Jonathan Lee

Worldly Images

India February & March 2015 (Chennai to Kakinada Port Circular & Delhi to Bangalore via Katra, Jaipur & Secunderabad)

Originally this trip plan was hatched to start in Delhi and head north to cover Udhampur; before it was electrified, making it hard to get to Udhampur by Alco. While I was up that way it made sense to pick up some bits of track that as I went along, the bonus bit being the Jaijon Doaba branch, which as luck had it, had a hotel right outside the station!

There were even some newly opened lines to try and get over with Alco and plotting what needed to be done proved quite difficult with some trains being once a week only but the new line from Chandigarh to Ludhiana via Morinda and from Rohtak to Rewari were both slotted in and my departure from northern climes would have me arriving into Jaipur to ride on the MG; for about my fourth last time in the last couple of years!

From Jaipur I was Ahmedabad/Vadodara bound to cover the old NG branches, which have now become BG but rather than go direct I opted to do it via Udaipur and the MG overnight to Ahmedabad, which unfortunately had recently lost its 2AC accommodation.

I needed a second bite at the cherry to travel over the new line from Narkher to Badnera after missing my train at Itarsi last time I’d attempted it; this would be courtesy of the weekly Indore – Yesvantpur. While in the Indore area it would have been rude not to have a blast on the Indore – Mhow MG but IR had other ideas and closed it for conversion on 7th February, 24 days before I would arrive into Indore!

From Akola it would be branch picking off time, such as Dhule and Bodhan, yet there was an interesting possibility looming and with the Jalamb – Khamgaon train being spotted last Summer with a CLA WDM2S and two coaches, vice railbus, I couldn’t resist fitting the branch into my plans.

There wasn’t only one railbus out of service on IR as the Bangarapet – Kolar railbus had been replaced with a KJM WDM2S for almost 12 months and with no prospect of returning the Kolar shuttle was added to the plan; before heading out to Hassan to cover Talguppa, the newly opened Chikkamagalur branch and possibly Shravanabelagola. The latter and the Nelamangala branch were both only possibilities really as it seemed work was progressing quite well on the section in between the two so this could be left until it was fully opened if need be. My trip would then finish in Bangalore.

Having planned the three weeks I then discovered some things in a DUW (diesel under the wires) thread on IRFCA that soon had me adding some time at the start of the trip and flying to Chennai instead of Delhi; namely to cover the Tirupati – Guntur passenger which was Alco under the wires throughout thanks to a rake/loco-share. Once I’d planned my Chennai jaunt to mop up the bits of track I needed to cover with Alco it then came to light, in the same thread, that the Bilaspur – Chennai Central Weekly Superfast was now regular with twin Raipur Alco’s. This resulted in a flight change to enable me to accommodate the train in my plans but I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to travel over the Gudur – Chennai Central line with Alco; this was the only train I’d ever known to have done the track with Alco in my time of going to India.

Plans about as set as they could be and with the January fog seemingly gone I had great expectations from this trip and had even been treated to a last minute bonus of the weekly Ahmedabad – Katra Express having started running on 25th January; which just so happened to run through Udhampur on the day I planned to be there. All I had to do now was relax and see what Indian Railways threw at me and Pelham during the trip; hopefully Pelham wouldn’t be misplacing his passport this time and would actually make it to India, unlike his previous attempt in November 2014…..

Flights
Booked through British Airways direct – £461.16 with Avios discount:
BA35 0935 Heathrow – Chennai
BA118 0700 Bangalore – Heathrow

Booked through Yatra.com (Jet Airways domestic flight) – RS6825:
9W-740 1325 Chennai – Delhi IGI T3

Hotels

Heathrow – Heathrow Lodge, 556 Old Bath Rd, Hillingdon, UB7 0EF – (£21.59 through Booking.com for a single room with shared bathroom for one night) – very close to Heathrow T5, in walking distance, this place had a main building and then uses surrounding houses to allocate rooms to people; it’s basically like being a student if you have a room in one of the surrounding houses but mine was clean and did the trick for a short overnight stay close to terminal 5.

Ambala – Hotel Puran Palace, Vijay Rattan Chowk, 133001 Ambala – (RS1522 through Booking.com for a double room with AC) – A 10 minute walk from the station, out of the entrance where the steam loco is, under the roadway and turn diagonally right at the junction, follow the road straight and the hotel is on the left. The room was decent, had all touch sensitive switches and a decent sized TV. The bathroom was huge and the only thing that let it down was the water pressure; which made attempting to get a shower almost impossible and we had to wait for a bucket to fill, very slowly, instead. The water was piping hot though and available 24/7 too. Food in the posh restaurant was reasonably priced, the staff were very attentive and the food quality was good.

Jaijon Doaba – Kang’s Nirvana Resorts & Spa, Kang’s Farms, Mahilpur-Una Road, Jaijon Doaba, 144530, Hoshiarpur District, Punjab – (RS3000 for a double room with AC – discounted for not taking breakfast) – From Jaijon Doaba station go to the main road, turn right and the hotel is about 500m on the right hand side. The resort is geared up for people taking a bit of a retreat to the countryside to get involved in relaxation or outdoors activities and we walked by quad bikes, two swimming pools and some water slides as we were escorted to our room. Our hotel room wasn’t massive but for the 5 hours we would ultimately spend in it, it didn’t need to be. The bed was two single beds pushed together to make a double but with only one sheet covering both. We had to ask for two extra blankets as there was only one and that certainly wasn’t going to keep us warm on a cold night such as this. There was no handle on the outside of the toilet door and the water was constantly running into the toilet so I switched it off. There were free toiletries supplied in the bathroom but that alone certainly didn’t warrant the RS3463 price tag attached at all. Food in the restaurant was good and freshly prepared.

Bathinda – Hotel Regency – First Floor, Near Sadhbhavna Chowk, Post Office Bazar, Bathinda, Punjab 151001 – (RS1200 plus tax for a super deluxe double room) – out of the station, turn right and then first left to then find the hotel just up the road on the right hand side. The guy I’d been talking to on the phone was waiting outside the door to greet us and his manager at the top of the stairs as we were led in. Both guys couldn’t have been more helpful, they spoke fluent English and explained everything we needed to know about the large but basic room, including how to extract hot water 24 hours a day. Room service was provided and the food was very tasty.

Jaipur – Hotel Karni Niwas, C-5 Motilal Atal Road, Behind Neelam Hotel, Jaipur 302001 Rajasthan – (RS1300 per night for an AC room with twin beds) – a 5 minute auto ride from Jaipur station; the hotel now provides free pick-up on arrival. The hotel formalities at the Karni Niwas are minimal and we were in our room in minutes. The room was large, had AC, twin beds and a small TV. The water was piping hot and room service is provided, with food being mad eon the premises. I’ve always maintained that the Karni Niwas is a good choice in Jaipur and wasn’t let down on this occasion.

Vadodara – Hotel Surya, Sayajigunj, 390005 Vadodara, India – (RS2818 through Booking.com for an AC executive room with twin beds) – out of the main entrance at Vadodara Jct, over the footbridge and down on the left hand side. From there it is a first right and about 50 yards up the road on the left. Despite the fact our booking was for that night we were allowed to check in at 0800 and as we were checking out before breakfast the following morning we were allowed breakfast that morning instead. The room was on the 5th floor and was a decent size with AC, flat screen TV with satellite channels and a fridge. The bathroom was only a pokey place but the water was hot and it was clean enough but a few mosquitoes had to be dealt with straight way.

