India February 2018 – Palia Kalan MG
Having managed to secure one of the last ever Indrail Passes sold, and quite possibly the last ever, I had no choice but to make do with a 60-day Sleeper Class one; and decided to make use of it with a last-minute trip ahead of my long-planned 3-week trip in March.
Two things swung it for me, one being the fact that the MG from Pilibhit to Mailani remained open, even though it was planned to close on 15th October 2017, and the fact that two ex NKE YDM4’s had infiltrated the IZN clan; namely 6636 & 6715. The other deciding factor in the trip was the fact that KJM seemed to be going all out to become the next DLS to become solid GM. As my previous trip to Bangalore hadn’t given me what I’d wanted, which was to cover the newly built line from Yesvantpur to Hassan with Alco, I had to try again and put all my hopes in the fact that the overnight Bangalore – Mangalore trains were being diverted via the new line, 4 times per week, with effect from 10th February 2018. Of course, the existing trains were booked for twin KJM Alco’s, so I pinned my hopes on the loco links remaining the same after the diversion commenced.
Booked through British Airways
BA143 1120 Heathrow – Delhi
BA198 0700 Bangalore – Heathrow
Booked through Air India
AI502 1325 Delhi T3 – Bangalore
Palia Kalan – Hotel Sleep Inn – only a 3-minute walk from the station. The reception staff were very attentive and even though I’d booked for three nights through Booking.com, starting from the following night, there was no issue getting a room. I was shown two and settled on one that overlooked the main road, mostly because the road noise was less than that coming from the generator near the other room, and it had a balcony that overlooked the station; which was about 100m away, as the crow flies. It was a clean and spacious room, with a king-sized bed. WiFi was ok when I checked in but worked sporadically throughout my stay and was more often not working. The bathroom was clean, some toiletries were provided, and hot water was from a geyser; which I also had issues with on my first morning, in that it wouldn’t provide me any hot water at all, despite having been on all night. While the room had AC, I never used it as the room temperature was nice and cool, whatever the temperature was outside. Food at the hotel’s restaurant was excellent and I was never disappointed; it was piping hot, very tasty and cooked fresh.
Bangalore – Hotel Signature Inn – a steady 10-minute walk from Bangalore City station. Having stayed at the hotel before, I knew what to expect and the staff on the front desk remembered me from one of my previous stays. I was given a quiet room at the back of the hotel and while the rooms aren’t big, they’re adequate and have hot water in the bathrooms. Food in the hotel’s restaurant is very good too.
Indrail Pass 60 Days (Sleeper Class only)
Booked in the UK through SD Enterprises Limited
NOTE – the sale of Indrail Passes ceased in October 2017, they are no longer available, even in India.
All long-distance overnight tickets, in the AC classes, were booked online using either the IRCTC website or the Cleartrip website; with the latter being linked to the former and requiring an IRCTC login to complete the bookings anyway, but it sometimes works better than the IRCTC website.
Tuesday 20th February 2018 (The journey to Delhi)
After my last taxi journey from home to Doncaster station almost resulted in me missing my booked train to London, I was a bit wary of the situation when I used the same company again. The taxi was outside my door waiting at the booked time though, and there was nothing to worry about at all; other than the fact that I had no money to pay the guy with and rather embarrassingly, he had to wait outside the station while I nipped in to get some money to pay him with!
Just after I got back from my last trip to India, I turned down a job offer, which I’d initially accepted, with Virgin Trains East Coast; in favour of joining Freightliner instead. This meant that I’d been so close, yet so far away, from becoming a Priv-kid for the first time in my railway career. Randomly, my wife was hot on my heels with a job application to VTEC and she started shortly after I’d started with Freightliner and was on the same two-week VTEC welcome course that I should have been on. Even more randomly, especially as I’d booked my train tickets to London for the 0536 from Doncaster before she’d started, her first day of on the job training was this very same day; and she was only rostered to 1A01 0505 Leeds – Kings Cross! Yep, the very same 0536 departure from Doncaster, you just couldn’t write it. By the time I got to the station I’d had a text telling me to clamber into 1st class and it was a rather pleasant journey to London; even if my wife was probably quite embarrassed at having her husband watch her every move on her first day…
1A01 was 2 minutes early into Kings Cross, where I bode my wife farewell and dashed off to the underground. I was walking into Heathrow Terminal 5 departures an hour later. The girl at the visa check desk, which is for people that are already checked in and are hand-luggage only, was quite pleasant and she was amazed at the fact someone would want to have a 5-year visa for somewhere like India; by choice!
Wetherspoon’s was still in the throws of refurbishment and Huxley’s, upstairs from it, was still taking all it’s food business. To be honest, even though Huxley’s is probably a bit dearer, I’ll be sticking with them from now on. The food is better quality, the service better and there’s loads more space inside.
My 1120 British Airways flight to Delhi was boarded in good enough time, even though the plane had been waiting on the tarmac for a few hours. As the doors were closed, I was amazed that I was the only person occupying my row of four seats in the middle of the plane and reveled in it by spreading out a bit. The flight was seamless, the service very good, I got the meal I wanted at every serving and even managed to watch a film and have a nod for a bit; before arriving into Delhi IGI Terminal 3 10 minutes early.
Moves for Tuesday 20th February 2018
|91102||Doncaster||Kings Cross||0505 Leeds – Kings Cross||1A01|
|G-CIVP||Heathrow Terminal 5||Delhi IGI Terminal 3||1120 Heathrow – Delhi||BA143|
Wednesday 21st February 2018 (Delhi to Palia Kalan)
We touched down at 0107 and as soon as the fasten seatbelt sign went off, I managed to steal my way through to the mid cabin section; before anyone was even out of their seats. The plane was quickly emptying out and I was horrified when I got to immigration, by the sheer fact that there was nobody at all waiting in line at the foreigner’s counters. It was all very un-Indian and by the time I got to the desks there were three people in front of me and I was only waiting 60 seconds to be seen. I was soon walking out of the airport, having walked straight up to the Delhi Police pre-pay taxi booth, inside the airport just after exiting the baggage hall, to pay RS700 to get me straight to Delhi Jn station; and the whole Delhi airport experience cost me a mere 24 minutes of my time, from touching down to setting off in my taxi.
I was at Delhi Junction station, 25 minutes after leaving the airport, and literally just under an hour from the wheels of the plane touching the Delhi tarmac. It was amazing, and something that would probably never be repeated, ever! My taxi driver had been touting for other passengers at the airport, when he realised I was on my own, to attempt to get two fares from the one journey; I soon put a stop to that and had him on his way. I often follow taxi journeys on ME Maps and this one was no exception, mainly because I didn’t recognize the route he was taking, and it was the middle of the night. When I realised what he was doing, his routing made perfect sense, and he basically avoided the city centre altogether, turning right at New Delhi station and heading the back way to Old Delhi station instead (Delhi Jn).
As I’d already activated the internet on my Vodafone Indian sim, I was good to go before I’d even got off the plane, yet I’d not done a station line-up for Delhi Jn until I walked onto the platform. This revealed two things, one being that I could have got the taxi to Delhi Cantt and saved a load of money, and two, there was a move on thanks to some late runners. 14312 Bhuj – Bareilly Jn was nearly 13 hours late and would have been the taxi from Delhi Cantt to Junction had I realised before I’d left the airport. However, had I realised before I’d left the airport, I might not have been at Delhi Junction to do 19602 New Jalpaiguri – Udaipur City out of Delhi, for 14312 back in; and what’s more, there was quite a bit going on at Delhi Jn that kept me more than occupied.
TKD’s recently POH’d WDP1 15005, in the swanky new blue & yellow livery, was sat in platform 14 with some of the stock to form 54005 0415 Delhi Jn – Bhiwani Jn. The rest of the stock for it was added later. SSB WDS6R 36524 was shunting in the carriage sidings and classmate 36286 was standing beneath the footbridge in the carriage sidings, waiting its next shunt move. UDL WDG3A 14880, surprisingly, arrived with 19602 NJP – Udaipur, just the 14h30m late. I was wrong ended at the station when it did, which turned out to be advantageous as a result. When SSB WDS6R 36519 dropped onto the back of 19602, it was easy to figure out what was going off when the shunter got down between the rear two coaches and disconnected the rear one. I feared that the shunt might not take place until after 19602 had departed but it was done pretty much as soon as the coach was disconnected. I only did it to the signal though and legged it back to the train; and didn’t make it anywhere near the front before 14880 was rolling out of the station with it.
I’d not considered the stopping pattern of 19602 but when it trickled into Delhi Sarai Rohilla I was off, only to realise that it wasn’t booked to stop and for some reason had been routed through the platform. It was a bonus in disguise really, as the Ala Hazrat Express, 14312, seemed to have already departed Delhi Cantt and sure enough was approaching in the distance when I got onto the footbridge. It was the expected IZN GM though, given away by the headlight configuration in the distance, and turned up with IZN WDP4D 40311; which was a free ride back into Delhi Jn if nothing else.
I had time to check out what was working 54413 0315 Delhi Jn – Rewari passenger and needed the time to walk the whole length of the main station and then the same length again to down the Rewari end bay platforms, to find LDH WDM3A 18943 being prepared by the loco pilot and BGKT WDP4D 40284 dead inside it. A free ride back to the buffer stops reared its head as a set of stock was being propelled into the adjacent platform. Of course, it saved me nothing though, as I had to walk back to the end of the platform again to spot the loco that had shunted it in; which revealed itself as SSB WDS6AD 36315.
As 18943 was dud, I hung around to see what else would be on offer. TKD WDP3A 15511 arrived into platform 15 with 54075 2255 (P) Moradabad Jn – Delhi Jn and formed 54309 0520 Delhi Jn – Rewari Jn and TKD WDP1 15037 wasn’t far behind with 51912 1815 (P) Saharanpur Jn – Delhi Jn, running 4h30m late. While over at that side of the station, I noticed a set of stock being shunted out of the carriage sidings, at the Ghaziabad end of the station. Investigation resulted in me being shunted back down platform 14 with the extra coaches that were attached to 54005 0415 Delhi Jn – Bhiwani Jn, with SSB WDS6AD 36286.
Jetlag was getting the better of me when I contemplated doing IZN WDP4D 40140 to Delhi Cantt on 15014 Kathgodam – Jaisalmer, mainly because 14554 Amb Andaura – Delhi Jn was 3 hours late and this was the rake-share for my booked 14556 0600 Delhi Jn – Bareilly Jn via Chandausi. With a 30-minute turn-around, an 0600 departure just wasn’t going to happen! Then a stroke of luck came my way when ABR WDM3A 16814 rolled into platform 6 with 15623 1530 (P) Bhagat Ki Kothi – Kamakhya, which I’d not booked on as it was a GM hauled train usually. By the time I found the TTE he had a group of people around him, but still made time for me. When I asked about a berth to Bareilly and presented him with my original 2AC ticket for 14556 from Delhi to Bareilly, he told me it wasn’t valid on his train and randomly asked if I had another general ticket; which of course I did, my last ever Indrail Pass, but only valid in SL class. I didn’t tell him the latter, was given a middle berth in 3AC and he never bothered me again, but to confirm I was getting down at Bareilly as he wanted to give the berth to someone else after that.
I spent the majority of the journey horizontal, not that I had much choice in a 3AC middle berth and was very pleased with my bonus move towards Bareilly, which had potential to get me ahead of the game. I’d originally been planning to stay in Pilibhit overnight, as getting to Palia Kalan off 14556 wasn’t possible at a reasonable time. What the move actually did was save the day completely as when I checked later that evening, 14556 departed Delhi 6h20m late at 1220 and didn’t arrive into Bareilly until 1855, 5h50m late! By which time I was already in Mailani.
As I leapt off 15623 at Bareilly Junction, where it arrived 10 minutes early, I caught a glimpse through my train of ET Alco twins 18723/11191 arriving with 14115 2345 (P) Allahabad Jn – Haridwar. As I was heading towards Bareilly City in an auto, these hammered by as they got to grips with their train on departing Bareilly Jn. I’d seen IZN WDM3D 11336 in the far side platform at Bareilly City when I’d passed by moments earlier, it had run-round its train and was waiting to head out with my train to Pilibhit; 55363 1105 Bareilly City – Pilibhit. WDG4 12758 was being prepared at the head of 55347 1030 Bareilly City – Lalkua and IZN WDM3D 11329 was about to depart with a slightly late 55346 1000 Bareilly City – Kasganj Jn; which cost me another auto ride back from Bareilly Jn to City, when it delivered me straight back to whence I’d just arrived from; and at, more to the point! A third auto journey of the hour had me returning from Izatnagar, having done 12758 out on 55347. I could have waited there to board the Pilibhit bound 55363 behind it but wanted to make sure I did all the track with Alco, hence the auto back to Bareilly City.
The front of 55363 was wedged, thanks to the footsteps coming down right by the front of the train at Bareilly City’s platform 4, so I found myself some space towards the rear of the train and sat staring out of the window; thinking how much Bareilly City had changed from what it had been in it’s MG days. All I could see languishing about the place were GM’s, with 11336 being the sole Alco in the station after 11329 had departed. So not only had IZN been BG’d, it was now homing more and more GM’s and it was probably only a matter of time before its remaining BG Alco’s, its WDM3D’s, were palmed off to other sheds; making IZN another disaster area as far as Alco’s went!
The journey to Pilibhit was pleasant and we passed en-route, IZN WDM3D 11301 at Izatnagar with 55364 1000 Pilibhit – Bareilly City and IZN WDP4D 40131 at Bhojipura with 55352 1015 Lalkua – Bareilly City. On face value, arriving into Pilibhit might give you the impression nothing much has changed, if you don’t look out of the left-hand side of the train! On the right the MG side is still exactly as it was, where the majority of Shahjahanpur trains used to depart from. The coaches and line of YDM4’s dumped at the Bhojipura end of the station do give you the impression that things are winding down though. On the left, the recently converted BG is now in full swing, even if the platforms are nowhere near finished, and not being worked on at all. It was all a little sad as Pilibhit was once one of the greatest MG junctions that India had to offer, and it would soon be unrecognizable. There was only one remaining semaphore signal, with more than one arm, at the Mailani end of the station now, with all the others having vanished completely; they weren’t even in a pile somewhere, like most other things were.
