon for travellers who have to reach their destination looking presentable after a long train ride.
I peeked in the pantry car and it was encouragingly clean. When I ordered dinner, they were actually able to prepare some simple vegetable dish to accommodate my special diet, which I didn’t expect. I usually don’t eat train food, but I made an exception for this. It really wasn’t bad.