India & Bangladesh Nov/Dec 2018 – (Bihar, Palia Kalan MG, Hyderabad & Southern India – Bangladesh BG areas)
After 14 years of travelling around India by train, not only had it come to the point where things were changing faster than we could keep up with current events, but Indian Railways had taken away our comfort zone and the time had finally come where I had to do a trip without the benefit of an Indrail Pass; which meant purchasing tickets for all trains throughout the trip.
As was the norm now, this trip had almost changed completely during its lifespan of being a “plan”. A few years ago, this would have been due to the mass production of GMs but now it was generally due to the mass wiring the country was undergoing, which not only replaced diesel hauled stuff with electrics but released GM’s en-masse to replace Alcos elsewhere; so now the Alco replacement came three-fold and was occurring everywhere!
The above said, there were still places that were strongholds for Alcos and big express trains continued to see twin Alcos working over vast distances and the amount of twin Alcos working around the country was probably at an all time high; so GMs replacing them in some links, did have their benefits in other links, but nothing seemed sacred these days. Least of all the longest distance Alco link in the country of 16733/16734 Okha – Rameswaram – Okha; which is a whopping 3152km throughout and having planned to do it throughout, at last, but Indian Railways had other ideas and only a week before I flew out, did I find out the link had very recently changed to it being an ED WDP4D Okha – Madurai for a GOC WDP3A to Rameswaram; so that was a week of my plan utterly fucked and in need of a complete rewrite.
The problem with a full rewrite, when you have to book your own tickets for every train, is that the closer it gets to your departure, the harder it is to find an alternative plan; and it took me about 4 days to come up with an alternative! It was, however, a plan I was very happy with and a plan that was better than its original, involving twin Alcos on the most part too!
This trip would ultimately involve the Palia Kalan MG, where I’d meet up with Youth & Flossy, plenty of time covering Alco twin workings, and a few bits of newly built line would be covered along the way; namely Nizamabad – Karimnagar and what is currently the Kadiridevarapalli branch from Bellary. Finally, a trip into Bangladesh has been long overdue, with it being 9 years since the last venture there, so covering the new Kolkata – Khulna service, assuming we could get tickets, was on the agenda, with a couple of days in Bangladesh too.
Booked through British Airways
BA143 1115 Heathrow – Delhi
BA138 0215 Mumbai – Heathrow
G8-135 0605 Delhi T2 – Patna
6E-679 1420 Delhi T1 – Hyderabad
6E-594 1820 Hyderabad – Trivandrum
6E-125 0640 Ahmedabad – Kolkata
6E-1859 1910 Dhaka – Kolkata
6E-318 0535 Kolkata – Mumbai
Patna – OYO Chanakya Inn – use the western set of steps (high numbered platform side) to exit Patna Junction station and directly opposite the car park exit stands the OYO Hotel Chanakya. I was checked in at 8am and shown straight to my room. It was a bit rough around the edges in the bathroom but had piping hot water, A/C and a good fan. The double bed was comfy and looked the part, even if the rest of the room didn’t. Tea/coffee making facilities were provided, as were toiletries in the bathroom. Other than breakfast, I was advised that all food provided was from the room service menu. WiFi at the hotel was very good throughout and fast.
Secunderabad – OYO Lotus Grand – a 5 minute walk from Secunderabad station and visible from the station approach. Allegedly under the OYO banner but nothing at the hotel at all advertised so or gave the impression it was. The staff at the front desk were expecting me and checked me in on their hand-held, which seems to be anew thing in India these days. Of course, I still had to hand write all the other stuff, and fill in the C form, before being shown to my room. I was given a room on the 6th floor, at the back side of the hotel. There were a couple of cockroaches on the floor when I walked in, both of which were immediately squashed, and other than the bed, which was a good thing, the room looked tired and the bathroom wasn’t great. It certainly wasn’t up to OYO standards but at least the AC worked and the WiFi was strong enough to download a load of things to watch on my laptop. I noted that there were no toiletries in the bathroom and when I asked for some, and a toilet roll, later that night, I was given a pile of napkins from the restaurant to wipe my arse with; and no apology. Thankfully there was hot water 24/7 and I managed to have a very quick shower before heading back to the station. The staff at the front desk wanted me to wait and pay before I went, because their card machine wasn’t working; which I was having none of and went on my way; feeling a little refreshed.
Nizamabad – Haritha Indur Inn – It’s only a 5-minute walk to the Haritha Indur Inn, out of the station, over the car park, turn right outside it and then it’s on the left. It looks very inviting from the outside and the hotel check-in was very straightforward, once I’d e-mailed the receptionist the hotel voucher I’d received from Clear Trip; which is essentially their confirmation that I’ve paid Clear Trip which they then use to recover their costs. The room had twin beds, as requested, and was clean. The beds were comfy, and the air-con worked well. There was no WiFi or hot water, but we did get two buckets of hot water delivered to our room on request. Room service was efficient, but only once I went down to the restaurant to order as nobody wanted to answer the room service phone I was ringing. Other than the cockroaches knocking about the room, there wasn’t anything to complain about, but our left-over food was still outside the room door, crawling in roaches, the following morning when we left!
Ahmedabad – Ritz Inn – A 5-minute walk from Ahmedabad Jn station front, out of the exit to the right, over the meg-busy junction and then down the road on the left. We got the impression that the hotel wasn’t expecting us, and they took a copy of the hotel voucher Vic had, which had been processed through a third party. We began to think it might have been a scam but the final bill was presented, minus the amount already paid out to the third party. It was nice to get into a clean room with all the mod-cons when we were shown to our third-floor room; there’s never any issue at the Ritz, it’s clean, modern with excellent WiFi & AC along with a good pure-veg restaurant!
Kolkata – Hotel Cecil – opposite the Medical College. My experience at hotels in Kolkata was zip, mainly thanks to every one I’d ever tried near Sealdah not having a license to take foreigners, so I’d spent the night on the upper-class waiting room floor on two separate occasions as a result. The Hotel Cecil was booked on booking.com and is about a 20-minute walk from Sealdah and is close to Central Metro station. The Cecil’s entrance is at the side of the building, just off College Road, and first impressions were great. The rooms were clean, the bathrooms had hot water, the AC & WiFi worked a treat and there were all sorts of freebies, including toiletries, tea/coffee and even toothbrushes.
Kolkata Airport – Silverline Hotel – Due to the traffic around the airport the hotel had to book an Uber for me (rather than pick me up), but the owner of the Silverline Hotel was very accommodating and even sent me all the Uber reference details, so I could locate the driver.
The Silverline Hotel is only about 700m from the airport exit, as the crow flies, but it’s a couple of kilometers via the roadway. It’s down a narrow side-street and the staff at the front desk were keen to check me in. The room was tiny, and the double bed only just fit into the alcove it was positioned in. The fan and AC worked well through and there was hot water and WiFi. Room service was efficient, and I was in bed by 9pm, with an alarm set for 0330; with an 0530 flight to Mumbai to catch. The front desk woke me at 0325 to confirm my taxi would be waiting outside at 0345!
Khulna – Tiger Garden International – a 10-minute walk from the new Khulna station, out of the exit, turn right and along the main road to the roundabout, then first left and its about 200 yards on the left. It was a breath of fresh air, the staff at reception were great and had us checked in straight away. The place was spotlessly clean, and our twin room was massive, with free toiletries, snacks and even hair products. There was a mini-bar, piping hot water, excellent AC and very good free WiFi and the 2nd floor restaurant looked the business too.
Rajshahi – Hotel Star International – a 5km journey from the station and we had no option but to get an e-auto to it. There were plenty willing to take us in the station compound and it took about 10 minutes to get to the Hotel Star International. We were checked in straight away and they were expecting us. The room wasn’t anywhere near as good as the one we’d left behind in Khulna but it was good enough and big enough and had hot water. The hotel looked to be a brand-new building and when we walked back down to reception from our 8th floor room we passed floors that clearly hadn’t been finished. The restaurant wasn’t fully open and our food had to be ordered from outside; taking 1h30m to arrive that night!
Dhaka – Nagar Valley Hotel – chosen through Booking.com only two days prior to our arrival and it is only a 5-minute walk from the Rajshahi end of Biman Bandar station platforms and it was easier to walk down the track to the level crossing than brave the road, which was full of rickshaws and e-autos. Turning left, off the railway tracks, onto the main road at the level crossing, only gave us a 2-minute walk to the hotel, which was up ahead on the right. It was a breath of fresh air compared to the Star International in Rajshahi and all staff spoke fluent English. Our room was above the hotel restaurant, had two big beds and it was huge. The WiFi & AC worked a treat and the hot water was piping hot. Food in the restaurant that night was great and the hotel looked after our bags on the day of check-out, before we picked them up on the way to the nearby Dhaka airport.
All tickets purchased direct through Indian Railways – local tickets on the day at railway stations, advance long-distance tickets on the IRCTC website before heading out to India.
Tickets for the “Badhan Express” from Kolkata Chitpur (India) to Khulna (Bangladesh) have to be purchased in person, in advance, at the International Ticket Booking Counter at Fairlie Place. From entering the building it was over 3-hours before our respective queuing number was called out; so don’t turn up too late in the day!
Tickets in Bangladesh were all purchased at railway stations, on the day. Now Bangladesh Railways has a computerised reservation system, tickets can be booked in advance at stations and even from other stations throughout the BR network; this did not work to our advantage on this trip, be warned.
Tuesday 6th November 2018 (The trip to Delhi)
After a strange few nights at work, where I’d been harboring a crappy cold and spreading my germs all around the office, I was grateful to be heading home with the worst part of it over. I’d booked a taxi for 0445 the previous evening, only because they couldn’t provide one at 0500, and I had plenty of time to get myself ready thanks to a very empty A1 on the way home. Despite my 0445 taxi, it didn’t turn up until 0459 and I still made 1Y00 0440 York – Kings Cross; which was sitting in platform 1 when I legged it up the stairs and onto the platform. 91128 was on the rear of the train and when I dossed out leaving Doncaster the train was empty, yet when I came around south of Stevenage I was the only person in the coach that still had two seats to himself; thanks to my bag being on the seat.
Even the tube to Heathrow was a sleeper service and the journey passed in no time. At Heathrow I used Huxley’s for breakfast, which I’d been doing so regularly since Wetherspoons had been under refurbishment. Unfortunately, the bacon had more fat on it than bacon and after I’d spent ages cutting it all away, I’d lost my appetite and it wasn’t as enjoyable as it should have been.
My plane was on its stand at B-gates well in advance of the 1115 departure and by 1030 there was a bit of a crowd gathering around. I was struggling o figure out if the plane was full or not, based on the number of people milling about. With it being Diwali the following day, I didn’t know if most people travelling home would already be there or not. Well, it was almost full to the brim but the middle seat between me and the guy in the other middle aisle seat was empty, so at least we had a bit of room.
I was, of course, knackered with coming off nights and the lack of sleep during the week, thanks to my cold, had compounded things, so I was ready for more sleep the moment my bum was in the seat. I was glad I stayed awake for the meal service though as the food was quite good. I did manage some bitty sleep en-route but nothing like solid doss but overall the flight was comfortable, quiet and the food on board was very good. There were no annoyances and disturbances and we landed 5-minutes early into Delhi, at 0110.
Moves for Tuesday 6th November 2018
|91128||Doncaster||Kings Cross||1Y00||0440 York – Kings Cross|
|G-YMMI||Heathrow Terminal 5||Delhi IGI Terminal 3||BA143||1115 Heathrow – Delhi|
Wednesday 7th November 2018 (Diwali – Day 1 of 2 in Patna)
On landing into Delhi, being at the rear of the plane usually means getting to immigration and enduring the queues. On this occasion though, it meant following everyone to the immigration hall and where they all turned right into the newly constructed hall for Visas on arrival, I just walked by and the queue for Foreign Passport Holders at the normal visa stations was only a few long and I was through in minutes; a breath of fresh air that was!
I already had an Indian sim card, which I’d managed to keep active from the previous trip in March. I was going to try and activate a new data plan at the Vodafone kiosk outside the airport arrivals, but it looked to have closed down, so that wasn’t going to happen. The Airtel kiosk was open though. While I had some cash from my previous trip, I opted to attempt to get some from the cash machines outside the arrivals hall; attempt being the operative word here! Having tried both my Halifax Credit and Bank cards in two different machines, I walked away empty handed; other than with a raft of cancelled transaction receipts!
I had a flight, booked direct through Go Air, departing to Patna from the newly opened Terminal 2 at Indira Gandhi International airport, which is well signposted once out of the Terminal 3 arrivals area and it took about 5 minutes to walk there. I checked in using one of the many self-service check-in machines and then used the WiFi to try and figure out what was going on with me not being able to get any money out!
Despite Halifax saying its customers are now not required to let them know when they travel abroad, it seems to me like this little “benefit” is more of a hindrance. After turning my UK phone on and connecting to the airport WiFi I was bombarded with texts, answerphone messages and e-mails asking if I’d attempted to make transactions at Delhi Airport recently! Of course I fucking had, you cretins! The long and short of it being that I had to respond to two messages to confirm that it was me that had attempted to make the transactions, and then all was well, and I eventually managed to get some cash out of a machine, at the 7th attempt! The net result of Halifax’s bonus service being I was 70p worse off for the two text messages, I spent 30 minutes trying to get cash from machines that should have taken me 30 seconds, and my blood was fucking boiling! Other than that, my cash getting experience had been fantastic.
Delhi IGI Terminal 2 wasn’t up to much, although it did have plenty of places to eat, but only had 1 cash machine and no money changing facilities at all, and there were no phone places either. It was a pleasant enough place to wait at though and once my 0605 flight to Patna was called for boarding it was very efficient and we were straight onto the plane from the departure gate; there was no Ryanair/Easyjet tunnel queuing. It was a full flight and just as I was nodding off, like the rest of the plane’s occupants, a voce called my name and asked for my boarding pass. I’d forgotten that I’d pre-booked samosas and chai for the flight; which was pleasant throughout and landed 30 minutes early into Patna.
Outside the airport wasn’t as chaotic as I’d expected, and it wasn’t long before I was accosted by an auto driver, who took me to Patna Junction for a Diwali-priced RS250. Auto’s aren’t allowed into the airport confines at Patna and they park outside in the adjacent car park if you need one. Getting to Patna Junction station wasn’t the easiest thing, due to the crowds trying to get to the station and get home to their families before the evening festivities commenced. After a bit of a detour I was dropped off in walking distance of the main side of the station, with my hotel being on the opposite side of it.
After choosing the wrong set of steps to get to the other side of the station, I soon realised the error of my ways and used the western set of steps to exit Patna Junction station and directly opposite the car park exit stood the OYO Hotel Chanakya. I was checked in at 8am and shown straight to my room. It was a bit rough around the edges in the bathroom but had piping hot water, A/C and a good fan. The double bed was comfy and looked the part, even if the rest of the room didn’t. Tea/coffee making facilities were provided, as were toiletries in the bathroom. Other than breakfast, I was advised that all food provided was from the room service menu. WiFi at the hotel was very good throughout and fast; which helped massively with me having no data plan on my Indian sim at that point.
Big bag dumped I was soon bumming around on Patna Junction station. ET Alco twin 14086/11425 were stabled between platforms 1 & 2 with the stock for 22971/2 Patna Jn – Bandra Terminus and stood alongside was SPJ WDG3A 14621. LKO WDM3D 11478 & MGS WDM3A 16699 were stood at the opposite end of the station. As things were a little sketchy in the early afternoon and quick move to Rajendranagar and back would initially suffice, leaving me time to nip out to the nearby Vodafone store, which didn’t open until 10am. So, then came my first ticket buying experience in an unreserved queue, ever!
It was totally harmless really but I soon realised that the ticket windows on the opposite side of the station, where my hotel was, had smaller queues than those in the main booking hall. My Yorkshire pronunciation of Rajendranagar got me what I wanted first time, along with both my change and ticket being flung towards the hole at the kiosk; which seems to be just the way it’s done. RS10 for an unreserved passenger train ticket seems hardly worth queuing to buy eh? Well, think again as the station was swarming with TTE’s and they looked to be having a good day judging by all the people they’d collared while I watched them.
The cranking part of the trip got off to a good start when SPJ WDM3A 16334 arrived with 53232 0840 Danapur – Tilaya Jn passenger, which I’d been expecting to be a MGS link. I didn’t have long at Rajendranagar to buy a ticket back to Patna and 53229 0500 Rajgir – Danapur was already on the approach as I headed into the booking hall. There was no panic though as there was no queue at any ticket window and I was back on the platform with plenty of time to spare as LDH WAG7 24587 rolled in with my train and had me back at Patna only 10 minutes after I’d left.
Things didn’t seem very busy at all as I walked to the Vodafone store, with most places still having their shutters down and not looking likely to open anytime soon. The streets, other than by the station, were equally as deserted and I began to have reservations about being able to get my data plan sorted as I walked along. When I got to the store, which is in a mini arcade type place, set back from the main road, the shutters were down and the whole arcade was deserted; but just as I got to the door to try and check the opening times the shutters were lifted, and I was invited in. There were four guys in the shop, and I was told they were only open for a few hours. It took them no time to find the best deal for data for my Delhi based sim. RS159 go me 1GB per day for 28 days, allowed unlimited calls and texts and I even got about RS30 credit out of it too. Data was what mattered through, the rest was irrelevant really. Now I had money, data and access to the internet on the move, I was now fully in the zone and could do what I needed. And back to the station I went.
When you don’t know what train you’ll end up doing, or in which direction you’ll head, this is where having to buy tickets for each journey is a farce. Still, I took a punt and bought an express ticket to Fatuha Jn and took a punt on the late running 12368 Anand Vihar – Bhagalpur Vikramshila Express coming up trumps; which it did with JMP WDM3A 16091. It didn’t come up trumps in the time stakes though and I had to get off at Patna Saheeb, or risk missing 13401 Bhagalpur – Danapur Express coming towards me. And when factoring tickets into these scenarios, it was only a matter of time before I ended up getting on a train without a ticket; although I would probably have spent enough during the day to cover the fare with the unused portions of tickets I’d bought, no doubt; which I’m sure any friendly TTE would sympathise with!
I was getting the hang of this ticket buying lark, with yet another non-que at Patna Saheeb, and was well pleased when JMP WDM3A 16358 dropped in with 13401 Bhagalpur – Danapur Intercity. When I got back to Patna Junction though, it seemed like a siesta was in order as the good old Magadh Express was well down the pan and there wasn’t anything else on NTES worth viewing until then. My walk over the footbridge to the hotel for lunch was halted by the burbling of a 6-cylinder Alco which I spotted dragging a set of stock into platform 1. Investigation revealed it to be yellow MGS WDS6AD 36331, which seemed to be doing a shunt move from the sidings at the west end of the station, as no sooner had it come to a halt with its stock, was it blowing up and propelling it back towards the sidings; with me on board. Unfortunately, there is nothing at all at the west end of Patna station and the long walk back had me quite peckish by the time I got to civilization and a half decent egg biriyani from one of the stations vendors sufficed for dinner instead of a hotel made meal. I did retreat to the hotel for a brief interlude though, and to charge my India phone, which didn’t seem to be holding its own very well at all these days.
I’d like to say things were calming down a bit at the station by the early afternoon but not as much as I thought they might have done, with the roadways being rammed solid with auto’s ferrying arriving passengers away; it was a constant merry-go-round of shared auto’s out the backside of Patna Jn, which never seemed to let up but was a very well-oiled machine nonetheless. Queues at the ticket counters weren’t too bad and I was easily able to get myself an unreserved express ticket to Danapur, the idea being that I’d do 13133 Sealdah – Varanasi there for the late running Magadh Express back to somewhere east of Patna, to get the Alco in that took over at Patna Jn; which looked very much like being MGS WDM3A 16699, as it was stood in the east end bay idling.
While the afternoon plan didn’t go anything like I’d thought it would, it at leas went better than planned and there was no rushing about for tickets either as after I’d done BWN WDM3A 16020 to Danapur on 13133, I quickly nipped over to the ticket office and bought an unreserved express ticket to Hilsa, which is on the Fatuha – Islampur branch and I had no intention of going there but Hilsa is easier to pronounce than Daniyawan, where I did intend to alight!
TKD WAG9 31614 enticed me on board when it arrived with 04076 1455 New Delhi Jn – Patna Jn Special, which was pretty deserted, and its swift journey through to Patna Jn allowed me to leg it over the footbridge and I just made MGS WDM3A 16604 as it departed with 53211 1500 Patna Jn – Sasaram; which I’d seen arrive with the inbound 53212 from Sasaram earlier. Even though I was only on board for 10 minutes, the thrash from the scabby MGS Alco was well worth my run over the footbridge and as we rolled into Phulwari Sharif, which is right beside Patna Airport, the headlights of CNB WAP4 22551 could be seen approaching in the distance; with the Magadh Express, 12402 New Delhi – Islampur.
The WAP4 gave way to MGS WDMA 16699 at Patna Jn, as I suspected, but due to how late it was my hopes of getting to Patna Saheeb for 55527 0315 Jaynagar – Patna Jn were just that and I had to get off at Rajendranagar for it instead. Even though I had a ticket from Rajendranagar to Patna from earlier, the rules for unreserved tickets state that they must be used within 3 hours of purchase or by the first train. So, I had to buy another, which as it turned out was for a pair of SPJ WDP4D’s, 40492/40526, in multi on the short rake that formed 55527. When doing them back to Patna, I feared the worst as I now had to do the opposing working out to Fatuha Jn to cover 53210 1720 Fatuha Jn – Rajgir passenger.
What didn’t happen at Patna was the GM’s running round. What did happen was SPJ WDG3A 14895 dropped onto the opposite end of the stock to form 55528 1625 Patna Jn – Jaynagar; but not before making me jump out of my skin when the driver blew up to shunt out, the result of which was all my tickets from earlier in the day ending up in a rancid puddle on the track, while miraculously my moves book managed to stay on the platform for me to retrieve after the loco had passed. I’d been using my moves book to keep my tickets in for the days bash and dropped it when 14895’s horn startled me! It was a close shave for the moves book, but the tickets remained where they were as even I wasn’t cleaning oil, piss and shit off them!
The driver of 14895 made up for it as he caned it once clear of the loop and then again on the straight leaving Rajendranagar. I got off at Banka Ghat though for GMO WAG7 27214 behind on 13132 1645 Patna Jn – Kolkata Chitpur and did that to Fatuha Jn instead, where the stock to form 53210 1720 Fatuha Jn – Rajgir was sat on the curved platform on the Islampur branch itself. MGS WDM3A 16573 soon came into view after I walked over and took me to Daniyawan Bazar Halt, where I had a short wait for MGS WDM3A 18783 back towards Patna Jn on 18695 1730 Islampur – Patna Jn.
Upon departing Fatuha Jn I realised that 13225 Jaynagar – Rajendranagar was only a few minutes behind so, I got off for it at Patna Saheeb. MGS WDM£A 16209 wasn’t far behind at all with 13225 and at Rajendranagar I was all set to do one and get an auto back to my hotel when yellow MGS WDS6AD 36334 dropped onto the back of the stock, to drag it out to the carriage sidings; it would have been rude not to. After all, I could watch the Diwali fireworks while I waited, which were more of a noise than a display, with firecrackers seeming to rule the roost in Bihar.
Thankfully it wasn’t a long wait and I was soon jumping into an auto bac to the hotel, which had a special RS200 Diwali price-tag attached to the journey; which I was grateful for in the end, as there might not have been any at all and I’d have been walking! Back at the hotel I ordered room service, from a very limited menu, thanks to Diwali, and the egg curry I ended up having was average at best and too spicy for me to enjoy properly. Still, it was something else I was grateful for as the restaurant could just as easily have been closed for the night.
One thing I was very grateful for was my new earplugs, which when rammed into my skull, kept the noise of Diwali out of my head and allowed me to get straight off to sleep, and boy did I need it. I was out for the count in seconds and nothing at all woke me throughout the night!
Gen for Wednesday 7th November 2018
22587 MGS 15484 0635 (P) Delhi Jn – Alipurduar Jn (9 hours late)
16334 SPJ 53232 0840 Danapur – Tilaya Jn
24587 LDH 53229 0500 Rajgir – Danapur
22751 MGS 13202 2215 (PP) LTT – Rajendranagar
16091 JMP 12368 1440 (P) Anand Vihar – Bhagalpur
27214 GMO 13131 1950 (P) Kolkata – Patna Jn, 13132 1645 Patna Jn – Kolkata
16604 MGS 53212 0450 Sasaram – Patna Jn, 53211 1500 Patna Jn – Sasaram
22907 MGS 12568 1230 Patna Jn – Saharsa Jn
16358 JMP 13401 0535 Bhagalpur – Danapur, 13402 1530 Danapur – Bhagalpur
22227 MGS 15714 1415 Patna Jn Katihar
11434 SPJ 15549 0510 Jaynagar – Patna Jn, 15550 1530 Patna Jn – Jaynagar
16619 BWN 13133 2115 (P) Sealdah – Varanasi
31614 TKD 04076 1455 (P) New Delhi – Patna Jn
22551 CNB 12402 2000 (P) New Delhi – Islampur (to Patna)
16699 MGS 12402 2000 (P) New Delhi – Islampur (from Patna)
16014/16223 ET 22947 0950 (P) Surat – Bhagalpur
40492/40526 SPJ 55527 0315 Jaynagar – Patna Jn
14895 SPJ 55528 1625 Patna Jn – Jaynagar
22414 HWH 12317 0740 Kolkata – Amritsar
16573 MGS 53210 1720 Fatuha Jn – Rajgir
18783 MGS 18695 1730 Islampur – Patna Jn
16209 MGS 13225 1040 Jaynagar – Rajendranagar
11425/14086 ET 22972 2310 Patna Jn – Bandra Terminus (sat with the stock all day and gone the following morning)
36066 & 36331 Patna Jn pilot locos
36334 Rajendranagar pilot loco
Moves for Wednesday 7th November 2018
|VT-WGK||Delhi IGI Termial 2||Patna||G8-135||0605 Delhi – Patna|
|16334||Patna Jn||Rajendranagar Terminus||53232||0840 Danapur – Tilaya Jn|
|24587||Rajendranagar Terminus||Patna Jn||53229||0500 Rajgir – Danapur|
|16091||Patna Jn||Patna Saheeb||12368||1440 (06/11) Anand Vihar Terminus – Bhagalpur Jn|
|16358||Patna Saheeb||Patna Jn||13401||0535 Bhagalpur Jn – Danapur|
|36331||Patna Jn Platform 1 East||Patna Jn Platform 1 West||Stock shunt move out/into carriage sidings|
|16020||Patna Jn||Danapur||13133||2115 (06/11) Sealdah – Varanasi Jn|
|31614||Danapur||Patna Jn||04076||1455 (06/11) New Delhi Jn – Patna Jn|
|16604||Patna Jn||Phulwari Sharif||53211||1500 Patna Jn – Sasaram Jn|
|22551||Phulwari Sharif||Patna Jn||12402||2000 (06/11) New Delhi Jn – Islampur|
|16699||Patna Jn||Rajendranagar Terminus|
|40492||Rajendranagar Terminus||Patna Jn||55527||0315 Jaynagar – Patna Jn|
|14895||Patna Jn||Banka Ghat||55528||1625 Patna Jn – Jaynagar|
|27214||Banka Ghat||Fatuha Jn||13132||1645 Patna Jn – Kolkata Chitpur|
|16573||Fatuha Jn||Daniyawan Bazar||53210||1720 Fatuha Jn – Rajgir|
|18783||Daniyawan Bazar||Patna Saheeb||18695||1730 Islampur – Patna Jn|
|16209||Patna Saheeb||Rajendranagar Terminus||13225||1040 Jaynagar – Patna Jn|
|36334||Rajendranagar Platform 2 East||Rajendranagar Platform 2 West||Shunt stock ex 13225 Jaynagar – Rajendranagar|
Photos for Wednesday 7th November 2018
Thursday 9th November 2018 (Day 2 of 2 in Patna then a last-minute overnight concoction)
When I took my earplugs out, at around 7am, I was amazed at how much sound they’d kept out; it sounded like there was a party in full swing somewhere outside the hotel, and the roads sounded very busy too. A hot shower soon woke me and as breakfast didn’t start at the hotel until 0830, I’d be finding my own at the station.
There was no queue at the ticket window at all when I walked over the road to Patna Jn station and having purchased my ticket I was glad I’d done so as there was a plethora of TTE’s lurking around the station premises, hiding behind buildings as trains arrived, ready to pounce on the guilt looking as they tried to shirk off the platform ends to avoid them. Its not like back in the UK where you think you might be able to blag your way out of the fine, there’s no getting away from it in India as a group of TTE’s work together and manhandling people in India, especially those that are guilty, is an everyday occurrence; its just how it is. I’m not sure how they’d handle a foreigner without a ticket on a station, which you officially must have a platform ticket to be on, and it would probably be blaggable with the stupid foreigner tact. Still, today wasn’t going to be the day I found out.
The day got off to a good start when I found off-link LDH WDG3A 14829 waiting to depart with 18696 0750 Patna Jn – Islampur. Having done it out to Rajendranagar and bought my next ticket through to Danapur, I was minding my own business, waiting for 53229 0500 Rajgir – Danapur to arrive, when I spotted MGS WDS6 36089 coming out of the carriage sidings with a rake of stock; which was my cue to look lively. I had to let a few coaches go by to find an open door and noted that the stock had boards on for 13238/9 Kota – Patna – Kota and as we approached the platform end the signal came off for us to head towards Patna Jn and the loco pilot opened the WDS6 up to full power and the 24 coaches certainly made it work as it hammered down the straight towards Patna Jn, achieving nothing more than 20kmph while slogging its guts out. Despite being only 2-days into the trip at this point, I can say that 36089’s full-bore non-stop thrash excitement from Rajendranagar to Patna Jn will be the best thrash of the trip; and yes, I am biased to 6-cylinder Alco’s, but I’d do Rajendranagar – Patna all day on load 24 if the noise was going to be like that! Matched only once previously by 36011 slogging its guts out on load 25 between Kochuvelli & Trivandrum Central and having its transition as it hammered through Trivandrum Pettah. There are no words!
Thrash excitement over for the day, I watched on at Patna Jn as 36089 was removed from the stock I’d just arrived on and waited patiently for LDH WAG7 27858 to arrive with 53229 0500 Rajgir – Danapur. The second day in a row that it had been an LDH WAG, surely not a coincidence? It was a relaxing run to Danapur, where a ticket was easily sought for my next move and as I came back over the footbridge, after buying it, SPJ WDM3D 11432 was just bringing the stock out of the sidings to form 53232 0840 Danapur – Tilaya Jn, starting about 2 hours late; which had been advertised as so all morning on NTES.
SPJ’s 11432 was quite good too and the loco pilot gave it a bit of what for on the way to Rajendranagar, especially from the start on the straight after clearing the loop at Patna Jn. Unfortunately, JMP WDM3A 16358 produced for the second day in a row on 13401 0535 Bhagalpur – Danapur Intercity, which I did back to Danapur to view the two Specials approaching Patna, 03428 Haridwar – Malda Town was 24 hours late, while 07091 Secunderabad – Raxaul was spot on time. When Indian Flag liveried ABR WDG4D 70780 turned up with the former, I decided to do it anyway and when ET WDP4D 40164 turned up with the latter, I was grateful I had done.
Due to the way things were running there was a bit of free time, so I nipped back to the hotel and got room service to rustle me up a portion of Jeera Aloo, and a very tasty portion it was. Back at the station, it was washed down with copious amounts of chai, Yorkshire style, before the afternoon threw what it could at me, before I had to check out of the hotel and push myself into what could turn out to be a godforsaken overnight of doom, I f I wasn’t careful. I only had time for a quick Rajendranagar and back before I needed to check out o the hotel and head eat, to head back west! MGS WDM3A 18998, which had been stood in the middle road between 1 & 2 all day, replaced CNB WAP4 22299 on 12402 New Delhi – Islampur Magadh Express at Patna Jn and dropped me into Rajendranagar just in time to ride down the platform on MGS WDS6AD 36335 as it shunted the stock out off 13202 LTT – Rajendranagar from its earlier arrival. SPJ WDG3A 13099 then made its presence felt as the loco pilot came stomping in with 55527 0315 Jaynagar – Patna Jn and that was me back in Patna and heading over to the hotel to sort my shit out.
Randomly, checking out of the Hotel Chanakya was one of the quickest hotel exits on record. I told the guy at reception I wanted to check out, he typed my bill total into the credit card machine, I handed my card over, he scrutinized it and asked if I wanted to pay cash instead, when I said no he put the card in, I put my pin in, a receipt was printed and that was the end of it. Quite what he thought might have been wrong with my card, I don’t know.
