Riders Of The Roof
Greetings everyone. The Owl isn't going to waste anytime here and plunge straight into a history lesson.
When the Railways arrived in India in the 19th century, different regional networks sprung up. Scindhias, the rulers of the Gwalior State, started the Gwalior Light Railway. The route covers a distance of 210 km, and is now the longest remaining narrow gauge line in the world.
The No. 271 Passenger train on this line is the only through train that connects the outpost of Sheopur Kalan to Gwalior. It runs at a stately speed of up to 30 Kmph and trip takes 10.5 hours. No points for guessing the Owl flew there to check in out.
The train leaves Gwalior at 06:25. The Owl reached Gwalior station at 6 am, bought a Rs. 29 ticket and got on the train, it was already crowded with commuters. The train has 7 coaches and has a capacity of 150 - 200 passengers. But it carries at least twice that capacity everyday. Passengers cram themselves into the coaches, hang by the side, and climb on the roof.
Despite the crush of people, the co-passengers helped him on board and tried to accommodate him. At the Ghosipura station, the Owl went up to the driver's cabin and Mr. Khan, the driver, allowed him to ride in the engine for a bit. This Owl was very excited about riding on the roof. But he found out it isn't without its perils. The crossbeams of some truss bridges on the route have low clearance. While some passengers dismount, others lie flat on their backs to avoid getting hit.
The train traveled through beautiful mustard fields, crossed streams and barren landscapes. What this Owl remembers the most about the day though, was the warmth with which he was treated.
HERE ARE SOME IMAGES FROM THE DAY ...
Until Next Time
The Observant Owl
P.S. if you want to talk to this owl you can write and email to firstname.lastname@example.org
From An Owl's Eye View