The YDM4’s dumped at the Bhojipura end of the station were all faded and looked like they’d not been used in a while. All had LOT numbers on them, so would presumably not be with us for much longer. The line had (Mailani End) 6464, 6625, 6571, 6486, 6477, 6678 & 6612 (Bhojipura End) with 6603 stood on the adjacent road, also with a LOT number painted on it. I found 6500 & 6760 under the makeshift shed at the opposite end of the station, being worked on by fitters and recently transferred from NKE, 6636, laying dormant at the top end of the carriage stabling area at the Mailani end of the station. 6520 had just arrived with 52222 1015 Mailani – Pilibhit, when I got there, and ran-round to work 52233 1400 Pilibhit – Shahjahanpur. 6755 arrived with 52232 1045 Shahjahanpur – Pilibhit and was shut down at the Bhojipura end of the station. 6531 was dropped onto the other end of the stock to work 52221 1500 Pilibhit – Mailani; which was quite well loaded by 1400.
On the BG front, IZN WDM3D 11156 arrived with 55374 1240 Majhola Pakariya – Pilibhit and was run-round and attached to the opposite end of the stock, before being shut down. At around 1445, IZN WDM3D 11264 arrived off the Tanakpur branch, all dolled up, with a set of stock equally as dolled up, with a headboard announcing something. I was too far away to read it on arrival and didn’t want to lose my space on my train to Mailani; so, could only assume that the BG had opened further beyond Majhola Pakariya towards Tanakpur, even to Tanakpur itself, and that this was the return of the inaugural run of it’s BG passenger service. It wasn’t advertised on NTES and wasn’t announced as it arrived, but people paid attention as it rolled in; it was pretty had not to with all the bling hanging from it.
As I departed Pilibhit, I was grateful for one thing, the fact that there were still stalls that sold Aloo Tiki, one of the best street-food dishes RS10 can buy anywhere in India. It’s a great shame this dish is limited to the Pilibhit/Mailani area and I’ve never come across it anywhere else in the country. IZN YDM4 6531 was an absolute state, in that it popped and struggled to get going when the controller was notched up, but it was an absolute machine as well; very loud, had a cracking weak field at speed, which didn’t need to regulate itself when it came back in and the loco pilot knew how to drive it, which is always a bonus. He had it popping and clagging away from station stops, gave it a hammering in the open, brought it to a stand very quickly and had it wide pen in the platforms to block the brakes back off, ready for a quick getaway. It brought back memories of being in Greece in the early 2000’s with MG Alco DL537’s being driven to the max there. All that and I was still struggling to keep my eyes open as I stood in my confined space in the front luggage van, as there just wasn’t any room on the train at all.
I was glad to get off at Mailani and move around a little and having passed 6575 at Mala with 52208 1330 Mailani – Pilibhit, the other ex NKE YDM4 recently transferred to IZN, 6715, was the next YDM4 I clapped eyes on as we staggered into Mailani. BG works are in full swing in the main station area and the only way to get from the remaining MG platforms is to walk across the building site as no footbridge, or walkways, have been constructed yet. The old footbridges have been knocked down and are just in heaps where they were destroyed. Mailani is more of a building site than Pilibhit and yet its taking an age to get the line from Mailani to Aishbagh converted! At least there are two stalls at the Aishbagh end of the remaining MG platforms and you’ll definitely not go hungry or thirsty at Mailani; although there’s no sign of either selling Aloo Tiki, so that’s becoming a dying breed as the MG in the area dies out too.
6507 & 6601 were stabled by the fuel-point and 6531 was run straight round to work 52240 1830 Mailani – Tikunia, while the recent NKE transfer, 6715, was waiting to depart with 52226 1750 Mailani – Pilibhit. Having not had 6715 since 2006, on an epic journey from Narkatiaganj to Darbhanga, it would have been rude not to have a go; you never know if you’ll ever see these things again nowadays, let alone ride behind them again! So, having filled by bots on chia and samosas, I was pleased to find plenty of room in the front coach and let 6715 give me a show towards Pilibhit. It wasn’t as entertaining as 6531 had been but was good enough, just without the clag, popping and weak field, oh and the loco pilot was a gnome. I was secretly hoping that 6636 would be waiting at Puranpur to take me back to Mailani, which had been another reason for doing the move, but there was no such luck as the torch revealed 6503 at the helm of 52223 1740 Pilibhit – Mailani.
It was another buy train, with standing room only from Puranpur, but I managed a seat eventually. As I was towards the rear of the train, there wasn’t much noise coming in my ears, so I can’t really comment on 6503’s performance. The torch revealed 6581 at the helm of 52256 2030 Mailani -Bahraich and thankfully there two stalls were still in full swing and provided me with more chai and samosas before I clambered into the train to head to Palia Kalan. Meanwhile as I departed, 6507 was sat waiting with 52206 2050 Mailani – Pilibhit.
It was a bit of a stagger from Mailani to Palia Kalan, with no thrash at all. The big giveaway that you’re approaching Palia Kalan is the massive sugarcane factory on the left, which is only just outside the town. The nice red neon sign I could see on the approach to the station was that of the Hotel Sleep Inn, which was just what I was looking for; and it was only a 3-minute walk from the station to it. The reception staff were very attentive and even though I’d booked for three nights through Booking.com, starting from the following night, there was no issue getting a room. I was shown two and settled on one that overlooked the main road, mostly because the road noise was less than that coming from the generator near the other room, and it had a balcony that overlooked the station; which was about 100m away, as the crow flies. It was a clean and spacious room, with a king-sized bed. WiFi was ok when I checked in but worked sporadically throughout my stay and was more often not working. The bathroom was clean, some toiletries were provided, and hot water was from a geyser; which I also had issues with on my first morning, in that it wouldn’t provide me any hot water at all, despite having been on all night. While the room had AC, I never used it as the room temperature was nice and cool, whatever the temperature was outside. Food at the hotel’s restaurant was excellent and I was never disappointed; it was piping hot, very tasty and cooked fresh.
Needless to say, I was out like a light when I went to bed….
Gen for Wednesday 21st February 2018
14880 UDL WDG3A 19602 0815 (PP) New Jalpaiguri – Udaipur City (14h30m late)
36519 SSB WDS6 shunt coach off rear of 19602 at Delhi Jn
15005 TKD WDP1 54005 0415 Delhi Jn – Bhiwani
40311 IZN WDP4D 14312 1240 (PP) Bhuj – Bareilly (12h30m late)
18943 LDH WDM3A 54413 0315 Delhi Jn – Rewari Jn (40284 BGKT WDP4D dit)
36315 SSB WDS6AD shunt stock in Plat 2 for ???? Pass
15511 TKD WDP3A 54075 2255 (P) Moradabad – Delhi Jn, 54309 0520 Delhi Jn – Rewari Jn
40140 IZN WDP4D 15014 2040 (P) Kathgodam – Jaisalmer
15037 TKD WDP1 51912 1815 (P) Saharanpur – Delhi Jn (4h30m late)
16814 ABR WDM3A 15623 1530 (P) Bhagat Ki Kothi – Kamakhya
40109 13009 2025 (PP) Howrah – Dehradun (8 hours late)
18723/11191 ET WDM3A/WDM3D 14115 2345 (P) Allahabad Jn – Haridwar
11329 IZN WDM3D 55346 1000 Bareilly City – Kasganj
12758 IZN WDG4 55347 1030 Bareilly City – Lalkua (40097 BGKT WDP4D dit)
11336 IZN WDM3D 55363 1105 Bareilly City – Pilibhit
11301 IZN WDM3D 55364 1000 Pilibhit – Bareilly City
40131 IZN WDP4D 55352 1015 Lalkua – Bareilly City
11156 IZN WDM3D 55374 1240 Majhola Pakariya – Pilibhit
11264 IZN WDM3D arr PBE 1450 ex Tanakpur, inaugural run after GC?
6464, 6625, 6571, 6486, 6477, 6678, 6612
6603 all demic at Pilibhit with LOT No’s on them
6500, 6503, 6636, 6760 on shed at Pilibhit
6520 52222 1015 Mailani – Pilibhit, 52233 1400 Pilibhit – Shahjahanpur
6755 52232 1045 Shahjahanpur – Pilibhit
6531 52221 1500 Pilibhit – Mailani, 52240 1830 Mailani – Tikunia
6575 52208 1330 Mailani – Pilibhit
6715 52226 1750 Mailani – Pilibhit
6581 52251 1045 Bahraich – Mailani, 52256 2030 Mailani – Bahraich
6503 52223 1740 Pilibhit – Mailani
6507 52206 2050 Mailani – Pilibhit
6601 spare at Mailani
Moves for Wednesday 21st February 2018
|36519||Delhi Jn Platform 10||Coach Shunt||Shunt 1 coach off the rear of 19602 NJP – UDZ|
|14880||Delhi Jn||Delhi Sarai Rohilla||0815 (19/02) New Jalpaiguri Jn – Udaipur City||19602|
|40311||Delhi Sarai Rohilla||Delhi Jn||1240 (19/02) Bhuj – Bareilly Jn||14312|
|36315||Delhi Jn Platform 2||Stock Shunt||Shunt a passenger rake into platform 2 bay|
|36286||Delhi Jn Platform 14||Stock Shunt||Shunt coaches to rear of 54005 DLI – Bhiwani|
|16814||Delhi Jn||Bareilly Jn||1530 (20/02) Bhagat Ki Kothi – Kamakhya Jn||15623|
|Auto||Bareilly Jn||Bareilly City||RS100, 3km, 5 minutes|
|11329||Bareilly City||Bareilly Jn||1000 Bareilly Jn – Kasganj Jn||55346|
|Auto||Bareilly Jn||Bareilly City||RS100, 3km, 5 minutes|
|12758||Bareilly City||Izatnagar||1030 Bareilly City – Lalkua Jn||55347|
|Auto||Izatnagar||Bareilly City||RS100, 4km, 10 minutes|
|11336||Bareilly City||Pilibhit Jn||1105 Bareilly City – Pilibhit Jn||55363|
|6531||Pilibhit Jn||Mailani Jn||1500 Pilibhit Jn – Mailani Jn||52221|
|6715||Mailani Jn||Puranpur||1750 Mailani Jn – Pilibhit Jn||52226|
|6503||Puranpur||Mailani Jn||1740 Pilibhit Jn – Mailani Jn||52223|
|6581||Mailani Jn||Palia Kalan||2030 Maila ni Jn – Bahraich||52256|
Photos for Wednesday 21st February 2018
Thursday 22nd February 2018 (Day 1 of 3 around the Mailani MG stronghold)
Despite the railway station being so close to the Sleep Inn, I only got woken by one YDM4 horn overnight, probably because the trains on the Mailani – Bahraich section are such poor timekeepers? I had grand plans for the day, none of which came to fruition, well almost none. Firstly, I had to get a cold shower as I couldn’t get the hot water working and had no time to get someone to sort it. Then I had to skip breakfast, mostly because the hotel didn’t start its breakfast service until 0730, and I was planning on being on the 0737 train towards Bahraich. When the latter never materialized before the 0822 departure towards Mailani, which was also about 40’ late itself, all of the aforementioned grand plans could have actually been put into fruition; mostly as I had plenty of time to spare thanks to a late train; lesson learned.
As it so happened there’s a rather handy chai shack just outside the station, on the left-hand corner of the junction, which sufficed chai-wise and my nutrigrains bars put me on until Mailani in the end. As expected, the machine that is 6531 arrived with 52239 0620 Tikunia – Mailani; with both the LP & ALP bellowing at me out of the cab as the loco ran by. I’d been chatting to them at Mailani the previous evening. Thankfully, the train was rather empty at the front and residence was taken up in the front coach, with only one other person as 6531 eased out of Palia Kalan. 6761 was waiting at Bhira Kheri with 52252 0700 Mailani – Bahraich, just the 2 hours late, after only 16km from origin; the set had obviously been late into Mailani off its previous working.
I continued to Mailani on board 52239 and was presented with 6558 waiting to depart with 52222 1015 Mailani – Pilibhit. More chai later, from my new-found chai bert at Mailani, who only seemed to know one word “chaaaiiii”, and I was down at the top end of the station photographing 6601, which was still stood in exactly the same position it had been the previous evening. Soon afterwards, 6520 arrived with 52207 0740 Pilibhit – Mailani and was run straight round to work 52254 1025 Mailani – Bahraich. It was last seen waiting at the signal to draw out and drop onto its stock, and my powers of deduction assumed it had done 52254, based on what I saw when I got back to Mailani; or more based on what I didn’t see.
On departure from Mailani 52222 was quite empty, but that didn’t last for long though and eventually I ended up wedged in at the door, not being able to move a great deal; but the fact that 6558 was a bit of a machine put the wedge factor out of my mind and it was a very good bash to Shahgarh indeed. It was a shame I had to get off 6558 but when I clapped eyes on the dark blue liveried YDM4, waiting in Shahgarh station with 52205 1100 Pilibhit – Mailani, my eyes had to do a double take when the number came into readable view; it was indeed the one I’d been hoping for, ex NKE machine 6636; which I’d never even seen before, until the previous afternoon at Pilibhit, let alone ridden behind. Pleased with my new YDM4, I managed to get to the front of the train before the token exchange could be done. There wasn’t much room to squeeze on and 6636 was a massive disappointment; especially after something like 6558. And with 6531 waiting at Mailani with 52208 1330 Mailani – Pilibhit when I got back, it was definitely the runt of the litter in the entertainment stakes. There was no clag, no popping, it wasn’t loud, and it sounded a bit crap.