Manmad – Hotel Shree Leela International, FCI Road, Near State Bank of India, Dist. Nashik
Bardiya Nagar, Manmad, Maharashtra 423104 – (RS1564 for an AC room with twin beds) – set back from the main road that runs at 90 degrees to the railway, in a quiet location. The walk to get there is interesting, especially at night, but we made it there safe enough having taken it easy along the way, it taking about 10 minutes at a steady pace. Check-in was simple enough and the C forms were largely filled out by the hotel staff once they’d copied our passports and sent them to our room. We’d chosen a room with twin beds, which had AC a decent flat screen TV, was sizable and eventually had hot water.

Secunderabad – United 21 Hotel, House No. 9-1-199 to 218, St. Mary’s Road, Sona Arcade, 500003 Hyderabad – (RS2562 through Booking.com for an AC deluxe double room for single use) – only a short walk from Secunderabad station and about 600m up St Mary’s road, on the right hand side, the Hotel United 21 is clearly visible. Check-in was quick and I was shown straight to my room. The room was very spacious and was probably the best room I’d have on the trip. It was clean, had a large bed, AC, flat screen TV and free toiletries in the bathroom, which had 24/7 piping hot water. Food in the restaurant was served until 2200 and I made it by about 45 minutes. The food was prepared fresh and was very hot, while not the best meal I’d had during my travels it was still decent.

Hassan – Hotel Southern Star, B.M.Road, 573201 Hassan – (RS2549 through Booking.com for a premier double AC room for single use) – left out of the station and straight down the main road. Upon arrival I was presented with a complimentary mango juice while I checked in. Later on I was given a complimentary fruit basket, which was actually a banana and an orange on a plate. In the room complimentary bottled water was provided, along with AC that worked well, and the TV had a good quality picture. Most importantly the shower had piping hot water and not only was the bathroom clean; the whole room was pretty spotless too. I have to say that the towels were probably the best I’d ever used in India and they didn’t just move the water around your body when you tried to get dry; they actually did dry you.

Chikkamagalur – Hotel SK Regency, Beside Aashirvada Hospital, Rathnagiri Road, Lakshmishanagara, Chikkamagaluru, Karnataka 577101 – (RS1000 for a double AC room) – a 10 minute auto ride from Chikkamagalur station. The room was quite sizable and had a good sized double bed. With the cold night there was no need for AC and ultimately all I used the bathroom for was to brush my teeth. Due to my late arrival and early departure there were no formalities to complete and I literally just handed over the cash on departure; that’s it.

Bangalore – Hotel Signature Inn, 479, O.T.C Road, Cottonpet, Near Mastaan Darga, Upparpete, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560053 – (RS1270 for an AC double room) – about a 10 minute walk from Bangalore City station, out of the main entrance, up the approach road, turn right then at the busy junction dodge the traffic to get across, follow the road down and turn left at the first junction; it’s immediately on the left hand side. While I’d originally been quoted for a non-AC room at 900+tax I opted for an AC one at 1100+tax. My AC double room quite sizable and had a large double bed. I was pleased that the room was mosquito free and that there was constant hot water. Food in the hotel’s ground floor restaurant is quick, cheap and very tasty.

Train Tickets
Booked in the UK through SD Enterprises Limited
Indrail Pass 30 Days – £172

Monday 9th February 2014

It was a simple journey to London via the East Coast, this would be one of my last journeys on the ECML while being conveyed by East Coast as of course it would soon become Virgin Trains East Coast and everything would turn from the East Coast silver/grey to red; and yet bizarrely the last GNER liveried 91 had only been painted into East Coast livery the previous year!

I thought I was on a roll when I just made a tube bound for Heathrow T5, or so the screens said, but once on board the automated announcements confirmed it would be terminating at Hatton Cross; so close yet so far. This is where it all went to pot when someone got on the information hotline and found out the next T5 tube was 18 minutes later, and that was a good 5 minutes after we’d all been turfed off. As luck didn’t have it this caused me to miss a No. 423 bus at T5, which would take me to the Heathrow Lodge, the next one was 30 minutes later so I ended up walking. I’d rang the lodge and the guy who answered told me it would only take about 12 minutes to walk; he was wrong, it took me 9 minutes!

There was a bit of a queue when I got there so I waited my turn and in doing so observed where everyone was being sent as regards their rooms. The lodge offers accommodation in the main building and annexes, the annexes having shared bathroom facilities and this was due to the fact that the annexes were in fact houses along the same street as the lodge is on. I was given a key to room 3 in house 564; which was only three doors down from the lodge. I didn’t really know what to expect as I walked in through the front door and first impressions weren’t great. The room door to the downstairs room was open and there was quite a bit of noise coming from it as someone held a not so quiet phone call. Unfortunately my room was directly above it and I could hear the noise through the floor. The room was only small but adequate for a basic night’s sleep. The heating was on full, the bedding was clean and there was a sink with soap and shower gel in the room. The bathroom was only across the hall and seemed clean enough. I was in bed by 2230, hoping for a decent night’s sleep; despite the planes flying directly over the house on take-off!

The Moves

91104 Doncaster Kings Cross 1625 Newcastle – Kings Cross 1Y44

 

Tuesday 10th February 2015 (A lost day)

I couldn’t believe it when I woke at 0500, having slept solidly through the night; it’s amazing how good some earplugs are. I only dozed after that though but the place was silent but for the odd plane flying overhead.

After handing the keys back in at the main building my luck started off better o this particular day as there was No. 423 bus due in a couple of minutes and as I arrived at the bus stop over the road it was just coming round the corner.

At the airport I decided to print a proper boarding pass from one of the machines as there was no queue but when I tried to scan it at the gate, to get through to security, I was denied entry and had to go to a BA desk. It turned out that this was because I hadn’t been to the relevant check-in desk to have my visa checked before heading to security. I was told that if I arrived in India and my passport and visa weren’t valid it would be BA’s fault for delivering me there and not the Indian Consulate’s fault for issuing the visa! How wrong is that….?

Security was eventually harmless and I passed the time over breakfast at Wetherspoon’s before making my way to the gate. Boarding was pretty prompt and I was among the first onto the plane. As usual I asked how full it was and was told not very; quite how not very astounded me though. In the whole of “ham” class there were no more than 40 people, total! I didn’t just have the group of seats by me to myself I had the whole row of seats from one side of the plane to the other! I’ve never flown on a plane so empty but I certainly wasn’t complaining; it was a very pleasurable experience for a change.

The Moves

G-ZBJF Heathrow Terminal 5 Chennai 0935 Heathrow – Chennai BA35

 

Wednesday 11th February 2015

With daytime flights to India the whole day is lost as with the 10 hours it takes to Chennai and the 5h30m time difference my Tuesday 10th February barely existed! We arrived into Chennai at 0018 a massive 42 minutes early. This due to an earlier departure at Heathrow thanks to the lack of passengers on the flight. Getting through immigration didn’t take too long and I’d found myself a pre-paid taxi place just before the airport exit. It cost me RS575 to Chennai Central station and only took about 30 minutes; despite the serious amount of works going on to build the new Chennai Metro system, all of which is being built above street level with massive concrete monstrosities in various states of construction all the way into the city.

I was at Chennai Central station only 30 minutes after my booked landing time, only now I had nearly 4 hours to wait around. There was plenty to keep me occupied though as I sorted my bags out and watched the odd bit of shunting that took place and at least there were places open to get food and chai from. During my fester I saw no less than 4 different TNP WDM7s doing empty stock shunts, 11004, 11010, 11012 & 11014, as well as ex ED, now TNP, WDM2 17811 doing the same. It seems as though the WDM7s are now limited to such trivial stuff but the works plate on one showed it having a POH in 2013 so IR aren’t finished with them yet.

