Jonathan Lee

Worldly Images

India Feb & March 2017 – Including Ranchi, Ahmedabad, Veraval, Secunderabad, Trichy & Ooty

With so many things left unfinished around the country it became frustrating attempting to try and do what I wanted on this trip; mainly because a lot of what I needed to do hadn’t yet opened for business yet. Namely the new line from Bangalore to Mangalore via Nelemangala & Hassan, which had been undergoing high-speed testing days before I set off on February 15th, the new line from Nizamabad to Peddapalli and other bits like Koderma – Giridih. Had I known I was going to suffer the fate I had on my November trip, which resulted in me missing out on the new Bhind – Etawah & Khajuraho – Lalitpur sections, I’d have done these on this trip but as it was already planned before I set off in November it was pretty much a done deal.

When planning this trip, I’d put in some time at Ahmedabad to attempt to find YDM4 6257, that was before Ahmedabad – Mahesana and Himmatnagar had closed and it wasn’t until 5 days before my trip that I found out that 6257 had been sent back to be outbased at Jetalsar anyway so I’d have been searching for a while on the Botad or Ranuj services at Ahmedabad. Thankfully I had a few days in Ahmedabad and it was easy to get some reservations added to my booking with SDEL; which would allow me some time at Veraval and/or Junagadh to hunt it down. The same went for GOC YDM4 6706, which I’d discovered at Coonoor 12 months prior to this trip, so a return trip there was added in to try and get that in.

Since the LTT – Kazipet special, via Nanded & Adilabad, had become regularized as 11083/4 on a weekly basis this was something I wanted to get in over the Majri – Balharshah section as there was nothing else diesel did it at all; obviously, I was hoping for the regular link of a KYN Alco to produce on the day I did it.

Other than the above, how the trip planned out resulted in time being spent in Secunderabad, which is never a bad things if you’re chasing Alco’s, time in Bangalore, which is now becoming a bad thing if you’re chasing Alco’s with things like the Karnataka Express now succumbing to GM power since its electric to diesel loco change started taking place at Daund very recently, and time in Trichy, which has gone downhill since my last visit as there are a lot more DMU’s working local passenger services nowadays.

My frustration was still in force the night before I flew out when I was checking a few things online; one issue being that I found 12873 Hatia – Anand Vihar to be cancelled through to the end of February now and not mid-February as it had originally been advised. The other being that I discovered that a 05521/22 special had been running from Jamalpur to Saharsa with Alco over the new Munger bridge, which was only down to run to April. As I was literally breezing through Jamalpur and heading for Howrah on 13072 at 1930 that night, I couldn’t touch 05521 2040 Jamalpur – Saharsa at all and with 05522 arriving into Jamalpur at 0800 in the morning, that was the end of that; and it would have to go on the “to be watched list” for my November 2017 trip. Which at this rate would end up covering a lot of ground and would possibly result in a bit of flying around the country to fit in what I needed.

 

Flights

Booked through British Airways

BA143 1120 Heathrow – Delhi IGI

BA118 0700 Bangalore – Heathrow

 

Booked through Indigo (Indian Low-cost airline)

6E-421 0725 Delhi IGI Terminal 1D – Ranchi

6E-6488 1140 Kolkata – Delhi IGI Terminal 1D

 

Hotels

Ahmedabad – Hotel Ritz Inn – less than 10 minutes’ walk from Ahmedabad station, the Ritz is that bit of luxury needed after a long few days. The rooms are spacious, clean, have all the mod-cons and the staff are very helpful. Food in the pure veg restaurant is tasty and this stay was just as good as any other.

Secunderabad – Hotel United 21 – is a 10-minute amble, straight up the main road outside Secunderabad station. The staff at the Hotel United 21 were expecting me and I was checked in quite quickly. Unfortunately, the electronic card for the power in my room didn’t work for more than 30 seconds and I had to get a card of a cleaner on my floor. The room was spacious and clean enough but since my first stay the rooms were starting to look a little rough around the edges and there were no toiletries, only a bar of soap, and there wasn’t even a toilet roll; yet there were two complimentary bottles of water! Service in the hotel restaurant was hit & miss and I ended up complaining at reception, at my wait, the first time I used it. For some reason the hotel managed to not hand my laundry in for washing either; which resulted in some rushed washing overnight the following night!

Trichy – Red Fox Hotel – a steady 10-minute walk from the station, I recognized the location of the hotel and realised that I’d actually stayed in the same place some 5 years earlier; before it had been refurbished to the standard it was at now by the Lemon Tree group. The AC in the foyer was welcome and the staff were more than happy to let me check-in early but there was a fee for doing so at Lemon Tree Hotel’s, which is listed on the reception desk for all to see. It was RS500 to check-in when I did but it was worth it. The room was classed as a business room and was spacious, had a large double bed, desk and flat-screen TV on the wall. The bathroom had toiletries provided and a decent shower with hot water, not that I needed hot water at that point but a cold shower did wonders to cool me down and wash the sweat off. WiFi was free in the room but only one thing could be connected to it at once, yet if you connected another it disconnected the one you’d originally connect but did allow you to reconnect it later; obviously disconnecting whatever had previously been connected. Food in the restaurant was good but the buffet style food could have done with being warmer.

Coimbatore – Hotel Vinayak – is towards the end of the bunch of side-streets opposite Coimbatore station, thus away from the hustle and bustle and street noise near the station. Check-in was simple and my booking.com reservation was already known about. The room was paid for before I went upstairs and would make life easier when I left at 0445 the following morning. The room itself had a double bed and a single bed, with a space for a seat and table. The bathroom left a little to be desired but with the amount of time I’d be spending there it didn’t matter one bit. Thankfully there was AC in the room, which did cool it down a little.

Ooty – FabHotel Khems – is up a steep side street, tucked back off the main road, and not by the station as their location on the Booking.com map would have you believe. Having been caught out with this behavior once in India I make sure I check Google maps now to confirm hotel locations. The staff at the front desk were very welcoming and I was checked in quickly. The Khems chain is billed as a budget chain but the place is quite nice and my room was spacious, with a decent sized comfy bed. Bottled water was supplied but there were no toiletries in the bathroom; which had pigeons lofting in the ceiling! The curtains, while they drew, might as well not have been up as they were that lightly coloured that they only acted as a screen against people seeing in. Still, I got what I paid for and it was ok for the one night and at least had free WiFi. The restaurant opening times seemed to be an issue here and despite advertising them on the menu’s in the room, they were completely different. I managed room service but the food was barely warm when it arrived, although it had been cooked fresh.

Bangalore – Pavana Residency – is right outside Bangalore City station on the right-hand side. Access to which, from the station, is through the nearest restaurant to the station via the service entrance stairs inside it (on the left). A room for 24 hours was RS1040 and I was given a room on the second floor, when I asked, to keep away from the noise of the restaurant below and the noise from the reception desk. I’d stayed in the same room on a previous occasion. It was basic, had no AC but the fan was sufficient, had a large bed and facilities to enable me to get a shower; once I’d got the hotel staff to make water come out of it! Overall, it’s nothing to write home about but is convenient.

 

Train Tickets

Indrail Pass 21 Days – £172

Booked in the UK through SD Enterprises Limited

 

Wednesday 15th February 2017 (The journey from the UK to India)

Having been at work all night in Peterborough, where thankfully the Caledonian Sleepers had behaved themselves, I was on 1A01 0505 Leeds – Kings Cross from Peterborough at 0639; with 91109, the same engine I’d had to work the previous night. The journey from Kings Cross to Heathrow on the underground was harmless and as I was hand-luggage only, once my visa was checked at desk No. B1 at Heathrow Terminal 5, I was through security and unfortunately waiting for my bag to be searched instead of my breakfast to be served at Wetherspoon’s!

There was a queue of at least 5 in front of me and the two folks already at the counter weren’t getting the job done quickly at all. Once they were packed away though, the woman doing the bag checks casually walked away and sat down at the x-ray monitor screen. She had mumbled something about a changeover but when nobody turned up after two minutes’ people started getting agitated; and quite rightly so. One of the waiting managed to get the info desk staff to get things moving and once it got around to my turn things ground to a halt again! There was nothing wrong with my bag but apparently, my carry-on toiletries had to be removed from the bag I had them in, which is the same one I’ve been using for about 5 years now, crammed into an airport issue bag and it must then seal before I’m allowed to continue.

The guy doing the check just rammed everything into a bag to make a point, quite what the point was though I don’t know as I worked out later that my toiletries totaled 680ml. The total allowed is 1000ml. When I made this point, I challenged the guy, telling me that I couldn’t take everything I’d packed, to get 1000ml of anything into the bag; as I reckoned it was impossible. His crap excuse was that the packaging of my toiletries was the issue, to which I pointed out just how ludicrous an excuse that was when not one of my containers was bigger than 75ml! I doubt if you could fit 1000ml of water, poured straight in, into the bag! Our exchange of words went on for some time but ultimately, I lost. My consolation for losing two 66ml bottles of Robinsons concentrate juice was a complaint form, in the guise of a “suggestion” form; apparently “I had a point” about the 1000ml “thing”. I filed said form in while I waited for breakfast to be served at Wetherspoon’s and then posted it in one of the boxes afterwards. Did it make me feel better scribbling my thoughts on some shitty form, did it fuck! But it let me direct my annoyance at the paper I was writing on and not in someone else’s direction!

Boarding my British Airways flight BA143 to Delhi was quite straight forward for one heading to India but I did get the impression that even BA had given up on the boarding by row number for Indian flights; as everyone wants to board the planes like they do the trains, all at once! Having been on nights’ fatigue was starting to set in. I have no recollection of take-off at all and when I woke the first food service was in full swing; it was at that point I remembered that the guy sat next to me stank of B.O.! I was beginning to think that I needed plugs for my nostrils as well as my ears but once the eye-mask went on the world inside the plane disappeared for a few hours; and I was very grateful of it.

When I woke up I asked the cabin crew if they’d handed out landing cards, as I thought I’d missed them. I turned out they hadn’t and it was only after the third reminder, less than an hour from landing, that they eventually handed them out. Despite that though, and the man that stank beside me, it had been a decent flight and there hadn’t been a single screaming kid on board.

 

Moves for Wednesday 15th February 2017

91109 Peterborough Kings Cross 1A01 0505 Leeds – Kings Cross
G-YMMN Heathrow Terminal 5 Delhi IGI Terminal 3 BA143 1120 Heathrow – Delhi British Airways

 

Thursday 16th February 2017 (Getting from Delhi to Ranchi & then overnight to Dumka)

We landed early into Delhi and it was a good thing as the queues for normal immigration, not the e-visa desks, were huge and after I’d been in mine for 30 minutes they were queuing down the waiting hall outside the queuing system! The lengthy queues weren’t helped by the lack of staff at the booths to process everyone. As usual it was too little, too late, when further staff were drafted in and it was a mistake by a big group of Spanish tourists that dwindled our queue down somewhat; they’d been queuing in the wrong queue and should have gone to the e-visa gates; which incidentally looked to be moving along at a steady pace, which was a lot healthier than our queue that was crawling along at a snail’s pace!

Luckily, I had 6 hours to kill before my onward flight, from Delhi’s Terminal 1D, domestic terminal, so I wasn’t in much of a rush for a change. Once through immigration I was surprised to find all the money changing places with no more than 5 people queuing at them. While the limit anyone could exchange was still the same as it had been in November, RS5000. The big difference since my last trip was that up to RS10000 could now be withdrawn from cash machines, up to a weekly limit of RS24000. 2 minutes after I exchanged £60 inside the airport I managed to withdraw RS10000 from a cash machine outside the exit; and there wasn’t a single person anywhere near it when I did. Thankfully, it looked like the doom & gloom India had gone through, since withdrawing the RS500 & RS1000 notes from circulation in November, was almost over.

Flush for cash already, unlike on my previous trip, I headed over to Terminal 1D on the free shuttle bus, which departs from stand 13 outside the main exit to Terminal 3. If you already have a flight booked, all you need to do is show either your boarding card or reservation details to the guy at the desk near the stand and you’re given a free ticket. Tickets are checked on the bus prior to departure and you can pay to use the bus if you so wish. The journey takes 10 minutes; at 3am it does anyway!

Terminal 1D was already filling up with folk for the first morning flights and everywhere was already opening. KFC provided breakfast and I just sat and waited it out for my Indigo flight to Ranchi at 0725. Buses were at the gate in plenty of time to whisk people to the opposite side of the airport, where our lonely Indigo plane was standing waiting; a long way from where all the other Indigo planes were. This flight also turned into a bit of a sleeper service and was on the verge of landing early, right up until our approach to Ranchi; where we became 3rd in line. Once on the ground though, there were no other planes. I realised, once outside the airport, that the other [lanes had probably been small business type jets as there were a few lined up elsewhere at the airport. Ranchi was hosting a big conference, with delegates from all over the world, on 16th & 17th February; and despite my pre-paid taxi receipt clearly saying Namkom Railway Station, the driver tried to deliver me to the delegates hotel in Ranchi; the treat!

Thankfully there was still plenty of time to get to Namkom and had my plane landed early, like it could have done, I’d have probably made the 0930 Ranchi – Lohardaga passenger, which Vic was on! We’d only realised a couple of days before we set off that our paths would meet. They should have met at Hatia for 12873 1340 Hatia – Anand Vihar with its twin BKSC WDM3A’s. Unfortunately, Indian Railways had other ideas and had extended the cancellation period for 12873/4 up to the end of February. This pair of trains were always canceled during the fog season but in 2016, when I’d had to re-plan my trip due to their cancellation, they’d been reinstated 2 weeks early at the start of February; so, I needn’t have bothered re-planning my trip at all. This year though extending the cancellation period had plunged Vic’s trip into chaos as he was booked on 12874 for 1000km soon and was now going to have to re-plan his trip on the go; and avoid GM’s in the process of it!

I had plenty of time at Namkom after the taxi dropped me off there and was dropped back into Ranchi by TATA WAG5 23199 on the late running 58143 0530 Tatanagar – Hatia. With there not being a great deal to do in Ranchi in the early afternoon I dumped my bag in the cloak room, at the north end of platform 1, and headed to the Hotel Accord for lunch. I’d stayed there in December and the food had been good; unfortunately, the restaurant was closed for some sort of meeting so I ended up at a place called Eat; which is on the main road near the entrance/exit from the Lohardaga platform. The place doesn’t look much from the outside but inside it was very civilized and quite modern. The range of food on the menu was excellent and it was cheap as well. The egg masala I had was piping hot and very nice, so no complaints at all; and the staff couldn’t have been more attentive, yet non-intrusive!

After lunch, I took and amble down the tracks to Argora shack, the first stop on the Lohardaga branch. It’s a little over 2km and there are pathways by the railway most of the way; it only took 25 minutes, at a steady pace in the hot afternoon sunshine. From which, I had to find some shade to hide from at Argora as it was that hot; and I even had to get my sunglasses out, but that could have been due to tiredness as well as the brightness.

BKSC WDM3A 16644 was along, only a few minutes late with 58654 1210 Barkichanpi – Ranchi passenger; which still had old converted DMU driving cars in its consist. Thankfully it looked as though the line from Barkichanpi to Tori would soon be completed, after setbacks caused by land acquisition problems, so I’d be needing a trip back up the line myself soon. I found Vic in the second coach, funnily enough the bit he was sat in had most people in it, with the rest of the coach being virtually empty!

At Ranchi, our very brief meet soon came to an end as Vic had to get to Hatia for 18451 Hatia – Puri Tapaswini Express with its BNDM WDM3D twins. It’s always a risk but when 13351 Dhanbad – Alappuzha departed at 1500, only 10’ late, I knew Vic would be ok for his 1555 departure from Hatia. He did have the option of the very late 18110 Jammu Tawi – Rourkela but as NTES had said it hadn’t departed origin he did 13351 instead. When I came across TATA WAG5 23550 with 18110 in platform 4, I did try to ring him to tell him but there was no answer; and 18110 departed while I was trying to get hold of him anyway….

While I’d been ambling away the afternoon with my Argora move TATA WAG5 23932 had arrived into Ranchi, which I’d seen through the window of the Eat restaurant while it was running around, with 53337 0545 Garbeta – Ranchi. During my visit in December this loco had waited while 53335 0700 Dhanbad – Ranchi had arrived then dropped onto the rear of that set to form 53338 1522 Ranchi – Garbeta; with the loco off 53335 then detaching and buffering up to the set that 23932 had arrived with, to form 53336 1547 Ranchi Dhanbad. It was no surprise then, after watching 23550 depart with 18110, when I found TATA WAG5 23932 at the head of 53338 1522 Ranchi – Garbeta and immediately behind it in the same platform was MGS WAM4 21386 with the set for 53336 1547 Ranchi – Dhanbad. So, off I set on a nice afternoon jaunt of WAG hunting on the Ranchi – Gangaghat section; which is an interesting bit of railway.

The line from Ranchi to Muri is almost two separate single line sections for each direction, which splits at Tatisilwai, briefly joins again at Gangaghat and then splits off again until Kita. Both independent sections have a station that only serves trains going in one direction. Coupled with its uniqueness, it’s a nice part of Jharkhand and is quite hilly; just what you need with a pair of BKSC WDM3As and load 20+ but IR had other plans on this day of course!

TATA WAG5 23932 dropped me at Namkom, where I was quite surprised to find the next train arriving to be 18109 1135 Rourkela – Muri/Jammu Tawi with TATA WAG5 23468. I’d wrongly assumed that 18109 would be the same set and loco off the late running 18110, which had only departed Ranchi 60 minutes previous. Obviously, that wasn’t the case. It was a bonus though and meant that the afternoon jaunt would now involve three trains on the way out to Gangaghat and three trains back; and MGS WAM4 21386, which was absolutely filthy black, wasn’t far behind 18109 at Tatisilwai with 53336 1547 Ranchi – Dhanbad. It’s worth noting that at Tatisilwai the station is split by a hill in-between. If you arrive from the north, you won’t see this as the split of tracks is at the Ranchi end of the station. Trains heading out of Ranchi use the left-hand platforms in direction of travel and those heading in use the right-hand ones (if you’re looking away from Ranchi). The Ranchi bound platforms are undergoing a bit of a revamp at the moment and the place could be mistaken for a building site; don’t worry though, it is an operational railway, with platforms half built, the platform itself being dug out to be re-laid, there’s no access to the platforms other than across the tracks and up onto the half-finished platforms and the station building is closed on these platforms so you have to buy tickets at the main building atop of the hill that separates the two bits of the station! I had a pleasant enough wait at said building site when TATA WAG5 23415 dropped me off on 58661 1130 Tatanagar – Hatia. TATA WAG5 23162 wasn’t far behind with 53061 0615 Barddhaman – Hatia and I’d hoped to bump into the college guys I’d been talking to back in December but none of them were about on either train; nor had they had a late finish and ended up on 58025 0840 Kharagpur – Hatia behind; which had TATA WAG5 23191 as it’s nag.

It had been a pleasant afternoon caning in WAGs and not one of the trains I’d done had been wedged to the gunnels. In fact, they’d all been pleasant and I had no issues getting a seat on any of them. It was such a shame though, as I’ve mentioned before, that everything was almost solid electric in the Ranchi area as it was quite a nice area to spend some time nedding about in. When TATA WAG5 23580 came into view, as 58025 rolled into Ranchi, it would have been rude not to top the afternoon off with a 7th consecutive electric move, which had then involved 6 WAGs and a WAM. I only did 58142 1800 Hatia – Tatanagar to Namkom, where the only mode of transport to get me back was an auto; which only took 10 minutes and cost me RS150 for the privilege.

With nothing left to do I walked down to the Eat restaurant again and had another very good meal, before waiting it out at Ranchi station for 18619 2125 Ranchi – Dumka Intercity; literally struggling to keep my eyes open. I was that knackered that I sent my wife a message telling her I could barely function and yet the message I’d sent clearly gave that impression anyway; it was utter jibber! I was so glad when BKSC WDM3A 16142, with KGP recently painted out and BKSC recently painted on, rolled in with the stock for 18619. The train is only load 10 and only has the one 3AC coach, which was quite well loaded on this night. I can quite honestly say that I was almost asleep before my head hit the pillow that night; it was a chore trying to keep my eyes open while waiting for the TTE to come around!

 

Gen for Thursday 16th February 2017

16644 BKSC WDM3A Lohardaga branch all day
23932 TATA WAG5 53337 0545 Garbeta – Ranchi
22938 MGS WAP4 13320 1325 Ranchi – Deogarh
21386 MGS WAM4 53335 0700 Dhanbad – Ranchi
23550 TATA WAG5 18110 0810 Muri – Rourkela
21372 TATA WAM4 13351 1050 Dhanbad – Alappuzha
23395 TATA WAG5 18603 1505 Ranchi – Bhagalpur

 

Moves for Thursday 16th February 2017

VT-INQ Delhi Terminal 1D Ranchi 6E-421 0725 Delhi – Ranchi Indigo
Taxi Ranchi Airport Namkom Pre-paid, RS500, 10 minutes
23199 Namkom Ranchi Jn 58143 0530 Tatanagar – Hatia TATA WAG5
Walk Ranchi Jn Argora 2km, 20 minutes
16644 Argora Ranchi Jn 56654 1210 Barkichanpi – Ranchi Jn BKSC WDM3A
23932 Ranchi Jn Namkom 53338 1522 Ranchi Jn – Garhbeta TATA WAG5
23468 Namkom Tatisilwai 18109 1135 Rourkela Jn – Muri Jn TATA WAG5
21386 Tatisilwai Gangaghat 53336 1547 Ranchi Jn – Dhanbad Jn MGS WAM4
23415 Gangaghat Tatisilwai 58661 1130 Tatanagar – Hatia TATA WAG5
23162 Tatisilwai Namkom 53061 0615 Barddhaman Jn – Hatia TATA WAG5
23191 Namkom Ranchi Jn 58025 0840 Kharagpur Jn – Hatia TATA WAG5
23580 Ranchi Jn Namkom 58142 1800 Hatia – Tatanagar TATA WAG5
Auto Namkom Ranchi Jn RS150, 4km, 10 minutes
16142 Ranchi Jn Dumka 18619 2125 Ranchi Jn – Dumka BKSC WDM3A

 

Photos from Thursday 16th February 2017

 

Friday 17th February 2017 (Dumka to Bhagalpur then overnight to Howrah)

Having had a very good night’s sleep I woke on the branch between Jasidih & Dumka and arrival into the latter was about 30 minutes late. Having been to Dumka once before I wasn’t expecting much in the way of food or drink at the station but there was absolutely nobody selling anything so maltloaf & nutrigrains had to suffice for breakfast; and it was a good job I had plenty of water left from the previous day!

Not long after BKSC WDM3A 16142 had run round its set did JMP WDM3A 18820 arrive with 53452 0700 Hansdiha – Dumka. It had one of those Jamalpur area local brown/cream passenger sets which have no toilets and even the blue coaches in the set had them welded closed! While pondering where to sit I figured out I’d missed a trick and had I not been dead on my feet the previous night I might have figured it out. Thankfully there was time to rectify my error and 15 minutes after my brainwave I was being dropped at New Madanpur station, which is off some dirt-track but easily accessible. The station itself has two independent platforms, one serves the Jasidih line and the other then newly opened line towards Mandar Hill & Bhagalpur. I could have saved the auto ride by getting off 18619 at New Madanpur instead. It was worth it though when UDL WDM3A 16539 rolled up with 53551 0725 Jasidih – Dumka; which had it been late I’d have just waited at New Madanpur for JMP WDM3A 18820 to arrive from Dumka with 53451 0915 Dumka – Hansdiha.

I had 10 minutes to find myself a seat in the empty passenger rake and of course picked the front coach. The whole train was a mess inside and with no bogs throughout it didn’t really make a crap of difference where I sat; so, next to the noise it was and JMP’s 18820 didn’t disappoint. Unfortunately, the line speed after Mandar Hill prevented it from showing it’s worth then but the line speed over the new section from Dumka to Mandar Hill is decent, with good quality track. The area is quite hilly surrounding the railway and it must have been quite hard to carve a path through the area; one can see why land acquisition would have been hard as the line cuts large farming areas in half and takes up quite a lot of its space with being built as an elevated section, presumably to avoid flooding?

There was only one chai seller all the way to Bhagalpur and he only sold lemon chai. There were plenty of sellers trying to palm off the same packets of hard sweets all the while and it wasn’t until the outskirts of Bhagalpur, after we crossed JMP WDM3A 18673 with 53444 1205 Bhagalpur – Hansdiha, that anyone got on selling any form of food at all; and there was no time to get any at Bhagalpur on arrival either.

I’d been watching NTES to see what was Jamalpur bound and when there was no sign of 13429 Malda Town – Anand Vihar I assumed it had gone so my next move would then be 13419 1405 Bhagalpur – Muzaffarpur instead. When I noticed the set for it being back towards platform 1 I didn’t waste an opportunity and could see the shape of the WDS6, which turned out to be JMP’s 36235, propelling it as I dashed over the footbridge; I wasn’t the only one boarding the train as it dropped into the platform. Before I had time to think about proceedings MLDT WDM3A 16088 was rolling in alongside with the late running 13429 Malda Town – Anand Vihar. I didn’t think much of it when quite a lot already on 13419 migrated across to 13429 with me! As 16088 eased out of the station I got the impression that some sort of exam day had been taking place in Bhagalpur as there were a lot of students knocking about and all seemed to have exam papers and some sort of travel authority; of course that authority didn’t allow constant chain pulling so they could get off at the station of their choice and I assumed they’d all got travel authority for local passenger trains but had decided to get whichever train they wanted and stop it where they wanted instead! This did play into my hands though when 13429 was brought to a stand at Sultanganj, almost perfectly in the platform as opposed to on the approach to like most other stops, when JMP WDM3A 16108 was just rolling in with 53408 1305 Jamalpur – Rampurhat; which I could do back towards Bhagalpur for 53403 0540 Rampurhat – Gaya to Jamalpur instead. When 53408 came to a stand in Akbarpur though I made 13419, which was in the opposite platform. Without a though I leapt across and the train was away within moment; which was a bit of an error as I hadn’t seen the loco on arrival! I could hear the dreaded drone as the GM notched up and was off at Sultanganj to discover brand new JMP WDP3D 40373 at the head of the train. Not to worry, we all make these mistakes and JMP WDM3A 16540 wasn’t far behind with 53403 Rampurhat – Gaya, which was about as pleasant as they come for a passenger train; nice and empty it was, probably because everyone was using the express trains and stopping them where they wanted on this afternoon!

On arrival into Jamalpur JMP WDM3A 16541 was sat on a passenger rake in the back platform and JMP WDM3A 18881 was standing on the road behind it with a WDM3D ticking over behind that. While getting a photo of 16540 in platform 1, surrounded by semaphores, a horn came from the carriage sidings behind me and soon enough brand spanking new JMP WDG4 70644 was approaching with a rake of stock labelled up as Jamalpur – Sultanganj – Jamalpur WMT; I can only assume that WMT stands for “working men’s train”? It stopped in the middle road for others to board, which included me, and was away at 1635. It seemed to be stopping everywhere en-route but I got off at Bariarpur so don’t quote me on it after that! Nobody had batted an eyelid at me boarding the train, other than to ask where I was going; and I was left to my own devices. Strangely, around the world working men’s train are usually worked by the scabbiest, most knackered locos that are standing around spare; not on this occasion though, with one of the newest engines in the country being turned out for one of its most menial workings.

There was enough time for piping hot chai at Bariarpur before MGS WDM3A 18808 dropped by with 13235 Sahibganj – Danapur Intercity. Back in Jamalpur things were starting to stir and the main thing was that there wasn’t another GM in sight, which was a good sign for my overnight on 13072 1930 Jamalpur – Howrah; now JMP had recently got itself an allocation of GM’s! JMP WDM3A 18881 had attached itself to the set for 13072, which was stabled in the middle road at Jamalpur and 16541 was shunting stock over the back of the station. While on the footbridge assessing the situation, I spotted a couple of locos over the back of the wagons works. There’s a footbridge over the whole area, which can only be accessed from outside the station, and investigation revealed a very ex-works WDM3A 16055 and some very worse for wear WDM2’s; at least 4 of them all stripped and in a bad state of repair. 17957 was the leading one but I couldn’t see the numbers on any of the others.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, HWH WDM3A 11442 paused with 13024 Gaya – Howrah, which I flagged in favour of the very late running 12368 Anand Vihar – Bhagalpur Vikramshila Express; which at 6h10m late is considered very late under normal circumstances but during fog this would be only a minor delay; with delays of over 20 hours considered very late! The trains weren’t far apart and 12368 was almost upon Jamalpur before 13024 departed. JMP WDM3A 16606 did the honours and had me back at Bariarpur in good time to do 18604 Bhagalpur – Ranchi back to Jamalpur; with surprise of the day NGC WDG3A 13012, which became the lowest numbered Shakti I’d had.

The stock for 13072 1930 Jamalpur – Howrah was in platform 2 and having been shunted in by 18881, JMP WDM3A 16541 was attached to the business end of the train, with 18881 now attached to the passenger rake to form 53498 1858 Jamalpur – Bhagalpur; which I could do out to Bariarpur in front of 13072 for the added spin bonus.

I managed to pick the busiest time of the evening to venture into the refreshment room on platform 1, where a big group were being served up non-veg thalis; which was a bit of a sight. They certainly didn’t go hungry and some of them easily polished off enough for two, and then some. I tried not to watch the guy opposite pulling a fish head to pieces to get all the meat off it but it was strangely fascinating; and he barely even looked at what he was pulling apart as he did it! My egg curry arrived after they’d all gone so I got to eat in relative peace. It was piping hot, if not as tasty as some other egg curries I’d had. It did the job though and left me full up for my overnight jaunt to Howrah; where unwittingly mine & Vic’s paths would in theory cross again as he was arriving into Howrah at 0705 and I was in at 0530. Despite seeing each other the previous day we only figured this chance meeting would take place through text messages that evening!

JMP WDM3A 18881 got 53498 1858 Jamalpur – Bhagalpur underway right time and left me behind at Bariarpur slurping chai as it hammered off into the distance. JMP WDM3A 16541 was along half an hour later with 13072 1930 Jamalpur – Howrah and although my reservation was from Bhagalpur the staff occupying my berth eventually understood I had a valid ticket for the journey and moved to the next bay instead, to let me occupy my allocated berth.