I had enough time for a quick photo and more chai, before strapping myself in for another dose of the popping beast that was 6531. I managed to keep a seat on this train but ultimately had to fight my way out at Mala due to the sheer number of people on board; and I was only 2ft from the bloody doorway. People’s reluctance to move doesn’t help and those outside trying to get in before everyone else gets off are a blood pain; quite where they think they’re going to fit until some people get off, I don’t know!
It was out of the frying pan and into the fire at Mala. 6515 was doing the honours with 52221 1500 Pilibhit – Mailani but it was rammed to the rafters. So much so that I had to push my way into the train at the front door, mostly because nobody was going to move an inch until I did. Was foot space only in the vestibule and there were two guys that got on as the train started to move, who had no choice but to stand on the footsteps. So, there I was, eventually stood bolt upright against the bulkhead, once an inch of space became available, yet some woman still managed to find room to sit on the floor, with her kid sprawled in her arms, while she popped a breast out and fed it; in full view of everyone. I couldn’t help but laugh as the kid’s nice shiny red, orange & green jumper had the word “TREAT” scrawled across it. Little did anyone around me know just how many situations that word could describe, and this situation was one of them, with the kid being one too; as was the idiot stood near the toilet with his wife, trying so desperately to disguise the fact he was trying to get a selfie, with me in shot, that he was the biggest treat on the train as far as I was concerned, and needed a lesson in being discreet. I tried my hardest to keep smiling for the camera, but he just didn’t have a clue, although I think his wife did as she kept giggling every now and again after looking in my direction.
It was an entertaining journey, if not a bit of a crap one, but back at Mailani I’d had enough of the Pilibhit line for one day and fancied a more relaxed atmosphere for the rest of the evening, instead of having to share air and sweat with others in very close proximity. When 6581 came into view with 52226 1750 Mailani – Pilibhit, my attention turned to my chai selling mate and some of their finest hot food on offer. All of which were consumed while 6515 ran-round its set to work 52240 1830 Mailani – Tikunia. 6601 was still sat in the same place and 6626 was on the fuel point as well now.
The crew on 6515 were friendly and chewed the cud with me for a while and the tapper, who I’d had half a conversation with the previous evening came to talk with me again, even though his English was worse than my Hindi. It was nice to stretch out, take my shoes off and put my feet up on the journey to Palia Kalan and when I found 6511 there, waiting to head straight back to Mailani with 52251 1045 Bahraich – Mailani, also empty at the front, I couldn’t help myself; and found myself back at Mailani sooner than I expected to be and my chai selling mate was withered to see me again.
I was almost chai’d out by the time 6511 had ran-round its set and because it was 3 hours late from Palia Kalan, it barely had enough time to run-round to make its booked 2030 departure time back to Bahraich with 52256 2030 Mailani – Bahraich. Meanwhile, 6626 was sat waiting to depart with 52206 2050 Mailani – Bahraich, having sat at Mailani since arriving with 52259 0430 Bahraich – Mailani. Thankfully 6511 wasn’t too late away from Mailani and I was back at the hotel with plenty of time to spare, before the restaurant closed for the night; and a very good chilly chicken went down a treat after a long day on the go, in somewhat cramped conditions for most of it.
Having managed to get some warm water out of the shower, it was good to wash the grime off and had I not been a little more careful, as I took my combats off, I might not have seen that they’d worn away between the legs; and would definitely have left me in an embarrassing situation the following day had I not realised! All-in-all, a good day, even with the wedge factor, but I was going to give it a miss the following day and head towards Bahraich instead; this time hopefully after some breakfast.
Gen for Thursday 22nd February 2018
6601 spare at Mailani
6761 52252 0700 Mailani – Bahraich
6531 52239 0620 Tikunia – Mailani, 52208 1330 Mailani – Pilibhit
6520 52207 0740 Pilibhit – Mailani, 52254 1025 Mailani – Bahraich
6558 52222 1015 Mailani – Pilibhit
6636 52205 1100 Pilibhit – Mailani, 52242 1515 Mailani – Bahraich
6626 52259 0430 Bahraich – Mailani, 52206 2050 Mailani – Pilibhit
6515 52221 1500 Pilibhit – Mailani, 52240 1830 Mailani – Tikunia
6581 52226 1750 Mailani – Pilibhit
6511 52251 1045 Bahraich – Mailani, 52256 2030 Mailani – Bahraich
Moves for Thursday 22nd February 2018
|6531||Palia Kalan||Mailani Jn||52239||0620 Tikunia – Mailani Jn|
|6558||Mailani Jn||Shahgarh||52222||1015 Mailani Jn – Pilibhit Jn|
|6636||Shahgarh||Mailani Jn||52205||1100 Pilibhit Jn – Mailani Jn|
|6531||Mailani Jn||Mala||52208||1330 Mailani Jn – Pilibhit Jn|
|6515||Mala||Mailani Jn||52221||1500 Pilibhit Jn – Mailani Jn|
|6515||Mailani Jn||Palia Kalan||52240||1830 Mailani Jn – Tikunia|
|6511||Palia Kalan||Mailani Jn||52251||1045 Bahraich – Mailani Jn|
|6511||Mailani Jn||Palia Kalan||52256||2030 Mailani Jn – Bahraich|
Photos for Thursday 22nd February 2018
Friday 23rd February 2018 (Day 2 of 3 around the Mailani MG stronghold)
When I woke, I certainly didn’t plan to be rushing around and getting out of the hotel as quickly as possible, and I definitely didn’t plan to be heading all the way to Bahraich either. I did plan on having breakfast at the hotel and then heading out, casually, for 52239 0620 Tikunia – Mailani; booked off Palia Kalan at 0822. Curiosity got the better of me as I was getting dressed though, and I just so happened to open the door onto the balcony as a YDM4 horn started blaring. It was coming from the Dudwa direction, which didn’t compute as the last train towards Mailani, at 7 o’clock in the morning, should have been 52257 2300 (P) Bahraich; departing at 0427!
I wasted no time in getting dressed and gathering my shit and was out of the room door within 60 seconds. The guy at the reception never even had time to get up off the sofa, as I slung the room key onto the desk; and I was out of the door in a flash, completely dissing the chai wallah on the corner as I scurried by. As the YDM4 I watched roll into Palia Kalan was dark blue, I wasn’t surprised when it turned out to be 6636. Neither was I surprised when the token was taken to the driver, even though 52252 0700 Mailani – Bahraich would technically be in section on its way.
So, an early morning jaunt it was towards Mailani, on a train that was 2h30m late. When I had a quick look at NTES, it revealed a completely different story for Palia Kalan than I expected. When we arrived into Bhira Kheri and 6524 was waiting, it wasn’t with the expected 52252 0700 Mailani – Bahraich, no! It was 52258 0340 Mailani – Bahraich, running 3h30m late! I realised two things as my mind made a quick decision, one was that as it was 52258, it would form 52253 1315 Bahraich – Mailani back and two, this would be the only chance I’d have on the trip to do Bahraich and back in the same day; there was soon a three as well, which was that it was going to be a very long day, even more so when I realised there was potential for me to manage 1000km off 6524 if it played ball.
We weren’t quite late enough by Palia Kalan, to be held for 52239 0620 Tikunia – Mailani and were sent straight through to Dudwa to await its arrival there. The line speed from Palia to Dudwa was way better than I’d expected and 6524 was given a bit of a punishing. I was glad of the fact it was a good example of the YDM4 fleet, otherwise the day would have turned out to be more of an endurance than it did. About half way to Dudwa, some guy in the coach started shouting at me and I couldn’t understand why. I actually thought I’d done something to offend him, but when he came over and pointed out of the window it clicked; there were three crocodiles laying by a body of water. I was very grateful to his shouting in the end as I’d never seen a crocodile in the wild.
Dudwa was a deserted station but for the few staff around and the lone wallah and his stall, which provided chai and red-hot fried stuff, while we waited. 6515 eventually showed up about 30’ late with 52239 0620 Tikunia – Mailani and was in and out in no time. As soon as the token was taken down the platform for our train, everyone got back on board and my long journey commenced.
As the train wasn’t wedged from Dudwa I perched myself on the edge of my seat and glared out of the windows constantly, in the vain hope I’d catch a glimpse of some wildlife in the Dudwa Reserve along the way. The line speed wasn’t as crap as I’d expected, and we were trundling along at a steady 30kmph when something caught my eyes in the trees. At first, I thought it was something running away from the train, a deer type thing, then when it was closely followed by a striped cat type creature it took my brain a while to process what was going on. What I’d seen was a tiger chasing a deer and it was all over in a flash, so quickly that the excitement had stolen my tongue and I was left pointing while still processing the situation. God knows what anyone looking in my direction was thinking, and it took me a few seconds to withdraw my finger from the general direction I’d been pointing; I must have looked like a right treat! Still, I’d just seen something that you don’t see every day and all because I was sat glaring out of the window. I was quite chuffed with my wildlife spotting’s so far and the two massive stags, with their huge antlers, paled into insignificance as a result, but would have been a good spot on any other day. When we picked a couple of workers up at some disused shack between Dudwa & Belrayan, who’d clearly been patrolling, I had to wonder just how safe their job was; with what I’d just witnessed in the forest?
Moving on, I got talking to some guy along the way, who pointed out an old railway station in the middle of a saturated area, surrounded by water, he told me that the station used to exist way back, during the Raj era, and had succumbed to the encroaching water level; and ultimately been abandoned, with no new station being build on the new alignment to compensate.
The line-speed improved beyond Belrayan and 6524 was put through it’s paces again and at Tikunia we crossed 6755 with 52259 0430 Bahraich – Mailani, running only 1h30m late and my newfound friend kept me appraised of sites as we departed Manjhra Purab and by the large dam that is between there and Bichhia. At where, I was sorely tempted to get off when the train started to load up to the rafters but decided to stick it out in the end; even though the lure of 6511 with an empty 52241 0615 Bahraich – Mailani was right in front of me!
I was in it for the duration once we left Bichhia, along with a train full, which didn’t help matters with 52258 being later than the train behind its path! Which obviously meant picking up two sets of passengers along the way as a result. By the time we reached Bahraich, over 4 hours late, I was beginning to regret my decision of doing 6525 all the way, especially after flagging 6751 with 52251 1045 Bahraich – Mailani when we crossed it. But I was there now and had to make a quick decision when I saw the amount of people on the platform wanting to get into my train. That decision was, to eat maltloaf for dinner and leg it down the other end of the train while others were still faffing about on the platform. His idea sort of worked but I ended up having to get into the second coach as there was already a mad jostle to get into the front one.
That was that, my visit to Bahriach had consisted of a run down the platform, two chai’s from a wallah I managed to coax over and maltloaf for dinner while 6524 ran-round the set; ultimately departing 1h40m late with 52253 1315 Bahraich – Mailani. You don’t see it much in these parts, as the luggage rack is generally used for the purpose it was created for, carrying luggage. However, I eventually decided that my nodding head could do with more of a relaxing if the rest of my body was horizontal and the rack opposite me was empty; so, I set my stall out for the afternoon.
They’re never comfortable but when your body is in shut-down mode then anything will do, and I felt quite refreshed when I gave up on attempting any further sleep. It was dark by this time and the train had emptied out a bit at Nanpara, before I got up, and even more so at Bichhia before I got down. With the aide of my torch, the timetable and my phone as a calculator, I soon realised that my trip to Bahraich probably wouldn’t be enough to allow me to “deal with it” the following day. So, I had a word with myself in the Dudwa area and figured out that if I did it through to Mailani and then back to Palia Kalan on the 0010 Mailani – Bahraich, then assuming it worked what I assumed it would the following day, then all would be well at around 1750 at Mailani the following afternoon. If my predictions were wrong, then the long day I’d put myself through would have been pointless and I’d be very annoyed to say the least at around 1750 the following afternoon!
Thankfully the 2 hours or so late that 52253 was into Mailani was eaten up in the turnaround time for the loco and set to return to Bahraich at 0010; which wasn’t exactly how I’d planned to start Saturday 24th February off at all! Randomly, and more thankfully, it was right time start from Mailani and I was walking through the hotel doors at a little after 0115; having woke the hotel staff up to unlock the door and let me in. They seemed a little bemused at my arrival time but didn’t seem to care too much that I’d not returned by the time hey locked up for the night. Even though I’d managed some sleep on the journey from Palia to Mailani and back, when the train was quite empty, I was straight to bed and think I was in it before 6524 had departed Palia Kalan station as I heard a YDM4 horn as I turned the lights out.
Gen for Friday 23rd February 2018
6601 spare at Mailani
6636 52257 2300 (P) Bahraich – Mailani (2h30m late)
6524 52258 0340 Mailani – Bahraich (3h30m late), 52253 1315 Bahraich – Mailani (2h late), 52260 0010 (24/02) Mailani – Bahraich
6515 52239 0620 Tikunia – Mailani (30m late)
6755 52259 0430 Bahraich – Mailani (1h30m late)
6511 52241 0615 Bahraich – Mailani (1h30m late)
6520 52252 0700 Mailani – Bahraich (2h late)
6626 52254 1025 Mailani – Bahraich (2h late)
6751 52251 1045 Bahraich – Mailani (2h late), 52256 2030 Mailani – Bahraich
6760 52242 1515 Mailani – Bahraich (1h15m late)
6533 52240 1830 Mailani – Tikunia
Moves for Friday 23rd February 2018
|6636||Palia Kalan||Bhira Kheri||52257||2300 (22/02) Bahraich – Mailani Jn|
|6524||Bhira Kheri||Bahraich||52258||0340 Mailani Jn- Bahraich|
|6524||Bahraich||Mailani Jn||52253||1315 Bahraich – Mailani Jn|
Photos for Friday 23rd February 2018
Saturday 24th February 2018 (Day 3 of 3 around the Mailani MG stronghold)
I’d had the alarm set for 0730, which should have been enough time to get a quick shower, pinch some bits from breakfast and be over at the station for 52239 0620 Tikunia – Mailani, departing Palia Kalan at 0822. The rest of the occupants of the 3rd floor of the Hotel Sleep Inn had other ideas though and the knock at one of the doors, at just before 6 o’clock, was the prelude to what sounded like a full-blown party, just without the music! It was typically Indian, with nobody giving a shit about anyone else and even when they got downstairs, I could hear them outside, making just as much racket, as they waited for their transport to collect them; which couldn’t come soon enough. Unfortunately, the damage was done then, and I was wide awake, tossing and turning an hour before I wanted to be!