The first train I saw was 1351 Dhanbad – Alleppey which arrived with AJJ WAM4 21235; the passengers alighting from it certainly livened the place up a little, most of which seemed to head over to Park station to await the first EMU’s on the Chennai Suburban services. Then came AJJ WAP1 22009 with 15228 Muzaffarpur – Yesvantpur; I actually had a reservation on this train to Arakkonam but due to the change of plan to do 12851 Bilaspur – Chennai Central the following Tuesday I no longer needed it and would be doing 16031 Chennai Central – Trivandrum to Gudur instead.

It was eventually announced that 16031 would depart from platform 11 and I found TNP WDM7 11010 on the blocks, having arrived with the empty stock. A walk to the front revealed no train loco and with an hour before departure I decided to wait it out by the 3AC coach to try and get a berth from the TTE when he turned up. 15 minutes later the reservation sheets were pasted to the stock and there were plenty of berths available to Gudur so I claimed a lower side berth and told the TTE so when he turned up; 7 minutes before departure! A quick run to the front and back then took place. I found AJJ WAP1 22011 at the head of the train; my poor back didn’t thank me for the morning jog when I got back to my berth, I’d been suffering with back pain for about a week now and hadn’t been relishing the month in India with a big bag and scrambling about the place and that very jog had warned me of the consequences……

I was very grateful of the berth to relax in to Gudur though and the run seemed quite fast. I was aware of a bit of festering about though but it turned out that the festering was outside Gudur, basically waiting; we arrived 17 minutes early, even with the waiting outside!

I had over an hour’s wait at Gudur for 57640 Guntur – Tirupati passenger, which turned out to be longer but even the NTES couldn’t confirm how late 57640 was as it seemed to have vanished into thin air a couple of hours previous; this particular train seemed to be regularly not reported between Ongole and Gudur as I’d been watching it for a couple of weeks, prior to the trip.

There wasn’t much doing at Gudur but I was surprised to see BZA WAG5 23696 arrive with 57429 Tirupati – Gudur passenger. The next surprise was actually my 57640 arriving into the station, completely unannounced and with GTL WDG3A 13071 at its helm. 57639/57640 Tirupati – Guntur – Tirupati are currently Alco under the wires throughout and the only Alco hauled trains to now cover the Gudur – Renigunta section of track. This only happens as the rake starts off in Secunderabad and both it and the loco then work forward to Tirupati; this will ultimately change once Secunderabad – Guntur is electrified. The discovery of 12851/2 Bilaspur – Chennai Central as through Alco’s had actually saved me from doing 57639 1500 Tirupati – Guntur throughout the following day, in 2nd unreserved; something I could already hear my back thanking me for! With the move change I now only had to do 57640 to Renigunta and 12851 would cover the rest when I did it the following week, while I was horizontal in 2AC and not sat upright in unreserved!

The run across to Renigunta was a good one and the train was relatively empty with 13071 sounding the part but not being that loud unfortunately. From Renigunta I was to be Arakkonam bound to cover the Chengalpattu line before it was electrified. I’d spotted a bit of good news on NTES while festering at Gudur, in that 16351 Mumbai CST – Nagercoil was almost 2 hours late and even with 57640 being 40 minutes late I shouldn’t have had an issue with making it at Renigunta but the slack time in the schedule did me in the end with 16351 arriving only 11 minutes late in the end and the minus 10 from 57640 missing by a good 30 minutes in the end!

Making 16351 would have been a massive bonus as it ran via Arakkonam and Chengalpattu on its way to Nagercoil. As it turned out though I had no time to dwell at Renigunta as I’d already figured out a fill-in move, which required both 66033 Tirupati – Nellore and 57412 Gudur – Renigunta to be late. Had the EMU not been late I’d have missed it off 57640 but as it turned out I had a comfortable walk to make it and off I set to Yerpedu, safe in the knowledge that 57412 was late coming the other way; although quite why I couldn’t understand, although the engine hadn’t been attached at Gudur by the time I left on 57640 so that might have been the reason?

BZA WAG5 23696 dropped me back into Renigunta with plenty of time to find food. It had been a while since I’d eaten off a banana leaf but the rice and dhal offered at the place I found by the bus station was quite good; the chapattis were shocking though and rock hard. Even the serving staff had words with the chef about this and didn’t charge me for then in the end and they went away to a new life as Frisbees afterwards…..

ED WAP4 22380 arrived with 11041 Mumbai CST – Chennai Central, about 30 late. Luckily there was one seat free in 2AC and I found it before anyone else, and the TTE didn’t even bother to take my ticket details after confirming I could stay sat there.

Arakkonam Junction is an interesting setup in that the main station is situated on the main Chennai – Bangalore line and yet the line to Chengalpattu heads off round a curve adjacent to it with seemingly no platform to board trains at. Strangely you can either board the train about half a kilometer down the tracks at platform 8 or walk over the track from the station to a small platform just on the curve as the line bears off to Chengalpattu; which I have to say I didn’t see until I departed that evening on the 1730 from Arakkonam, it’s not visible from the main station.

Upon arrival at Arakkonam I found TNP WDM2 17946 shunting stock, which it did so from the main station to the Bangalore end, round the curve onto the Chengalpattu line and then back into what I’d initially thought was the carriage sidings until I’d been told the 1730 to Chengalpattu would depart from platform 8. Having wondered down, with a view to getting on the stock and having an afternoon snooze, I soon found myself wondering back after a quick chat with the train crew who’d done the shunt. While they confirmed that the stock was for the 1730 Chengalpattu they were a little concerned about me staying on the stock while nobody was about as they’d had a series of robberies it turns out; so they suggested I wait on the main station until 1700 and then walk back down. This is exactly what I did and I used the time to ring some hotels and book ahead, these in places that I’d not been able to do through booking.com from home.

17946 was already attached to the stock by the time I’d ambled back down to the train and it started away from platform 8 bang on time, stopping on the curve over the way from the main station shortly afterwards. It was at this point that I realised it was actually a platform; the station name sign being the giveaway! 17946 was driven well and was quite loud for a WDM2, unfortunately it had the true hallmarks of a WDM2 as it rasped away at the head of the train; there wasn’t even any chugging at all and all I could liken it to was a jet engine type noise but obviously not as loud. It did the job though and the booked crossing with 56042 Puducherry – Tirupati passenger at Palur took place with GOC WDM2 16879 arriving with 56042 shortly after we did. We ran forward to arrive into Chengalpattu 15 minutes early.

There wasn’t any evidence to suggest Chengalpattu had ever had MG tracks but the station still looked the same just with BG platforms and tracks where the MG one’s had once been. There wasn’t much food on offer but I managed to stumble across some freshly cooked bakery stuff and ended up having two very good egg puffs with an onion sauce; the second one being a result of the first one being so good!

The run back to Arakkonam was a better run and the loco pilot certainly put 17946 through its paces. It was just a shame it sounded like it did. With there being not much else on the line at all I’d have expected nothing else but a good run. There are only 2 pairs of train a day between Arakkonam and Chengalpattu with the odd express on certain days of the week, although there are EMU’s from Chengalpattu to Kanchipuram, which is only 27km from Arakkonam and has been electrified for a good 10 years; so quite why the last section has ever been done is a bit of a mystery to me and there is no evidence to suggest it will be done either!

As with the outwards run we were 15 minutes early into Arakkonam, where everyone on the train got off at the platform on the curve, 17946 then took the stock empties to platform 8 before doing a reverse shunt to that I’d watch it do in the afternoon, to get the stock back into the main station.