At Bhagalpur, a group of three “olds” got in and set about occupying all the luggage space in my compartment area and in the area beneath the side berths opposite; and there still wasn’t enough room for it all! So, some had to be stacked in the floor area under the small foldout table. When I queried why they had so much luggage they told me they were going to a wedding in Goa; which sort of explains why so much but doesn’t automatically allow them to being more than they should on board and it ultimately caused a riot! I was sock on at 2230 when the train rolled into Sahibganj and at 2235 I was woken by raised voices giving it large about the lack of luggage space. During the riot the whole compo karma was destroyed when the curtains were trashed, the lights all switched on and bags were being strewn about all over the place. I had to go for a walk before I blew my top! Needless to say, the compo area was turned into a baggage storage area and the girls occupying the upper berths had no qualms about standing on my berth and moving about it while they made their own beds on the upper berths; it just shows how ignorant some people can be. Thankfully compo karma was eventually restored but I had to deal with the curtains that had causally been left wide open by the newcomers. Sleep ultimately came but the compo was quite new and had all sorts of rattling bits to annoy one when awake in the middle of the night and the first time I went to the toilet in the middle of the night it was like walking over a shoe graveyard to get out of the compartment.

 

Gen for Friday 17th February 2017

18820 JMP WDM3A 53452 0700 Hansdiha – Dumka
16142 BKSC WDM3A 18620 1845 Dumka – Ranchi
18673 JMP WDM3A 53444 1205 Bhagalpur – Hansdiha
16442 HWH WDM3A 13410 1515 Jamalpur – Malda Town
11442 HWH WDM3A 13024 1220 Gaya – Howrah

 

Moves for Friday 17th February 2017

Auto Dumka New Madnapur RS150, 5km, 15 minutes
16539 New Madnapur Dumka 53551 0725 Jasidih Jn – Dumka UDL WDM3A
18820 Dumka Hansdiha 53451 0915 Dumka – Hansdiha JMP WDM3A
18820 Hansdiha Bhagalpur Jn 53441 1040 Hansdiha – Bhagalpur Jn JMP WDM3A
36235 Bhagalpur Jn Platform 1 East End Bhagalpur Jn Platform 1 West End Shunt stock in for 13419 Bhagalpur – Muzaffarpur JMP WDS6
16088 Bhagalpur Jn Sultanganj 13429 0905 Malda Town – Anand Vihar MLDT WDM3A
16108 Sultanganj Akbarnagar 53408 1305 Jamalpur Jn – Rampurhat JMP WDM3A
40373 Akbarnagar Sultanganj 13419 1405 Bhagalpur Jn – Muzaffarpur Jn JMP WDP4D
16540 Sultanganj Jamalpur Jn 53403 0540 Rampurhat – Gaya Jn JMP WDM3A
70644 Jamalpur Jn Bariarpur 73914 1620 Jamalpur Jn – Sultanganj JMP WDG4D
18808 Bariarpur Jamalpur Jn 13235 1425 Sahibganj Jn – Danapur MGS WDM3A
16606 Jamalpur Jn Bariarpur 12368 1440 (16/02) Anand Vihar – Bhagalpur Jn JMP WDM3A
13012 Bariarpur Jamalpur Jn 18604 1655 Bhagalpur Jn – Ranchi Jn NGC WDG3A
18881 Jamalpur Jn Bariarpur 53498 1858 Jamalpur Jn – Bhagalpur Jn JMP WDM3A
16541 Bariarpur Liluah 13072 1930 Jamalpur Jn – Howrah JMP WDM3A

 

Photos from Friday 17th February 2017

 

Saturday 18th February 2017 (Morning in Howrah, evening in Delhi; overnight to Ahmedabad!)

I was glad we were on time approaching Howrah and managed to make my escape from the compartment before everyone else really had time to stir. I had to shift a load of stuff out of the way just to get my bag out but once I was out in the corridor all was well and they could deal with the farce of getting off themselves.

It wasn’t a clear run into Howrah and we were peg to peg on the outskirts so when we drew up about 3km out, with KGP WDM3A 16616 adjacent on the SE tracks, I saw an opportunity; and I wasn’t the only one. At least three people leapt across the tracks when the road came off for what turned out to be the ecs for 12871 Howrah – Titlagarh Ispat Express and we were into Howrah before 13072 got there. KGP WDG3A 13113 was just drawing out with an empty set as we arrived and KGP WDM3A 16148 was waiting to depart with another one. I could see that the Eastern side of the station had a lot of sets in and there were WDS6’s all over the place so I wasted no time in heading over the footbridge to see what was going off. What I found, was to me like being presented with a big bag of presents on Christmas Day when I was a kid; it was WDS6 heaven!

I had to be on my toes though, from the off, and was soon being drawn down platform 13 by HWH WDS6 36191 with the stock off 15236 Darbhanga – Howrah and a mad rush across the tracks and back down platform 9 soon had me doing the same with HWH WDS6 36221 with an empty passenger rake. A stroke of luck had me hopping aboard the empties for 22321 Howrah – Siuri as 36109 eased them down platform 7, which saved me a walk a well. If only everything in life was that easy! At that point it was hard to figure out what would happen next but with sets in platforms 10, 11, 12 & 14 all with WDS6s attached it was just a case of standing around and waiting. They went in this order, 36189 with the stock off 11447 Jabalpur – Howrah, 36171 with the stock off 13022 Raxaul – Howrah, 36078 with the stock off my 13072 Jamalpur – Howrah and 36190 with the stock off 15960 Dibrugarh – Howrah. Split between the four sets was another arrival, 36217 with the stock to form 53041 Howrah – Jaynagar passenger; which I’d been keeping an eye on as it sat just underneath the signalbox outside the station. I guess I got lucky when it blew up to come in and was at the right end of the station at the time. There were quite a few people already on the set as it hit the platform end, so whether this was a regular move or people were just using the move to save their legs, I don’t know? When I decided to call it a day 36067 and 36216 had both been lurking in the station area, which made a total of 10 WDS6s shunting in the station in a 2-hour period; and that didn’t include what was shunting in the south-eastern side of the station either!

I had an 1140 flight from Kolkata to Delhi and didn’t want to leave it too late to get there so headed out just before 0800. There was a small queue at the pre-paid taxi rank but I was soon on my way; the journey took 45 minutes and costing RS255 and the traffic wasn’t too bad at all, probably due to it being a Saturday morning? While there weren’t the usual western fast food chains at Kolkata airport, there were a few places to get food from, that suited all tastes. I managed to get a bread omelette and aloo paratha; the RS380 total cost was obviously way over what you’d pay on the streets but it was all cooked freshly and the omelette was made at the counter in front of you!

Having now done quite a few internal flights in India I was beginning to figure out who was good at it and who wasn’t; and my personal opinion is that Indigo are good at it and pride themselves on being right time. They’re way better than Easyjet or Ryanair and their planes are clean and have plenty of room in the overhead bins. Both planes I used on this trip were full to capacity but there was no issue getting luggage stowed away and the trolley service on board was professional and cheap, compared to western prices anyway. My 1140 Kolkata – Delhi flight was early off the stand, despite boarding not starting until 1105, and 20 minutes early onto the ground in Delhi. From landing to getting to Palam station took 35 minutes, in a pre-paid taxi that cost RS190, and thanks to some late running I was soon bound for Delhi Cantt on board 14322 Bhuj – Bareilly with its now customary IZN GM link; albeit IZN WDG4 12641 on this occasion.

As I walked up onto the footbridge at Delhi Cantt I noticed a few white folks knocking about, I soon put face to memory and discovered Redhill, Dave U & Snowy lingering about. They had much the same idea as I did and were hanging about to see what came in next. When IZN WDP4D 40414 came in with 14311 0605 Bareilly – Bhuj they all leapt on while I waited on the footbridge for 14545 1310 Farukh Nagar – Saharanpur Express, which was too tight to risk at Palam. Needless to say, after BGKT WDP4B 40038 had departed with 19601 Udaipur City – New Jalpaiguri, they were bellowing out of the door at me as LKO WDM3A 16319 rolled in with 14545; having had to do a ballast leap at Palam.

It was a bit of a stagger to Delhi Sarai Rohilla and we’d technically missed the first train I wanted to view, 54035 1540 Delhi Jn – Jakhal Jn, but NTES was showing it to arrive at the same time as we rolled in. I managed to get to the footbridge in time to watch TKD WDP1 15006 arrive and depart with it, or what I assumed to be 54035 anyway, but the others weren’t quick enough and disappeared moments late anyway when TKD WDP3A 15511 followed 14545 into Delhi Sarai Rohilla, with 54416 1310 Rewari – Delhi Jn. While they were sat on it waiting to depart I pondered by move but it presented itself to me when TKD WDP1 15004 rolled into view and stopped t Vivekanand Puri Halt. This turned out to be the real 54035 1540 Delhi Jn – Jakhal Jn and what I’d seen precede it turned out to be the late running 14520 Delhi Jn – Bathinda Kissan Express; which hadn’t shown up on NTES as its not booked to stop at Vivekanand Puri Halt! I went all the way to Dayabasti with it and waited there for the slightly late 54411 1455 Rewari – Meerut; with TKD WDM3A 16417. I didn’t think it was going to stop at Vivekanand Puri as it approached at speed but due to the train length the front 4 coaches were off the platform end when it did stop. As 54423 1700 Delhi Jn – Bhiwani had left Delhi late I risked Delhi Kishanganj for it, knowing that 54033 1725 Delhi Jn – Narwana was behind it if I missed it. As it turned out I made LHD WDM3A 14107 but when I got off at Vivekanand Puri I realised, thanks to NTES, that it had actually been 54033 1725 Delhi Jn – Narwana and not 54423 Delhi Jn – Bhiwani as I’d assumed; despite NTES giving the impression that 54423 was in front of 54033, as it should be. The bonus was that TKD WDP1 15030 was hot on its heels with 54423 and after a short wait in the dark at Dayabasti, which is all you need there at night, TKD WDP3A 15507’s headlight peered through the gloom as it arrived with 54011 1743 Tilak Bridge – Sadulpur passenger.

At Delhi Cantt that was my evening was done and it was sit it out and wait time. The rather excellent ginger chai served from the stall on platform 1 helped, while I admired PTRU WDG3A 13531 as I sat in the back platform with a pristine white train with decals advertising that it was a “Science Express” “Climate Control Special”; which wasn’t going to be a good advert when 13531 got to grips with it and a covered the train in thick black clag!

I’d watched ABR WDM3A 16492 arrive into Delhi Sarai Rohilla earlier with 22471 Bikaner – Delhi Sarai Rohilla, the loco and stock off which then form 12981 1940 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Udaipur City Chetak Express. Anyone waiting at Delhi Cantt expecting 16492 rolling in though was in for a shock as the train arrived with BGKT WDP4D 40092 leading and 16492 tucked inside dead! As it was departing RTM WDP4D 40332 rolled in with the late 19269 1510 (P) Porbandar – Muzaffarpur and next up was my 12958 1950 New Delhi – Ahmedabad Rajdhani Express; with VTA WDM3D 11542.

After watching 11542 depart the carriage sidings at Sarai Rohilla earlier and assumed that as it was heading south it would run via Safdarjung & Hazrat Nizamuddin to New Delhi to save running round; and it was a little late arriving at Delhi Cantt with 12958 1950 New Delhi – Ahmedabad Rajdhani. On board the evening meal service was in full swing and I’d already missed the soup starter. While I was sorting my berth out through I was asked what I wanted and a veg thali duly turned up with everyone else’s respective meals; a little after 2100. It was ice-cream pots for desert, which got well and truly dissed after a certain incident on a Rajdhani many moons ago; the person on the receiving end of that reaped the reward of not being able to control bowel movements for 6 months!

Once food was done I ended up watching an episode of Falling Skies on my tablet as everyone in my compo area was still milling about and jibbering on. It was almost 2230 that everyone decided to call it a day and within minutes everyone’s bed was made, the lights were out, the curtains were drawn and everyone was horizontal! My bed had already been made so it was just a case of ramming the earplugs in and I was joining them.

 

Gen for Saturday 18th February 2017

13531 PTRU WDG3A @ Delhi Cantt with Science Express (Climate Action Special)
40414 IZN WDP4D 14311 0605 Bareilly – Bhuj
40038 BGKT WDP4B 19601 Udaipur – New Jalpaiguri
15511 TKD WDP3A 54416 1310 Rewari – Delhi Jn
40125 TKD WDP4D 12986 1735 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Jaipur
40020 TKD WDP4B 54417 1610 Delhi Jn – Rewari

16492 ABR WDM3A 22471 0930 Bikaner – Delhi Sarai Rohilla

16417 TKD WDM3A 54411 1455 Rewari – Meerut
14107 LDH WDM3A 54033 1725 Delhi Jn – Kind
20093 BGKT WDP4 14659 1735 Delhi Jn – Jaisalmer
40092 BGKT WDP4D (16492 ABR WDM3A dit) 12981 1940 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Udaipur City
40332 RTM WDP4D 1510 (P) Porbandar – Muzaffarpur

 

Moves for Saturday 18th February 2017

16616 Liluah Howrah ECS for 12871 Howrah – Titlagarh Jn KGP WDM3A
36191 Howrah Platform 13 East End Howrah Platform 13 West End ECS ex 15236 Dirbugarh – Howrah HWH WDS6
36221 Howrah Platform 9 East End Howrah Platform 9 West End ECS ex Howrah with a passenger rake HWH WDS6
36109 Howrah Platform 7 West End Howrah Platform 7 East End ECS for 22321 Howrah – Siuri HWH WDS6
36189 Howrah Platform 12 East End Howrah Platform 12 West End ECS ex 11447 Jabalpur – Howrah HWH WDS6
36171 Howrah Platform 10 East End Howrah Platform 10 West End ECS ex 13022 Raxaul – Howrah HWH WDS6
36217 Howrah Platform 2 West End Howrah Platform 2 East End ECS for 53041 0715 Howrah – Jaynagar HWH WDS6
36078 Howrah Platform 11 East End Howrah Platform 11 West End ECS ex 13072 Jamalpur – Howrah HWH WDS6
36190 Howrah Platform 14 East End Howrah Platform 14 West End ECS ex 15960 Dibrugarh – Howrah HWH WDS6
VT-ITM Kolkata Delhi Terminal 1D 6E-6488 1140 Kolkata – Delhi Indigo
Taxi Delhi Terminal 1D Palam Pre-pay taxi
12641 Palam Delhi Cantt 14322 1705 (17/02) Bhuj – Bareilly Jn IZN WDG4
16319 Delhi Cantt Delhi Sarai Rohilla 14545 1310 Farukh Nagar – Saharanpur Jn LKO WDM3A
15004 Vivekanand Puri Halt Dayabasti 54035 1540 Delhi Jn – Jakhal Jn TKD WDP1
16417 Dayabasti Delhi Kishanganj 54411 1455 Rewari Jn – Meerut Cantt TKD WDM3A
14107 Delhi Kishanganj Vivekanand Puri Halt 54033 1725 Delhi Jn – Narwana Jn LDH WDM3A
15030 Vivekanand Puri Halt Dayabasti 54423 1700 Delhi Jn – Bhiwani Jn TKD WDP1
15507 Dayabasti Delhi Cantt 54011 1743 Tilak Bridge – Sadulpur Jn TKD WDP3A
11542 Delhi Cantt Ahmedabad Jn 12958 1955 New Delhi Jn – Ahmedabad Jn VTA WDM3D

 

Photos from Saturday 18th February 2017

 

Sunday 19th February 2017 (Day 1 of 2 in Ahmedabad)

As is always the case with the Delhi – Ahmedabad Rajdhani, it was late, not by too much but it was late nonetheless. I had been hoping to make the plus 20’ at Ahmedabad onto 16613 Rajkot – Coimbatore but as we got closer to Ahmedabad it looked less likely that it would make. Having had a decent sleep, considering my berth No.1 was right next to the door at the end of the coach and over the bogies, I took my eye mask off to find some guy in my face with a breakfast tray in his hand; now that was service for you and the omelette was piping hot. I didn’t reckon much to the rafts of peas that came in the tray with it though!

Somewhere north of Mahesana we passed JHS WDM3D 11326 with 19707 Bandra – Jaipur, which is booked a GM. The only other time I’ve done the Rajdhani I passed the same train then with an Alco vice GM too! At Mahesana I was looking out to see what, if anything, had been done to the MG tracks that served the Taranga Hill branch; which had closed on New Year’s Day. There was no sign of any gauge conversion works taking lace and a DMU was dumped over the back of the shed; surprisingly though, so was SBI YDM4 6280! This had been drafted in towards the end of 2016 and had been used on the Taranga Hill branch when the DMU was broken! I was very surprised to find it still there but I guess with the closure of Ahmedabad – Mahesana & Himmatnagar/Khed Brahma there wasn’t really a need to move it back to Sabarmati as there wouldn’t be much work for it there either!

At Sabarmati Jn it was all go and I was very surprised to find overhead wires up through the station area and an additional platform, over the back of the existing MG one, being built. ABR WDM3A 16155 was just arriving with 19411 0910 Ahmedabad – Ajmer and SBI YDM4 6386 was sat in the MG platform with 52911 0530 Ranuj – Ahmedabad. While virtually the whole train got off at Sabarmati, 6386 blew up to go, which I thought was a bit strange with a Rajdhani stood at the side of it. When 11542 blew up to go though I realised, as we pottered by it, that 6386 had only drawn its train up to the end of the loop to await it’s turn. I thought I saw a white face peering out of the front coach as we passed by and as 6386 drew its train into the MG platforms at Ahmedabad Jools poked his head out of the door; who I knew was in the Ahmedabad area but I’d been expecting to see him later that evening when he returned from Ranuj. It turned out he couldn’t be arsed and left Des to his own devices on his way to Ranuj.

Having missed 16613 by a good 10 minutes there wasn’t a great deal of time to play with for the back-up bash I’d worked out and when we found VTA WDG3A 14722 in platform 2 with 19119 1040 Ahmedabad – Somnath it was game on. There wasn’t enough time to nip to the Hotel Ritz Inn and dump the bag so it had to be left in the cloak room instead; and a lot lighter than I had been on arrival we set off on a light afternoon’s bash that wouldn’t take us far but would reward us greatly.

We had over an hour at Sabarmati Town after VTA’s 14722 dropped us off there and we chewed the cud while festering in the shade by the stall at the end of platform 1. We were both surprised to find VTA WDG3A 13384 arriving with 59547 1200 Ahmedabad – Okha and having bailed at Ambli Road, even more surprised when VTA WDG3A 13452 arrived with the opposing working of 59548 2210 (P) Okha – Ahmedabad; and back at Sabarmati Town we did the 10-minute walk across the yard to Sabarmati Jn to wait it out for whichever of the three trains that may arrive first. There was a choice of 19223 Jammu Tawi – Ahmedabad, 19410 Gorakhpur – Ahmedabad & 19412 Ajmer – Ahmedabad. While we waited BGKT WDP4 20100 passed through with 12547 Agra Fort – Ahmedabad and following closely behind was UBL WDP4 20009 with 16209 Ajmer – Mysore; which Des had clambered onto at Mahesana, having done the Patan – Mahesana passenger back from Ranuj to Mahesana for it. We thankfully ended up on 19412 Ajmer – Ahmedabad with ABR WDM3A 16385 and following close behind into Ahmedabad was VTA WDM3D 11230 with 19410 Gorakhpur – Ahmedabad; we never did see what arrived with 19224 from Jammu Tawi.

With time to kill before the next move, which was on my part to hopefully be 11463 Somnath – Jabalpur Somnath Express to Mahemdavad Kheda Road, we all headed to the Ritz Inn after I collected my bag and Jools & Des got the chai’s in while I went upstairs to dump the bag. Their plan for the evening was to do 11463 to Vadodara regardless and then the New Delhi – Trivandrum Rajdhani to Madgaon with its customary GOC WDP3A from Vadodara.

Back at the shack VTA WDM3A 11542 arrived with the stock for 12957 1740 Ahmedabad – New Delhi Rajdhani and after SBI YDM4 6560 arrived with 52913 1155 Ranuj – Ahmedabad, SBI YDM4 6402 dropped on the other end to work 52912 1735 Ahmedabad – Ranuj. As VTA WDM3D 11244 was poised to work forward with 22959 Surat – Jamnagar it seemed all my eggs were in the Somnath Express basket but there was nothing customary about that when it rolled in with VTA WDP4D 40205! Which I definitely wasn’t prepared for and that was my cue to bid Des & Jools farewell and wish them well with the rest of their trip.

It didn’t take me long to find something to do as both VTA WDS6’s 36053 & 36164 were shunting stock in the station and I managed to get both in within minutes with 36164 shunting the stock in for 11049 Ahmedabad – Kolhapur and 36053 shunting the stock in for 19415 Ahmedabad – Katra; which then became my get out of jail free card when VTA WDG3A 14872 dropped on to work the train north.

A quick shuffle across the sidings from Sabarmati Jn to Sabarmati Town saw me heading straight back into Ahmedabad with BRC WAP4 22210 on 19309 Gandhinagar Capital – Indore; another of the great trains that has fallen prey to the electric link vice RTM WDM3A throughout. Still, I was grateful of the free journey back into Ahmedabad and even more grateful to find VTA WDG3A 13213 just dropping onto 19215 Mumbai Central – Porbandar; and I found myself out in the sticks at Chandlodyia waiting for 54803 Jodhpur – Ahmedabad passenger. This revealed yet another VTA WDG3A in 13529, on what I’m sure is an ABR Alco link. As my good fortune of an evening seemed to be holding up I got off at Sabarmati Town and headed over to Sabarmati Jn again and it wasn’t long before my good fortune ran out and the day ended on a low when BGKT WDG4 12283 rolled in with 19708 Jaipur – Bandra Terminus; so, the JHS WDM3D I’d seen with the opposing working that morning had indeed been an offlink. Can’t blame me for trying though!

I was glad to get back to the Ritz that night and make use of the facilities. As usual the room was spacious, spotless and had everything you’d need for a night’s stay including toiletries, free water and strong WiFi. 30 minutes after a good meal in the hotel restaurant I felt almost human again! I was clean shaven, smelled fresh and had a fresh set of clothes lined up for the morning; the others could have probably walked hoe on their own accord! It is always nice to get to bed in a non-moving one, with no chattering going on and no light seeping through the curtains…..

 

Gen for Sunday 19th February 2017

6280 SBI YDM4 at Mahesana stored
6386 SBI YDM4 52911 0530 Ranuj – Ahmedabad
6295 SBI YDM4 Ahmedabad shunt loco
6560 SBI YDM4 52914 0740 Ahmedabad – Ranuj, 52913 1155 Ranuj – Ahmedabad
6402 SBI YDM4 52912 1735 Ahmedabad – Ranuj

11326 JHS WDM3D 19707 2055 (P) Bandra Terminus – Jaipur
16155 ABR WDM3A 19411 0910 Ahmedabad – Ajmer
11539 VAT WDM3D 19107 1025 Ahmedabad – Udhampur
14016 ABR WDM3A 19223 1120 Ahmedabad – Jammu Tawi
11414 VTA WDM3D 19260 0715 Bhavnagar – Kochuveli
11230 VTA WDM3D 19410 0445 (P) Gorakhpur – Ahmedabad
20100 BGKT WDP4 12547 2215 (P) Agra Fort – Ahmedabad
20009 URL WDP4 16209 0530 Ajmer – Mysore
11542 VTA WDM3D 12957 1740 Ahmedabad – New Delhi
30064 BRC WAP5 22959 1330 Surat – Jamnagar (to Ahmedabad)
11244 VTA WDM3D 22959 1330 Surat – Jamnagar (from Ahmedabad)
21143 BRC WAG5 59049 0605 Valsad – Viramgam
16385 ABR WDM3A 59049 0650 Valsad – Viramgam
40205 VTA WDP4D 11463 0930 Somnath – Jabalpur

 

Moves for Sunday 19th February 2017

14722 Ahmedabad Jn Sabarmati Town 19119 1040 Ahmedabad Jn – Somnath VTA WDG3A
13384 Sabarmati Town Ambli Road 59547 1200 Ahmedabad Jn – Okha VTA WDG3A
13452 Ambli Road Sabarmati Town 59548 2210 (18/02) Okha – Ahmedabad Jn VTA WDG3A
16385 Sabarmati Jn Ahmedabad Jn 19412 0625 Ajmer Jn – Ahmedabad Jn ABR WDM3A
36053 Ahmedabad Jn Platform 1 North End Ahmedabad Jn Platform 1 South End Shunt stock in for 19415 Ahmedabad – Katra VTA WDS6
36164 Ahmedabad Jn Platform 3 North End Ahmedabad Jn Platform 3 South End Shunt stock in for 11049 Ahmedabad – Kolhapur VTA WDS6
14872 Ahmedabad Jn Sabarmati Jn 19415 1905 Ahmedabad Jn – Katra VTA WDG3A
22210 Sabarmati Town Ahmedabad Jn 19309 1825 Gandhinagar Capital – Indore Jn BRC WAP4
13213 Ahmedabad Jn Chandlodiya 19215 0820 Mumbai Central – Porbandar VTA WDG3A
13529 Chandlodiya Sabarmati Town 54803 0845 Jodhpur Jn – Ahmedabad Jn VTA WDG3A
12283 Sabarmati Jn Ahmedabad Jn 19708 0840 Jaipur Jn – Bandra Terminus BGKT WDG4

 

Photos from Sunday 19th February 2017

 

Monday 20th February 2017 (Day 2 of 2 in Ahmedabad before heading to Veraval overnight)

I was dead when the alarm went off and a quick check of NTES revealed that the very reason for it being set was 5 hours late! Fearing that I probably wouldn’t get back to sleep I quickly checked the hotel booklet on the desk, which confirmed that breakfast was from 0700, and got myself sorted to have a bite to eat before I checked out. Once downstairs though, after checking out, not only wouldn’t the hotel keep my bag for me until I returned from Veraval two days later, they wouldn’t serve me breakfast in the restaurant as according to them breakfast isn’t served until 0730! They mean well but I had to point out how annoyed with them I was as I walked out; then dumped by bag at the cloak room and had two omelettes for breakfast from the guy at the bottom of the south end steps on platform 1; I was sorted then, no thanks to the Ritz.

While spying what was going on at the MG side of the station, where SBI YDM4 6306 was poised to work 52914 0740 Ahmedabad – Ranuj, I spotted a set of stock being backed in. It turned out it was to form 12901 Ahmedabad – Mumbai Central and just as I got to the opposite end of the station VTA WDS6 36154 was drawing the set in to form 19031 Ahmedabad – Haridwar. Thankfully the loco on the set for 12901 was only just being detached when it got back to the north end of the station. It turned out to be VTA WDM3A 14079, which I spotted in the station the previous evening with “not fit for passenger” on its cab side; it had obviously been restricted to shunting duties for the time being.

When VTA WDM3D 11229 dropped onto 11090 Pune – Bhagat Ki Kothi that was the first move of the day sorted and was the first walk between the Sabarmati stations as I walked from Junction to Town to do 59050 Viramgam – Valsad back in. What I didn’t expect was for KZJ WDG3A’s 14941/14942 to roll to almost a stand as they passed through with 17017 0525 Rajkot – Secunderabad; which I’d be doing to Secunderabad two days later. There was no issue jumping aboard and in hindsight it was a good job I did manage to get on as 17017 was what I’d been heading back into Ahmedabad to cover and ABR WDM3A 16385 with 59050 didn’t make it! I did end up on 59050 though when BL WAG7 28614 dropped on to work it forward and I only had a few minutes at Maninagar for BRC WAG5 23005 back with 59549 0820 Vadodara – Ahmedabad.

A mad dash up the platform had me just making RTM’s uniquely liveried WDM3A 16158 as it blew up to depart with 19119 1040 Ahmedabad – Somnath. This time though, instead of festering at Sabarmati Town for 59547 1200 Ahmedabad – Okha I got an auto back to Ahmedabad to view the very late running 16312 Kochuveli – Bikaner; the very reason I’d planned to get up early in the first place! The train had managed to pick up time and I was pleased when ERS WDM3A twins 14081/14030 dropped in with an empty train. While I was quite prepared to do the train to Mahesana, the first booked stop, I was quite confident as I departed with the twins that I’d be able to get off at Sabarmati Jn as there’d been a freight in the middle road screwed down earlier and it had still been there when I’d done 19119 out to Sabarmati Town. As a result, 16312 would have to go through the platform loop and the last couple of times this had happened the train had been going slow enough to get off; and this time was no exception thankfully. This meant I was back in Ahmedabad, courtesy of another auto, in time to do VTA WDM3D 14161, which had been poised to work the train when I left with the twins, out to Sabarmati with 59547 1200 Ahmedabad – Okha passenger and get another auto back into Ahmedabad to view 16337 Okha – Ernakulam at 1300! It was all go……

While I was waiting at the south end of the station for 16337 to arrive VTA WDS6 36174 came in from the carriage sidings with a set of stock, which I rode up the platform with. While I was on my way back down the platform it then pushed the same set back into the carriage sidings and thus delivered me back to where I’d hopped on; it seems it had only been shunting stock in the sidings and not actually shunting a set into the station, but it needed the whole length of Ahmedabad station to complete its move. It was nice of 16337 to rock up with a new pair of ERS WDM3A twins, in the shape of 16479/16565. It was even nicer that the train staggered through Maninagar, which allowed me to safely get off as it crawled through. I was back into Ahmedabad within 15 minutes’ courtesy of SRC WAP4 22935 and 12834 Howrah – Ahmedabad.

A quick check of Google Maps revealed it was just as far from Ahmedabad Jn to Chandlodiya as it was to Sabarmati, due to the way the line skirted the city. 25 minutes later I was stood at Chandlodiya waiting for 59548 Okha – Ahmedabad passenger. VTA WDG3A 14717 was soon along and after the walk from Sabarmati Town to Sabarmati Jn the little afternoon rush was topped off nicely with VTA WDM3D 11127 on 19410 Gorakhpur – Ahmedabad; and it didn’t end there. NTES had been good to me all day and didn’t let me down, so without hesitation I hopped into another auto at the station front and was Chandlodiya bound again; every auto I’d done had cost RS150 on this particular day!

