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1411

ITARSI 2000

1411

Every bogiewallah has the number 1411 engraved on their memory as the number of their home from home on most Butterfields' tours (plus 1412 if you were on the two tours in 1988 when a replacement bogie had to be used!). It was what distinguished this ex-pilgrims' bogie from other carriages – along with the Butterfields' banner and the crowd of waiting beggars outside, of course.

It accommodated bogiewallahs for 24 years until it was condemned in February 1998, and finally limped back into Delhi junction in April.

1411 meets the Palace on Wheels

The Bogie: Every Butterfields' brochure had a description of the bogie.

 The carriage accommodates up to 24/26 people and comprises two large sitting rooms, a small dining room/library, a pantry, a kitchen, two washrooms and four squat toilets. It is equipped with electric lights and fans. The sitting room walls are lined with cushioned benches under which luggage can be stowed, the floors are covered with coir matting, and there are small individual lockers in which you can keep items like wash bags. At night, the sitting rooms convert to dormitories, and you can sleep on benches, upper berths or camp beds. We supply bedrolls comprising padded cotton mattresses, pillows and sheet sleeping bags, and blankets in winter (November- February).

The washrooms are fitted with washbasins and cold water taps, for bathing with a bucket and bailer. Soap and towels are provided. The dining room contains our library, which is well stocked with books on India and genera1 fiction, and we open our own post office here, selling specially designed aerogrammes, as well as postcards and stamps.

Our kitchen is only equipped with charcoal burners but we prepare a wide variety of food making good use of fresh local ingredients. We provide plenty of tea/coffee, an unlimited supply of treated drinking water, and a small amount of boiled water daily. We sell cold beer and bottled soft drinks on board.

This was the basics – you got a lot more information in Survival on Board.

The early end goes to bed
Adequate cooking facilities

The end of Bogie 1411

In February 1998, the bogie finally met its end, its demise hastened by a contractor's over-enthusiastic concreting of the collapsed kitchen floor, which caused it to list alarmingly to one side. It made its last journey to Delhi junction in April 1998 where its contents were stripped by the jhuggi dwellers on the track, at Jane and Ashley's invitation.

The relationship with Indian Railways was a lot less cordial than that one. As the Itarsi Souvenir Brochure says "Although a kindly soul once replaced the bogie's trolleys, enabling it to travel on all but the fastest trains, staff were generally uncooperative, obstructive and thoroughly unpleasant. The Butterfields left a trail of bad-tempered, hastily scrawled entries in complaint books at stations all over India."

So on 3rd April 1998, the day before the bogie finally died, Butterfields' Indian Railway Tours made their feelings about Northern Railways clear in this advert in the Indian Express. But it also expressed their feelings about all the people they had come into contact with in India over the years.

Butterfields’ Indian Railway Tours regret to announce the imminent demise of CTS 1411 Tourist Bogie, which despite the best efforts of sick line staff 
















at Old Delhi, after 22 years of loyal service has finally succumbed to continual mistreatment, abuse and neglect and will limp, lopsided and roofless 
















into Delhi junction on train 9105 at 04.25 on April 4th for the very last time.
















We offer our sincere and heartfelt thanks to all those Indian Railway staff who have given us excellent service over the years at no personal gain to 
















themselves, as well as those shopkeepers, hoteliers, transport operators, and their hardworking employees, with whom it has been our great pleasure 
















to do business.
















We also wish to thank those countless unknown Indians who have welcomed us on railway stations throughout the land, from whom we have learnt 
















so much, whose spontaneity, warmth and generosity of spirit we shall never forget, and whose kindness we shall never be able to repay.
















In particular, we thank the unofficial residents of the tourist platform at New Delhi station, especially the children who have always volunteered their 
















help in times of need, and whose enthusiastic, cheerful and unconditional support has sustained us in the face of bureaucratic obstruction and 
















official indifference.
















As a gesture of goodwill, we hereby inform the Northern Railway rates department at Baroda House, the refunds department at New Delhi station 
















and the accounts branch at Kissanganj, that we no longer intend to pursue our 46 outstanding claims for overcharges and non-refund of security 
















deposits, dating from 1982. Therefore their search for all relevant missing files and documents can now be abandoned. Let us no longer be an 
















interruption to their work!
















Butterfields’ Indian Railway Tours 1974-1998

Afterlife for the Bogie

When the bogie died in April 1998, Jane and Ashley kindly offered to donate it to the National Railway Museum in Delhi. Believing that their offer had been refused (which didn't surprise them since it was never theirs in the first place) they invited all the jhuggi-dwellers by the track at New Delhi to strip it out.

But surprise, surprise! The Museum decided to accept it after all which then meant a huge job of refurbishment. Several people who came to the Reunion visited it in its new home (any photos please?) where it now looks much more like its old self, with the interior painted in glorious minty green, and the Butterfield logo proudly displayed on the outside. Cushions and coir matting have been installed, and the kitchen bas been re-equipped with charcoal files and pots and pans.

The intention is to set up one end as a night-time scene, and the other as a daytime one, with life-sized mannequins dressed as bogiewallahs to add to the realism. There will be a display of photographs (if anyone has any brilliantly clear pictures of bogiewallahs inside or just outside the coach that would stand considerable enlargement, please let Jane and Ashley know) and a good written account of the bogie's history.

So if you are in Delhi, go and visit the bogie in its new home and relive signing up for the early or late end, hunting for your very own bed roll, getting the shutters up and down – or just sitting watching India roll by. And send us some photos for this page.

Anyone for bacon and eggs?
The local laudrette