I was grateful of the early arrival as it made the dead connection onto 22639 Chennai Central – Alappuzha, which allowed me more time to get from Katpadi Jct to Vellore Cantt than I’d have off 12671 behind. RPM WAP7 30363 did the honours and as I was only on board for 45 minutes I stood in the vestibule of a sleeper class coach.

There were plenty of autos outside Katpadi Junction and I was soon on my way to Vellore Cantt for RS200. The journey took about 15 minutes and the auto driver couldn’t quite understand why he was dropping me at a station outside of town to board a train that came back through where he’d just taken me from! The reasons were two fold, one it meant me boarding the train 90 minutes earlier and two, I needed the track from Vellore Cantt to Katpadi as the last time I’d done it had been on my very first trip to India in 2004 when the MG terminated at Vellore as the bridge was out between there and Katpadi; this not getting repaired until the MG was closed and then the bridge reinstated to allow through trains once again.

It was mos-tastic at Vellore and to add insult to injury 11006 was late but quite how late I couldn’t confirm as NTES was having one of its moments. When I went in search of toilets on the main platform I asked the station master how late it was, his reply being it would be 10 minutes, which was a bit of a lie as I heard it arrive from the confines of the toilet and for the second time during the day my back didn’t thank me for what came next, which was a mad scramble through the EMU parked in the main platform, a scurry across the ballast and up through a sleeper class coach before having to jog down the platform to the back of the train where the 2AC coach was! Not having got the engine number was the least of my worries when I boarded and initially had to explain to the TTE why my reservation on his sheet had me down as Mr A Jones; the simple explanation was that it had been a mix-up when the reservation had been made, the real one was that Madgaon booking office wouldn’t make the reservation in my name without my ticket being presented when the reservation was being made; hence it being done in someone else’s name.

My allocated lower berth was taken by someone else and rather than wake her the TTE tried to give me a berth right next to the door at the opposite end of the coach, which I refused and he then gave me berth 41, which was also a lower side berth an told me he’d swapped the person who should have it. No sooner had I got my stuff sorted and laid out did we arrive into Katpadi; I’d literally just stretched out when the curtain was drawn back and the allocated occupant of berth No. 41 wanted their bed. With the TTE nowhere to be seen I moved the woman in my berth to her allocated upper one, which is what I should have done in the first place. It turns out that the woman was a foreigner and had seen the No.30 at one end of the lower berth and assumed that was hers; she hadn’t seen the No.29 at the opposite end or realised that the arrow pointed up on the No.30. As for getting on at Vellore Cantt for more sleep, well that was a waste of time but I had done the track though; and as for the engine that would just have to wait until Yesvantpur!

The Moves

22011 Chennai Central Gudur Jct 0515 Chennai Central – Jammu Tawi 16031 AJJ WAP1
13071 Gudur Jct Renigunta Jct 0100 Guntur Jct – Tirupati Jct 57640 GTL WDG3A
EMU Renigunta Jct Yerpedu 1125 Tirupati Jct – Nellore 66033 EMU
23696 Yerpedu Renigunta Jct 1055 Gudur Jct – Renigunta Jct 57412 BZA WAG5
22380 Renigunta Jct Arakkonam Jct 1400 (10/02) Mumbai CST – Chennai Central 11041 ED WAP4
17946 Arakkonam Jct Chengalpattu Jct 1730 Arakkonam Jct – Chengalpattu Jct 56005 TNP WDM2
17946 Chengalpattu Jct Arakkonam Jct 2015 Chengalpattu Jct – Arakkonam Jct 56004 TNP WDM2
30363 Arakkonam Jct Katpadi Jct 2045 Chennai Central – Alappuzha 22639 RPM WAP7
Auto Katpadi Jct Vellore Cantt RS200, 15 minutes
16841 Vellore Cantt Yesvantpur Jct 2030 Puducherry – Dadar 11006 RTM WDM3A – Via Katpadi (RR)

 

Gen for Wednesday 11th February 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

TNP shunt locos at Chennai Central
11004, 11010, 11012, 11014 & 17811

16879 GOC WDM2 56042 1325 Puducherry – Tirupati
21235 AJJ WAM4 13351 1050 (PP) Dhanbad – Alappuzha (to MAS), 12077 0730 Chennai Central – Vijayawada
21272 AJJ WAM4 22643 1540 (P) Ernakulam – Patna Jct
22009 AJJ WAP1 15228 0725 (P) Muzaffarpur – Yesvantpur (to MAS)
22222 ED WAP4 22650 2100 (P) Erode – Chennai Central
22844 RPM WAP4 11027 2345 (P) Mumbai CST – Chennai Central
22960 RPM WAP4 12839 2345 (P) Howrah – Chennai Central, 12296 1955(P) Patna Jct – Bangalore City (ex MAS)
22273 ED WAP4 12245 1100 (P) Howrah – Yesvantpur Duronto
23696 BZA WAG5 57429 0630 Tirupati – Gudur
22340 ED WAP4 12643 1430 (P) Trivandrum Central – Hazrat Nizamuddin
21240 AJJ WAM4 16053 1410 Chennai Central – Tirupati
30398 RPM WAP7 12695 1525 Chennai Central – Trivandrum Central
30392 RPM WAP7 12607 1535 Chennai Central – Secunderabad
22053 RPM WAP1 56859 1810 Tambaram – Villupuram

The Photos


Thursday 12th February 2015

I was caught a little off-guard when we rolled into Yesvantpur 15 minutes early and 10 minutes before my alarm was set for; and I was still horizontal in my berth. My back still didn’t seem to be thanking me for the additional pressure put upon it the previous night and it was a bit of a struggle getting my shoes on I have to say! By the time I’d got my bag unlocked from under the seat, got my crap together and staggered off the train the engine had already come off and was in the process of being run round so I walked to the opposite end of the train to await its reemergence.

KJM WDP4 20046 arrived in the adjacent platform to my 11006 with 16501 Ahmedabad – Yesvantpur and by the time I got to the north end of the platform KJM WDM2 17930 was just dropping onto the opposite end of the stock to shunt it out. While KJM’s 17xxx series Alco’s all seem to be de-rated and used for shunting these days this one had nothing visible to confirm if it was now a WDM2S or not; on the outside that was! Hand written on the inside of the cab was “2400hp” which pretty much confirms that 17930 was indeed de-rated but just not shown as so on the outside; unfortunately for it, and the rest of the KJM 17xxx series Alco’s I guess.

It didn’t take long for surprise offlink of RTM WDM3A 16841 to emerge and drop onto the north end of 11006and with that I was platform 6 bound for 15016 0740 Yesvantpur – Gorakhpur which was already sat in with MLY twins WDM2 18903 leading WDM3A 18893; the latter being in KZJ livery still but with the KZJ shed stickers removed, so likely a recent transfer? The 2AC wasn’t full by any means and according to the reservation sheet I had the compartment of four all to myself so took a lower berth instead of an upper berth and had the bed laid out well before departure time. In fact I was asleep before we departed, the jolt of the train woke me up as we did so but I wasn’t awake for long; I still had some sleep to recover!

By midday I thought I’d better look lively and get up, before I ended up in some sort of halfcocked daytime sleeping pattern that I couldn’t get out of! We’d just left Dharmavaram and the run through the hills towards Guntakal was quite pleasant and with the 2AC being towards the rear of the train it was god to watch the twins at the front get to grips with the train as they twisted their way through the arid landscape ahead. At Kalluru we turned left to head into Guntakal direct via the old MG route instead of via the traditional BG route through Gooty; this was a bit of line I’d only ever done once on my first ever trip to India and on my second train of the trip. Then it had been with GTL YDM4 6158 and it was a day we’ve all regretted ever since as we did the train throughout to Pakala and then headed to Vellore for another MG train to Villupuram, when we should have spent the day on the Pakala line, stayed in Vellore and headed to Villupuram the following morning.