There had to be a dud one in amongst the crowd somewhere and RTM WDM3A 16815 was that dud one, which had charge of 19120 Somnath – Ahmedabad. Another walk from Sabarmati Town to Sabarmati Jn had me waiting for 19224 Jammu Tawi – Ahmedabad. While I waited BGKT WDG4 70155 ran through with 12547 Agra Fort – Ahmedabad and by the time I got into Ahmedabad it had run round to work back with 12548 Ahmedabad – Agra Fort. ABR WDM3A 14050 dropped me back into Ahmedabad with 19224, where a much-needed respite from the running around ensued.

There are plenty of food options at Ahmedabad and I used one of the places on the concourse near the main entrance, which served up a good veg noodles and cheese nan; the latter was that hot I had to let it cool down. This unfortunately cost me as I managed to get to the MG platforms just as the rear coach of 52913 1155 Ranuj – Ahmedabad was coming to a stand in the platform. SBI YDM4 6306, which had worked in with 52913 was replaced by SBI YDM4 6560 for 52912 1735 Ahmedabad – Ranuj; which I did manage to photograph departing, while waiting for the stock to arrive to form 12957 1740 Ahmedabad – New Delhi Rajdhani. This departed 20’ late with VTA WDM3D 11494, which had arrived with the opposing working of 12958 from New Delhi that morning. Even though I stood at the door to Sabarmati the coach attendants couldn’t help but give me stuff for free, which included a bottle of water, a carton of lime flavoured water and a carton of mango juice!

As 3D 11494 hammered off into the distance I sat it out at Sabarmati Jn for a change as the evening cooled nicely. I did manage to give out directions to an Indian on how to get from Sabarmati Jn to Sabarmati Town though and was able to watch both VTA WDM3D 11421 and ABR WDM3A 16770 approach Sabarmati Town, with 22962 Surat – Happa & 59049 Valsad – Viramgam respectively, from where I was sat at the bottom end of the platform.

ABR WDM3A 16006, with a cab that filthy I could barely read the number, arrived with a late running 19414 Kolkata Chitpur – Ahmedabad and gave me the added bonus of VTA WDS6 36045 shunting the stock out at Ahmedabad. Next on the hit list became VTA WDM3D 11540 as it dropped onto 19215 Mumbai Central – Porbandar; replacing BRC WAP4 22541. At Sabarmati Town I was expecting to be heading back to Ahmedabad by road but there was a set sat in the opposite platform when I arrived on 19215, which I eventually figured out was 19018 Jamnagar – Bandra Terminus; and I had to get the loco number at Ahmedabad as it set off before I got to the front of the train. I was well pleased to find veteran, although refurbished many times and unlikely to have anything original left on it, VTA WDM3A 18380 at the head of the train. As it entered Ahmedabad I could see a pair of LDH Alco’s waiting just off the end of platform 1 to drop onto something. Investigation revealed that they were LDH WDM3A’s 18871/16104 and they replaced BRC WAP7 30510 on 22451 Bandra Terminus – Chandigarh Garib Rath.

While down at the south end of the station I spotted RTM WDM3A 16172 with 19167 Ahmedabad – Darbhanga, which had been in the hands of RTM WDP4D’s since RTM got their allocation of them; so maybe this was an offlink? Either way only 10 minutes before booked departure time BRC WAG5 21143 dropped on the front of it. I initially though it was buffering up to clear the track circuit so the road would come off for it to shunt back out, but when the shunter got down between the two it was clear to see what was happening. The crew of 16172 looked a little bemused with things but when I queried what was going off with them all he could tell me was that 16172 needed to go to Ratlam for maintenance and while the train was going to go with a diesel, it would now go with electric traction instead. It was all very strange but I did 21143 to Maninagar anyway for BRC WAP7 30084 back in on 12933 Mumbai Central – Ahmedabad; and that was that as it rolled into the platform adjacent to where the stock for my 22957 Ahmedabad – Veraval overnight was standing. I was quite relieved to watch VTA WDG3A 13528 drop on as the train had been seen with VTA WDP4’s in November. It had been a long, busy and bitty day, which had ultimately taken its toll and I was ready for bed. My lower side berth, in the middle of the coach away from the bogies, was made up before departure and once the TTE had done his rounds, it was earplugs in, eye-mask on, lights out and goodnight…..

 

Gen for Monday 20th February 2017

6306 SBI YDM4 52914 0740 Ahmedabad – Ranuj, 52913 1155 Ranuj – Ahmedabad
6402 SBI YDM4 52911 0530 Ranuj – Ahmedabad
6560 SBI YDM4 52912 1735 Ahmedabad – Ranuj
30050 BRC WAP5 11090 1950 (P) Pune – Bhagat Ki Kothi
22916 ET WAP4 11464 1200 (P) Jabalpur – Somnath (to Ahmedabad)
40333 VTA WDP4D 11464 1200 (P) Jabalpur – Somnath (ex Ahmedabad)
30463 BRC WAP7 19310 2245 (P) Indore – Gandhinagar Capital
16280 ABR WDM3A 19411 0910 Ahmedabad – Ajmer
14098 VTA WDM3A 22830 2025 (P) Shalimar – Bhuj
16385 ABR WDM3A 59050 0750 Viramgam – Valsad (to Ahmedabad), 19223 1120 Ahmedabad – Jammu Tawi
11244 VTA WDM3D 22960 0445 Jamnagar – Surat

30060 BRC WAP5 19576 2140 (P) Nathdwara – Okha (to Ahmedabad)
14070 VTA WDM3A 19576 2140 (P) Nathdwara – Okha (from Ahmedabad)
11494 VTA WDM3D 12958 1950 (P) New Delhi – Ahmedabad
11521 KJM WDM3D 16588 2145 (P) Bikaner – Yesvantpur
30056 BRC WAP5 19036 1420 Ahmedabad – Vadodara
22708 GZB WAP4 12478 0910 (P) Katra – Jamnagar (to Ahmedabad)
11244 VTA WDM3D 12478 0910 (P) Katra – Jamnagar (from Ahmedabad)
23319 BRC WAG5 59441 2240 (P) Mumbai Central – Ahmedabad
70155 BGKT WDG4 12547 2215 (P) Agra Fort – Ahmedabad
23761 BRC WAG5 19034 1810 Ahmedabad – Valsad
40046 UBL WDP4B 16531 0530 Ajmer – Bangalore City
14024 KJM WDM3A 16587 0500 (P) Yesvantpur – Bikaner
16770 ABR WDM3A 19412 0625 Ajmer – Ahmedabad, 59049 0650 Valsad – Viramgam (from Ahmedabad)
11421 VTA WDM3D 22962 1330 Surat – Happa (from Ahmedabad)
40301 BGKT WDP4D 12915 1830 Ahmedabad – Delhi Jn
22541 BRC WAP4 19215 0820 Mumbai Central – Porbandar (to Ahmedabad)
30510 BRC WAP7 22451 1215 Bandra Terminus – Chandigarh (to Ahmedabad)
18871/16104 LDH WDM3A’s 22451 1215 Bandra Terminus – Chandigarh (from Ahmedabad)
22674 BRC WAP4 22915 1255 Bandra Terminus – Hisar (to Ahmedabad)
13453 VTA WDG3A 22915 1255 Bandra Terminus – Hisar (from Ahmedabad)

 

Moves for Monday 20th February 2017

14079 Ahmedabad Jn Platform 5 North End Ahmedabad Jn Platform 5 South End Shunt stock out ex 12901 Mumbai Central – Ahmedabad VTA WDM3A
36154 Ahmedabad Jn Platform 7 South End Ahmedabad Jn Platform 7 North End Shunt stock in for 19031 Ahmedabad – Haridwar VTA WDS6
11229 Ahmedabad Jn Sabarmati Jn 11090 1950 (19/02) Pune Jn – Bhagat Ki Kothi VTA WDM3D
14941 Sabarmati Town Ahmedabad Jn 17017 0525 Rajkot Jn – Secunderabad Jn KZJ WDG3A’s
14942
28614 Ahmedabad Jn Maninagar 59050 0750 Viramgam Jn – Valsad BL WAG7
23005 Maninagar Ahmedabad Jn 59549 0820 Vadodara Jn – Ahmedabad Jn BRC WAG5
16158 Ahmedabad Jn Sabarmati Town 19119 1040 Ahmedabad Jn – Somnath RTM WDM3A
Auto Sabarmati Town Ahmedabad Jn RS150, 20 minutes
14081 Ahmedabad Jn Sabarmati Jn 16312 1535 (18/02) Kochuveli – Bikaner Jn ERS WDM3A’s
14080
Auto Sabarmati Jn Ahmedabad Jn RS150, 20 minutes
14161 Ahmedabad Jn Sabarmati Town 59547 1200 Ahmedabad Jn – Okha VTA WDM3D
Auto Sabarmati Town Ahmedabad Jn RS150, 20 minutes
36174 Ahmedabad Jn Platform 7 South End Ahmedabad Jn Platform 7 South End Shunting stock in south carriage sidings VTA WDS6
16479 Ahmedabad Jn Maninagar 16337 0405 Okha – Ernakulam Jn ERS WDM3A’s
16565
22935 Maninagar Ahmedabad Jn 12834 2355 (19/02) Howrah – Ahmedabad Jn SRC WAP4
Auto Ahmedabad Jn Chandlodiya RS150, 25 minutes
14717 Chandlodiya Sabarmati Town 59548 2210 (19/02) Okha – Ahmedabad Jn VTA WDG3A
11127 Sabarmati Jn Ahmedabad Jn 19410 0445 (19/02) Gorakhpur Jn – Ahmedabad Jn VTA WDM3D
Auto Ahmedabad Jn Chandlodiya RS150, 25 minutes
16815 Chandlodiya Sabarmati Town 19120 0630 Somnath – Ahmedabad Jn ABR WDM3A
14050 Sabarmati Jn Ahmedabad Jn 19224 0740 (19/02) Jammu Tawi – Ahmedabad Jn ABR WDM3A
11494 Ahmedabad Jn Sabarmati Jn 12957 1740 Ahmedabad Jn – New Delhi VTA WDM3D
16003 Sabarmati Jn Ahmedabad Jn 19414 1310 (18/02) Kolkata Chitpur – Ahmedabad Jn ABR WDM3A
36045 Ahmedabad Jn Platform 3 South End Ahmedabad Jn Platform 3 North End Shunt stock out ex 19414 Kolkata – Ahmedabad VTA WDS6
11540 Ahmedabad Jn Sabarmati Town 19215 0820 Mumbai Central – Porbandar VTA WDM3D
18380 Sabarmati Town Ahmedabad Jn 19018 1355 Jamnagar – Bandra Terminus VTA WDM3A
21143 Ahmedabad Jn Maninagar 19167 2050 Ahmedabad Jn – Darbhanga Jn BRC WAG5
30084 Maninagar Ahmedabad Jn 12933 1340 Mumbai Central – Ahmedabad Jn BRC WAP7
13528 Ahmedabad Jn Veraval Jn 22957 2210 Ahmedabad Jn – Veraval Jn VTA WDG3A

 

Photos from Monday 20th February 2017

 

Tuesday 21st February 2017 (A day in Veraval on the MG, then back to Ahmedabad overnight)

While I did wake once in the night, it was a very quiet coach overnight, so much so that it was the horn of VTA WDM3D 11560 that woke me at Veraval; the whole coach was empty and I’d been left holed up in my lower side berth while everyone else got off the train! It was just as well I didn’t need 11560 as it was rolling out with 19120 Somnath – Ahmedabad while I was still getting my crap together!

It wasn’t quite light and as I wondered down the platform I thought I’d found what I’d made the trip to Veraval for straight away, stood in the head-shunt south of the MG platforms; which was SBI outbased JLR YDM4 6257. It had been on the peninsular MG section for a number of years but it had been sighted back at Ahmedabad in February 2016, which was why I’d planned to have a few days in the Ahmedabad area. It wasn’t until gen started filtering out from everyone’s November/December trips that I found out that 6257 was back on the peninsular; if it had actually ever left it at all. Luckily, even though my reservations were only made a week in advance, I had time in my plan to do a trip to Veraval and there was space on 22957/22958 in either direction. Closer inspection of the YDM4 at Veraval revealed it to be a very, very dirty 6247 and not 6257. The number 4 on its cab-side was covered in oil and crap, which made it barely readable close up, let alone from a distance; so, the hunt was on. Unfortunately, the hunt down the platform to spot the loco already attached to the stock for 52929 0935 Veraval – Dhasa revealed 6323.

Also at Veraval was RTM WDM3A 16813, which must have arrived from Okha with 19252 Okha – Somnath and then returned the empty stock to Veraval. VTA WDP4D 40333 was being prepared to work empty stock down to Somnath to form 11463 0930 Somnath – Jabalpur and once that was gone there was nothing to do, other than watch 16813 shunt the stock and loco ex 22957 away.

Over the road from the station chai was in constant demand and it would have been rude not to join in the morning chai frenzy; although I drew the straw at pouring it out of a perfectly good cup onto a dirty saucer and slurping it from that instead. It did seem to be the in thing in deepest, darkest Gujarat though. None of the surrounding food establishments were open in time for breakfast though so a hot veg puff had to suffice from one of the stalls on the station.

The crew for JLR YDM4 6323 didn’t amble down the platform until 0935 but the loco was up and running in no time. It was only a load 7 set and was virtually empty when 6323 set sail from Veraval. I spent the 25km to Talala Jn at the door, bellowing. While 6323 wasn’t the best, it made the correct noises and it was good to hear the 6-cylinder growl; which was now a diminishing feature of Indian Railways. As MG lines go, the track from Veraval to Talala is as good as it gets, its fast, smooth and allows for plenty of thrash. With only one stop between Veraval & Talala, which isn’t widely used, it’s a good bit of track to bash for a day. Unfortunately, due to flooding in the last monsoon, the one train a day down the Kodinar branch hadn’t been running for a number of months and it even seemed that IR couldn’t be bothered to show it in the list of daily canceled trains these days! What it did mean was one less return trip between Veraval & Talala a day but there were BG move options instead and there were also options to head into Lion territory and potter along at no miles per hour for a while; personally, I’m not a fan of the Visavadar to Talala section as it’s an utter stagger because of the national park.

My eyes were pealed on arrival into Talala but they focused on JLR YDM4 6301, which was sat waiting to depart with 52950 0805 Delvada – Veraval. JLR YDM4 6371 was also soon upon the peaceful Talala with 52952 0715 Junagadh – Delvada; which I had grand plans of getting off 22957 at Junagadh for; my need for sleep obviously saw to it that I wouldn’t be doing that! So, 6301 back to Veraval it was and it was a bit of a nail compared to 6323. It did however put in a sterling performance and have 52950 into Veraval a few minutes early, which allowed me to leg it over the footbridge for 59508 1100 Somnath – Rajkot passenger, the loco on which had blown up just as we’d hit the platform end. There were only a few people made it and there was no stopping to pick up stragglers; despite their frantic waving at the loco pilot. Under normal circumstances at this point 6301 would run round and form 52954 1155 Veraval –Kodinar but there was nobody waiting and I heard the loco shut down while I was running over the footbridge; sure enough it was still in exactly the same place when I got back too. Quite how long the Kodinar branch would remain closed remained to be seen.

Luckily, I spotted RTM WDM3A 16831 heading 59508 as I was legging it over the footbridge as I had to do a ballast leap at Chorvad Road to clamber aboard the departing 59297 0600 Porbandar – Somnath, with RTM WDM3A 16197 proving its worth at the front. It was a minus at Chorvad Road off 59508 onto 59297 but as 59297 didn’t stop at Adri Road there was no choice but to go for the minus. 59421 0750 Rajkot – Veraval passenger is behind it though and is a plus 2 at Chorvad Road. I was relying on NTES being correct in that it was showing 59421 as 20’ late; with 59508 having departed Veraval a few minutes down! No sooner had 16197 departed for Somnath with 59297 was VTA WDM3D 11423 on the approach to Veraval with 59421, right behind it.

As the sun was almost perfect for trains arriving from the north I walked down to the level crossing at the Keshod end of the station and was quite pleased with the shots of JLR YDM4 6416 arriving round the sweeping curve with 52946 0730 Dhasa – Veraval. I had to get a rush on to get back to platform 1 before RTM WDM3D 11423 departed with the late 59460 1320 Veraval – Rajkot; and had it not gone late I wouldn’t have done it as I needed to view 52946 arriving, just in case it was 6257 of course.

It was a longer run out than the previous one, this time to Keshod, where I waited for 59459 to take me back into Veraval. It was a plus 35’ off 59459 1115 Rajkot – Veraval onto 52949 1620 Veraval – Delvada but it only made by 10! Unique RTM liveried 16158 did the honours; which I found out wasn’t actually unique at all when I spotted RTM WDM3A 18828 in the same livery just outside Ahmedabad the following day.

It was standing room only on the load 5 set that formed 52949 1620 Veraval – Delvada, headed by 6247; which is the booked loco. Basically, the one that stands around all day at Veraval works the 1620 Delvada. 6247 turned out to be by far the best YDM4 of the day, it was meaty, loud, dirty and driven well to boot. It was a very enjoyable run o Talala with a YDM4 that sounded the part, even if it looked like the runt of the litter. As we were late from Veraval, waiting for stragglers off 59549 on the BG, we were held outside Talala and were ultimately last in o the three sets due to be at Talala. I assume it was 6371 that had already run round and was waiting to depart for Junagadh with 52951 1425 Delvada – Junagadh, which I’d planned to be on and had made my reservation on 22958 Veraval – Ahmedabad from Junagadh as a result. I wasn’t rely paying that much attention to what was going on when we got the road in as I’d resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn’t be having what I’d come to Veraval for in the first place; but as the saying goes “there’s nothing like leaving the best till last”! And there it was 6257 was sat waiting to head into Veraval with 52930 1205 Dhasa – Veraval. Absolutely over the moon I grabbed a couple of rather hot chai’s on my way down the platform to it; and was very surprised when it blew up to depart before I’d even got to the front of the train. There was nothing like efficiency; if only some of the MG stations that had one train every now and again to deal with had been as efficient eh!?

At Veraval 6301 was used to shunt everything away and/or into the right place for the morning. As I had time to kill I did VTA WDP4D 40176 down to Somnath with the late running 11464 Jabalpur – Somnath and then came back to up to Veraval with the empty stock, along with about a dozen other folk. My first proper meal of the day then followed, at the shack just to the left of the hotel opposite the station. The jeera aloo, which was actually completely devoid of jeera, was that good that I had a second portion straight after the first! My two portions of whatever their version of jeera aloo is and 6 chapattis came to a whopping RS100; and I was utterly stuffed! It had been a good day and RTM WDM3A 16833 rounded it off nicely when it arrived with 19119 1040 Ahmedabad – Somnath; which I did down to Somnath and returned with the empty stock to Veraval. By which time the stock for 22958 2135 Veraval – Ahmedabad was in platform 1 waiting to depart; with RTM WDM3A 16813 at its helm. So VTA WDG3A 13528 must be left to work 19251 Somnath – Okha as it was at the Somnath end of the stock ready to head down to Somnath empties.

22958 was far from full in 2AC and I managed to find the TTE just before departure and sap my upper side berth for a lower side berth. Needless to say, my bed was made up before departure and the lights were turned out behind the TTE as he wondered through the coach! Zzzz’s were soon filtering through the coach….

 

Gen for Tuesday 21st February 2017

6323 JLR YDM4 52929 0945 Veraval – Dhasa
6301 JLR YDM4 52950 0805 Delvada – Veraval
6371 JLR YDM4 52952 0715 Junagadh – Delvada, 52951 1425 Delvada – Junagadh
6416 JLR YDM4 52946 0730 Dhasa – Veraval, 52933 1355 Veraval – Dhasa
6247 JLR YDM4 52949 1620 Veraval – Delvada
6257 JLR YDM4 52930 1205 Dhasa – Veraval
11560 RTM WDM3D 19120 0630 Somnath – Ahmedabad
40333 VTA WDP4D 11463 0930 Somnath – Jabalpur
16197 RTM WDM3A 59298 1535 Somnath – Porbandar
11423 RTM WDM3D 59421 0750 Rajkot – Veraval

 

Moves for Tuesday 21st February 2017

6323 Veraval Jn Talala Jn 52929 0935 Veraval Jn – Dhsa Jn SBI outbased JLR YDM4
6301 Talala Jn Veraval Jn 52950 0805 Delvada – Veraval Jn SBI outbased JLR YDM4
16831 Veraval Jn Chorvad Road 59508 1100 Somnath – Rajkot Jn RTM WDM3A
16197 Chorvad Road Veraval Jn 59297 0600 Porbandar – Somnath RTM WDM3A
11423 Veraval Jn Keshod 59460 1320 Veraval Jn – Rajkot Jn RTM WDM3D
16158 Keshod Veraval Jn 59459 1115 Rajkot Jn – Veraval Jn RTM WDM3A
6247 Veraval Jn Talala Jn 52949 1620 Veraval Jn – Delvada SBI outbased JLR YDM4
6257 Talala Jn Veraval Jn 52930 1205 Dhasa Jn – Veraval Jn SBI outbased JLR YDM4
40176 Veraval Jn Somnath 11464 1200 (20/02) Jabalpur Jn – Somnath VTA WDP4D
40176 Somnath Veraval Jn ECS ex 11464 Jabalpur Jn – Somnath VTA WDP4D
16833 Veraval Jn Somnath 19119 1040 Ahmedabad Jn – Somnath RTM WDM3A
16833 Somnath Veraval Jn ECS ex 19119 Ahmedabad Jn – Somnath RTM WDM3A
16813 Veraval Jn Ahmedabad Jn 22958 2135 Veraval Jn – Ahmedabad Jn RTM WDM3A

 

Photos from Tuesday 21st February 2017

 

Wednesday 22nd February 2017 (A short time in Ahmedabad then aboard 17017 to Secunderabad)

I managed to wake before 22958 came to a stand at Ahmedabad but only just! We were just hitting the platform ends when I drew back the curtains! This time I had my shoes on and crap sorted before 16813 drew its train to a stand.

As I had to make sure I was at Ahmedabad for the 1000 departure time of 17017 Rajkot – Secunderabad, there wasn’t much scope for nedding about; or so I thought. As the stock for 19413 0605 Ahmedabad – Kolkata Chitpur wasn’t in I ventured over to find ABR WDM2 16827 waiting to depart with 54804 0615 Ahmedabad – Jodhpur passenger. SBI YDM4 6318 was waiting in the MG platforms with 52914 0740 Ahmedabad – Ranuj. While I waited for the stock to back in for 19413 I spotted Redhill, Dave U & Snowy over by 16827 and assumed that they’d done it out to Sabarmati Town as I never saw them again. If only I’d needed it, it would have been a better move in theory as 19216 Porbandar – Mumbai Central was a little late and 54804 would have made it at Sabarmati Town. Still, I waited it out and was rewarded in more ways than one; with IR seeming to give more than it takes on this trip, very unlike my previous trip of course!

VTA WDS6 36053 eventually backed the stock in for 19413, just before departure time and VTA WDM3A 14096 was only in the next platform waiting to drop on. My chances of legging it from Sabarmati Jn to Town for the late running 19216 had all but vanished when we eventually got going and I’m sure I passed it, while en-route to Sabarmati, with RTM WDM3A 16837 leading a dead VTA WDM3D 11131. At Sabarmati Jn I was surprised to find a train sat in the middle road waiting to go into Ahmedabad and yet it was one I couldn’t which train it was as there were no name boards at all, only the odd sticker, all in Hindi, where the name boards should be. Those on board confirmed it was bound for Ahmedabad though; so, I took VTA’s WDG3A 14765 as a bonus that morning and the fact that it made 22954 0700 Ahmedabad – Mumbai Central at Ahmedabad as that just made 16334 Trivandrum – Veraval at Maninagar; which I knew was a little late thanks to NTES. So, when ERS WDM3A’s 16237/16405 deposited me at Ahmedabad at around 0730 I couldn’t resist an auto out to Sabarmati to cane in 22916 Hisar – Bandra Terminus, which I’d seen heading out as 22915 on Monday night with VTA WDG3A 13453.

I collected my big bag from the cloak room before heading out to Sabarmati Jn in an auto, just in case there were any shenanigans with the move and I had to improvise; I wouldn’t want to be in a position to have to decide on collecting my bag or doing the 1200km move on a pair of KZJ’s finest now would I? As it happened everything went smoothly and as predicted VTA WDG3A 13453 dropped 22916 into Ahmedabad, and right time too. I had plenty of time to gather some snacks before heading over to platform 4 to wait for 17017 0525 Rajkot – Secunderabad; which would be my home for 24 hours!

KZJ twins 18973/14553 rolled in right time with 17017 and while everyone was dithering I got straight on board and was in my berth before most had even got through the door. While we sat waiting to depart ABR WDM3a 16794 rolled into the adjacent platform with 59050 0750 Viramgam – Valsad and when 17017 departed, right time, BL WAG5 23741 was just being attached to work 59050 forward to Valsad.

A lunch order was taken just after departure from Ahmedabad, for delivery at approx. 1400. The TTE soon came round and despite the reservation sheets on the side of the train indicating that a number of berths were free in 2AC, it was wrong and both A1/A2 were fully reserved; so I’d have to make do with my upper berth in a compartment of four. That was until Vadodara where a family of three got in, two of which had reservations in my compo and the other had a lower berth in a different compo, by the door. I was soon moving to the lower berth by the door as the woman who just plonked herself opposite me probably weighed 3 times what I did and let’s face it she wasn’t not going to snore at all, was she!!!?

VTA WDM3A 14098 was just attaching itself to 12938 2300 (PP) Howrah – Gandhidam n the bay platform at Vadodara and in the adjacent platform to 17017 were KZJ WDM3A’s 18972/18756 with 17018 Secunderabad – Rajkot; which would arrive back into Secunderabad with 17107 24 hours after I did. Both times I’d done 17017 from Ahmedabad on a Wednesday, when 17018 ran through in the opposite direction, both trains have been at Vadodara at the same time. They are booked to make there in either direction as both trains sit there for 10 minutes; it’s a plus 14 off 17018 to 17017 and a plus 6 off 17017 to 17018.

At Ankleswar Jn I was looking out to see what was in the back platform for the Rajpipla branch train and was pleasantly surprised to find a genuinely uniquely liveried VTA WDM3D 11563. Which was clearly painted in the livery it was in for a reason; I just don’t know what that reason is/was. Shortly after departure from Ankleswar food turned up and while it wasn’t piping hot, it was tasty enough not to warrant it being RS130 down the drain and the food being thrown out of the door; as had been done on previous occasions. Food was finished in time for Surat where WDS6R 36529 was in the carriage sidings; things on board seemed to settle down as everyone got horizontal for their afternoon nap and the KZJ machines on the front of the train got on with the show!

I spent the whole afternoon pretty much horizontal myself and watched 6 episodes of Falling Skies on my tablet. I was quite tires so it was a blessing to be on a long-distance train for a while; and I was that immersed in my TV watching that I forgot to bellow at Dan, who was on board 22150 Pune – Ernakulam that I passed en-route. I was so immersed in what I was watching that I completely forgot about the bankers going on at Karjat and it wasn’t until we’d been there for some time that my mind remembered something! In fact, it was some other banking locos going by the window that made me jump up, get my shoes on and scurry to the rear of the train; earphones still in and tablet in hand! Thankfully, for this purpose anyway, the AC is only a few coaches from the rear of 17017 and I was only off the train for a minute or so. KYN WAG7’s 27124, 27132 & 27418 were only just being brake tested when I got to them but we were away within seconds of me getting back on board!

That was really that and after that episode of Falling Skies it was lights out time, little did I realise what a crap journey I was in for…..

 

Gen for Wednesday 22nd February 2017

6318 SBI YDM4 52914 0740 Ahmedabad – Ranuj
6557 SBI YDM4 Ahmedabad station pilot
16827 ABR WDM2 54804 0615 Ahmedabad – Jodhpur
40183 VTA WDP4D 22945 xxx Bandra Terminus – Okha (from Ahmedabad)
11131 VTA WDM3D 12959 0005 Dadar – Bhuj
16354 ABR WDM3A 19411 0910 Ahmedabad – Ajmer
22325 BRC WAP4 19310 2245 (P) Indore – Gandhinagar Capital
11300 IZN WDM3D 14311 0605 (P) Bareilly – Bhuj
23506 BRC WAG5 12945 0530 Surat – Mahuva (to Ahmedabad)
40205 VTA WDP4D 12945 0530 Surat – Mahuva (from Ahmedabad)
40092 BGKT WDP4D 19031 1005 Ahmedabad – Haridwar
16794 ABR WDM3A 59050 0750 Viramgam – Valsad (to Ahmedabad)
23741 BL WAG5 59050 0750 Viramgam – Valsad (from Ahmedabad)
14098 VTA WDM3A 12938 2300 (PP) Howrah – Gandhidam
18972/18756 KZJ WDM3As 17018 1500 (P) Secunderabad – Rajkot
11563 VTA WDM3D 59167 1630 Ankleswar – Rajpipla

 

Moves for Wednesday 22nd February 2017

14096 Ahmedabad Jn Sabarmati Jn 19413 0605 Ahmedabad Jn – Kolkata Chitpur ABR WDM3A
14765 Sabarmati Jn Ahmedabad Jn 19108 2050 (20/02) Udhampur – Ahmedabad Jn VTA WDG3A
22934 Ahmedabad Jn Maninagar 22954 0700 Ahmedabad Jn – Mumbai Central BRC WAP4
16237 Maninagar Ahmedabad Jn 16334 1535 (20/02) Trivandrum Central – Veraval Jn ERS WDM3A’s
16405
Auto Ahmedabad Jn Sabarmati Jn RS150, 20 minutes
13453 Sabarmati Jn Ahmedabad Jn 22916 1545 (21/02) Hisar Jn – Bandra Terminus VTA WDG3A
18973 Ahmedabad Jn Shankarpalli 17017 0525 Rajkot Jn – Secunderabad Jn KZJ WDM3A/WDG3A twins 18973/14553 in multi with KYN WAG7’s 27124/27132/27418 banking in rear Karjat to Lonavala
14553
27124 Karjat Lonavala
27132
27418

 

Photos from Wednesday 22nd February 2017

 

Thursday 23rd February 2017 (Day 1 of 2 in Secunderabad)

Thankfully I slept quite well initially, until about 0130, then sleep hardly came again after that. While having a berth over the bogies is sometimes a bit rough, this particular coach was a joke and the whole berth was oscillating lengthways, making it impossible to sleep; it was horrible. I must have managed a little bit more sleep, when the train was travelling at slower speeds, noticeable from the dribbling on my pillow, but by 0700 the headache I had became the new thing keeping me awake and it just seemed pointless trying to sleep at all so I got up and hoped the ibuprofen I popped would do the trick. When I didn’t I was thankful that the second one did!