I’d had two plans in place for the night tonight, one being doing 13402 1530 Danapur – Bhagalpur to Hathidha Jn then getting to Barauni Jn for 15621 Kamakhya – Anand Vihar to Gorakhpur or Siwan Jn, depending on how late the train was running. The second was to do 53211 1500 Patna Jn – Sasaram to Danapur, auto to Patliputra for 55007 1745 Patliputra – Gorakhpur to Chhapra and find a hotel there for the night. As 15621 was more or less RT when I had to make a decision, by which I mean less than an hour late, the overnight took favour over the hotel, mainly as it offered up a rancid option at the end of it, which while the same could be done from Chhapra as well, being in a hotel bed would probably put pay to any ideas of rancidity in the small hours. While I’d been to check out, SPJ WDG3A 14621 had dropped onto the opposite end of the stock I’d arrived on, to form 55528 1625 Patna Jn – Jaynagar; which I couldn’t do, well not at the point of leaving Patna on 13402 at 1550 anyway.
Thankfully, or maybe not thankfully, I’d found out only a week or so before this trip, that what was once the Maharajganj branch from Duraundha Jn on the Gorakhpur – Chhapra line had been extended to Masrakh on the Thawe – Chhapra line. Randomly thought the 5 or so round trips a day on the branch had been replaced with one round trip from Duraundha to Masrakh; which I bet the Maharajganj locals were pleased with, not! Th idea of this last minute change to the bash was to go and get the extension in and while planning it, the lure of what is currently the Panchdeori Halt branch, off the Siwan – Thawe branch, played a part in the plan and 15621 running on the right day and arriving into Siwan/Gorakhpur at the right time was too good an opportunity to refuse. While the Panchdeori branch would get extended, these days you just didn’t know whether it would end up being immediately electrified or become a solid DMU route; so, I was biting tr bullet and doing it while I was in the area.
The respite of AC Chair Car was welcome on board 13402, although the middle seat in a row of three wasn’t, but at least I had little people either side of me and plenty of arm room as a result. The coach was wedged too, so I couldn’t move. By the time we reached Hathidha Jn, two things had happened, firstly it had got dark, and secondly 15621 Kamakhya – Anand Vihar had lost well over an hour and was no 2 hours late; which meant I could casually walk upstairs to Hathidha Upper and wait the arrival of SPJ WDG3A 14621 with 55528 1625 Patna Jn – Jaynagar, and do it forward to Barauni Jn with plenty of time to spare before 15621 would arrive. And an auto journey was saved in the process, bonuses all-round.
There was plenty of food on offer at Barauni Jn, and with almost every stall making fresh omelettes, I needed no persuading. Randomly it was quite a pleasant stint, watching the world go around at Barauni while waiting for my train to arrive. When I did so with NGC WDM3A’s 16559/16558 in multi, I was surprised, but not at the same time. I’d seen reports of it being twin Alcos before, from both MLDT & NGC yet the train was only a 17-coacher, so it didn’t seem to make sense as to why! My curiosity ended there though and as I boarded, I didn’t care about the why, just the what; and the what was good!
As is always the case with last minute bookings, I ended up with an upper berth, at least it was an upper side berth though, so I could hole myself up. The problem was, I didn’t know how long I’d be holing myself up for and needed to be aware of my surroundings at 0230 in the morning; so, I was reliant on NTES being up to date and GPS working on my phone in the night. It wasn’t going to be the best of nights for sleep, as 15621 go on the move just after midnight, over 4 hours late, but at least I had a bed for the night and would get some horizontal sleep.
Gen for Thursday 8th November 2018
16845 MLDT 13415 2030 (P) Malda Town – Patna Jn
14829 LDH 18696 0750 Patna Jn – Islampur
22739 MGS 13332 0815 Patna Jn – Dhanbad
22406 HWH 13050 1810 (PP) Amritsar – Howrah
36089 MGS ecs for 13239 1130 Patna Jn – Kota (from RJPB)
27858 LDH 53229 0500 Rajgir – Danapur
40487 SPJ 15631 2225 (PP) Barmer – Guwahati
30461 GZB 12392 1310 (P) New Delhi – Rajgir
30322 HWH 12304 1735 (P) New Delhi – Howrah
40224 ET 12149 2055 (PP) Pune Jn – Danapur
40538 ET 12296 0900 (PP) Bangalore City – Danapur
30254 GZB 12391 0800 Rajgir – New Delhi
11432 SPJ 53232 0840 Danapur – Tilaya Jn
16604 MGS 53212 0450 Sasaram – Patna Jn, 53211 1500 Patna Jn – Sasaram
16358 JMP 13401 0535 Bhagalpur – Danapur, 13402 1530 Danapur – Bhagalpur
70780 ABR 03428 1605 (PP) Haridwar – Malda Town (24 hours late)
22735 MGS 13239 1130 Patna Jn – Kota Jn
22907 MGS 12567 0640 Saharsa – Patna Jn, 12568 1230 Patna Jn – Saharsa Jn
22554 MGS 13131 1950 (P) Kolkata – Patna Jn, 13132 1645 Patna Jn – Kolkata
40211 JMP 12368 1440 (P) Anand Vihar – Bhagalpur
40164 ET 07091 2155 (PP) Secunderabad – Raxaul
40359 SGUJ 14055 2325 (PP) Dibrugarh – Delhi Jn
40393 ET 15645 0805 (P) LTT – Guwahati
11434 SPJ 15549 0510 Jaynagar – Patna Jn, 15550 1530 Patna Jn – Jaynagar
22299 CNB 12402 2000 (P) New Delhi – Islampur (to Patna)
18998 MGS 12402 2000 (P) New Delhi – Islampur (from Patna)
16223/16014 ET 22948 0925 Bhagalpur – Surat
22519 HWH 22644 1400 Patna Jn – Ernakulam
18772 BWN 13133 2115 (P) Sealdah – Varanasi
30143 GZB 22406 1655 (P) Anand Vihar – Bhagalpur (9 hours late)
13099 SPJ 55527 0315 Jaynagar – Patna Jn
14621/(40498) SPJ 55528 1625 Patna Jn – Jaynagar
16559/16558 NGC 15621 0535 Kamakhya – Anand Vihar
36066 & 36331 Patna Jn pilot locos
36089 & 36335 Rajendranagar pilot locos
Moves for Thursday 8th November 2018
|14829||Patna Jn||Rajendranagar Terminus||18696||0750 Patna Jn – Islampur|
|36089||Rajendranagar Terminus||Patna Jn||ECS for 13239 1130 Patna Jn – Kota Jn|
|27858||Patna Jn||Danapur||53229||0500 Rajgir – Danapur|
|11432||Danapur||Rajendranagar Terminus||53232||0840 Danapur – Tilaya Jn|
|16358||Rajendranagar Terminus||Danapur||13401||0535 Bhagalpur Jn – Danapur|
|70780||Danapur||Patna Jn||03428||1605 (06/11) Haridwar – Malda Town|
|18998||Patna Jn||Rajendranagar Terminus||12402||2000 (06/11) New Delhi Jn – Islampur|
|36335||Rajendranagar Platform 2 East||Rajendranagar Platform 2 West||Shunt stock ex 13202 LTT – Rajendranagar|
|13099||Rajendranagar Terminus||Patna Jn||55527||0315 Jaynagar – Patna Jn|
|16358||Patna Jn||Hathidah Jn||13402||1530 Danapur – Bhagalpur Jn|
|14621||Hathidah Upper||Barauni Jn||55228||1625 Patna Jn – Jaynagar|
Photos for Thursday 8th November 2018
Friday 9th November 2018 (Tying up loose ends in deepest Bihar)
At 4 hours late Gorakhpur was out of the window and the comfort blanket that was Siwan Jn came into play, and even that turned out to be almost too late. Arrival into Siwan was just after 4am and I’d managed 3 hours sleep at best. To keep the move alive, I knew what I had to do, and I was surprised at how many jeep type taxis were sat around the station area. Of course, when I approached on, all the taxi drivers in the taxi rank wanted to know where the foreigner was going, and they were all probably thinking of the best was to extort money from me. I was prepared for the blank looks and confused stares when I told them where I wanted to go. Producing a map and torch did the trick though and everyone in Siwan now knew where I wanted to go. While Panchdeori was just some tinpot hole in the middle of nowhere, they all knew where Bathua Bazar was and once I’d explained on the map it seemed like we were all on the same hymn sheet!
I was quite concerned about the time Google said it would take to cover the 48km from Siwan to Panchdeori and once I’d got myself a driver and we’d agreed the price of RS2000, I told him I needed to be there no later than 6am but that I didn’t want to die on the way there; which he seemed to see the funny side of. Google allowed 1h34m for the journey and we had about 1h45m from the moment we set off. If I’d said I wasn’t concerned, I’d have been lying but when we got onto the open road there were soon more km’s behind us than in front of us. I followed us all the way on Google Maps and thankfully, for a change, what Google was saying was very accurate. The journey took 1h40m and we set off at 0420! My driver was true to my demands and when the crew watched a little white man dash onto the platform they looked as bewildered as I felt and ushered me towards the rear of the train, which was really to kill the guard’s curiosity more than anything else. He insisted I sit with him for the journey and wouldn’t take no for an answer.
The journey was interesting, but I was tired from my lack of sleep overnight and I had another road journey to contend with at some point, possibly from Siwan again, or Chhapra as a worst case, to Masrakh to make the return passenger later in the morning. Thankfully, my best friend for the morning didn’t speak much English at all, so he wasn’t constantly on at me, and I wasn’t constantly expected to give him responses to his questions; mostly as there weren’t any. I even managed a couple of nods on the way to Hathua Jn, where the branch joined the Siwan – Thawe line, but was wide awake through to Siwan, where a random thought crossed my mind, as we were on time, it was only a minus 4 onto 55171 0820 Duraundha – Masrakh at Duraundha and sure enough it was sat in, waiting for the off as we rolled into the main platform, and no sooner had we stopped, did it get the road out of the bay and GD WDM3A 16824 blew up for the off. I wasn’t the only person off the train from Panchdeori that ran from one train to the other either!
It seemed like tight connections were the order of the day and whoever was in charge of my day thought it would be funny to add yet another in at Masrakh as well. The train over the new line to Masrakh wasn’t well loaded at all and was a bit of a stagger throughout, as can be expected with newly laid track-bed until it settled down. To get into what is now Masrakh Junction the new line curves around and follows parallel to the main line from about a kilometer out. As we rounded the curve a Gonda liveried Alco could be seen passing on the main line, heading towards Chhapra; with the late running 55181 0915 Thawe – Chhapra Kacheri; it was in the station a good few minutes before we were and quite a few on board the arrival from Duraundha looked to be getting itchy feet. Thankfully though we all made it from one train to the other and my whole morning’s bash seemed to have gone like a dream and was better suited to somewhere like Switzerland, where the well-oiled machine connects seamlessly, day after day. I guessed that the connection from 51171 at Masrakh made more often than not and that the one from 55542 to 51171 at Duraundha didn’t make very often at all? It was all a bonus to me though and the two minuses making saved me a second road trip for the day and had me back at Chhapra well before I thought I would be; which meant I could head east towards my westbound train, to head it off at the pass somewhere.
From Chhapra Kacheri I got a cycle rickshaw to Chhapra Jn and made 12562 New Delhi – Jaynagar with a few minutes to spare, which then randomly stopped at Kacheri en-route towards Hajipur! SPJ WDM3D 11579 led the way and I took my chances standing in Sleeper Class for the trip to Hajipur, where things didn’t let up with SPJ WDM3A 16520 sat ready to depart with 55540 1410 Hajipur – Katihar passenger, which dropped me nicely into the opposing working at the first shack out and 55539 Katihar – Hajipur was headed by SPJ WD3D 11433.
It had been a hectic day, made possible, and so at the same time, by late running, but it wasn’t a day I’d feel like repeating anytime soon. When MLDT WDM3D 11550 rolled into Hajipur with 15715 Kishanganj – Ajmer Garib Nawaz Express, I was grateful of my lower side berth to relax in for a while and recuperate. I was even more grateful when the compo opposite emptied out its children at Sonpur, leaving the compo nice and quiet for a bit of me time; and doss!
Having had quite a hectic day, and not much sleep the previous night, I ordered food from one of the IRCTC guys walking through the train, which he told me would be delivered at 1900. After dozing for a bit, I dissed all the food vendors at Chhapra and awaited the delivery of my ordered veg meal; that never came! So, biscuits and nutrigrains bars had to fill the hole, before I dossed out for the night; expecting a late arrival into Shahjahanpur the following morning.
Gen for Friday 9th November 2018
11273 SPJ 55542 0600 Panchdeori Halt – Hajipur
16824 GD 55010 0610 Bhatni Jn – Chhapra Jn
18706 GD 55171 0820 Duraundha Jn – Masrakh Jn, 55172 1130 Masrakh Jn – Duraundha Jn
18747 GD 55181 0915 Thawe Jn – Chhapra Kacheri
11579 SPJ 12562 2040 (P) New Delhi – Jaynagar
16006 NGC 12520 2100 (P) Kamakhya – LTT
18853 LDH 15209 0845 Saharsa – Amritsar
40301 BGKT 19710 1845 (P) Kamakhya – Jaipur
16520 SPJ 55540 1410 Hajipur – Katihar
11433 SPJ 55539 0405 Katihar – Hajipur
11550 MLDT 15715 0600 Kishanganj – Ajmer Jn
27662 LDH 15652 2245 (PP) Jammu Tawi – Guwahati
Moves for Friday 9th November 2018
|16559||Barauni Jn||Siwan Jn||15621||0535 (08/11) Kamakhya Jn – Anand Vihar Terminus|
|Taxi||Siwan Jn||Panchdeori Halt||RS2000, 48km, 1h40m|
|11273||Panchdeori Halt||Siwan Jn||55542||0600 Panchdeori Halt – Siwan Jn|
|16824||Siwan Jn||Duraundha Jn||55010||0610 Bhatni Jn – Chhapra Jn|
|18706||Duraundha Jn||Masrakh Jn||55171||0820 Duraundha Jn – Masrakh Jn|
|18747||Masrakh Jn||Chhapra Kacheri||55181||0915 Thawe Jn – Chhapra Kacheri|
|Rickshaw||Chhapra Kacheri||Chhapra Jn||RS40, 2km, 10mins|
|11579||Chhapra Jn||Hajipur Jn||12562||2040 (08/11) New Delhi Jn – Jaynagar|
|16520||Hajipur Jn||Chakmakrand||55540||1410 Hajipur Jn – Katihar Jn|
|11433||Chakmakrand||Hajipur Jn||55539||0405 Katihar Jn – Hajipur Jn|
|11550||Hajipur Jn||Shahjahanpur Jn||15715||0600 Kishanganj – Ajmer Jn|
Saturday 10th November 2018 (Heading to Palia Kalan to cover the dregs of MG in the area)
My alarm was set for 7am, for a booked 0724 arrival into Shahjahanpur Jn, where I’d meet up with Youth & Flossy, who’d be arriving later than me on 13308 Firozpur – Dhanbad at 0918. I was very surprised that my Garib Nawaz Express was right time when I woke up and dropped me into Shahjahanpur only a few minutes late.
LKO WDM3A 16311 was sat in with a short passenger rake, which I eventually figured out was 54328 0715 Shahjahanpur – Sitapur City, and WDG3A 14679 was just approaching with a long freight when I went to check on MLDT WDM3D 11550 at the head of 15715. It was a cool-ish morning, certainly cooler than it had been in Bihar.
Rather than pay attention to 16311, I headed straight over to the recently closed MG platforms at Shahjahanpur, which are tucked out of the way over the back side of the station. They were totally deserted and the whole place had just been left alone since the last MG train had departed earlier in the year. The tracks were overgrown with weeds, but still in situ, and intact, the booking counter area looked a little eerie without anyone queuing and yet the station building was occupied by staff, even though the main gates to the platforms were closed and locked. It was all a little surreal, for something that looked so functional to be so deserted.
After my reminiscing at the MG station and as it was now closed with no service, I turned my attention to trying to identify something that would take us to Mailani or Palia Kalan, when Youth & Flossy arrived. There hadn’t been anything outside the front of the station that looked like a candidate but outside the back side of the station I was pointed in the direction of a jeep, by one of the auto walla’s, and despite the jeep’s owner not speaking a word of English I managed to negotiate a price of RS2000 for the 95km to Palia Kalan. As Youth and Flossy weren’t arriving for over 90 minutes, the driver knew we’d be heading his way when 13308 arrived and gave me a missed call on my phone so I could ring him if he wasn’t there when we needed him.
Transport sorted, hopefully, I now turned my attention to the waiting 16311, which was still sat in the loop platform. Initially, I just assumed that I couldn’t do it anywhere but when I realised that the first stop was only 2km, Shahjahanpur Kacheri Halt, I ended up jumping aboard as it eased out of the platform, leapt off at Shahjahanpur Kacheri and had a nice leisurely stroll back to Shahjahanpur Jn; which took about 20 minutes. Only to then find LKO WDM3D 11266 sat waiting t depart with another short passenger rake, which turned out to be 54330 0815 Shahjahanpur – Balamau Jn, so I did exactly the same again and after my second walk back spent the rest of my time waiting for 13308 to arrive, drinking chai on the platform.
During the few hours I ended up spending at Shahjahanpur, I noted the following: LDH WDM3A 16844 with 15012 1715 (P) Chandigarh – Lucknow Jn, TKD WDP4D 40139 with 14017 2340 (P) Raxaul Jn – Anand Vihar, LDH WDP4D 40560 with 13006 1840 (P) Amritsar – Howrah, LDH WAG7 24622 with a very empty special 04923 2210 (P) Gorakhpur – Chandigarh, MLDT WDM3A 16758 hammered through with 13429 0905 (P) Malda Town – Anand Vihar and last, but not least, Youth & Flossy arrived with LDH WDP4D 40556 on 13308 1825 (P) Firozpur Cantt – Dhanbad Jn.
Surprisingly, or not, our jeep driver, and his jeep, were exactly where I’d left them over 2 hours ago and he was upon us the moment we walked out of the station exit. As 13308 had lost time from Bareilly, we decided to play it safe and head to Mailani for dinner, rather than risk missing the inbound working at Palia Kalan. Having renegotiated a price of RS1500 to Mailani Jn instead, we were soon on our way and after the obligatory stop at a petrol station, to fill up, the 65km journey from Shahjahanpur Jn to Mailani Jn took 1h40m and was quite a pleasant one too. The roads were good, the traffic wasn’t too busy and more importantly, the driver wasn’t an idiot on the road.
After being dropped off at Mailani there was no rush, so we headed straight into a place near the station and were served up a decent Dal Fry with Subzi, rice and roti’s. The next 2 hours, thanks to the inbound 52249 0615 Bahraich – Mailani being over an hour late, were spent festering around Mailani station, which, after 2 years of conversion works on the Mailani – Aishbagh section still hasn’t seen a BG train and the mainline side of the station was still a building site. The only thing that had changed since my visit earlier in the year was the fact that there now appeared to be what looked OHL masts piled on the platforms, ready to go in! Of course, the line to Pilibhit was now closed as well, which had marooned the Mailani – Bahraich section completely for a while; until the Gonda Jn – Bahraich section had started operating a BG DMU service, commencing only the previous day!
A walk around the station and yard areas revealed 6575 attached to a rake in the station yard, 6500 stood by the fueller down at the Pilibhit end of the station and 6507, on its own, 6511, 6524 & 6552 coupled, and 6503 & 6715 being run up all on the carriage shed behind the station yard. At the Pilibhit end of the yard area, behind the fuel facility, a new Diesel Loco Maintenance Shed has been built. Inside it was 6591, with its cow-catchers removed, and stabled outside were 6531, 6626 & 6761. A chat with an electrician at the shed revealed that 6591 was being prepared for transport by road to IZN for POH and that 6531 & 6626 were condemned; assumingly used for parts looking at their insides.
Shortly before 6533 arrived with the late 52249 0615 Bahraich – Mailani, 6575 was started in the yard, 6500 was started on the fuel point and both 6503 & 6715 were shunted about on the shed, leaving us no clue what was going to work 52256 1455 Mailani Jn – Tikunia. In the end, the sensible option of 6500 dropped onto the opposite end of the train and having bought tickets to Dudwa from the booking office we loaded up into the front coach. The train was empty, the journey was slow and as 52249 hadn’t arrived until after 52256 should have departed, it was almost an hour late; making a mockery of the fact that MG trains in India are now not allowed to operate during hours of darkness. Allegedly an act of safety to prevent level crossing incidents, but more like an act of sabotage to make people use alternative modes of transport and allow the railway to tell them their lives will improve if the MG was converted to BG. Propaganda at its best!
Despite the late running, we still crossed 6751 with 52251 1105 Bahraich – Mailani Jn at Dudwa, where we had time for chai, as well as buying tickets back to Palia Kalan. The journey through the forest back to Palia Kalan was in complete darkness, because of the late running, and the train would still have another 90 minutes to go after we got off at Palia too; needless to say, nobody was injured at a level crossing, more likely as there are virtually no level crossings on the route from Belrayan to Mailani!
I’d stayed at the Hotel Sleep Inn at Palia Kalan on my last trip but this time I’d booked the non-cancellable Landmark Hotel a bit further away from the station. It was a lot cheaper and we had a room each, whereas at the Sleep Inn we’d have paid for each room what we’d paid for the three rooms in total at the Landmark. It’s a simple 10-minute walk from Palia Kalan station to the Landmark Hotel, out of the station straight ahead to the main road, turn left, follow it to the next main road and turn right; the hotel can be seen straight ahead on the left-hand side of the road. Thankfully the hotel owner was present when we checked in as the rest of the staff spoke very little English. After we’d filled in the hotel’s log book and C forms we were shown to our rooms, one of which had to be changed due to a water issue. Paying for the rooms turned out to be a bit of an ordeal as the hotel’s payment machine wouldn’t accept foreign cards and when he got his portable machine out, that linked to an app, it wouldn’t connect to data straight away, so I ended up being called back down 15 minutes later to make the payment; which went through first time, without an issue, and a payment receipt was forwarded by e-mail as there’s no way of printing one out when using the app.
The rooms as the Landmark were ok and we couldn’t have expected much for £14 per night. Some of the paint was peeling off the walls, there were a few mosquitoes knocking around and the only thing provided in the room was soap and a towel, not even toilet roll. As it was cold of a night in Palia, there was no need for AC, although the rooms were fitted with it, along with decent fans and TV’s. Hot water was provided through a geyser, which the hotel staff had to turn on at a central location, but the water was piping hot when it warmed up. As it was quite cold, I asked for an extra blanket and was glad I did that night, otherwise I think I’d have been cold with just the one.
Food that evening was sought at a Daba just down the road from the hotel, which unfortunately had a contingent of annoying teens hanging around and spoilt the ambience of the place, which served up a good egg curry and large thin roti’s; which the owner was spinning around above his head when we arrived! After food, it was an early night for us all as we’d have to be up for the 0718 train the following morning, and we’d have to factor in breakfast and getting tickets too.
Gen for Saturday 10th November 2018
16311 LKO 54328 0715 Shahjahanpur Jn – Sitapur City
11266 LKO 54330 0815 Shahjahanpur Jn – Balamau
16844 LDH 15012 1715 (P) Chandigarh – Lucknow Jn
40139 TKD 14017 2340 (P) Raxaul Jn – Anand Vihar
40560 LDH 13006 1840 (P) Amritsar – Howrah
24622 LDH 04923 2210 (P) Gorakhpur – Chandigarh
16758 MLDT 13429 0905 (P) Malda Town – Anand Vihar
40556 LDH 13308 1825 (P) Firozpur Cantt – Dhanbad
Withdrawn 6531, 6626
Awaiting transfer to IZN for POH 6591
Around the yard 6503, 6507, 6511, 6524, 6552, 6575, 6715, 6761
6533 52249 0615 Bahraich – Mailani
6500 52256 1455 Mailani – Tikunia
6520 52257 1410 Tikunia – Mailani
6751 52251 1105 Bahraich – Mailani
Moves for Saturday 10th November 2018
|16311||Shahjahanpur Jn||Shahjahanpur Kacheri||54328||0715 Shahjahanpur Jn – Sitapur City|
|Walk||Shahjahanpur Kacheri||Shahjahanpur Jn||2km, 20 minutes|
|11266||Shahjahanpur Jn||Shahjahanpur Kacheri||54330||0815 Shahjahanpur Jn – Balamau Jn|
|Walk||Shahjahanpur Kacheri||Shahjahanpur Jn||2km, 20 minutes|
|Taxi||Shahjahanpur Jn||Mailani Jn||RS1500, 65km, 1h40m|
|6500||Mailani Jn||Dudwa||52256||1455 Mailani Jn – Tikunia|
|6751||Dudwa||Palia Kalan||52251||1105 Bahraich – Mailani Jn|
Photos for Saturday 10th November 2018
Sunday 11th November 2018 (Day 1 of 3 in the Palia Kalan area)
There was no need for an alarm with the early night, the wailing from the nearby mosque’s saw to it that I was up before it anyway. Thanks to them, I even had time for a shave after my hot bucket shower. We met in the hotel lobby at 0645 on the dot and were gobbling down two-egged omelettes 15 minutes later, from a stall at the main road junction up from the hotel. When we got to Palia Kalan station, the queue for tickets was about 20-deep. I ended up queuing for 18 minutes to buy our tickets, which I got to Nanpara Junction, just in case we needed to go that bit further due to late running. The queue, while very civilized and disciplined, ended up growing while I was in it as a ladies queue started to form down the adjacent channel to where the men were queuing; and all had to use the only window open. Again though, that was quite civilized as both men & women took it in turn to get served, so it wasn’t like all the women just pushed right to the front.
I had been beginning to flap a littler about getting the tickets when 0718, the departure time of 52520 0635 Mailani Jn – Bahraich, came and went; and the station master had rattled the station bell/rail to confirm it was on its way too. There needn’t have been any concern at all as when 6533 did turn up with 52520, 45’ late, it then sat to await 6515 arriving from Dudwa with 52255 0615 Tikunia – Mailani Jn, with the same crew that had worked 52256 1455 Mailani Jn – Tikunia the previous afternoon; and then departed an hour late towards Dudwa itself. Thankfully 52520 wasn’t wedged to the gunnels and there was space around us. The journey out towards Bahraich was slow and with hardly any thrash from the YDM4’s, it does make the day’s bash that little bit harder. It’s a pleasant enough amble through the countryside though but we didn’t see any tigers while staggering through the Dudwa Forest & Tiger Reserve; we did see a few deer though. The season for Dudwa Forest doesn’t start until 15th November, to give the ground time to recover from the Monsoon season, so even if we wanted to take time out and have a trip into the reserve, we couldn’t. There are even big yellow signs by the railway, warning loco pilots of the dangers of elephants crossing the tracks, but nothing of the sorts to warn for tigers.
By Belrayan, the eastern/southeastern extent of the Dudwa reserve, we were ready for the bit of thrash that came along the stretch towards Tikunia, which has a 50kmph line-speed; and 6533 did sound quite well, although even a bad YDM4 would after the totter from Palia Kalan. Our plan was to head as far east as we could towards Bahraich and do the last train we could back to Palia Kalan, which bearing in mind there are only two through trains a day from Bahraich to Mailani now, the choice was somewhat limited. However, plans change and while we were minding our own business, scoffing fried bits and drinking chai bought from the roadside vendors at Manjhra Purab, in rolled ex CI machine 6601 with 52249 0615 Bahraich – Mailani Jn; and we all confirmed that doing that was the order o the afternoon; and without even thinking about attempting to get a ticket, we leapt from one train to the other, fried bits in hand, and made ourselves comfortable for the short journey back to Belrayan, where 6507 was sat in waiting, with 52252 0840 Mailani Jn – Bahraich; the last through train of the day from Mailani to Bahraich!
52252 was far from wedged, towards the front at least, and made for a pleasant afternoons amble across the barrage beyond Manjhra Purab, which looked to be having quite a lot of work done on it as we crossed. At Murthiha, 52252 was held to await 52251 1105 Bahraich – Mailani Jn coming the other way; which was or train back to Palia Kalan. There were a lot of monkeys making a nuisance of themselves around the station area, and basically stealing anything they could of the locals and doing away with it to the roof of the train or the nearby trees. They were clambering up the sides of the train, clinging to the window railings and climbing up the footsteps and into the coaches, in their attempts to find the poor unsuspecting person whose food they were going to make off with. We were sensible and after I bought the tickets for the return journey to Palia Kalan we used the nearby station cha hut to top up Youth’s flask with chai. I’ve never been in a place like it, it was sweltering, with a big fire going to cook with and make the chai on. What was more concerning though, were the fumes and smoke coming off the fire, which were enough after only a minute or so inside the hut; so, god only knows what the poor guys working there were like of an evening, after a day serving there!
6500 eventually came along at Murthiha with 52251 and ran into the loop over the back of the station, behind 6507’s 52252, where the monkeys had less time to go about robbing people’s food. By the look of their fat faces though, they’d got enough stored in their cheeks to be going on with anyway. It seemed to be a faster run back towards Palia Kalan than we’d had through the forest coming out and we crossed 6552 at Dudwa with 52256 1455 Mailani Jn – Tikunia. Most trains during the day had been an hour late and despite the late running, almost everything crossed where it should have done in the timetable apart from early morning trains.
The spanner in the works, timetable wise, is the Palia Kalan – Bhira Kheri – Mailani section, which is timed for an hour and takes about 90 minutes. Even though the timetable has been completely revamped for the daylight only operation, trains on this section still lose on average 30 minutes and there is no sense of urgency to get trains in & out at any station along the line; so, they generally lose 5 minutes per station. This is basically down to the staff doing things their way, having no sense of urgency, and not respecting the timetable. Not once did we see the onward token passed to the loco pilot on arrival into a station, when giving up the inbound token! Its as though IR’s lack of respect for the MG has rubbed off onto the staff who work on the MG sections. Th last remaining “real” MG section in India was the Dhasa – Jetalsar line, where the line speed was excellent and station stops were sometimes only 60 seconds thanks to the station staff having a lot of respect for what they did. It was a shame to see any MG section in a ruinous state like this was, but we’d be bac out for more of the same the following morning.
We chose to eat at a Daba opposite the Sleep Inn, an this became our place of choice for the rest of the stay in Palia Kalan. The place was clean, for a roadside Daba anyway, the staff were attentive, the food was fresh and piping hot and the roti’s just kept on coming; until we could eat no more! What should have been an early 1658 finish at Palia Kalan, turned into a gone 1800 finish due to the late running and we’d run in darkness from Dudwa again too. I had an appointment with a bucket, some washing powder and a load of dirty clothes when I got back, but first I had to find someone to switch on my hot water, then I had to wait for it to warm up. After I’d been down to the reception twice to get it sorted, one of the guys came up with a bottle of water, clearly having misunderstood what I wanted, so I had to drag him into my bathroom and point at the geyser to get him to understand! When I did eventually get my clothes into a bucket, it was horrifying to see just how much dirt came out of them and I had to rinse them 4 times to get it all out! I was at it about an hour in the end and was beginning to wish I’d got my act into gear and put my washing in at reception that morning. When Youth’s came back still damp and with some items not having been washed at all, the following night, I was thankful I’d done my own at that point; although it did only just dry itself by the following night, the cold temperatures at night not helping.
It was another early, ish, night, at about 2130, but I was ready for it nonetheless. It seemed colder than the night before when I clambered under my blankets, while my washing hung from the back of anything it could, in a vain attempt to get it dry.
Gen for Sunday 11th November 2018
6533 52520 0635 Mailani – Bahraich
6515 52255 0615 Tikunia – Mailani
6601 52249 0615 Bahraich – Mailani
6507 52252 0840 Mailani – Bahraich
6500 52251 1105 Bahraich – Mailani
6552 52256 1455 Mailani – Tikunia
Moves for Sunday 11th November 2018
|6533||Palia Kalan||Manjhra Purab||52520||0635 Mailani Jn – Bahraich|
|6601||Manjhra Purab||Belrayan||52249||0615 Bahraich – Mailani Jn|
|6507||Belrayan||Murthiha||52252||0840 Mailani Jn – Bahraich|
|6500||Murthiha||Palia Kalan||52251||1105 Bahraich – Mailani Jn|
Photos for Sunday 11th November 2018
Monday 12th November 2018 (Day 2 of 3 in the Palia Kalan area)
The wailing from the mosques gave me a whole 10 minutes extra in bed, compared to the previous morning, as it didn’t start until 0513. My clothes were nowhere near dry and didn’t really feel like they’d dried off at all overnight, so when I went out for the day, I left them over the back of the two chairs in the room, put the chairs on the bed and put the fan on full to attempt to dry them off. Where I left them, is not where I found them later.
Our omelette walla from the previous morning seemed to have run out of gas and didn’t even have any chai on the go, so we found one on the corner nearer to the station entrance road. Three omelettes later, we were waiting at the nearest chai stall to the station, for chai to be made. Not only did it take a long time, it was shit when it was finished too; so, we used the chai stall on the station to top-up instead. Which only charges RS5 per cup too.
It must have been something about Sunday that had resulted in the longer than usual queues for tickets at Palia Kalan, as when Flossy went for tickets, during the omelette making, there was no queue at all, and he was back before the first omelette was made. Maybe it had something to do with it being the first Sunday after Diwali and people visiting friends had made a long weekend out of the holiday time?