I’d been keeping an eye on our progress on NTES and we were a little late. Having had time to see what else was going on at Guntakal I’d hoped we’d make 57274 0605 Tirupati – Hubli, which I could do out to Bantanahal for 57453 1425 Bellary – Guntakal passenger back in. When we arrived at 1418 though I thought we’d missed it until it until I noticed it still on the screens as I walked over, from what used to be the MG platforms at Guntakal, to the main platforms.

GY WDM3A’s 14057/14034, the latter recently rebuilt, were stabled in the yard by the station and PA WDG3A 13063 was just running round a set of stock to then work 57632 1400 Guntakal – Gulbarga passenger. 57274 Tirupati – Hubli arrived shortly afterwards with GTL WDM3D 11255 and staff started unloading the vans at the front of the train so it wasn’t going anywhere imminently. Not long after that ED WAP4 22555 arrived with 12164 Chennai Central – Dadar and was promptly replaced by PA WDM3D 11457 for the run forward.

Just as things started to look a little dodgy for going out to Bantanahal, NTES came to the rescue again and safe in the knowledge that 57453 coming the other way was late the fact that 57274 departed 50 late and I was on a plus 48 at Bantanahal wasn’t any cause for concern. The cause for concern was that I almost melted in the afternoon heat at Bantanahal while waiting for GTL WDM3A 18817 to arrive with 57453, which it did so an hour late in the end!

There wasn’t much respite at Guntakal as NTES showed 56503 Bangalore Cantt – Vijayawada as being late and 57437 1600 Guntakal – Hindupur passenger would make it if it departed shortly after 57453 arrived. Of course 18817 and stock formed 57437 and I was surprised at how quickly one train was transformed into the next and sent on its way, even with a crew change and engine preparations to go through! My wait at Timmanacherla wasn’t too long at all and I was rewarded with GTL WDG3A 13393 for the short run back to Guntakal; where all in all it had been a decent day.

While waiting for 18048 Vasco da Gama – Howrah “Amaravati Express”, which itself was showing late on NTES, I had a rather good egg curry in one of the small refreshment rooms of platform 6 and while keeping an eye on Guntakal on goings I noticed that 17226 was showing running in its new timings, just over an hour behind 18048, and both trains were still called the Amaravati Express. 17225/6 Hubli – Vijayawada was now running daily so having to use an alternate path to that of the booked Amaravati Express which it used to use on days when the main Vasco – Howrah and return didn’t run. This change to the timetable had been showing as to be announced in the Southern timetable and must have only recently take effect. I did notice on the train formation board that only one loco was shown at the head of the train, as opposed to the two it used to get when using the old Amaravati link of twin GY WDM3A’s. There was potentially a move in the morning there somewhere?

At 1800 18048 had arrived at Guntakal West according to NTES but it didn’t actually make it into the station until just over an hour later. Some chai Walla on the station told me it was due to loco problems but when GY WDM3A’s 14009/023 arrived and were both working ok I was left wondering if the loco problems had been with another train that had then prevented 18048 from getting into the station? The GY twins were immediately detached and shunted off to pick up the two high capacity parcels vans that were parked in the adjacent platform. This gave me time to get on board and sort my berth out. Meanwhile GTL WDM3A twins 16333/16703 ran round 12975 Mysore – Jaipur at the same time, which had me flapping a bit as I needed them both and there was potential for 12975 to depart before 18048 the way things were going and as a precaution I asked the woman in the berth below me to tell the TTE I would get on at the next stop if I wasn’t back at departure time; she turned out to be a statin master from Tirupati travelling home to Guntur and understood what I was possibly going to do when I told her. As it turned out 18048 got the road first and as the 2AC was at the front of 18048 it was only a stroll down the footbridge steps and onto the train.

Amaravati Express No.1 was wedged, I’d been WL/8 when originally booked but ended up confirmed with upper side berth No.6, which is the one right by the door and I have to say I’m not the biggest fan of it at all. Once I managed to get my bed made up and bags positioned correctly it wasn’t actually a bad berth to be in and the foot traffic through the door wasn’t very much at all and mainly train crew really. The woman who’d originally been in berth No.5 below had been moved to a better place by the TTE, who had then taken the berth from her. He insisted I get rest and that he would 100% wake me at Guntur; so that’s exactly what I did.

The Moves

18903 Yesvantpur Jct Guntakal Jct 0740 Yesvantpur Jct – Gorakhpur Jct 15016 MLY WDM2 18903 / WDM3A 18893 in multi – via Old MG route from Dhamavaram to GTL
18893
11255 Guntakal Jct Bantanahal 0605 Tirupati Jct – Hubli Jct 57274 GTL WDM3D
18917 Bantanahal Guntakal Jct 1425 Bellary Jct – Guntakal Jct 57453 GTL WDM3A
18917 Guntakal Jct Timmanacherla 1600 Guntakal Jct – Hindupur 57437 GTL WDM3A
13393 Timmanacherla Guntakal Jct 0740 Bangalore Cantt – Vijayawada Jct 56503 GTL WDG3A
14009 Guntakal Jct Narasaraopet 0710 Vasco Da Gama – Howrah 18048 GY WDM3A’s 14009/14023 in multi
14023

 

Gen for Thursday 12th February 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

20046 KJM WDP4 16501 1800 (PP) Ahmedabad – Yesvantpur
11521 KJM WDM3D 12079 0600 Bangalore City – Hubli
13063 PA WDG3A 57632 1400 Guntakal – Gulbarga
22555 ED WAP4 12164 0650 Chennai Central – Dadar (to Guntakal)
11457 PA WDM3D 12164 0650 Chennai Central – Dadar (ex Guntakal)
18906 GTL WDM3A 57478 1800 Guntakal – Tirupati
16333/16703 GTL WDM3A’s 12975 1015 Mysore – Jaipur

The Photos


Friday 13th February 2015 (What could possibly go wrong?)

Having woke up just before Vinukonda I then struggled to get back to sleep and while scanning NTES for trains at Guntur I noticed my potential move on 57620 Kacheguda – Repalle was looking like it could be down the pan so I made an executive decision and got off at Narasaraopet for 17226 behind into Guntur which turned up with KZJ WDG3A 14928 about an hour later. Had the 2nd Amaravati Express of the night been a bag of spanners I could have waited another 10 minutes for GY WDM3D 11116 with 17212 Yesvantpur – Machillipatnam, which I watched arrive into the same platform at Guntur.

I could have actually done 11116 to Vijayawada for 56501 Vijayawada – Hubli passenger back to Mangalagiri for my booked 17222 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Kakinada Port from there instead of Guntur but as I didn’t want to lose my berth I stuck with plan A instead, which looked like it was going to go down the pan right up until KZJ WDG3A 14619 departed Guntur with 57620, 1h10m late on a plus 1h11m at Vejendla. As it was single line to Vejendla it wasn’t going to miss and eventually 57207 showed up 40 minutes late so there was no need to flap at all in the end.

17222 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Kakinada Port had been showing all sorts of lateness through the night, going from over an hour late to right time and then back to 40 late before going back to right time again; ultimately it arrived into Guntur 15 minutes late with KYN WDG3A 13302 and I found myself treated to yet another empty compartment of four all to myself, which came in handy for catching up on sleep for the second morning in a row.