A piping hot shower made sure I was awake, and I was downstairs at just after 0730 for breakfast, which is what time I’d been told it started. I’d been given dud gen and breakfast actually started at 8 o’clock, so I sought my own instead. My chai wallah on the corner seemed to be having a bit of a do with someone, so I went onto the station for chai instead. There was also a wallah with a 4-wheeled stall that provided hot stuff for breakfast and I was set by the time the station staff went slowly about their business of getting 52252 0700 Mailani – Bahraich into the station. The bloody thing was at a stand at the home signal before the barriers had even been put down and I managed to walk down to the section signal before it was even pulled off!
As the crew on duty seemed to be so crap at their job, I was back at the station well before a token had been taken to the driver of 6626. I guess I could be thankful that things were being done on a go-slow on this particular morning at Palia Kalan, as I’d fully expected 52252 to wait at Palia Kalan for 52239 to arrive from Tikunia; but it didn’t, so the faffing around had not only cost 52252 a good 10 minutes, it also did the same to 52239 0620 Tikunia – Mailani, which had 6533 sat waiting at Dudwa with it when 6626 arrived with 52252.
The front coach of 52239 always seemed to be empty and this morning was no exception, but I found myself wanting to slit my wrists by the time we got to Mailani as the driver also seemed to be on a go slow, especially approaching Mailani through the 5kmph section into the station; I could have walked faster. While willing the train on from the door though I did spot something that gained my interest as we approached the Mahakali River Sharda, between Palia Kalan & Bhira Kheri. There was an old MG spur off to the right, that still had the tracks in situ and appeared to have gone all the way to the waters edge. On the opposite side of the river, the same was true there and that section still had a connection to the main line as well; which looked like it could be used, even if the spur was overgrown and didn’t look to have been used for decades! Could this have been where ferries transferred people from one side of the river to the other, before a bridge was built? That kind of thing happened a lot in the north-east back in the day, so it was feasible. It could of course, just have been spurs where goods were transshipped from train to boat back in the day as well. Either way, whatever it was kept my mind occupied for a while.
6760 was sat waiting at Mailani, to drop onto 52239’s set and work 52222 1015 Mailani – Pilibhit and 6755 was sat behind it ready to drop onto its set and work 52254 1025 Mailani – Bahraich; meanwhile 6601 was still glued to the rails in the sidings, having not moved since I’d arrived into the area. My well-trained chai wallah was straight out with the chai when I asked but as it was so bloody hot, I only had time for two, to accompany my samosa.
6760 turned out to be the surprise of the day, once the driver opened it up clear of the 5kmph stagger; which incidentally takes 10 minutes to clear the level crossing outside the station. If you missed the train, you’d have time to either chase it down if it was still in site or get someone to nip you down to the crossing on their bike and hop on their as it staggered by. Plenty of people we are hopping on trains there anyway and having an extra 20 minutes at home as a result, although I’m not sure of their ticketing arrangements!
Not only did 6760 sound like a very strong loco, it had a great weak field that didn’t drop out afterwards, not audibly anyway, but when it regulated itself it was cracking and picked up speed very quickly. It was noticeable, just like when locos in the UK go through their field diverts and pick up speed after doing so. Along the way, I picked up a new friend on my journey towards Shahgarh, who was travelling from Sehramau to Puranpur to study for his forthcoming exams in March. He was a sound young teenager, who just wanted to practice his English on me hen he got off at Puranpur I followed him while the masses did their thing in trying to board while half the train was still trying to get off.
While milling on the platform at Puranpur I was able to watch the local monkey population go about their morning business, which half seemed to be harassing people on the platform for food, while the other half were cleverly using the hand pump to get water out of the standpipe and drink fresh water, as opposed to licking it up off the floor. It seemed that some of the monkeys were at the top of the tree for brains in these parts! Meanwhile people were still jostling their way onto the train behind me and the driver gave up waiting in the end; with a good long blow on the horn instilling enough panic into those that weren’t on board to actually think about getting into another door. I was able to walk straight into a half empty vestibule at the front as the train departed.
Ex NKE machine 6715 was waiting at Shahgarh when we arrived, where getting trains away was a lot more efficient than it had been at Palia Kalan earlier. Just like its long-time shed mate, 6636, 6715 was a disappointment on the YDM4 front. When it was opened up it sounded promising and almost like a 12-cylinder Alco, but once on full power there was little entertainment, no clag, no popping and it was very average. Perhaps the years of pottering about at very low speed in Bihar, while not being given a punishing for years, has something to do with their average performance as a loco?
As it was a Saturday trains weren’t as wedged as they had been when I’d been on the line two days previous; they were full but there was room to breath at least. As the set for 52208 1330 Mailani – Pilibhit hadn’t arrived off the Bahraich line when 6715 arrived into Mailani with 52205 1100 Pilibhit – Mailani, there was plenty of time for snacks and chai. 6715 had even run-round and was sat was bolted onto the opposite end of the set it had arrived with, ready to depart later with 52242 1515 Mailani – Bahraich. I was stood stuffing my face with chai when 6575 arrived with 52259 0430 Bahraich – Mailani 1h45m late. 6533 had been sat waiting to shunt onto the opposite end of the stock and I was amazed it was ready to go within 20 minutes of the set arriving!
I even managed a seat up to Puranpur on board 52208 and while the scrum occurred there, I treated myself to two portions of Aloo Tiki; which I’d spotted while milling around there earlier in the morning. I half expected 52208 to get held at Shahgarh for 52221 1500 Pilibhit – Mailani coming the other way, but as seems to be the case the Bahraich line trains are the be-all and end-all of the lateness that occurs over the whole of the Bahraich – Mailani – Pilibhit section and on we went to Mala. If both sections had rake links that were exempt of each other the Pilibhit – Mailani section would run like clockwork and be pretty much to time all day. Of course, this would become fruition very soon when Pilibhit – Mailani closed for gauge conversion, leaving Mailani – Bahraich to fend for itself; which had randomly been announced as being give “heritage” status by the Indian Railway Minister Mr Goal, only the previous day! What he did say though was that the track and coaches would be renewed and there’d be a 5-star hotel build in the Dudwa area to attract tourists to the line; was actually a bit ambiguous as to whether the line would remain MG or not but what I can say is that there isn’t a scrap of preparation works going on along the whole section, so lets hope the MG remains forever!
6503 was sat in at Mala with 52221 1500 Pilibhit – Mailani, with half its occupants out on the tracks. This gave me an opportunity to steal a place in the front luggage van and a good spot it was too. On arrival into Puranpur I was spotted by my mate from earlier and he tried to coax me out of the van and into the train. I was quite happy where I was and the amount of people attempting to clamber into the train was enough to keep me where I was; as a result, my new mate had his first ever ride in the luggage van back to Sehramau.
Back at Mailani, the moment of truth came and as soon as I saw the first digit of the YDM4 waiting to depart with 52226 1750 Mailani – Pilibhit, albeit reading from back to front, I knew my calculations had paid off and the 4 was followed by a 2, which was followed by a 5 and then obviously a 6; to make 6524; hoorah! Had the loco been the opposite way around however, there’d have been no way of telling what the hell the number on the side was as the opposite side of 6524 was just jibber, with the old numbers showing through the new ones and the paint waring away all over both sets! To celebrate though, I was rewarded with my chai wallah mate pouring me a cup as I walked over; I didn’t even need to ask now! It was a pleasant journey out to Puranpur and back, with 6507 doing the honours with 52223 1740 Pilibhit – Mailani on the return journey. As expected, 6520 was waiting to drop onto the set and work 52256 2030 Mailani – Bahraich, which was shame in a way as it sounded very good when pulling away from the 5kmph slack after Mailani; but sadly, that was all the noise it did make on the journey back to Palia Kalan.
On arrival into Palia Kalan, I could hear a wedding precession somewhere in the town. What I didn’t expect was for the precession to be waiting outside the front of the Hotel Sleep Inn and the band to be right below the balcony of my room, which overlooked the road down below. They might as well have been sat with me in my room, the noise was that loud; and what’s more, the restaurant didn’t have a spare table as all the wedding-goers were finishing up their food before heading off to the event. Room service had to suffice as a result but when my best mate at the Sleep Inn took my order, it was on the table in my room 10 minutes later; piping hot.
To save time the following morning I went down to pay my bill, this proved to be a bit trickier than it needed to be, thanks to the guy at reception having to process all the table bills; and I had to wait half an hour as a result. Eventually the bill was collated, and after a Tandoori Chicken that I hadn’t eaten was removed, payment went through first time on one of my cards. I did have to make them put it through again though as I was handed the payment machine, to put my pin in, after the amount I was paying was removed from the screen; this was an honest mistake but I’m always wary of crap like that.
Fuelled, and showered & shaved while waiting for my bill to be made up, I was soon packed up and ready for departure the following morning. All I was waiting for, before hitting the sack, was the racket downstairs to disappear; which I was reliably informed, would be very shortly, and it wouldn’t be back either. I could only hope that the wedding-goers weren’t noisy when they came back later. If they were, I never heard a peep! Hoorah for earplugs.
Gen for Saturday 24th February 2018
6601 spare at Mailani
6626 52252 0700 Mailani – Bahraich
6533 52239 0620 Tikunia – Mailani, 52208 1330 Mailani – Pilibhit
6755 52207 0740 Pilibhit – Mailani, 52254 1025 Mailani – Bahraich
6760 52222 1015 Mailani – Pilibhit
6715 52205 1100 Pilibhit – Mailani, 52242 1515 Mailani – Bahraich
6575 52259 0430 Bahraich – Mailani, 52206 2050 Mailani – Pilibhit
6503 52221 1500 Pilibhit – Mailani, 52240 1830 Mailani – Tikunia
6524 52241 0615 Bahraich – Mailani, 52226 1750 Mailani – Pilibhit
6520 52251 1045 Bahraich – Mailani, 52256 2030 Mailani – Bahraich
6507 52223 1740 Pilibhit – Mailani
Moves for Saturday 24th February 2018
|6524||Mailani Jn||Palia Kalan||52260||0010 Mailani Jn – Bahraich|
|6626||Palia Kalan||Dudwa||52252||0700 Mailani Jn – Bahraich|
|6533||Dudwa||Mailani Jn||52239||0620 Tikunia – Mailani Jn|
|6760||Mailani Jn||Shahgarh||52222||1015 Mailani Jn – Pilibhit Jn|
|6715||Shahgarh||Mailani Jn||52205||1100 Pilibhit Jn – Mailani Jn|
|6533||Mailani Jn||Mala||52208||1330 Mailani Jn – Pilibhit Jn|
|6503||Mala||Mailani Jn||52221||1500 Pilibhit Jn – Mailani Jn|
|6524||Mailani Jn||Puranpur||52226||1750 Mailani Jn – Pilibhit Jn|
|6507||Puranpur||Mailani Jn||52223||1740 Pilibhit Jn – Mailani Jn|
|6520||Mailani Jn||Palia Kalan||52256||2030 Maila ni Jn – Bahraich|
Photos for Saturday 24th February 2018
Sunday 25th February 2018 (Heading back to Bareilly and civilization)
Despite not being woken by anyone making any noise, I just couldn’t sleep after 6 o’clock and gave it up as a bad job at 7! A quick glance out from the porch had me mistakenly thinking that the level crossing barriers were down, Mailani side of the station; and I wrongly assumed that 52252 0700 Mailani – Bahraich was on the approach. After hot-footing it over to the station I soon realised I was wrong, and stupid to believe that 52252 could have been anywhere near to right time! 4 chai’s later though and 6503 was sitting in the station, 2 minutes early, with 52239 0620 Tikunia – Mailani. Rather than keep it to time though, and hold 52252 at Bhira Kheri, it was 42 minutes later when 52239 eventually got on the way; once 6755 had trickled in. At least the Palia Kalan station staff seemed to be a bit more efficient than they had been the previous day.
During the wait at Palia Kalan I was asked by the stall wallah if I could show him some English money and when I started flashing the £1 coins I had, everyone came to investigate. In the end I ended up being an international money changing service for two locals, both of whom wanted a pound coin and offered RS80 for one; which is what I’d told them they were worth when they were looking. They seemed very pleased with their new purchase and I was pleased with the small change; everyone was a winner.
It was a very boring journey to Mailani, but at least at only 40’ late 52239 was into Mailani before 52222 1015 Mailani – Pilibhit should have departed; which gave me a little more time to savour Bert’s scolding hot chai one last time. 6715 was waiting to drop onto 52239’s stock, to work 52222 to Pilibhit, and 6601 was exactly where it had been 5 days previous; I was so glad that it hadn’t been 6636 sat as the spare loco at Mailani, that was assuming 6601 was actually spare and not knackered of course. 6575 arrived with 52207 0740 Pilibhit – Mailani, while I was drinking chai, and was run-round ready to drop onto the opposite end of the stock it had arrived with, to work 52254 1025 Mailani – Bahraich.
My time travelling on the Mailani – Pilibhit line had taught me a few things, one being that the trains were generally rammed to the rafters in the middle section, mostly involving a mass exodus and then an equal mass joining at Puranpur. The worst place to be during those points was anywhere near a door and even if you managed an aisle seat in the middle of the coach you’d end up with people perched on the edge of your seat; and literally had no choice about it. So, I set my stall out and found myself some space in the front coach, as there always seemed to be plenty of space out of Mailani. By Sehramau the wedge factor had set in and there was no room to move by the time the train approached Puranpur. It was even more rammed than trains had been midweek, and the loco pilot had to ease his train out of stations to both prompt people to scrummage their way on, and to prevent people being left behind. By Pilibhit there was a bit of breathing space and I could at least get to the aisle of the coach without too much hassle; people had been getting on and off through the emergency window earlier in the journey.