52520 0635 Mailani Jn – Bahraich was first into Palia Kalan again, with 6601 heading it. Along shortly afterwards was 6558 with 52255 0615 Tikunia – Mailani Jn; which was where Youth left us to do it to Bhira Kheri, so, Flossy & I headed east on our own. There was nothing particularly different about the previous morning, the clientele in our front coach were some of the same and even included a guy who I’d met when in Palia in March. The only difference to the wildlife spotting was that we saw a submerged crocodile in one of the large ponds near Dudwa; but again, no tigers, or deer for that matter.
Youth genned us that 6520 was coming our way on 52252 0840 Mailani Jn – Bahraich and we did exactly the same move as the previous day. This time though, 6760 was already sat waiting for us at Manjhra Purab with 52249 0615 Bahraich – Mailani Jn and as a result the roadside vendors had all cleared out their fried bit stashes and were waiting for fresh ones to be made. In the confusion of who was getting what and from which stall, I managed to lose Flossy and stood in the vestibule towards the rear of the train on my own, until he found me at the next shack. He’d gone up front, but it had been that rammed that people were struggling to get on now.
6520 was already in at Belrayan when we got there, and Youth had a bay almost to himself, which was a stark contrast to the train we’d just got off. Again though, it was a pleasant ride to Murthiha and thankfully, for our belies, there were plenty of fried bits on offer when we got back to Manjhra Purab. Murthihawas much the same as the previous afternoon, the heat/fumes in the chai hut were equally as overpowering and the station monkeys were up to no good again, seemingly arguing between themselves too.
6552 was 52251 1105 Bahraich – Mailani Jn and was later than it had been the previous night. Evidently, the loco pilot was a garden gnome who didn’t know where the higher notches were on his loco. Not only that, he fucked about at every station and on two separate occasions went for chai when we weren’t crossing anything. The station staff and their lack of urgency didn’t help matters and by Dudwa 52251 was 90’ late and 6558 looked to have been waiting there for a while with 52256 1455 Mailani Jn – Tikunia. I was very glad to get off that night at Palia Kalan and a good meal put pay to the pain of travelling along slower than the usual slow pace.
Back at the Landmark one of the reception staff followed me upstairs and I was soon evident why. My laundry was strewn all over the bed, the fans were off, and I was told that there was no water to my room, after one the staff had drilled straight into a pipe when doing some DIY earlier in the day. The result being, I was moved to another room, which did have water, but the geyser wasn’t working, so I agreed with the hotel staff to bring me hot bucket water at 0615 the following morning, to enable me to have a shower. That done, I then assessed my laundry, finding that everything but my combats were dry, so the pair I’d been wearing went back into the clean pile and the damp pair would have to be worn the following morning to ensure they dried; meanwhile, everything else could be packed up and my big bag prepared for departure the following day.
When we got back to the hotel, I’d asked the guy that seemed to speak a little English to try and get us a taxi arranged for 1430 the following afternoon, to take us to Pilibhit; our exit strategy from the area. The lack of taxi’s, or anything resembling a taxi, at Mailani the other day hadn’t filled us with much hope of finding something to take us anywhere, let alone Pilibhit. When I went downstairs, the guy I’d asked was nowhere to be seen but thankfully the owner’s brother was knocking about. He said that the other guy won’t have had a clue what I was on about but that he’d try and sort something out for us. Getting the transport from Palia Kalan, despite the road going by Mailani, meant that we didn’t have to take our big bags with us the following morning. 30 minutes after asking, a call to my room confirmed that a taxi had been arranged, the cost was RS2500 and a member of staff was sent to my room with the details of the guy it was arranged through; just in cased we needed them the following day. Confident that everything was now sorted, I could relax and get off to sleep.
Gen for Monday 12th November 2018
6601 52520 0635 Mailani – Bahraich
6558 52255 0615 Tikunia – Mailani, 52256 1455 Mailani – Tikunia
6760 52249 0615 Bahraich – Mailani
6520 52252 0840 Mailani – Bahraich
6552 52251 1105 Bahraich – Mailani
Moves for Monday 12th November 2018
|6601||Palia Kalan||Manjhra Purab||52520||0635 Mailani Jn – Bahraich|
|6760||Manjhra Purab||Belrayan||52249||0615 Bahraich – Mailani Jn|
|6520||Belrayan||Murthiha||52252||0840 Mailani Jn – Bahraich|
|6552||Murthiha||Palia Kalan||52251||1105 Bahraich – Mailani Jn|
Photos for Monday 12th November 2018
Tuesday 13th November 2018 (Day 3 of 3 in Palia and the journey to Pilibhit afterwards)
At 0615 I went downstairs to see where my hot water was but couldn’t find anyone dossed out, let alone awake and in the reception. Back upstairs I called through Flossy’s bog window to interrupt his morning shit and managed to get a bucket of hot water off him instead. When we went down to check out there were plenty of people in reception, including the guy who was supposed to bring my hot water, who I thanked for his help; the sarcasm going straight over the top of his head. Our bags were kept at the hotel while we went out for the morning and omelettes were served at the same place as the previous morning, on the way to the station.
Youth decided he was going to head towards Bhira Kheri in an auto to photograph both the morning trains on the bridge over the river and managed to complete 50% of his planned tasks; eventually arriving at the river by bus, just in time to see the Bahraich bound train going over! Meanwhile, back in Palia Kalan, Flossy & I found ourselves a new Sikh friend, who lived in Tikunia, whose parents owned a farm there. He had access to a nice SUV, a truck and drove a tractor as well, while helping his father out on the farm. He, his mother and his sister had to travel back from Palia Kalan to Tikunia by train as his father had some business to take care of in Palia Kalan. His company and chit-chat kept us occupied along the way, and he was insistent that we go back to his farm with him at Tikunia, which of course we couldn’t with heading to Pilibhit later that afternoon. He did show us their sugarcane plot on arrival at Tikunia though, which backed right the way up to the railway land barrier and was ready for harvest, he told us.
6500 had been our ride to Manjhra Purab on 52520 0635 Mailani Jn – Bahraich and 6507 had crossed it at Palia Kalan with 52255 0615 Tikunia – Mailani Jn. 6533 was waiting or us at Manjhra Purab with 52249 0615 Bahraich – Mailani Jn and Youth had told us that he was heading our way with 6751 on 52252 0840 Mailani Jn – Bahraich. Better coordination between Flossy & I had him going for fried bits and chai while I legged it to get three tickets, including one for Youth. We agreed to meet at the rear of the train, as it was emptier than the front. Despite doing the same train from Manjhra Purab on the previous two mornings, this was the first time we’d bought a ticket for it, mostly as the tickets we’d had from Palia Kalan to Murthiha were still valid on 52249 0840 Mailani Jn – Bahraich when we’d done our step-back from 52520 0635 Mailani Jn – Bahraich, as you must start your journey within three hours of purchasing the ticket. We’d also spent the last three days wondering if we’d get ourselves an Edmundson type ticket from any of the wayward stations, and guess what, we’d been effing it from one every day; Manjhra Purab was one of those very stations and I was pleased to be handed three Edmundson tickets for our journey back to Palia Kalan; the first I’d every purchased in India.
We were back into Palia at 1350, giving us 40 minutes to get fed and back to the hotel for our transport to Pilibhit. After another good egg curry, we made it back to the hotel a few minutes late, where the owner’s brother was waiting for us and pointed us to our waiting taxi. It was a small hatchback, with plenty of room for three people and the driver. The journey to Pilibhit, after initially getting caught up in the Palia sugarcane traffic jam, all of which was for the nearby Hindustan plant about 5km away, was pleasant, along decent roads all the way and the 96km journey took 2h20m.
While minding our own business outside Pilibhit station, two TTE’s came out for a smoke and asked what out business was in Pilibhit. Whether or not they meant to come across the way they did is irrelevant, but Youth gave them a fuck off tablet when he pointed out that we were catching a train, and that we were standing outside a train station….
Tickets for our journey were easily purchased to Bareilly Junction and we were grateful to find IZN WDM3D 11303 at the head of 55368 1820 Pilibhit Jn – Bareilly City, as heading the other way on 55377 1730 Pilibhit Jn – Tanakpur was a GM, which I couldn’t be arsed to walk and get the number of. Over the way, gauge conversion of the recently closed MG side of Pilibhit station was in full swing. There were diggers in the formation, workers everywhere and they looked to be cementing the new track foundations in. There were still some MG coaches in the carriage sidings at the Mailani end of the station, but all the other MG tracks had been lifted at both sides of what had been the old station. There were no YDM4’s visible, but I didn’t walk over to see if any might be lurking in the makeshift shed that had been used for loco maintenance there.
Pilibhit Junction is one of the few places in Uttar Pradesh where you can get Aloo Tikki from station vendors and we weren’t let down on this occasion; we all indulged before the train set off. When we did get underway, it wasn’t rammed to the rafters but was comfortably full, it was on time all the way to Bareilly City and due to the slack time from Izatnagar, it even arrived early at its destination. Where, rather than wait for the forward connection to Bareilly Junction, Youth & Flossy got an auto to Junction to get themselves a hotel sorted for the night, the idea being that by the time I got there on 55360 2045 Bareilly City – Kasganj, they’d be sorted.
I drank chai on the station to pass the time. IZN WDM3D 11163 was sat waiting to depart with 05309 2055 Bareilly City – Lalkua and IZN WDP4D 40155 arrived with 55357 1710 Kasganj Jn – Bareilly City and went forward with 55369 2130 Bareilly City – Pilibhit Jn. Meanwhile, IZN WDM3D 11303, which we had into Bareilly City, was removed from its set and IZN WDM3D classmate 11343 replaced it to work 55360 2045 Bareilly City – Kasganj Jn. By the time it had delivered me to Bareilly Jn, I’d still not heard from Youth or Flossy and it turned out they’d struggled to get a hotel for the night and were still sorting themselves out as I walked out of the station.
We met at the Punjab Dhaba, just up the rad from the station, on the right immediately after the Civil & Military Hotel, which has given many a good man food poisoning in the past; including me, twice! The food was ok, even if my egg curry did come with chicken in the sauce; which I did find a little strange. After the meal, I bode farewell to Youth & Flossy, they went back to their hotel and I went back to the station to await my overnight to Delhi; which was ultimately 2 hours late!
An NTES lineup for Bareilly Junction immediately had me back outside the station and battling with the auto drivers as to which one was going to rush me to Bareilly City. Thankfully it was a simple battle and a quick journey as GD WDM3A 16729 was about to leave with 15056 1740 Ramnagar – Agra Fort when I got there, but I made it. Back at Bareilly Junction I searched out a charging point for my phone as it was almost dead and stood around watching Bareilly Junction go by; until IZN WDM3D 11344 arrived with 55359 2145 Kasganj Jn – Bareilly City. Thanks to my overnight, 14205 1725 Faizabad Jn – Delhi Jn being well down the pan at this point, I was safe in the knowledge that I could do it to Bareilly City and walk back if there was no transport available, which of course, there was, and I was back drinking chai in no time.
During my time at Bareilly Jn I noted the following: LDH WDM3A 16533 with 04611 0600 Varanasi – Katra Special, 40368 MGS WDP4D with 18103 2115 (P) Tatanagar – Jammu Tawi, 40081 TKD WDP4 with 15274 1725 Anand Vihar – Raxaul Jn and 28719 JHS WAG7 with 04521 1850 Lucknow – Anand Vihar. TKD WDP3A 15513 was shunting in the station and SPJ WDM3D 11584 was stabled in the carriage sidings every time I went by. When JHS WDG3A 13062 arrived with 14205 Faizabad Jn – Delhi Jn, 2 hours late, I was surprised but pleased. Thankfully there was no messing about in my berth as all the bedding was already present and I just had to make it up. Having quickly done so, I was dossed out straight away and as the TTE had asked me my berth number when boarding, I never got disturbed by him.
Gen for Tuesday 13th November 2018
6500 52520 0635 Mailani – Bahraich
6507 52255 0615 Tikunia – Mailani
6533 52249 0615 Bahraich – Mailani
6751 52252 0840 Mailani – Bahraich
6575 52258 1040 Mailani – Tikunia
40xxx IZN 55377 1730 Pilibhit – Tanakpur
11303 IZN 55368 1820 Pilibhit – Bareilly City
11163 IZN 05309 2055 Bareilly City – Lalkua
40155 IZN 55357 1710 Kasganj – Bareilly City, 55369 2130 Bareilly City – Pilibhit
11343 IZN 55360 2045 Bareilly City – Kasganj
16729 GD 15056 1740 Ramnagar – Agra Fort
16533 LDH 04611 0600 Varanasi – Katra
40368 MGS 18103 2115 (P) Tatanagar – Amritsar
40081 TKD 15274 1725 Anand Vihar – Raxaul
28719 JHS 04521 1850 Lucknow – Anand Vihar
11344 IZN 55359 2145 Kasganj – Bareilly City
30294 GZB 15651 1310 (P) Guwahati – Jammu Tawi
13062 JHS 14205 1725 Faizabad – Delhi Jn
Moves for Tuesday 13th November 2018
|6500||Palia Kalan||Manjhra Purab||52520||0635 Mailani Jn – Bahraich|
|6533||Manjhra Purab||Palia Kalan||52249||0615 Bahraich – Mailani Jn|
|Taxi||Palia Kalan||Pilibhit Jn||RS2500, 96km, 2h20m|
|11303||Pilibhit Jn||Bareilly City||55368||1820 Pilibhit Jn – Bareilly City|
|11343||Bareilly City||Bareilly Jn||55360||2045 Bareilly City – Kasganj Jn|
|Auto||Bareilly Jn||Bareilly City||RS100, 3km, 5mins|
|16729||Bareilly City||Bareilly Jn||15056||1740 Ramnagar – Agra Fort|
Photos for Tuesday 13th November 2018
Wednesday 14th November 2018 (A morning in Delhi before flying to Trivandrum via Hyderabad)
By the outskirts of Ghaziabad Junction, I gave up on sleep as the rest of the coach was up and about and all the lights were on. A random check on NTES revealed that 14207 Pratapgarh Jn – Delhi Jn was only 10 minutes behind my 14205 Faizabad Jn – Delhi Jn, so I got my act together and got off for it. A good move it turned out to be when TKD WDM3A 16190 rolled in with 14207 too. There was plenty of room in sleeper class, so I found myself a seat in there for the journey into Delhi Jn.
Upon arrival I spotted SSB WDS6AD 36279 on the back of the stock I’d got off at Ghaziabad and went to investigate. On doing so, I came across another set of stock being backed in, in a pink livery I’d not seen before, which turned out to be the set for 22429 0825 Delhi Jn – Pathankot, which took me back to the Rewari end of the station to start my walk again. My little legs were saved when 14205’s set started to move the opposite direction as 36279 eased it out of the station; so that set delivered me to where I’d been originally heading, if only to spot SSB WSD6R 36523 which had just been detached after propelling 22429’s set into the adjacent platform.
Unfortunately, the big electronic departure screen has been removed from the concourse area at Delhi Jn, so I had to listen to announcements for trains as not even the display screens at the top of each set of steps was working either. The platforms displayed on NTES were, for the most part, incorrect. It took me ages to find TKD WDP1M 15003 with the very late running 51909 0520 Delhi Jn – Saharanpur Jn, and that was after I’d found SSB WDS6AD 36277 shunting the stock out off 14207 Pratapgarh Jn – Delhi Jn. When I found 15003, I didn’t know if I had time to go and get a ticket or not as the train was already over 2 hors late, so I didn’t bother; and more to the point, didn’t need to bother.
It was a simple out and back to Delhi Shahdara Jn, with a choice of two trains back, according to NTES. The first produced TKD WDP1 15053 with a late 54058 0315 Shamli – Delhi Jn, which I did back to Delhi Jn and when TKD WDM3A 16274 rolled in, with the second option, on 14042 2125 (P) Dehradun – Delhi Sarai Rohilla, it was as though the Delhi power controllers knew I was in the area; when TKD WDP3A 15028 rolled into Vivekanand Puri Halt with 54424 0500 Bhiwani Jn – Delhi Jn, it just topped the morning off nicely and having been looking at ways to get to Delhi IGI Airport Terminal 1D, I headed out to Chandhi Chowk metro station, bought a ticket to Terminal 1 – IGI Airport for RS50, caught the yellow line south, towards Huda City, changed to the Magenta line west at Hauz Khas, towards Janak Puri West, and then alighted at Terminal 1 – IGI Airport; an hour after leaving Delhi Junction station. It’s a well signposted 5-minute walk from the metro station to Terminal 1. The other option would have been to do the yellow line to New Delhi and then the Airport line to Aerocity, where there’s a connecting bus to Terminal 1. That would have cost RS10 to New Delhi, RS50 to Aerocity and RS30 on the bus; and been no quicker at all!
Go Air and Indigo now have self-check-in kiosks everywhere and it took me minutes to get my boarding cards from one. 10 minutes later I was airside at Delhi Terminal 1, wondering what to have for breakfast. KFC sufficed as n early dinner instead! My 1420 Indigo fight to Hyderabad was spot on time and I had 3 hours in Hyderabad for food before my recently retimed 1920 Indigo flight for3ward to Trivandrum; which was also spot on time. Both flights were pleasant, and our low-cost airlines could do worse than taking a few of Indigo’s traits on board.
At Trivandrum airport, as I’d already eaten, I hung around for a bit and then got a pre-paid taxi the 7km to Kochuveli station, which cost RS350; and was randomly payable to the driver on arrival at destination. The stock off 22113 LTT – Kochuveli was already in the station but there was no sign of a loco(s) for the train. It was absolutely sweltering too, and I had a dab on just standing on the platform. As the AC coaches were open, I took refuge in my berth. While the AC was turned off it was still way cooler than outside. When I felt the coaches move, as the loco(s) back on, the moment of truth beckoned. Since 22113/22114 had gone over to an LHB rake the regular KYN twin WDP3A link had disappeared too! Recently it had been worked by GM’s from various sheds, a single MGS WDM3A and GOC WDM3A twins; so there really didn’t seem to be a regular link at the moment.
It was only a 17 coach walk to the front of the train and as I got closer, I couldn’t figure out whether the shape I could see in the darkness, off the end of the platform, was Alco or GM; then a second cab came into view and my brain quickly processed the fact that it was a pair of standard Alcos, not WDP3A’s as I’d hoped. With the number of GMs having worked the train in recent times though, I was so relieved to find GOC WDG3A’s 13458/13448 at the head of the train and went back to my berth in an almost ecstatic mood. Shortly after a spot-on time departure, at 0035, the TTE came around to check tickets. Unfortunately, the 2AC was full so I wasn’t able to move berths; and had to make do with berth No.1, right over the bogie, next to the corridor door and with noisy air-con. Earplugs cut most of the background noise out though and my tiredness, after the previous night’s short doss, did the rest.
Gen for Wednesday 14th November 2018
40457 TKD 54085 0655 Delhi Jn – Rewari In
16190 TKD 14207 1700 (P) Pratapgarh – Delhi Jn
20093 BGKT 12462 1945 (P) Jodhpur – Delhi Jn
30663 GZB 51902 0700 Delhi Jn – Agra Cantt
24587 LDH 54641 0710 Delhi Jn – Firozpur Cantt
15003 TKD 51909 0520 Delhi Jn – Saharanpur
14002 TKD 14044 0730 Delhi Jn – Kotdwara
15053 TKD 54058 0315 Shamli – Delhi Jn
16374 TKD 14042 2125 (P) Dehradun – Delhi Sarai Rohilla
15528 TKD 54424 0500 Bhiwani – Delhi Jn
15026 TKD 51914 0315 Saharanpur – Delhi Jn
36523 SSB ecs for 22429 0825 Delhi Jn – Pathankot
36279 SSB ecs ex 14205 1725 (P) Faizabad – Delhi Jn
36277 SSB ecs ex 14207 1700 (P) Pratapgarh – Delhi Jn
Moves for Wednesday 14th November 2018
|11344||Bareilly Jn||Bareilly City||55359||2145 (13/11) Kasganj Jn – Bareilly City|
|Auto||Bareilly City||Bareilly Jn||RS100, 3km, 5mins|
|13062||Bareilly Jn||Ghaziabad Jn||14205||1725 (13/11) Faizabad Jn – Delhi Jn|
|16190||Ghaziabad Jn||Delhi Jn||14207||1700 (13/11) Pratapgarh Jn – Delhi Jn|
|36523||Delhi Jn Platform 8 East||Delhi Jn Platform 8 West||ECS for 22429 0825 Delhi Jn – Pathankot Jn|
|36279||Delhi Jn Platform 9 West||Delhi Jn Platform 9 East||ECS ex 14205 Faizabad – Delhi Jn|
|36277||Delhi Jn Platform 7 West||Delhi Jn Platform 7 East||ECS ex 14207 Pratapragh – Delhi Jn|
|15003||Delhi Jn||Delhi Shahdara Jn||51909||0520 Delhi Jn – Saharanpur Jn|
|15053||Delhi Shahdara Jn||Delhi Jn||54058||0315 Shamli – Delhi Jn|
|16374||Delhi Jn||Delhi Sarai Rohilla||14042||2125 (13/11) Dehradun – Delhi Sarai Rohilla|
|15528||Vivekanand Puri Halt||Delhi Jn||54424||0500 Bhiwani Jn – Delhi Jn|
|Metro||Chandhi Chowk||Hauz Khas||Yellow Line|
|Metro||Hauz Khas||Terminal 1 – IGI Airport||Magenta Line|
|VT-IHC||Delhi IGI Terminal 1D||Hyderabad||6E-679||1420 Delhi – Hyderabad|
|VT-IFX||Hyderabad||Trivandrum||6E-594||1920 Hyderabad – Trivandrum|
Photos for Wednesday 14th November 2018
Thursday 15th November 2018 (A day on board 22114 to Ratnagiri; or almost Ratnagiri)
It was gone 10am by the time I poked my head up from underneath the sheets, the lack of sleep the previous night and the late bedtime last night clearly playing a part in it. It was pleasant to fin that the rest of the coach was calm and pretty much everyone was still dossed out or relaxing in a horizontal position. Even the woman and child dossed opposite me had been no bother during the night, and I didn’t have a clue where they’d got on either, which meant they’d been quiet when doing so.
With missing breakfast, I had to wait until Mangalore Junction to get something to eat and was able to get a veg biriyani from one of the many vendors, as well as stock up on some other bits from one of the station stalls. There were plenty of chai/coffee walla’s around too. I’d been hoping to spot 12134 1355 Mangalore Jn – Mumbai CST but as 12133 was late arriving we passed a blue Alco en-route with it, which wasn’t shown to arrive into Mangalore Jn until after its 1355 departure time back north. The only thing I did note on the way north, mainly as I was sat on the wrong side of the train, was ED WAG7 27751 dragging RTM WDM3D 11540 on a late running 19332 2100 (PP) Indore Jn – Kochuveli. I found out from a Facebook post the following morning that 11540 had failed with a radiator fault and the WAG7 had rescued the train somewhere in Kerala. That was it, until we crossed ED WDM3D 11105 with 16524 1440 Kawar – Mangalore Central, which would combine with 16514 portion from Kannur at Mangalore and run through to Bangalore City as 16514 Kannur – Bangalore City.
After a relaxing afternoon, catching up on a lot of typing, I was ready for something else to eat when we arrived into Madgaon and had no problem getting some food on the platform. Randomly, it seemed that 10112 1800 Madgaon – Mumbai CST had been held to let 22114 Superfast go first, but no sooner did we come to a stand, did the road come off for 10112 to depart; 10’ late! It wasn’t so much a pointless departure, but we overtook it soon after Madgaon, with KYN WDM3D 11455 leading it. At Sawantwadi Road we went hammering by KYN WDG3A 13638 waiting to depart with 11004 1850 Sawantwadi Road – Dadar.
An out of course stop at Kudal came as both a surprise and a massive bonus. It was time for me to get off and make something of the day, having done over 1000km on board 22114 by this point. With three trains now in the offing behind 22114, and with all three doable thanks to the stop at Kudal, it turned out to be a nice late evening bash towards Ratnagiri, with KYN WDG3A 13638 starting off proceedings with 11004 1850 Sawantwadi Road – Dadar, which I did to Sindhudurg for KYN WDM3D 11455 forward to Kankavali on 10112 1800 Madgaon – Mumbai CST, where I waited for the late running 12134 1355 Mangalore Jn – Mumbai CST; which topped the evening off nicely when it rolled in with KYN WDG3A 14567. I bought one ticket from Kudal to Ratnagiri, which covered all three trains as they were so close together; and eventually arrived into Ratnagiri just after midnight, cutting my original fester time there down from 5 hours to under 3 hours.
There wasn’t much doing at Ratnagiri during my fester, other than a couple of freights passing through with GMs. At least I had time to finish getting my crap up to date and even watched a couple of episodes of The 100 on my laptop; which I hadn’t done since my previous visit to India in March, and I’d almost forgot what was going on, it had been that long! My booked 16333 0425 Veraval Jn – Trivandrum Central didn’t turn up first at Ratnagiri and KYN WDG3A 13302 went before it with 12133 Mumbai CST – Mangalore Jn Superfast, closely followed by 16333, headed by ERS WDM3A’s 16459/16405. The 2AC was rammed solid but my lower berth, No.3, right of the rear bogie of the coach, was empty and the bedding was already laid out on the berth. The TTE was efficient with the grip and with my bed made up by the time he came, I was dossed out in no time.
Gen for Thursday 15th November 2018
13458/13448 GOC 22114 0035 Kochuveli – LTT
27751 ED (11540 RTM) 19332 2100 (PP) Indore – Kochuveli
11105 ED 16524 1440 Kawar – Mangalore Central
13638 KYN 11004 1850 Sawantwadi Road – Dadar
11455 KYN 10112 1800 Madgaon Jn – Mumbai CST
14559 KYN 12134 1355 Mangalore Jn – Mumbai CST
Moves for Thursday 15th November 2018
|13458||Kochuveli||Kudal||22114||0035 Kochuveli – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus|
|13638||Kudal||Sindhudurg||11004||1850 Sawantwadi Road – Dadar|
|11455||Sindhudurg||Kankavali||10112||1800 Madgaon Jn – Mumbai CST|
|14559||Kankavali||Ratnagiri||12134||1355 Mangalore Jn – Mumbai CST|
Friday 16th November 2018 (A day travelling from Ratnagiri to Shoranur on 16333 Veraval – Trivandrum)
I was woken up on the approach to Madgaon, where it seemed the whole coach was getting off and most of it looked to be travelling together. KYN WDP4D 40235 was sat in platform 1 waiting to depart with 10104 0915 Madgaon Jn – Mumbai CST, while KJM WDP4D 40395 was in platform 3 about to depart with 56962 0735 Vasco Da Gama – Kulem passenger. I was able to get breakfast during the stop at Madgaon and came back to my berth to find two English tourists having replaced the Indians who had just vacated my compo, and the coach attendant was busy tidying up after them.
The journey south was pleasant, with Alex & Izzy being good company along the way to Kannur, where they got off. As there was a pantry car in the formation, there was no issue getting food on board and dinner was delivered just after Byndoor. The parcel consisted of rice, a packet of veg curry, two chapattis and some mango chutney. It was hot and tasty and was Alex & Izzy’s first go at train food; which I’m pleased to say they survived, as I sort of talked them into it!
With the ERS Alco twins being only three coaches from my 2AC coach there was plenty to bellow at and there was also the odd photo available when 16333 paused for more than a couple of minutes along the way. The loco pilot forward from Mangalore Jn was a lot better than the one from Madgaon south, and he didn’t need much persuasion to get his 6200HP into the high notches; and with load 23 and quite a few stops the further south we got, he needed to. I was pleased with the noise provided on the 800+km run to Shoranur Junction and once south of Kannur there were plenty of stops, with plenty of full power thrash accompanying them, after each station stop.
Along the way I managed to spot a few of the trains we passed, crossed or found stood in stations. These included ED WDM3D 11223 with 56640 0540 Mangalore Central – Madgaon Jn, followed by ED WDM3D 11195 with what I initially thought was 16523 Mangalore Central – Kawar, but when I realised it was too early for it, I then figured out that it also didn’t run on a Friday either, so I’d then no idea what the train was, but can confirm that all the train boards were for 16523/16524 Mangalore – Kawar – Mangalore portion and even NTES didn’t reveal a train!
Further south, at Surathkal, 16333 was held to wait for ERS WDM3A 14091 to hammer through with 22149 0515 Ernakulam Jn – Pune Jn. Then at Mangalore Junction, while the locos were being fuelled and I was being told that I couldn’t take photos, GOC WDP4D 40446 went pottering through the station with 12620 1425 Mangalore Central – LTT and ED WAP4 22712 was sat over the way with the stock for 16356 2000 Mangalore Jn – Kochuveli Antyodaya Express. Once it got dark, south of Kannur, my spotting was over until I got off at Shoranur Junction.
From Kannur south, the train filled up and what had been an empty unreserved at the front of the train was full and standing by Kozhikode. Even the AC TTE was being swamped at every stop after Kannur, whether by WL passengers, or just those on spec trying to upgrade, I couldn’t tell; but he was kept busy. When I’d booked my own tickets on the IRCTC website, I hadn’t realised at the time that I’d been making my plan using monsoon timings on the Konkan Railway, so I’d booked my ticket on 16333 to Kuttipuram and my ticket bac north on 16338 from Kuttipuram. When I realised the error of my ways, which would have resulted in nearly a 6-hour fester, I knew I needed to go through to Shoranur to cut the fester. As I couldn’t change my ticket online, due to the fact both trains were already wait-listed, I attempted to get the TTE to sell me an add-on ticket from Kuttipuram to Shoranur, which he was more than happy to do but as the minimum fare is RS700, I wasn’t going to spend that for a 30km journey. I initially thought the TTE was taking the piss but a quick look on the IRCTC website confirmed that the fare from Kuttipuram to Shoranur, in 2AC, was indeed RS700! So unreserved it was going to be!
At Kuttipuram, I ummed & arred about getting straight into the unreserved coaches, without a ticket, but my conscience got the better of me and I walked over the footbridge to the ticket office, walked straight up to the counter, paid my RS30 for an express ticket to Shoranur and then walked back over the footbridge and boarded the departing 16338, in sleeper class. It was either that, or watch it leave as there was no way I was getting to either end of the train in time to safely board it while it was moving. The SL class TTE had watched me board as the train departed but thankfully didn’t bother me as I stood in the vestibule for the journey to Shoranur Jn.
At Shoranur I had no time to waste when my eyes focused on ERS WDG3A 13110 waiting to depart with 56663 1735 Thrissur -Kozhikode. There was no umming & arring about a ticket this time, and as it turned out, if I’d gone to get one, I would have missed it; so, played the right move in not bothering. This was my first ERS shakti, and a good run it was, back to Kuttipuram, where the ticket I’d bought there an hour ago would suffice to get me back to Shoranur again. Having spotted ED WDM3D 11103 at Kannur with the stock for 16528 1805 Kannur – Yesvantpur, it didn’t come as a surprise when it rolled in with it. What did come as a surprise though, was coming to a stand at Karakad alongside a passenger rake. This turned out to be 56602 1445 Kannur – Shoranur Jn and when I found ERS WDG3A 13197 at the helm, I was happy to get off and watch/listen to 11103 hammer off into the distance. With time on my side, there was no concern about getting to Shoranur Jn for 16338 Ernakulam Jn – Okha; which if I did miss, would severely fuck up my plans as I was on it through to Okha!
There was no way I was going to attempt to claim my berth on 16338 at Shoranur, with the RS700 price tag attached, which had I booked my ticket through from Shoranur in the first place would have cost nothing more but there doesn’t seem to be an excess fare rule on IR. Of course, there were none of these issues before IR withdrew the Indrail Passes! So, another RS30 later and I was in possession of an unreserved ticket back to Kuttipuram and thankfully there was plenty of room in the unreserved coaches to the rear of the train, for the short journey. It was unfortunate that I couldn’t sit at the front of 16338 for the journey to Kuttipuram but I didn’t fancy the 18-coach jog down the platform on arrival there; so, played it safe.
ERS WDM3A twins 14052/16860 led the way on 16338 2025 Ernakulam Jn – Okha and when I boarded the 2AC at Kuttipuram I went straight to my upper berth in coach A1, berth 40. When I booked the ticket, on the day it went on sale, I was originally WL4, which thankfully got confirmed quite early on. Due to the WL status, I hadn’t been able to find out my berth number until after the train had been charted at Ernakulam. I was grateful to get confirmed but an upper berth for a 2000+km journey was a bit harsh. Still, my compo was in darkness and silent when I found it using my torch. All the bedding was laid on my upper berth, which I made up using torchlight, and once I clambered into it, the first TTE I saw was at Madgaon the following morning!
