The plan to publish Thursday's blog at leisure before heading off for the train is stymied by yet another power cut at the guest house. We collect our belongings in the dark and flag down an auto for the railway station. This is one of the cleanest we have seen anywhere in India and it has plenty of seating for waiting travellers. There is a bit of to-ing and fro-ing as the train from Dhanbad comes in half an hour late and then the Rajdhani, heading all the way to Delhi, roars into the platform.
Our own train is a few minutes late but we find the right spot to be on the platform for our old fashioned, non air conditioned, first class coach. The serious Indian train buffs rate these coaches as possibly the best way to travel as you get plenty of space but you can still have the window open if you wish. We are allocated berths in Cabin D and yet again this turns out to be a 2 person coupe. R fails to see the manifold advantages of this method of travel and complains that all of the surfaces are grubby and that the compartment door looks like a prison cell door. There is no pleasing some people.
The TTE is straight on the case to check our ticket and we are surprised to learn that there is no surcharge to pay for this trip. Soon an attendant appears with sheets and pillows, available in this class for a 20 rupee payment. R decides that it would be better to get Southern Railways linen dirty than let our own come into contact with the berths. We have a quick nightcap, then turn in. D awakes at 2.30 thinking that it is daylight but it is just a pause in a station somewhere.
At 6.30 we get up and sorted so we can enjoy the ride into Mangalore. We get short glimpses of the coast and the sea as well as seeing some interesting birds. We even get an unconfirmed sighting of one of the aforementioned Indian railway buffs, standing on a wayside platform as our train pulls away. Was that really India Mike's Steven_Ber that we saw? Bang on time we pull into Mangalore Central Station, another 471 km under our belts.