Sunday, August 10, 2008

How Do They Heat The Tea?

The facts.

1. 2786 Bangalore City-Kacheguda Express leaves Bangalore at 1820 every evening.

2. Because it's an overnight train, there is no pantry car.

3. There is however an IRCTC crew on the train. They will take dinner orders and between 7:30 and 8:30 deposit some comestible wrapped in silver foil at your seat.

Presumably they load this stuff when the train leaves Bangalore, and dish it out when the the omens are right.

4. Now (and listen closely, this is the interesting bit), this train is supposed reach Kacheguda at 0540. 0515ish, selfsame IRCTC check-shirt wallas will circulate through the sleeping vestibules, hawking garamaa garam coffee and tea.

So the question naturally arises: At something past 4 in the morning, with nary a stop/station in sight, where/how are these fellows able to concoct hot tea/coffee?

The only (scary and painful in light of recent events) explanation we have at the moment is that somewhere on the sleeping car express, they are lighting a stove or other such and heating/brewing the beverages.


Shweta said...

Hey, I've thought about this you know. I am thinking that they have a pantry car, but since the only profitable thing to sell in an overnight train full of Gults and Digas is coffee, that is the only thing these guys make.
Unless, you have made a trip along the train and ascertained the absence of a pantry car?

Ludwig said...

[shweta] No pantry cars on the pure overnight trains, 100% sure. It simply isn't economical because the quantity of food consumed in overnight trains is neglizible (but not jero) compared to the longer distance trains.

I would dearly love to plumb the depths of this mystery.

kbpm said...

sounds scary. they probably have a device that spontaneously heats up water to ejjact boiling point at ejjactly 4 am. possibly remote operated.

Ludwig said...

[kenny] rrright.

Aparna said...

Aren't there any stations at 4am-ish? Cant the coffee be hauled on board at the "right" station?

RMan (as Aparna)

varali said...

It could be as Aparna says. I speak as one who has witnessed such tea- and coffee-loading at strange hours on strange trains in the metre-gauge era.

And thus I reveal my half-life.

But seriously, if there is no pantry car and there IS a stove, is it being lit in some regular passenger-filled compartment? If so, someone must have seen it happen, no?

choxbox said...

hey ludwig, i might bump into you on one of these bangalore - kacheguda (or vice versa) trains. in fact am trying to book tix right now.
btw i will get in touch soon-ish via kenny as i need some fundae on konaseema. sounds thoroughly cool.

Ludwig said...

[aparna] Lepton, you explain the Aparna thing first. Then we'll think about answering your question. I left a comment on your so called Alaska loon photo on Kodakgallery. Did you get it? It's a grebe.

OK, I don't know about this ghoulish 4 a.m. stop to pick up coffee. Let me check next time.

[varali] I know, I know. Or not. Needst find out. Metre gauge, eh? You must read Bill Aitken's "Branch Line to Eternity". Bit maudlin', but lots of metre gauge nostalgia.

[choxbox] Amen to SBC-KCG or vice versa meetings. Konaseema, I R the man. Shoot koschans anytime, via the Maine town or however.

aandthirtyeights said...

Take the Garib Rath, I say. The Kaceguda express is so downmarket!

Ludwig said...

[aandthirtyeights] Does it have sleeper class? Garib Rath, it seems.