Gen for Friday 16th November 2018
14567 KYN 12133 2202 (P) Mumbai CST – Mangalore Jn, 12134 1355 Mangalore Jn – Mumbai CST
16459/16405 ERS 16333 0425 (P) Veraval Jn – Trivandrum Central
40235 KYN 10104 0915 Madgaon Jn – Mumbai CST
40395 KJM 56962 0735 Vasco Da Gama – Kulem
11223 ED 56640 0540 Mangalore Central – Madgaon Jn
11195 ED 16523 xxxx Mangalore Central – Kawar? (additional? Not on NTES but rake for 16523/16524)
14091 ERS 22149 0515 Ernakulam Jn – Pune Jn
40446 GOC 12620 1425 Mangalore Central – LTT
22712 ED 16356 2000 Mangalore Jn – Kochuveli
11103 ED 16528 1805 Kannur – Yesvantpur
13110 ERS 56663 1735 Thrissur – Kozhikode
13197 ERS 56602 1445 Kannur – Shoranur Jn
22727 ED 16348 1420 Mangalore Central – Trivandrum Central
22776 AJJ 22637 1205 Chennai Central – Mangalore Central
14052/16860 ERS 16338 2025 Ernakulam Jn – Okha
Moves for Friday 16th November 2018
|16459||Ratnagiri||Shoranur Jn||16333||0425 (15/11) Veraval Jn – Trivandrum Central|
|13110||Shoranur Jn||Kuttipuram||56663||1735 Thissur – Kozhikode|
|11103||Kuttipuram||Karakad||16528||1805 Kannur – Yesvantpur Jn|
|13197||Karakad||Shoranur Jn||56602||1445 Kannur – Shoranur Jn|
|14052||Shornaur Jn||Okha||16338||2025 Ernakulam Jn – Okha|
Photos for Friday 16th November 2018
Saturday 17th November 2018 (On board 16338 Ernakulam – Okha all day!)
Despite the background noise in the coach, I laid in my upper pit until almost 11am, when we were on the approach to Madgaon. As we were early, and 16338 would sit for 25 minutes, I took a walk down to the front of the train to get the only photos I’d probably take all day. Once the mad rush at the platform stalls had died down, I stood by one drinking coffee, while waiting for the train to depart. When I got back on board, the upper & lower berths opposite me had TTE briefcases chained to them and I took the opportunity to claim the lower one for as long as I could and got talking to a retired loco pilot in the lower berth opposite. He’d driven local EMU’s in Mumbai and had retired at 60, after 40 years of service, and was using on of the two free passes he gets per year to travel back home from Ernakulam to Vasai Road.
16338 was spot on time away from Madgaon, after waiting for KYN WDG4 12763 to arrive with 10111 2305 (P) Mumbai CST – Madgaon and just north of Madgaon with crossed RTM WDM3A’s 16836/16196 with 22414 1055 (P) Hazrat Nizamuddin – Madgaon. Dinner was served shortly afterwards. I’d ordered my veg biriyani from one of the pantry car walla’s earlier, it was piping hot when it arrived at my berth, and quite tasty too.
The afternoon highballing up the Konkan Railway was very pleasant, the scenery was great, I managed to get sat in a lower berth in my compo for most of the day and the pantry car staff provided everything I needed along the way, at my seat. As 16338 was early into Ratnagiri, I had time to stretch my legs and GTL WDG3A’s 13390/14898 on a freight allowed me to do it with a purpose. Unfortunately, I was in coach 20 of 23 on 16338 but on this occasion, it had its benefit and when I’d finished photting the Shaktis, I turned around to watch GOC WDM3A’s 16460/16803 arrive into Ratnagiri with 22656 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Trivandrum Central. It would have been a leisurely cross-ballast leap for both the pairs heading south, on their respective trains from Hazrat Nizamuddin. Looking at the progress of electrification works in the station area at Ratnagiri, it might not be too much longer before loco changes might occur on such train there; as electric locos start to infringe on the Konkan Railway for the first time. The masts were cemented in but there was no sign of any wiring going on, so it wouldn’t be imminent, but it wouldn’t take too long once the groundwork had been completed?
After departing Ratnagiri, I was banished back to my upper berth by the new TTE that had boarded. The previous two TTE’s had left me be and gone into the next compo but the train was now wedged in 2AC and the new TTE had nowhere else to go. When I’d booked my ticket, and was WL4 on the day he train went on sale, it seemed that loads more people had booked afterwards as the TTE’s were having a bi of a time with people that were either RAC or WL and one of the previous TTE’s told a family, that must have been waitlisted, that they shouldn’t have boarded the train; while they were complaining that there were no berths for them. It seems I was lucky to get confirmed so early on. Others, who must have been RAC, spoilt the ambience of the coach as their children run riot in the next compo and the large group weren’t so quiet themselves. They’d been eyeing up all the berths in the coach trying to figure out where people would be getting off and as soon as the TTE vacated his berth, three women moved in and brought two of their noisy children with them. We were at Panvel, and thankfully two guys got on to occupy both the lower and upper berths and they were banished from the compo as quickly as they’d stealthed their way into it! It didn’t stop them hanging around though as the old guy in the berth below me was getting off at Vasai Road, which meant a load of jibbering between them until we got there at 2305; so, no doss. Thankfully, the compo karma was saved by new passengers boarding at Vasai Road and shortly afterwards the lights were turned out and doss came.
Gen for Saturday 17th November 2018
11194/11390 KYN at Madgaon Jn
12763 KYN 10111 2305 (P) Mumbai CST – Madgaon Jn
16836/16196 RTM 22414 1055 (P) Hazrat Nizamuddin – Madgaon
11112 ED 50105 0625 Diva Jn – Sawantwadi Road
16460/16803 GOC 22656 1005 (P) Hazrat Nizamuddin – Trivandrum Central
2xGM 12619 1520 LTT – Mangalore Central
Moves for Saturday 17th November 2018
|ON BOARD 16338 ALL DAY|
Photos for Saturday 17th November 2018
Sunday 18th November 2018 (Still on board 16338 to Okha!)
I managed to doze through the morning station stop at Ahmedabad Jn and when I dragged my ass out of my pit, we were half way between Ahmedabad Jn and Viramgam Jn. The pantry car walla’s had been up and down all morning but I still managed to catch the back end of the breakfast rounds, and land myself a nice cold bread omelette. It was the same walla who’d sold me breakfast, dinner & tea the previous day and he didn’t take any money off me for breakfast when he found out I was going through to Okha; probably because he’d eventually charge me for both breakfast and dinner, after both had been served; just as he’d charged for the lot in one go the previous day.
After the TTE did his rounds, I confirmed that one of the lower berths in my compo was now free all the way to Okha and I was able to lounge around in that instead of lumping it in my upper berth. The train looked to have emptied out a bit at Ahmedabad and there was now quite a bit of space throughout the two 2AC coaches and after Rajkot the 2AC was all but empty.
During the stop at Rajkot, the old guy in my compo, travelling to Dwarka, was happy to watch my stuff while I leapt out to get some coffee and supplies. While buying the coffee, GIM WDS6 36134 came into view at the end of the adjacent platform to where 16338 was stood and as it got closer, I could see stock following it. Having hastily paid the stall owner for my two coffees, I asked him to keep them on the counter until I returned; at which point I started to walk towards the approaching WDS6. As is generally the case, the guard’s door was open on the front coach and I was in without hesitation. When I was deposited at the end of the platform, I had to walk back for my coffee, confirming that the stock I’d just ridden down the platform in was for 22937 1330 Rajkot Jn – Rewa. Having collected my coffees from the stall, I returned to my berth and 16338 departed 20’ late from Rajkot Jn; only to be held around the corner by the C&W shed to wait SBI WDP4D 40323 coming off the single line from Hapa with 12905 0750 Porbandar – Howrah. I reckon we were a bout 50’ late by the time we go underway again. Which was a shame as the train had kept good time all the way from Goa and never been above 50’ late the previous day, and overnight it had been almost to time everywhere.
As we passed by the C&W shed at Rajkot, I couldn’t see the old rusty steam locos I’d photographed there a few years back. The same went for Wankaner Jn, when we stopped there. The old steam shed looked to have been demolished and all the steam locos were missing. YP 2813 was plinthed just outside the station though, painted up in red/yellow, and it looked like workers were building another plinth to put something else on, right at the side of it.
My pre-ordered egg biriyani was plonked in my lap just after Rajkot Jn and after paying for my breakfast and dinner at the same time, that was the last I saw of the pantry car staff for the remainder of the journey; not even so much as a chai/coffee round during the following 5 hours! Having had a good run all the way from Kerala to Gujarat, after departing Rajkot Jn it was nothing short of stop-start and we were regulated for anything and everything coming in the opposite direction. Express trains I could understand but when and express is being held for local passenger trains, and a goods train, to come off the single line, surely the regulating decisions must be challenged? They would be back home in the UK if Network Rail made such poor regulating decisions.
After a 35-minute wait just outside Rajkot for SBI WDP4D 40323 to come by with 12905 0750 Porbandar – Howrah, we were also held at Hapa to await SBI WDP4D 40183 departing Jamnagar with 19218 1355 Jamnagar – Bandra Terminus; which had they run 16338, it would have been at Jamnagar well before 19218’s 1355 departure time. Being held for a late running 59208 1445 Okha – Bhavnagar, which was headed by a 14xxx VTA WDM3A, and then for a good 20 minutes to await a freight coming off the single line towards Dwarka, just added to the delay. The truth being, 16338 is that slackly timed that all the delay never really amounted to anything and it stayed about 60’ late for the remainder of its journey. Had it not been held as many times as it did do, it would have rolled into Okha early, instead of about 45’ late.
At Dwarka, having tipped two old timers out of the train, who would have ended up going through to Okha had I not, completely oblivious to the fact the train had arrived at Dwarka, I decided to amble towards the front of the train for the last blast into Okha. After spending 44 hours in 2AC, which hadn’t been a bad experience, it was nice to stretch the legs and I made it to the front of the train just as the token was handed to the assistant loco pilot; then hopped into the empty front coach to enjoy the thrash towards Okha, which there was plenty of, and as ERS WDM3A twins 14052/16860 eased 16338 into the station at Okha my 45-hour, 2143km journey came to an abrupt end; and the locos had been absolutely faultless throughout the whole journey. These things do 2000km+ journeys week in, week out, and get hammered into the ground on the 21, 22, 23 coach trains, their generally fault free running is a testament to their resilience and just how robust Alco products are when looked after well.
In the station area at Okha was an SBI WDP4D, which I paid no attention to, stabled in he bay just off platform 1, VTA WDM3A 18993 was attached to the stock to work 59552 2210 Okha – Rajkot Jn passenger, ABR WDM3A 18657 was stabled over the back of the station and eventually shunted in the stock ready to work 15046 2100 Okha – Gorakhpur Jn, VTA WDM3A 14097 looked to be acting as the station pilot and later shunted an observation coach to the front of my 19252 2005 Okha – Veraval, before giving way to classmate, VTA WDM3A 14070 to work the train. Meanwhile, the ERS twins off 16338 were removed from the train and stabled at the dead-end part of the station.
With only two hours to kill in Okha, I headed outside the station in an attempt to find something to eat. After looking around the street vendors, all of which had nothing that took my fancy, I went into the Hotel Radhe, where I originally had a booking for the following two nights, but they don’t have a restaurant. The young lad behind the counter pointed me towards a restaurant though but when I found it, it looked less than promising and there was nobody else eating at it; so back to the station I went ad had a couple of veg puffs from one of the platform stalls t tide me over.
At this point on the trip, I would have originally gone to the Hotel Radhe, spent the following two nights there and then done 16733 Okha – Rameswaram throughout; a 60-hour journey of 3152km. Thanks to IR changing he link for 16733/16734 to a WDP4 Okha – Madurai – Okha, this resulted in a complete re-plan of the trip only a week before it started. I’d initially booked 19252 2005 Okha – Veraval throughout, so I could have some time on the Gujarat MG instead. As I started looking into things harder, a very good plan came together, which had availability on all the trains I needed, so I wasted no time in booking up what I needed, which then meant my ticket for 19252 was semi-redundant and I only needed it to Rajkot instead of Veraval. As it became waitlisted though, it was pointless cancelling it and I just kept the booking, intending to get off at Rajkot instead of going through to Veraval.
With plan Z now in place, I became well acquainted with the coach attendants for 19252 before I boarded, one of which wouldn’t leave me alone on the platform, or after I boarded the train. It took the TTE to tell him to stop mithering me, for him to fuck off and leave me alone. The TTE also allowed me to take a lower side berth to Rajkot, instead of my booked upper side berth but despite being tired, I couldn’t get straight to sleep for the noise created by those boarding at Dwarka.
Gen for Sunday 18th November 2018
36134 GIM ecs for 22937 1330 Rajkot Jn – Rewa
40323 SBI 12905 0750 Porbandar – Howrah
40183 SBI 19218 1355 Jamnagar – Bandra Terminus
140xx VTA 59208 1445 Okha – Bhavnagar
14070 VTA 19252 2005 Okha – Somnath
18657 ABR 15046 2100 Okha – Gorakhpur Jn
18993 VTA 59552 2210 Okha – Rajkot Jn
14097 VTA Okha station pilot
Moves for Sunday 18th November 2018
|36134||Rajkot Jn Platform 2 West||Rajkot Jn Platform 2 East||ECS for 22937 1330 Rajkot Jn – Rewa|
|14070||Okha||Bhaktinagar||19252||2005 Okha – Somnath|
Photos for Sunday 18th November 2018
Monday 19th November 2018 (The beginning of another long journey; Rajkot to Secunderabad)
I awoke at 0029, with my alarm set for 0035. NTES quickly confirmed that 19252 would be into Rajkot shortly and I felt surprisingly fresh as I got my crap together, ready to get off. While 14070 ran-round its train I drank chai at the nearest stall, contemplating what to do; while watching the train I’d just got off get rammed to the rafters in unreserved and sleeper class. Rather than hang around at Rajkot for over 4 hours, NTES gifted me a move to Bhakti Nagar, so I made use of the ticket I had for 19252 and got back on in 2AC; confusing the hell out of the TTE. The phrase “time-pass” in India solves so many confused looks and thankfully it did so on this occasion as well.
At Bhakti Nagar the NTES guesstimate for the arrival of 22958 2135 Veraval – Ahmedabad was thankfully a little out and just as 14070 departed with 19252, VTA WDM3D 11132 came into view with 22958, which thankfully was nowhere near as wedged in unreserved as the departing 19251, and back at Rajkot I was gifted another run to Bhakti Nagar thanks to 19251 Veraval – Okha being late coming up too. As there was no queue at the ticket office in Rajkot, I bought a ticket back to Bhakti Nagar and the one I’d quickly bought while there would suffice for the return journey too. VTA WDG3A 13226 led the way there, with 22957 2210 Ahmedabad – Veraval and VTA WDM3A 14071 led the way back with 19251 2235 Somnath – Okha; and my eventful time-pass fester ended abruptly, so I took a few photos of the dossers all over the station car park, ticket office area and platforms, to pass the time instead.
GIM WDS6 36134 backed the stock into platform 1 at Rajkot at around 0345 and I hitched a lift down the platform with it to save the walk to the front to see what the locos were. I soon realised that the train locos weren’t going to be attached anytime soon but did spot them hiding in the Ahmedabad end bay platform and went to investigate. KZJ WDG3A’s 13413/14778 were very silent when I crept into the bay to spot them, and having done so I walked 19 coaches back down the train to my 2AC coach towards the rear of the train; as it always has been on 17017 0525 Rajkot Jn – Secunderabad Jn. The AC coaches were open about an hour before departure and after having a quick chat with the other occupant in my compo, we both got dossed out to try and recover some sleep. The TTE woke us about an hour after departure but there were no more disturbances all the way to Ahmedabad; even the guy’s wife and son joining at Surendranagar didn’t wake me!
As 17017 staggered into Ahmedabad Jn, the first thing I spotted was VTA WDM3A(S) 018678, attached to what I found to be the stock off 12957 New Delhi – Ahmedabad Rajdhani. I’d done well wit the shunt moves on the trip so far, so went to investigate in the 20 minutes that 17017 would sit at Ahmedabad. I wasn’t disappointed, and after only 5 minutes of waiting, the restricted WDM3A did its thing and propelled the stock to the south end carriage sidings; just as VTA WDS6 36155 was coming into the station t collect another set. The trip down the platform at least allowed me to confirm that KZJ twins 13413/14778 were at the head of 17017, and the walk back down the train allowed me to get some supplies along the way. In the adjacent platform to 17017, was 06052 0940 Ahmedabad Jn – Chennai Central, headed by KZJ WDG3A 13378; which I thought was a bit of a strange link, and it surely wouldn’t work throughout? It departed before 17017 but we passed it just outside the station, only for it to overtake us during 17017’s Vadodara Jn station stop. Another strange regulating decision, but there must have been some method behind the madness; surely?
The 20-minute stop at Vadodara allowed for a spot of lunch to be purchased and back on the train I used the IRCTC Food on the go App to order Domino’s Pizza to be delivered to my berth at Kalyan, later that night. This was something I’d done previously on 17017 and my pizza was delivered, piping hot, so I was hoping the same would happen for a second time. During the TTE’s grip earlier, I’d asked if there was a lower berth available, only to be told no. However, the berth below me was supposed to be for the TTE, who clearly didn’t want to use it, so my new mate’s wife took it and I used her lower side berth, opposite, for as long as possible; to prevent having to sit upstairs all day.
My occupation of the lower side berth came to an end at Ankleshwar Junction, when I came back from spotting RTM WDM3A 16192 with the two coaches that would form 59167 1630 Ankleshwar Jn – Rajpipla. An afternoon of vegetating in my upper berth beckoned as a result and I joined the whole coach in an afternoon snooze. It was randomly quiet for the early afternoon, nobody was talking, the lights were out throughout most of the coach and most berth curtains were closed. If only it was this quiet at bedtime!
17017 made good time and sat at Vasai Road for 30 minutes after arriving 20’ early. That was when I had a message from Domino’s to say my pizza was out for delivery and that it would be delivered hot; which I found hard to believe with 17017 not being due into Kalyan Jn for another 1h15m! 10 minutes later, after I had another message to say that my pizza had been delivered, me and the guy I’d been talking to in my compo got on the phone to Domino’s, who confirmed that it was an error on their part and that my pizza hadn’t been prepared yet. They knew what time 17017 arrived into Kalyan and confirmed it would b hot when handed over to me; and it was. Not only was it hot, it was very tasty and filled a big hole, and for RS404 (£4.50) it was worth every penny. Yet while my pizza was being delivered the family in my compo were having their own food delivered to the train by family that lived near Kalyan station; it was all go in the food stakes.
I managed to devour my pizza before Karjat and I was stood on the left-hand side of the train on arrival into Karjat station to spot the bankers in the headshunt, that would be attached to the rear of 17017 to assist it over the Bhor Ghats. A triple set of KYN WAG7’s, 27110, 27304 & 27111, dropped straight onto the rear of the train the moment 17017 cleared the track circuit to allow the points to be set for them to come out of the headshunt. The attaching and brake test were done with the utmost efficiency and the station stop was only 3 minutes; just enough time for me to nip off and photograph them being attached. Only being three coaches from the rear of the train had its advantages, sometimes! With time getting on as we headed up the Bhor Ghats, it wasn’t long before I clambered back onto my upper berth, ready for what would hopefully be a good night’s sleep.
Gen for Monday 19th November 2018
11xxx VTA 19015 0820 (P) Mumbai Central – Porbandar
16813 VTA 19016 2105 (P) Porbandar – Mumbai Central
11132 VTA 22958 2135 (P) Veraval – Ahmedabad
13226 VTA 22957 2210 (P) Ahmedabad – Veraval
14071 VTA 19251 2235 (P) Somnath – Okha
36134 GIM ecs for 17017 0525 Rajkot Jn – Secunderabad
13413/14778 KZJ 17017 0525 Rajkot Jn – Secunderabad
27110, 27304, 27111 bank 17017 Karjat to Lonavala
11423 RTM 22830 2020 (P) Shalimar – Bhuj
018678 VTA ecs ex 12957 New Delhi – Ahmedabad
13378 KZJ 06052 0940 Ahmedabad – Chennai Central
22279 BRC 59049 0605 Valsad – Viramgam Jn
16192 RTM 59167 1630 Ankleshwar Jn – Rajpipla
21934 KYN 16352 0600 (P) Nagercoil Jn – Mumbai CST
Moves for Monday 19th November 2018
|11132||Bhaktinagar||Rajkot Jn||22958||2135 (18/11) Veraval Jn – Ahmedabad Jn|
|13226||Rajkot Jn||Bhaktinagar||22957||2210 (18/11) Ahmedabad Jn – Veraval Jn|
|14071||Bhaktinagar||Rajkot Jn||19251||2235 (18/11) Somnath – Okha|
|36134||Rajkot Jn Platform 1 West||Rajkot Jn Platform 1 East||ECS for 17017 0525 Rajkot Jn – Secunderabad Jn|
|13413||Rajkot Jn||Secunderabad Jn||17017||0525 Rajkot Jn – Secunderabad Jn|
|018678||Ahmedabad Platform 9 North End||Ahmedabad Platform 9 South End||ECS ex 12958 1955 (P) New Delhi Jn – Ahmedabad Jn|
Photos for Monday 19th November 2018
Tuesday 20th November 2018 (Day 1 of 2 nedding around Secunderabad)
I was up and about by 0830 but the family in my compo were still all sound asleep, which changed when one awoke to find that the train was only 12km from Lingampalli. As 17017 was booked to be right away from Tandur to Begumpet, it was always a free for all at the doors when the train looked like it would come to a stand anywhere in the Hyderabad suburbs; from Lingampalli inwards. My gang lived near Hafizpet and were hoping to get off there but if the train stopped at Lingampalli, which it didn’t, they were going to get off there, just in case it didn’t stop at Hafizpet. The worst case for them would be going through to Begumpet but as 17017 was spot on time, which meant a very early arrival into Secunderabad if IR kept it running, it was bound to get stopped somewhere to wait time. That somewhere turned out to be very beneficial to my gang, as the train came to a grinding halt in the middle road at Hafizpet! Due to the amount of luggage they had between them and the fact the train was in the middle road, I saw my mate slip the coach attendant a note or two and he helped them across the tracks with all their belongings. As always seemed to be the case when I travelled on 17017, I’d had a great journey, with great company, with the correct traction and the train was spot on time into Secunderabad. As a result of the latter, 17017 is always a good 45’ late at Begumpet, despite NTES showing it to be RT, and this occasion was no exception. It had been a good 1467km run, with a pair of KZJ’s finest Shakti’s, the only issue with doing the train from Gujarat to Secunderabad is that the AC coaches are at the rear of the train.
I was ready for a bit of a rest, and more than ready for a shower and a shave but when I came across KZJ WDM3A’s 16363/16501 on 12747 0545 Guntur Jn – Vikarabad Jn, what was going to turn into a quick trip back out to Begumpet, turned into a round robin to Hyderabad, via Begumpet, when KZJ WDG3A 14927 dropped into Begumpet with 17009 0650 Bidar – Hyderabad Intercity. That resulted in me having to do the Sabari Express, 17230 1115 Hyderabad – Trivandrum back to Secunderabad; which last time I’d ended up on had been a pair of KZJ Shaktis! This time it was the regular KJM link of KJM WDP4D 40523.
This time at Secunderabad, I did head out to my pre-booked hotel, the Hotel Lotus Grand, which was allegedly under the OYO banner but nothing at the hotel at all advertised so or gave the impression it was. The staff at the front desk were expecting me and checked me in on their hand-held, which seems to be anew thing in India these days. Of course, I still had to hand write all the other stuff, and fill in the C form, before being shown to my room. I was given a room on the 6th floor, at the back side of the hotel. There were a couple of cockroaches on the floor when I walked in, both of which were immediately squashed, and other than the bed, which was a good thing, the room looked tired and the bathroom wasn’t great. It certainly wasn’t up to OYO standards but at least the AC worked and the WiFi was strong enough to download a load of things to watch on my laptop. I noted that there were no toiletries in the bathroom and when I asked for some, and a toilet roll, later that night, I was given a pile of napkins from the restaurant to wipe my arse with; and no apology. Thankfully there was hot water 24/7 and I managed to have a very quick shower before heading back to the station. The staff at the front desk wanted me to wait and pay before I went, because their card machine wasn’t working; which I was having none of and went on my way; feeling a little refreshed.
Refreshing NTES when I was braving the main road back to the station, trying not to get run over by autos, cars and buses, as well as trying not to bump into lackadaisical people, showed me that 57131 0905 Bolarum – Hyderabad hadn’t gone yet; so I upped my pace a little and had no issues getting a ticket and onto the platform with plenty of time to spare. PA WDG3A 13175 was soon along, with an empty passenger rake, and I had a personal train for the journey round to Hyderabad, where I realised that 12701 Mumbai CST – Hyderabad, Hussain Sagar Express, hadn’t arrived. With no time to make a decision, I scurried around the dead end of the bay platforms, and into the rear of 57517 1215 Hyderabad – Tandur passenger train; which I’d spotted KZJ WAG7 27611 at the helm of as I was arriving.
I soon figured out that getting off the off-side of trains arriving at Begumpet was the best option as the ticket office on the SC/HYB side only ever had one person in the queue when I went to it, plus you’re already on the correct platform if the train you want to do arrives. KYN WDG3A 14567 was soon along with the late running Hussain Sagar Express, which I’d seen four days earlier on the Konkan Railway working 12133/12134 Mumbai CST – Mangalore Jn – Mumbai CST. Back at Hyderabad I had time to assess things a little more and the first thing I realised was that there were no shunt locos at Hyderabad, or Secunderabad for that matter, and all the old WDM2S’s had probably gone in the bin; they’d not even replaced them with WDS6s either, which would have been nice. It seems that shunting is now done at both locations with mainline locos and at Hyderabad KZJ WDG3A 14927 and MLY WDG3A 13653 were being used. At Secunderabad KTE WDM3A 16740, KZJ WDM3A 18899 & KZJ WDG3A 14967 were being used; along with LDG WAG9 31186, which seemed to be a regular thing using WAG9s for empty stock moves in the area.
The recent electrification north of Secunderabad towards Wadi had made its mark on loco links as 11308 1625 Hyderabad – Gulbarga was sat with KZJ WAG7 27834 at the business and the inbound 11307 looked to have been worked in by BZA WAG5 23895. There were other electrics on shed at Hyderabad too, and I suspect one may have worked in with 57155 Gulbarga – Hyderabad passenger; but I never saw the train at all during my time in the area. As is always the case, the only other KYN loco at Hyderabad was soon dropping onto the opposite end of the Hussain Sagar rake, KYN WDM3D 11359; which will have worked into Hyderabad on 17031 Mumbai CST – Hyderabad earlier that morning. 14567 would return to Mumbai CST with 17032 later that night.
With plenty of time to kill, after I bought a Superfast ticket to allow me to do the Hussain Sagar Express back out of Hyderabad, I made what was probably the biggest mistake of my trip and had an egg biriyani in the refreshment room on the station. I’m always wary of eating food in Hyderabad due to how spicy it can be, and the biriyani was spicy; but not uneatable spicy. I would reap the consequences of it at 0338 the following morning though!
12702 1445 Hyderabad – Mumbai CST usually sits on the corner outside Begumpet, waiting for 12026 1450 Secunderabad – Pune Shatabdi to go first, even though it’s booked in front of it from Begumpet. As 12025/12026 are TX, 12702 was straight into Begumpet, I was off the off the offside of the train while the hoards fought for space in the front unreserved coaches and managed to walk to the Secunderabad end of the platform before 12748 1345 Vikarabad Jn – Guntur Jn arrived with the returning KZJ twins 16501/16363. The minus off 12702 onto 12748 is one that generally always makes but up until recently the Palnadu Express 12747/12748 had always been a WDP4 but links had recently been changed with 12733/12734 now being KZJ twins between Guntur and Lingampalli and this link circulates with 12747/12748 Guntur – Vikarabad in the middle of the cycle; so, 12734, 12747, 12748 then 12733, with the locos running light between Secunderabad and Lingampalli, and vice versa. 12703/12704 Secunderabad – Howrah – Secunderabad now gets a KJM WDP4 as its link vice KZJ Alco twins.
Due to the locos being attached to 17018 1500 Secunderabad – Rajkot late, I made the minus onto it back at Secunderabad but as it was KZJ WDG3As 14591/13244, I decided to wait and see what would work 17208 1025 Vijayawada – Sainagar Shirdi forward instead; that was until an unexpected arrival had me on another quick round-robin Secunderabad – Hyderabad – Begumpet – Secunderabad. PA WDM3D 11224 was the loco and 07116 Kochuveli – Hyderabad special was the train. Thanks to a good run to Hyderabad I was able to make 11308 1625 Hyderabad – Gulbarga, with KZJ WAG7 27834, out to Begumpet and then did an MMTS local EMU back into Secunderabad; where I got talking to a pointsman, who did the loco change on 17208 when it arrived and had no understanding at all of the word shunter, which described his job in UK terms. He did nothing but hook engines on/off trains all day and during his 8-hour shift he’d do about 8 in total, sometimes with nothing to do for a couple of hours. There were always two on shift at Secunderabad and due to staff shortages, both on duty at this point were working 12-hour shifts, on overtime.
There were plenty of KZJ twins about but thankfully KZJ WDG3A’s 13444/14925 replaced BZA WAG5 23848 on 17208 1025 Vijayawada – Sainagar Shirdi and they left in time to allow a comfortable plus onto 17234 1715 Lingampalli – Tirupati and Begumpet, which produced KZJ WDM3A’s 14017/18895; which didn’t allow for too comfortable a plus onto 17064 1810 Secunderabad – Manmad, Ajanta Express, back at Secunderabad. Which was sat waiting to go with KZJ WDG3A’s 13238/14789 an di did them the short distance out to Malkajgiri for MLY WDG3A 14658 to Kacheguda on the late running 57687 1425 Nizamabad – Kacheguda passenger. I’d originally planned an overnight move on both this and the following night, which involved doing 12797 Kacheguda – Chittoor to Dhone Jn for the return working of 12798 back to Kacheguda. I’d decided against such an overnight, on this night, earlier in the day as I needed some proper sleep and to sort my shit out at the hotel; what a good move I ended up playing, in hindsight, as I really did have some shit to sort out!
KZJ WDG3As 13412/14928 did 12797, which I could have on their way back the following night anyway and I was content with doing GY WDP4D 40220 back to Secunderabad on 17028 1500 Kurnool City – Secunderabad and calling it a day. I attempted to use the hotel restaurant, after paying my bill while the card machine was working, but was told it was closed when I walked in. Th reception staff then got on the phone and told me afterwards that the restaurant was actually open, but that there was no chef at the moment; so, what he meant to say was “so sorry sir, the restaurant is closed at the moment, inconvenience is deeply regretted”! Not wanting to eat at a local joint I headed up the road to what had originally been the United 21 Hotel and was now called the Metropolis Hotel and had a good meal in here instead, which wasn’t spicy, the chicken was excellent, and the service was great. The name change confirmed why I couldn’t find the United 21 when booking my Secunderabad Hotel but I knew for next time; having stayed there a couple of time previously.
Back at my crappy Hotel Lotus Grand, I confirmed that they offered a laundry service and then prepared everything I needed washing, before I went to bed. And bed was something I needed that night, and one that wasn’t moving too.
