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Friday, 21 January, 2000, 16:00 GMT
Rail ticket takes record

Family members came to see him off at Bombay station

An Indian man has entered the record books after making a rail journey to Delhi on a 26-year-old ticket.

Fakruddin Takulla bought a ticket in 1973 intending to travel to the Indian capital from Bombay in the year 2000 to see the golden jubilee Republic Day celebrations.

I thought why don't I use this opportunity to see India in the 21st century
Fakruddin Takulla

"The railways had introduced a scheme to book advanced tickets in 1973," Mr Takulla said.

"So I thought why don't I use this opportunity to see India in the 21st century," he said.

But when he asked the ticketing office to issue him a ticket on the exclusive Rajdhani express, the booking clerk didn't have any idea on what day the train would run.

The train only ran three days a week and the clerk did not have a calendar for the year 2000.

Boarding the Delhi bound Rajdhani Express

It was left to Mr Takulla to calculate the exact date of his journey and he bought a ticket on the Rajdhani Express to Delhi for Wednesday, 19 January 2000.

The ticket cost him $3.

The current price is over $40, but the Indian railway authorities decided to waive the extra charge.

He has also been invited to stay in a railway guesthouse for eight days and given a free return ticket.

"We felt that a person who could think of doing this 27 years ago obviously had tremendous faith in the reliability of the Indian railway network and we felt that we needed to acknowledge that and respond to it adequately," said Shanti Narain, a member of the Indian railway board.

Mr Takulla has also been given a special pass to watch the parade from the VIP gallery.

He is one of the privileged guests of the government of India for the Golden Jubilee celebrations.

He says he came across an advertisement about open bookings and fancied travelling in the 21st century.

At 61, Fakruddin Takulla now wants to book a ticket for 2038 - when he will be 100.

His dream now is to go to his ancestral home in Kaparwaj, in the western state of Gujarat.

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