The moment of truth came at Vijayawada as the Shakti was removed from the train and sent to shed. There weren’t any engines in sight initially but then familiar bald short hood of a BZA WDP1 emerged from the same place at 13302 had disappeared to, followed by a second WDP1. The twins, 15060/15064, backed on and there wasn’t much time wasted in preparing the train for departure; likewise there wasn’t much time wasted in me getting myself horizontal for some much needed shuteye!

For the second day in a row I managed to surface just after midday, just as we were approaching Samalkot Jct, about an hour late. With 90 minutes to do the 13km branch to Kakinada Port there was no way 17222 was going to arrive late and it dropped into Kakinada Port, with the train almost empty, 25 minutes early at 1320! I was among 15 or so people that alighted at the train’s destination, most having got off at Kakinada Town. It seemed that Kakinada Port station was nothing more than a glorified carriage siding yet the sidings were visible a little further into the distance. Basically every train that at Kakinada Town has to run to Kakinada Port anyway!

BZA WDP1 twins 15066/058 were sat in the adjacent platform as we arrived, with the stock for 17644 1440 Kakinada Port – Chennai Egmore “Circar Express”, which would be my train back out; a nice little plus 55 off one pair and onto another, which only happens two days a week! Otherwise it’s actually quite hard to do an in and out move to Kakinada Port by train at all!

There wasn’t much around the station area at all but the two stalls on the platform had enough goodies to prevent me from starving. The AC coaches were being loaded up with bedding when I went down the platform to take a crap photograph so I took the opportunity to climb aboard and relax. Of course the train was virtually empty by departure time but filled a little at Kakinada Town and unfortunately my empty compartment was invaded. The guys occupying it were a decent bunch though and made good conversation with me during the journey.

I took the opportunity during the journey to use a clean toilet to have a proper wash, from head to toe, including a shave and a change of clothes; and for the first time in almost a week I felt almost human again!

The run to Gudivada was a decent one and with the engines only being four coaches from the AC I was able to at least have a listen when I wanted. It was a shame they weren’t the other way round as 15066 sounded like a proper 12 cylinder Alco and not like a “wheelflat” as most of the other WDP1’s do. Real or not though I didn’t get to listen to it pulling away from Gudivada as we arrived 25 minutes early and WDP1 15069 was sat waiting to depart with the 57211 1900 Gudivada – Vijayawada; it only being delayed by a few minutes awaiting the arrival of WDP1 15067 with 57206 1700 Vijayawada – Gudivada passenger, which was approaching in the distance as I got off the Circar Express. The bonus being that 57381 1635 Guntur – Narasapur was behind 57206 and the fact that 57211 got the road after 57381 arrived meant that a bonus quick trip to Dosapadu was on offer. It would have been rude not to. In the end it wasn’t as quick a trip as I expected as 57381 was held for the Circar Express to come from Gudivada, everything being a bit tight in the Gudivada area of an evening; one train out of course and the job is knackered.

WDP1 15059 returned me to Gudivada on 57381, where I was then witnessed exactly what happens at Gudivada when 17402 Machilipatnam – Tirupati and 17404 Narasapur – Tirupati arrive to be combined. 17404 arrived from Narasapur first, into platform1, and pulled up short to allow the Machilipatnam portion to be shunted on. 17404’s engine, KZJ WDM3A 18761 then shunted off. When KZJ WDG3A 14928 arrived into platform 3 with 17402 portion 18761 dropped straight on top of the lot and then shunted the Machilipatnam portion onto the top of the Narasapur portion in platform 1. I can only assume that this configuration then continued on to Vijayawada where both locos would be removed for an electric forward?

17402/4 was held to await the arrival of 17480 Tirupati – Puri, which did so with BZA WDM2 18588. It was 30 minutes late and the plus at Kaikaluru for 17210 Kakinada Town – Secunderabad was only 25; so I was hoping that the single line would help out on that one otherwise I’d be having an extended evening at Kaikaluru. Just before departure a couple of guys jumped into the doorway where I was stood and pinched a bucket full of drinks off a vendor, which giving him a few right hooks as they did so. A lot of yelling and running about on the platform followed and eventually the RPF intervened; I can only assume that the guy wasn’t a licensed vendor and had been warned by those that were to keep off their turf? En-route I got talking to a few youths who’d been to Tirupati and were returning to Visakhapatnam, all with the heads shaved; they assumed I’d been to Tirupati also as my head is shaved as well and all seemed a little confused that I choose to have my hair shaved as the norm.

As we arrived into Kaikaluru BZA WDP1 twins 15060/15064 were sat waiting to go and the road was off before I’d got down onto the ballast but there was no rush and I had ample time to pick a door to get into and even found a seat in sleeper class for the journey back to Gudivada. On arrival I could do nothing but fester around on the platform where I couldn’t get a cup of chai as the stall had run out and none of the charging sockets worked. All I had for entertainment was a couple of dogs, who pretty much like the vendors earlier, were warning another dog off their patch; the poor thing was cowering in a corner and every time it tried to get away the two dogs doing the warning would just bark at it a bit more; when it finally did make a bid for freedom I got the impression it wouldn’t be back any time soon!

NTES showed my 17015 Bhubaneswar – Secunderabad to be almost on time and when it arrived with KZJ WDM3A twins 18890/18897 I was surprised to find twins on it and certainly wasn’t expecting them; so a bit of a bonus right at the end of the day. On board the TTE was expecting me and I was the only person to join at Gudivada in the AC. Unfortunately my berth was only equipped with bed sheets, the blanket and pillow that had been left for me had gone walkabouts and the coach attendant ended up waking two different people up to retrieve them! Sleep didn’t come that easily that night, probably due to the fact I’d been asleep until after midday.

The Moves

 

14928 Narasaraopet Guntur Jct 1330 (12/02) Hubli Jct – Vijayawada Jct 17226 KZJ WDG3A
14619 Guntur Jct Vejendla 2100 (12/02) Kacheguda – Repalle 57620 KZJ WDG3A
15059 Vejendla Guntur Jct 0510 Tenali Jct – Markapur 57207 BZA WDP1
13302 Guntur Jct Vijayawada Jct 1225 (12/02) Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Kakinada Port 17222 KYN WDG3A
15060 Vijayawada Jct Kakinada Port 1225 (12/02) Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Kakinada Port 17222 BZA WDP1’s 15060/15064 in multi – via Eluru, Samalkot Jct
15064
15066 Kakinada Port Gudivada Jct 1440 Kakinada Port – Chennai Egmore 17644 BZA WDP1’s 15066/15058 in multi – via Bhimavaram Town
15058
15069 Gudivada Jct Dosapadu 1900 Gudivada Jct – Vijayawada Jct 57211 BZA WDP1
15059 Dosapadu Gudivada Jct 1635 Guntur Jct – Narasapur 57381 BZA WDP1
18761 Gudivada Jct Platform 3 Gudivada Platform 1 Shunt 17402 to 17404 at Gudivada KZJ WDM3A 18761, KZJ WDG3A 14928 dead – shunt 17402 Machilipatnam portion onto 17404 Narasapur portion
18588 Gudivada Jct Kaikaluru 1035 Tirupati Jct – Puri 17480 BZA WDM2
15064 Kaikaluru Gudivada Jct 1735 Kakinada Town – Secunderabad Jct 17210 BZA WDP1’s 15064/15060 in multi
15060
18890 Gudivada Jct Secunderabad Jct 0835 (12/02) Bhubaneswar – Secunderabad Jct 17015 KZJ WDM3A’s 18890/18897 in multi – via Vijayawada
18897