Gen for Tuesday 20th November 2018
13068 GTL 57651 1050 Secunderabad – Repalle
40434 KJM 12703 0725 (P) Howrah – Secunderabad, 12704 1555 Secunderabad – Howrah
24672 JHS stock shunt loco at SC
16501/16363 KZJ 12747 0545 Guntur Jn – Vikarabad Jn, 12748 1345 Vikarabad Jn – Guntur Jn
14927 KZH 17009 0650 Bidar – Hyderabad DN
40523 KJM 17230 1115 Hyderabad DN – Trivandrum Central
40135 GY 17058 1225 Secunderabad – Mumbai CST
40113 GY 17028 0530 Kurnool City – Secunderabad
13175 PA 57131 0905 Bolarum – Hyderabad DN
27611 KZJ 57517 1215 Hyderabad DN – Tandur
14567 KYN 12701 2150 (P) Mumbai CST – Hyderabad DN
70439 KZJ ECS Hyderabad – Secunderabad, 17027 1655 Secunderabad – Kurnool City
23895 BZA 11307 0600 Gulbarga – Hyderabad DN
27834 KZJ 11308 1625 Hyderabad DN – Gulbarga
11359 KYN 12702 1445 Hyderabad DN – Mumbai CST
40527 KJM 17320 1540 Secunderabad – Hubli Jn
14591/13244 KZJ 17018 1500 Secunderabad – Rajkot
40355 GY 17057 2110 (P) Mumbai CST – Secunderabad
13413/14778 KZJ 17233 1525 Secunderabad – Balharshah
30317 LGD (30573 LDG) 12714 1615 Secunderabad – Vijayawada
11224 PA 07116 0745 (P) Kochuveli – Hyderabad DN
24507 JHS 15015 0635 (P) Gorakhpur – Yesvantpur (to SC)
18886/18890 KZJ 15015 0635 (P) Gorakhpur – Yesvantpur (from SC)
14021/18897 KZJ 17016 1650 Secunderabad – Bhubaneswar (14967 KZJ ECS from CS)
40130 GY 12770 1640 Secunderabad – Tirupati
23848 BZA 17208 1025 Vijayawada – Sainagar Shirdi (to SC)
13444/14925 KZJ 17208 1025 Vijayawada – Sainagar Shirdi (from SC)
14017/18895 KZJ 12734 1715 Lingampalli – Tirupati
13238/14789 KZJ 17064 1810 Secunderabad – Manmad Jn
16713 GTL 57652 0700 Repalle – Secunderabad
30433 LGD 12728 1715 Hyderabad – Visakhapatnam
22627 LGD 57625 1840 Secunderabad – Manuguru
14629 MLY 57687 1425 Nizamabad – Kacheguda
40220 GY 17024 1500 Kurnool City – Secunderabad
13412/14928 KZJ 12797 2005 Kacheguda – Chittoor
Moves for Tuesday 20th November 2018
|16501||Secunderabad Jn||Begumpet||12747||0545 Guntur Jn – Vikarabad Jn|
|14927||Begumpet||Hyderabad Deccan Nampally||17009||0650 Bidar – Hyderabad Deccan Nampally|
|40523||Hyderabad Deccan Nampally||Secunderabad Jn||17230||1115 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally – Trivandrum Central|
|13175||Secunderabad Jn||Hyderabad Deccan Nampally||57131||0905 Bolarum – Hyderabad Deccan Nampally|
|27611||Hyderabad Deccan Nampally||Begumpet||57517||1215 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally – Tandur|
|14567||Begumpet||Hyderabad Deccan Nampally||12701||2150 (19/11) Mumbai CST – Hyderabad Deccan Nampally|
|11359||Hyderabad Deccan Nampally||Begumpet||12702||1445 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally – Mumbai CST|
|16363||Begumpet||Secunderabad Jn||12748||1345 Vikarabad Jn – Guntur Jn|
|11224||Secunderabad Jn||Hyderabad Deccan Nampally||07116||0745 (19/11) Kochuveli – Hyderabad Deccan Nampally|
|27834||Hyderabad Deccan Nampally||Begumpet||11308||1625 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally – Gulbarga|
|EMU||Begumpet||Secunderabad Jn||47186||1625 Lingampalli – Falaknuma|
|13444||Secunderabad Jn||Begumpet||17208||1025 Vijayawada Jn – Sainagar Shirdi|
|14017||Begumpet||Secunderabad Jn||12734||1715 Lingampalli – Tirupati|
|13238||Secunderabad Jn||Malkajgiri||17064||1810 Secunderabad Jn – Manmad Jn|
|14629||Malkajgiri||Kacheguda||57687||1425 Nizamabad Jn – Kacheguda|
|40220||Kacheguda||Secunderabad Jn||17024||1500 Kurnool City – Secunderabad Jn|
Photos for Tuesday 20th November 2018
Wednesday 21st November 2018 (Day 2 of 2 in Secunderabad – and my shitty 43rd Birthday)
All was going swimmingly with sleep until 0338, when I woke with a start, farted, and then instantly realised that I’d not actually farted at all. It all happened in a split second and I was up and out of bed and dashing or the toilet without even thinking about what I was doing; my insides were then deposited where they should be. What a way to start your 43rd birthday, by shitting the bed! If this is how things get as you get older then I’m done now, and I wave a white flag of surrender! I’m guessing the bed probably did too and I cleaned it as best I could before clambering back into the non-shitty side and trying to get a bit more sleep.
Randomly, a chance conversation with a guy at Hyderabad later got onto the topic of Hyderabadi Biriyani and the fact it was spicy. Without knowing about my unfortunate incident, he told me that those not used to eating food that spicy would end up wide awake at 5am the following morning as the spices took hold in their digestive system. He then told me the only way to prevent it is to drink a lot of water, or even fizzy pop to help with the digestion; which I’d done neither of. It was a very surreal conversation and I was hoping he’d just explained what had happened overnight. It definitely wasn’t food poisoning as I wasn’t sick at all and after I’d had a couple of rehydration sachets and a lot of fluid, I started to feel a lot better, but it was a ginger start to the day when I got up at 7am to take my washing downstairs. Feeling quite safe in the arse department, having popped an Imodium tablet before leaving the hotel, I handed my small bag of laundry in at the front desk on the way out and they confirmed that it would be ready for me by the evening.
I’d watched GTL WDG3A 13068 drop onto 57651 1050 Secunderabad – Repalle passenger the previous morning, so knew it would return overnight with 17626 2230 Repalle – Secunderabad, which has recently been upgraded to an express and has 3AC in its consist these days. 17626 forms 57605 0740 Secunderabad – Vikarabad passenger and 13068 worked it forward, getting the day off to a good start. At Begumpet, other than the previous day at Hyderabad, I came across the first MLY loco of the trip when MLY WDG3A 14918 arrived shortly after 13068 had departed, working 57547 0745 Hyderabad – Purna Jn passenger; which I ended up doing as far as Hafizpet for PA WDM3D 11369 back to Begumpet on 57129 1830 (P) Bijapur – Bolarum passenger. There I had a bit of a fester, thanks to some fine regulating in the Hyderabad suburbs, which only succeeded in making trains later than they needed to be but when KZJ WDG3A’s 13446/14907 eventually turned up with 17205 1710 (P) Sainagar Shirdi – Kakinada Port, all was forgiven when I boarded the empty front coach for the run to Secunderabad.
There was a bit of de-ja-vu as I watched GTL WDG3A 14906 drop onto the stock to work 57651 1050 Secunderabad – Repalle passenger, which I banked on coming back the following morning as 13068 had done this morning, and then KZJ WDM3A’s 18895/14017 arrived with the Palnadu Express, 12747 0545 Guntur Jn – Vikarabad Jn. I ended up at Hyderabad for 12702 1445 Hyderabad – Mumbai CST having done exactly the same trains to end up there, as the previous day; just in a different order and to/from different places! The KZJ twins on the Palnadu dropped me into 12701 Mumbai CST – Hyderabad Hussain Sagar Express at Begumpet, with KYN WDM3D 11398, which dropped me straight into 57517 1215 Hyderabad – Tandur passenger. With LGD WAG9 31186 heading it, it would have been rude not to do it straight back out and I was hoping it would make the very late running 19202 Porbandar – Secunderabad at Begumpet. It didn’t though and was held on the curve outside Begumpet for an MMTS local to run into the station and VTA WDM3D 11421 departed with 19201 in the meantime. The move was saved though, when PA WDM3D 11369 pulled up on the through Secunderabad – Hyderabad loop at Hussain Sagar, with 57131 0905 Bolarum – Hyderabad. From the back of 57517 to the front of 57131 was a 30 second trudge over the ballast; it was a no-brainer really and got me back to where I needed to be without doing an EMU or an auto.
KYN WDG3A 13307 was already on the stock to work 12702 1445 Hyderabad – Mumbai CST, when 11369 rolled into the bay with 57131. MLY WDG3A 13653 was on hand to shunt the stock out and release the PA ‘3D. KZJ WDG3A 14927 was again shunting the opposite side for the station and KZJ WDG3A 13201 was about to depart with the ecs to Secunderabad that would then form 17027 1655 Secunderabad – Kurnool City; which had been KZJ WDG4D 70439 the previous day! Needless to say, I did not have an egg biriyani in the refreshment room while I waited but I did get told to stop photographing by an RPF guy, for the second time in two years. Once he read the documentation, I produced though he offered me his hand and all was well.
There was more de-ja-vu about the afternoon when I departed Hyderabad on the Hussain Sagar Express, albeit this time it did have to wait on the curve outside Begumpet for 12026 Secunderabad – Pune Shatabdi to go first; but it still made the minus onto the Palnadu Express and VTA WDM3D 11421 arrived with 19201 1500 Secunderabad – Porbandar just as my KZJ twins, 14017/18895, were running in.
As I had a little time at Secunderabad, I’d made my mind up that I was well enough to do the planned overnight and was going to keep the hotel anyway, but I headed over to leave some crap behind ad get some bits for the overnight. I also checked with the front desk that all was well with my laundry, and they confirmed it would be back that evening, again. Bless them, they’d even changed my bedding, which doesn’t happen very often in Indian hotels at all, so it was all clean for no reason!
Not wanting to tempt fate with the guts situation, I’d eaten only maltloaf during the day but was feeling up to some proper food by this point so the new, and very welcome, KFC on platform 1 at Secunderabad got a visit. The nice shiny refurbished refreshment area there was still in the throws of being finished, on the outside anyway. Right in front of the KFC counter, which is on the platform side, there was a guy with a circular saw trimming down platform tiles right where people were waiting to put their orders in. I ended up standing with my fingers in my ears, until a sensible guy came along and told the guy with the saw to stop while people ordered. He was in shorts and vest, with no protective wear whatsoever and no earplugs! The noise was deafening at 6ft, so god knows what his hearing was like with his head only being 6 inches from the racket; and I told him so once he’d stopped. My KFC went down a treat while I waited BZA’s WAP4 25033 to be replaced on 17206 0600 Kakinada Port – Sainagar Shirdi; and I was most dis-chuffed when KJM WDP4D 40385 backed down, especially with all the KZJ twins around the place.
The GM was a means to an end though and when KZJ WDG3A’s 13446/14907 rolled into Begumpet with 12734 1715 Lingampalli – Tirupati, at least it answered what the loco link for 12734 came off; having had them on 17205 Sainagar Shirdi – Kakinada Port that morning. The evening move picked up after arriving back into Secunderabad though as KZJ WDM3As 18912/18915 were sat waiting to depart with 17064 1810 Secunderabad – Manmad Jn, Ajanta Express, and 57687 was late enough again for the twins to make MLY WDG3A 14658 at Malkajgiri. The evening was topped off nicely when I found KZJ WDG3A’s 14777/14919 waiting at Kacheguda with 12797 2005 Kacheguda – Chittoor and my lower side berth on board was just what the doctor ordered; somewhere to shut the world out, get a bit of sleep and not be disturbed by other people getting on and off, and where I was even able to fart wit confidence….
I was awake at Kurnool City, which was where a decision had to be made as to whether to go through to Dhone Jn or not. It was simple one in the end, thanks to NTES confirming 12798 coming the other way was 40’ late, and my eyeballs confirming that 12797 departed Kurnool spot on time. I ended up with about 45 minutes at Dhone, which was enough time to down a couple of chai and brush my teeth while waiting on the platform. As expected, 12798 arrived into Dhone with KZJ WDG3A’s 13412/14928 and again I had a lower side berth on board. Unfortunately, it had been left in a state by the previous occupant, but the coach attendant soon had it all cleared away and I wasted no time in setting my own stall out and getting back to horizontal mode; with no need for an alarm setting as I’d be getting off at Kacheguda, where the train terminated. Despite the shitty start to my birthday, India Railways had treated me well and the day turned out o be a pretty decent one in the end.
Gen for Wednesday 21st November 2018
40220 GY 17023 0730 Secunderabad – Kurnool City
40385 KJM 17015 0830 (P) Bhubaneswar – Secunderabad, 17206 0600 Kakinada Port – Sainagar Shirdi (from SC)
40434 KJM 12703 0725 (P) Howrah – Secunderabad, 12704 1555 Secunderabad – Howrah
13068 GTL 17626 2230 (P) Repalle – Secunderabad, 57605 0740 Secunderabad – Vikarabad
14626 PA 57564 2330 (P) Nanded – Hyderabad DN
14918 MLY 57547 0745 Hyderabad DN – Purna Jn
11369 PA 57129 1830 (P) Bijapur – Bolarum, 57131 0905 Bolarum – Hyderabad DN
13446/14907 KZJ 17205 1710 (P) Sainagar Shirdi – Kakinada Port (to SC), 12734 1715 Lingampalli – Tirupati
16013/16750 PA 17063 2050 (P) Manmad Jn – Secunderabad
14906 GTL 57651 1050 Secunderabad – Repalle
18895/14017 KZJ 12747 0545 Guntur Jn – Vikarabad Jn, 12748 1345 Vikarabad Jn – Guntur Jn
40135 GY 17058 1225 Secunderabad – Mumbai CST
11398 KYN 12701 2150 (P) Mumbai CST – Hyderabad DN
31186 LGD 57517 1215 Hyderabad DN – Tandur
11369 on 57131 from Hussain Sagar
11421 VTA 19202 0045 (P) Porbandar – Secunderabad, 19201 1500 Secunderabad – Porbandar
40381 GY 07117 1250 Hyderabad DN – Ernakulam Jn
13201 KZJ ECS Hyderabad – Secunderabad, 17027 1655 Secunderabad – Kurnool City
40523 KJM 17229 0715 (P) Trivandrum Central – Hyderabad DN
23895 BZA 11308 1625 Hyderabad DN – Gulbarga
13307 KYN 12702 1445 Hyderabad DN – Mumbai CST
40188 GY 17057 2110 (P) Mumbai CST – Secunderabad
40450 KJM 17319 2050 (P) Hubli Jn – Secunderabad
40226 KJM 17320 1540 Secunderabad – Hubli Jn
13418 KZJ 17233 1525 Secunderabad – Balharshah
23850 BZA 08502 1630 Secunderabad – Visakhapatnam
30655 LGD 12714 1650 Secunderabad – Vijayawada
25033 BZA 17206 0600 Kakinada Port – Sainagar Shirdi (to SC)
16375/16335 KZJ 22882 2220 (P) Bhubaneswar – Pune
14577 GTL 57652 0700 Repalle – Secunderabad
30433 LGD 12728 1715 Hyderabad – Visakhapatnam
18915/18912 KZJ 17064 1810 Secunderabad – Manmad Jn
14658 MLY 57687 1425 Nizamabad – Kacheguda
14777/14919 KZJ 12797 2005 Kacheguda – Chittoor
13412/14928 KZJ 12798 1730 Chittoor – Kacheguda
14967 KZJ shunting at SC
14035 MLY shunting at SC
14927 KZJ shunting at HYB
13653 MLY shunting at HYB
Moves for Wednesday 21st November 2018
|13068||Secunderabad Jn||Begumpet||57605||0740 Secunderabad Jn – Vikarabad Jn|
|14918||Begumpet||Hafizpet||57547||0745 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally – Purna Jn|
|11369||Hafizpet||Begumpet||57129||1830 (20/11) Bijapur – Bolarum|
|13446||Begumpet||Secunderabad Jn||17205||1710 (20/11) Sainagar Shirdi – Kakinada Port|
|18895||Secunderabad Jn||Begumpet||12747||0545 Guntur Jn – Vikarabad Jn|
|11398||Begumpet||Hyderabad Deccan Nampally||12701||2150 (20/11) Mumbai CST – Hyderabad Deccan Nampally|
|31186||Hyderabad Deccan Nampally||Hussain Sagar||57517||1215 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally – Tandur|
|11369||Hussain Sagar||Hyderabad Deccan Nampally||57131||0905 Bolarum – Hyderabad Deccan Nampally|
|13307||Hyderabad Deccan Nampally||Begumpet||12702||1445 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally – Mumbai CST|
|14017||Begumpet||Secunderabad Jn||12748||1345 Vikarabad Jn – Guntur Jn|
|40385||Secunderabad Jn||Begumpet||17206||0600 Kakinada Port – Sainagar Shirdi|
|13446||Begumpet||Secunderabad Jn||12734||1715 Lingampalli – Tirupati|
|18915||Secunderabad Jn||Malkajgiri||17064||1810 Secunderabad Jn – Manmad Jn|
|14658||Malkajgiri||Kacheguda||57687||1425 Nizamabad Jn – Kacheguda|
|14777||Kacheguda||Dhone Jn||12797||2005 Kacheguda – Chitoor|
Photos for Wednesday 21st November 2018
Thursday 22nd November 2018 (A final morning in Secunderabad before heading to Goa)
Following a decent sleep, and after having a solid shit before alighting at Kacheguda, I was straight into an auto outside the station and making my way to Moula Ali. The 11km run from Kacheguda to Moula Ali is down a pretty straight road and it took 20 minutes, costing RS250; which I thought was quite reasonable for the distance. I had 10 minutes to play with on arrival, after directing my driver to the station, using Google maps. It was another as predicted moment, when GTL WDG3A 14906 arrived with the slightly late running 17626 2230 (P) Repalle – Secunderabad. This dropped me nicely into a completely unpredictable moment at Secunderabad, when KZJ WDG3A’s 13660/14828 arrived with 17019 1500 (PP) Jaipur – Hyderabad; with the locos having been away from the Hyderabad area for the best part of 6 days, there was no way I’d have seen them during my time there and it was a pleasant surprise, especially as I’d not even realised the train ran into Hyderabad that morning!
As I left Secunderabad, although I was heading in the right direction for the train I’d be doing towards Goa, I was heading away from the Hotel Lotus Grand, where my big bag and laundry were. As luck had it, MLY WDG3A 14628 was just about to leave Hyderabad with 57547 0745 Hyderabad – Purna passenger when 17019 arrived. Without having time to buy a ticket I leapt aboard and was very pleased to see PA WDM3D 11367 arriving into Begumpet with 57129 1830 (P) Bijapur – Bolarum, as we arrived. This had me back into Secunderabad by 0815, after what had been a rather hectic morning bash. I still couldn’t resist doing KZJ WDG3A 13443 from the carriage sidings departure road into the station, as it shunted the stock in for 12757 0820 Secunderabad – Sirpur Kaghaznagar, before making a beeline for the hotel, where my hectic morning became a stressful one.
First things first at the hotel, confirming my laundry was done at the front desk, which they said a boy would bring up for me. Thankfully he was knocking on my room door 5 minutes after I got there, which allowed me to pack my bag and have a quick shower before heading back out into the big wide world; albeit one pair of socks short! I told the boy this and he told me there had only been one pair in my laundry bag, which of course there hadn’t, and I told him so; so off he went in search of the missing socks while I had my shower. Needless to say, I never got my second pair of socks back and the hotel staff were adamant there had only been one pair in the bag.
Down at reception further fun began when the front desk told me I needed to pay for the bedsheets, that I’d apparently ruined. Now, while I did have a mishap, I did clean them as best I could, and I was pretty sure a hot wash would have got them 100% clean. When I asked them to prove the sheet had been damaged beyond cleaning, they wouldn’t and just rang housekeeping to confirm the fact. The apparent price I had to pay for a new sheet was RS500, which then led me nicely on to the fact that my laundry was a pair of socks short. Straight away the guy at the front desk was on the back foot and told me I was making it up to compensate for the bedsheet. When I told him I wasn’t he then called me an outright liar, in front of others in reception, and I saw red at that point! After giving him a small bit of Yorkshire verbal, I picked my bags up, said goodbye and stormed out of the hotel; which had quite possibly been one of the worst hotel experiences I’d ever had in India. I will never be returning to the Lotus Grand, even if it results in me having to slum it on Secunderabad station for the night. Despite the guy at the front desk calling me back and shouting that I couldn’t leave, I walked off towards the station, and that, thankfully, was the end of that; although I was going to have to economise on socks for the rest of the trip. And as I walked off, I realised I’d not paid for the laundry either! Fuck ‘em, as we say in Yorkshire!
The longer than needed time at the hotel of doom, reduced the amount of time I had at Secunderabad before 17021 0920 Hyderabad – Guntakal (the portion goes to Vasco) arrived. I’d packed my bags in the hotel, so I could drop my big bag at the cloak room on platform 1 and leave it there until I returned 4 days later. Everything I needed for the four days fit into my little back, and I even fit a change of clothes in too; at the expense of my jacket, which let’s face, wasn’t going to be needed as anything more than an extra pillow! The new refreshment plaza on platform 1 provided a good, freshly made, bread omelette for RS70 and it was good to see that the new platform tiles were now in place in front of the KFC counter.
All sorted, eventually, I thought I was going to get a bit of piece and quiet on board 17021 0920 Hyderabad – Guntakal, when PA WDM3A’s 16750/16013 arrived with the load 10 portion that gets attached to 17419 Tirupati – Vasco at Guntakal. I was wrong and in the compo behind me was a family with kids, one of which would stop screeching and screaming, when it didn’t get its own way. Even my music didn’t drown all the noise out to add insult to injury I had the lower side berth next to the coach door in 3AC; and the young lad with the upper berth wanted to sit in the lower seat, which prevented any relaxation along the way at all. Due to the proximity to the door and the fact that people kept leaving the outside coach doors open in the vestibule, it was sweltering at times as the AC couldn’t cope and one of the guys in the compo area opposite kept turning the fan off as he was too cold; I was sweating cobs! It wasn’t an enjoyable journey and the only reason I’d booked 3AC to Guntakal is because there hadn’t been any 2AC available at the time of booking. Forward from Guntakal there been plenty of 2AC available in the Tirupati portion, so I split my tickets to get into 2AC for the overnight portion of the journey.
The PA twins on load 10 were the only bit of enjoyment throughout the journey and the loco pilot seemed to be enjoying having 6200Hp on such a small rake, as he wasn’t hanging around and one of the two Alcos darkened the skies every time it was put to full power. It was too hot to stand bellowing at the door all the time though. Despite the lack of enjoyment the 7h40m journey to Guntakal passed quickly, mainly as I was kept occupied for quite a lot of the journey writing up my moves from the previous two days, which I’d typed into One Note on my phone, as it was easier than trying to type gen into my phone and hand write moves at the same time. Lunch along the way, came at Kurnool City, 12 hours after I’d passed through in the opposite direction. The egg biriyani never touched the sides and I was clearly firing on all cylinders again by this point.
I was pleased to be getting out of 3AC by Guntakal and on arrival 17021 stopped short in platform 3 and I found 17419 1120 Tirupati – Vasco at the top end of platform 6. I got the impression from the loco pilot on the PA twins that the locos were going to shunt off, collect the Tirupati portion and shunt it onto the top of the Hyderabad portion, so I walked down towards the Tirupati portion to find my 2AC berth. Before I crossed the tracks to get to it, GY WDG3A’s 14552/14625 arrived with 18048 0710 Vasco Da Gama – Howrah Amravati Express. Curiosity soon halted my progress towards 17419, when WDS6 36345 dropped onto the rear of 18048; then the penny dropped that it was going to shunt the through Vasco – Kacheguda portion off the rear, and I was clambering on board for the ride. The PA twins hadn’t even been detached when the WDS6 drew the portion off the rear of the train, which it then shunted into the bay platform at the top end of the station, before shunting the brake back onto the rear of 18048.
As I then watched the PA twins come off 17021’s rake, I noticed a headlight approaching the set at the rear, so curiosity took a hold for a second time and I ended up walking back to the opposite end of the station to find PA WDG3A 14558 dropping onto the stock, which it then drew out and shunted to the rear of 17419 Tirupati – Vasco in platform 6; while the PA twins dropped onto the front of the Tirupati portion to work through to Vasco. This explained why 17021 was a pair on load 10, as they worked forward to Goa on load 20 after the portions had been joined at Guntakal.
Unless 17021 is 30 or so minutes early into Guntakal, I don’t see how 17419 can ever leave on time from Guntakal. We were 30’ late away and sat quite a while near Bellary waiting for something coming the other way. On board, the clientele was a lot better in 2AC and I got talking to a guy who’d been on since Renigunta, who should have got on at Tirupati, but missed the train! He told me that there’d been heavy rain in Tirupati, which was the back end of the cyclone that had affected Kerala the previous week, and the going had been hard getting to the station. As he narrowly missed it, he then got driven to Renigunta and managed to board there, just as the train was departing. He also had an upper side berth, which he decided he didn’t like and wouldn’t be able to sleep in, but thankfully for him, the TTE gave him the upper berth opposite me after someone hadn’t turned up at Guntakal; or so everyone thought! It turned out that the girl whose berth it was, had been on the train since Guntakal but had been in AV1, in the Hyderabad portion, and not A1 in the Tirupati portion as she should have been. The result was the TTE allowing her to take the upper side berth instead of her allocated berth, which was now taken by someone else.
I was ready to get to bed that night, but just as the lights went out, someone else came into the berth, with his mate and they decided to sit chatting. After I politely told them that everyone else wanted to get some sleep, I was told they’d sit chatting for 5 minutes while we went to sleep. When I drew the curtains and turned the lights out, chatting ended and all the mice in the compo went to sleep; like good little mice! The powers of simple persuasion……
Gen for Thursday 22nd November 2018
14906 GTL 17626 2230 (P) Repalle – Secunderabad, 57605 0740 Secunderabad – Vikarabad
13660/14828 KZJ 17019 1500 (PP) Jaipur – Hyderabad
14628 MLY 57547 0745 Hyderabad DN – Purna Jn
11367 PA 57129 1830 (P) Bijapur – Bolarum
13443 KZJ ECS for 12787 Secunderabad – Sirpur Khazagnagar
22714 LGD 20811 2045 (P) Visakhapatnam – Nanded (to SC)
20054 KJM 20811 2045 (P) Visakhapatnam – Nanded (from SC)
14925/13444 KZJ 17207 1710 (P) Sainagar Shirdi – Vijayawada (to SC)
30317 LGD 17207 1710 (P) Sainagar Shirdi – Vijayawada (to SC)
22627 ED 57626 2345 (P) Manuguru – Secunderabad
16750/16013 PA 17021 0920 Hyderabad – Guntakal, 17419 1120 Tirupati – Vasco (from GTL) (17021 shunted to rear of 17419 at GTL by 13558 PA)
12088/12036/12326 UBL pilot 17419 Castle Rock – Kulem
13201 KZJ 17028 0530 Kurnool City – Secunderabad
13254 MLY 57425 0940 Kacheguda – Guntakal Jn
14024/16876 KJM 12786 1820 (P) Bangalore City – Kacheguda
40378 GY (13314 GTL) 57426 0545 Guntakal Jn – Kacheguda
40225 GY 17418 1910 (P) Sainagar Shirdi – Tirupati
14552/14625 GY 18048 0710 Vasco – Howrah
36345 GTL shunt through Vasco – Kacheguda portion off 18048 at GTL
Moves for Thursday 22nd November 2018
|13412||Dhone Jn||Kacheguda||12798||1730 (21/11) Chitoor – Kacheguda|
|Auto||Kacheguda||Moula Ali||RS200, 10km, 20m|
|14906||Moula Ali||Secunderabad Jn||17626||2230 (21/11) Repalle – Secunderabad Jn|
|13660||Secunderabad Jn||Hyderabad Deccan Nampally||17019||1500 (20/11) Jaipur Jn – Hyderabad Deccan Nampally|
|14628||Hyderabad Deccan Nampally||Begumpet||57547||0745 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally – Purna Jn|
|11367||Begumpet||Secunderabad Jn||57129||1830 (21/11) Bijapur – Bolarum|
|13443||Secunderabad Jn Station Sidings||Secunderabad Jn Platform 1||ECS for 12757 0820 Secunderabad – Sirpur Kagaznagar|
|16750||Secunderabad Jn||Guntakal Jn||17021||0920 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally – Guntakal Jn|
|36345||Guntakal Jn Platform 4||Guntakal Jn Bay||Shunt through Vasco – Kacheguda portion off rear of 18048|
|14558||Guntakal Jn Platform 3||Guntakal Jn Platform 6||Shunt 17021 to 17419 at Guntakal Jn|
|16750||Guntakal Jn||Vasco Da Gama||17419||1120 Tirupati – Vasco Da Gama|
Photos for Thursday 22nd November 2018
Friday 23rd November 2018 (Travelling back from Vasco to Guntakal via Cumbum on the Amravati Expresses)
A piss stop in the middle of the night resulted in me finding three of Hubli’s finest being bolted to the front of the train to pilot the Pune Alco’s down the ghats from Castle Rock to Kulem. They were UBL WDG4s 12088, 12036 & 12326. After Castle Rock, the next thing I knew was when the AC was turned off in the coach to signify our arrival into Vasco Da Gama. My plus 50’ onto 18048 0710 Vasco Da Gama – Howrah Amravati Express turned into a plus 30’ due to our late arrival. I still had enough time to seek out an omelette walla outside the station and get a few chai down me before boarding the Amravati at the front of the train for the run to Madgaon, as the AC is towards the rear. GY WDM3A’s 14034/14032 were in charge and gave a spirited run to Madgaon, where I walked down to my 2AC coach and relaxed.
It wasn’t long before Kulem was upon us and I thought it was going to be the same three locos banking 18048, that had piloted me down on 17419; but no, UBL WDG4s 12129, 12068 & 12048 did the honours and once bolted to the rear of the train, we were away and winding up the ghats towards Dudhsagar Waterfall. A spectacular sight at the best of times but I bet it’s quite something in the monsoon season? Once we’d passed, the highlight of the route had passed also and once the bankers were removed at Castle Rock, it was plain sailing. Between Kulem & Castle Rock stabling points, I noted six sets of bankers, two triple sets, 12129/12068/12048 & 12088/12036/12326 then four twin sets 12123/12143, 12124/12145 and randomly two WDP4 sets 40543/20007 & 20021/20026; which I didn’t realise were used as bankers, I assumed they were all WDG4s.
A decent egg biriyani was provided at Londa Jn, after a lunch order was taken on board. Unfortunately, because the Indian couple paying for theirs didn’t question the price when they were told it was RS110, I ended up having a riot with the attendant and probably ended up paying over the odds for mine too, even at RS100. After lunch, the train was eerily quiet as it sailed through the countryside towards Hubli, then Hospet, followed by Gadag and then Guntakal; where WDS6 36345 was on hand to shunt the through Kacheguda portion off the rear of the train again. Even if you’re on the train you can’t miss its departure if you do the shunt as the brake (SLR) from the rear has to be shunted back on once the portion is deposited in the bay platform. This time I went in search of food though and settled on biriyani again for tea!
What I did notice en-route from Guntakal to Cumbum was that the opposing working the Amravati Express, 18047 Howrah – Vasco Da Gama, was running over 3 hours late. Under normal circumstances, when Indrail Passes were available, it wouldn’t have been a problem to deal with the situation, but now it was a hassle. So, as I was only reserved on 18048 to Cumbum, Cumbum was where I had to get off. There was no seeing the TTE and claiming a berth for a few shacks beyond where you needed to go anymore or getting on a train before you were booked to and claiming your berth early; I was going to have to endure getting off at Cumbum and festering for hours to wait for the return working, end of!
When I did get off at Cumbum, firstly, I was reveling in the fact I’d got at a station named such, and secondly I was very glad I’d walked to the front of the train before it departed; as there’d only been an engine change at Guntakal while the portion was being shunted off the rear and I was getting food. What had gone onto the train was the pretty outrageous pairing of GY WDM3F’s 11287/11342, which it later dawned on me weren’t AEB fitted so couldn’t work back through to Goa wit the return working? Not only had I never seen a WDM3F in the flesh, I’d never seen one working a train and pictures of such events were rare on the internet. I didn’t have much time to inspect the twins at Cumbum but they sounded very well as the got wound up on departure. As I had time on my hands, during my fester, imagine the surprise when I came across a photo on a Facebook group of the same GY WDM3F’s I’d just had, working a train on the Konkan the previous week!
I’d like to say my fester at Cumbum was a nice relaxing one, but I can’t, and it was an endurance, plagued by tiredness and marred by the fact I got bitten to death by mosquitoes when I nodded off on a bench for a moment. Thankfully, I caught the bites fresh and was able to dowse them in afterbite, which immediately took away the sting. What it didn’t take away though, was the swelling and the immediate reaction my body had to the bites, which came up in good sized lumps and my right earlobe was swelled to twice the size of my left one! By the time GY WDG3A’s 14552/14625 turned up with the late running 18047 I’d almost lost the will to live and just wanted somewhere to curl up and die for a while. I got just that in my lower side berth in 2AC, but not for as long as I’d liked as I didn’t dare set the alarm for too late, just in case the train made up loads of time en-route to Guntakal.
Gen for Friday 23rd November 2018
14034/14032 GY 18048 0710 Vasco – Howrah (to GTL)
11287/11342 GY 18048 0710 Vasco – Howrah (from GTL)
12129/12068/12048 UBL bank 18048 Kulem – Castle Rock
40435 KJM 12780 1500 (PP) Hazrat Nizamuddin – Vasco
16013/16750 PA 17420 0900 Vasco – Tirupati
40237 KJM 56962 0710 Vasco – Kulem
40306 KJM 56961 0630 Kulem – Vasco
11369 PA 11423 0625 Solapur Jn – Hubli Jn
Kulem – Castle Rock bankers
Moves for Friday 23rd November 2018
|12088||Castle Rock||Kulem||17419||1120 (22/11) Tirupati – Vasco Da Gama|
|14034||Vasco Da Gama||Guntakal Jn||18048||0710 Vasco Da Gama – Howrah|
Photos for Friday 23rd November 2018
Saturday 24th November 2018 (A day of not covering the Kadiridevarapalli branch!)
18047 was late enough into Guntakal to miss all the early morning moves that were available ad thanks to me dozing off while waiting for the train to get to Guntakal, I was probably quite lucky not to have ended up further afield on the train. I was only aware we’d arrived when someone tapped me on the shoulder to tell me I was in their berth, which was my cue to get off. GTL WDG3A 13314 was just in the adjacent platform with the Kacheguda – Vasco portion, to be attached to the rear, so I did the shunt while contemplating what to do of a morning.
Common sense ultimately prevailed, after I’d had a word with myself, and I paid RS70 for an auto from outside the old MG side of the station, to the Hotel Ashoka Paradise; which was a 5-minute driver and about 3km from the station. The guy at the front desk was more than happy to let me have a room for a couple of hours and I spent my time there getting clean and making myself feel human again. I’d stayed at the Ashoka Paradise years ago and the rooms were exactly as I remembered, simple and clean, with hot water & AC. It was just what I needed after being ass-raped by mosquitoes at Cumbum the previous night, and I headed back to Guntakal station feeling refreshed and raring to go; and armed with apiece of paper with Kadiridevarapalli written on it, jus in case the booking office staff didn’t understand my pronunciation when I asked for a ticket.