It was a bit mad at Pilibhit when 52222 arrived, with GD liveried IZN WDM3A 14149 in platform 1 with the stock for 55366 1345 Pilibhit – Bareilly City. This had been formed off the inward 55363 1105 Bareilly City – Pilibhit when I’d arrived 4 days previous, but I was reliably informed by a chai wallah that the set IZN WDM3D 11331 had just arrived with, ex 55363, would be heading to Tanakpur and the set in platform 1 was definitely for Bareilly City. This confirmed that the train I’d seen all dolled up 4 days earlier, was indeed the inaugural run of a BG train to Tanakpur. On that day nothing had shown up on NTES but when I got the internet working, 55375 1355 Pilibhit – Tanakpur was glaring right out at me.
I went for a scan around the demic line again, where nothing had changed. 6500 was still in the makeshift maintenance shed and if I wasn’t mistaken, it looked like it might have had a lick of paint on its front end; which would have resulted in the CI (Chhapra Kacheri) shed code being covered up no doubt. It was too hot to investigate, and I only made it as far as one of the stalls selling Aloo Tiki; and couldn’t resist seconds.
As it turned out, I needn’t have bothered staying out late the previous night as 6524 dropped onto the opposite end of the stock that 6760 had brought in as 52232 1045 Shahjahanpur – Pilibhit, to work 52221 1500 Pilibhit – Mailani; however, I did now have the option to do something else as a result. Not fancying the wedge-factor on the Shahjahanpur line, I didn’t entertain 6715 with 52233 1400 Pilibhit – Shahjahanpur, which left one option; 14149 towards Pilibhit, which for a 13-coach train was quite full and I had to resort to the back coach!
I was minding my own business when we arrived into Bhojipura, where IZN WDP4D 40421 was sat waiting to depart with 55351 1405 Bareilly City – Lalkua; which should have departed before we’d arrived. I was in a dream world when we dropped into Izatnagar and it took a while to register that GD liveried IZN WDM3D 11253 was sat in the adjacent platform with the slightly late running 55365 1445 Bareilly City – Pilibhit. Thankfully it was only a cross-platform leap from one train to the other. Wasn’t a big plus at Dohna for 55350 1350 Lalkua – Bareilly City but it made easily and IZN WDP4D 40414 took me to Bareilly City; where I couldn’t find any chai for love nor money!
IZN WDP4D 40310 & IZN WDM3D 11349 were both sat spare at Bareilly City and once 40414 was released from its train in platform 4, it did one to shed, only for IZN WDM3D 11246 to replace it for 55367 1800 Bareilly City – Pilibhit. And when IZN WDM3D 11353 arrived with 55355 1255 Kasganj – Bareilly City, IZN WDM3D 11156 replaced that for 55349 1725 Bareilly City – Lalkua. Meanwhile, 14149 stayed with its set and went forward as 55358 1710 Bareilly City – Kasganj. It was just like the old MG days with loco replacements in the late afternoon, during the rush; sadly, the rails were now too far apart, and the locos had too many cylinders!
The platform chai wallah spent a bit of time hanging around my general location but as he spoke no English it became a little awkward and I was quite pleased when he went about selling his chai. I opted for the “physically challenged” compartment for my journey to Izatnagar and got out just before the RPF there kicked everyone else out with their big sticks. Izatnagar station is now completely unrecognizable from its MG days, and its character has vanished with the MG tracks. It just looks like any other nondescript station in India now, with high-level platforms and new station buildings covering up and remnants of the MG that preceded the BG.
IZN’s 11156 was soon along to take me forward to Bhojipura and I was shocked to find that now Bhojipura was completely BG, the old station footbridge had vanished and a new one had replaced it, a long, long way down the platform. During early visits to Bhojipura that footbridge had been a haven and had kept us hidden from the masses that followed us everywhere we went on the station. It had also been a vantage point for arriving trains, with cracking semaphore signals and gantries in view too. Sadly, that was all gone as well and Bhojipura just wasn’t the place it used to be; it had gained a few stalls though, along with an Aloo Tiki wallah! Why the hell couldn’t that have been there back in the day?
There was no surprise when IZN WDP4D 40421 turned up with 05310 1730 Lalkua – Bareilly City, which was being announced as a holiday special, but having done it to Izatnagar, I was surprised when IZN WDM3B 14151 turned up with 55368 1815 Pilibhit – Bareilly City; mostly because I didn’t realise that IZN had got anything other than WDM3D’s, on the Alco front. As further surprised at Bareilly City to fin IZN WDM3D 11349 having dropped onto the other end of 40421’s stock; and was sat waiting to depart with 05309 2055 Bareilly City – Lalkua. When IZN WDM3D 11335 arrived with 55357 1710 Kasganj – Bareilly, to work forward with 55369 2130 Bareilly City – Pilibhit, that was the move sorted, ‘349 to Izatnagar for ‘335 forward to Pilibhit and as expected, ‘331 back into Bareilly City with 55370 2135 Pilibhit – Bareilly City; which had been to Tanakpur and back since I’d left it at Pilibhit.
I knew my overnight to Delhi, 14205 Faizabad – Delhi Jn was late before I’d left Izatnagar, as it had departed Faizabad 50’ late, so there was no flap. And with 55370 arriving 10’ early into Bareilly City I even had time to get myself and omelette from outside Bareilly Junction, after my RS100 auto had dropped me off. All in all, it had been a cracking afternoon/evening and I was very pleased with the way it had worked out; but was ready for bed by the time 14205 made it to Bareilly Jn.
Even though 14205 had been no more than 30’ late at Bareilly Jn for the last 7 nights, the fact that it was 2 hours late gave me a bonus move back to Bareilly City when 55359 2145 Kasganj – Bareilly City trundled into Bareilly Jn. I hadn’t quite managed to get the loco number properly when it arrived and had thought I’d watched WDM3D 11146 arrive. As 11146 was a BNDM loco, my curiosity had me investigating further; and sure enough, to was actually IZN WDM3A 14146, which was another recent transfer from GD. Knowing I had plenty of time to even walk back from Bareilly City if I’d needed to, I was Bareilly City bound and was back on the platform at Bareilly Jn within 30 minutes; having had no issues accosting an auto to take me back from Bareilly City.
No sooner did I get back, did SGUJ WDP4D 40089 power up, going through the middle road, with 12524 1505 New Delhi – New Jalpaiguri. This was a train I’d done in the opposite direction from Samastipur to New Delhi the previous year. Then id had been booked a MLDT Alco, although it produced a GD one on the way I did it and changing the link to a GM doesn’t make much sense now 12523/24 can run with an electric from Bihar to New Delhi. Still, it was another one off my list of trains to do now.
During the two hours I had train-spotting at Bareilly Jn, two TKD WDP3A’s graced the place with the presence, 15529 with the arriving 54353 1745 Aligarh – Bareilly Jn passenger and 15521 with 14208 1950 Delhi Jn – Pratapgarh. The opposing working to the train I was waiting for had LDH WDM3A 16124 working 14206 1825 Delhi Jn – Faizabad, which was a good sign, and the rest of what I saw wasn’t so good, with LDH WDG4 70612 working 14257 1400 Varanasi – New Delhi, ET WDP4B 40042 working 14512 1650 Saharanpur – Allahabad and TKD WDP4D 40506 working 13009 2025 (P) Howrah – Dehradun Doon Exp. So, while there were plenty of diesel under the wires opportunities on the Lucknow – Delhi corridor, the odds were stacked against Alco hauled trains.
Eventually, LDH WDM3A 16399 rolled into platform 3 with 14207 1725 Faizabad – Delhi Jn, at about 0215. I had berth No.1 in HA1, which is never a good berth, even at the best of times, and thankfully all the bedding was already on the berth and making it up took minutes. It was the fact that I was directly above the bogie that initially kept me from drifting off to sleep, it was the fact that it was the rattling curtain rails above my head; which I ultimately stopped by ramming the curtains in between the rails and curtain rings. Hoorah for sleep, what little I ended up getting anyway…
Gen for Sunday 25th February 2018
6601 spare at Mailani
6755 52252 0700 Mailani – Bahraich
6503 52239 0620 Tikunia – Mailani, 52208 1330 Mailani – Pilibhit
6575 52207 0740 Pilibhit – Mailani, 52254 1025 Mailani – Bahraich
6715 52222 1015 Mailani – Pilibhit, 52233 1400 Pilibhit – Shahjahanpur
6760 52232 1045 Shahjahanpur – Pilibhit
6524 52221 1500 Pilibhit – Mailani
6500 in Pilibhit shed still
6751 spare at Pilibhit
14149 IZN WDM3A 55366 1345 Pilibhit – Bareilly City, 55358 1710 Bareilly City – Kasganj
11331 IZN WDM3D 55363 1105 Bareilly City – Pilibhit, 55375 1355 Pilibhit – Tanakpur, 55378 1715 Tanakpur – Pilibhit, 55370 2135 Pilibhit – Bareilly City
40421 IZN WDP4D 55351 1405 Bareilly City – Lalkua, 05310 1730 Lalkua – Bareilly City
11253 IZN WDM3D 55365 1445 Bareilly City – Pilibhit
40414 IZN WDP4D 55350 1350 Lalkua – Bareilly City
11353 IZN WDM3D 55355 1255 Kasganj – Bareilly City
11156 IZN WDM3D 55349 1725 Bareilly City – Lalkua
11264 IZN WDM3D 55367 1800 Bareilly City – Pilibhit
14151 IZN WDM3B 55368 1815 Pilibhit – Bareilly City, 55360 2045 Bareilly City – Kasganj
11335 IZN WDM3D 55357 1710 Kasganj – Bareilly City, 55369 2130 Bareilly City – Pilibhit
11349 IZN WDM3D 05309 2055 Bareilly City – Lalkua
16274 TKD WDM3A 14004 1800 New Delhi – Malda Town
15529 TKD WDP3A 54353 1745 Aligarh Jn – Bareilly Jn
16124 LDH WDM3A 14206 1825 Delhi Jn – Faizabad (14112 GD WDM3A dit)
28477 CNB WAG7 04403 2135 (PP) Barauni – Anand Vihar (8h30m late)
14146 IZN WDM3A 55359 2145 Kasganj – Bareilly City
40089 SGUJ WDP4D 12524 1505 New Delhi – New Jalpaiguri
22571 GD WAP4 15211 1720 (PP) Darbhanga – Amritsar (11h late)
70612 LDH WDG4D 14257 1400 Varanasi – New Delhi
40042 ET WDP4B 14512 1650 Saharanpur – Allahabad
40506 TKD WDP4D 13009 2025 (P) Howrah – Dehradun
15521 TKD WDP3A 14208 1950 Delhi Jn – Pratapgarh
22569 GZB WAP4 12391 0800 (P) Rajgir – New Delhi
16399 LDH WDM3A 14205 1725 Faizabad – Delhi Jn
Moves for Sunday 25th February 2018
|6503||Palia Kalan||Mailani Jn||52239||0620 Tikunia – Mailani Jn|
|6715||Mailani Jn||Pilibhit Jn||52222||1015 Mailani Jn – Pilibhit Jn|
|14149||Pilibhit Jn||Izatnagar||55366||1345 Pilibhit Jn – Bareilly City|
|11253||Izatnagar||Dohna||55365||1445 Bareilly City – Pilibhit Jn|
|40414||Dohna||Bareilly City||55350||1350 Lalkua Jn – Bareilly City|
|11156||Bareilly City||Izatnagar||55349||1725 Bareilly City – Lakua Jn|
|11264||Izatnagar||Bhojipura Jn||55367||1800 Bareilly City – Pilibhit Jn|
|40421||Bhojipura Jn||Izatnagar||05310||1730 Lalkua Jn – Bareilly Jn|
|14151||Izatnagar||Bareilly CIty||55368||1815 Pilibhit Jn – Bareilly City|
|11349||Bareilly City||Izatnagar||05309||2055 Bareilly City – Lalkua Jn|
|11335||Izatnagar||Bhojipura Jn||55369||2130 Bareilly City – Pilibhit Jn|
|11331||Bhojipura Jn||Bareilly City||55370||2135 Pilibhit Jn – Bareilly Jn|
|Auto||Bareilly City||Bareilly Jn||RS100, 3km, 10 mins|
Photos for Sunday 25th February 2018
Monday 26th February 2018 (By morning in Delhi and by evening in Bangalore)
The Indian Railways alarm call, with the tone of every getting up to get of a train in a morning and making as much noise as they can, was in full force at Hapur; and even though I attempted a bit more sleep afterwards, it was fruitless as most of the coach seemed to be preparing to get off at Ghaziabad. When I realised we were 2h30m late, and that any moves I could have done from Delhi Jn had gone out of the window as a result, I joined them and got off at Ghaziabad to wait for 14205 Pratapgarh – Delhi Jn, which wasn’t far behind us.
Having seen the opposing working with TDK WDP3A 15521 at Bareilly some hours earlier, I wasn’t at all surprised when 14205 arrived into Ghaziabad with TKD WDP3A 15509; so, was this now a regular working for the remaining WDP3A’s that TKD hadn’t transferred to KYN? Of course, I was all set to do 14205 through to Delhi, until, that was, we pulled up at Delhi Shahdara Jn and TKD WDP1 15039 was sat in the platform with 51914 0315 Saharanpur Jn – Delhi Jn via Shamli. Luckily the train had already emptied out as it is renowned for being rammed to the rafters on the Shamli line, and it seemed to be being held waiting for 14205 to go ahead of it.