 

Gen for Friday 13th February 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

13069 GTL WDG3A 57624 0515 Guntur – Kacheguda
11116 GY WDM3D 17212 1430 (P) Yesvantpur – Machillipatnam
40015 KJM WDP4B 12747 0545 Guntur – Vikarabad
14034/057 GY WDM3A’s 18464 1400 (P) Bangalore City – Bhubaneswar (GTL to GNT)
15067 BZA WDP1 57206 1700 Vijayawada – Gudivada, 57279 1835 Gudivada – Narasapur
18761 KZJ WDM3A 17404 1720 Narasapur – Tirupati (it shunted 17402 loco and stock to its train at Gudivada and worked the whole lot forward)
14928 KZJ WDG3A 17402 1900 Machilipatnam – Tirupati (to Gudivada where it was shunted to 17404)
40152 GY WDP4D 17255 1855 Narasapur – Hyderabad
13407 KZJ WDG3A 17249 2000 Machilipatnam – Secunderabad
14777 KZJ WDG3A 57229 2110 Machilipatnam – Visakhapatnam
15069 BZA WDP1 57212 2140 Vijayawada – Machilipatnam

The Photos


Saturday 14th February 2015 (The Secunderabad Farce)

Having ended up with a decent night’s sleep in the end I woke somewhere in the Hyderabad suburbs. NTES showed us about 3o minutes late and we ended up arriving at 0748, 18 minutes late. At that point I didn’t realise I’d just missed a pair of KZJ WDG3A’s which had departed at 0740 with 17023 0735 Secunderabad – Kurnool; I fund this out later in the morning…..

I’d been keeping an eye on NTES on the way into Secunderabad and everything seemed fine, however I couldn’t find 57605 0810 Secunderabad – Vikarabad listed. A quick check of the train itself showed it to be cancelled, along with the return working later in the afternoon. A check of the trains cancelled for the day then revealed a load of Lingampalli locals to be cancelled in the afternoon and a display screen on the station was also showing 12025/12026 Pune – Secunderabad to be terminating/starting at Lingampalli so there was obviously some sort of block going on in the afternoon, which hopefully wouldn’t affect my afternoon trains.

With things seemingly a little down the tubes already out towards Lingampalli and 57129 Vijapur – Bolarum passenger being late it meant none of the moves I’d worked out for the morning were going to go anything like to plan so I bit the bullet and got on 11019 Mumbai CST – Bhubaneswar “Konark Express” which was sat waiting to go with, it’s now customary, KZJ WDG3A twins 14787/14926. I’d already worked out that there was a train back from Kazipet to make my afternoon train at Begumpet, what I hadn’t realised until after I’d alighted at Moula Ali, when the train slowed to almost a stand, was that the train I thought I could do back didn’t actually run from Kazipet on a Saturday; it was a close shave and one I’m glad I didn’t realise until after the event!

I’d just missed 57619 Repalle – Secunderabad Fast Passenger at Moula Ali, which was a shame, but the auto I chose to do back to Secunderabad got me there in good time, it only taking 20 minutes and costing me RS150. The bonus of the whole thing being that I still made 57129 Vijapur – Bolarum passenger; PA WDM3D 11368 was sat in waiting to depart and even when it did so it didn’t get very far before having to wait for an electric hauled train to go in front, which had the road off the Kacheguda line; and even after that stop the journey came to a halt at Lallaguda Gate Halt, blocking the level crossing in the process. Unfortunately this extended stop resulted in me missing 17063 Manmad – Secunderabad at Malkajgiri, which was only 1km ahead! KZJ WDM3A twins 16683/18794 weren’t hammering through when they passed but certainly weren’t going slow enough to get on either. While figuring out what to do next another horn could be heard in the distance and when MLY WDG3A 14701 appeared round the corner I got the impression it wasn’t going to stop but in the end the loco pilot had no choice as impatience got the better of people who were using our train to clamber through and then onto the tracks to cross. As it was effectively a blind bend for the loco pilot I think throwing the lot in was the safest option, if not actually the needed one; still I wasn’t complaining and was straight off and onto what turned out to be 57689 Nizamabad – Kacheguda fast passenger.

My quick exit at Lallaguda Gate wasn’t really a reward in the end as I could have just got off there anyway and waited for 14701 to return with 57690 Kacheguda – Nizamabad fast passenger; which it did so 40 minutes later after a lot of nothing going on at Kacheguda. With not much of a plan going on now I did it back to Malkajgiri with a view to doing 57131 Bolarum – Hyderabad back into Secunderabad. Although I obviously knew it was late going out with 57129 NTES showed the train as arriving Hyderabad right time. A quick word with the station master at Malkajgiri advised it would be “over another half an hour”, which was just too late to even consider and with only 50 minutes to get back to Secunderabad for 11020 Bhubaneswar – Mumbai CST “Konark Express” I found an auto outside the station, the occupant of which charged me RS120 for the journey back to Secunderabad and told me it would take 35-40 minutes to do; as we departed I had 47 minutes!

The journey actually took 22 minutes and I even had time for egg biryani before departure; which I was eating in the vestibule of the 2AC at the front of the train when Dave Snow walked by and not only was he there, he was with Redhill and Dave U so I had the pleasure of their company for a while as KZJ WDG3A twins 14687/14591 whisked us all the way to Begumpet. They’d arrived into Secunderabad 10 minutes before me that morning and it way them who told me about the pair of Shakti’s on 17023 that morning. What they also told me was that 12677 Bangalore – Ernakulam had been involved in an accident the previous day and 10 people had been killed. Bizarrely the whole train was upright and there appeared to have been an issue with a coach in the middle of the train which had subsequently rode half crushed an adjacent coach!

At Begumpet we had two options, there would have actually been three if 57606 Vikarabad – Kacheguda hadn’t been cancelled. Strangely the first option, which I’d expected to be a UBL WDP4, turned up with KJM WDM2 16876. As it was dud for us all we waited for 12701 Mumbai CST – Hyderabad instead, which turned up shortly afterwards with KYN WDG3A 13589; which we all boarded to Hyderabad but only I ended up making it there. We passed PA WDM3D 11368 and 57131 Bolarum – Hyderabad passenger, waiting on the curve to get round from Secunderabad and onto the Hyderabad line and as we stopped just outside Hyderabad, with the back coach in a station, the others al got off in the hope that 11368 would stop, and it did! Unfortunately though I was just departing on the last MMTS local of the day from Hyderabad to Secunderabad as 11368 was on the approach. I have to say the last train from Hyderabad to Secunderabad being at 1241 in the afternoon is a bit poor; I actually only made it because it was 25 minutes late too!

As the block was on in the afternoon between Begumpet and Lingampalli, Secunderabad was quite quiet during the early afternoon with no MMTS locals running at all. GTL WDM3A twins 16703/16333 were already sat in platform 6 with 17018 1500 Secunderabad – Rajkot; this being the same pair I’d seen at Guntakal with 12975 Mysore – Jaipur two days previous. Other than watching MLY WDM3A twins arrive with 17057 Manmad – Secunderabad, about 10 minutes before 17018 was due to depart, there was nothing else to see other than WAP7 30250 arriving with 17201 Guntur – Secunderabad. The rest of the clan joined me for the short journey to Begumpet, for the second time that afternoon, and we parted ways there; they were heading back into Secunderabad for an evening bash while I just had to wait 30 minutes on the same platform for GTL WDG3A 14686 to arrive with 17429 1535 Hyderabad – Tirupati, which I’d seen on the stock at Hyderabad earlier. Quite what happened to the others I don’t know but the engineering works to Lingampalli resulted in us being held at Sanathnagar for 40 minutes, where we were even overtaken by KJM WDM2 16876 returning to Hubli with 17320 Secunderabad – Hubli. The run to Lingampalli wasn’t great either and we were over an hour late by the time we arrived, having only passed 12748 Vikarabad – Guntur just outside the station, which is what the others were waiting at Begumpet for!