Just like my previous trip on 17017 the train was brought to a stand in the middle road at Shankarpalli; basically, because it was on time and it needed to be help until it was late enough to make Secunderabad in its booked slot at 1030, assuming that makes sense.  On the previous occasion, we watched trains go by us towards Secunderabad that we never caught up, not even 57155 Gulbarga – Hyderabad passenger; so, this time I was prepared and was very surprised with what turned up first!

My bags were ready and when KZJ WDM3A’s 16390/16705 rolled in alongside with 17009 0650 Bidar – Hyderabad Intercity I was at the door before they’d brought their train to a stand. Last time I’d been in Secunderabad the link for 17009/17010 had recently changed to GY WDP4’s so this was a bonus; whether it was an offlink or if the link had changed back to Alco. A few other folks did the leap across the ballast with me but nobody did the same move as me at Lingampalli.

As 17009 drew into Lingampalli, KZJ WDG3A 14924 was doing the same in platform 1 with 57605 0810 Secunderabad – Vikarabad. As 57155 Gulbarga – Hyderabad was in the midst behind 17009, it would have been rude not to have a go and 14924 was very pleasing on the ear as well. What I didn’t expect was to find 17017 still sat at Shankarpalli when 57605 got there, especially with 57155 not being too far behind at that point. The folk I’d left behind in 2AC on 17017 were quite confused when I clambered back aboard and it took some explaining to get them to understand what I’d just done!

17017 set off from Shankarpalli about 5 minutes after I rejoined it and was just late enough so as a clear run into Secunderabad would have it there round about right time. It seemed that most of the folks in 2AC were heading to Lingampalli and had all their luggage at the doors ready to get off if the train stopped; no such luck though and of course had they done my move they’d have been there a good 60 minutes before the point at which the KZJ machines at the front of 17017 notched up to hammer through Lingampalli!

After the hold at Shankarpalli 17017 arrived into Secunderabad about 5 minutes after booked time. Having walked to the front of the train, to assess what was going off in the station, I found KZJ WDM2S 017683 attached to the stock ex 12739 Visakhapatnam – Secunderabad, preparing to shunt it out; it did so with me on it! After dropping me at the opposite end of the station I found GTL WDM3A’s 14013/16023 being fuelled and assumed they’d be for 17058 1225 Secunderabad – Mumbai CST.

As 17319 Hubli – Secunderabad was on time I opted to do KJM WDP4D 40278 out to Begumpet on 12747 Guntur – Vikarabad for it back in. I was skeptical at first as I had seen 17319 with a KJM WDG4 a couple of times on my last visit to the area but there was no need to be when KJM WDG3A 13035 arrived with the train and deposited me back into Secunderabad with enough time to nip to the Hotel United 21 to check in and dump the bags; before the afternoon bash commenced.

The Hotel United 21 is a 10-minute amble, straight up the main road outside Secunderabad station. Since my last stay the metro line being built about said man road was almost complete and even had track laid on it; and as construction had finished traffic seemed to be back to normal on the road below it, unlike the total chaos it had been during construction. The staff at the Hotel United 21 were expecting me and I was checked in quite quickly. Unfortunately, the electronic card for the power in my room didn’t work for more than 30 seconds and I had to get a card of a cleaner on my floor. The room was spacious and clean enough but since my first stay the rooms were starting to look a little rough around the edges and there were no toiletries, only a bar of soap, and there wasn’t even a toilet roll; yet there were two complimentary bottles of water! Once I’d quickly had a wash and sorted my stuff I gave the cleaner his card back and told the reception on the way out that mine didn’t work and that there was no toilet roll, then that was me out for the day.

I had time to get some food from the food place on platform 1 at Secunderabad, before doing 17058 1225 Secunderabad – Mumbai CST out to Bolarum. The food is always made fresh and the portions are massive and my egg biriyani was just too much and beat me, hands down! It was tasty and hot though, which was the main thing. As suspected GTL WDM3A’s 14013/16023 were the locos for 17058 and also in the station were MLY WDM3A’s 16388/16753 ex 12703 Howrah – Secunderabad, KZJ twins 13201/14031ex 12733 Tirupati – Secunderabad and of note LGD WAG9 31175 ex 12219 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Secunderabad.

Near Malkajgiri KJM WDM3D 11521 was heading towards Kacheguda with the empty stock to form 16570 1400 Kacheguda – Yesvantpur at Bolarum the locos on 17058 have to pull the first 4 coaches off the platform to get the whole train in clear of the crossing at the Secunderabad end of the station. It was a very hot afternoon but I braved the sunshine and waited at the end of the platform, using the station name-board for shelter, to await the arrival of 57308 1240 Medchal – Kacheguda passenger. It made for a good photo of MLY WDM3A 16601 as it arrived round the curve into the station; I even had some guy cleaning the tracks of litter posing in it for me! Photos off the footbridge are no longer possible due to the fencing put up to prevent people leaning over to touch the OHL; the masts for which are now fully erected, as are the gantries, which now also prevent a photo off the footbridge even if there was no fencing.

I sat it out in the shade, after letting 16601 go with 57308. It sounded well rough, despite being recently overhauled with all the mod-cons; it was as though it had a constant fan/motor noise coming from it when it arrived and it didn’t sound too good when it departed. Thankfully the breeze was enough to keep me from melting in the heat, which was hovering at just below the 40-degree mark. I was grateful of two things when GTL WDM3D’s 11439/11392 turned up, about 30’ late, with 17057 Mumbai CST – Secunderabad, one was the pair of new 3D’s and the other was the empty 2AC!

I wasn’t too grateful when I found GY WDP4D 40104 sat in platform 1 at Secunderabad waiting to depart with 12026 1445 Secunderabad – Pune; I’d been expecting the usual GTL Alco link but some things unfortunately change for the worse. I did it out to Begumpet anyway ad left KZJ twins 13414/18763 behind, which had just re-engined 17204 0345 Kakinada Port – Bhavnagar. The idea was to nip into Hyderabad and see what was occurring there of an afternoon but KYN WDG3A 13557 and 12702 1445 Hyderabad – Mumbai CST delayed events a little as it was sat on the curve at Hussain Sagar, waiting to get into Begumpet. Having done the walk before I leapt off 12026 at the platform end and scurried down the ballast to where 12702 was stood waiting, clambered aboard, and when 12026 had cleared the platform it got the road in.

An auto, collared on the road outside the platform 2 exit as none of those sat waiting in the statin car park were interested, cost RS120 to get to Hyderabad and the journey took about 20 minutes. It is somewhat congested in the Hyderabad area due to metro construction works taking place there. Still, I was on the platform, cold pop in hand, with plenty of time to spare for 17429’s 1615 departure to Tirupati. My 45 minutes at Hyderabad were then non-stop, as when I got to the end of the platform, having found GTL WDM3D 11150 with 17429 1615 Hyderabad – Tirupati and PA WDM3D 11182 with 11308 1600 Hyderabad – Bidar, I noticed a set of stock being backed into platform 5, meanwhile KZJ WDM2S 017770 was shunting a set out of the opposite carriage sidings for 12604 Hyderabad – Chennai Central. As always it saved time getting into the sleeper coaches of the set being backed in, so I could walk through as it was being backed down the platform. The set was for 12728 Hyderabad – Visakhapatnam and had KZJ WDM2S 017501 doing the honours; which was just disappearing off the train as I got to the end of the platform. The set for 12604 had just started its propelling move back into the station and I had to leap into the UR on that as there hadn’t appeared to be any doors open in sleeper class when the set was being drawn out. That brought with it a long walk back down the platform and I could then breathe again for a few minutes while pondering what to do.

With PA WDG3A 13549, GTL WDG3A 14685 and KYN WDM3D 11355 at Hyderabad, there was nothing there that I needed so covering trains out of there wasn’t a necessity. So, with PA WDM3D 11182 on 11308 1600 Hyderabad – Gulbarga being the only thing I wanted I figured I could do it out to Begumpet and leap off there while it staggered through the platform; as it was non-stop to Lingampalli. I was prepared at the front door as the train hit the platform end at Begumpet and had been quite surprised at how fast the LP had approached it too. Still I was confident enough that the speed the train was going wasn’t too fast and off I got as it hit the platform end. Unfortunately, I managed to land quite hard on the top of the ramp but fortunately did manage to keep my balance as I slowed my momentum down. My synopsis of that escapade being that the train was indeed going too fast to get off and the result was bruised heel on one foot for a couple of days! Despite the initial burst of speed approaching Begumpet 11308 did ultimately trickle through the station and a couple of people got on as it passed through. There was no rest for the sore foot though and I ended up running down the opposite platform, after crossing the tracks, to make the arriving MMTS EMU that was heading into Secunderabad; and even then, I had to jump aboard as it was departing.

At Secunderabad KZJ WDG3A 13413 was another surprise on a previously GY WDP4 link, as it headed 17027 1650 Secunderabad – Kurnool Town; so thus far it was KZJ Alco 2 – 1 GY WDP4, which was a ratio I liked! A quick trip round to Kacheguda followed as I’d never actually done the curve round from Secunderabad to Kacheguda with Alco. An MMTS EMU sufficed to get me back to Secunderabad and beat having to get an auto any day.

Back at Secunderabad, again, I watched GY WDP4D 40135 arrive with 12604 Hyderabad – Chennai, and the stock I’d had 017770 shunting at Hyderabad, MLY WDM3A’s 16551/16500 worked 17016 1650 Secunderabad – Bhubaneswar, MLY WDM3A’s 18894/16658 worked 17063 1810 Secunderabad – Manmad Ajanta Express and KZJ WDM3A 14021 arrived with 57652 0700 Repalle – Secunderabad. Rather than running round though, 14021 dropped into the fueling road and ET WAG5 23639 dropped onto the other end of the stock to work 57625 1840 Secunderabad – Manuguru. This was a recent link change that now had 57625/57626 with through electric and 17233/17234 Balharshah – Secunderabad had become the diesel transfer link between Kazipet & Secunderabad instead.

While on walkabout I found KZJ WDM2S 017706 being attached to the stock ex 22849 Kolkata Shalimar – Secunderabad and it passed the time while a move presented itself. I’d been hoping to do 17010 1830 Secunderabad – Bidar out to Begumpet for 57659 Solapur – Falaknuma back in and call it a day but as both were late I opted to do TKD WAG5 23519 on the late running 18645 Howrah – Hyderabad East Coast Express to Hyderabad and hoped that KZJ WDG3A 13417, which had been sat on the curve at Hussain Sagar with a set of stock, would work 07005 1850 Hyderabad – Kakinada Port special. There was no sign of 13417 when I got to Hyderabad but I was surprised and yet pleased with the fact that 07005 was headed by GY WDG3A 14557 instead. I’d only come across the fact that the train ran when looking at NTES so the move was a bonus really. And what’s more, so was the fact that 17010 1830 Secunderabad – Bidar was still waiting to go when I got back to Secunderabad; with KZJ WDM3A 18886, which had been used as a shunting loco all day at Secunderabad. The reason for the late start was due to waiting the rake arriving off 17012 1200 Sirpur Kaghaznagar – Secunderabad. With 57659 Solapur – Falaknuma passenger not having been reported since Shankarpalli the move was one of uncertainty but IR didn’t let me down and I had just enough time to walk over the footbridge at Begumpet to watch PA WDM3D 11357 arrive with 57659; which was incidentally now showing as having departed Secunderabad on NTES!

MLY WDG3A’s 14701/13374 were still in the platform at Secunderabad, having arrived with 17024 1500 Kurnool Town – Secunderabad, and LGD WAG9’s 31128 & 31531 were in line and being prepared for work; my day was up though and I ambled back to the hotel for a much-needed rest, shower, shave and more importantly a decent meal; which took some getting….

I was assured by the hotel staff that the card they’d given me would work ok in the power slot in my room yet 10 seconds after I put it in the power went off. When I opened the door to take it back down to reception I realised that the whole building was in darkness and that there’d been a genuine power cut. The power was soon back on though, then off again, then back on again! Thankfully it stayed on at the second attempt as my bag with torch was at the other side of the room, which was pitch black with the lights out. Fuss over I went down to the third-floor restaurant, which was empty; there wasn’t even a member of staff about and the phone was ringing off the hook. I helped myself to a menu and sat reading it, while the phone continued ringing. Eventually a guy came out and answered the phone and while he acknowledged the fact I was there by turning on the AC, he never approached me at all. After taking a second phone call he disappeared into the back and after 5 minutes waiting, 10 minutes in total, I’d had enough and went down to reception to complain. The guy I spoke to was apparently the restaurant champion and took me back up in the lift, which despite clearly having floor 3 lit on the panel, it didn’t stop at and it was only when we heard the announcement “fourth floor arrival” did we realise. Then the doors wouldn’t open and I had to force them open to get out! Needless to say, we walked back down to the third floor when the guy in the restaurant gave the excuse that he was busy taking orders over the phone to deal with me. Mr Restaurant Champion ended up taking my order, well more like telling me what I was having really; basically, there wasn’t much available on the menu and the only chicken dish that was boneless was Butter Chicken, so I was faced with no other option. Rather than wait in the restaurant I asked for the food to be delivered to my room; and fully expected it to turn up having been spat in or laced with arsenic or something! What I got though was one of the best meals I’d even had in India. The chicken was only the finest white meat and there was no fat at all. The food was plentiful, tasty and hot. So, despite the rigmarole I had to go through to get it, my evening meal was worth the wait and at least with it being delivered to my room I had time to sort stuff out while it was being prepared. There was still no bog roll though!

I was grateful to get to bed that night but was looking forward to the following day.

 

Gen for Thursday 23rd February 2017

40142 GY WDP4D 17418 1910 Sainagar Shirdi – Tirupati
18680 KZJ WDM3A 57651 1050 Secunderabad – Repalle
16388/16753 MLY WDM3A’s 12703 0725 (P) Howrah – Secunderabad, 12734 1805 Secunderabad – Tirupati
40246 KJM WDP4D 17230 1115 Hyderabad – Trivandrum Central
13201/14031 KZJ 12733 1825 (P) Tirupati – Secunderabad
31175 LGD WAG9 12219 Lokmanya Tilak – Secunderabad
40261 KYN WDP4D 18519 2325 (PP) Visakhapatnam – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus
11521 KJM WDM3D 16570 1400 Kacheguda – Yesvantpur
16601 MLY WDM3A 57308 1240 Medchal – Kacheguda
14924 KZJ WDG3A 57606 1055 Vikarabad – Kacheguda
13414/18763 KZJ 17204 0345 Kakinada Port – Bhavnagar (from Secunderabad)
11150 GTL WDM3D 17429 1615 Hyderabad – Tirupati
40135 GY WDP4D 12604 1650 Hyderabad – Chennai Central
16551/16500 MLY WDM3A’s 17016 1650 Secunderabad – Bhubaneswar
18894/16658 MLY WDM3A’s 17064 1810 Secunderabad – Manmad
14021 KZJ WDM3A 57652 0700 Repalle – Secunderabad
23639 ET WAG5 57625 1840 Secunderabad – Manuguru
23519 TKD WAG5 18645 1145 (P) Howrah – Hyderabad
31128 & 31531 in line at Secunderabad
22598 BZA WAP4 12728 1715 Hyderabad – Visakhapatnam
40204 BY WDP4D 12805 0615 Visakhapatnam – Secunderabad
14619 KZJ WDG3A 12735 1950 Secunderabad – Yesvantpur
40328 GY WDP4D 17213 1025 (P) Narasapur – Nagarsol (from Secunderabad)
14701/13374 MLY WDG3A’s 17024 1500 Kurnool City – Secunderabad
22748 BZA WAP4 12740 2040 Secunderabad – Visakhapatnam

 

Moves for Thursday 23rd February 2017

16390 Shankarpalli Lingampalli 17009 0650 Bidar – Hyderabad Deccan Nampally GTL WDM3A’s
16705
14924 Lingampalli Shankarpalli 57605 0810 Secunderabad Jn – Vikarabad Jn KZJ WDG3A
18793 Shankarpalli Secunderabad Jn 17017 0525 (22/02) Rajkot Jn – Secunderabad Jn KZJ WDM3A/WDG3A
14553
017683 Secunderabad Platform 10 South End Secunderabad Platform 10 North End Shunt stock ex 12739 Visakhapatnam – Secunderabad KZJ WDM2S
40278 Secunderabad Jn Begumpet 12747 0545 Guntur Jn – Vikarabad Jn KJM WDP4D
13035 Begumpet Secunderabad Jn 17319 2050 (22/02) Hubli Jn – Secunderabad Jn KJM WDG3A
14013 Secunderabad Jn Bolarum 17058 1225 Secunderabad Jn – Mumbai CST GTL WDM3A’s
16023
11439 Bolarum Secunderabad Jn 17057 2105 (22/02) Mumbai CST – Secunderabad Jn GTL WDM3D’s
11392
40104 Secunderabad Jn Begumpet 12026 1445 Secunderabad Jn – Pune Jn GY WDP4D
13557 Begumpet Home Signal Begumpet 12702 1445 Hyderabad Deccn Nampally – Mumbai CST KYN WDG3A
Auto Begumpet Hyderabad Deccan Nampally RS120, 20 minutes
017506 Hyderabad Platform 5 Top End Hyderabad Platform 5 Buffer Stops Shunt stock in for 12728 Hyderabad – Visakhapatnam KZJ WDM2S
017770 Hyderabad Platform 4 Top End Hyderabad Platform 4 Buffer Stops Shunt stock in for 12604 Hyderabad – Chennai Central KZJ WDM2S
11182 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally Begumpet 11308 1600 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally – Gulbarga PA WDM3D
EMU Begumpet Secunderabad Jn 47217 1608 Lingampalli – Falaknuma MMTS EMU
13413 Secunderabad Jn Kacheguda 17027 1650 Secunderabad Jn – Kurnool Town KZJ WDG3A
EMU Kacheguda Secunderabad Jn 47163 1710 Falaknuma – Lingampalli MMTS EMU
017706 Secunderabad Platform 8 North End Secunderabad Platform 8 South End Shunt stock ex 22849 Shalimar – Secunderabad KZJ WDM2S
23519 Secunderabad Jn Hyderabad Deccan Nampally 18645 1145 (22/02) Howrah – Hyderabad Deccan Nampally TKD WAG5
13554 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally Secunderabad Jn 07005 1850 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally – Kakinada Port GY WDG3A
18886 Secunderabad Jn Begumpet 17010 1830 Secunderabad Jn – Bidar KZJ WDM3A
11357 Begumpet Secunderabad Jn 57659 1025 Solapur Jn – Falaknuma PA WDM3D

 

Photos from Thursday 23rd February 2017

 

Friday 24th February 2017 (Day 2 of 2 in Secunderabad then to Nanded on the Ajanta Express)

I didn’t need the alarm to wake me up that morning and was down in reception checking out by 0700. I had the food bill to pay from the previous night and had to pay by cash as the card machine didn’t work; thankfully I’d paid my room bill upon checking in the day before. Despite paying by cash I got no change from my RS488 food bill, having paid with a RS500 note, as there was no change in the hotel drawer. My solution to this was to have what they owed me knocked off my laundry bill when I returned the following night; so, having left my laundry and big bag I set off for the station, not quite knowing what would become of either….

As KZJ WDG3A’s 13374/14701 were waiting to depart with 17023 0730 Secunderabad – Kurnool Town, my first pan was to see what would shunt the stock into platform 1 for 12757 Secunderabad – Sirpur Kaghaznagar and when I found KZJ WDM2S Jumbo 017796 sat in the bay at the north end of platform 1 I knew it wasn’t going to be that. MLY WDM3A’s 16683/16579 were sat in having arrived with 17015 Bhubaneswar – Secunderabad and KZJ WDM2S 017775 was already poised to shunt the stock out of the carriage sidings for 12757 when I got there, which hadn’t been at Secunderabad the previous day and when I found KZJ WDM2S 017661 shunting in the same sidings later that morning it was clear there was a swap round of WDM2S’s at Secunderabad; 017706 & 017683 had disappeared and 017796 was stood aside. As it happened 017775 had the stock for 12757 into platform 1 just 5 minutes before the booked departure time of 57605 0810 Secunderabad – Vikarabad, which had KZJ WDM3A 18680 as its power; which I’d seen head to Repalle on 57651 1050 Secunderabad – Repalle the previous day and it had returned as booked on 57625 2125 (P) Repalle – Secunderabad. This was my ride out to Begumpet for 17205 Sainagar Shirdi – Kakinada Port back in. I didn’t need to bother with 17017 Rajkot – Secunderabad as I knew it would be KZJ WDM3A’s 18756/18972 after seeing them at Vadodara two days previous working 17018 Secunderabad – Rajkot; while I’d been on board 17017 myself.

To my surprise, GTL WDM3D’s 11169/11337 were already sat in at Begumpet when 57605 arrived so a quick leap across the ballast had to suffice to make them. It wasn’t until I got to Secunderabad, and clapped eyes on the name-boards, that I realised the train I’d just done in from Begumpet was actually 12731 Tirupati – Secunderabad; which wasn’t booked to stop at Begumpet! Thankfully the next MMTS loco EMU got me back to Begumpet for 17205, which was late enough for me to make it. PA WDM3D 11400 was just leaving with 57129 Bijapur – Bolarum passenger as I arrived and GTL WDM3A 16713 arrived shortly afterwards with 17430 Tirupati – Hyderabad.

What I did notice for the first time at Begumpet was the construction of the metro over the north end of the station, it looked almost finished but for the span that needed to be completed over the railway; and the construction modules framed GTL WDM3D’s 11120/11256 nicely as they arrived with 17205 Sainagar Shirdi – Kakinada Port. When I found PA WDM3D 11400 still waiting to depart Secunderabad when I got there on 17205, NTES had me risking a move out with it to Malkajgiri for the late incoming 17063 Manmad – Secunderabad Ajanta Express; and it was a risk that paid off when MLY WDM3A/WDM2 combo 18910/18887 turned up with it.

By the time I got back into Secunderabad, KZJ WDG3A 13447, which I’d seen on the curve at Hussain Sagar running light engine, had made it to Secunderabad and was attached to the front of 57651 1050 Secunderabad – Repalle. So, I prepared myself for the auto-riskshaw fun and games that might come at Moula Ali as last time I’d done the train to there, nobody would take us back to Secunderabad and we had to get one to Lallaguda Gate for another forward! And this time was no different but when I was arguing the toss with the two auto owners a train came bowling to a stand in the platforms, heading towards Secunderabad. While I’d not seen the locos, I knew they were Alco’s as I’d heard them from the car park. The train in question was 17234 0210 Balharshah – Secunderabad and I was pretty sure I could hear air rushing from the train as I walked towards the front of it; and we all know what that implies? I didn’t make it to the front before order was restored and the horn was blaring at the front but one the train had set off I could see three Alco’s at the front when the train went round a curve. I had to wait to discover KZJ WDG3A/WDM3A 14591/18980 were the train engines and KZJ WDM3A 16684 was tucked inside dead; it was now the KZJ Alco transfer train and it seemed to be doing just that, and it beat an auto any day. Quite what the pair at Moula Ali thought when I just ran away from them in mid conversation would be interesting to know!

LGD WAG9 31128 had arrived at Secunderabad while I’d been gone with 12219 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Secunderabad and it looked like LGD WAG9 31531 was being used as a station pilot. Maybe the WDM2S fleet was falling to bits to warrant using an electric? When I left Secunderabad on 17058 1225 Secunderabad – Mumbai CST, complete with a massive portion of freshly made veg noodles from the food place on platform 1, the following twin Alco sets were in the station: GTL 11120/11256, GTL 11169/11337, MLY 18910/18887, MLY 16683/16579, MLY 16336/16695, KZJ 18756/18972, KZJ 16363/13444, KZJ 13591/18980; just the 8 pairs and there were more to come later that evening!

MLY WDG3A 13236 was making a lot better sounds that MLY WDM3A 16601 had done the previous way, when it arrived into Bolarum with 57308 1240 Medchal – Kacheguda. I didn’t bother doing it again as it wasn’t a new one. GTL WDM3D’s 11180/11376 were upon me before I knew it with 17057 Mumbai CST – Secunderabad, albeit about 30’ late. We had a clear, non-stop, run all the way into Secunderabad, which made a refreshing change; where I then had a free move to Begumpet and back with GM’s. GY WDP4D 40315 on 12026 1445 Secunderabad – Pune out for KJM WDP4D 40246 on 12748 Vikarabad – Guntur back in.

KJM WDM3A 18904 was sat waiting with 17320 1540 Secunderabad – Hubli, and was going to be my planned move, until I found KZJ WDM3A/WDG3A combo 16363/13444 at the head of 17233 1525 Secunderabad – Balharshah; and my move then became those out to Bibinagar for 57652 0700 Repalle – Secunderabad back in. that was until there was a brake farce with 17233 just outside the station so I cut my losses, got off and walked back to the station to revert back to plan A and did KJM WDM3A 18904 out to Begumpet instead for an MMTS EMU back into Secunderabad. As I was booked on the Ajanta Express, 1810 Secunderabad – Manmad, to Nanded I couldn’t go far at that point and was almost confined to train spotting at Secunderabad until KZJ WDM2S 017661 was spotted in the distance bringing the stock into platform 10 for 17002 1640 Secunderabad – Sainagar Shirdi; and once removed it was replaced by MLY WDG3A’s 13602/13599, which was my move sorted. I did them out to Begumpet for yet another MMTS EMU back to Secunderabad and was very pleased to find MLY WDG3A’s 14689/13245 at the head of my Ajanta Express. Especially as they’d originally brought the empty stock in for 12704 1555 Secunderabad – Howrah and been replaced by MLY WDM3A/WDM2 twins 18911/18903. I’d hoped the Shakti’s would do my train and I got what I hoped for…

17064 1810 Secunderabad – Manmad Ajanta Express was fully reserved, with no free berths at all. My compo was quite civilized until a family of Punjabi’s boarded and started to take over the place. The guy that had the lower berth opposite me soon made an exit when he took the upper side berth over the aisle, that one of them had; this left three of them sat opposite me and one in the upper berth opposite, as well as me and the girl in the upper berth above me. After 3 episodes of Falling Skies they were still all there, nattering away, taking on their telephones and generally not being very considerate; so, I had to say something as it was nearly 2200. I was told I could take one of their upper berths elsewhere to take rest, which I politely declined and told them straight that they shouldn’t all be in the compartment area, it was getting late and the rest of the coach was peaceful as people were resting. I politely asked the girl in the upper berth if she minded the lights turning out, and when she didn’t they went off and the curtains were drawn in the aisle; making for a nice dark place to relax in. Mission accomplished!

I was keeping an eye on the time all the way and 17064 was never more than 20’ late all the way to Mudkhed. Where I had the option to get off for my planned overnight train, 11083 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Kazipet, at Mudkhed if need be but there wasn’t a need and we had just over an hour to do the 20-minute journey to Nanded when 17064 departed Mudkhed. I stood in the doorway to Nanded anyway and ended up talking to some of the Punjabi’s I’d had a go at earlier, who were all going to Nanded themselves.

I didn’t have too long to wait at Nanded but in the time I was there it was interesting to watch an RPF officer walk round the waiting room systematically evicting random people; who obviously weren’t random to him. He also had some folk on the platform benches off the station too, all of whom must be repeat offenders entering the station to sleep and without tickets, I assume?

The reason for this overnight was that 11083 LTT – Kazipet, which is only a recent introduction by IR, has the pleasure of being the only train that covers Majri – Balharshah by diesel. It’s a weekly train and unfortunately has been noted with KYN WDP4’s as well as KYN WDM3D’s. Imagine how pleased I was when KYN WDG3A 13561 rolled in with the 15-coach train, which I noticed was rather empty in all classes as it passed me. When I got into 2AC it was like the Mary Celeste, with just one other person in it and of course he was in the same compartment area as me; so, I chose another, scrounged some bedding from wherever I could find it and soon had a bed made up. Unfortunately, I’d made it next door to where the TTE and some other guy decided to have a conflab, so I move down one and all was well. The TTE was a little confused with my Indrail Pass but I think that was due to him being drunk more than anything else; he absolutely stank of alcohol! He didn’t disturb me anymore though and with all the coach lights out it was time for bed as it approached 0100.