Since my last visit to Guntakal, the old MG side of the station had undergone a massive transformation and there’s now a new station building with a large car park out front, which has a small model steam loco plinthed in it. The platforms are now in use and at the Bellary end of the station was a massive electric trip shed in the throes of being constructed; and for the record wiring of the Guntakal – Bellary section was in the advanced stages in most paces and the wiring train was out all day stringing bits up. It was already on the way down the pan, but Guntakal would soon be smack bang in the middle of electrified territory and would be a shadow of its former self; in terms of diesel hauled trains.
The booking office had no queue when I approached the ticket window. I’d been practicing saying Kadiridevarapalli in the auto on the way to the station and braved it at the ticket window, with my hand-written note in my hand, just in case. I was greeted with a smile after I asked for my ticket, told it was RS35 and once I handed enough over the counter, I was presented with my ticket. I was amazed I’d been understood first time and headed onto the station to await the arrival of 57477 2230 (P) Tirupati – Kadiridevarapalli. GTL WDM3D 11552 was lurking on the old MG side of the station and WDS6 36345 was shunting in the sidings on the opposite side of the station. The main platforms were in full swing every time a train arrived the vendors clambered over one another to sell their stuff to anyone they could.
GY WDP4D 40378, with PA WDP4D 40507 dead inside it, was first to arrive, with the late running Karnataka Express; 12628 2115 (PP) New Delhi – Bangalore City. Next up was BZA WAP4 22231 with 11303 1530 (P) Manuguru – Kolhapur, which I didn’t immediately realise had undergone a loco change when it reversed, and GTL WDM3A 16333 departed towards Bellary with the train. When LGD WAP4 22590 arrived with the late running 18111 1835 (PP) Tatanagar – Yesvantpur, GY WDG3A’s 14571/14579, which had been stabled in the bay platform, were soon dropping onto the opposite end of the train. At the same time, my 57477 Kadiridevarapalli passenger was being announced as arriving in the adjacent platform. It was a no-brainer, and as GTL WDM3D 11337 was being detached from 57477 and GTL WDM3D 11552 was being prepared to replace it, I thoroughly enjoyed the run on 18111 in the front SLR to Bellary. 14571 was one of the few remaining “Baldies” in India and I wasn’t going to be put off doing it as I didn’t have a valid ticket for and express train. In the end, the fact I’d paid RS35 for my ticket probably covered the journey I’d made as 57477 still hadn’t left Guntakal when 18111 arrived into Bellary, making it well over 2 hours late; and too late for me to risk doing as it was only a plus 90’ onto 12975 back at Guntakal that evening and it only had a 25-minute turn-around at Kadiridevarapalli.
So, the day’s bash went in the bin as I rushed out of the station at Bellary to get a ticket back to Guntakal and then braved the station footbridge, which was rammed with people coming in the opposite direction, to get over to 57273 0600 Hubli Jn – Tirupati passenger; which had arrived 20 minutes early. GTL WDM3A 16376 was sat waiting to depart with it and gathered around the front door were a posy of folk, looking down at the ballast trying to figure out how to get a kids’ toy back to its crying owner before the train left in 2 minutes’ time. During the spirited departure from Bellary I managed to get myself some door space to photograph GTL WDG3A’s 14714/13583, both of which had been MLY based until recently; the kiddies toy remained on the ballast when we left, as thankfully nobody was stupid enough to risk clambering down between the platform and coach to get it, so close to departure time.
57273 emptied out nicely en-route to Guntakal and GTL WDM3D 11552 passed us about half way back to Guntakal, running 2h30m late with 57477; so, the correct move was played in flagging the new track bash. Having considered what to do at Guntakal, I was presented with what to do when 16376 was removed from 57273 and replaced by GTL WDG3A 14898. While I knew wouldn’t make the opposing working of 57274 at Gooty, I bought a ticket to Gooty anyway but got off at Nakkanadoddi to wait for 57274 coming the other way.
I’d noticed a lot of freight knocking about at Guntakal, mostly worked by twin WDG4s but there were quite a few sets of GY twin Alcos in the mix as well. GY WDG3A’s 14788/13266 turning up at Nakkanadoddi were a welcome break during the fester and as I got my camera out to get a few photos the loco pilot beckoned me over, we got talking about railways and my job in the UK and finished the conversation off en-route to Guntakal! I was never going to say no to a cab-ride, and it seemed that hitching a lift on a freight in this part of the country was more regular an occurrence that you might think. I’d seen people on the brake vans earlier, who didn’t look like they were supposed to be there, and I’d seen a few folk get off the rear loco of a GY WDM3D twin set at Guntakal earlier, who clearly weren’t supposed to have been where they were; and at Guntakal, I wasn’t the only person, other than the loco pilot and his assistant, to get off the locos….
It was nice and peaceful at Guntakal of an afternoon and after a bite to eat I was able to sit at the end of the platforms, charging my phone, relaxing. That was until GTL WDG3A 14929 arrived with the late running 57274 0605 Tirupati – Hubli Jn. Initially I thought I was going to have to watch it leave as there shouldn’t have been a train back form the Bellary direction and there was no road transport option from Bantanahal, but NTES came up trumps when a refresh revealed the late running 77417 1405 Bellary – Guntakal DMU; so over to the ticket office I went and had a pleasant afternoon amble to Bantanahal and back before festering around for my overnight train to Kazipet, to get me in position for the following day’s new track bash.
Just when I’d figured out where 12975 would depart from at Guntakal, my attention was turned to a different platform when GY WDM3D’s 11116/11123 arrived into platform 6 with 17226 1330 Hubli Jn – Vijayawada Amravati Express. My original plan had me boarding 12975 at Dhone Jn and my reservation was from there as a result. I’d bought an unreserved ticket from Guntakal to Dhone to compensate and had been planning on asking the TTE about getting into my berth, on 12975, at Guntakal if it was available, but my superfast unreserved ticket got used on 17226 to Dhone instead; so, it all worked out fine in the end. A check of NTES even confirmed that 57478 Kadiridevarapalli – Tirupati had arrived into Guntakal at 1915, 75’ late, and made 12975 by 15 minutes; which was rather unexpected! Still, I was glad I’d not done it as it would have been a day of stress and fretting about missing my overnight otherwise.
I didn’t have long to wait at Dhone Jn for GTL WDM3A’s 14013/16600 to arrive with 12975 1020 Mysore Jn – Jaipur Jn but unfortunately, I walked right into a family banquet, which had spilled out into my lower side berth as well as taken over their own compartment. When I asked people to vacate my berth, anyone would have thought I’d asked them to jump out of the moving train with the looks I was thrown, and I soon realised it was going to be one of those evenings with the noise coming from the compartment; from both the adults and children. My sleep was severely hindered that night due to heir lack of consideration for everyone else, and it wasn’t like I was getting loads either; with an 0400-alarm set to wake me before 12975’s 0420 arrival into Kazipet.
Gen for Saturday 24th November 2018
14552/14625 GY 18047 2330 (PP) Howrah – Vasco
13314 GTL shunt Kacheguda portion ex 17604 to rear
40378 GY (40507 PA) 12628 2115 (PP) New Delhi – Bangalore City
22231 BZA 11303 1530 (P) Manuguru – Kolhapur (to GTL)
16333 GTL 11303 1530 (P) Manuguru – Kolhapur (from GTL)
22590 LGD 18111 1835 (PP) Tatanagar – Yesvantpur (from GTL)
14571/14579 GY 18111 1835 (PP) Tatanagar – Yesvantpur (from GTL)
11337 GTL 57477 2230 (P) Tirupati – Kadiridevarapalli (to GTL)
11552 GTL 57477 2230 (P) Tirupati – Kadiridevarapalli (to GTL)
16376 GTL 57273 0600 Hubli Jn – Tirupati (to GTL)
14898 GTL 57273 0600 Hubli Jn – Tirupati (from GTL)
14929 GTL 57274 0605 Tirupati – Hubli Jn
22053 AJJ 12164 0645 Chennai Egmore – Dadar
12566 PA 17621 2050 (P) Aurangabad – Renigunta
22777 BZA 56503 0720 Bangalore Cantt – Vijayawada (to GTL)
22202 BZA 56503 0720 Bangalore Cantt – Vijayawada (from GTL)
22872 AJJ 11027 2345 (P) Mumbai CST – Chennai Central
11116/11123 GY 17226 1330 Hubli Jn – Vijayawada
14013/16600 GTL 12975 1020 Mysore Jn – Jaipur Jn (GTL to KCG)
Moves for Saturday 24th November 2018
|14625||Cumbum||Guntakal Jn||18047||2330 (22/11) Howrah – Vasco Da Gama|
|13314||Guntakal Jn Platform 6||Guntakal Jn Platform 3||Shunt through Kacheguda – Vasco portion 17604 to 18047|
|14571||Guntakal Jn||Bellary Jn||18111||1835 (22/11) Tatanagar – Yesvantpur Jn|
|16376||Bellary Jn||Guntakal Jn||57273||0600 Hubli Jn – Tirupati|
|14788||Nakkanadoddi||Guntakal Jn||Freight Train (Cab Ride)|
|14929||Guntakal Jn||Bantanahal||57274||0605 Tirupati – Hubli Jn|
|DMU||Bantanahal||Guntakal Jn||77417||1405 Bellary Jn – Guntakal Jn|
|11116||Guntakal Jn||Dhone Jn||17226||1330 Hubli Jn – Vijayawada Jn|
|14013||Dhone Jn||Kacheguda||12975||1020 Mysore Jn – Jaipur Jn|
Photos for Saturday 24th November 2018
Sunday 25th November 2018 (Covering the new line from Peddapalli to Nizamabad)
I didn’t need the alarm to wake me for Kazipet and I’d been woken by people getting off at Kacheguda too, so it had been a bit of a crap night’s sleep. Upon arrival into Kazipet I quickly went to spot LGD WAP7 30418 at the head of 12975, which had replaced the GTL Alcos at Kacheguda, before heading to the booking office to get myself a ticket to enable me to travel on 57121 0500 Kazipet – Balharshah passenger, which was just being backed into platform 1 by LGD WAP7 30439, when I emerged from the booking office.
The plan for the day was to meet Vic somewhere and then be on 12761 Tirupati – Karimnagar from at least Peddapalli Jn to Karimnagar and then pray that 57601/57602 Kacheguda – Karimnagar – Kacheguda passengers were the correct traction as we headed over the newly opened section from Karimnagar to Nizamabad Jn. As Vic was in a hotel at Warangal, I decided to meet him on 12761 at Jamikunta and filled the morning nedding about on electrics in the Jamikunta area, with LGD WAP4 22238 depositing me there for the first time that morning off 17234 0210 Balharshah – Secunderabad; which would give way at Kazipet to whatever diesels Kazipet wanted to send to Secunderabad.
There were a few stalls outside the station in full swing when I walked out to find out what was on offer, with chai and pakoras filling a hole before BZA WAG5 23850 took me away to Potkapalli on 17011 0450 Hyderabad – Sirpur Kaghaznagar and I was back drinking chai soon afterwards when KZJ WAG7 28530 dropped me back there off 57135 2010 (P) Ajni – Kazipet passenger. More chai and pakoras later, and after photting a few freights hammering through in either direction, 12761 Tirupati – Karimnagar eventually graced Jamikunta with its presence, with Vic veging in the penultimate coach of the train; as it would reverse at Peddapalli Jn.
A lot of people had got off 12761 at Warangal, where Vic had joined, and it was quite empty all the way through to Karimnagar then. KZJ WDM3A 18899, which had been shunting at Secunderabad the two days I’d been there the previous week, was sat waiting for us at the otherwise deserted Peddapalli Jn; and was soon bolted to the train to work it forward to Karimnagar. The run up to Karimnagar was quite a good one and the KZJ machine tried its hardest to get the train up to a decent speed where it could during the 35km journey; which came to an end all too soon when we entered the metropolis that is Karimnagar.
There is only one platform at Karimnagar, which isn’t long enough to fit 12761’s rake in it and a temporary attempt at an extension had been put in at the Nizamabad end of the existing platform, which was simply a load of sleepers lined up along the dirt. There were works ongoing to extend the platform, and we had to avoid the digger that was doing so, to get to the platform itself. There’s a loop line at the opposite side of the platform then a massive loading/unloading area for goods and two more loop lines the other side of the loading/unloading area. Once the stock off 12761 was watered, once 18899 had run-round, it shunted the stock to the far loop line to allow KYN WDP4D 40346 to arrive into the platform with 11205 1640 (P) LTT – Karimnagar; and stock watering commenced again.
Wiring of the section from Peddapalli to Karimnagar, and beyond towards Nizamabad, was in progress and most of the stanchions were up in the station area. KZJ WDM3A 16683 had been between Peddapalli & Karimnagar with a short train of flatbeds loaded with stanchions and it soon made it through to Karimnagar, where the stanchions were offloaded by one of the many cranes knocking around the place. They were usually employed lifting massive stone blocks onto lorries, which had been transported to Karimnagar by train from Kakinada Port, so a guy told us. They must have been very heavy as one of the loaded lorries looked like a banana after it had been loaded!
While festering on the platform and sampling some of the cold samosas on offer from the only stall on the platform, NTES kept us updated on the progress of the incoming 57601 0600 Kacheguda – Karimnagar; which was slow! Despite departing Kacheguda on time, it was over 2 hours late at points during its journey and was 90’ late into Karimnagar; thankfully with the correct traction hauling it. As all four roads were occupied at Karimnagar when MLY WDM3A 14045 arrived with 57601, KZJ WDM3A 16683 had to back its electrification train out onto the Peddapalli section to allow 14045 to run-round; which was done quite efficiently, surprisingly. Even more surprisingly, the loco prep and brake test were done quickly and 14045 was heading back towards Kacheguda with the late running 57602 1420 Karimnagar – Kacheguda within 30 minutes of arriving.
It was a shame it quickly got dark as we didn’t get chance to see much of the route and progress along it was painfully slow in places. At Gangadhara 57602 was held for 25 minutes to await a freight, headed by PA WDG4 12837, coming off the single line; and it was evident later in the journey why, when we discovered most of the other passing loops to have rusty rails that were clearly not used. Thankfully for us, the train wasn’t well frequented for most of the journey but there are a few sizeable towns at the Nizamabad end of the line, and it was well frequented by the time we reached Nizamabad, almost 2 hours late. When we came to a halt at the signal outside the station I had visions of us getting off after 10 minutes and walking to the station, but it was only a brief halt and we were soon heading out of the station and walking the short distance to the State run Haritha Indur Inn, which I’d pre-booked and pre-paid on Clear Trip.
It’s only a 5-minute walk to the Haritha Indur Inn, out of the station, over the car park, turn right outside it and then it’s on the left. It looks very inviting from the outside and the hotel check-in was very straightforward, once I’d e-mailed the receptionist the hotel voucher I’d received from Clear Trip; which is essentially their confirmation that I’ve paid Clear Trip which they then use to recover their costs. The room had twin beds, as requested, and was clean. The beds were comfy and the air-con worked well. There was no WiFi or hot water, but we did get two buckets of hot water delivered to our room on request. Room service was efficient, but only once I went down to the restaurant to order as nobody wanted to answer the room service phone I was ringing. Other than the cockroaches knocking about the room, there wasn’t anything to complain about, but our left-over food was still outside the room door, crawling in roaches, the following morning when we left!
Gen for Sunday 25th November 2018
30418 LGD 12975 1020 (P) Mysore Jn – Jaipur Jn (from KCG)
30439 LGD 57121 0500 Kazipet Jn – Balharshah
22238 LGD 17234 0210 Balharshah – Secunderabad
23850 BZA 17011 0450 Hyderabad – Sirpur Kaghaznagar
28530 KZJ 57135 2010 (P) Ajni Jn – Kazipet Jn
23286 TKD 12761 2240 (P) Tirupati – Karimnagar (to Peddapalli Jn)
18899 KZJ 12761 2240 (P) Tirupati – Karimnagar (from Peddapalli Jn), 12762 1915 Karimnagar – Tirupati
40346 KYN 11205 1640 (P) LTT – Karimnagar, 11206 1945 Karimnagar – LTT
14045 MLY 57601 0600 Kacheguda – Karimnagar, 57602 1420 Karimnagar – Kacheguda
Moves for Sunday 25th November 2018
|30418||Kacheguda||Kazipet Jn||12975||1020 (24/11) Mysore Jn – Jaipur Jn|
|30439||Kazipet Jn||Bisugir Sharif||57121||0500 Kazipet Jn – Balharshah|
|22238||Bisugir Sharif||Jamikunta||17234||0210 Balharshah – Secunderabad Jn|
|23850||Jamikunta||Potkapalli||17011||0450 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally – Sirpur Kagaznagar|
|28530||Potkapalli||Jamikunta||57135||2120 (24/11) Ajni – Kazipet Jn|
|23286||Jamikunta||Peddapalli Jn||12761||2240 (24/11) Tirupati – Karimnagar|
|14045||Karimnagar||Nizamabad Jn||57602||1420 Karimnagar – Kacheguda|
Photos for Sunday 25th November 2018
Monday 26th November 2018 (Back into Secunderabad then 17018 to Ahmedabad)
Our alarms went off simultaneously at 0450 and a quick check of NTES revealed that 17063 Manmad – Secunderabad Ajanta Express was only 8 minutes late at that point; so, we had to get up and leave the hotel. The key was handed in at reception as we exited and despite confirming to the guy there that we were checking out, I had a call from the hotel later in the day asking if we’d checked out!
An NTES line-up for Nizamabad showed a tale of woe, with various passenger trains being 2, 3 or 4 hours late. MLY WDM3A 16475 was parked in the sidings with a set of stock and another set was backed into the top end of platform 3 to form 57557 0610 Nizamabad – Nanded passenger. Soon afterwards GTL WDM3A 16376, which I’d had to Guntakal two days previous, arrived with 57474 0445 Bodhan – Mahbubnagar, and sat in platform 1 for ages. Eventually, when our Ajanta Express had lost loads of time but was only a few kilometers from Nizamabad, both 57557 and 57474 were sent on their way; one right towards the oncoming Ajanta and the other out right in front of it. What a cracking bit of regulating that was!
KZJ WDG3A’s 13446/14907 were the locos on the Ajanta and the AC coaches are towards the front of the train. It was a busy train from Nizamabad towards Secunderabad but after kicking someone out of our lower berth, I clambered upstairs and got horizontal for a while; as I wasn’t willing o give up on sleep at that point. Progress towards Secunderabad was initially very slow, and we sat somewhere close to Nizamabad for almost an hour before highballing onwards towards Secunderabad; where 17063 rolled in at 1025, 1h35m late.
As we had to be on 17018 1500 Secunderabad – Rajkot that afternoon, our moves had to be limited but we did have time to do the Palnadu Express to Begumpet and then view both the Hussain Sagar Express and returning Vikarabad passenger. A ticket was sought first, which took seconds to get from a manned ATVM in the booking office, once the guy serving us understood we wanted a Secunderabad to Hyderabad Superfast ticket, via Begumpet. Vic then left his big bag at the cloak room on platform 1, which gave me a chance to confirm that my bag was still there, after its 4-day stint, then it was bread omelettes from the new refreshment plaza on platform 1; and as everything else we’d done had been on platform 1 that morning, it was awfully kind of 12747 Guntur – Vikarabad Palnadu Express to use platform 1 as well!
GTL WDM3A twins 14013/16600, which I’d had Done to Kacheguda two nights previous, were sat in the bay, along with KZJ WDM3A twins 16501/16363, and it was winners all-round when KZJ WDM3A twins 18909/16579 rolled in with the Palnadu Express. The front SLR had plenty of room in the disabled part but the run out to Begumpet was very disappointing. At James Street though, we passed PA WDM3D 11429 with the very late running 57129 1830 (P) Bijapur – Bolarum passenger, which we then had on the radar for its return journey.
KZJ WAG7 27554 was just approaching Begumpet with 11307 0600 Gulbarga – Hyderabad when 12747 arrived an we didn’t have to wait long for KYN WDG3A 13360 to follow it in with 12701 2150 (P) Mumbai CST – Hyderabad Hussain Sagar Express; which we di into Hyderabad. Had we had our wits about us, we’d have rushed back up the platform and done the waiting MMTS EMU straight back to Begumpet for 57606 Vikarabad – Kacheguda passenger into Secunderabad. By the time we’d ambled back down the platform it had gone, and we were left pondering what to do once we’d realised the error of our ways. Just as we were about to get an auto back to Secunderabad, based on the fact NTES wasn’t showing any reports for a couple of MMTS locals, the answer then came over the tannoy. Despite MMTS not showing any reports for the inbound working that would form 47209 1245 Hyderabad – Falaknuma, it was being announced as arriving shortly on platform number 5; and that’s exactly what it did. Tickets were quickly obtained, and the train departed virtually empty!
Back at Secunderabad, despite 57131 0905 Bolarum – Hyderabad showing on NTES as having departed, our hopes of doing an auto out to Lallaguda Gate for it in we dashed when Google Maps showed a lengthy journey due to road closures. So, that put pay to that and KFC took preference instead, providing a decent meal before our 23-hour journey to Ahmedabad on 17018. We never did see 57131 during our fester at Secunderabad, and it wasn’t announced either. We did see 57606 Vikarabad – Kacheguda departing with an Alco but it was too far away to see the number.
As collected our bags from the cloak room, we could see twin Alco’s backing the set for 17018 1500 Secunderabad – Rajkot into platform 10. As we walked the length of the station to the front of the train, we came across KZJ WDG3A twins 13446/14907 & 14923/14777 in the middle road at the Kacheguda end of the station, along with KZJ WDG3A 14918, KZJ WDM3A 18895, GTL WDM3D 11122 & LGD WAG9 31140 stabled at the Secunderabad end of it.
GTL WDM3A twins 14013/16600 were firmly bolted to 17018 when we got to the front and our 2AC coach was 5th from the front. As the compartment opposite our side berths was vacant until Solapur, we had free reign for a few hours and used the space to our advantage; especially as the side berths didn’t have charging sockets. A dinner order was taken in the Wadi area and handed out after departure from Gulbarga. The RS130 price tag was worth it too, with the food being hot, tasty and well presented in plastic trays that weren’t leaking everywhere. The coach had been almost silent from Secunderabad, so it stood to reason that the vacant compartment next us had a family of six reserved in it, which included their two noisy children; and they boarded just as everyone else in the coach was bedding down for the night. You couldn’t fucking write it!
Gen for Monday 26th November 2018
16376 GTL 57474 0445 Bodhan – Mahbubnagar
13446/14907 KZJ 17063 2050 (P) Manmad Jn – Secunderabad
14917 KZJ 17639 0710 Kacheguda – Akola Jn
14573/14889 KZJ at Bolarum with stock ex 12798 Chittoor – Kacheguda
14778/14578 KZJ 20809 1110 (P) Sambalpur – Nanded (from SC)
18909/16579 KZJ 12747 0545 Guntur Jn – Vikarabad Jn, 12748 1345 Vikarabad Jn – Guntur Jn
11429 PA 57129 1830 (P) Bijapur – Bolarum
27554 KZJ 11307 0600 Gulbarga – Hyderabad
40237 KJM 17319 2050 (P) Hubli Jn – Secunderabad
13450 GTL ECS Hyderabad – Secunderabad for 17027 1655 Secunderabad – Kurnool City
11383 KYN 12702 1445 Hyderabad DN – Mumbai CST
14891 MLY 57564 2330 (P) Nanded – Hyderabad
40325 PA 12025 0550 Pune – Secunderabad
14013/16600 GTL 17018 1500 Secunderabad – Rajkot
Moves for Monday 26th November 2018
|13446||Nizamabad Jn||Secunderabad Jn||17063||2050 (25/11) Manmad Jn – Secunderabad Jn|
|18909||Secunderabad Jn||Begumpet||12747||0545 Guntur Jn – Vikarabad Jn|
|13360||Begumpet||Hyderabad Deccan Nampally||12701||2150 (25/11) Mumbai CST – Hyderabad Deccan Nampally|
|EMU||Hyderabad Deccan Nampally||Secunderabad Jn||47209||1241 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally – Falaknuma|
|14013||Secunderabad Jn||Ahmedabad Jn||17018||1500 Secunderabad Jn – Rajkot Jn|
Photos for Monday 26th November 2018
Tuesday 27th November 2018 (Arrival to Ahmedabad and an afternoon there)
It was 9am before I arose from my pit, after a rather good but bitty sleep. I was relaxed. Progress north was rapid and 17018 was bowling along. Breakfast was sought at Surat from one of the platform vendors and chai was on tap for a while. RTM WDM3A 16836 was sat at Ankleswar Jn with the stock to form 59167 1630 Ankleswar Jn – Rajpipla passenger and we passed SRC WAP4 22813 with 19016 2105 (P) Porbandar – Mumbai Central. Before reaching Ahmedabad we’d also passed VTA WDM3A 16831 at Vadodara Jn with 19202 0045 Porbandar – Secunderabad, which it would work throughout, overtaken BL WAG5 23739 with 59441 2240 (P) Mumbai Central – Ahmedabad and seen SRC WAP7 30083 as we arrived into Ahmedabad waiting with 19028 0930 (P) Jammu Tawi – Bandra Terminus.
The usual rigmarole at Ahmedabad was side-stepped as best we could but at least 10 people tried to entice us into their auto as we exited the station. Crossing the road outside the station perimeter is another hazard when walking to the Hotel Ritz Inn and it was particularly busy when we negotiated it; we survived though and were checking into the plush Ritz Inn, safely, 10 minutes after arriving on 17018. Initially, we got the impression that the hotel wasn’t expecting us, and they took a copy of the hotel voucher Vic had, which had been processed through a third party. We began to think it might have been a scam but he final bill was presented, minus the amount already paid out to the third party. It was nice to get into a clean room with all the mod-cons when we were shown to our third-floor room, but we didn’t stay for long!
NTES had us back out of the hotel as quickly as we’d arrived and a RS120, 15-minute auto journey had us at Sabarmati Town station in time to view the late running 59548 2210 (P) Okha – Ahmedabad passenger; which we only made by a few minutes and arrived with three Alcos at the head of the train, VTA WDM3A 14070 doing the donkey work and VTA WDM3A 18830 & SPJ WDM3D 11282 dead in train. We watched it leave and waited for 19120 0625 Somnath – Ahmedabad instead. The time was passed standing on the footbridge, watching trains go by on the old MG line from Sabarmati. Amazingly, the two YDM4’s I’d seen on BG flat wagons in Sabarmati Yard in March 2018 were still there, in the same place, both looking a bit forlorn now and their paintwork was very faded. So, they’d been overhauled at IZN, ferried to Sabarmati by the BG, only to sit rotting in a yard; while 6591 was being prepared at Mailani Jn to go to IZN for POH! What were IR playing at?
While discussing the fate of the two YDM4s, we watched VTA WDM3A 16807 run from Sabarmati towards Ahmedabad and that was followed closely behind by ABR WDM3A 16434 with 19412 0625 Ajmer Jn – Ahmedabad Jn. The pleasing moment of the afternoon came when VTA WDG3A 14725 rolled into Sabarmati Town with 19120, and that was us heading back into the city. With there not being much to do at Ahmedabad of an evening these days, there was only one option on the cards when we got back, so we bought a Superfast ticket back to Sabarmati Town to do 22959 1330 Surat – Jamnagar back out. Meanwhile, we had a look at what was left of the MG platforms and were amazed to find that there were tracks still down and hardly any development work had taken place either in the station, or where the MG carriage sidings had been.
VTA WDS6 36255, WDS6R 36507 & VTA WDM3S 018678 were the Ahmedabad station pilot locos and while we were festering at the south end of the station, 36507 poked its nose out of the carriage sidings at an opportune moment and provided me with something to do, other than standing on the station footbridge. While I rode down the platform on the stock that would form 16501 1840 Ahmedabad – Yesvantpur, Vic walked it. I’d finished getting my photos long before he caught up with me at the opposite end of the platform.
While we waited for 22959 to arrive into platform 1 at Ahmedabad, ED WDP4D 40339 arrived with 16734 0730 Okha – Rameswaram, which up until very recently had been a through Alco for its 3152km journey! BRC WAP7 37019, with BL WAG7 28587 dead in train, arrived into platform 2 shortly afterwards with 59049 0605 Valsad – Viramgam Jn passenger. Both were removed and ABR WDM3A 16675 dropped on to work it forward. BRC WAP7 30464 was along soon after with 22959 1330 Surat – Jamnagar and VTA WDM3D 11541, which had run through the station shortly before 22959 arrived, dropped straight on after the WAP7 had been removed. There was plenty of room in unreserved at the front of the train but due to running out of the city on single yellow’s, the loco pilot couldn’t give his WDM3D much of a test before we had to get off at Sabarmati Town.
While waiting for the Shanti Express to take us back to Ahmedabad, VTA WDM3D 11212 ran through with 22938 1830 (P) Rewa – Rajkot Jn and that was closely followed by ABR WDM3A 16675 with 59049 passenger. Once a train that used to be Alco throughout, 19309 1820 Gandhinagar Capital – Indore Jn Shanti Express is now electric throughout and BRC WAP4 22352 was the power for the run back to Ahmedabad. We opted for the rear unreserved coaches, to save a walk at Ahmedabad, and they were off the end of the platform at Sabarmati Town; there was plenty of room though.
Food at the Ritz was much needed and was decent, as it always was. Being a pure veg restaurant the choices are a bit limited but there’s still enough to choose from, if you’re fussy like me. We weren’t late out of bed with having an early flight to Kolkata the following morning, which became the start of a lot of early morning get-ups!
Gen for Tuesday 27th November 2018
16836 RTM 59167 1630 Ankleshwar Jn – Rajpipla
22813 SRC 19016 2105 (P) Porbandar – Mumbai Central
16831 VTA 19202 0045 Porbandar – Secunderabad
23739 BL 59441 2240 (P) Mumbai Central – Ahmedabad
30083 BRC 19028 0930 (P) Jammu Tawi – Bandra Terminus
16807 VTA at SBI with ????
16434 ABR 19412 0625 Ajmer Jn – Ahmedabad Jn
14070 VTA (18830 VTA 11282 SPJ) 59548 2210 (P) Okha – Ahmedabad
14725 VTA 19120 0625 Somnath – Ahmedabad
40177 SBI 12476 0910 (P) Katra – Hapa
22918 BRC 11089 0530 Bhagat Ki Kothi – Pune
40060 BGKT 19032 1640 (P) Haridwar – Ahmedabad
40339 ED 16734 0730 Okha – Rameswaram
36507 VTA ECS for 16501 1840 Ahmedabad – Yesvantpur
37019 BRC (28587 BL) 59049 0605 Valsad – Viramgam Jn (to ADI)
16675 ABR 59049 0605 Valsad – Viramgam Jn (from ADI)
30464 BRC 22959 1330 Surat – Jamnagar (to ADI)
11541 VTA 22959 1330 Surat – Jamnagar (from ADI)
11212 VTA 22938 1830 (P) Rewa – Rajkot Jn
22352 BRC 19309 1820 Gandhinagar Capital – Indore Jn
Moves for Tuesday 27th November 2018
|Auto||Ahmedabad Jn||Sabarmati Town||RS120, 5km, 15m|
|14725||Sabarmati Town||Ahmedabad Jn||19120||0625 Somnath – Ahmedabad Jn|
|36507||Ahmedabad Jn Platform 7 South End||Ahmedabad Jn Platform 7 North End||ECS for 16501 1840 Ahmedabad Jn – Yesvantpur Jn|
|11541||Ahmedabad Jn||Sabarmati Town||22959||1330 Surat – Jamnagar|
|22352||Sabarmati Town||Ahmedabad Jn||19309||1820 Gandhinagar Capital – Indore Jn|
Photos for Tuesday 27th November 2018
Wednesday 28th November 2018 (Ahmedabad to Kolkata to get tickets for the Badhan Express to Khulna)
With an 0640 flight, it was an 0400-alarm call and thankfully, there were plenty of auto’s running by the hotel when we stepped out into the morning. We paid RS150 to get to the airport and printed out our own boarding cards from on of the many machines, on arrival. I even managed to change my seat to sit next to Vic on the self-service machines and randomly, there were only seats available in the row he was sitting in! While Ahmedabad airport didn’t have the mainstream eateries, there were plenty of option for a bit of breakfast and that passed the time before our Indigo flight to Kolkata was boarded at 6am.
Indigo’s reputation runs on the fact they strive for right time departures & arrivals and it was evident in the efficiency of the boarding process. The result being an early departure and a 15-minute early touchdown in Kolkata; which did us a massive favour. Our day was to be centered around getting train tickets for the cross-border Badhan Express from Kolkata to Khulna the following day and landing early gave us a fighting chance of having some of the day to ourselves. Rather than brave the morning rush-hour traffic for too long, we got a pre-paid taxi to Dum Dum Junction instead. The pre-paid counter inside the airport terminal is a lot less busy than the one outside, both of which us the same taxis. The one in the terminal is right at the end of the terminal building, if you turn left when you exit the baggage hall. We quickly found our taxi, with the vehicle registration being on the slip, and the journey to Dum Dum Junction took about 35 minutes.
