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Mark Lester

The Great Circular Indian Railway Challenge (2011)

14 posts in this topic

Hello everyone,

I came in via the contact link, I didn't see you had a forum. So I'm just waiting for voice to voice contact from Dave or Steve but I couldn't wait to communicate further.

I've been getting a marathon, continuous, 2 week train trip round the edge of India off the ground over the last couple of months. My blog is here

http://gcirc.wordpess.com

I've got a superbly appropriate target charity in Railway Children, who are a Crewe/Mumbai based outfit who go and get the lost kids of Indian Railways before someone else does. They've actually expanded a lot since I first had this idea a few years back and now do work in Africa and elsewhere also. If you've got a copy of Slumdog Millionaire you'll find a promo for them in the extras.

There's been a great deal of interest on IndiaMike which is a very well subscribed India travel forum. I think I've got about 25 people as committed as anyone who you've met on the Net can be with 14 months to go. We've got a few Indian railway experts in the gang so far who will be able to help with the rail reservations and such, but it's not turned out to be a trainspotters gig at all. Right now almost everyone is a 40+, seasoned India traveler. We have I think 7 women though, which is really great.Travelling about on Indian trains can be quite intimidating for women as you can come in for some intense staring, so I'm sure we'll be getting quite a few more girls joining up.

The really cool thing about this kind of venture is of course that virtually the entire infrastrucure is laid on by Indian Railways. All you need is an IndRail pass costing about 90 quid, and the know how on how to make reservations on Indian trains, and you're virtually sorted. So I dont need any 3rd parties, just follow the instructions and turn up on the platform.

There is a blatantly obvious road versus rail angle we may be able to have to this which you lot should be able to assess the feasibility of. As you can see from the map it's a pretty interesting route, and the Assam section, which involves going up the north bank of he Brahmaputra (which I understand involves hoppig acorss sand banks at that time of year), then getting a ferry over to a place called Dibrugarh and then running back along the south side, is an adventure in itself.

I have next to no ego, and what I have has been truly sated already, so while I'll keep my end going and will continue to winkle out leads and entrants and run my blog which I am aiming to be a blockbuster durring the event itself, it looks like I've found a bunch of people who can help us take this to the next level. I've got a few classy leads into the Indian media and press biz, but I think I need help and guidance on how we press on from here.

I couldnt suss out how to stick the map in, it's here on the blog

http://gcirc.wordpress.com/map/

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Hello again mad rally people. I got a few hits from here just now, so not sure if this has stirred anyone's loins. if you've got any advice or ideas please send them in.

the group is anywhere between 15 and 50 right now, but we're still up to our knees working out how you actually book all this as it's about as non trivial as you could imagine (multiply the bizarre daily changing timtable, and the total uncertainty regarding running status, by the caste system inspired quota system, and you are ball park).

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I wondered why you lot were being so miserable. I've just seen that I spelled my URL wrong.

I've fixed my sig anyway. if there's anyone who wants to race us for a bt on ths on an enfield bullet, please get in touch.

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sorry everyone that had clicked on a "wordpess" link, I fixed that,

http://gcirc.wordpress.com

if any of you guys fancy racing us for a section of this, the Assam end of things is something particularly interesting, please get in touch.

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Hi Mark,

Just to say hello really. Your project sounds very exciting and interesting. Most of the mad ralliers are really tied up with various projects right now, TukTuk in Cambodia, the upcoming Mongolia and Roof of the World etc .... but I will keep an eye on this .... an Enfield Bullet you say? hmmmm .... interesting idea....

Cool

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Hi Speedy,

No worries, I feel like a bit of a fraud in here as you lot are seriously mental, the Pamirs ffs!.

The eastern end of our odyssey might float somebody's boat though. ferry across the Brahmaputra, then running along the chinese line of claim north of the river (which is well inside India, but it's still off the normal beaten track). I also have a contact out there who does biking, there's a dirty great oil refinery right at the end of the line, Digboi it's called, so lots of engineering types. This bit is the end/start of the WW II Burma road. I dont think it's open but India and China are trying to kiss and make up and open it again which would make it a must do for you lot.

Honda hero took over from the bullet as the standard many moons ago, and now you see all kinds of massive jap things, but you can stil get/see bullets, you guys will probably know more about that anyway.

I made a map of the route on google, it's on several pages but you get an idea.

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&source=embed&msa=0&msid=109475402552454831856.00048147b5a23fdcfb413&ll=21.094751,72.125244&spn=4.17678,2.020782&source=embed

Chasing us round the whole route isnt possible (I'd have thought), not on 2 wheels anyway, even though we'll only be averaging about 35 km/h, but it would be most cool to synch up with anyone who fancied a bit and the assam section would be good, Actually, a fair contest would be road mumbai-ledo (east assam) and back, doing it slightly differently in both dirrctions, versus our full ciircle. I know the blokes at the refinery would do us proud, especially anyone who'd just driven from the arabian sea.

I've got a facebook group in here

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=372971199730

"charity rallies" already joined up, ta.

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Hello again all you amazing people

We're stuck on about 20ish for this rail gig of mine, so I dont know if it's enough of a challenge for you lot. Pakistan, Pamirs, North Korea, crikey. No one doing Kandahar this year, tch, lightweights.

Anyway, we might still be doing Digboi refinery, which is near tipong, which is at the foot of the the WWiI road round the back of Burmah. The Indians and Chinese are hoping to open his "soon", I'm sure if they do you lot will be up it like the proverbial rat up a drain pipe. So keep that on your wish list. And if there is a lone rider wanting to do an Enfield India out to Assam next Feb and have someone on the other end, we might fit your bill.

Best of luck anyway to all of you

Mark

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Hello you lot, wherever you all are, somewhere near baikal or wherever I guess.

Anyway, I think I've hit critical mass at my end, I should have 50 or so arriving by train in eastern assam, at the foot of the Burmah road, on the 25th Feb. As such things on the TV and media front are looking increasingly promising.

if anyone is half interested in turning up there on a bullet (india), or anything really but an enfield is really the done thing, it would be so cool.

oh just see you last years figures, just shy of 100 grand, outstanding!.

http://gcirc.wordpress.com

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Hi

I appreciate the work you are doing and i am really interested in looking forward to join. I would like to wheather you have any plan of journey to southern India.

career break

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