The journey into Delhi, all 6km of it, was a bit of a stagger and with arrival being just before 10 o’clock I was straight off to Delhi IGI Terminal 3 for my 1325 flight; which Air India had already told me via e-mail had been retimed to 1345 due to operational reasons. Direct Metro trains run from New Delhi to Indira Gandhi International Airport but from Delhi Jn you have to use Chandhi Chowk metro station, out of Delhi Jn station, turn left and follow the station front to the bottom end of the parking areas, and then change at New Delhi. Tickets are tokens and you can’t buy a through token from Chandhi Chowk to IGI Airport. It costs RS10 for a token to New Delhi, which is scanned at the barrier to enter and then deposited into the slot at the exit barriers to get out. Tokens for the Airport line metro trains can be bought from a kiosk, or at a machine at New Delhi; these cost RS60 and the journey takes about 30 minutes. As it was after the morning rush, it was quite a straightforward transit throughout and as I was flying with Air India, who have a check-in desk at the New Delhi metro station, I was checked in before I boarded the metro to the airport; which took 60 seconds! Jet Airways and Vistara also have check-in desks there and there weren’t queues at any of them, I recommend you use them if you need to check in, it’s a lot less hassle than at the airport.
Once at the airport I was able to just breeze through security, after walking by the large queues at the Air India check-in desks and treated myself to a much-needed KFC before sitting it out at the gate. It was quite a pleasant airport experience for once and while I wont use Air India as my preferred airline from the UK, I do find them decent to fly with domestically within India; when they’re not twice the cost of all the other airlines plying the same route. What’s more, they operate their flights from Delhi IGI Terminal 3, and not the Domestic Terminal 1D like all the other low-cost domestic providers, which makes connecting domestically to an international flight, or vice versa, a lot less hassle; and save one the hassle of the connecting bus between the two terminals.
Even though the flight had been advertised as retimed to depart at 1345 vice 1325, it had been on the stand from 1230, and still managed to not push-back for take-off until 1400. Boarding was very civilized, although there was one occurrence that had me wondering what if… When boarding had almost completed, the staff wheeled a woman down the aisle in a wheelchair, who had a broken leg. She was a large woman, which would make a difference in the event that the rest of the plane needed to evacuate, and the wheelchair barely fit in the aisle as it was. So, let’s just say that the plane caught fire; I’m pretty sure that at that point in time, Air India would have been responsible for a good few casualties due to them obstructing the evacuation routes from the plane!
It wasn’t a full flight and when I woke from a brief nod, I initially wondered why we were still waiting on the tarmac for takeoff, bon realised that we were at cruising altitude! Another takeoff I’d managed to sleep through! The lateness of the plane was a bit of a concern for me though and as a result I had to get a shift on when we landed in Bangalore. Touchdown was at 1645, leaving me 1h30m, from that point, to get to Bangalore City Jn station for 16216 1815 Bangalore City – Mysore Jn. It wasn’t a massive issue if I missed it as I’d be doing 16517/16523 2030 Bangalore City – Kannur/Karwar forward from Mysore anyway but would have to suffer a GM from Bangalore to Mysore instead of the twin Alco’s on 16216; which would then work 16517/16523 forward from Mysore.
I was right at the front of the plane, in row 7, and had a quick getaway as a result. By the time I’d scurried through the airport and straight into a waiting Airport Taxi out front, I had 1h19m to get to Bangalore City Jn. The driver told me it would take around 1 hour at this time of day, so I was confident of making it and the run to the outskirts of Bangalore was fast and traffic free, it’s the traffic lights and auto’s that slow you down once you get into the thick of things in the city. Still, 1 hour he’d told me, and 1h01m it took, leaving me 18 minutes for my train; which was just enough to leg it to the Hotel Signature Inn and drop my big bag first. The meter read RS638 when we pulled up and added RS125 toll when he hit the journey complete button; displaying all the total costs on the screen. So, the total was RS863. As there are no longer pre-paid taxi options at Bangalore Airport, the Airport Taxi service is the best option and I’ve not had any issues with the service provided yet; and more to the point, the meter fare is cheaper than the pre-paid fare ever was, even years ago!
By the time I got back to the station from the Signature Inn I only had about 5 minutes and 16216 1815 Bangalore City – Mysore was sat in platform 5, which I could see from the footbridge had the correct traction at the front. A quick scurry to check 12786 1820 Bangalore City – Kacheguda revealed KJM WDG3A’s 13299/13335, which would have arrived with 16557 1430 Mysore – Bangalore City; the set to form my 16216. PA WDP4D 40156 was already sat in platform 1 with 12627 1920 Bangalore City – New Delhi Karnataka Express and KJM WDS6 36243 was the middle sidings station pilot. When I got to platform 5, I had a bit of a fright when the curvature of the platform revealed the profile of a GM as I approached the front of the train. I was adamant that the profile of the locos from the footbridge had been those of a twin Alco’s though and it was like the
annoying moment when a GM had dropped onto the twin Alco’s on 16558 Bangalore City – Mysore, on my previous trip back in November. As the annoyance built inside, I was about to turn around in disgust, and re-evaluate my options, when I clapped eyes on the profile of an Alco ahead of the twin WDG4s. Not wanting to jump the gun though, I made sure that what I was seeing was the real deal; and sure enough KJM WDG3A’s 13270/13512 were coupled to the front of KJM WDG4’s 12029/12026, with both sets of locos manned and all 4 running. It’s amazing how the sense of annoyance can turn to that of elation, just at the sight of something! I wasn’t out of the woods yet though as either set of twins off 16216 could now work 16517/16523 forward from Mysore; but this was a positive start at least, and to be honest none of it mattered anyway. It was 16512/16514 Kannur/Karwar – Bangalore City coming the other way that mattered the most.
While I had a reservation in chair car, there was room in the front coach, so I set up camp there for the journey to Mysore. The thrash was a bit disappointing on the journey as even with the big load, the line wasn’t that challenging for the twins and they pretty much made mincemeat of the train, even with the GM’s in the consist. At Mysore, food was the order of the evening and a half decent egg biriyani was sought from one of the stalls on the platform; after which I used the dead time to catch up on some typing. One thing that my lack of time in Bangalore had resulted in was me being able to leave my bag at the hotel I’d be staying in two nights later, which was a bit of a nuisance; thanks Air India!
The moment of truth came when 16517/16523 Bangalore City – Kannur/Karwar arrived into Mysore Jn, and for me it revealed what I wanted to see; KJM WDG3A’s 13512/13270 dropping onto the opposite end of the train, after the arriving GM had brought it to a stand. As I was only going to Hassan I’d made a reservation using my Indrail Pass and slummed it in Sleeper Class. Unfortunately, my reservation was in a middle berth but fortunately the lower side opposite was empty to Hassan, so it took that instead. It wasn’t going to be a night of much sleep, but I was going to need some after the previous night’s failure to get some. My alarm was set to make sure I got off at Hassan and I had a refreshing enough 90-minute sleep during the journey.
Gen for Monday 26th February 2018
40293 TKD WDP4D 14674 1155 (P) Amritsar – Jaynagar (12h late)
15509 TKD WDP3A 14207 1700 (P) Pratapgarh – Delhi Jn
15039 TKDWDP1 51914 0315 Saharanpur – Delhi Jn
30398 RPM WAP7 56508 1800 Bangalore City – Marikuppam
40156 PA WDP4D 12627 1920 Bangalore City – New Delhi
13299/13335 KJM WDG3As 12786 1820 Bangalore City – Kacheguda
13270/13512 KJM WDG3As 16216 1815 Bangalore City – Mysore Jn (12029/12026 KJM WDG4s dit)
Moves for Monday 26th February 2018
|14146||Bhojipura Jn||Bareilly City||55359||2145 (25/02) Kasganj Jn – Bareilly City|
|Auto||Bareilly City||Bareilly Jn||RS100, 3km, 10 mins|
|16399||Bareilly Jn||Ghaziabad Jn||14205||1725 (25/02) Faizabad Jn – Delhi Jn|
|15509||Ghaziabad Jn||Delhi Shahdara Jn||14207||1700 (25/02) Pratapgarh Jn – Delhi Jn|
|15039||Delhi Shahdara Jn||Delhi Jn||51914||0315 Saharanpur Jn – Delhi Jn|
|Metro||Chandi Chowk||New Delhi||RS10|
|Metro||New Delhi||Indira Gandhi Terminal 2 & 3||RS60|
|VT-EXH||Delhi IGI Terminal 3||Bangalore||AI502||1325 Delhi – Bangalore|
|13270||Bangalore City Jn||Mysore Jn||16216||1815 Bangalore City Jn – Mysore Jn|
|13512||Mysore Jn||Hassan Jn||16517/23||2030 Bangalore City Jn – Kannur/Karwar|
Photos for Monday 26th February 2018
Tuesday 27th February 2018 (Hassan to Nandyal via two bits of newly constructed railway)
Hassan is a pleasant station to fester at but thankfully I didn’t have long there. 16517/16523 arrived 40’ late in the first place but this didn’t cut the fester by too much as 16512/16514 arrived 30’ late. It really was an anxious moment, waiting for 16512/16514 to arrive, especially after wasting 3 days in Bangalore the previous November trying to find an Alco hauled train over the new line from Bangalore to Hassan via Nelamangala. And even more annoying that someone else did a random train that way a week after I went home and was presented with a KJM Alco for his troubles. It wasn’t annoying at all! As soon as I could see a headlight in the distance, I was squinting to try and place the lights, using my finger to try and block the glare of one so I could see the formation of the others and was literally desperate to find out what was at the head of the train. After my ill-fated attempts to cover the line from Bangalore to Hassan via Nelemangala the previous November, I’d done a bit of digging and found that 16517/16523/16518/16524 Bangalore – Kannur/Kawar – Bangalore via Mysore, would be diverted via Nelamangala four nights a week from 11th February 2018. Being too keen for my own good, I wasn’t quite willing to let this one go just yet and was of the impression that by November 2018 it might well be too late. So, as my early 2018 trip was already fully planned for March, this impromptu trip was arranged to take 16512/16514 into consideration, on one of the days it ran while I was in the country. If this attempt failed to get me an Alco, then I don’t know if I’d have the patience to risk attempting it a third time and wasting more days in Bangalore; when there was so much still on offer elsewhere.
When my eyes managed to start to control the glare of the approaching headlights, the configuration was one high one and two low ones, confirmed it wasn’t a GM, cab leading anyway, which would have three horizontal lights. While I was pretty confident at this point that it wouldn’t be a GM with its long nose leading, the top headlight soon proved to have its beams side-by-side, which confirmed it was Alco. Had the top beams been one above the other then it would have been a GM, and further to that the low marker lights on a GM are further apart and slightly lower than those of an Alco. To be fair, by the time I’d figured out the high beam configuration I could hear the chug of the Alco’s approaching anyway. I was so pleased with this little moment of glory that I almost forgot to get the loco numbers as they went by me and I wasn’t complaining at KJM WDG3A’s 13261/13267 either!
As I was a bit last minute with this plan, it was another reservation in Sleeper Class, in another middle berth; which this time I had to take. With the alarm set to make sure I was awake for Yesvantpur, I went to sleep a pleased man.
During my trip planning I came across the first loco-hauled train to be plying the newly opened line from Yerraguntla to Nandyal, 17216 1600 Dharmavaram – Vijayawada, which ran three days a week in either direction; and was doable during my trip, not very conveniently, but it was still doable. This was all assuming that 16512/16514 got me into Yesvantpur with enough time to make it to either Bangalore Cantt, or Yelahanka if need be, to make 56503 0720 Bangalore Cantt – Vijayawada passenger. Rolling into Yesvantpur just before 7 o’clock wasn’t that conducive to risking an auto to Bangalore Cantt for an 0720 departure, so a leisurely run to Yelahanka it was, for an 0810 departure instead. I didn’t want to get in the queue for the pre-paid auto rank and had plenty of offers from other auto drivers to take me where I wanted to go. I paid RS300 for the privilege of being able to leap straight into an auto and go though. The extra five minutes didn’t make all the difference either as I had 30 minutes to kill at Yelahanka in the end.
Coffee was on tap at Yelahanka and the south Indians know how to make their samosas, with a nice onion-based filling, so they went down nicely for breakfast. 56503 0720 Bangalore Cantt – Vijayawada was a passenger train that had SL Class coaches in its consist and a reservation had been duly made. What I didn’t expect was that my compartment area would have only me in it all the way to Dharmavaram, and the TTE’s reservation sheets was quite empty, overall. BZA WAG7 28364 led 56503 with BNDM WDG4s 70356/70064 dead inside for the ride; a fair way from home. It was a shame that electrification had recently resulted in the link for 56503 going from GTL Shakti to ED WAP4, otherwise the move would have been quite nice, but the electric marred it a little. At least it was a relaxing one though.
En-route we passed the following, BZA WAG7 28404 with 56524 0630 Hindupur – Bangalore City passenger, GY WDG4 12427 with 17211 Machillipatnam – Yesvantpur, LGD WAP7 30258 with 17603 Kacheguda – Yesvantpur, ED WDM3A’s 16657/16673 with 16331 Mumbai CST – Trivandrum Central, KJM WDP4D 40528 with 19301 Indore – Yesvantpur, ED WAP4 22717 with 18463 Bhubaneswar – Bangalore City Prashanti Express, PA WDP4D 40425 with 12628 New Delhi – Bangalore Karnataka Express, KJM WDM3A 14053 with an empty ballast rake and finally, the opposing working of the train I was on at the station before Dharmavaram, 56504 2040 (P) Vijayawada – Bangalore Cantt.
It had been a pleasant journey to Dharmavaram, but it was time to get off when 56504 got there. I needed some food, some more water and to stretch my legs. The food situation was sorted the moment I stepped off the train, right into a biriyani wallah. Here was plenty of coffee on offer yet there was only one stall on the whole station to provide the water I needed; and there was nothing at all outside the station front.
India Rail Info would have you believe that 17215/17216 Vijayawada – Dharmavaram – Vijayawada were worked by GM’s, yet most of the photos on the blog for the trains show KZJ Alco’s; so while it was a bit of a risk going to Dharmavaram for 17216, it was a risk that paid off when KZJ WDG3A 13201 arrived shortly after I had, with the inbound 17215 Vijayawada – Dharmavaram; about 30’ late. There didn’t seem to be many people get off it either.