 

Gen for Friday 24th February 2017

13374/14701 MLY WDG3A’s 17023 0730 Secunderabad – Kurnool Town
16683/16579 MLY WDM3A’s 17015 0835 (P) Bhubaneswar – Secunderabad
23775 BZA WAG5 12775 2010 (P) Kakinada Town – Secunderabad
18680 KZJ WDM3A 57619 2125 (P) Repalle – Secunderabad
11400 PA WDM3D 57129 1830 (P) Bijapur – Bolarum, 57131 0905 Bolarum – Hyderabad
16713 GTL WDM3A 17430 1625 (P) Tirupati – Hyderabad
14684 GTL WDG3A 57564 2330 (P) Nanded – Hyderabad
40246 KJM WDP4D 12747 0545 Guntur – Vikarabad
16336/16695 MLY WDM3A’s 12733 1825 (P) Tirupati – Secunderabad
18910/18887 MLY WDM3A’s 17063 2050 (P) Manmad – Secunderabad
23519 TKD WAG5 17205 1710 (P) Sainagar Shirdi – Kakinada Port
25033 LGD WAP4 18646 0950 Hyderabad – Howrah
14591/18980/(16684) KZJ 17234 0210 Balharshah – Secunderabad
18756/18972 KZJ WDM3As 17017 0525 (P) Rajkot – Secunderabad, 12770 1740 Secunderabad – Tirupati
12762 KYN WDG4 11020 1525 (P) Bhubaneswar – Mumbai CST
13413 KZJ WDG3A 17028 0530 Kurnool Town – Secunderabad
40240 KJM WDP4D 17230 1115 Hyderabad – Trivandrum Central
22316 LGD WAP4 17201 1300 Secunderabad – Guntur
18904 KJM WDM3A 17319 2050 (P) Hubli – Secunderabad
12684 ??? WDG4 18519 2325 (P) Visakhapatnam – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus
40315 GY WDP4D 12026 1445 Secunderabad – Pune
40104 GY WDP4D 12025 0550 Pune – Secunderabad
16363/13444 KZJ 17233 1525 Secunderabad – Balharshah
18911/18903 MLY WDM3A/WDM2 12704 1555 Secunderabad – Howrah (ecs brought in by 14689/13245)
18886 KZJ WDM3A 17027 1645 Secunderabad – Kurnool City
18887/18910 MLY WDM2/WDM3A 17016 1650 Secunderabad – Bhubaneswar
14924 KZJ WDG3A 57652 0700 Repalle – Secunderabad
40191 GY WDP4D 12604 1650 Hyderabad – Chennai Central

 

Moves for Friday 24th February 2017

017775 Secunderabad Platform 1 North End Secunderabad Platform 1 South End Shunt stock in for 12757 Secunderabad – Sirpur KZJ WDM2S
18680 Secunderabad Jn Begumpet 57605 0810 Secunderabad Jn – Vikarabad Jn KZJ WDM3A
11169 Begumpet Secunderabad Jn 12731 1640 (23/02) Tirupati – Secunderabad Jn GTL WDM3D’s
11337
EMU Secunderabad Jn Begumpet 47211 0830 Falaknuma – Lingampalli MMTS EMU
11120 Begumpet Secunderabad Jn 17205 1710 (23/02) Sainagar Shirdi – Kakinada Port GTL WDM3D’s
11256
11400 Secunderabad Jn Malkajgiri 57129 2125 (23/02) Bijapur – Bolarum PA WDM3D
18910 Malkajgiri Secunderabad Jn 17063 2050 (23/02) Manmad Jn – Secunderabad Jn MLY WDM3A/WDM2
18887
13447 Secunderabad Jn Moula Ali 57651 1050 Secunderabad Jn – Repalle KZJ WDG3A
13591 Moula Ali Secunderabad Jn 17234 0210 Balharshah Jn – Secunderabad Jn KZJ WDG3A/WDM3A
18980
11120 Secunderabad Jn Bolarum 17058 1225 Secunderabad Jn – Mumbai CST GTL WDM3D’s
11256
11180 Bolarum Secunderabad Jn 17057 2105 (23/02) Mumbai CST – Secunderabad Jn GTL WDM3D’s
11376
40315 Secunderabad Jn Begumpet 12026 1445 Secunderabad Jn – Pune Jn GY WDP4D
40246 Begumpet Secunderabad Jn 12748 1345 Vikarabad Jn – Guntur Jn KJM WDP4D
16363 Secunderabad Jn Junction for Kacheguda Line 17233 1525 Secunderabad Jn – Balharshah Jn KZJ WDM3A/WDG3A; chained outside station an then brake issues so got off and walked back
13444
18904 Secunderabad Jn Begumpet 17320 1540 Secunderabad Jn – Hubli Jn KJM WDM3A
EMU Begumpet Secunderabad Jn 47185 1545 Lingampalli – Falaknuma MMTS EMU
017661 Secunderabad Platform 10 South End Secunderabad Platform 10 North End Shunt stock in for 17002 Secunderabad – Sainagar Shirdi KJZ WDM2S
13602 Secunderabad Jn Begumpet 17002 1640 Secunderabad Jn – Sainagar Shirdi MLY WDG3A’s
13599
EMU Begumpet Secunderabad Jn 47186 1625 Lingampalli – Falaknuma MMTS EMU
14689 Secunderabad Jn Nanded 17064 1810 Secunderabad Jn – Manmad Jn MLY WDG3A’s
13245

 

Photos from Friday 24th February 2017

 

Saturday 25th February 2017 (On board 11083 Nanded to Kazipet then back to Secunderabad)

It was great having the whole 2AC coach to myself, although it did have its drawbacks after I’d had a lazy morning lounging in my berth; mainly the fact that nobody came through with chai or anything to eat. Thankfully I had the foresight to preempt this fact and the cake, crisps and biscuits I’d bought the previous evening just about sufficed for the journey to Kazipet; although I was starving by the time we got there. There was very little in the shape of food being sold at any of the stations between Majri & Kazipet, including Balharshah but Kazipet had a few stalls and I managed to stock up with samosas, crisps and pop on arrival!

11083, in my view, is a complete waste of time from IR’s point of view. The train had been almost empty on arrival into Nanded the previous night and I’d had the 2AC to myself for virtually all of my journey. Not only that, the train is so slackly timed as far as Majri that it’s waiting time at most places; but then it just can’t keep time on the main line south from Majri towards Kazipet as it basically isn’t given enough time in its schedule to do so. The plus side of that is that the driver must cane the hell out of the loco to at least attempt to keep to time, even though it’s impossible; and once I’d finished my typing for the morning I got myself into the unreserved coaches as the front of the train and KYN WDG3A 13561 was a pleasure to listen to!

Having departed Balharshah right time we were almost an hour late by Sirpur Kaghaznagar, with 11083 being timed only 36 minutes to cover the 70km it is between the two points! It was however given 1h43m to do the last 36km from Jamikunta; which is basically what I became when we got to Kazipet. With NTES not painting a good picture for Kazipet departures, with both trains I was booked on at Kazipet being the only two that were late on the departures line-up, I was disappointed that 17012 1200 Sirpur Kaghaznagar – Secunderabad was in front of 11083 as that would have been a good get-out clause, however there were other trains I could do to Secunderabad but they meant a later than planned finish. Such is life though…

When we came to a stand at Hasanparti Road, 13km from Kazipet, all hope of making 17012 went out of the window yet when we trickled into the platform at Kazipet Jn it was still on the screens and despite NTES not showing it on the departure line-up it hadn’t departed Kazipet; which is unfortunately one of the anomalies with NTES sometimes and it has caught me out before. 11083 must have overtaken it en-route from Balharshah and I’d obviously not noticed it when we’d done so.

Shortly after I’d stocked up on my goodies 17012 was being announced and sure enough, in it rolled. I’d not paid much attention to the Shakti’s that were at the bottom end of the platform, preventing KYN WDG3A 13561 from running round its train, but was soon doing so when I heard the air rush from between the LGD WAP7 and coaches of 17012. I was a little confused as 17012 wasn’t booked a loco change at Kazipet, let alone from electric to diesel but when KZJ WDG3A 14897 buffered up to the stock, it was only then that I realised that there were three Shakti’s and not two as I’d thought and KZJ WDG3A’s 14820/14789 were leading the ensemble. Over the moon, I took up residence in the front coach and was well pleased with my bonus Shakti’s for the evening; and what was more, all three locos were running with the front two being in multi, yet the rear one was manned also and had its two-penneth worth on proceedings as 17012 hammered towards Secunderabad at a cracking rate of knots! Other people had reported having had three locos on the front of a train with all of them powering but I’d only had it once up to this point but had got off the Chalyuka Express once, which had three Shakti’s on the front; the inside one of which only started powering after I got off!

It was a cracking run to Secunderabad and with the slack in the schedule at the end 17012 was only 20’ late into Secunderabad; where, as were arrived, I clapped eyes on MLY WDM3A’s 16695/16336 in platform 8 with the Ajanta Express 17064 1810 Secunderabad – Manmad Jn. I only did them out to Malkajgiri and was all set for doing an auto back to Secunderabad but GY WDP4D 40374 was just arriving with 57687 1415 Nizamabad – Kacheguda; so, I did that to Kacheguda and hoped that 17024 1500 Kurnool Town – Secunderabad would produce something other than MLY WDG3A’s 14701/13374; unfortunately, it didn’t but the Shakti’s gave as good a performance as they could round to Secunderabad and topped the evening off nicely.

Back at the Hotel United 21 my evening of pleasure was soon turned into one of severe annoyance when I checked in for the second time in three days and was handed the same bag of dirty washing, that I’d given them the previous morning to have washed while I was away! My rant a reception was unjust towards those there as the useless fucker that I’d given it to clearly didn’t deserve a job. However, the reception staff did send the laundry team, the whole of it by the looks of those that were stood outside my room door, and the main man kindly offered to have my washing done overnight and delivered to my room door at 0645. In the end, I only let them take my combat pants as they were the most important, with me only having two pairs with me.

Food that evening was a lot easier to sort than it had been two nights previous; with there being two guys in the restaurant and my order was taken straight away. It wasn’t as good as it had been the previous time but I was ready for it and it all got devoured.

 

Gen for Saturday 25th February 2017

13561 KYN WDG3A 11084 1745 Kazipet – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus
23519 TKD WAG5 57625 1840 Secunderabad – Manuguru
40382 GY WDP4D 12805 0615 Visakhapatnam – Secunderabad

 

Moves for Saturday 25th February 2017

13561 Nanded Kazipet Jn 11083 1130 (24/02) Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Kazipet Jn KYN WDG3A
14820 Kazipet Jn Secunderabad Jn 17012 1200 Sirpur Kaghaznagar – Secunderabad Jn KZJ WDG3A’s 14820/14789 in multi, in tandem with KZJ WDG3A 14897 inside
14789
14897
16695 Secunderabad Jn Malkajgiri 17064 1810 Secunderabad Jn – Manmad Jn MLY WDM3A’s
16336
40374 Malkajgiri Kacheguda 57687 1415 Nizamabad – Kacheguda GY WDP4D
14701 Kacheguda Secunderabad Jn 17024 1500 Kurnool Town – Secunderabad Jn MLY WDG3A’s
13374

 

Photos from Saturday 25th February 2017

 

Sunday 26th February 2017 (Another day in Secunderabad before going overnight to Bangalore)

My combats were delivered to my door at 0630 and I was packed and downstairs by 0645. The dopey twat that hadn’t handed my laundry over in the first place was asleep in the back room, instead of manning the front desk like he should have been at 7am! He had a rude awakening, even though I only needed to leave my key as I’d paid the previous night. The thick fucker then told me I had to pay for my room service from the previous night, which I’d already paid. I told him in no uncertain terms that I wouldn’t be paying it again and he soon realised the error of his ways when he added it up on his calculator. My receipt was eventually handed over and I was on my way.

My big bag was dumped at the station cloak room, which has moved from its out of the way place at the bottom of platform 1, to a more visible and signposted place at the bottom of platform 1. No sooner had I dumped it did the announcement come for 12757 Secunderabad – Sirpur Kaghaznagar Express and as I’d not managed to see what had taken the stock out of the Begumpet end carriage sidings I leapt on blind as it was backed into platform 1. After the long was back to the other end of the platform I was very surprised to find KZJ WDG3A 14897 standing just off the stock; which had been the inside Shakti of the three on 17012 from Kazipet to Secunderabad the previous afternoon. Incidentally, the other two were nowhere to be seen, but I did find them at Yesvantpur the following day!

While I’d been messing about on platform 1 MLY WDG3A’s 13374/14701 had departed from platform 10 with 17023 0730 Secunderabad – Kurnool Town, which seemed to be “their” train, and KZJ WDG3A 13417 had arrived into platform 4 with 57619 Repalle – Secunderabad; and was being prepared by the forward crew when I got to it, to work forward with 57605 0810 Secunderabad – Vikarabad passenger. 13417 had been lurking around during my time in Secunderabad but I’d not been able to pin it down until now. I’d had an option to head round to Hyderabad and save 13417 for later but when MLY WDG3A 13251 rolled in with 57564 Nanded – Hyderabad passenger I stuck with 13417.

The Shakti put in a good performance to Begumpet but as it was late away from Secunderabad it passed PA WDG3A 14816 at Hussain Sagar with a surprisingly on time-ish 57129 Bijapur – Bolarum passenger. As I didn’t need to hang around at Begumpet to view 17002 from Shirdi I headed straight back into Secunderabad with KYN WDG4 12667 on the late running 11019 Mumbai CST – Bhubaneswar Konark Express; which of course used to be a solid link for twin KZJ Shakti’s. As is quite often the case with the local passenger trains at Secunderabad, 57129 was being held, which gave me an opportunity to do PA WDG3A 14816, that I’d just missed at Begumpet, out to Malkajgiri; and if NTES was right I had a chance of making the inbound Ajanta Express 17063 Manmad – Secunderabad back in. I guess I didn’t quite “make” it as such, as by the time I’d scrambled onto the ballast 17063 was just moving off; it’s a long reach to the step handrails from the ballast, especially for a small person; and that’s when the train is standing still! MLY WDM3A’s 16658/18894 delivered me safely back to Secunderabad though, where things slowed down a little.

MLY WDM3A/WDM2 twins 18910/18887 had arrived into Secunderabad with 17015 Bhubaneswar – Secunderabad and with nothing Alco-wise to do I got myself a pre-paid auto to take me out to Moula Ali to do 57626 Manuguru – Secunderabad back in, just in case it got an Alco vice it’s new electric link. Of course, it didn’t but KZJ WAG7 27855 sufficed for the run back into Secunderabad. I must say at this point that I do like Moula Ali station, it’s nowhere near a main road and is nice and peaceful and with generally nobody about.

Back at Secunderabad when LGD WAP7 30452 arrived with 18509 Visakhapatnam – Nanded I was surprised to have to watch KJM WDP4D 40306 replace it; this link had been a KZJ WDM3A when I’d seen it previously. Next in were MLY WDM3A’s 14041/14043 with 12703 Howrah – Secunderabad, with the leading one of the pair, 14041, still being a “Baldie”, which there aren’t many of about nowadays as the WDM3A refurbishment program starts to eat them up with the bald hood being replaced by dynamic brake equipment and a blister.

Despite 57626 Manuguru – Secunderabad arriving in good time the loco to work back with the stock as 57651 1040 Secunderabad – Repalle took its time arriving; and sure enough KZJ WDG3A 13418 came light from the Begumpet direction; I suspect the loco comes light from Hyderabad having previously seen the loco for 57651 on the curve at Hussain Sagar. As I didn’t need 13418 it put me in for a bit of a fester until the 1225 departure time of 17058 Secunderabad – Mumbai CST Devagiri Express. I passed the time though and kept myself occupied milling about the statin and using the time to get the gen I’d accumulated over the morning up to date.

KZJ WDM/WDG3A twins 18763/13414 arrived with 17203 Bhavnagar – Kakinada Port, while I was minding my own business, and it was at that stage I began to realise that there didn’t seem to be any GTL twins about to work the Devagiri Express. The only GTL locos anywhere in the station area were WDM3D’s 11169/11337 and they were blocked in by a GM that had just been shut down on top of them, down by the bottom end carriage sidings in the head-shunt. They must have been there since arriving two days previous with 12731 Tirupati – Secunderabad. There were still plenty of Alco twins to choose from in the station though, even though they weren’t GTL twins; but oh no, not these fuckers, they opted to use GY WDP4D 40314 instead; which kind of threw a spanner in the works of my afternoon plans and not the least, the fact I’d been festering around for said train! Every cloud has a silver lining; as they say!

What the GY bag of spanners had me doing was running me running up the platform like Forest Gump, with a half-eaten egg biriyani in one hand while 57131 Bolarum – Hyderabad passenger was being announced as “ready to leave”! I made, after my half-arsed dash, but the guy who was legging it up the platform after me didn’t; he literally ran out of platform and didn’t have the stamina to chase the train up the ballast! Thankfully PA WDG3A 14816 was well down the pan with 57131 but not that down the pan that it missed 57517 1215 Hyderabad – Tandur passenger, which to my delight was sat in waiting to go at Hyderabad with LGD WAG9 31128; which I only just made! It was a similar scenario at Begumpet when I had to leg it across the ballast to make the late 12701 Mumbai CST – Hyderabad with KYN WDM3D 11389.

Hyderabad, unlike my visit two days previous, had plenty going on for me. WDM2S 017770 was the lone shunt loco with 017506 nowhere to be seen. GTL WDG3A 13446 was already attached to the stock to work 17429 1615 Hyderabad – Tirupati and KYN WDM3D 11358 was poised to drop onto the stock to work 12702 1445 Hyderabad – Mumbai CST. The only other loco in the station was PA WDM3D 11388, which was parked on top of an MMTS local EMU in one of the bay platforms; which had a load of people sat on it! There was a 1325 EMU out to Lingampalli and if it was to be the one everyone was sat on then someone really ought to have been thinking about moving 11388!

Thankfully it wasn’t EMU and another one was brought into platform 6 to form the 1325 to Lingampalli, which was bang on time departing; and it was just as well as I wasn’t even over the footbridge at Begumpet when R WDG3A’s 13601/13420 arrived with 07418 Nagarsol – Tirupati special, which was a couple of hours late. It had been on my radar all morning and by this point I was thanking 40314 for bowling me out on the Devagiri Express earlier! Everything seemed to fall into place and the afternoon flowed almost perfectly as I fell into the late running 17229 Trivandrum – Hyderabad at Secunderabad, with KJM WDP4D 40240; but this dropped me straight into KYN WM3D 11358 at Hyderabad with 12702 Hyderabad – Mumbai CST. This in turn was just coming off the curve into Begumpet as PA WDM3A’s 16049/18926 were just departing with the very late running 17319 Hubli – Secunderabad. No worries though as KJM WDP4D 40247, with 12748 Vikarabad – Guntur, had me into Secunderabad with plenty of time to make the return working of 17320 1540 Secunderabad – Hubli. Both locos were ex KYN and I’d even had 16049 in November to Katni as a KYN loco! I’d seen them somewhere, en-route from Ahmedabad to Secunderabad, but couldn’t remember where. They’d been on a ballast train in a siding so I could only assume that the booked KJM Alco for 17319 hadn’t quite been up to the job on this occasion and the PA twins had taken over; hence the very late running of 17319?

Thankfully, despite the late inward, 17320 1540 Secunderabad – Hubli departed on time and as a result I chanced an auto from Begumpet to Hyderabad; which had 20 minutes to get there before 17429 1615 Hyderabad – Tirupati departed; my auto driver was excellent and knew the score from the moment I got in and did the trip in 18 minutes! As 17429 was in the bay platforms there was no legging it over the footbridge when I got there, which made life a bit easier; I never made it to the front before it set off. There was an EMU just coming in when I got to Begumpet and the fact I wasn’t at the front of the train actually helped me out as I legged it over the footbridge for said EMU.

Back in Secunderabad I had to get my big bag from the cloak room and had planned on doing the next EMU to Kacheguda but as 17027 1645 Secunderabad – Kurnool Town didn’t depart until 1720 I was able to do that instead; with KZJ WDG3A 14897, which seemed to be stalking me when least expected. At Kacheguda GTL WDM3D 11118 was just being attached to the stock to work 57435 1735 Kacheguda – Kurnool Town, WDM2S 017501 was shunting in the station sidings and the surprise of the evening was KZJ WDG/WDM3A twins 14974/16335 waiting with the stock for my overnight to Bangalore; 12785 1905 Kacheguda – Bangalore City, which had previously been KJM twin Alco’s so maybe another link change?

I couldn’t resist doing 11118 out to Falaknuma for an MMTS EMU back, which still gave me plenty of time to get some food from the shack on platform 1, before spotting 017501 backing the set in to form 12797 Kacheguda – Chittoor. After a brief chat with Samit in Kolkata, it was time to get on board and shut the rest of the day out and while 12785 was waiting to depart GY WDP4D arrived with 57687 1415 Nizamabad – Kacheguda. MLY WDM3A 16200 was immediately attached to the opposite end of the stock, which had been sat at the top end of the sidings when I’d arrived earlier, to work 57688 1855 Kacheguda – Nizamabad; and was away! My KZJ machines departed only a few minutes later and my bed was made up straight away. As it was a fairly early departure there was time to unwind with a bit of music on the Ipod and reflect on what had turned out to be a cracking afternoon; and all thanks to an initial GM bowl-out! It amazing how things can turn out sometimes, just when you think the day has gone down the pan…..

 

Gen for Sunday 26th February 2017

40104 GY WDP4D 12806 0710 Secunderabad – Visakhapatnam
13251 MLY WDG3A 57564 2330 (P) Nanded – Hyderabad
30427 LGD WAP7 12737 2020 (P) Kakinada Port – Secunderabad
13374/14701 MLY WDG3A’s 17023 0730 Secunderabad – Kurnool Town
13417 KZJ WDG3A 57619 2125 (P) Repalle – Secunderabad
18910/18887 MLY WDM3A/WDM2 17015 xxx (P)  Bhubaneswar – Secunderabad
40278 KJM WDP4D 22693 2000 (P) Bangalore City – Hazrat Nizamuddin
22313 LGD WAP4 17038 1540 (PP) Bikaner – Secunderabad
22746 BZA WAP4 12772 2200 (P) Nagpur – Secunderabad
30452 LGD WAP7 18509 1920 (P) Visakhapatnam – Nanded (to Secunderabad)
40306 KJM WDP4D 18509 1920 (P) Visakhapatnam – Nanded (from Secunderabad)
22516 LGD WAP4 12791 1000 Secunderabad – Danapur
20045 KJM WDP4 12213 2340 (P) Yesvantpur – New Delhi (to Secunderabad)
30415 LGD WAP7 12213 2340 (P) Yesvantpur – New Delhi (from Secunderabad)
27855 KZJ WAG7 57626 Manuguru – Secunderabad
14041/14043 MLY WDM3A’s 12703 0725 (P) Howrah – Secunderabad
22744 LGD WAP4 18646 0950 Hyderabad – Howrah
18763/13414 KZJ WDM/WDG3A’s 17203 0425 (P) Bhavnagar – Kakinada Port (to Secunderabad)
13418 KZJ WDG3A 57651 1050 Secunderabad – Repalle
40247 KJM WDP4D 12747 0545 Guntur – Vikarabad
40118 GY WDP4D 12219 2305 (P) Lokmanya Tilak – Secunderabad
14553 KZJ WDG3A 17028 0530 Kurnool City – Secunderabad
40314 GY WDP4D 17058 1225 Secunderabad – Mumbai CST
40278 KJM WDP4D 17230 1115 Hyderabad – Trivandrum Central
40240 KJM WDP4D 17229 0715 (P) Trivandrum Central – Hyderabad
13417 KZJ WDG3A 57606 1055 Vikarabad – Kacheguda
14942/18895/(14585) KZJ WDG3A’s 17233 1525 Secunderabad – Balharshah
40327 GY WDP4D 12025 0550 Pune – Secunderabad
40118 GY WDP4D 12026 1445 Secunderabad – Pune
11256/11120 GTL WDM3D’s 17017 2105 (P) Mumbai CST – Secunderabad
18926/16049 PA WDM3A’s 17320 1540 Secunderabad – Hubli
16683/16579 MLY WDM3A’s 12704 1555 Secunderabad – Howrah
18911/18903 MLY WDM3A/WDM2 17064 1810 Secunderabad – Manmad
18894/16658 MLY WDM3A’s 17016 1650 Secunderabad – Bhubaneswar
40388 KJM WDP4D 12797 2005 Kacheguda – Chittoor
40204 KJM WDP4D 57687 1415 Nizamabad – Kacheguda
16200 MLY WDM3A 57688 1855 Kacheguda – Nizamabad

 

Moves for Sunday 26th February 2017

14897 Secunderabad Platform 1 North End Secunderabad Platform 1 South End Shunt stock in for 12757 Secunderabad – Sirpur KZJ WDG3A
13417 Secunderabad Jn Begumpet 57605 0810 Secunderabad Jn – Vikarabad Jn KZJ WDG3A
12667 Begumpet Secunderabad Jn 11019 1510 (25/02) Mumbai CST – Bhubaneswar KYN WDG4
14816 Secunderabad Jn Malkajgiri 57129 1830 (25/02) Bijapur – Bolarum PA WDG3A
16658 Malkajgiri Secunderabad Jn 17063 2050 (25/02) Manmad Jn – Secunderabad Jn MLY WDM3A’s
18894
Auto Secunderabad Jn Moula Ali RS150, 15 minutes
27855 Moula Ali Secunderabad Jn 57626 2215 (25/02) Manuguru – Secunderabad Jn KZJ WAG7
14816 Secunderabad Jn Hyderabad Deccan Nampally 57131 0905 Bolarum – Hyderabad Deccan Nampally PA WDG3A
31128 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally Begumpet 57517 1215 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally – Tandur LGD WAG9
11389 Begumpet Hyderabad Deccan Nampally 12701 2150 (25/02) Mumbai CST – Hyderabad Deccan Nampally KYN WDM3D
EMU Hyderabad Deccan Nampally Begumpet 47112 1325 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally – Lingampalli MMTS EMU
13601 Begumpet Secunderabad Jn 07418 2200 (25/02) Nagarsol – Tirupati R WDG3A’s
13420
40240 Secunderabad Jn Hyderabad Deccan Nampally 17229 0715 (25/02) Trivandrum Central – Hyderabad Deccan Nampally KJM WDP4D
11358 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally Begumpet 12702 1445 Hyderabad Deccn Nampally – Mumbai CST KYN WDM3D
40247 Begumpet Secunderabad Jn 12748 1345 Vikarabad Jn – Guntur Jn KJM WDP4D
18926 Secunderabad Jn Begumpet 17320 1540 Secunderabad Jn – Hubli Jn PA WDM3A’s
16049
Auto Begumpet Hyderabad Deccan Nampally RS150, 18 minutes
13446 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally Begumpet 17429 1615 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally – Tirupati GTL WDG3A
EMU Begumpet Secunderabad Jn 47217 1608 Lingampalli – Falaknuma MMTS EMU
14897 Secunderabad Jn Kacheguda 17027 1645 Secunderabad Jn – Kurnool Town KZJ WDG3A
11118 Kacheguda Falaknuma 57435 1735 Kacheguda – Kurnool Town GTL WDM3D
EMU Falaknuma Kacheguda 47218 1800 Falaknuma – Lingampalli MMTS EMU
017501 Kacheguda Platform 3 East End Kacheguda Platform 3 West End Shunt stock in for 12797 Kacheguda – Chitoor KZJ WDM2S
14974 Kacheguda Bangalore Cantt 12785 1905 Kacheguda – Bangalore City KZJ WDG3A/WDM3A
16335

 

Photos from Sunday 26th February 2017

 

Monday 27th February 2017 (A day in Bangalore before heading towards Trichy overnight)

I was surprised to find us in the platform at Bangalore East when I got up and as 16236 Tuticorin – Mysore was showing as right behind us on NTES I go off for it at Bangalore Cantt; and NTES wasn’t wrong when ED WDM3A’s 16657/16460 rolled in a few minutes after 12785 had disappeared down the hill. They weren’t far behind 12785 into Bangalore either, where I found ED WDG3A 14649 in platform 1 with 56514 0715 Bangalore City – Karaikal passenger, KJM WDM3A twins 18599/14025 in the far platforms with 56515 0745 Bangalore City – Hubli and new KJM WDS6AD 36313 in platform 2 attached to the stock ex 12658 Chennai Central – Bangalore City Mail.

After quickly depositing my big bag in the cloak room I walked back down platform 2, just in case, and sure enough, as I neared the front of the set, 36313 blew up to shunt the stock out so I picked one of the many open doors to leap on. Despite only being a shunt move 36313 provided some of the best Alco noise of the trip; it was very meaty, very loud and the loco pilot wasn’t messing about as he gave it the lot going up the hill towards Bangalore Cantt. I was very surprised at just how much it sounded like a good Class 31 on full power and flat out; albeit going nowhere fast of course. During the quick reversal on the hill I could hear KJM WDS6 36025 thrashing away as it shunted stock out of the carriage sidings over on the local platforms; which looked like it had just had a new paint job from a distance.

36313’s shunt was all over too soon and it was even a pleasure to stand and watch it get a hammering out of the middle sidings as it ran out light engine after depositing me there. It was a short walk across the tracks to platform 1, where ED WDG3A 14649 soon had the road to starts 56514 0715 Bangalore City – Karaikal on its journey; which turned out to be a cracking 4km run up to Bangalore Cantt. A quick leap across the ballast had me heading straight back down to Bangalore City with AJJ WAP1 22027 on 56214 Tirupati – Chamarajanagar; where KJM WDG3A 13030 looked to be waiting to work 56214 forward. I didn’t have time to hang around as KJM WDM3A’s 18599/14025 would be departing imminently with 56515 0745 Bangalore City – Hubli.

UBL WDP4 20008 with 16536 Solapur – Mysore unfortunately missed 16217 Mysore – Sainagar Shirdi, which I’d originally planned to do to Hindupur for the Karnataka Express back; until the Karnataka had gone over to a GM since its loco change started to take place at Daund! I wasn’t too bothered that I’d missed 16217 when I spotted the GM at the front as the train curved up the hill towards Bangalore Cantt. So, I did KJM WDP4 20038 back up to Yesvantpur on 56221 0920 Bangalore City – Tumkur to wait it out and see if any Alco’s turned up on the morning commuters; while I was waiting UBL WDP4’s 20035/20020 in multi arrived with 16518/16524 Kannur/Karwar – Bangalore City.

Needless to say, the only Alco’s I saw at Yesvantpur had arrived with long distance trains. My friends from Kazipet, KZJ WDG3A’s 14820/14789 were stabled in the bay at the Tumkur end of platform 6, MLY WDG/WDM3A’s 13201/14031 were sat with the stock, having arrived with 12591 Gorakhpur – Yesvantpur; which was being announced as 4 hours late when I left Secunderabad the previous day! ED WDM3D 11184 was sat in the middle road with the stock off 16528 Kannur – Yesvantpur and while I waited KZJ WDG3A 13444 arrived with 12735 Secunderabad – Yesvantpur Garib Rath; which had been shunting in the carriage sidings when I’d left Secunderabad the previous day.

All the inbound morning commuters were GM’s except for 56524 Hindupur – Bangalore City, which was RPM WAP4 22844; which is really the only turn that can be an electric on the newly electrified section to Hindupur as all the other turns to Tumkur would involve loco changes at Bangalore as the locos/sets link with Mysore trains. While not my cup of tea I did have a look at 56228 0400 Shimoga Town – Bangalore City when it arrived with brand spanking new KJM WDP4D 40415, which had a January 2017 works plate. It was in multi with standard WDP4 20053 so was possibly still on running in mileage accumulation runs? Either way a quick trip to Malleswaram had me back at Yesvantpur within 15 minutes, courtesy of an auto.