The queue for tickets at Dum Dum was about 20-deep when we arrived, as can be expected in the morning rush, but it dwindled down pretty quickly. NTES was up to date with all the EMU departures at Dum Dum Jn and we thought we were going to miss the first train to BBD Bagh due to the time it took to get tickets but just as we’d paid RS5 for our tickets, and the woman at the counter told us the next train would be from platform 5, did an announcement come of the tannoy telling everyone that 30320 Hasnabad – BBD Bagh local was arriving on platform 1; which was right by where we were stood pondering. Let’s just say it was an interesting journey, wedged to the rafters from the moment we braved the crowds to get on in the first place. We had room to breathe though and I got talking to a guy along the way, who’d missed the previous train to BBD Bagh and was going to be late for work as a result. He explained to me that he fell over in the scrum t get on board as the train arrived and was trampled in the process, by the time he got up there was simply no room to get onto the train, so he had to watch it leave! Watching the daily routine of commuters using local EMUs from a viewpoint is one thing but watching from inside the train is another. We think its hard work on our wedged commuter trains in the south but the sheer noise on board the local EMUs in India is something else, with people talking, others singing, others shouting across the carriages to friends or colleagues and then there’s the noise that the train makes itself; and of course, there are no facilities whatsoever and there’s no AC. 6 days a week these guys do this, 6 days a week! I’d had enough after my 30-minute journey, but it was an experience I don’t experience often in India.
Our EMU terminated at BBD Bagh and it took a while for the wedged train to empty and its occupants to disperse into the business district. First order of our morning was to get water from a nearby stall, before walking literally over the road to the Eastern Railway Headquarters in Fairlie Place; where tickets for the cross-border trains to Bangladesh can be bought. Tickets for both the Maitree Express to Dhaka and the Badhan Express to Khulna can only be bought in person and are only available from Fairlie Place, which also acts as a domestic booking office. When we walked in the security guard collared us, took us to a desk and explained what we wanted. We were handed forms to fill in, similar to the domestic reservation forms, and were told to wait for our number to be called out from window 22 or 23. The numbers on our forms were 117 & 118, the first number we heard was 22; at which point we knew we were in for a long wait. After filling our forms out, I did go to one of the windows to try and find out how long it might take to get to us, but the guy couldn’t tell me. The answer was 3 hours though! We entered Fairlie Place at 11am and got to the counter at around 1415 and when we left, we saw people filling out forms that were in the 200’s. With the office closing at 1700 I didn’t fancy their chances of getting served that day. The guy at the counter told us that it took longer than needed to get through the forms as Bangladeshi’s weren’t familiar with filling out the forms for their journeys and details had to be added or amended at the counter, which just added unnecessary time to each booking made. Once at the counter though, it was just like reserving a ticket internally, on the same computer system and it was quite efficient. Our tickets were bought for Executive Class, which is basically 1AC, but the cabins are used to seat 6 passengers instead. The tickets cost RS1140 each, and with AC Chair Car costing RS750 it was worth the extra cost to not be in “glare car”.
Despite spending over three hours in effectively a waiting room, we came out unscathed, but for having to use the toilet facilities; which weren’t at all up to scratch. The place was split in two with a dividing wall down the middle to keep international and domestic passengers apart but all was policed by the same security staff, who every now an again had to usher people away from the international counters as the poor guy service was being swamped. To be fair, it was only people standing in line who knew their number was coming up next. We were glad to get out when we did though, Vic even more so as he’d had to use the facilities twice; which had to have been an experience in itself! With him being broken, we chose one of the many yellow Ambassador taxis to take us the short distance to the Hotel Cecil, which cost RS150, off the meter, and as booked the driver had no clue where our hotel was. Having told the driver the Cecil was opposite the Medical College, he took us to the wrong side of it and it was thanks to ME Maps that we got to where we needed to be; which is worth its weight in gold these days.
My experience at hotels in Kolkata was zip, mainly thanks to every one I’d ever tried near Sealdah not having a license to take foreigners, so I’d spent the night on the upper-class waiting room floor on two separate occasions as a result. The Hotel Cecil was booked on booking.com and is about a 20-minute walk from Sealdah and is close to Central Metro station. The Cecil’s entrance is at the side of the building, just off College Road, and first impressions were great. The rooms were clean, the bathrooms had hot water, the AC & WiFi worked a treat and there were all sorts of freebies, including toiletries, tea/coffee and even toothbrushes.
Originally, we’d planned to head to Shalimar of an afternoon to do 18007 1735 Shalimar – Bhanjpur but with Vic not feeling up to it, I left him to his own and had an interesting 20-minute walk to Sealdah. The Kolkata streets are lined with sellers and the pavements are almost a no-go area due to the number of sellers cluttering up the place. I could have bought almost anything along the way, from tea to pop, fruit to fried chicken and toothpaste to kid’s toys, all while fighting for space on the footpaths. All around Sealdah is what looks like an underground marketplace, although its not, you just get that impression as its almost covered on all sides due to the stalls being so close together. Not having your bearings there could result a few minutes of distress while you figure out where you went wrong; thankfully, ME Maps guided me in the right direction and I popped out at the side entrance to Sealdah station, at the lower numbered platform side.
There were signs all over the booking hall area to advise people that they were entering an area where train tickets were required and just inside the gates rafts of TTEs were mingling, waiting to clap their eyes on those that were clearly trying to get away without having a ticket, and there were plenty of excess tickets being written out as I looked on. This situation was alien to me, until this point, as having usually had an Indrail Pass there were never issues walking onto a station, even if not going anywhere. On this occasion I bought my first platform ticket ever in India. Thankfully, some guy was standing at one of the ATVM’s and my RS10 coin did the trick to get me a ticket from it; the queues for tickets at the counters would have been a big hassle otherwise. Once through the gates I was away and in my element.
My RS10 platform ticket netted me five BGA WDS6’s in 90 minutes and I was surprised at how many were in use at a relatively quiet period of the day. There was quite a bit of walking on my part, from the buffer stops to the top end of the platforms, to await arriving empty stocks and I even managed to get a group of RPF to move out of the way on one arriving set, so I could hitch my ride back to the buffer-stops. At one point platforms 9A-9C all had WDS6’s on the blocks but that was where the RPF seemed to take exception to me photographing them. I’d already been collared once after getting off the first ECS and taking photos and after photographing the line-up of three WDS6’s I was collared a second time; right after I’d watch him confiscate a young lad’s mobile phone after he’d taken a selfie on it. I’d already told him I had permission, which foreigners do have as tourists not taking photos for commercial use, but he didn’t have chance to read what I presented him as his superior shouted him back before he had chance to. Eventually though, one of the TTE’s collared me and wanted to see my photos, but I refused his request and asked to know why. He said that I’d been taking video of the trains and the RPF had told me not to; which I told him was rubbish and when I presented him with the paperwork to confirm I could take photos, he wasn’t interested. So, I thanked him for wasting my time and walked off and he had the cheek to ask me why I was being short with him! Having done what I needed to at Sealdah, it seemed like a sensible time to exit the station and head back.
Vic was feeling a lot better when I got back and after a much needed shower we met up with Samit Roychoudhury later in the evening and used the Food Station restaurant, in front of the Cecil, for food. While the food was decent enough, it did seem like they’d used the base sauce from a masala for my non-spicy Dopyaza and just added extra onions to make a hybrid chicken Dopyaza; which Samit did ask them about. It was a decent meal though and it was nice to catch up with Samit, as we always try to do when in Kolkata. Unfortunately, our time was cut short due to our second early morning alarm call the following morning. Having bode Samit farewell, we headed upstairs and straight to bed, alarm set for 4am!
Gen for Wednesday 28th November 2018
36228 BGA ECS for 53177 1640 Sealdah – Lalgola
23628 ASN 53177 1640 Sealdah – Lalgola
36069 BGA ECS for 13185 1745 Sealdah – Jaynagar
30508 12260 1940 (P) New Delhi – Sealdah
36220 BGA ECS for 12313 1650 Sealdah – New Delhi
36095 BGA ECS ex 12260 1940 (P) New Delhi – Sealdah
36091 BGA ECS for 12383 1700 Sealdah – Asansol
Moves for Wednesday 28th November 2018
|VT-ITR||Ahmedabad||Kolkata||6E-125||0640 Ahmedabad – Kolkata|
|EMU||Dum Dum Jn||BBD Bagh||30116||0934 Barrackpore – BBD Bagh|
|36228||Sealdah Platform 8||Sealdah Platform 8||ECS for 53177 1640 Sealdah – Lalgola|
|36069||Sealdah Platform 9A||Sealdah Platform 9A||ECS for 13185 1745 Sealdah – Jaynagar|
|36220||Sealdah Platform 9B||Sealdah Platform 9B||ECS for 12313 1650 Sealdah – New Delhi Jn|
|36095||Sealdah Platform 9C||Sealdah Platform 9C||ECS ex 12260 1940 (P) New Delhi Jn – Sealdah|
|36091||Sealdah Platform 9C||Sealdah Platform 9C||ECS for 12383 1700 Sealdah – Asansol Jn|
Photos for Wednesday 28th November 2018
Thursday 29th November 2018 (Kolkata, India to Khulna, Bangladesh on the Badhan Express)
Having paid the hotel bill the previous night, it allowed for a quick getaway from the hotel. There were a couple of yellow Ambassador taxis parked up near the hotel but only one had someone in it, and he was dossed out on the back seat; so, Uber it was. Surprisingly, there were quite a few in our vicinity, despite the streets being dead. We only had to wait a few minutes and the journey to Kolkata Chitpur took less than 10 minutes.
We’d been told to be at Chitpur for our cross-border train to Bangladesh 2 hours prior to departure to allow for immigration and customs checks before departure. At 5am there was an army presence at the top end of platform 1, where a caged area keeps the train locked down; which was already in the platform waiting. It was 0545 before anything started to happen and proceedings started with a TTE doing a ticket check on the platform, before passengers were allowed to then go through the customs and immigration area. The x-ray machine, at the entrance to the restricted area, had been on the blink all the time we’d been stood waiting and we’d watched one of the armed guard’s fiddle with it for ages to get it working. It wasn’t working when we went through, but I didn’t have the heat to tell them, more to prevent further waiting than anything else.
Half way to the customs building is a man at a manual weighing machine. There are strict rules on how many bags you can take on the train, and what their maximum weight should be; we were waved straight by! Customs forms had been handed out while we’d been waiting on the platform and both Vic & I had entered our details onto the one form. Initially, I thought this was going to be a problem when we presented ourselves at customs but alas, we were allowed to proceed to immigration; where officers were curious to know why we’d both visited India so many times. And at three times during 2018, what did you say to such a question, as a crank? Thankfully, it wasn’t one of those question times and we were allowed on our way. That was it, we were on the platform and had technically exited India; or at least our passports showed so at that point.
The 10-coach train, 2 genny vans, 4 AC chair-car and 4 1st AC (used as Executive seating), was locked up so we waited patiently for it to be unlocked. Thankfully, the correct traction was being prepared at the front of the train, BWN WDM3A 16473, which we were very grateful of. When we were allowed into the train, we knew we were the only people booked in our coach, based on the TTE’s list from earlier, so we moved compos and picked one with 4 berths vice 2 berths and tried to catch up on a bit of sleep before departure. Security staff were constantly up and down the train opening all the compo doors, so sleep didn’t really feature, and we had to keep closing the doors to keep the swathe of mosquitoes out.
Departure of the Badhan Express, 13129 0710 Kolkata Chitpur – Khulna, was on the nail at 0710 and BWN WDM3A 16473 certainly got on with it as it hammered towards the India/Bangladesh border at Benapole. There were no other checks along the way and after a brief stop on the Indian side, the BWN Alco trundled over the border into Bangladesh, at Benapole, where there was a massive queue of lorries waiting to be processed out of the country. It wasn’t immediately obvious what should happen on arrival into Benapole but based on the fact that we needed processing into Bangladesh, and that there was a big customs building on site, we eventually confirmed that we needed to detrain with our bags and be processed through the customs and immigration hall.
On entering the building, we were handed immigration forms to fill out and once that was complete, we were collared by one of the site security staff, who wanted to know what our occupation was, once he’d got our passports in his hand. We didn’t get them back until someone had confirmed over the phone, that we could be allowed into the country; which makes a little sense as they probably have restrictions on the likes of military personnel from other countries entering, especially over a land border?
By the time we got our passports back in hand we were among the last to be processed into Bangladesh, a process that took a good 10 minutes to complete and we had to provide other information as well as that which was given on the immigration form. Once the formalities were done, we then headed through customs, where a nice chap greeted us, and asked us where in the UK we were from before allowing us to put our bags through an x-ray machine and then re-board the train. Which was where something very strange happened…
Back in the same compartment we’d got out of, having checked that Bangladesh Railways BED30 6506 (DLW WDM3A) had re-engined 13129 at Benapole ad BWN WDM3A 16473 was stood aside to work back to Kolkata later that day, the nice man we’d spoken to at the customs entrance came into our compartment and asked if the seats were our booked seats. Of course, they weren’t, and we told him we’d moved from the next compartment at Kolkata to allow ourselves more space. We’d not thought much of the roof panels in all the compartments hanging down as checking all the nooks and crannies occurs at many border crossings throughout the world. When the guy then said they’d found some illegal goods in the roof space of our compartment, neither of us knew what to say; and we both suspected initially that he was just trying it on, possibly to extort a bit of money from us. We both kept our cool though and told him it would have been impossible for anyone to put anything there as we’d been in the compartment since an hour before the train’s departure from Kolkata; to which he said someone else must have put it there before we left. When he quickly left us be, and the roof panels were eventually shut by on-train staff, the whole episode seemed a little surreal and neither of us could fully figure out what it was all about. We were relieved to still be on the train thought and not hauled away to some office for questioning! When our first Bangladeshi loco of the trip got proceedings underway, it was a bit of a relief to be heading away from Benapole.
Our previous visit to Bangladesh had been in 2009 and things had changed a lot since then. BR had 26 new Alcos on the BG system and a lot of dual-gauging of the system had taken place too; which had probably let to the recent tender put out by BR for 40 new BG locos. The outcome of which hadn’t been confirmed yet. Unfortunately, the one thing that hadn’t changed was the lack of thrash from the locos and everything was still driven on no more than half power to conserve fuel. Randomly though, the line-speed seemed to have increased and we reached the dizzy heights of 80kmph at one point!
During the journey towards Khulna we spotted BR BEA20 6115 (MLW DL534) with 23 0930 Khulna – Parbatipur at Jessore, BED26 6401 (DLW WDM2) stabled in the yard at Noapara, where we were held to await BEA20 6006 (Alco DL534) arriving with 15 1110 Khulna – Chapai Nawabganj; and we only figured out what trains were what when we got to Khulna and found BEA20 6004 waiting to depart. Which could only be with 95 1235 Khulna – Benapole as there was nothing else until 1600 that afternoon; so that put everything that we’d seen into context. BEA20 6012 (Alco DL534) & BEA20 6105 (MLW DL534) were stabled in the carriage sidings and BEB22’s 6311/6312 (Bombardier MX624) were stabled on shed; the latter being used exclusively on freight.
We had no issues taking photos of the Badhan Express on arrival at Khulna ad were surprised to see many other people taking photos on their smartphones as well. It turned out that everyone was in awe of their brand-new Khulna station, which we’d arrived into on the Badhan Express, as it had only been open since 25th November; just 4 days prior to our arrival. The old station, the tracks to which veer off to the left on the approach to the new one, looked to now be nothing more than a carriage siding. The building was that new that some of the signs inside it were being erected when we walked int the massive booking hall. There were plenty of departure boards for us to take photos of and there were even electronic departure screens, although they didn’t look to be operating correctly yet.
Our pre-booked Tiger Garden International Hotel was a 10-minute walk from the new Khulna station, out of the exit, turn right and along the main road to the roundabout, then first left and its about 200 yards on the left. It was a breath of fresh air, the staff at reception were great and had us checked in straight away. The place was spotlessly clean, and our twin room was massive, with free toiletries, snacks and even hair products. There was a mini-bar, piping hot water, excellent AC and very good free WiFi and the 2nd floor restaurant looked the business too.
Once we’d got settled, we made an error in reading the timetables we’d photted at the station. While deciphering the numbers was simple enough, reading the station names and other details surrounding days of operation and so on, was impossible for us; so, we got the girl at the front desk to translate for us. We then assumed that there was a 1410 departure from Khulna that we’d not realised and grabbed onto the fact that we could have an early bath that evening; so, dashed to the ATM, next door to the hotel, to get some Bangladeshi Taka; which was around 107 to £1. Back at the station we realised the error of our ways and watched the returning Badhan Express set sail for Benapole before using the time to attempt to get some reservations for a sleeper train from Rajshahi to Dhaka in a couple of days’ time.
Something else that had changed since our last visit was the fact that BR was now using a computerized reservation system, which could be used online if the person booking had a Bangladeshi bank account. Thankfully, there wasn’t much of a queue at what we assumed was a ticket counter for reserved tickets, so we took the plunge and tried to get what we needed; which ended badly! Firstly, the staff at the windows don’t deal in train numbers so it pays to know the name of the train you want to book tickets on, secondly, the overnight train we wanted to book on from Rajshahi didn’t have sleeper berths on it, only seating and there were only seats available in non-AC chair car; so that got dissed. Thirdly, the afternoon departure from Rajshahi to Dhaka was fully booked and we didn’t fancy unreserved for the lengthy journey, so, the morning train it had to be; the tickets for which we got later that night after we’d had a ponder about the trip plan. Which had no gone in the bin and needed a complete re-write!
With a bit of time to kill, we went back to the hotel again, mainly so I could wash some clothes as I didn’t have enough to last the rest of the trip and this was the best opportunity to get some washing done, with enough time for it to dry before we needed to leave the hotel. Thankfully, there was a good fan in our room, which wasn’t controlled from a central point once the key was inserted into a slot, like many are in these parts of the world; so, it stayed on full the whole time we were out, and everything was dry when we got back.
When we got back to the station for 761 1600 Khulna – Rajshahi we found the queues for tickets were almost the length of the booking hall and gave it up as a bad job after 5 minutes. Tickets are always available on board the trains, so we weren’t concerned. BED30 6511 was at the head of the train and before boarding we had a short walk into the loco stabling point, where nobody blinked an eyelid at us walking around. There was even a group of young lads with a DSLR taking photos of each other clambering on one of the locos; we established that they weren’t cranks though.
When 6511 got proceedings underway, right time, it was standing room only at the front of the train but there were plenty of others standing too. As we suspected the case would be, the BED30 was driven very conservatively and despite reaching speeds above 60kmph it was never driven on anything more than half power; exactly as everything had been on our 2009 visit. On departure from Rajshahi we were heading to Jessore, which we believed would be the train’s first stop. When it stopped at Noapara though, we were off and had an early finish in our sights as a result. A railway worker, who we’d been talking to on the train, confirmed that there would be a train along shortly to take us back into Khulna; which we’d figured out anyway, and initially thought it was arriving as we were but what we saw turned out to be BED26 6401 sat in the sidings beyond the station.
After an hour of festering about and being followed around the station we started to realise we might be in for a long wait. The local youth were playing volleyball on the other side of the station wall and we found a bit of respite from the glares and people following us around the station, on a bench nearby; and took in our surroundings from there. The group of glarer’s were harmless, which previous experience had taught us, but there was still a fair gathering around where we were sat for most of the time we were sat there. Intermittently, a guy did come by and attempt to move people on, but the local’s will to glare at us was greater than their will to walk away; and nobody went away until darkness fell and enabled us to blend into the background a little. At which point a young lad came to talk to us and after figuring out where we were going, he went into the station master’s office and returned with the news that the train we were waiting for would actually be preceded by the returning Benapole Commuter, which we’d originally been heading to Jessore for, and it would be another hour or so!
We sat at Noapara, watching our early finish go down the pan. Thankfully, as time went by, the amount of glarer’s dwindled too, and darkness acted kindly to us. Unfortunately, it didn’t act kindly to the little lizard that ventured onto the platform and it was trampled to death by passersby. Shortly after it’s untimely death, hope came ringing over the airways as the station master rang his bell to signify a train would be arriving soon. It was another 40 minutes before MEM20 6112 arrived with 16 0500 Chapai Nawabganj – Khulna, running 4 hours late! There was plenty of room to sit in the front coach and we were joined by a couple of people that spoke English. One of which insisted on going through to Khulna with us, instead of getting off on the outskirts, where he should have. He was a nice enough chap and we had a good conversation on the way to Khulna, and even managed to get the ruthless train grippers to change us some money for lower denomination notes.
Back at Khulna the ticket office wasn’t wedged so we used the fact to get ourselves the required tickets from Rajshahi to Dhaka for two days’ time. Like the overnight we’d attempted to book earlier, the afternoon train was fully booked in bookable classes, so we had no choice but to book tickets on the morning train from Rajshahi to Dhaka as a result and got ourselves tickets for the following morning’s 0630 Khulna – Rajshahi, while we were at it; at which point the whole bash plan went in the bin, starting with the following day’s trip to Goalanda Ghat.
Back at the Tiger Garden International we headed straight for the hotel restaurant, which was clean, well lit and had an extensive menu. The food was plentiful and probably much needed when it arrived. After which, I went down to pay the bill so there weren’t any issues when we went to check out at 0530. Randomly, when I asked the guy at reception to make sure our food bill was included, he couldn’t find one and rang the restaurant to make sure they’d sent it down. It turned out he’d stapled it to another foreigner’s room bill instead. Fully paid up, it wasn’t long before heads were hitting pillows and a new day was dawning….
Gen for Thursday 29th November 2018
16473 BWN 13129 0710 Kolkata – Khulna (to Benapole), 13130 1330 Khulna – Kolkata (from Benapole – assumed)
6506 13129 0710 Kolkata – Khulna (from Benapole), 13130 1330 Khulna – Kolkata (to Benapole)
6401 at Noapara on a freight
6115 23 0930 Khulna – Parbatipur
6006 15 1110 Khulna – Chapai Nawabganj
6004 95 1235 Khulna – Benapole
6105, 6012, 6311, 6312 at Khulna
6507 762 0640 Rajshahi – Khulna
6511 761 1600 Khulna – Rajshahi
6516 726 0620 Dhaka Kamlapur – Khulna
6112 16 0500 Chapai Nawabganj – Khulna
6517 725 2030 Khulna – Dhaka
Moves for Thursday 29th November 2018
|16473||Kolkata Chitpur||Benapole||13129||0710 Kolkata Chitpur – Khulna (Badhan Express)|
|6511||Khulna||Noapara||761||1600 Khulna – Rajshahi|
|6112||Noapara||Khulna||16||0500 Chapai Nawabganj – Khulna|
Photos for Thursday 29th November 2018
Friday 30th November 2018 (Khulna to Rajshahi and the Rohanpur branch)
There were no issues checking out of the excellent Tiger Garden International at stupid o’clock and the door staff flagged us down an old cycle rickshaw to take us to the station. Someone had had a real brainwave in recent times it seemed as all the cycle rickshaws had been retro fitted with car batteries and once up to speed the batteries kept them motoring along, just like the new-build battery powered ones. The downside of that would probably be evident in a couple of years when all the cycle rickshaw owners had put on a few pounds. For now though, at 6am, it was a welcome change to some poor bastard having to kill himself while trying to get to fat westerners and their luggage down the road!
It was all go when we got to the station with BED30 6510 having arrived Khulna at 0610 with either 748 1845 (P) Chilhati – Khulna or 764 1900 (P) Dhaka- Khulna and BEA20’s 6004 & 6012 with BED30 6506 & another stabled on Khulna Shed. BEM20 6107 was being prepared to depart with 53 0600 Khulna – Benapole, which we could do to Noapara for our booked 715 0630 Khulna – Rajshahi forward; and we did. As the MLW departed Khulna with 53, DLW built BED26 6413 was waiting outside the station, looking the likely candidate to drop onto 715 0630 Khulna – Rajshahi. There was plenty of room in the front coach to Noapara, we got chung up along the way and were left to our own devices in the bay we chose. At Noapara BED26 6401 was still in the station sidings and BEB22 6312 was stabled in the station loop with a freight. By the time we’d photographed the MLW departing then got a few shots of the MX624 stabled with its freight, we barely had time to get onto the footbridge to phot the WDM2 arriving with train 715.
Having done our homework on the platform at Khulna, we knew that our booked coach was towards the rear of the train and it stopped more or less at the bottom of the steps. We weren’t expecting what was effectively Indian 1AC compartments that were reserved for 4 people seated on each side, but that’s what we got and eventually we ended up with 4 people on each side of the compo as well. It wasn’t too bad though as some of the compo’s occupants were up and about for most of the journey. There were tea/coffee sellers up and down all the time and they operated on an honesty policy and didn’t come around for their money until after we’d crossed the Bangabandhu Bridge and asked everyone what they’d had. Crisps and chocolate were also readily available as well as fried breaded chicken and rice for breakfast.
Progress in places was quite rapid, by Bangladesh standards, and we were approaching 90kmph at one point. The air-conditioned open coach wasn’t full at any point during the journey and there were on-board staff up and down all the time with food and drinks, including fried chicken and rice for breakfast, crisps and even a massive box of chocolate later in the morning. Our chance for food came during the stop at Ishardi, where there were plenty of stalls on the station. Little did we realise while we were at Ishardi that BED26 6413 was replaced by BED30 6521. A fact we only discovered when ambling down the platform at Rajshahi. Luckily for us there was a set of stock in the adjacent dead-end platform that prevented 6521 running straight round its stock, otherwise we might not have even realised at all!
As we walked towards the buffer stops BEM20 6103 arrived with a train off the Rohanpur/Chapai Nawabganj direction and was run straight round to work back out with a 1300 Rajshahi – Rohanpur. Stabled over the back of the station, facing Rohanpur, was BEB22 6309 with a tank train. Rajshahi station was very similar to the new Khulna station, with regards layout and booking hall and Khulna had clearly been based on Rajshahi’s design. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a simplified list of departures and all of the electronic displays had information from a different part of the day displayed. Needless to say, we had to glean the information as to what 6103 was doing from the station security staff, who were manning exit & access to the platforms. With no other information we had to trust what they were telling us was correct but were a little confused as to why it wasn’t on any station list or the BR website.
Our hotel was a 5km journey from the station and we had no option but to get an e-auto to it. There were plenty willing to take us in the station compound and it took about 10 minutes to get to the Hotel Star International. We were checked in straight away and they were expecting us. The room wasn’t anywhere near as good as the one we’d left behind in Khulna but it was good enough and big enough and had hot water. The hotel looked to be a brand-new building and when we walked back down to reception from our 8th floor room we passed floors that clearly hadn’t been finished. We didn’t spend much time at the hotel before heading back to the station and luckily, we managed to flag down an e-auto that was passing by the hotel, to get us there.
We weren’t quick enough to figure out that it would have made for a good photo of BEA20 6003 arriving with 58 1300 Chapai Nawabganj – Rajshahi, until it was too late; and we were just rushing up the footsteps onto the footbridge outside the station as it rushed by! By the time we got back onto the platform the stock had emptied and reloaded with waiting passengers. There was still room in the front coach though and we sat with a young couple that were heading to Chapai Nawabganj, who explained that they had to change trains at Amnura Junction. At that point we figured that the set that BEM20 6103 had departed with at 1300 would end up being their ride to Chapai Nawabganj. While waiting for departure, BEM20 6113 arrived into Rajshahi at 1520 from Ishardi direction and BEM20 6104 arrived Rajshahi at 1535 with a train, we were told was from Chapai Nawabganj; which also wasn’t on any of the timetable gen we’d been able to accumulate.
The run out to Rohanpur wasn’t particularly sedate but the driving policy meant it wasn’t particularly interesting in the noise stakes either. At Amnura Junction BED26 6402 was sat in the yard with a freight and all those heading to Chapai Nawabganj alighted but there wasn’t another set anywhere in the station area. At Rohanpur 6003 was run straight round its train and we had the run of the front coach on the return journey. Nobody bothered us all the way back to Rajshahi, other then the ticket sellers, and we had a bay all to ourselves and reveled in the peace and quiet. Your brain starts to hurt after being constantly engaged with people related conversation and questioning all the while and a respite at the end of the day is very welcome to allow it recover.
On the way back to Rajshahi we crossed BEM20 6103 with what we believe to be 581 1715 Chapai Nawabganj – Rohanpur and can only assume that it was somewhere on the Chapai Nawabganj branch when we’d arrived into Amnura earlier. At Rajshahi the night photo we took of 6003 waiting to head on to Ishardi with 78 1745 Rohanpur – Ishardi, was almost identical to the one we’d took earlier in the morning at Khulna of BEM20 6107 waiting to depart with 53 0600 Khulna – Benapole; so, the day’s bash finished pretty much as it had started.
Back at the Hotel Star International, things didn’t go at all as we’d hoped, and it was evident the moment we walked into the hotel’s restaurant that getting food was going to be a lot harder than it needed to be. First of all, the chef wasn’t on site and couldn’t prepare most meals on the menu, so they offered to get the food in for us from elsewhere. Having accepted their offer, we ordered some Chinese food and wait for it to be delivered; and waited, and then waited some more! After over an hour of waiting I went to complain at reception, just as the hotel manager turned up. The result of which was a lot of apologizing and him ranting at someone on his mobile phone, which could well have been just for effect; still, it took another 30 minutes for our very big portion of noodles and rice to be delivered to our room, almost 2 hours after we’d initially walked into the hotel restaurant. Despite the late arrival of our food, it was piping hot and very tasty but when the hotel tried to charge us a commission fee for it the following morning they were told, in no uncertain terms, where to go!
Gen for Friday 30th November 2018
6004, 6012, 6506 & 65xx on Khulna Shed
6510 arr Khulna at 0610 either 748 1845 (P) Chilhati – Khulna or 764 1900 (P) Dhaka- Khulna
6107 53 0600 Khulna – Benapole
6413 715 0630 Khulna – Rajshahi (to Ishardi)
6521 715 0630 Khulna – Rajshahi (to Ishardi)
6312 at Noapara on a freight
6401 at Noapara on a freight
6513 on Ishardi shed
6016 6 0810 Chapai Nawabganj – Sirajgonj Bazaar
6103 ?? 1300 Rajshahi – Rohanpur, ????, 581 1715 Chapai Nawabganj – Rohanpur
6502 6505 at Rajshahi
6003 58 1300 Chapai Nawabganj – Rajshahi, 77 1520 Rajshahi – Rohanpur, 78 1745 Rohanpur – Ishardi
6104 arr Rajshahi 1535 ex Chapai Nawabganj?
6113 arr Rajshahi 1520 from Ishardi direction
6309 at Rajshahi on a freight
6402 at Amnura Jn on a freight
Moves for Friday 30th November 2018
|6107||Khulna||Noapara||53||0600 Khulna – Benapole|
|6413||Noapara||Ishardi||715||0630 Khulna – Rajshahi|
|6003||Rajshahi||Rohanpur||77||1520 Rajshahi – Rohanpur|
|6003||Rohanpur||Rajshahi||78||1745 Rohanpur – Ishardi|
Photos for Friday 30th November 2018
Saturday 1st December 2018 (Rajshahi to Dhaka and an afternoon nedding about)
Having paid the hotel the previous night, checking out was a simple affair and we were soon walking along the main road looking for suitable transport to take us to the station. With the hotel being in a relatively quiet location, we had to walk to the next road junction, where there were plenty of e-auto’s. At Rajshahi station we found BED30 6521 on the blocks having arrived with 759 2310 (P) Dhaka Kamlapur – Rajshahi and disappointingly, BED30 6506 at the head of our 754 0740 Rajshahi – Dhaka Kamlapur. On board which we didn’t quite expect to find Indian 1AC coaches being used as seated accommodation, but our booked seats were in one of these compos and there were up to 8 people allocated to each compo. Unfortunately, ours ended up full but thankfully people kept popping out and leaving enough space for people to veg about in, otherwise it would have been cozy. The sellers were up and down the train constantly and the tea/coffee seller operated on an honesty policy and asked everyone after the Bangabandhu Bridge how many drinks they’d had before chinging them up.
All the fast running en-route was destroyed when we approached the Bangabandhu Bridge and were held for 45 minutes waiting for other trains coming over before we were allowed onto the single line, 4.6km long bridge. The run over which was at a slow pace and every road vehicle travelling over the bridge, in the same direction as us, overtook us and there were teams of people on the roads cleaning up with sweeping brushes. Once off the bridge, thankfully speeds picked up again and after the stop at Bangabandhu Setu East, where BR BED30 6522 was waiting with 765 0800 Dhaka Kamlapur – Saidpur, we motored on towards Dhaka just over an hour late but sat waiting for BR BED30 6501 to arrive into Tangail with 705 1000 Dhaka Kamlapur – Dinajpur; before continuing onwards to Dhaka Biman Bandar (Dhaka Airport) and heading off to our hotel.
