Transportation of household goods by train
As I mentioned in my other post shifting a house from one city to another is a Herculean task and there are all chances that despite all planning something or the other is bound to go wrong. And my case was no exception. After all the materials had been loaded onto the truck me and my son returned to the empty house to prepare ourselves for the train journey from Bangalore to New Delhi the next day.
It was only the next day that we were asked by the security of the building whether we intended to dispose off the bicycles of the children. It was disappointing to note that in all the detailed planning and execution of the transfer of materials we had overlooked the loading of the bicycles. The time was short and there was no way I could gain anything out of disposing them in a hurry and bicycles don’t come cheap.
A quick call was made to the transporter who said that this issue could be taken care of and the bicycles could be sent to New Delhi by a shared truck at a cost of Rs 2000 but the bicycles would need to be collected from his warehouse in Gurgaon. A suitable option was to book them in the luggage van of the train that we were boarding to New Delhi. A new experience was about to begin…..
Whilst we would have commuted to the railway by either bus or an auto rickshaw the transportation of the bicycles necessitated the hiring of a cab. After filling up a few forms at the railway booking office and a payment of Rs 650 the bicycles were coded and handed over to the loading coolie. A ‘tea money’ of Rs 100 was asked for and paid to the coolie.
We reached New Delhi a bit tired of the long journey. We were able to locate the bicycles which had been unloaded on the platform and were asked to get a clearance receipt from the parcel ‘babu’ who was supposed to have his office on the other extreme end of the platform. Now, after almost 38 hours of train journey I embarked on a journey to locate the parcel ‘babu’. The government officials in India have worked hard to earn their reputation and the parcel ‘babu’ was not going to tarnish this reputation by sitting in his designated office or being easily traced by reasonable means. We were tired and after an hour or so the search was called off and we left the bicycles at the platform and left for home.
It too me a full day to get my energy levels back in shape so the next evening I went back to the railway station at Nizamuddin to claim my baggage. Since the goods had by now been transferred to the warehouse I made my way and was able to locate the bicycles stored in a corner in the same condition as what we had loaded them. I had to pay a demurrage of almost Rs 800 and upon payment of the same the bicycles were handed over to me. The plea that I would have had released my articles on the same day of travel had the parcel ‘babu’ been at his office fell on deaf ears and the clerk said that there was nothing that he could do about it. Anyway, I gathered the bicycles and had them transported to our home.
All in all I think this is not such a bad way of getting the small goods being transported over a long distance. However there are a few systems which could be streamlined by the railways to make this experience more comfortable and user friendly.