The point of being at Yesvantpur was to do the stock transfer move ex 56241 Salem – Yesvantpur passenger, which had been ED WDG3A’s the last time I’d been in Bangalore, one working the train and the other dead inside; the inside one then worked back with the afternoon stock transfer move and 56242 1605 Yesvantpur – Salem passenger. On this occasion, ED WDG3A 13513 was the lead loco on 56241 with ED WDG3A 13495 dead inside. As it was late there was no hanging around at Yesvantpur and 56582 1100 Yesvantpur – Bangalore City was soon on its way down to Bangalore City; with plenty of locals and me on board. On arrival, the Shakti’s were immediately split off and KJM WDS6 36025 was already waiting outside the station to drop onto the set; which it then shunted from platform 8 to platform 10; which is also the regular move for the set. The set for the afternoon stock transfer move comes off 56580 Nelamangala – Bangalore City, which 13495 would later attach to, work 56581 1530 Bangalore City – Yesvantpur and then forward with 56242 1605 Yesvantpur – Salem, leaving 13513 shunting in the middle carriage sidings. Note that neither of the stock transfer moves are advertised but there’s no problem travelling on either.

After 36025 had deposited me into platform 10 I walked straight across the platform, to platform 9, boarded 12127 1300 Bangalore City – Dharwad with UBL WDP4 20027, and having done it to Yesvantpur I was soon arriving back into platform 9 at Bangalore on 16024 1315 Yesvantpur – Mysore with KJM WDP4D 40237. While at Yesvantpur though I was taken aback to see KJM WDM3A twins 18599/14025 at the top end of the station shunting stock. I can only assume that they’d been removed from 56515 0745 Bangalore City – Hubli Jn at Yesvantpur as I’d not seen them depart with it due to the fact I’d only been there for a couple of minutes after arrival with them! It was all very strange and I couldn’t understand why whatever had re-engined the train at Yesvantpur hadn’t just been sent light down to Bangalore City in the first place? Either way, my mind was soon occupied elsewhere when I spotted GTL WDG3A 13071 was just being prepared for departure with 56225 1340 Bangalore City – Tumkur in platform 8 at Bangalore City. With the electrification of Bangalore City – Hindupur I assumed that this link would have involved the same electric loco link that did the Hindupur commuters; but I assumed wrong and WAP4 22844 sat spare in the carriage sidings all day!

After passing KJM WDG4’s 12028/12276 heading out of Bangalore City with 56579 1220 Bangalore City – Nelamangala, while arriving on the ED Shakti’s earlier, I decided to head out to Chikbanavar on 56225 to do them back in. What I didn’t expect on arrival there, was to just miss KJM WDM3D 11519, which was departing with 56277 0740 Chikkamagalur – Yesvantpur. This was just running round at Yesvantpur to work back with 56278 1515 Yesvantpur – Chikkamagalur, when I arrived in with KJM WDM3A’s 16586/16294 on 12252 Korba – Yesvantpur; which had kindly rolled to a stand at Chikbanavar to await 56277 clearing the section ahead! KJM WDG4’s 12276/12028 weren’t far behind them at Yesvantpur and as they dropped down the hill into Bangalore City, with 56580 1400 Nelamangala – Bangalore City, ED WDG3A 13495 was sat outside waiting to drop onto the rear of the set and it was soon heading back up the hill towards Yesvantpur with 56581 1530 Bangalore City – Yesvantpur stock transfer move; which then formed 56242 1605 Yesvantpur – Salem passenger. Was very impressed with the sounds coming from 13495, nice and meaty, very loud and driven well. The construction works just outside Bangalore City, on the Yesvantpur line, didn’t help with runs up the hill at the moment but seemed to give the drivers an incentive to give their locos a punishing once over the restriction.

With the idea being to view 17235 1715 Bangalore City – Nagercoil, I headed straight back to Bangalore City in an auto; the journey costing RS150 and taking 25 minutes. When I discovered ED WDM3D that I didn’t need with 17235, which for some reason I didn’t write down the number of, I opted to head back up to Yesvantpur for GTL WDG3A 13071 returning with 56226 1550 Tumkur – Bangalore City; I had the pleasure of UBL WDG4 70481 on 17307 1330 Mysore – Bhagalkot. As always seems to be the case though 56226 was late coming back from Tumkur so I whiled away the time drinking chai at the same stall I’d frequented for most of the day; much to the owner’s amazement! GTL WDG3A’s 14576/13393 were sat in platform 4, having shunted a set of stock in and been detached from it.

Once back in Bangalore City the mad afternoon rush commenced. The majority of the day in Bangalore nowadays is pretty rubbish if you’re solely after Alco’s but in the evening, everything comes out of the wood work and there are 4 different ED twin turns and 12786 1820 Bangalore City – Kacheguda to cover. The latter was sat in platform 2 with my twins from the previous night, KZJ WDM3A/WDG3A combo 16335/14974 waiting to depart with it. UBL WDP4B 40046 was sat in platform 1 with the stock for 12627 1920 Bangalore City – New Delhi Karnataka Express; this train had unfortunately succumbed to GM’s since the OHL between Manmad & Daund had been energized and the electric to diesel loco change now takes place at Daund! Bloody rubbish if you want my opinion but apparently, it’s progress!

While on the station footbridge I noticed twin KJM Alco’s at the head of 16216 1815 Bangalore City – Mysore Chamundi Express; which had been booked twin KJM Alco’s in the past but was another turn that had succumbed to GM’s in recent times. When I discovered KJM WDG3A’s 13389/13335 at the head of 16216 that was my evening plan sorted and I was going to Ramanagaram when 16216 departed, for 16236 Mysore – Tuticorin back; which was also my overnight to Karur. I was praying that 16236 would have at least it’s booked 15 minutes at Bangalore City so I could collect my bag from the left luggage. I needn’t have been concerned though as 16216 made a late running 16232 Mysore – Mayilduthurai at Kengeri, as it seemed to quite regularly; and I was soon heading back into Bangalore with ED WDM3A’s 16678/16465. After a brief stop at the signal outside Bangalore City the loco pilot gave the ED twins what for up the hill into the station, which made it all worthwhile getting off at Kengeri for them. The fact that 16232 was given 45 minutes standing time at Bangalore allowed for the 50’ late departure from Kengeri to almost be recovered and as the train eased out of Bangalore City we passed ED WDG3A 13514, coming down the hill into the station, with 56513 Karaikal – Bangalore City.

I didn’t have much of a wait at Bangalore Cantt before ED WDM3A’s 16668/14054 turned up with a slightly late 12678 0910 Ernakulam Jn – Bangalore City and deposited me back into Bangalore City, where a quick egg biriyani was scoffed down before I got my bag from the cloak room and relaxed at the platform end of platform 5; awaiting the arrival of 16236 1800 Mysore – Tuticorin to take me on to Karur Jn. What I did realise while waiting is that all the ED twins used on the 11013/4, 12677/8, 16231/2 & 16235/6 links always seemed to be from the same pool of locos and WDM3D’s never featured. From my deductions, it looked like ED had their loco pools almost sectored a little with their 3A’s being used in pairs, their Shakti’s working the passenger links and their 3D’s doing the long-distance stuff that only required a single engine; and they never seemed to have pairs of 3D’s or Shakti’s on trains now. Obviously, this wasn’t the norm across the board.

When ED WDM3A’s 16460/16657, which I’d had that morning on the inbound 16235, arrived with 16236 1800 Mysore – Tuticorin, I had my bed made up before the train had left Bangalore City as it had arrived early. It was nice of the TTE to come through and check tickets before departure too; which allowed me to have a bellow up the hill to Bangalore Cantt and clamber into my lower side berth, before the hoards descended, and keep out of the way while they fannied about sorting their crap out. As I was getting off at stupid o’clock, and had been up early, I wasted no time in getting horizontal; and was out like a light!

 

Gen for Monday 27th February 2017

30319 RPM WAP7 12028 0600 Bangalore City – Chennai Central
16672/16804 ED WDM3A’s 12677 0615 Bangalore City – Ernakulam Jn
30419 RPM WAP7 12608 0630 Bangalore City – Chennai Central
70186 KJM WDG4 16228 2015 (P) Talguppa – Bangalore City
30424 RPM WAP7 56510 0700 Bangalore City – Marikkupam
22693 ED WAP4 12610 0800 Bangalore City – Chennai Central
13030 KJM WDG3A 56214 2135 (P) Tirupati – Chamarajanagar
20028 KJM WDP4 16217 0510 Mysore – Sainagar Shirdi
20035/20020 UBL WDP4’s 16518 1640 (P)/16524 1440 (P) Kannur/Karwar – Bangalore City
20036 KJM WDP4 56224 0500 Arsikere – Bangalore City, 56232 0920 Bangalore City – Mysore
20038 KJM WDP4 56231 0550 Mysore – Bangalore City
22844 RPM WAP4 56524 0630 Hindupur – Bangalore City, 56523 1745 Bangalore City – Hindupur
40015 KJM WDP4B 56926 0815 Tumkur – Bangalore City
13201/14031 KZJ WDG/WDM3A’s 12591 0635 (PP) Gorakhpur – Yesvantpur, 12592 1720 Yesvantpur – Gorakhpur
13444 KZJ WDG3A 12735 1950 (P) Secunderabad – Yesvantpur, 12736 1645 Yesvantpur – Secunderabad
20066 UBL WDP4 17308 1410 (P) Bagalkot – Mysore
40237 KJM WDP4D 17603 2100 (P) Kacheguda – Yesvantpur
11184 ED WDM3D 16528 1805 (P) Kannur – Yesvantpur
21319 AJJ WAM4 06580 xxx (P) Visakhapatnam – Yesvantpur
40027 UBL WDP4B 12725 1300 Bangalore City – Dharwad
30379 RPM WAP7 22625 0725 Chennai Central – Bangalore City
20038 KJM WDP4 56222 1120 Tumkur – Bangalore City, 56223 1820 Bangalore City – Arsikere
40238 KJM WDP4D 16023 0820 Mysore – Yesvantpur, 17604 1530 Yesvantpur – Kacheguda
40228 KJM WDP4D 16202 0635 Shimoga Town – Bangalore City
13514/(13495) ED WDG3A’s 56241 0520 Salem – Yesvantpur
12028/12276 KJM WDG4’s 56579 1220 Bangalore City – Nelamangala, 56227 1630 Bangalore – Shimoga Town
20 or 40xxx ??? 16569 1430 Yesvantpur – Kacheguda
11519 KJM WDM3D 56277 0740 Chikkamagalur – Yesvantpur, 56278 1515 Yesvantpur – Chikkamagalur
40056 UBL WDP4B 12726 0515 Dharwad – Bangalore City
20055 KJM WDP4 16201 1530 Bangalore City – Shimoga Town
16335/14974 KZJ WDM/WDG3A’s 12876 1820 Bangalore City – Kacheguda
40046 UBL WDP4B 12627 1920 Bangalore City – New Delhi
27996 CNB WAG7 56261 0800 Arakkonam – Bangalore City
13514 ED WDG3A 56513 2230 (P) Karaikal – Bangalore City
13053 KJM WDG3A 56213 1500 Chamarajanagar – Tirupati (to Bangalore)
22007 AJJ WAP1 56213 1500 Chamarajanagar – Tirupati (from Bangalore)

 

Moves for Monday 27th February 2017

16657 Bangalore Cantt Bangalore City 16236 1635 (26/02) Tuticorin – Mysore Jn ED WDM3A’s
16460
36313 Bangalore City Platform 3 Bangalore City Middle Carriage Sidings Shunt stock ex 12657 Chennai Central – Bangalore City KJM WDS6AD
14649 Bangalore City Bangalore Cantt 56514 0715 Bangalore City – Karaikal ED WDG3A
22027 Bangalore Cantt Bangalore City 56214 2135 (26/02) Tirupati – Chamarajanagar AJJ WAP1
18599 Bangalore City Yesvantpur Jn 56515 0745 Bangalore City – Hubli Jn KJM WDM3A’s
14025
20008 Yesvantpur Jn Bangalore City 16536 1410 (26/02) Solapur Jn – Mysore Jn UBL WDP4
20038 Bangalore City Yesvantpur Jn 56221 0920 Bangalore City – Tumkur KJM WDP4
40415 Yesvantpur Jn Malleswaram 56228 0400 Shimoga Town – Bangalore City KJM WDP4’s
20053
Auto Malleswaram Yesvantpur Jn RS60, 5 minutes
13513 Yesvantpur Jn Bangalore City 56582 1130 Yesvantpur Jn – Bangalore City ED WDG3A 13513 with ED WDG3A 13495 dead inside – stock transfer move ex 56241 Salem – Yesventpur
36025 Bangalore City Platform 8 Bangalore City Platform 10 Shunt stock ex 56582 Yesvantpur – Bangalore City KJM WDS6
20027 Bangalore City Yesvantpur Jn 12725 1300 Bangalore City – Dharwad UBL WDP4
40237 Yesvantpur Jn Bangalore City 16024 1315 Yesvantpur Jn – Mysore Jn KJM WDP4D
13071 Bangalore City Chikbanavar 56225 1340 Bangalore City – Tumkur GTL WDG3A
16586 Chikbanavar Yesvantpur Jn 12252 0800 (26/02) Korba – Yesvantpur Jn KJM WDM3A’s
16294
12276 Yesvantpur Jn Bangalore City 56580 1400 Nelamangala – Bangalore City KJM WDG4’s
12028
13495 Bangalore City Yesvantpur Jn 56581 1530 Bangalore City – Yesvantpur Jn ED WDG3A – stock transfer move to form 56242 1605 Yesvantpur – Salem
Auto Yesvantpur Jn Bangalore City RS150, 25 minutes
70481 Bangalore City Yesvantpur Jn 17307 1330 Mysore Jn – Bhagalkot UBL WDG4
13071 Yesvantpur Jn Bangalore City 56226 1550 Tumkur – Bangalore City GTL WDG3A
13389 Bangalore City Kengeri 16216 1815 Bangalore City – Mysore Jn KJM WDG3A’s
13335
16678 Kengeri Bangalore Cantt 16232 1530 Mysore Jn – Mayilduthurai Jn ED WDM3A’s
16465
16668 Bangalore Cantt Bangalore City 12678 0910 Ernakulam Jn – Bangalore City ED WDM3A’s
14054
16460 Bangalore City Erode Jn 16236 1800 Mysore Jn – Tuticorin ED WDM3A’s
16657

 

Photos from Monday 27th February 2017

 

Tuesday 28th February 2017 (Day 1 of 3 in Trichy)

When I woke, NTES told me that 16236 was about 35’ late. I only had a plus 1h20m at Karur Jn for 16188 Ernakulam – Karaikal to Trichy so I was pleased we weren’t too late. What I wasn’t pleased with was the lengthy run I ended up doing at Karur! On the approach, I noticed that there was only one loco at the front of the train and as the train reversed at Erode the AC was now towards the rear of the train. I should have realised that there was an engine change on 16236 at Erode from ED twins to a single ED Alco, the same for 16232 Mysore – Mayilduthurai as well, but I hadn’t and was about as prepared for the run down the platform at Karur as I would have been to evacuate the train if it was on fire! I’d not long since woken up, it was 0530 in the morning and it was bloody warm; this, coupled with the fact I had a bag over each shoulder, made the run down the platform hard work. When the loco pilot blew up, when I was only half way down the train, I thought I was going to miss it and only got to spot the number on ED WDM3D 11199 as the train eased out of the platform. I was absolutely knackered and so out of shape that I had to sit down for 5 minutes to recover before ambling back up the platform to the chai stall!

Before 16188 Ernakulam Jn – Karaikal arrived, GOC WDG3A 13437 did so with 22651 Chennai Central – Palani and GOC WDP4D 40099 followed with 16859 Chennai Egmore – Mangalore Central; the former I would see again later in the day. ED WDM3D 11194 did the honours on 16188 Ernakulam – Karaikal and the AC was quite empty so I claimed myself a lower berth for the short run to Trichy, instead of my booked upper one. I couldn’t really sleep and was up assessing what I’d be doing when we got to Trichy. Having passed GOC WDG3A 13253 with 56841 0650 Trichy – Erode passenger it went in the memory bank for later, and I was surprised to find GOC WDP4D 40100 being prepared as 16188 rolled into Trichy. Needless to say, the bloody thing was dropped onto the rear of 16188 and ED WDM3D 11194 was detached and shunted into the loco holding sidings at the Chennai end of the station. As I’d been planning to do 16188 through to Thanjavur for 16233 Mayilduthurai – Trichy back, the move went in the bin and I had a bit of time to kill at Trichy as a result. GOC WDM3A 16880 was sat in with the stock to form 16854 0935 Trichy – Chennai Egmore Cholan Express so I aimed to be back at the station for that; as I walked out towards the Red Fox Hotel.

YG steam loco 4310 remains plinthed outside Trichy Jn station and the further I walked towards the hotel, the more I began to sweat; it was a sweltering morning. When I got to the Red Fox Hotel, which is a steady 10-minute walk from the station, I recognized the location of the hotel and realised that I’d actually stayed in the same place some 5 years earlier; before it had been refurnished to the standard it was at now by the Lemon Tree group. The AC in the foyer was welcome and the staff were more than happy to let me check-in early but there was a fee for doing so at Lemon Tree Hotel’s, which is listed on the reception desk for all to see. It was RS500 to check-in when I did but it was worth it. Unfortunately, there weren’t any non-smoking rooms available at the time and having checked out a smoking room, which stank, I ended up leaving my bags at the hotel until I returned later.

There weren’t many people on board 16854 0935 Trichy – Chennai Egmore when GOC WDM3A 16880 eased the train away from Trichy, probably because the train runs the long way round to Chennai and is really for the benefit of those beyond Thanjavur. Immediately beyond Ponmalai station the whole place becomes a building site and I later found out that doubling works are ongoing all the way to Thanjavur. Things are at different stages of completion along the way, with some sections having tracks laid already while others were only just having ballast laid by road/rail vehicles. At Tiruverumbur, where 16854 came to a stand and I took the opportunity to alight, there was a track machine, van type thing, rolling along the new tracks, seemingly doing some sort of measuring runs.

The reason 16854 came to a stand was to await 56811 0615 Mayilduthurai – Trichy coming off the single line and when ED WDG3A 14614 showed up I was Trichy bound with it; as GOC WDM3A 16880 disappeared off into the distance towards Thanjavur. As with most of the ED Shakti’s I’d had thus far on the trip, 14614 was a bit of a machine and coupled with the empty train back towards Trichy it was a pleasurable journey.

I was melting in the heat by the time I reached the Red Fox Hotel again but thankfully they had a non-smoking room available for me to check into this time and the AC was soon blasting out to cool it down. The room was classed as a business room and was spacious, had a large double bed, desk and flat-screen TV on the wall. The bathroom had toiletries provided and a decent shower with hot water, not that I needed hot water at that point but a cold shower did wonders to cool me down and wash the sweat off. WiFi was free in the room but only one thing could be connected to it at once, yet if you connected another it disconnected the one you’d originally connect but did allow you to reconnect it later; obviously disconnecting whatever had previously been connected. It worked suitably well enough to allow me to take time out and book some train tickets online for an upcoming trip to the Ukraine!

As I had time on my hands I used the hotel restaurant to get my face stuffed with a decent meal before I went back out to play trains again. After they’d served up a very good, piping hot meal the staff told me that they weren’t actually open until 1230 but had served me anyway as they wanted to make a good impression; and that they had! Suitably stuffed and cleaner than I had been when I’d arrived, I ambled back to the station and probably arrived as sweaty as I had been when I’d departed earlier. Coffee from the stall outside the station didn’t help matters but it was good nonetheless.

ED WDM3D 11113 had arrived with 56844 0750 Erode – Trichy and GOC WDS6 36020 was just backing onto the set, which it eventually shunted to platform 1A bay platform by the loco holding sidings. ED WDG3A 14894 had arrived with 16233 0810 Mayilduthurai – Trichy and had already run round to work back with 16234 1250 Trichy – Mayilduthurai. When I say it was a chore walking down the platform and across the flat crossing at the Chennai end of the station, I bloody mean it; the heat was quite overpowering and not cranking weather at all.

As per my previous, quite pleasing journey, ED WDG3A 14894 didn’t let the ED Shakti side down at all. As 16233/16234 are merely stock transfer moves from/to Mayilduthurai off and to form 16231/16232 Mayilduthurai – Mysore, they were quite empty; even in the unreserved at the front of the train. 14894 was better than 14614 sound-wise but not as loud and when the storming run was brought to an abrupt halt at Budalur I hadn’t realised it was to wait for 56821 1125 Mayilduthurai – Dindigul to arrive, until it came into the back platform with pristine GOC WDM3A 16297 heading it. There was no persuasion needed and I was soon heading back towards Trichy on a rather more wedged stopper, which did only have standing room only.

I was surprised to see GOC WDG3A 13437 sat in at Tiruverumbur with 56822 1150 Dindigul – Mayilduthurai, having seen it working 22651 Chennai Central – Palani through Karur earlier. I can only assume that it came off 22651 at Dindigul and worked 56822 from there?  Still, it wasn’t as good as the two ED Shakti’s I’d had earlier but gave a spirited run to Thanjavur nonetheless. Upon arrival, I discovered ED WDM3D 11108 sat in the back platforms with the stock to form 56820 1805 Trichy – Kumbakkonam later that evening. The heat was no better at Thanjavur than it had been at Trichy and I stuck to the shade as much as I could when trying to find a place to sell me some cold pop outside the station entrance!

Thankfully I didn’t have too long to wait at Thanjavur, although it was quite peaceful and not busy at all, GOC WDP4 40063 was first to arrive into Thanjavur with 56711 1215 Karaikal – Trichy passenger, which surprised me a little. This train is booked to sit at Thanjavur for 12083 Mayilduthurai – Coimbatore Shatabdi to overtake it but as 12083 is Tuesday excepted it would only be overtaken by 16853 Chennai Egmore – Trichy Cholan Express; which should have been in front of it. TNP WDM3A 18555 wasn’t far behind it with 16853 and the sleeper coaches towards the front were almost devoid of people completely. The two-day seating coaches right behind the loco were quite well frequented though; so, I opted for a nice relaxing journey in an empty sleeper coach to Trichy.

It was quite a fast run, non-stop, from Thanjavur to Trichy and I made the 1630 Trichy – Nagore DMU so did it straight back out to Ponmalai to spin GOC WDP4 40063 in on 56711 Karaikal – Trichy. When I got back into the station I noticed GOC WDP3A 15518 sat in platform 1 with 16354 0810 Nagercoil – Kacheguda and on the screens on the station concourse it was showing at departing at 1750 vice the booked 1550. Also 56843 1610 Trichy – Erode was showing as departing at 1810 vice 1610; which had ED WDM3D 11113 sat waiting to depart with the train in platform 1A. While having a wonder around I found a white-board with gen as to why the two trains were being delayed. There was a power block near Karur, on this date only, which would result in 56713 Trichy – Palakkad terminating at Kulitalai and turning round to form the opposing working of 56712 Palakkad – Trichy from there. 16354 & 56843 were being regulated at Trichy while the power block was in place.

While I pondered what to do TNP WDM3A 16853 arrived with 15120 Mandaudih – Rameswaram and ED WDM3D 11201 was dropped onto 56812 1805 Trichy – Mayilduthurai. The move eventually found me, while I was snooping around outside the cab of 15518. The loco pilot saw me taking photos and we eventually got talking. He was hoping to get away earlier than 1750 but didn’t have his hopes up. In the end his assistant came out of the office and beckoned that the train was heading off, although the loco pilot told me it was only to Trichy Fort initially, to clear platform 1 at Trichy. This was good news for me and I told him so, as 16354 is right away Karur but as it was stopping at Trichy Fort this meant I could do it round the corner; as I beckoned to the front coach, he pointed to the cab and ushered me in! There was no need to ask twice but in the end the train didn’t stand too long at Trichy Fort so our chewing the cud was cut short.

I didn’t have to wait long for ED WDM3D 11113 to turn up with 56843 1610 Trichy – Erode and I did it forward to Kulitalai to wait for 56842 1635 Erode – Trichy to deliver me back to Trichy. What I hadn’t accounted for was that NTES hadn’t been updated as the train was sitting somewhere, being regulated itself and I had a nice fester there when it eventually popped up an hour late. Thankfully, after dusk it did cool down a bit once the sun had done one. It was still warm though but more a temperature I could deal with. After the fester, I was pleased when GOC WDG3A 13253 appeared out of the shadows with 56842 and it proved its worth on the journey back to Trichy.

I was glad to get back into the cool hotel that night and made use of the buffet dinner that was laid out when I got there. There was plenty to choose from and the bits I opted for were quite tasty; it could have done with being kept a bit warmer though. When the place got overrun with Russian tourists, shouting at each other across the restaurant, I was glad I’d finished and was more than happy to leave their ignorance behind and relax in the haven of my own room; where I sorted out the washing, that hadn’t been done in Secunderabad, to put in for cleaning the following morning.

 

Gen for Tuesday 28th February 2017

13437 GOC WDG3A 22651 2240 (P) Chennai Central – Palani
40099 GOC WDP4D 16859 2215 (P) Chennai Egmore – Mangalore Central
13253 GOC WDG3A 56841 0650 Trichy – Erode
40100 GOC WDP4D 16188 2210 (P) Ernakulam – Karaikal (from Trichy)
16169 ED WDM3A 17315 0900 (P) Vasco Da Gama – Velankanni
14894 ED WDG3A 16233 0810 Mayilduthurai – Trichy, 16234 1250 Trichy – Mayilduthurai
11113 ED WDM3D 56844 0750 Erode – Trichy, 56843 1610 Trichy – Erode (retimed to 1810 due power block)
14614 ED WDG3A 56713 1300 Trichy – Palakkad Town (cape Kulitalai due power block), 56712 0625 Palakkad Town – Trichy (start Kulitalai due power block)
11108 ED WDM3D 56820 1810 Thanjavur – Kumbakkonam
11201 ED WDM3D 56812 1805 Trichy – Mayilduthurai
40063 GOC WDP4B 56711 1215 Karaikal – Trichy
15518 GOC WDP3A 16354 0810 Nagercoil – Kacheguda (from Trichy)
16853 TNP WDM3A 15120 2100 (PP) Mandaudih – Rameswaram

 

Moves for Tuesday 28th February 2017

11199 Erode Jn Karur Jn 16236 1800 (27/02) Mysore Jn – Tuticorin ED WDM3D
11194 Karur Jn Tiruchchirapalli Jn 16188 2210 (27/02) Ernakulam Jn -Karaikal ED WDM3D
16880 Tiruchchirapalli Jn Tiruverumbur 16854 0935 Tiruchchirapalli Jn – Chennai Egmore GOC WDM3A
14614 Tiruverumbur Tiruchchirapalli Jn 56811 0615 Mayilduthurai Jn – Tiruchchirapalli Jn ED WDG3A
14894 Tiruchchirapalli Jn Budalur 16234 1250 Tiruchchirapalli Jn – Mayilduthurai Jn ED WDG3A
16297 Budalur Tiruverumbur 56821 1125 Mayilduthurai Jn – Dindigul Jn GOC WDM3A
13437 Tiruverumbur Thanjavur Jn 56822 1150 Dindigul Jn – Mayilduthurai Jn GOC WDG3A
18555 Thanjavur Jn Tiruchchirapalli Jn 16853 0740 Chennai Egmore – Tiruchchirapalli Jn TNP WDM3A
14003 Tiruchchirapalli Jn Ponmalai 76852 1630 Tiruchcirapalli Jn – Nagore DMU
14011
40063 Ponmalai Tiruchchirapalli Jn 56711 1215 Karaikal – Tiruchcirapalli Jn GOC WDP4B
15518 Tiruchchirapalli Jn Tiruchchirapalli Fort 16354 0810 Nagercoil Jn – Kacheguda GOC WDP3A
11113 Tiruchchirapalli Fort Kulitalai 56843 1610 Tiruchchirapalli – Erode Jn ED WDM3D
13253 Kulitalai Tiruchchirapalli Jn 56842 1635 Erode Jn – Tirchchirapalli Jn GOC WDG3A

 

Photos from Tuesday 28th February 2017

 

Wednesday 1st March 2017 (Day 2 of 3 in Trichy and a meet with a good friend from GOC)

After a very good sleep I got up, handed my washing in on the way out and made the effort to get myself to the station in time to view 56841 0650 Trichy – Erode and was rather pleased when I found GOC WDG3A 13283 waiting to depart with it; and TNP WDM3A 18555 was sat in the loco holding sidings to work 16854 0935 Trichy – Chennai Egmore Cholan Express. My short early morning jaunt round to Trichy Fort, with a good sounding GOC Shakti, revealed ED WDM3D 11113 returning with 16188 Ernakulam – Karaikal; having been in charge of 56843 1610 Trichy – Erode the previous evening. GOC WDP4 40063 was poised to drop on the other end on arrival. This dropped me into the DMU working 76822 0825 Trichy – Thanjavur, which I did out to Tiruverumbur for 56811 0615 Mayilduthurai – Trichy back in, which turned up with ED WDG3A 14641 leading dead ED WDM3D 11108; which had been in charge of 56820 1805 Trichy – Kumbakkonam the previous evening. Upon arrival into Trichy GOC WDS6 36020 was sat in the adjacent platform waiting to drop onto the opposite end of the stock and within 10 minutes it had shunted the stock to platform 1A bay platform; with me along for the ride.

It was starting to warm up quite nicely as I headed back to the hotel for a spot of breakfast. I was the last person in the breakfast room by the look of it but I had omelette and aloo paratha made freshly as a result and very nice they were too. There was a massive selection in the buffet area, most of which was south Indian but there would have been enough to pick at had the fresh stuff not been available. A large cup of proper tea later and I was heading back out of the door to view 12084 Coimbatore – Mayilduthurai Shatabdi.

ED WDG3A 14739 was sat with the stock for 16234 1250 Trichy – Mayilduthurai when I got there and TNP WDM3A 18536 was soon along with 12084 Coimbatore – Mayilduthurai. Having been run round though fitters started crawling over 18536 as it had an air leak somewhere and kept blowing off air quite vigorously in spurts. The crew didn’t look too impressed and I half expected the thing to get removed from the train but things seemed to settle down before departure and I hopped into the front non-AC seating coach as the train departed. 18536 was a lot better than 18555 had been the previous day and ran non-stop to Thanjavur.

After 12084 had departed Thanjavur I found ED WDM3D 11222 in the back platform with the stock for 56820 1810 Thanjavur – Kumbakkonam and then had a few minutes to grab a few bits from the refreshment room on the platform before looking round the old MG station buildings; which had simply been abandoned right in the middle of the new BG platforms. Some of the building was empty while other bits had been used to dump rubbish and generally used as a tip. While the inside of the buildings was too good they’d been recently painted outside to keep the station looking half decent. They did have abandoned painted on in various places though. These buildings would always act as a reminder that I’d not managed to make it to Thanjavur when it was MG, although I had been at Trichy and watched and MG train leave during my first trip in 2004; but had gone in the opposite direction towards Karaikkudi instead.