While the Alco ran-round, I went to have a look around the area that used to be the MG side of Dharmavaram station; which once ran parallel to the BG part way towards Guntakal. The whole of the MG side of the station, where the carriage sidings had been, was now just a dust bowl of earth and the only remains of the MG days were a concrete structure that would have once had a large water storage tank atop and further down the void, a partly dismantled metal water storage tank with the words “Richardson & Cruddas makers Bombay”, visible on one of the intact sides. Bits of the metal ladders that had led up the structure to it were mangled and left strewn around and the inside of the water tank had quite a few bits of MG rail dumped in it. There were no remnants of the MG platforms, with the new BG ones covering up anything that may have been visible below them. Part of the MG carriage sidings had a couple of MOW buildings now and there was a breakdown train stabled there, formed of 2 coaches, the tool van and medical relief coach, and GTL WDM3A 16603.
It was bloody hot, so wondering around in the blazing sun didn’t last too long, especially with my bald head! While sitting in the waiting hall, charging my phone, I was wondering what I was going to do with the two hours I still had to kill, when the answer jumped out on an NTES station line-up for Dharmavaram. Half an hour later I was on my way to Chinnekuntapalli in an auto; of which there had been four placed strategically under a tree outside the station, in the shade. The journey took about 25 minutes and there wasn’t much going on at the place when I got there.
57475 0815 Tirupati – Guntakal rolled in only a few minutes late, with GTL WDG3A 14892 doing the honours. It was a straight cross-platform leap at Guntakal on arrival and that was when I realised I’d done a move that I probably shouldn’t have; as I had in my head that 17216 was a 1620 departure from Dharmavaram, when it was actually 1600, with 57475 being a plus 5 onto it! In the end though, 57475 was 15’ early into Dharmavaram so there was no flap, although it was just as well I didn’t go wondering off over the other side of the station!
Having checked the reservation charts on both AC classes and SL, I realised why 17215 had been virtually empty on arrival, as most people get on at Anantapur and beyond. I had a reservation in SL Class and figured out that the whole coach was going to be rammed by Gooty. 2AC was much the same but 3AC had a whole bay of 8 that wasn’t reserved until Nandyal, so I hung around waiting for the TTE to show up; who hadn’t done by departure, so I just helped myself. I was keen to find him before Anantapur though and asked the staff on board where he was. They pointed me in the direction of 2AC and I found him asleep and had to wake him. He was fine about me taking one of the berths in 3AC and didn’t question my SL class Indrail Pass at the time. When I got back to the bay, the coach fitter and coach attendant had moved in, which annoyed me a little at first, but I ended up having a really good chat with them and the TTE during the journey.
The coach fitter was based in Vijayawada and rode with the new LHB rakes to ensure there weren’t any issues with the set and having watched him complete his authority to travel sheets it looked like he’d been doing the 17215/17216 circuit for a couple of weeks. Both he, his attendant and the TTE spoke decent English and when the TTE examined by SL Class Indrail Pass he just handed it back and then started to tell me about Bitcoin; which to be honest, I knew nothing about at all, but he seemed to be doing ok with the ones he’d bought. During the loco run-round at Gooty, which was only timed for 10 minutes and took 40, he insisted that he bought me coffee and sent the coach attendant off to find me “good coffee”. Once that was consumed, I went for a wonder around the station and to my horror, I could find nothing but GY GM’s on shed and around the station area; there wasn’t a single Alco in sight, other than the one running around my train! While minding my own business on the platform the coach fitter accosted me and insisted I take tea with them, which I wasn’t allowed to pay for either.
Everyone was a bit bemused that I was ultimately going to Guntakal, then back to Bangalore, yet I was making a long detour via Yerraguntla & Nandyal to do it. When I explained about travelling over the track from Yerraguntla to Nandyal they all understood and then preceded to tell me that it had been inspected recently and a blanket 30/50 speed restriction had been imposed due to the track quality deteriorating with the amount of heavy freight train using the route seemingly making it sink and become uneven. As a result, I was told it would take 3 ½ to 4 hours to cover the 123km section, which started to get me thinking about whether I’d make my train at Nandyal or not. I was booked on 18047 Howrah – Vasco Amravati Express back to Guntakal, which was a plus 1h25m at Nandyal. There were other trains back to Guntakal afterwards, but the plus onto 12976 Jaipur – Mysore there, then started to dwindle a little. Still, I was here, had the correct traction at the helm and wasn’t going to be stupid enough to get off and flag the new track while it was there for the taking.
Shortly before Yerraguntla, I was summoned to the 2AC coach by the TTE, had a plate thrusted into my hand and that was promptly filled with veg curry and chapattis by the TTE’s wife. Firstly, no was not an option and I assumed that a Bitcoin rich TTE didn’t want to drug me and steal my stuff, secondly, I didn’t have my spoon and fork so eating it with an implement also wasn’t an option; so, fingers it was. It was the first time I’ve ever taken food off a stranger on a train, and the first time I’d ever eaten a meal in India with my fingers. It wasn’t so bad, but it wasn’t something I’d be taking up permanently, or ever again if I could help it. Thankfully, the sweet desert I was handed afterwards was a little more manageable. It was a pastry type thing filled with powdery sweet dust and was very nice. Thanks to an India friend on Facebook, I know that this desert is made in India for Holi Festival and is called Gujhiya. Apparently its famous in the Thawe area of Bihar and goes by the name Pedukiya there. I couldn’t turn down a second when it was offered and didn’t need to eat for the rest of the evening when I’d finished. Unfortunately, the chaos of people boarding at Yerraguntla broke proceedings up and we all had to disperse without really having time to address each other. The TTE was out on the platform, doing his thing and his wife was cleaning up after everyone, who I thanked profusely before returning to whence I’d been summoned from for a bit of a nap.
When I managed to get some mobile data, I was grateful that 18047 Amravati Express was an hour late, which gave some breathing space. While it wasn’t an issue if I missed it, I wouldn’t have a berth reservation on any of the other trains and would probably end up standing for the 3-hour journey back to Guntakal; so, I hoped to make it. It was an absolute totter over the whole length of the Yerraguntla – Nandyal section, but for a couple of spots where we probably got up to about 60kmph; and 17216 rolled into the platform at Nandyal a little before 1am, almost 1h25m late, on my plus 1h25m for 18047.
Nandyal station was busier in the middle of the night than Dharmavaram had been at the height of the afternoon. GTL WDM3A 16695 was waiting to depart wit a late running 57306 1730 Guntur – Kacheguda in platform 1 and there were loads of vendors to provide me with coffee while I waited.
The display screens on platform 1 had 18463 in them after 57306 departed, and it didn’t dawn on me until 18463 Bhubaneswar – Bangalore City Prashanti Express was being announced, that I could do it towards Guntakal if it was worth doing. I wasn’t expecting it to be as it was now booked electric from Guntakal to Bangalore and had been a through GM when it had been diesel through to Bangalore. So, when GY WDM3Ds 11371/11385 dropped into platform 1 with 18463 I found myself flicking through the timetable to figure out where I could do it to and then searching for somewhere to stand. I settled on Betamcherla, the first station that both 18463 & 18047 stopped at and stood in the sleeper class coaches for the 45-minute journey.
18047 was only 15 minutes behind 18463 at Betamcherla and I was very grateful of it being late, and behind 18463. GY WDG3A’s 14579/14552 led the Amravati Express and I had to hammer on the door of my booked S5 coach to get those dossed on the floor inside to let me in. It was a bit of an obstruction course just to get to my berth and even then, I had to get the guy dossed in it out of it. The two hours dozing that I had from Betamcherla to Guntakal were much appreciated, and although not refreshed I was more awake than I would have been doing 18463 all the way to Guntakal, standing up!
Gen for Tuesday 27th February 2018
13261/13267 KJM WDG3As 16512/16514 1640 Kannur/ 1440 Karwar – Bangalore City
16876/18824 12785 1905 (P) Kacheguda – Bangalore City
30528 RPM WAP7 56510 0700 Bangalore City – Marikuppam
28364 BZA WAG7 56503 0720 Bangalore Cantt – Vijayawada (70356/70046 BNDM WDG4s dit)
28404 BZA WAG7 56524 0630 Hindupur – Bangalore City
12427 GY WDG4 17211 1515 (P) Machillipatnam – Yesvantpur
30258 LGD WAP7 17603 2100 (P) Kacheguda – Yesvantpur
16657/16673 ED WDM3As 16331 1210 (P) Mumbai CST – Trivandrum Cen
40528 KJM WDP4D 19301 2055 (PP) Indore Jn – Yesvantpur
22717 ED WAP4 18463 0530 (P) Bhubaneswar – Bangalore City
40425 PA WDP4D 12628 2115 (PP) New Delhi – Bangalore City
22536 ED WAP4 56504 2040 (P) Vijayawada – Bangalore Cantt
13201 KZJ WDG3A 17215 2310 (P) Vijayawada – Dharmavaram, 17216 1600 Dharmavaram – Vijayawada
14892 GTL WDG3A 57475 0815 Tirupati – Guntakal
40435 KJM WDP4D 12650 0625 (P) Hazrat Nizamuddin – Yesvantpur
22042 AJJ WAP1 11027 2345 (P) Mumbai CST – Chennai Cen
16695 GTL WDM3A 57306 1730 Guntur – Kacheguda
Moves for Tuesday 27th February 2018
|13261||Hassan Jn||Yesvantpur Jn||16512/14||1640 Kannur / 1440 Karwar (26/02) – Bangalore City|
|Auto||Yesvantpur Jn||Yelahanka Jn||RS300, 10km, 25 minutes|
|28364||Yelahanka Jn||Dharmavaram Jn||56503||0720 Bangalore Cantt – Vijayawada Jn|
|Auto||Dharmavaram Jn||Chinnekuntapalli||RS200, 12km, 25 minutes|
|14892||Chinnekuntapalli||Dharmavaram Jn||57475||0815 Tirupati – Guntakal Jn|
|13201||Dharmavaram Jn||Nandyal||17216||1600 Dharmavaram Jn – Vijayawada Jn|
Photos for Tuesday 27th February 2018
Wednesday 28th February 2018 (Guntakal to Bangalore via some Alco’s on the Mysore line)
There was quite a bit happened in a short space of time at Guntakal and 18463 was just leaving as 18047 arrived, now with an electric up front after reversing at Guntakal. While I was photographing the GY Shakti’s on platform 3, a pair of ED Shakti’s, 14614/14795, arrived into the adjacent platform 4 with 16340 0630 (P) Nagercoil – Mumbai CST; which I couldn’t touch. They were closely followed by GY WDP4D 40135 with 17603 2105 (P) Kacheguda – Yesvantpur, which was now also electric from Guntakal to Bangalore since the completion of the OHL from Hindupur to Guntakal; so I went to investigate at the opposite end of the train and ended up being shunted back across from platform 6, where I’d just walked to, to platform 3, where I’d arrived on 18047; by GTL WDG3A 13024, shunting the through Kacheguda to Vasco portion from the rear of the arriving 17603 to the rear of the ready to depart 18047. Meanwhile, LGD WAP7 30430 dropped onto the opposite end of 17603 to work it forward to Yesvantpur.
Some very good masala chai kept me going at Guntakal, as did a bit of walking around. What used to be the MG side of Guntakal station resembled a building site, where there were platforms half-completed, with footbridges in the same boat; it was as though IR had started, with all good intentions to add more BG platforms, but just couldn’t be arsed to finish the job; and the MG had disappeared at Guntakal in 2005! Yet progress works still hadn’t been completed.
While I was waiting for the platform of my 12976 Jaipur – Mysore to be announced, I half expected GTL WDM3A’s 18906/16333, with GTL WDM3D 11374 dead, to re-engine the train when it arrived. However, they were sat at the signal at the east end of platform 5 for another reason, and when GTL WDG3A 13025 propelled some stock onto them; the announcement that 57426 0545 Guntakal – Kacheguda would depart from platform 5 put everything into perspective.
I needn’t have been concerned at all that I might have missed the Amravati Express at Nandyal, as even 17225 Vijayawada – Hubli Amravati Express made 12976, and arrived spot on time with GY WDP4D 40355. It was followed by a slightly late 12976 Jaipur – Mysore, with KZJ WDM3A’s 18822/18980 leading the way. 18822 looked to have been a recent transfer from VSKP to KZJ as it was still in VSKP livery but did have the KZJ castles shed logo on the front. I’d booked a ticket through IRCTC in 3AC for 12976, even though I also had a sleeper class reservation with my Indrail Pass. I’d figured I’d probably be knackered after my long night and would need a bit of comfort; and I wasn’t wrong!
It was quite civilized inside the 3AC coach I was booked in, which is one of 8 AC coaches of the 24 conveyed on 12976. As the train was late, I hung around on the platform after I made my upper-side berth up and checked in for my 0700 flight back to London the following morning; and was all sorted just as the loco pilot blew up to depart at 0701! I was straight to bed, but as is always the case, once the coach awakens, all the mice on the mice organ follow suit and Indians don’t seem to do talking quietly amongst themselves! Even my earplugs couldn’t keep the noisy woman out of my head, who was giving it large in the bay below me. By 10 o’clock I gave it up as a bad job and was thankfully able to find a free side-lower berth to relax in.
12976 Jaipur – Mysore is one of those trains that just does its thing and goes about it under the radar most of the time, yet it’s a train with 1/3 of its consist as AC coaches and it has had twin Alco’s as the power, from Kacheguda to Mysore, for many years now. It’s a train that runs more or less to time and in my experience always has plenty of space on-board. Coming from Kacheguda the 2AC coach is 3 from the front, so it’s a good way to travel behind a pair of noisy Alco’s but still travel in comfort. On this occasion 12976 was running about 20’ late approaching Bangalore Cantt but as its given 30 minutes from Cantt to City, it was rolling into Bangalore City spot on time.