Our Nagar Valley Hotel was chosen through Booking.com only two days prior to our arrival and it is only a 5-minute walk from the Rajshahi end of Biman Bandar station platforms and it was easier to walk down the track to the level crossing than brave the road, which was full of rickshaws and e-autos. Turning left, off the railway tracks, onto the main road at the level crossing, only gave us a 2-minute walk to the hotel, which was up ahead on the right. It was a breath of fresh air compared to the Star International in Rajshahi and all staff spoke fluent English. Our room was above the hotel restaurant, had two big beds and it was huge. The AC worked a treat and the hot water was piping hot. We didn’t hang around for long and were soon heading back to Biman Bandar to hunt down some MG Alco’s heading into Dhaka Kamlapur. As Vic said as we walked out, we were hurrying up to wait; and that’s exactly how the late afternoon went.
There were plenty of people at Dhaka Biman Bandar station and there were certainly plenty of trains heading in and out of the capital, the trouble was that none were the correct traction and when an Alco eventually did turn up heading into Dhaka, it was one we’d had on a previous trip. There was plenty to photograph in the meantime with most trains being well loaded and most, if not all, had people travelling on the loco or roof at some point during its arrival or departure from Biman Bandar. While trying to make ourselves scarce on the station footbridge we managed to attract the resident nutter, who just wouldn’t shut up. He was only a young lad, but he had more energy than the energizer bunny and just kept going and going. Relief came in the form of a Chinese girl, who we’d noticed being swamped on the tracks down below, and when she made the mistake of walking onto the footbridge our nutter didn’t want to pester us anymore; which we were happy with. It seemed that the Chinese girl and her male mates were reveling in being followed around and were constantly videoing themselves while being surrounded by locals. Still, it kept the attention away from us and when MG MEM14 2312 arrived with 2312 50 1345 Mymensingh – Dhaka Kamlapur, a mere 2h30m after we’d got onto the station, I was Kamlapur bound; when I found somewhere to wedge myself into the train, towards the rear.
The 2h30m minutes at Biman Bandar had taught us that people waited towards the front of the platform while waiting for Dhaka bound trains, and the majority of those seemed to clamber onto the engine, its roof and even the leading coupler for the journey towards Dhaka. When I recorded us doing close to 60kmph it showed that these people were dicing with death every time they clambered aboard the engine; and those riding on the front coupler were simply idiots, plain and simple. I’ve previously ridden on the roof of a train in Bangladesh but at no point did I think it was dangerous but having seen quite a few trains depart Biman Bandar with the loco almost unrecognizable beneath the masses, my views changed slightly when we were trundling along at 60kmph. I noticed along the way that since the BG tracks had been laid between Dhaka Cantt & Kamlapur the line-speed had increased due to the fact that the lineside markets now kept off the tracks and were clearly behind the railway boundary; so’ attitudes to safety along the trackside had improved but attitudes to safety during travel hadn’t.
On arrival into Dhaka Kamlapur I didn’t have much time to think about what I was going to do next as I spied MG MEH14 2502 being prepared for departure with a short train and legged it over to find out what was going on. 2 minutes later 2502 was departing with the short rake and I should have figured that something wasn’t quite right with there only being a dozen or so people in the front coach; and when it stopped by the level crossing outside the station, a load of people got off and then 2502 propelled it back into the adjacent platform and onto the top of a couple of parcel vans. When 2502 was then detached, it was at that point that I realised it was Dhaka Kamlapur station pilot. What I didn’t know until later that night, was that MEH14 2512 eventually worked that set out of Dhaka Kamlapur as train 12 2020 Dhaka Kamlapur – Noakhali. At which point I was already back at Biman Bandar having done BG BED30 6509 out on 764 1900 Dhaka Kamlapur – Khulna; which had arrived on 763 0840 Khulna – Dhaka Kamlapur and run straight round to work back out. Vic & I had briefly met up on the platform, after he’d arrived with 6509 on 763, but as BED30 6515 arrived with 758 0915 Dinajpur – Dhaka Kamlapur, moments before train 764 departed, Vic waited at Kamlapur to do it back out on 757 2000 Dhaka Kamlapur – Dinajpur. It was he who spotted the MEH14 with train 12.
Back at the Nagar Valley Hotel the restaurant there was still open, and the staff were very pleasant. A cracking Bangla curry was served up and we retired that night quite pleased with how the day had gone, even if the afternoon/evening hadn’t really offered up a great deal in the end. We both had flights from Dhaka airport the following evening to Kolkata and were packed ready for the off the following morning before we went to bed.
Gen for Saturday 1st December 2018
6521 759 2310 (P) Dhaka Kamlapur – Rajshahi
6506 754 0740 Rajshahi – Dhaka Kamlapur
6510 726 0620 Dhaka Kamlapur – Khulna
6520 13110 0745 Dhaka Cantt – Kolkata Chitpur (Maitree Exp)
6522 765 0800 Dhaka Kamlapur – Saidpur
6501 705 1000 Dhaka Kamlapur – Dinajpur
6523 5 1220 Dhaka Kamlapur – Chapai Nawabganj (Biman Bandar 1450 ex Kamlapur)
Sightings at Dhaka which we were mostly unable to confirm the workings of!
2916 Biman Bandar 1505 ex Kamlapur
2915 Biman Bandar 1521 ex Kamlapur
2935 Biman Bandar 1535 ex Kamlapur
2914 Biman Bandar 1535 to Kamlapur (Pass)
2718 Biman Bandar 1547 to Kamlapur (IC)
DMU 1335 Dhaka Kamlapur – Joydebpur (Biman Bandar 1548 ex Kamlapur)
6506 753 1440 Dhaka Kamlapur – Rajshahi
2927 Biman Bandar 1600 to Kamlapur (IC)
2903 Biman Bandar 1616 ex Kamlapur
6526 13108 0710 Kolkata Chitpur – Dhaka Cantt (Maitree Exp)
2719 51 1540 Dhaka Kamlapur – Dewanganj (Biman Bandar 1632 ex Kamlapur)
2401 Biman Bandar 1642 to Kamlapur (IC)
2911 Biman Bandar 1646 ex Kamlapur
2312 50 1345 Mymensingh – Dhaka Kamlapur (Biman Bandar 1732 to Kamlapur)
2320 Biman Bandar 1732 ex Kamlapur
2718 ???? 1840 dep Dhaka Kamlapur
2502 shunt stock at Dhaka Kamlapur at 1820
6518 ???? 1825 dep Dhaka Kamlapur
6509 763 0840 Khulna – Dhaka Kamlapur, 764 1900 Dhaka Kamlapur – Khulna
6515 758 0915 Dinajpur – Dhaka Kamlapur, 757 2000 Dhaka Kamlapur – Dinajpur
2512 12 2020 Dhaka Kamlapur – Noakhali
Moves for Saturday 1st December 2018
|6506||Rajshahi||Biman Bandar||754||0740 Rajshahi – Dhaka Kamlapur|
|2312||Biman Bandar||Dhaka Kamlapur||50||1345 Mymensingh – Dhaka Kamlapur|
|2502||Dhaka Kamlapur Platform 4||Dhaka Kamlapur Platform 2||Shunt stock for 12 202 Dhaka Kamlapur – Noakhali|
|6509||Dhaka Kamlapur||Biman Bandar||764||1900 Dhaka – Khulna|
Photos for Saturday 1st December 2018
Sunday 2nd December 2018 (A day in Dhaka before heading back to Kolkata, India)
We had a plan to be at the station for around 0715 and made good on our plan, after dropping our big bags at the hotel reception and checking out of the room. It was going to be a suck it and see morning and after MEI15 2913 departed for Kamlapur as we arrived at the station, the station footbridge was to become our vegetating place. For me though, the vegetating was limited to only 15 minutes when MEM14 2320 came trundling into the station. With the GM having gone a short time before it, it had mopped up everyone waiting and there was plenty of room on board. My attempts to find out where the train had come from, while on board, were fruitless and I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to be able to identify most of the trains I spotted during the day on the MG.
At Kamlapur, the only train with a loco on it was on the BG and BED30 6501, waiting to depart with 765 0800 Dhaka Kamlapur – Saidpur, provided a quick get-out move back towards Biman Bandar. When it slowed to a stand at Tejgaon, MEH14 2516 waiting to head towards Kamlapur, provided a bonus move back into Kamlapur where MEM14 2307 was just dropping onto a set; which I eventually found out was the late running 43 0815 Dhaka Kamlapur – Mohanganj. On board it, in the front coach, were a guy and his son who spoke fluent English, hence I was able to establish what the train was. It was great talking to them during the journey back towards Biman Bandar and when the grippers came around for tickets, I wasn’t allowed to buy my own ticket; they insisted they bought it for me and then allowed me to keep all three tickets. They also explained that if you bought a ticket on the platform it would cost BDT40 but on the train it only cost BDT25 (the current exchange rate being £1 = BDT107). There was no incentive to buy tickets for the local stopping services on the platform at all and those getting straight onto the roof or loco didn’t get bothered for tickets at all; apparently.
Back at Biman Bandar there was no sign of Vic, until I spotted him wondering around the platform after BED30 6518 had arrived with a short but very wedged train heading to Kamlapur; which had apparently come from Tangail. I had hoped to do it back to Kamlapur, but the wedge factor prevented that from happening and I had to watch it leave instead. It wasn’t too long before BED30 6516 was arriving with 775 0600 Saraiganj Bazar – Dhaka Kamlapur and that provided an alternative move towards Kamlapur; just after MEM14 2320 had headed back out of Dhaka with 735 0945 Dhaka Kamlapur – Tarakandi.
With there being nothing available to do back out at Kamlapur we had a bit of time on our hands. The station was being shunted to death by Hitachi MEH14s 2502 & 2516 and 2503 dropped into the station to work 781 1035 Dhaka Kamlapur – Kishorganj, which departed at 1115. Unfortunately for us, it was one we’d had on a previous trip, so we took a wander up the tracks to Kamlapur Loco Shed and tried our luck at getting a look around. It was just like going to Tinsley on a Sunday, creeping into the foreman’s office and asking in your best kiddy voice if you could have a look around. Shocked at the straight answer of yes, we were escorted around the whole place by a couple of members of staff and while we were allowed to take a few photos, we were told the shed is a restricted place, so we did keep it to a minimum during our walk around.
It was an interesting half an hour amble through the shed, workshop, maintenance shed and DMU shed but outside in the trees was where we found the most interesting exhibits. Lead by MEH14 2507, a line of three Alcos extended back into the trees at the side of the DMU shed, the other two being DLW built MED14’s 2810 & 2806; both of which we’d had on our previous trips. 2806 was only identifiable by the lower numbers on the front, which I had to fight my way through the trees to see. One of its cabs had been completely cut away! We were told that the DLW MED14s had been in service 5 years ago and the Hitachi MEH14 had been in service 2 years ago. During our walk around the shed we were also told that there would be more DMUs arriving into Bangladesh soon, which wasn’t good news. Surprisingly, there weren’t a great deal of locos on shed but here is the list anyway:
Dhaka Kamlapur Shed 02/12/18
2205, 2233 outside Kamlapur shed
2403, 2504, 2203 maintenance shed
2615, 2604 demic on09 shed
2507, 2810, 2806 demic in trees
2515, 2517 outside shed
Just before exiting the workshop we were accosted by a nice chap who wanted a chat. He’d been with Bangladesh Railways for 37 years (I think) and was retiring very soon. During our chat it became very evident that we’d stumbled into a room that would give us just the gen we needed. It was like Christmas when we clapped eyes on the “Heavy Schedule Progress Boards”, which showed the lifespan progress for everything Alco, with separate boards for MEM14s, MEH14s and DEH14s; with the history going right back to their date of acceptance by Bangladesh Railways! Obviously, there was no way to digest all that in one go, so photographs were taken for perusal later. Of note though, was the fact that 2507, 2806 & 2810 were not shown at “cond” but there were no maintenance dates for any of them in recent years. A list of withdrawn locos is shown below (smaller list than showing active ones): 2302, 2309, 2323, 2409, 2507, 2510, 2801, 2806, 2808 & 2810.
After thanking the shed foreman for letting us walk around his shed, we headed back over to the station to wait it out. The idea being that we’d do train 5 1220 Dhaka Kamlapur – Chapai Nawabganj back out to Biman Bandar. We figured that the inbound might be late however, we weren’t quite expecting it to be over 2 hours late and at 1340 BED30 6523 arrived with 551 0500 Ishardi – Dhaka Kamlapur. BED30 6518 was waiting by the shed to drop onto the opposite end of the stock and the set was turned around in 20 minutes to work train 5 1220 Dhaka Kamlapur – Chapai Nawabganj back out. As it was so late back out, it looked like there might not be another move for either of us as we both had to get our bags from the hotel and catch our flights to India. As we departed, we spotted the first BED14 of the trip and 2804 was sat in the station light. Quite where it had come from, we couldn’t work out. At Tejgaon MEM14 2317 was waiting in the platform with a short train consisting of a coach, a mail coach and a brake coach, with two vans behind those. I had no idea what the train was and didn’t find out on my way back into Kamlapur either; I leapt off for it, leaving Vic to head to the airport as his flight was earlier than mine.
While heading back into Dhaka, I wasn’t quite sure what I’d be doing back to Biman Bandar but when 2317 arrived into Kamlapur my eyes were trained straight to the waiting MED14 2804, or what I thought was 2804 anyway. It wasn’t until I was safely on board 789 1420 Dhaka Kamlapur – Mohanganj, having only just made it, that I realised the last digit on the loco number hadn’t been a figure 8, Bengali No.4. It was actually 2803 leading the train and 2804 was nowhere to be seen as we eased our way towards Biman Bandar, where, upon arrival I wasted no time in heading to the Nagar Valley Hotel to collect my bag.
While I repacked my bag the hotel staff booked me a taxi to take me the short distance to the airport, which only cost BDT100. There was quite a bit of traffic along the way, but it was better sitting in an air-conditioned car than walking in the afternoon heat with a big bag. The front of the airport was quite busy and some tout came up to me while I was walking towards one of the entrance gates to tell me that it was very busy, but for a few taka he could get me in through the back door; he got told where to go, I queued up and was inside the entrance within a few minutes. It seems that these touts’ prey on tourists who see the mass of people outside the airport and think its going to take them ages to get in. Most are messing about with their luggage and not even in the queues to get in, so don’t let the amount of people milling about concern you. Find the end of the queue, which won’t be anywhere near as far from the entrance as it might seem, and just head through as it dwindles down.
My flight was with Indigo and was a through booking from Dhaka to Mumbai but with a stop-over in Kolkata. I had to check in at one of the desks as Indigo don’t allow online check-in for international flights but was given both my boarding cards. Getting through security was easy and low and behold, when I got to the immigration queue, who was stood in front of me? It was only Vic, who’d walked to the airport, had a farce getting into it and he didn’t look very impressed with proceedings. We parted ways again after immigration as his flight was earlier than mine. I went in search of food at the only restaurant at the airport, which literally looked like someone had dropped a bomb in the place. It was devoid of people, yet every table was covered in dirty dishes and the remains of peoples’ dinner; and the staff weren’t interested at all in serving me, so out I walked and got a few snacks from one of the kiosks with my remaining Taka.
The airport departure gate lounge was rife with mosquitoes and I killed 12 while waiting to board. When the doors opened to allow boarding, all became clear as swarms of the things invaded the waiting area; having come from outside. On board the plane was no better and was worse than the waiting area had been. Complaints to the cabin crew fell on deaf ears as they weren’t allowed to spray the cabin due to Bangladeshi laws. The result of that being that the plane was freezing all the way to Kolkata, in an attempt to kill them all off, yet many survived the journey. To put it bluntly, it was a bit crap! The only bonus of the flight being that we were 30’ early off the stand in Dhaka and 50’ early onto the stand in Kolkata. The result of that being that I had to ring my hotel to let them know I was waiting for them to collect me, early. Due to the traffic around the airport they had to book an Uber for me, but the owner of the Silverline Hotel was very accommodating and even sent me all the Uber reference details, so I could locate the driver.
The Silverline Hotel is only about 700m from the airport exit, as the crow flies, but it’s a couple of kilometers via the roadway. Its down a narrow side-street and the staff at the front desk were keen to check me in. The room was tiny, and the double bed only just fit into the alcove it was positioned in. The fan and AC worked well through and there was hot water and WiFi. Room service was efficient, and I was in bed by 9pm, with an alarm set for 0330; with an 0530 flight to Mumbai to catch.
Gen for Sunday 2nd December 2018
2913 Biman Bandar 0715 to Kamlapur (Mail)
2931 788 0700 Dhaka Kamlapur – Chittagong (Biman Bandar 0728 ex Kamlapur (IC))
2320 Biman Bandar 0745 to Kamlapur
6501 765 0800 Dhaka Kamlapur – Saidpur
2516 Tejgaon 0810 to Kamlapur
2307 43 0815 Dhaka Kamlapur – Mohanganj
2502 & 2516 ecs locos at Kamlapur
2403 on shed
6502 706 2300 (P) Dinajpur – Dhaka Kamlapur
6518 Biman Bandar 0930 to Kamlapur (from Tangail)
2916 0900ish ex Kamlapur
2913 Biman Bandar 1000 ex Kamlapur
2320 735 0945 Dhaka Kamlapur – Tarakandi (Biman Bandar 1018 ex Kamlapur)
6516 775 0600 Saraiganj Bazar – Dhaka Kamlapur
2503 781 1035 Dhaka Kamlapur – Kishorganj (Kamlapur dep 1115)
2915 717 1200 Dhaka Kamlapur – Sylhet
2935 Kamlapur arr 1222 (ex Chittagong?)
2904 68 1300 Dhaka Kamlapur – Chittagong
2613 Kamlapur arr 1310
DMU xxx 1335 Dhaka Kamlapur – Joydebpur
6523 551 0500 Ishardi – Dhaka Kamlapur
6518 5 1220 Dhaka Kamlapur – Chapai Nawabganj
2317 Tejgaon 1420 to Kamlapur (Mail short rake)
2916 90 1330 Dhaka Kamlapur – Comilla
2803 789 1420 Dhaka Kamlapur – Mohanganj
Dhaka Kamlapur Shed
2205, 2233 outside Kamlapur shed
2403, 2504, 2203 maintenance shed
2615, 2604 demic on09 shed
2507, 2810, 2806 demic in trees
2515, 2517 outside shed
Moves for Sunday 2nd December 2018
|2320||Biman Bandar||Dhaka Kamlapur||????|
|6501||Dhaka Kamlapur||Tejgaon||765||0800 Dhaka – Saidpur|
|2307||Dhaka Kamlapur||Biman Bandar||43||0815 Dhaka Kamlapur – Mohanganj|
|6516||Biman Bandar||Dhaka Kamlapur||775||0600 Saraiganj Bazar – Dhaka Kamlapur|
|6518||Dhaka Kamlapur||Tejgaon||5||1220 Dhaka Kamlapur – Chapai Nawabganj|
|2803||Dhaka Kamlapur||Biman Bandar||789||1420 Dhaka Kamlapur – Mohanganj|
|VT-IHU||Dhaka||Kolkata||6E-1859||1830 Dhaka – Kolkata|
Photos for Sunday 2nd December 2018
Monday 3rd December 2018 (A day in Mumbai before heading home)
At 0320 the phone on the wall started ringing. I was awake but that wasn’t the point. The person at the end of it was giving me an alarm call, which I hadn’t asked for and he was told so! 10 minutes later I was up and quickly got myself ready to exit the hotel. A taxi was waiting for me when I got downstairs, and I was whisked to the airport. My 0530 Indigo flight to Mumbai was on time but it was too early to be able to get something sensible to eat at the airport so coffee and a microwave omelette had to do. At least there were no mosquitoes on the plane, which was pretty much a sleeper-flight for most of the journey, for all on board. Just like most Indigo flights I’ve done, it was early at destination and I was outside the airport at Mumbai only a couple of minutes after the flight should have landed.
There was no queue at the pre-paid taxi counter near the exit doors of the airport and I was on my way to Dadar that early that I decided to get myself a hotel for the day, which would allow me to freshen up that evening before heading to the airport for my flight home and I could leave my big bag there too. Having checked on Google Maps, I walked the short distance to the City Guest House, which it out of Dadar station, turn right and it’s on the right-hand side above another building. The entrance is through a gate and up a set of stairs towards the rear of the building. The guys at reception were happy for me to have a room for the day and I was quickly checked in. The room itself wasn’t big but it was clean and modern looking, with a decent bathroom and excellent WiFi and hot water 24/7. There’s no restaurant at the hotel but there are plenty of decent looking local restaurants on the street outside.
With a bit of time to kill, thanks to the early arrival of my flight, I set my stall out in the hotel room to allow for a quick getaway that night if needed and then headed to the station to catch a train into Mumbai CST. My attempts to buy a ticket for an express train from Dadar into CST were scuppered and I was forced to buy a local ticket instead. I realised why when I got to CST and attempted to buy a ticket back out to Dadar on an express, I was told that the minimum distance for anything, but unreserved tickets was Kalyan; so, a ticket to Kalyan it had to be. KYN WCAM2 21878 got me to CST on 11010 0605 Pune – Mumbai CST. As it arrived into Dadar some guy jumped off, as folk do, but didn’t get his footing and fell over. Rather than let go of the handrail he was holding onto though, he kept a hold and was dragged down the platform. It took three men to drag him away from the train, and to safety, and at one point it looked like he was going to get dragged underneath it!
The plan for the morning was to ned about on the empty stock’s at Mumbai CST and when passing Byculla carriage sidings there were quite a few WDS6’s knocking about in there. I noted 36321, 36327 & 36504, all CLA WDS6’s. Also 36544 was just coming out of the carriage sidings with the set for 16331 1210 Mumbai CST – Trivandrum Central and that started my morning off nicely, as it arrived into a platform close to where 11010 had arrived. During the next 2h30m no less that 10 different CLA WDS6s were involved in shunting movements at Mumbai CST, most getting rid of arriving sets but there were a few inbound sets being brought in for early afternoon departures too. The full list of CLA WDS6’s seen at CST is as follows: 36544, 36303, 36321, 36327, 36042, 36122, 36504, 36306, 36141 & 36291. On the depot outside CST station were KYN WDM3D 11358, KYN WDG3A 13579 and PA WDM3A’s 18926/16012; the latter twins went on to be the regular traction on the Tejas Express from that point on and they were still working on the Konkan 2 weeks later, always on turns previously covered by KYN WDP3As.
KYN WDM3D 11373 was my ride back out of Mumbai CST on 17031 1245 Mumbai CST – Hyderabad. There was plenty of room in the unreserved coaches at the front of the train, until the masses joined at Dadar, where I alighted to head back into CST. I’d just missed the opposing working of 17032 2040 (P) Hyderabad – Mumbai CST, which had KYN WDG4 12763 at its helm, so nothing lost. If 11042 1220 (P) Chennai Central – Mumbai CST is on time, there’s an opportunity for a quick in & out at CST for the opposing working of 11041 1400 Mumbai CST – Chennai Central back out. Before heading into CST again though my attention turned to the bay platforms, No’s 7 & 8, where CLA WDS6 36041 had just propelled the stock in for 12071 1400 Dadar – Jalna Shatabdi; when I wasn’t paying attention! My investigation was rewarded though as it then shunted the opposing rake off 12072 0445 Jalna – Dadar Shatabdi out, leaving KYN WDP4D 40235, the 1500th HHP loco built at DLW, so the plaque on the front said, on the buffer stops having worked the set in.
The move to CST and back worked a treat with CLA WDG3A 14813 being a surprise on 11042, and I was equally pleased with KYN WDG3A 13620 coming back out on 11041. Back at Dadar, again, I noticed that KYN WDG3A 13497 was in the process of being attached to 12071 1400 Dadar – Jalna, which should have already departed; so, I dashed over the footbridge for it. There hadn’t been a need to rush though and it was a good 25’ late departing. When I got to Thane, the plan to get a couple of KYN WDP3As in went downhill massively when KYN WDP4D 40372 turned up with 50104 0530 Ratnagiri – Dadar, and when KYN WDP4D 40235 dropped onto the opposite end of the stock at Dadar, to work 50103 1540 Dadar – Ratnagiri, I began to wonder if this was my reward for having had a decent morning and early afternoon?
While contemplating whether to do the WDP4D back to Thane, or whether to get on the arriving 12139 1500 Mumbai CST – Nagpur with KYN WCAM3 21900, CLA WDS6AD 36309 shunting the stock for 12163 2030 Dadar – Chennai Egmore, got my attention, and ultimately resigned me to having to do the GM back out. At Thane, I had one more bite at the KYN WDP3A cherry and while I wouldn’t say I was disappointed when KYN WDG3A 13496 turned up with 11086 0600 Madgaon – LTT double-decker, I did begin to wonder just where all the KYN WDP3As were hiding; I’d not seen a single one during my trip and every train I’d covered that had previously been a regular link for them, had been something else.
At Lokmanya Tilak Terminus my trip was almost over but for one more pre-planned move, which was 17318 1845 LTT – Hubli Jn as it ran via Panvel to Karjat. With Karjat being a technical halt only I had to book a ticket to Lonavala and chose SL class as it was only a 2-jour journey to Karjat. Thankfully I had a side-lower berth and was pleased when KYN WDG3A 14810 dropped on to work the train. The run to Karjat via Thane, Belapur & Panvel was most welcome and the bonus at Karjat was PA WDM3D 11429 just arriving with a late running 22106 1835 Pune Jn – Mumbai CST; which I leapt on back to Dadar without the time to buy a ticket! I’d resigned myself to the fact I’d probably have to do a local EMU back from Karjat to Dadar but having been glued to NTES for most of the journey out to Karjat, as we got closer to Karjat it seemed more and more likely that I’d make 22106 and it got me back to Dadar a lot earlier than an EMU would have; finishing off the trip nicely.
With my bonus time at Dadar, I even managed a decent meal in the pure-veg restaurant over the road from the City Guest House, before heading back to get a shower and pack my bag for the journey home. I got an Uber to take my back Mumbai Airport, which took 20 minutes to get to me due to the amount of traffic around Dadar station. It was cheaper than using the taxi’s from outside the station and at least the traffic wasn’t bad on the way to the airport. Since my last visit to Mumbai’s new international terminal 2 things had gone up in the world and BA even had a self-service check-in there now. Having already checked in online, all I needed was a boarding card and with the self-service machines I was able to get it and get through security and immigration quickly. Airside, the terminal had now been finished and a lot of eateries were now available. I made the mistake of having some Pad Thai noodles from one; which were nothing like Pad Thai noodles at all, and I knew I should have gone to KFC!
Gen for Monday 3rd December 2018
21878 KYN 11010 0605 Pune – Mumbai CST
21862 KYN 12124 0715 Pune – Mumbai CST
30543 AJNI 12110 0602 Manmad – Mumbai CST
25047 ET 12321 2115 (PP) Howrah – Mumbai CST
21874 KYN 12126 0750 Pune – Mumbai CST
21887 KYN 11024 2250 (P) Kolhapur – Mumbai CST
11373 KYN 17031 1245 Mumbai CST – Hyderabad
12763 KYN 17032 2040 (P) Hyderabad – Mumbai CST
40235 KYN 12072 0445 Jalna – Dadar
13497 KYN 12071 1400 Dadar – Jalna
36041 CLA ECS for 12071 then ex 12072
14813 CLA 11042 1220 (P) Chennai Central – Mumbai CST
13620 KYN 11041 1400 Mumbai CST – Chennai Central
22900 BSL 11094 1120 (P) Varanasi – Mumbai CST
40372 KYN 50104 0530 Ratnagiri – Dadar
40235 KYN 50103 1540 Dadar – Ratnagiri
36309 CLA ECS for 12163 2030 Dadar – Chennai Egmore
21900 KYN 12139 1500 Mumbai CST – Nagpur
13496 KYN 11086 0600 Madgaon – LTT
14810 KYN 17318 1845 LTT – Hubli Jn
11429 PA 22106 1835 Pune Jn – Mumbai CST
11470 KYN 11139 2120 Mumbai CST – Gadag Jn
18926/16012 PA, 11358 KYN, 13579 KYN at Mumbai CST
Mumbai CST ECS Locos
36303, 36122, 36306, 36042 CST
36321, 36327, 36504 Byculla CS
36309, 36041 Dadar
36544 CLA ECS for 16331 1210 Mumbai CST – Trivandrum (P14)
36303 CLA ECS ex 12124 0715 Pune – Mumbai CST (P12)
36321 CLA ECS for 17031 1245 Mumbai CST – Hyderabad (P8)
36327 CLA ECS ex 11010 0605 Pune – Mumbai CST (P9)
36042 CLA ECS ex 12321 2115 (PP) Howrah – Mumbai CST (P15)
36122 CLA ECS ex 12110 0602 Manmad – Mumbai CST (P17)
36504 CLA ECS ex 22102 0525 Manmad – Mumbai CST (P11)
36306 CLA ECS ex 12126 0750 Pune – Mumbai CST (P10)
36141 CLA ECS for 11041 1400 Mumbai CST – Chennai Central (P13)
36291 CLA ECS ex 11024 2250 (P) Kolhapur – Mumbai CST (P9)
Dadar ECS Locos
36041 CLA ECS for 12071 then ex 12072
36309 CLA ECS for 12163 2030 Dadar – Chennai Egmore
Moves for Monday 3rd December 2018
|VT-IFD||Kolkata||Mumbai Terminal 1||6E-318||0530 Kolkata – Mumbai|
|21878||Dadar||Mumbai CST||11010||0605 Pune Jn – Mumbai CST|
|36544||Mumbai CST Platform 14||Mumbai CST Platform 14||ECS for 16331 1210 Mumbai CST – Trivandrum Central|
|36303||Mumbai CST Platform 12||Mumbai CST Platform 12||ECS ex 12124 0715 Pune Jn – Mumbai CST|
|36321||Mumbai CST Platform 8||Mumbai CST Platform 8||ECS for 17031 1245 Mumbai CST – Hyderabad|
|36327||Mumbai CST Platform 9||Mumbai CST Platform 9||ECS ex 11010 0605 Pune Jn – Mumbai CST|
|36042||Mumbai CST Platform 15||Mumbai CST Platform 15||ECS ex 12321 2115 (01/12) Howrah – Mumbai CST|
|36122||Mumbai CST Platform 17||Mumbai CST Platform 17||ECS ex 12110 0602 Manmad Jn – Mumbai CST|
|36504||Mumbai CST Platform 11||Mumbai CST Platform 11||ECS ex 22102 0525 Manmad Jn – Mumbai CST|
|36306||Mumbai CST Platform 10||Mumbai CST Platform 10||ECS ex 12126 0750 Pune Jn – Mumbai CST|
|36141||Mumbai CST Platform 13||Mumbai CST Platform 13||ECS for 11041 1400 Mumbai CST – Chennai Central|
|36291||Mumbai CST Platform 19||Mumbai CST Platform 19||ECS ex 11024 2250 (02/12) Kolhapur – Mumbai CST|
|11373||Mumbai CST||Dadar||17031||1245 Mumbai CST – Hyderabad Deccan Nampally|
|36041||Dadar Platform 8||Dadar Platform 8||ECS ex 12072 0445 Jalna – Dadar|
|14813||Dadar||Mumbai CST||11042||1220 (02/12) Chennai Central – Mumbai CST|
|13620||Mumbai CST||Dadar||11041||1400 Mumbai CST – Chennai Central|
|13497||Dadar||Thane||12071||1400 Dadar – Jalna|
|40372||Thane||Dadar||50104||0530 Ratnagiri – Dadar|
|36309||Dadar Platform 7||Dadar Platform 7||ECS for 12163 2030 Dadar – Chennai Egmore|
|40235||Dadar||Thane||50103||1540 Dadar – Ratnagiri|
|13496||Thane||Lokmanya Tilak Terminus||11086||0600 Madgaon Jn – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus|
|14810||Lokmanya Tilak Terminus||Karjat||17318||1845 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Hubli Jn|
|11429||Karjat||Dadar||22106||1835 Pune Jn – Mumbai CST|
Photos for Monday 3rd December 2018
Tuesday 4th December 2018 (The journey home)
My British Airways 0215 Mumbai – Heathrow flight was boarded promptly and while it was quite well loaded, the middle seat between me and the guy in the other end-centre seat was empty so we had plenty of space. I was asleep before the first meal service came around and managed quite a lot of broken sleep throughout the journey. At one point it looked like we might land half an hour early, but Heathrow air traffic control saw to it that we didn’t. I can’t complain at being on the stand bang on time though, which was technically still early, and I was Kings Cross bound on the underground in no time. Rush-hour was in full swing and I wasn’t used to the cold air that was being let in at every stop along the way, having been out of the country for almost a month!
91132 led the way on the ECML with 1S10 0930 Kings Cross – Edinburgh and I was home by 1130 with my washing being in before midday! By the late afternoon everything was dry, and my bag was already re-packed in readiness for my next trip to India on 8th January 2019.
Moves for Tuesday 4th December 2018
|G-STBE||Mumbai Terminal 2||Heathrow Terminal 5||BA138||0215 Mumbai – Heathrow|
|91132||Kings Cross||Doncaster||1S10||0930 Kings Cross – Edinburgh|