GOC WDG3A 13157 did the honours with 56821 1125 Mayilduthurai – Dindigul and was standing room only again. I managed to find myself some space in the front luggage van this time to Tiruverumbur, where the loco pilot payed to my camera as he gave his loco some hammer on departure. Unfortunately, I’d not gone far enough down the track to get a decent photo and there were too many people in the way as well. GOC WDM3A 16297, in all its pristine-ness, turned up with the opposing working of 56822 1150 Dindigul – Mayilduthurai but was later than the train had been the previous day so I didn’t have as much time to wait at Thanjavur.

As I planned to meet up with a friend at 1730 in Trichy whatever I did back to Trichy would be the last move of my day; in theory. I had a choice of 16853 Chennai Egmore – Trichy, 12083 Mayilduthurai – Coimbatore and 56711 Karaikal – Trichy. When TNP WDM3A 16084 arrived with 16853 and its empty set I was soon bound for Trichy. GOC WDP4D 40101 had arrived with 56711 just before 16853 departed so when I made the 1630 Trichy – Nagore DMU at Trichy I did that straight back out to Ponmalai to spin the GM back into Trichy; completely missing what was on 12083 in the process. When I left the station ED WDG3A 14614 was sat with the stock for 56812 1805 Trichy – Mayilduthurai and ED WDG3A 13451 was sat in the loco holding sidings; I wondered if it would be for 16187 Karaikal – Ernakulam?

My good friend Rajagopal Saravanan was waiting at the station exit for me as I ambled across the platform. Raja, as I call him, was working out in Malaysia with IRCON when I met him in 2008, maintaining the YDM4 fleet over there. Since our first conversation we’d kept in touch while he was in Malaysia and I’d met up with him a couple of times when I’d returned to ride with the YDM4’s there. His inside information on what locos would work what had helped out immensely on quite a few trips and I was very grateful for his help. In October 2010, I’d managed to end up in India and meet up with Raja when the Golden Rock staff open day was, so he’d taken us on a tour round GOC. Since then my visits down south had been virtually nonexistent and as a result I’d only managed to briefly meet up with him once, when unfortunately, he’d got called to Guntakal to deal with an errant WDM3A that had recently been released from GOC. I’d managed to keep in touch via phone when I’d been in India and was very glad we could meet up on this occasion; which was really my main reason for spending some time in Trichy anyway. One of his sons had come along with him, who I’d met before, and we had a great evening.

After eating at my hotel I was invited round to Raja’s to meet his wife and see where he lived. One the way there we drive by GOC, saw the iconic Golden Rock itself and drove through the railway colony on the way to Raja’s house. He explained to me that some areas of the colony had fallen into disrepair and homes had been overrun by vegetation as a result. Back in the day there’d been 12000 employed at GOC and now there were only about 7000 so the need for the whole colony wasn’t that great nowadays. While the colony had been a great place to live, his biggest issue had been the water supply. For his son though, leaving the colony had severed friendships and had made keeping in with his friends a little harder, despite the fact they only lived a short distance from the colony.

I was surprised at how quiet it was around his house and when we arrived his wife was teaching a load of kids Hindi. Of course, they were amazed at my arrival and a bit of a photography session followed. Raja’s father lives with him, he used to be a loco pilot with Indian Railways and if Raja’s son could manage to get himself a job with IR he’d be the third generation, living in the same house, that worked for IR. Raja wasn’t so sure he’d get one in the near future though as there just aren’t the jobs there used to be.

While our time together only amounted to about 2 hours, it had seemed like a lot longer when Dhamu took me back to Trichy in his brand-new car, having only recently passed his test. The first time I’d met him he’d only just leant how to ride a moped and he’d given me a ride to GOC on the back! I was very pleased with my evening and hoped at some point in the future that Raja would be able to visit England.

Back at the station, ED WDG3A 13451 had been in the back of my mind on the journey back and sure enough it did turn out to be the loco for 16187 Karaikal – Ernakulam so a quick jaunt out to Trichy Fort had me being surprised there when the late running 56842 Erode – Trichy rolled in with GOC WDG3A 13193 on top of GOC WDG3A 13283, which had worked 56841 out in the morning. I wasn’t complaining at the evening’s little bonus as I walked back to the hotel; and was very relieved to find my washing waiting for me at reception when I arrived. All of which was packed away nicely in my bag when I got to my room, in readiness for moving on the following day to Coimbatore and onwards to Ooty.

 

Gen for Wednesday 1st March 2017

40063 GOC WDP4B 16188 2210 (P) Ernakulam – Karaikal (from Trichy)
25024 RPM WAP4 56704 0615 Dindigul – Trichy
14614 ED WDG3A ecs at Trichy ex 16183 2330 (P) Chennai Egmore – Thanjavur, 56812 1805 Trichy – Mayilduthurai
18555 TNP WDM3A 16854 0935 Trichy – Chennai Egmore
14739 ED WDG3A 16233 0810 Mayilduthurai – Trichy, 16234 1250 Trichy – Mayilduthurai
14641/(11108) ED WDG3A/WDM3D 56713 1300 Trichy – Palakkad Town
11222 ED WDM3D 56820 1810 Thanjavur – Kumbakkonam
40101 GOC WDP4B 56711 1215 Karaikal – Trichy

 

Moves for Wednesday 1st March 2017

13283 Tiruchchirapalli Jn Tiruchchirapalli Fort 56841 0650 Tiruchchirapalli Jn – Erode Jn GOC WDG3A
11113 Tiruchchirapalli Fort Tiruchchirapalli Jn 16188 2210 (28/02) Ernakulam Jn -Karaikal ED WDM3D
140xx Tiruchchirapalli Jn Tiruverumbur 76822 0825 Tiruchcirapalli Jn – Thanjavur Jn DMU
14047
14641 Tiruverumbur Tiruchchirapalli Jn 56811 0615 Mayilduthurai Jn – Tiruchchirapalli Jn ED WDG3A
36020 Tiruchchirapalli Jn Platform 4 Tiruchchirapalli Jn Platform 1A Shunt stock ex 56811 MV – TPJ to form 56843 TPJ – ED GOC WDS6
18536 Tiruchchirapalli Jn Thanjavur Jn 12084 0710 Coimbatore Jn – Mayilduthurai Jn TNP WDM3A
13157 Thanjavur Jn Tiruverumbur 56821 1125 Mayilduthurai Jn – Dindigul Jn GOC WDG3A
16297 Tiruverumbur Thanjavur Jn 56822 1150 Dindigul Jn – Mayilduthurai Jn GOC WDM3A
16084 Thanjavur Jn Tiruchchirapalli Jn 16853 0740 Chennai Egmore – Tiruchchirapalli Jn TNP WDM3A
140xx Tiruchchirapalli Jn Ponmalai 76852 1630 Tiruchcirapalli Jn – Nagore DMU
14038
40101 Ponmalai Tiruchchirapalli Jn 56711 1215 Karaikal – Tiruchcirapalli Jn GOC WDP4D
13451 Tiruchchirapalli Jn Tiruchchirapalli Fort 16188 1610 Karaikal – Ernakulam Jn ED WDG3A
13193 Tiruchchirapalli Fort Tiruchchirapalli Jn 56842 1635 Erode Jn – Tirchchirapalli Jn GOC WDG3A

 

Photos from Wednesday 1st March 2017

 

Thursday 2nd March 2017 (Day 3 of 3 in Trichy then onwards to Coimbatore)

I’d paid my bill at the Red Fox Hotel the previous night and decided to keep my stuff at the hotel until I returned for breakfast late in the morning. Checkout time wasn’t until 1200 so time was on my side. When I got to the station GOC WDM3A 16883 was sat waiting to depart with 56841 0650 Trichy – Erode, and not the GOC Shakti I’d been used to. Still it was new and after depositing me at Trichy Fort I was very surprised to see an orange engine approaching the station. This turned out to be PA WDM3D 11408 with 04715 Sri Ganganagar – Trichy; which had set off at 1500 three days previous! There weren’t many folk on board at all and as I clambered on board, I hadn’t even realised it should have stopped at Trichy Fort at that point. After arrival into Trichy I was grateful of the bonus stop when ED WDM3D 11113 rocked up with 16188 Ernakulam – Karaikal; which was worked forward from Trichy by GOC WDP4D 40101. As it departed I realised I could have done that out to Budalur for 56811 back in, rather than the DMU I did out to Tiruverumbur for it!

ED WDM3D 11222 did the honours with 56811 0615 Mayilduthurai – Trichy and I fully expected GOC WDS6 36020 to be sat waiting to shunt the stock off it across to platform 1A; and while 36020 was in the station it was otherwise occupied in shunting the set off 04715 Sri Ganganagar – Trichy. Seemingly having a bit more work than usual was too much for one GOC WDS6 and 36022 was on hand to shunt the stock off 56811 instead. The crew doing the shunting were the same guys as the previous day and it wasn’t an issue riding across to platform 1A with it; from where I headed back to the hotel for breakfast and to collect my big bag.

I was quite surprised when TNP WDM2 16863 dropped into Trichy with 12084 Coimbatore – Mayilduthurai Shatabdi and took up residence in the empty front coach once it had run round. Runs with WDM2’s on big trains these days are almost non-existent and I was pleasantly surprised by 16863’s spirited run to Thanjavur and had almost forgotten what a good WDM2 sounds like.

Thankfully it was a bit more overcast than it had been the previous two days and there was no midday sun blazing down on me while I hung around at Thanjavur, where ED WDM3A 16671 was sat over the back with the stock for 56820 1810 Thanjavur – Kumbakkonam. As the station refreshment room wasn’t wedged I got my arse inside for a fresh veg biriyani and some decent samosas to finish it off and was suitably wedged when GOC WDG3A 13163 arrived with 56821 1125 Mayilduthurai – Dindigul. As I had a seat on the train for a change I decided to go through to Trichy with 13163 as it was a cracking engine and wasn’t surprised when we passed GOC WDG3A 13157 with the opposing working of 56822 1150 Dindigul – Mayilduthurai near Ponmalai; which was what I’d been expecting to work the train anyway.

Having done 13163 through to Trichy, it turned out I’d done the right thing when I discovered ED WDG3A 13538 sat with the stock to work 56843 1610 Trichy – Erode; it seemed that Erode had an endless supply of Shakti’s to throw at passenger trains these days, yet they were among the rarest Shakti’s on passenger work at one point. And after a quick trip to Trichy Fort, which resulted in an auto back, GOC WDM3A 16880 turned up at Trichy with 16853 Chennai Egmore – Trichy Cholan Express; confirming that the loco link for the Cholan, starting at Trichy with 16854, is a three-day link until the loco arrives back.

I was pleased when TNP WDG3A 14944 turned up at Trichy with 12083 Mayilduthurai – Coimbatore Shatabdi and after initially taking up residence in my booked AC Chair Car I moved to the front chair car coach to enjoy a bit of thrash and was pleased with the run to Coimbatore, which was fast, fault free and almost on-time all the way; which was better than the last time I’d done the train. At Karur GOC WDM3A 16883 was heading to Trichy with 56842 1635 Erode – Trichy, ED WDG3A 13538 was sat in with 56843 1610 Trichy – Erode and ED WDM3A’s 16850/16507 were waiting to go forward with 16339 Mumbai CST – Nagercoil; it was a full house when 12083 rolled in!

Unlike my previous run into Coimbatore with the train, 12083 arrived smack on time and had a clear run in. this allowed me to get to the Hotel Vinayak at a reasonable time, which is where I’d stayed on my last visit to Coimbatore. There are literally loads of hotels in the narrow street opposite Coimbatore station and the Vinayak is towards the end of the bunch, thus away from the hustle and bustle and street noise near the station. Check-in was simple and my booking.com reservation was already known about. The room was paid for before I went upstairs and would definitely make life easier when I left at 0445 the following morning. The room itself had a double bed and a single bed, with a space for a seat and table. The bathroom left a little to be desired but with the amount of time I’d be spending there it didn’t matter one bit. Thankfully there was AC in the room, which did cool it down a little while I was out for some food. I ate at the Park Inn Hotel down the road as the food there during my last visit had been excellent; and I wasn’t let down on this occasion either.

By the time I got to be I was looking at a maximum of 6h30m sleep; and that’s about what I got!

 

Gen for Thursday 2nd March 2017

11113 ED WDM3D 16188 2210 (P) Ernakulam – Karaikal (to Trichy)
40101 GOC WDP4D 16188 2210 (P) Ernakulam – Karaikal (from Trichy)
30366 RPM WAP7 12636 0700 Madurai – Chennai Egmore
16084 TNP WDM3A 16854 0935 Trichy – Chennai Egmore
11222 ED WDM3D 56713 1300 Trichy – Palakkad Town
16169 ED WDM3A 16233 0810 Mayilduthurai – Trichy, 16234 1250 Trichy – Mayilduthurai
16671 ED WDM3A 56820 1810 Thanjavur – Kumbakkonam
16880 GOC WDM3A 16853 0740 Chennai Egmore – Trichy
40100 GOC WDP4B 56711 1215 Karaikal – Trichy
16850/16507 ED WDM3A’s 16339 1210 (P) Mumbai CST – Nagercoil
13538 ED WDG3A 56843 1610 Trichy – Erode
16883 GOC WDM3A 56842 1635 Erode – Trichy

 

Moves for Thursday 2nd March 2017

16883 Tiruchchirapalli Jn Tiruchchirapalli Fort 56841 0650 Tiruchchirapalli Jn – Erode Jn GOC WDM3A
11408 Tiruchchirapalli Fort Tiruchchirapalli Jn 04715 1500 (270/02) Sri Ganganagar Jn – Tiruchchirapalli Jn PA WDM3D
140xx Tiruchchirapalli Jn Tiruverumbur 76822 0825 Tiruchcirapalli Jn – Thanjavur Jn DMU
14034
11222 Tiruverumbur Tiruchchirapalli Jn 56811 0615 Mayilduthurai Jn – Tiruchchirapalli Jn ED WDG3A
36022 Tiruchchirapalli Jn Platform 4 Tiruchchirapalli Jn Platform 1A Shunt stock ex 56811 MV – TPJ to form 56843 TPJ – ED GOC WDS6
16863 Tiruchchirapalli Jn Thanjavur Jn 12084 0710 Coimbatore Jn – Mayilduthurai Jn TNP WDM3A
13163 Thanjavur Jn Tiruchchirapalli Jn 56821 1125 Mayilduthurai Jn – Dindigul Jn GOC WDG3A
13538 Tiruchchirapalli Jn Tiruchchirapalli Fort 56843 1610 Tiruchchirapalli – Erode Jn ED WDG3A
Auto Tiruchchirapalli Fort Tiruchchirapalli Jn RS100, 10 minutes
14944 Tiruchchirapalli Jn Coimbatore Jn 12083 1450 Mayilduthurai Jn – Coimbatore Jn TNP WDG3A

 

Photos from Thursday 2nd March 2017

 

Friday 3rd March 2017 (A journey on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway to Ooty)

It was definitely a rude awakening at 0430 but I was soon into my clothes, Wallace style, and leaving my keys on the hotel desk as I tiptoed out so as not to wake the staff that were asleep on the floor in reception. The streets were deserted by the Vinayak but the closer I got to the station there was more life and the bakeries opposite the station front were doing a roaring trade at 0445 of a morning.

While I waited on the station for 12671 Chennai Central – Mettupalayam to arrive, drinking coffee, KJM WDM3A 18904 arrived and departed with 12257 Yesvantpur – Kochuveli and ED WDM3D 11318 was attached to the stock to work 22610 0640 Coimbatore – Mangalore Central. When ED WAP4 22715 arrived with 12671 I made sure I didn’t make the same mistake that I had done last time and get into the portion that is split off the train at Coimbatore! And having walked to the opposite end of the train I found ED WAP4 22249 just dropping onto the other end to work the Mettupalayam portion forward to destination. There was plenty of room in the 2AC I was reserved in so I made use of it on the way to Mettupalayam.

At Mettupalayam I was grateful of the cool morning and even more grateful when I checked my PNR for 56136 0710 Mettupalayam – Ooty on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway; it had originally been WL5 in 2S (second reserved) as there’d been no availability in FS1 (first class) but had been confirmed and my allocated seat was coach D1 seat 41. X Class steam loco 37399, which was only built in 2014, was already attached to the stock to work the train to Coonoor and I found X Class 37386 dumped behind the Steam Loco Shed. 37389 was on display in the yard at the back of the railway museum adjacent to the station and that was it.

Most people using 12671 Chennai – Mettupalayam do so to connect into the Nilgiri Mountain Railway yet it wasn’t that busy on the station initially so more people must have arrived by road to do the train. There wasn’t even a queue for the 2nd unreserved initially and it didn’t seem that wedged, even by departure time. The 2S coach I was reserved in was thankfully a compartment coach and moments before departure there were only 5 of the 8 seats occupied in my compartment but two others were thrown in by the TTE; while the guard was giving him grief about the fact we should have departed by that point!

As 37399 got to grips with its train the locals living by the railway waved at the train as it passed by. It must be something seeing only steam trains passing by your back door and knowing nothing else since the line’s creation back in 1908. There had been a trial with twin YDM4’s on the Mettupalayam to Coonoor section, about 5 years ago, in an attempt to run bigger trains so more people could be carried on the line; unfortunately for me, it wasn’t successful and the YDM4’s couldn’t deal with the 1:12.5 gradients the line threw at them. Not surprising really……

Although I’d done the line twice before, it didn’t stop me enjoying this trip up to Coonoor any less and for the first time I was sat on the right-hand side of the train heading up the hill, which offers the best views back down the valley as the train climbs. At Kallar trains stop to allow the loco to be watered, the same then happens at Adderley, which has excellent view over the Nilgiri Hills, Hillgrove, which has facilities and the only open refreshment stall en-route, Runneymede, which has great views over the surrounding Glendale Tea Estate; and finally, the little steam loco makes the final push into Coonoor, arriving 3h20m after leaving Mettupalayam only 27km away by rail!

The very reason for my return to Ooty, after only having been 12 months previous, was to hopefully get YDM4 6706 in; which was out of service and buried in the back of the shed on my previous visit. Someone else had been up to Ooty 4 days before me and confirmed that while 6706 hadn’t been out that day, it had been sat beneath the water tower on shed; which is where the loco for the following afternoon’s trip to Ooty usually sits. 6730 had been buried in the shed and the two locos out working that day had been 6664 & 6724.

Upon arrival into Coonoor I noticed 6724 sat on shed with a coach attached, which was usually the loco for the 1235 Coonoor – Ooty. On this occasion though, once 37399 was removed from the train, 6724 shunted its coach onto the train and sat waiting to depart with 56136. The loco off 56139 0915 Ooty – Coonoor usually works 56136 from Coonoor and this was the first time I’d seen this not happen. As 56139 seemed to be late I had time to quickly scan round the shed and found 6730 dumped in the back of it, as previously reported, and 6706 was stabled in the road by the side of the shed. Inside the shed were X Class 37391, 37397 & 37398 and of course they were soon joined by 37399 off 56136.

While 6706 wasn’t going to be out on this particular day I photographed 6664 arriving with 56139 0915 Ooty – Coonoor and hoped it would do 56143 1235 Coonoor – Ooty the following afternoon; as the loco on shed usually did. When I got back to my compartment, where my big bag had been left locked to the seats, underneath them, there were only 4 people left in it and the journey up to Ooty was a pleasurable one with less people in the compartment. Quite a lot of people in the coach looked to be flagging after the early start and were dozing for most of the journey towards Ooty. The scenery is nowhere near as good as that lower down the hills but the line’s summit at 7000ft is at Lovedale, 4km from Ooty. I have to say, I was glad to get to Ooty when I arrived as it is a long journey from Mettupalayam, after an early start, with not much on offer food and facility wise on the way up; I was certainly looking forward to a decent meal by this point.

There is a fill-in move available if you so wish, which is to do 56142 1215 Ooty – Coonoor to Ketti for 56143 1235 Coonoor – Ooty back but I opted to get checked into my hotel and dump the big bag; before finding some food. An auto to the Hotel Khems cost me RS100 and took about 10 minutes via the crappy one-way system that operates through Ooty; which makes the journey to the hotel longer than the more direct one back.

The Hotel Khems is up a steep side street, tucked back off the main road, and not by the station as their location on the Booking.com map would have you believe. Having been caught out with this behavior once in India I make sure I check Google maps now to confirm hotel locations. The staff at the front desk were very welcoming and I was checked in pretty quickly. The Khems chain is billed as a budget chain but the place is quite nice and my room was spacious, with a decent sized comfy bed. Bottled water was supplied but there were no toiletries in the bathroom; which had pigeons lofting in the ceiling! The curtains, while they drew, might as well not have been up as they were that lightly coloured that they only acted as a screen against people seeing in. Still, I got what I paid for and it was ok for the one night and at least had free WiFi. Unfortunately, the restaurant wasn’t open, so after dumping my bags, I headed straight back to the station, in an auto I found on the main road that cost RS70. It took me no time to find somewhere to eat and I’d highly recommend the Hotel Welcome for a good meal. It’s about 150m up a side road from the bottom of the station approach ramp. They couldn’t apologize enough for my egg biriyani taking a while to cook. The reason it had done is because the hard-boiled eggs had been done fresh and were piping hot, so there was no complaining from me at all; and the massive dish cost about £1!

At Ooty station I’d been surprised to find X Class steam loco 37384 stabled in the non-used platform. It had only recently been moved up from Coonoor, having been retired from service. Entry to its cab had been restricted by wire mesh and I guess it was a good thing it being on display, which was better than it being scrapped of course. It had been the oldest X Class left in service until recently. What I didn’t realise as I left Ooty is that it wouldn’t be there when I got back from Coonoor that evening!

It was no surprise when GOC YDM4 6664 arrived into Ooty with 56143 1235 Coonoor – Ooty, which then formed 56137 1400 Ooty – Mettupalayam. On which I had a reservation in FS1 (first class) to Coonoor. Queuing for the unreserved at Ooty is managed well and a single line queue is enforced by the RPF on duty, which is behind the piece of rope tied down the platform length. It looked quite busy and was wedged before I even made it to the back of the train to check on the TTE’s list that my name was on it. While peering over his shoulder I noticed my name against seat No.5 but then a Japanese girl turned up with a ticket displayed on her mobile phone. I could see it was shown as WL13 but she was insistent she had an allocated seat. The TTE tried to explain to her that she hadn’t been confirmed and she should get a seat in the unreserved coaches quickly; but she was adamant her name was on the list and pointed to my name. when I explained to her that it was my reservation she was pointing to, she said it couldn’t have been as her first name, which I now can’t remember, began with a J. I showed her my ticket, with my name on it and the realisation sank in. She was last seen scurrying down the platform to attempt to find a seat elsewhere. As it turned out 6 people in my compartment for 8 hadn’t turned up and there was only me in it on departure from Ooty! There was couple of tourists in the next compartment who’d been telling me they hadn’t been able to book tickets through to Mettupalayam as the train had been fully booked; even in 2nd unreserved, which has a limit of sale on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway for safety reasons. I told them that people hadn’t turned up and that they should speak to the TTE at Coonoor to try and blag their way onto the train if they didn’t turn up there either; to which they seemed very grateful.

It was a nice afternoon run down to Coonoor and at Ketti we crossed YDM4 6724 with a single coach, heading towards Ooty. At Coonoor I was surprised to see X Class 37399 waiting on shed to work 56137 forward to Mettupalayam; it’s usually a different steam loco in either direction. The loco change at Coonoor wasn’t done that quickly, which allowed me some time to get outside the station and get some different photos of the loco changes, involving plinthed X Class 37390 in the station car park. Once the shunts had taken place and 37399 had been bolted on for the journey to Mettupalayam I had a wonder onto the shed to see what was going off.

The list of serviceable X Class steam locos had been updated since my last visit and now only had 6 on it; 37391, 392, 396, 397, 398 & 399. Of those, 37392 & 37396 were at GOC on POH and it seemed, with 37399 going back to Mettupalayam, that the rest were undergoing maintenance at ONR as they were all in the shed not looking like they were going anywhere too soon. Curious to find out the score with 6706, which was still stabled by the shed, I went into the SSE’s office and recognized him straight away; and he recognized me from my previous trip also. He was more than happy to engage me in conversation, despite looking busy, and my worst fear was confirmed moments later when he told me that 6706 wouldn’t be working trains the following day as it had wheel problems and was going to GOC on Monday for attention to them. He did however then confirm that YDM4 6681 would replace it; this had recently been transferred from IZN to GOC after a mass surplus of locos became available there after various closures. Having got the gen I wanted, but didn’t want to hear of course, I wondered round the shed, unchallenged. 6706 looked to me to have thin wheels and that was probably why it was being sent back to GOC.

I didn’t have a reservation for the run up to Ooty on 56138 1630 Coonoor – Ooty but had no problem getting a seat in the unreserved next to YDM4 6664. It was full on departure, with every seat taken, but I had one and wasn’t bothered. 6664 put in a good performance as it pushed its train up to the summit at Lovedale and both it and 6724 had sounded very good during the day. 6724 was waiting at Aravankadu to cross 56138 and I didn’t notice straight away that it had both the coach it had gone up to Ooty with earlier and coupled behind that X Class 37384. Quite why they’d decided to move it back from Ooty I don’t know and never found out either.

Back at the Hotel Khems that evening it sounded like a massive group of youths had checked in as there was a right racket going off in the corridor as they all got into their rooms. I had to ask one guy to close his room door at one point as his TV could be heard loud and clear in mine. While I was civilized about it and they guy I asked quite apologetic some wanker stood in the corridor glaring at me, while stood in what I can only describe as an aggressive stance. Needless to say, when I challenged his glaring in my aggressive Yorkshire stance he had no response and disappeared back into his room. Thankfully the racket soon died down and after they’d all gone down to use the restaurant it went quiet again. I’d attempted to use the restaurant myself but despite the menu in the room saying it opened at 1900, it actually didn’t until 1930; yet I was told I could order room service and it was delivered to my room within 10 minutes. It was a shame it wasn’t hot, and was stone cold by the time I’d finished it, as it was quite tasty.

As I’d had quite an early finish I spent the evening utilizing the free WiFi and attempting to book train tickets for my upcoming Ukraine trip in April; which turned into a re-plan of it thanks to some rather bizarre timetabling that had resulted in trains originally being booked to depart origin on odd days of the month, being moved to even days after the March timetable change! There was nothing like re-planning one trip while I was on another; which wasn’t necessarily a first for me. When I went to bed I thought I had it all in hand but the morning after saw to it that I hadn’t!

 

Gen for Friday 3rd March 2017

18904 KJM WDM3A 12257 2100 (P) Yesvantpur – Kochuveli
11318 ED WDM3D 22610 0640 Coimbatore – Mangalore Central
22715 ED WAP4 12671 2115 (P) Chennai Central – Mettupalayam (to Coimbatore)

 

Nilgiri Mountain Railway

6664 GOC YDM4

56141 0745 Coonoor – Ooty

56139 1025 Ooty – Coonoor

56143 1235 Coonoor – Ooty

56137 1400 Ooty – Mettupalayam (to Coonoor)

56138 1630 Coonoor – Ooty

56140 1800 Ooty – Coonoor

6724 GOC YDM4

56136 0710 Mettupalayam – Ooty (from Coonoor)

56142 1215 Ooty – Coonoor

Crossed 56137 at Ketti with a coach for Ooty

Crossed 56138 at Aravankadu heading back to Coonoor with the same coach and 37384

 

6706 waiting a trip to GOC at Coonoor – for attention to thin wheels

6730 undergoing maintenance in Coonoor shed

 

ONR X Class Steam

37384 at Ooty (retired) – moved to Coonoor by 6724 in the afternoon

37386 at Mettupalayam (retired)

37389 at Mettupalayam Railway Museum (retired)

37390 at Coonoor (plinthed)

37391, 37397, 37398 undergoing maintenance at Coonoor

37399

56136 0710 Mettupalayam – Ooty (to Coonoor)

56137 1400 Ooty – Mettupalayam (from Coonoor)

 

Moves for Friday 3rd March 2017

22249 Coimbatore Jn Mettupalayam 12671 2115 (02/03) Chennai Central – Mettupalayam ED WAP4
37399 Mettupalayam Coonoor 56136 0710 Mettupalayam – Udagamandalam (Ooty) ONR X Class Steam loco 37399 propelling to Coonoor, GOC YDM4 6724 propelling forward
6724 Coonoor Udagamandalam (Ooty)
6664 Udagamandalam (Ooty) Coonoor 56137 1400 Udagamandalam (Ooty) – Mettupalayam GOC YDM4
6664 Coonoor Udagamandalam (Ooty) 56138 1630 Coonoor – Udagamandalam (Ooty) GOC YDM4

 

Photos from Friday 3rd March 2017

 

Saturday 4th March 2017 (Heading back down the Nilgiri Mountain Railway then onto Bangalore overnight)

Once I was awake I found it hard to get back to sleep once the light started bleeding through the useless curtains so I got up and picked up where I left off the previous night and set about booking some more train tickets in the Ukraine; which only go on sale so many days before the train’s departure. Being half asleep and not paying as much attention as I should have been didn’t do me any favours when I managed to book the tickets I wanted but for the day before I bloody wanted them! That mistake, while it could have been quite costly, ended up being a god-send eventually and shaped the rest of the trip nicely after I discovered a few other timetabling issues along the way. Still, my error that morning had me packing away the computer in disgust and I was ready for breakfast a few minutes before the restaurant opened at 0730; according to the menu in the room. When I got down to reception though I was told breakfast wasn’t served until 0830. When I pointed out to the staff that this was twice that I’d now attempted to use the restaurant, based on the times advertised on their menu’s in the rooms, and hadn’t been able to as the advertised times were wrong, it just went straight over their head as if I was talking to someone behind them; and they had no interest at all.

I rapidly lost interest as well and asked to hotel to get me an auto to take me back to the station. In the end one of the staff took me in their car as he was going to town to get some supplies anyway. I still had to pay the going rate of RS100 for the journey though. The Hotel Welcome was more than welcoming as I plonked my arse down and ordered an omelette with toast and an aloo paratha for breakfast, both of which were as fresh as they come and very nice. The staff there were very friendly too and there was a constant stream of locals using the place so it must be well liked. I was suitably impressed anyway; and would be back for lunch later.