I’d walked to the front at Bangalore Cantt, to find that there was plenty of room in the unreserved coaches behind the Alco’s. On departure from Cantt I noticed a pair of bright orange Alcos stood with the set for 12786 Bangalore City – Kacheguda, in the middle road of the station. As I wasn’t paying attention though, I didn’t see the numbers. The set off 12785 often stables at Bangalore Cantt all day, and is brought back down the hill to Bangalore City by whatever mainline loco is being used as carriage shunt loco that day at City; which these days seems to be the GTL loco that used to be used on the afternoon Tumkur passenger, which I still have no clue what it comes off or does later!
Despite being on time into Bangalore, 12976 was 20’ late departing due to all the luggage vans on the train being fully offloaded in the dwell time. This allowed me to have a scoot about and get myself a nice fresh egg biriyani from one of the stalls on platform 1. As it was only just after lunch everything was still hot, and I even treated myself to a cold Thumbs Up to wash it all down; my first of the trip! Fed and watered, I was looking forward to the afternoon run down the Mysore line and let’s face it, this could well be my last run ever down the line with the OHL now being energized. Add to the fact that I’d now done everything I needed to with Alco around the Bangalore greater area, there was now no need for me to ever return to Bangalore again either, and with the way KJM was being filled up with GMs it was a real possibility that I’d never be back; so, I savoured the afternoon.
KZJ’s 18980/18822 were very good engines and on load 24 were put through their paces. It was a good run to Mandya, which is the first place 12976 stops after Bangalore City; where the next train back to Bangalore City just happens to be 16557 1430 Mysore – Jaipur Rajya Rani Express. This arrived promptly with two of KJM’s finest up front, WDM3A’s 18824/16876, with plenty of room at the front to enjoy the noise on the way back to Bangalore. As is always the case, we were held outside the station for a while, which meant a standing start on the hill coming up into Bangalore City. The driver wasn’t shy of the power handle and it was a trip worth making, just for the run from Kengeri into Bangalore.
As we approached the station I could see KJM WDS6AD 36312 shunting the Karnataka Express stock out and wasted no time in scurrying over to platform 1 to ride down the platform with it as it dropped back in! I expected the twins to shunt off 16557 at Bangalore and then work 12786 1820 Bangalore City – Kacheguda but they shunted into the middle carriage sidings instead, where KJM WDG3A’s 13335/13299 were sat being prepared by a crew. Meanwhile, KJM WDG3A’s 13043/13030 were shunted onto the opposite end of 16557’s rake to work back to Mysore with 16216 1815 Bangalore City – Mysore Chaumundi Express.
As the set for 12786 1820 Bangalore City – Kacheguda wasn’t in platform 3 yet, I had a brainwave and was stood in the front door of 17235 1725 Bangalore City – Nagercoil as ED WDM3D 11178 eased it out of the station. Not only was it an excellent run up the hill to Bangalore Cantt, with a “real” WDM3D, my brainwave proved to be a worthwhile one as GTL WDG3A’s 14943/14576 were just being prepared for departure from the middle road of Bangalore Cantt, when I arrived, with the stock that would form 12786, which I wanted to view back at Bangalore City in the hope that 13299 was involved. Everything fell into place that evening and I managed to find the guard’s door at the rear of 12786’s set unlocked and 14943/14576 delivered me back down to Bangalore City; where KJM WDG3A’s 13335/13299 dropped onto the opposite end and gave a spirited run back up the hill on 12786. Then something out of the ordinary occurred at Bangalore Cantt when 56513 0340 Karaikal – Bangalore City passenger arrived right time; with ED WDM3D 11294 and not an ED Shakti as was almost always the case.
12 months previous this would have been a good thing as Bangalore City used to come alive with twin ED Alco’s of an evening but now, sadly, all those links were GM; and not KJM ones either. Still, last time I’d been at Bangalore, waiting at Cantt for 56513, I’d flagged an AJJ WAG7 on 56261 Arakkonam – Bangalore City so, decided to head back up to Bangalore Cantt for it. GOC WDP4D 40488 led the way there with 16232 1530 Mysore – Mayilduthurai but unfortunately 56261 was on this occasion worked by AJJ WAP1 22058 and as it dropped down into Bangalore City I wondered whether that run would indeed be the last train I ever did into Bangalore; where I’d got so many fond memories of, and still do like the place. As Indian Railways modernizes though, places like Bangalore will increasingly have less and less to offer those interested in Alco’s; and it could ultimately end up a solid electric city in the future and then where would all the bloody GMs go!
When I got back to the hotel I made sure all my crap was in order for a quick getaway at 0330 the following morning, for my 0700 flight to London. With there being severe weather across the UK, and snow stopping the job in many parts of the country, I’d checked earlier to make sure my flight was running, and it had only been shown to be 15’ late departing London. A quick check to make sure it had left, before I went to be, revealed that it was still on the ground at Heathrow and expected to be 2h30m late taking off. At least it was running I guess. The British Airways App was showing an 0910 departure from Bangalore, vice the booked 0700, and while the website confirmed it was going to be late, BA were still urging passengers to get to the airport for the booked departure time; as they were “doing everything they could to keep the delay to a minimum”! So, with the alarm set for 0315, I was in bed for 2130; and slept like a log! Just as I was turning out the light the room phone rang, it was the reception telling me that the boarding card I’d e-mailed them earlier had just come through, so they’d print it and keep give it to me when I checked out.
Gen for Wednesday 28th February 2018
11371/11385 GY WDM3Ds 18463 0530 (P) Bhubaneswar – Bangalore City (to Guntakal)
14579/14552 GY WDG3As 18047 2330 (PP) Howrah – Vasco
14614/14795 ED WDG3As 16340 0630 (P) Nagercoil – Mumbai CST
40135 GY WDP4D 17603 2105 (P) Kacheguda – Yesvantpur (to Guntakal)
30430 LGD WAP7 17603 2105 (P) Kacheguda – Yesvantpur (from Guntakal)
13024 GTL WDG3A shunt through portion 17603 to 18047 at Guntakal (Plat 6 to 3)
40355 GY WDP4D 17225 1945 (P) Vijayawada – Hubli
18906/16333 GTL WDM3As 57426 0545 Guntakal – Kacheguda (11394 GTL WDM3D dit)
18822/18980 KZJ WDM3As 12976 1935 (PP) Jaipur – Mysore
20033 KJM WDP4 17307 1330 Mysore – Bagalkot
18824/16876 KJM WDM3As 16557 1430 Mysore – Bangalore City
20036 KJM WDP4 56282 1530 Bangalore City – Chamarajanagar
11178 ED WDM3D 17235 1735 Bangalore City – Nagercoil
13043/13030 KJM WDG3As 16216 1815 Bangalore City – Mysore
30570 ED WAP7 56509 1400 Marikuppam – Bangalore City
30398 RPM WAP7 56510 0700 Bangalore City – Marikuppam
14943/14576 GTL WDG3As 1745 ecs Bangalore Cantt – Bangalore City for 12786
13299/13335 KJM WDG3As 12786 1820 Bangalore City – Kacheguda
40213 PA WDP4D 12627 1920 Bangalore City – New Delhi
11294 ED WDM3D 56513 0340 Karaikal – Bangalore City
40488 GOC WDP4D 16232 1530 Mysore – Mayilduthurai
22058 AJJ WAP1 56261 0800 Arakkonam – Bangalore City
36243 SBC middle Sidings east end pilot
36312 SBC middle Sidings west end pilot
Moves for Wednesday 28th February 2018
|11371||Nandyal||Betamcherla||18463||0530 (27/02) Bhubaneswar – Bangalore City Jn|
|14579||Betamcherla||Guntakal Jn||18047||2330 (26/02) Howrah – Vasco da Gama|
|13024||Gunatakal Jn Platform 6||Gunatakal Jn Platform 3||Shunt through portion 17603 to 18047|
|18980||Guntakal Jn||Mandya||12976||1935 (26/02) Jaipur Jn – Mysore Jn|
|18824||Mandya||Bangalore City Jn||16557||1430 Mysore Jn – Bangalore City Jn|
|36312||Bangalore City Jn Platform 1 West End||Bangalore City Jn Platform 1 East End||Shunt stock in for 12628 SBC – NDLS|
|11178||Bangalore City Jn||Bangalore Cantt||17235||1725 Bangalore City Jn – Nagercoil Jn|
|14943||Bangalore Cantt||Bangalore City Jn||ECS to form 12786 SBC – KCG|
|13335||Bangalore City Jn||Bangalore Cantt||12786||1820 Bangalore City Jn – Kacheguda|
|11294||Bangalore Cantt||Bangalore City Jn||56513||0340 Karaikal – Bangalore City Jn|
|40488||Bangalore City Jn||Bangalore Cantt||16232||1530 Mysore Jn – Mayilduthurai Jn|
|22058||Bangalore Cantt||Bangalore City Jn||56261||0800 Arakkonam Jn – Bangalore City Jn|
Photos for Wednesday 28th February 2018
Thursday 1st March 2018 (The journey back home; a brief interlude before I returned 5 days later!)
At 0315 I wondered what was going off when my phone alarm eventually managed to infiltrate the ears. Before making any rash decision about getting up though, I checked my flight status and sure enough there was an e-mail from BA, which confirmed exactly what their App did; my 0700 flight was retimed to a 1015 departure; so, the alarm was reset for 0515. Randomly, at 0508 precisely, the room phone rang, it was the reception asking if I’d had an alarm call booked! Had it not been for the fact that my phone alarm was going to go off 7 minutes later, they’d have go a piece of my mind, but in this instance, I politely told them I didn’t have one booked but thanked them for waking me anyway. 15 minutes later I was down at reception being handed the boarding card they’d printed the night before. Then I was off to the station to get myself a pre-paid taxi to Bangalore Airport.
Even though Bangalore City station has a pre-paid taxi service, last time I was stood at the pre-paid booth, the fare the taxi driver offered was cheaper than the pre-paid counter wanted to charge, for exactly the same person to take me. So, this time I just took the first taxi driver up on his offer, who looked awake I might add. The price list they all have showed the airport to be RS1100 and that was what I paid, for the slowest taxi driver on earth to take me to Bangalore Airport. Anyone would have thought he’d driven trains in Albania as he was putting his van into neutral at every opportunity and holding up traffic behind when he did. Still, at least he was awake, not driving like a maniac and delivered me to the airport in a sound state of mind; unlike other taxi driver’s who’d taken me to airports in India!
Thanks to online check-in and the hotel staff printing my boarding pass for me, I was straight to immigration at Bangalore airport, only to be sent to the check-in desks as the immigration staff wouldn’t accept my paper boarding card and insisted that it was stamped by the airline. I managed to get a member of staff to push me to the front of the queue and one of the desk staff printed me a boarding card in seconds. They couldn’t understand why immigration wouldn’t accept my paper boarding card and confirmed that they wouldn’t stamp it either but did tell me that as my flight was late that breakfast was being provided at the 7Tawas restaurant and I just needed to show my boarding card.
Luckily there was no queue at all at immigration and I ended up going back to the same guy; who was pleasant about the situation while he processed me out of the country. I was the only one going through security at the time as well and if only immigration and security were this straightforward at every international airport eh? There were more people queuing for their breakfast when I got to the 7Tawas, than there had been at immigration. It was all very efficient though and they even had a list up displaying what British Airways passengers were entitled to. It was a decent breakfast too, after which I sat catching up with stuff at the handy desks near my departure gate. It was only when I was looking to see what time the plane would land, that I realised that it didn’t take off from Heathrow until 1820, vice 1400, and was just the 4h20m late. At 0836 it pulled up onto the stand while I was staring into space, at least those on board had got a full night’s sleep on the plane and would be fully refreshed for their first day in India and hadn’t wasted a night paying for a hotel! Having looked through the flight departures for Heathrow the previous day it did look like carnage, but there were plenty of flights departing Heathrow between the booked departure time of BA119 and when it did depart, and the plane had been on the ground for 6 hours by that point.
Boarding was quite efficient when it commenced and all very civilized. There were plenty of empty seats once boarding was complete and I managed to move to a more spacious part of the plane and a relaxing journey back to the UK followed. As we departed India just as the UK was about to wake up, the extent of the limitations to public transport wouldn’t be known until we landed 11 hours later. More snow forecast though, the synopsis wasn’t good.
On the approach to London the pilot announced that we were on the approach while there was a lull in the snowfall that had been patchy throughout the morning, and we were straight in as a result. Once below the clouds it was plain to see that snow had fallen around the greater London area, but it was nothing more than a dusting really; yet a National Rail line-up for trains home from Kings Cross to Doncaster revealed chaos on the ECML. It seemed that I was lucky to even have a train home at all and that Scotland was completely closed, full stop! To add further insult to our delayed arrival into Heathrow, we’d landed only 2h30m late but had to wait off the stand as the guidance system that parked the aircraft in the right place had failed. On the plus side there was no queue at all at immigration and I was straight through and onto a tube, which itself was empty by normal rush hour standards.
The 10-minute delay waiting to get onto the stand resulted in me being tail-lighted for the 1700 from Kings Cross but when I saw the HST departing I wasn’t too bothered. With the 1703 Leeds being caped, the 1733 Leeds was the next train to Doncaster; and again, that was almost deserted compared to a normal rush hour. Due to the lack of services north though, it was stopping everywhere between Kings Cross and Doncaster, just to add that extra 25 minutes to the journey. Incidentally, I was originally booked on the 1505 Kings Cross – Leeds!
I’d never been so glad to see Doncaster in a long time and thankfully my taxi was already waiting outside the station to take me home. With the hassle, it would hardly be worth the time I spent back at home as I was heading back to London to fly back to Delhi in 5 days’ time, to do it all again. By which time the weather would have improved, and the snow would be nothing but a memory.
Movess for Thursday 1st March 2018
|G-YMMA||Bangalore||Heathrow Terminal 5||BA198||0700 Bangalore – Heathrow|
|91126||Kings Cross||Doncaster||1D24||1733 Kings Cross – Leeds|
Photos for Thursday 1st March 2018