I ended up at the station that early that the gate was closed and there wasn’t any access to the station platform. I effed it through the refreshment room and asked the station master how I could get my bag into the cloak room. He told me to nook it in at the ticket office, so I did. My advice here would be not to attempt to get your bags into the cloak room immediately before a train departure as the ticket office is responsible for issuing the cloak room ticket and opening the clock room to allow you to deposit your bags; which they can’t do when there’s a big queue of course. The guy in the ticket office was very helpful though and sorted me out straight away; while confirming to another couple that there were no seats left in any of the reserved classes to Coonoor.

Once my bag was deposited in the cloak room, which is on the station at the end of the buildings near the toilets, I ended up chewing the cud with the couple who’d been at the ticket office while I’d been sorting my bag out. We sat at the front of the unreserved queue, which we formed, and watched the mad rush when the RPF turned up and made everyone queue behind the rope. Those that had chosen to sit on the seats at the wrong side of the rope were soon feeling the error of their ways as they were ushered towards the rear of the queue. When YDM4 6664 arrived with 56141 0745 Coonoor – Ooty there was a bit of a bustling feeling about the platform but the RPF did well in keeping order; probably due to the big sticks they have!? Once the train had emptied boarding of the unreserved started straight away and as we were first on we had the pick of the seats. The coach behind 6664 was well loaded when the little YDM4 drew out with 56139 0915 Ooty – Coonoor.

The run down to Coonoor was nothing to write home about, especially as its all downhill from Lovedale, and surprisingly we were into Coonoor before 56136 0710 Mettupalayam – Ooty had arrived. 6724 was sat on shed with the coach to attach to 56136 when it arrived and 6706 was now sat beneath the water tower as though poised to work the following day’s afternoon turn. I suspected that this was due to the fact that X Class 37384 had been dumped by the side of the shed and it had needed to be moved to allow it to do so; but I went to check with the SSE anyway, after photographing X Class 37399 arriving with 56136.

There was certainly no rush to get 6724 shunted onto the train once 37399 was off the train and I got the impression that there might have been something wrong with it when 6706 was started up. Unfortunately for me 6706 was only being started up to do some shunting on shed, so the SSE told me, much to my disappointment. After he told me I was YDM4 mad he beckoned me up to the cab of 6706 and told me to enjoy a quick ride. My only concern with that was that I needed to make sure I was on 56136 back to Ooty to get my bag from the cloak room. He told me not to worry as 6706 shunted down the shed and it was used to move two of the steam locos onto different roads in the shed. I kept an eye on 6724 the whole while and made sure I got off the loco and went over to the train once it had shunted off shed.

I did have a reservation for 56136 from Coonoor to Ooty but is had been in 2S (2nd reserved) and WL28 when issued. I’d checked it before leaving the Hotel Khems and after charting I’d managed to make it WL1! The TTE milling about had been the same one I’d seen the previous afternoon at Ooty and he soon found me a seat in 2S, in a compartment that only had 5 people in on departure from Coonoor. One of the occupants of which told me he’d worked in a call centre in Bangalore for Admiral Insurance. Strangely, his first question was to ask if it was true that people in different areas of the UK sometimes struggled to understand each other. I explained the issues with localised accents in the UK and how they could be very different only 15 miles apart; especially in South Yorkshire, where I live. We ended up discussing the issues that people from the UK had with UK business’ basing their call centres in India and he explained to me that during training the staff are made to watch videos and listen to regular calls involving English people engaging in everyday conversation. This is to get them used to the accepts and ways of pronouncing words in the English language. He personally found it hard to deal with people from Scotland and Wales as their accents were the hardest to understand. It was an interesting conversation to have and while only a young lad, he’d been up the Nilgiri Mountain Railway 4 times himself and enjoyed the trip. The conversation certainly passed the time along the way.

Upon arrival into Ooty I was straight to the Hotel Welcome, where the staff weren’t surprised to see me. They served up a cracking dish of veg noodles and I thanked them profusely for providing me with good food during my time in Ooty. Back at the station I collected my bag from the cloak room, had a few coffees and pondered what would now be the start of my journey home to the UK, via Bangalore. I only had the following day to go, before flying home, and nothing at all had gone amiss on the trip; it had been a breeze.

Thankfully my reservation for 56137 1400 Ooty – Mettupalayam had been allocated right from being issued and there was no messing about with the wait list. When YDM4 6664 arrived with the set to form 56137 I was straight into my compartment in FS1 (first class) and was pleasantly surprised when we departed Ooty with just four of us in it. There was a Chinese woman, who spent most of the journey asleep, and an elderly couple who were heading down to Mettupalayam on the train and being picked up there by their driver, who would take them on to Coimbatore. It was a nice relaxing journey and the couple were good company. YDM4 6664 gave way to X Class steam loco 37399 at Coonoor and 6724 was in the adjacent platform with stock when we headed out of the station and down the hill towards Mettupalayam.

The highlight of the downhill journey to Mettupalayam is the interaction with the monkeys at Hillgrove during the refreshment stop. The moment the train rounded the corner towards the station I could see them rushing from the trees to the platform in readiness to scrounge food from people on the train. During the 15 minute stop the monkeys basically stuffed their face with anything they were given and there was a clear hierarchy amongst them. By the time the train departed every monkey had cheeks bulging with whatever they’d stuffed in. there was even a mother nursing a very young monkey and none of them were afraid to just mingle in on the platform. When I got back onto the train I was told that some people in the coach had been robbed of their food after monkeys had crept in through the windows on the off-side of the train and done away with whatever they could get their hands on.

Going back down to Mettupalayam there isn’t the need to stop everywhere for water as the loco isn’t working as hard and unfortunately there is no stop at Adderley on the way back; which has excellent views over the hills of a late afternoon. From Kallar the little steam loco works hard as it rushes along the home stretch and everyone welcomes the train back into Mettupalayam as they had done when it had departed that morning; with waving arms.

After arrival into Mettupalayam I noticed a guy walking down the train pointing a temperature reader at the axles on the stock. After he’d done his rounds the stock was shunted by 37399, and the following day’s set prepared, before it shunted onto shed for servicing. During the shunting, I’d noticed a GOC liveried loco down in the carriage sidings and had initially thought it had been a WDS6 but soon realised that whatever it was, was on a BG flat wagon. Inspection revealed GOC YDM4 6681, with a plate on it confirming it had been overhauled at GOC in December 2016. It looked pristine and would no doubt be soon pressed into service. Thankfully it hadn’t been too dark by the time I noticed it and nobody challenged me as I walked round the carriage sidings snapping away.

The wait at Mettupalayam for 12672 1945 Mettupalayam – Chennai Central is over 2 hours and I was ready for clambering on board, even when RPM WAP7 30410 arrived with 56144 1755 Coimbatore – Mettupalayam passenger. Unfortunately, it took an age to shunt the stock and get the set into the station, which only happened about 15 minutes before departure. On board, I got talking to a guy who recognised me from my trip to Mettupalayam the previous morning. He was from Mettupalayam and had a farm there but had to spend a lot of his time in Chennai on other business. Our conversation to Coimbatore passed the time and before I knew it I was in the restaurant of the Park Inn Hotel, stuffing my face with a very good chilli chicken.

My train of choice back to Bangalore was 16528 Kannur – Yesvantpur and I was grateful of its prompt arrival at 2330 and even more grateful that it was the correct traction; with ED WDM3D 11171 up front. The 2AC was deftly quite and the lights were out along the whole coach when I boarded. The TTE was thankfully on the platform when I boarded and checked me off his list straight away. Unfortunately, I ended up having to find him after departure as the lower side berth I had was a disgrace. The two portions of the berth didn’t marry up when put down to make the bed and his solution to it ended up being a blanket beneath the lowest side; which did the trick and at least allowed me to get to sleep. It was a good job as well, as there were no more berths available in AC!

 

Gen for Saturday 4th March 2017

30410 RPM WAP7 56144 1755 Coimbatore – Mettupalayam

Nilgiri Mountain Railway

6664 GOC YDM4

56141 0745 Coonoor – Ooty

56139 1025 Ooty – Coonoor

56143 1235 Coonoor – Ooty

56137 1400 Ooty – Mettupalayam (to Coonoor)

6724 GOC YDM4

56136 0710 Mettupalayam – Ooty (from Coonoor)

56142 1215 Ooty – Coonoor

Crossed 56137 at Ketti with a coach for Ooty

Crossed 56138 at Aravankadu heading back to Coonoor with the same coach and 37384

6681 on a BG flat wagon at Mettupalayam

6706 waiting a trip to GOC at Coonoor – for attention to thin wheels

6730 undergoing maintenance in Coonoor shed

ONR X Class Steam

37384 at Coonoor (retired)

37386 at Mettupalayam (retired)

37389 at Mettupalayam Railway Museum (retired)

37390 at Coonoor (plinthed)

37391, 37397, 37398 undergoing maintenance at Coonoor

37399

56136 0710 Mettupalayam – Ooty (to Coonoor)

56137 1400 Ooty – Mettupalayam (from Coonoor)

 

Moves for Saturday 4th March 2017

6664 Udagamandalam (Ooty) Coonoor 56139 0915 Udagamandalam (Ooty) – Coonoor GOC YDM4
6706 Coonoor Steam Loco Shed Shunting Shunt moves on Coonoor Steam Loco Shed GOC YDM4 6706 restricted to shunting
6724 Coonoor Udagamandalam (Ooty) 56136 0710 Mettupalayam – Udagamandalam (Ooty) GOC YDM4
6664 Udagamandalam (Ooty) Coonoor 56137 1400 Udagamandalam (Ooty) – Mettupalayam GOC YDM4 6664 to Coonoor for ONR X Class Steam loco 37399 to Mettupalayam
37399 Coonoor Mettupalayam
30410 Mettupalayam Coimbatore Jn 12672 1945 Mettupalayam – Chennai Central RPM WAP7
11171 Coimbatore Jn Yesvantpur Jn 16528 1805 Kannur – Yesvantpur Jn ED WDM3D

 

Photos from Saturday 4th March 2017

 

Sunday 5th March 2017 (Last day of the trip in Bangalore)

As I was about the last into the AC, at Coimbatore the previous night, I had rather been hoping that I’d be last up but as is usually the case everyone was up and about before 0600 and there were no holds barred as regards the talking, lights turning on and there were even people playing music on their phone; at stupid o’clock in the morning. There really isn’t any consideration for others at all on board trains, seemingly not even with educated people about! It was a waste of time even attempting to get back to sleep, so up I got and had no qualms at all in giving various people the eye to show my disgust at their lack of respect for others around!

When I went in search of chai I found we were stood in the platform at Banaswadi. It was soon evident why when KJM WDG3A 13368 came trundling in with an empty express rake. ED’s 11171 was soon blowing up for departure when the back coach of the empty rake had cleared the points; and a good spirited run it was round the houses to Yesvantpur. On the approach to where, UBL WDG4 70460 was running in alongside with 16536 Solapur – Mysore and the recently introduced Railbus service between Yesvantpur & Nelamangala was just heading out of town. I can only assume that Railbus 30006, that formed 76521 0730 Yesvantpur – Nelamangala, was the Railbus that had been in use on the Bangarapet – Kolar service until it had been replaced by DMU’s recently?

As the arrival time of 16528 into Yesvantpur was 0800 I’d already missed everything of interest that morning at Bangalore City so it was a case of mill about and see what happened. As I ran over the footbridge to do 16536 into Bangalore City, KJM WDP4 20053 was just arriving with 56515 0745 Bangalore City – Hubli. On the approach to Bangalore City KJM WDS6 36025 was waiting in the head-shunt to propel a set of stock back into the carriage sidings and I soon discovered KJM WDS6AD 36313 shunting in the middle carriage sidings as well; later I found KJM WDS6 36016 shunting at the Mysore end of the middle carriage sidings too!

RPM WAP7 30359 was sat at Bangalore City, waiting to depart with 12295 0900 Bangalore City – Patliputra and AJJ WAP1 22016 was at the opposite side of the station, with ED WDG3A 13494 dead inside it, waiting to head off with 56262 0915 Bangalore City – Arakkonam Jn. UBL WDP4 20020 was in platform 5, slightly foul of the foot crossing too, having arrived with 16518/16524 Kannur/Karwar – Bangalore City (via Hassan). Basically, the place was swimming in GM’s but for GTL WDM3A 16603, which was sat in the head-shunt off platform 8; in readiness to work 56225/56226 to Tumkur and return later that afternoon. There weren’t even any Alco’s stabled in the middle sidings, with ED WDM3D 11451 being the only one knocking about the station at all; which I assumed would be for 17235 to Nagercoil later that afternoon.

I’d been pondering what to do about my big bag and whether to get a hotel before heading to the airport for my 0700 flight the following morning. With some time on my hands I decided to kill both issues in one go and rather than stay at my usual hotel, 15 minutes from the station, I opted to get myself a room at the Pavana Residency; which is right outside Bangalore City station on the right-hand side. Access to which, from the station, is through the nearest restaurant to the station via the service entrance stairs inside it (on the left). A room for 24 hours was RS1040 and I was given a room on the second floor, when I asked, to keep away from the noise of the restaurant below and the noise from the reception desk. I’d stayed in exactly the same room on a previous occasion. It was basic, had no AC but the fan was sufficient, had a large bed and facilities to enable me to get a shower; once I’d got the hotel staff to make water come out of it! Overall, it’s nothing to write home about but is convenient, it was quiet enough and allowed me to come and go when I wanted a bit of respite from the station.

Fully refreshed, I was heading back to Yesvantpur with KJM WDP4 20062 on 56221 0920 Bangalore City – Tumkur. KJM WDP4D 40239 had arrived into Bangalore City with 56224 0500 Arsikere – Bangalore and was departing at the same time as me with 56232 0920 Bangalore City – Mysore. ED WAP4 22223 was heading down the hill from Yesvantpur with 56524 0630 Hindupur – Bangalore City and soon after my arrival into Yesvantpur KJM WDM3A’s 14077/14047 rolled in with 56926 0815 Tumkur – Bangalore City; this being the last commuter of the morning as the Kolar turn had gone over to a DMU at the timetable change and had also been extended through to Channapatana on the Mysore line. When I realised this I was very grateful of my last ditch move 12 months previous that had allowed me to cover the line via Chikballapur to Kolar with an Alco; the line was now solid DMU Yelahanka – Chikballapur – Kolar – Bangarapet!

During my morning hanging around at Yesvantpur I did KJM WDP4 20041 to Malleswaram on 56228 0400 Shimoga Town – Bangalore City, for an auto straight back. I then let KZJ WDG/WDM3A’s depart with 18112 1030 Yesvantpur – Tatanagar and watched KJM WDG3A 14639 arrive with 16572 Bidar – Yesvantpur. I was then very surprised when 56241 0520 Salem – Yesvantpur arrived on time. A pristine ED WDG3A 14640 lead a shabby ED WDG3A 14671, which was dead inside it. Many people on board didn’t bother to get off and sat it out on the stock, waiting for the empty set to run down to Bangalore City as 56582 1130 Yesvantpur – Bangalore City. It was a long wait!

In the meantime, a few more GM’s got themselves into the mix at Yesvantpur as KJM WDP4D 40226 arrived with 16023 Mysore – Yesvantpur and KJM WDP4B 40052 was dropped onto the opposite end of the stock to form 16024 1315 Yesvantpur – Mysore. What happened next stunned me a little as BAZ WAP4 25039 rolled in with 17603 Kacheguda – Yesvantpur; which I’d seen the previous week with a GY WDP4. This could only mean that the OHL had been energised between Hindupur & Guntakal and this would probably soon change the whole dynamic of loco links between Guntakal & Bangalore!

Once KJMWDP4 20019 had departed with 16202 0635 Shimoga Town – Bangalore City, the empty stock off 56241 was soon following suit; with a now restless bunch of passengers in the front coach. I, on the other hand, was out of the front door as 14640 got to grips with the train leaving Yesvantpur and was quite pleased with yet another ED Shakti being thrown in my direction; and it wouldn’t stop there as I needed 14671 as well! KJM WDS6 36025 was waiting outside the station to shunt the stock from platform 8 to 10 on arrival and it was done pretty much straight away.

After a quick egg biriyani, I did a quick out and back to Yesvantpur with UBL WDP4 20007 on 12725 1300 Bangalore City – Dharwad for KHJM WDP4B back on 16024 1315 Yesvantpur – Mysore and dropped straight into GTL WDM3A 16603 on 56225 1340 Bangalore City – Tumkur. While the Alco was attaching, I slurped on a nice cold carton of strawberry milkshake from one of the stalls on the platform and noticed something different over the way. I ultimately discovered BZA WAP4 25032 sat waiting to depart with 18464 1400 Bangalore City – Bhubaneswar Prashanti Express; another train that I’d seen with a WDP4 the previous week!

Like the previous week, again I decided to do 56225 through to Chikbanavar for 56580 1400 Nelamangala – Bangalore City back. Unlike the previous week though, I was pleasantly surprised when I made the late running 56277 0740 Chikkamagalur – Yesvantpur passenger with yet another ED WDG3A in charge; this time 14693. Doing this back to Yesvantpur basically dropped me into a place unrecognisable by the locos heading the trains that were there!

LGD WAP4 22642 was just being attached to 17604 1530 Yesvantpur – Kacheguda, KZJ WDG4’s 70048/12969 were waiting to depart with 12193 1550 Yesvantpur – Jabalpur, which had GY WDP4D 40191 stood off the opposite end of the stock; so, whether it had come in with 12193 Jabalpur – Yesvantpur or just brought the empty stock in, I don’t know. Finally, KJM WDG4 12637 was just heading off with a late 17309 1430 Yesvantpur – Vasco da Gama. The GM/Electric hold on things was branching out fast so it seemed and it was long ago that all of the aforementioned links had been Alco; and even with the GM links being taken over by electrics this could only spell further disaster as far as Alco links went!

Newbie KJM WDP4D 40415, with its January 2017 builder’s plate, took me back down the hill into Bangalore City with 56580 1400 Nelamangala – Bangalore City. ED WDG3A 14671 was waiting outside the station to drop onto the opposite end of the set and work back out with 56581 1530 Bangalore City – Yesvantpur empty special, to transfer the stock back to Yesvantpur to form 56242 1605 Yesvantpur – Salem passenger. It was bloody good run up the hill, after the speed restriction outside Bangalore City, and I was soon heading back to Bangalore City in an auto after spotting ED WDM3D 11451 sat in at Bangalore City with the stock for 17235 1735 Bangalore City – Nagercoil.

This move in itself resulted in another auto back down from Bangalore Cantt to Bangalore City, to see what Bangalore would throw at me during the afternoon/evening rush. Before departing on 17235, I’d watched KJM WDG3A’s 13335/13249 arrive with 16557 Mysore – Yesvantpur and they were sat waiting to depart with 12786 1820 Bangalore City – Kacheguda when I got back and ED WAP4 22223 was about to depart late with 56523 1745 Bangalore City – Hindupur. A walk to the Mysore end of the station revealed ED WDM3A’s 16803/16674 having arrived with 11013 Coimbatore – Mumbai CST, which departed with a GM. Arriving as I got down there was KJM WDG4 12029 with 56237 1445 Mysore – Bangalore City and being prepared for departure on 16216 1815 Bangalore City – Mysore were KJM WDG4’s 12027/12031; which had been sat in the loco sidings at the Cantt end of platform 1 all day. Back at the business end of the station PA WDP4D 40147 was waiting in platform 1 with the Karnataka Express, 12627 1920 Bangalore City – New Delhi; which basically topped of a pretty grim picture at Bangalore for an evening rush hour. The place had gone down the toilet, Alco-wise, so fast it was almost unbelievable and quite demoralising for an Alco man like myself.

A run up the hill from Bangalore City to Cantt with KJM Shakti’s 13335/13249 on 12786 1820 Bangalore City – Kacheguda was well worth the effort though and I had the front door to myself; very, very good! As was ED WDM3A 16504 when it departed Bangalore Cantt with 56513 Karaikal – Bangalore City passenger, which was that good it left me kicking myself that I hadn’t done it down the hill with the way the driver caned it out of the station!

I was left waiting to do 12678 Ernakulam – Bangalore City back down the hill, which ultimately turned up with ED WDM3A’s 16668/14054, and watched ED WDM3A’s 16169/16462 arrive and depart with 16232 Mysore – Mayilduthurai in the meantime. When 16668/14054 dropped me back into Bangalore City my whole trip was over, that was literally it! It had been quite a strange day in the ever-changing environment that Indian Railways possesses but as I walked over to the hotel, with another egg biriyani in hand, I pondered whether it was ever worth returning to Bangalore based on what I’d seen on this occasion. The imminent opening of the Bangalore – Nelamangala –   Hassan line would certainly seal at least one more trip to Bangalore but even when that opened there was no guarantee that there’d be any Alco-hauled trains over it; such was the climate of IR nowadays. All that was well out of my mind when I got back to the hotel and was sat scoffing my egg biriyani.

My big bag was soon packed and I was laid out on my large bed, with the fan keeping me cool, not long after. I had to be up at 0330 to get a taxi to the airport so there wasn’t going to be much sleep anyway, but it was better than none at all and festering at the airport all night; which I’d done at Bangalore once and vowed never to do again.

 

Gen for Sunday 5th March 2017

11378 PA WDM3D 22133 1920 (P) Solapur – Yesvantpur
20053 KJM WDP4 56515 0745 Bangalore City – Hubli
30359 RPM WAP7 12295 0900 Bangalore City – Patliputra
22016 AJJ WAP1 (13494 ED WDG3A) 56262 0915 Bangalore City – Arakkonam
20020 UBL WDP4 16518 1640 (P)/16524 1440 (P) Kannur/Karwar – Bangalore City
20045 KJM WDP4 16574 2050 (P) Puducherry – Yesvantpur
40239 KJM WDP4D 56224 0500 Arsikere – Bangalore City, 56232 0920 Bangalore City – Mysore
22223 ED WAP4 56524 0630 Hindupur – Bangalore City, 56523 1745 Bangalore City – Hindupur
20062 KJM WDP4 56231 0550 Mysore – Bangalore City, 56222 1120 Tumkur – Bangalore City
14077/14047 KJM WDM3A’s 56926 0815 Tumkur – Bangalore City
14928/16501 KZJ WDG/WDM3A’s 18112 1030 Yesvantpur – Tatanagar
14639 KJM WDG3A 16572 1805 (P) Bidar – Yesvantpur
20065 UBL WDP4 17308 1410 (P) Bagalkot – Mysore
25039 BZA WAP4 17603 2100 (P) Kacheguda – Yesvantpur
14640/(14671) ED WDG3A’s 56241 0520 Salem – Yesvantpur
20019 KJM WDP4 16202 0635 Shimoga Town – Bangalore City
40226 KJM WDP4D 16023 0820 Mysore – Yesvantpur
40052 KJM WDP4B 16024 1315 Yesvantpur – Mysore
20007 UBL WDP4 12725 1300 Bangalore City – Dharwad
40415 KJM WDP4D 56281 0700 Chamarajanagar – Bangalore City, 56579 1220 Bangalore City – Nelamangala, 56580 1400 Nelamangala – Bangalore City
25032 BZA WAP4 18464 1400 Bangalore City – Bhubaneswar
12121 UBL WDG4 (20059 KJM WDP4) 12613 1115 Mysore – Bangalore City, 16534 1700 Bangalore City – Bhagat Ki Kothi
40191 GY WDP4D 12194 0645 (P) Jabalpur – Yesvantpur???? Attached to stock
22642 LGD WAP4 17604 1530 Yesvantpur – Kacheguda
12637 KJM WDG4 17309 1430 Yesvantpur – Vasco da Gama
70048/12969 KZJ WDG4’s 12193 1550 Yesvantpur – Jabalpur
14693 ED WDG3A 56278 1515 Yesvantpur – Chikkamagalur
20059 KJM WDP4 16201 1530 Bangalore City – Shimoga Town
16803/16674 ED WDM3A’s 11014 0855 Coimbatore – Mumbai CST (to Bangalore)
13335/13249 KJM WDG3A’s 16557 1430 Mysore – Bangalore City, 12786 1820 Bangalore City – Kacheguda
12027/12031 KJM WDG4’s 16216 1815 Bangalore City – Mysore
30444 RPM WAP7 56508 1800 Bangalore City – Marikkupam
12029 KJM WDG4 56237 1445 Mysore – Bangalore City
22821 ET WAP4 56504 2040 (P) Vijayawada – Bangalore Cantt
22042 AJJ WAP1 56261 0800 Arakkonam – Bangalore City
16169/16462 ED WDM3A’s 16232 1530 Mysore – Mayilduthurai
16504 ED WDM3A 56513 2230 (P) Karaikal – Bangalore City
40147 PA WDP4D 12627 1920 Bangalore City – New Delhi
40156 PA WDP4D 11302 2045 Bangalore City – Mumbai CST
22603 ED WAP4 16526 2000 Bangalore City – Kanniyakumari

 

Moves for Sunday 5th March 2017

70460 Yesvantpur Jn Bangalore City 16536 1410 (04/03) Solapur Jn – Mysore Jn UBL WDG4
20062 Bangalore City Yesvantpur Jn 56221 0920 Bangalore City – Tumkur KJM WDP4
20041 Yesvantpur Jn Malleswaram 56228 0400 Shimoga Town – Bangalore City KJM WDP4
Auto Malleswaram Yesvantpur Jn RS80, 5 minutes
14640 Yesvantpur Jn Bangalore City 56582 1130 Yesvantpur Jn – Bangalore City ED WDG3A 14640 with ED WDG3A 14671 dead inside – stock transfer move ex 56241 Salem – Yesventpur
20007 Bangalore City Yesvantpur Jn 12725 1300 Bangalore City – Dharwad UBL WDP4
40052 Yesvantpur Jn Bangalore City 16024 1315 Yesvantpur Jn – Mysore Jn KJM WDP4B
16603 Bangalore City Chikbanavar 56225 1340 Bangalore City – Tumkur GTL WDM3A
14693 Chikbanavar Yesvantpur Jn 56277 0740 Chikmagalur – Yesvantpur Jn ED WDG3A
40415 Yesvantpur Jn Bangalore City 56580 1400 Nelamangala – Bangalore City KJM WDP4D
14671 Bangalore City Yesvantpur Jn 56581 1530 Bangalore City – Yesvantpur Jn ED WDG3A – stock transfer move to form 56242 1605 Yesvantpur – Salem
Auto Yesvantpur Jn Bangalore City RS150, 25 minutes
11451 Bangalore City Bangalore Cantt 17235 1735 Bangalore City – Nagercoil Jn ED WDM3D
Auto Bangalore Cantt Bangalore City RS150, 20 minutes
13335 Bangalore City Bangalore Cantt 12786 1820 Bangalore City – Kacheguda KJM WDG3A’s
13249
16668 Bangalore Cantt Bangalore City 12678 0910 Ernakulam Jn – Bangalore City ED WDM3A’s
14054

 

Photos from Sunday 5th March 2017

 

Monday 6th March 2017 (The journey home)

I was a bit bleary eyed when my alarm went off at 0330 but the fact that the shower would only dispense cold water soon sorted that issue out! Having no lights in the bathroom didn’t help matters either and my torch was buried in my bag, so I couldn’t be arsed to dig it out; so, a cold shower in relative darkness it was.

All the taxi drivers I walked by, on the way to the pre-paid taxi booth outside Bangalore City, wanted to take me to the airport for RS800 but I was adamant I’d be taking one from the pre-pay stand; when they quoted me RS900 for the journey I soon changed my tune and literally had two guys arguing over who was going to take me. I wish I’d opted for the one I hadn’t as the guy that did taken me looked like he was going to fall asleep at any moment. I was that concerned he was that I just kept talking inanely at him to keep him awake. I dread taxi journeys in India sometimes and that example was one of the reasons why.

Having survived my taxi journey to the airport I was through the doors in no time and at the check-in desk getting a boarding pass. I’d checked in on my phone, while festering on 16528 at Banaswadi, the previous morning. I was online within seconds of check-in opening and yet there’d only been 4 seats to choose from and there hadn’t been an option to download the boarding pass. The woman at the check-in desk told me the flight was full and that they held seats back for those that checked in at the airport, hence there only being a few available online. My cheeky request for a free upgrade fell on deaf ears unfortunately and I was through immigration moments later.

Bangalore airport doesn’t have the usual big-name food chains so it’s a case of take what’s there. It was a little before 0500 when I asked for my omelette and toast for breakfast but it wasn’t available. I could have had a pizza though! In the end I settled for croissant and coffee before waiting it out by the gate. When my name was called out, to go to the counter, over the tannoy, I was almost certain I was getting an upgrade. Unfortunately, I was only asked to move seats so a couple could sit together. As it was an aisle for an aisle I obliged and the couple were quite grateful. Boarding started quite early and I was the first through the gate in pleb class, only to be pulled aside by security staff, who were doing random swab tests on phones and bags. I was soon sat in my seat though, big bag safely stowed above me, and ready for the off.

The flight was about as straightforward as they come on the way home, I dozed a little, watched a couple of films, had some decent food and even chatted with the guy travelling beside me for a bit. I was glad when we landed though and was more than ready for home. After the usual rigmarole of my passport not opening the electronic gates I was away through the airport and Kings Cross bound; it was a little unfortunate that the guard on the 1435 Kings Cross – Leeds didn’t want me to get home as quickly as I wanted me to get home and he denied me an hour early bath; so, I went to the café opposite Kings Cross Thameslink to wait for my booked 1535 Kings Cross – Leeds.

91126 did the honours on the way home and I was joined by Vic, who’d landed at Heathrow, having come from Chennai, about 30 minutes after me. We chewed the fat on the way home and had quite a bit to talk about since we’d last seen each other in Ranchi. Until next time………..

 

Moves from Monday 6th March 2017

G-YMMH Bangalore Heathrow Terminal 5 BA118 0700 Bangalore – Heathrow British Airways
91126 Kings Cross Doncaster 1D20 1535 Kings Cross – Leeds

One Comment

  1. Poodle
    Posted 09/04/2017 at 4:54 am. Reply to this comment

    Been reading your India 2017 report since 0300 & not finished at 0600 ! Good way to pass a Saturday night shift, Cheers Poodle

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