A bit of relaxing in my lower side berth was definitely the order of the evening, the only thing that came between me and my relaxing was an egg biryani which was ordered on board and delivered round about 2000. By the time I went to sleep the whole coach had every light turned out in it and we’d picked up a bit of time; we were under an hour late. As long as we departed Guntakal before 11017 Mumbai CST – Karaikal I would be happy as that was the train I’d be doing forward from Renigunta in the morning; of course I’ be sound asleep at Guntakal so wouldn’t have a clue until I woke whether we were in fact in front of it or not!

The Photos

14587 Secunderabad Jct Moula Ali 1510 (13/02) Mumbai CST – Bhubaneswar 11019 KZJ WDG3A’s 14587/14926 in multi – out of course stop at Moula Ali
14926
Auto Moula Ali Secunderabad Jct RS150, 20 minutes Autorickshaw
11368 Secunderabad Jct Lallaguda Gate Halt 1830 (13/02) Vijapur – Bolarum 57129 PA WDM3D
14701 Lallaguda Gate Halt Kacheguda 0500 Nizamabad Jct – Kacheguda 57689 MLY WDG3A
14701 Kacheguda Malkajgiri 0950 Kacheguda – Nizamabad Jct 57690 MLY WDG3A
Auto Malkajgiri Secunderabad Jct RS120, 22 minutes Autorickshaw
14687 Secunderabad Jct Begumpet 1525 (13/02) Bhubaneswar – Mumbai CST 11020 KZJ WDG3A’s 14687/14591 in multi
14591
13589 Begumpet Hyderabad Deccan Nampally 2150 (13/02) Mumbai CST – Hyderabad Deccan Nampally 12701 KYN WDG3A
EMU Hyderabad Deccan Nampally Secunderabad Jct 1241 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally – Falaknuma 47209 EMU – power cars 20B, 30B & 8B
16703 Secunderabad Jct Begumpet 1500 Secunderabad Jct – Rajkot Jct 17018 GTL WDM3A’s 16703/16333 in multi
16333
14686 Begumpet Renigunta Jct 1535 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally – Tirupati Jct 17429 GTL WDG3A – via Vikarabad, Wadi Av, GTL

 

Gen for Saturday 14th February 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

14783 KZJ WDG3A 57564 2330(P) Nanded – Hyderabad
16023 GTL WDM3A 17639 0730 Kacheguda – Akola
16683/18794 MLY WDM3A’s 17063 2100 (P) Manmad – Secunderabad
16876 KJM WDM2 17319 2050 (P) Hubli – Secunderabad, 17320 1600 Secunderabad – Hubli
16701/16706 GTL WDM3A’s 17058 1225 Secunderabad – Mumbai CST
18972/16753 MLY WDM3A’s 17057 2105 (P) Mumbai CST – Secunderabad
30250 LGD WAP7 17201 0545 Guntur – Secunderabad
11363 KYN WDM3D 18519 2330 (P) Visakhapatnam – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (from SC)

The Photos


Sunday 15th February 2015 (A tactical day; not a cranking day)

It was just starting to get light when I woke and we’d just literally pulled into Koduru, 42 minutes late. By the time I got myself sorted we were just slowing for the outskirts of Renigunta, where we slowed to a stand at 0609 and sat for 27 minutes before continuing into the station ahead. We’d been held for trains to cross over our path and while sat outside the station GY WDM3D 11394 hammered by with a slightly delayed 22119 Tirupati – Kacheguda Double Decker; which was only a short rake.

Renigunta station came alive when we arrived into platform 2 and 11044 Madurai – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus also arrived at the same time into platform 1; with KYN WDM3D 11455. While the latter sat awaiting its booked departure time 17429 sat waiting for no apparent reason, for 45 minutes, and was well over an hour late when it eventually departed. Maybe the issue there was at Tirupati? Just before it did depart BZA WAG5 23539 arrived with 57429 Tirupati – Gudur passenger; as I’d had a BZA WAG5 on it a few days earlier I got the impression that this train was a regular link for one?

Suitably fed and watered I was ready for a bit more sleep by the time 11017 Mumbai CST – Karaikal was being announced to arrive in platform 5. It did so only 5 minutes late with PA WDM3D 11378, I was a little surprised with a Pune engine as everything I’d seen showed the regular link to be a KYN link? While I had a lower berth in 2AC I ended up basically sleeping for the whole journey in the upper berth above; only being woken by a load of kids singing in the vestibule adjacent to the coach end, which was where my berth was!

11017 is a unique train, and only recently introduced, in that it runs from the Chennai Arakkonam main line into Chennai Egmore and what’s more is that it’s Alco hauled over the Renigunta Arakkonam section and the rare bit from the junction north of Chennai Central, round via Chennai Beach to Egmore. We remained 5 minutes late arriving into Egmore and I wasted no time in getting over to the suburban platforms to do the next EMU to Park for the walk over the Chennai Central.

In my original plan I was to fly to Delhi in the afternoon but this is where I changed the plan, and booked another flight to Delhi for the following afternoon, to allow me to head north to Vijayawada to do 12851 Bilaspur – Chennai Central back to its destination overnight. 12851/2 having recently changed loco links to being Raipur twin Alco’s throughout, something that will change once the Balharshah – Nagbhir section of line is electrified, and this is the only train I’ve known during my time travelling in India to use Alco’s over the Gudur – Chennai main line and to add to that it is now the only Alco hauled train to do Vijayawada – Tenali also; so as I just happened to be in the area a change of flight was a minor inconvenience to get one of the biggest sections of track in the country done for Alco’s and it wouldn’t mess my plans up the following day either as I wasn’t departing Delhi until late in the evening anyway!

Chennai Central was quite busy of a late morning when I arrived and with nothing to do for 2 and a half hours I spotted trains and watched people, while I perched on a bench trying not to sweat too much after consuming a piping hot egg biryani. Joking aside I was actually starting to look forward to the cooler and less humid climes of the north, although I’m sure was there, in true English fashion, I’d be complaining about the cooler nights and wishing I was back south again; there’s just no pleasing English folk when it comes to the weather.

I only spotted three TNP WDM7’s shunting at Chennai Central on this occasion, 11003, 11004 & 11005. The only working of note was BZA WAG7 28070 arriving with 57240 0515 Bitragunta – Chennai Central passenger, which if I’d realised I could have done an EMU out to Basin Bridge Junction for it in. I didn’t bother to walk down to the top end of the platform, into the blazing sunshine but did observe the following arrive into Chennai Central while I was waiting: RPM WAP7 30398 with 12608 from Bangalore Central, RPM WAP4 22808 with 17314 from Hubli, ED WAP4 22258 with 12698 from Trivandrum and last but not least LGD WAP7 30314 with 12711 from Vijayawada; with the stock that would form my 12712 1405 Chennai Central – Vijayawada, which I’d be doing throughout.

By the time I got to the opposite end of the train LGD WAP4 22606 was just dropping onto the set so I made my way back to the AC Chair Car and made myself comfortable; making good use of the charging facilities on board before the train filled. Despite the reservation list showing empty seats in my coach, C1, there was only one empty seat on departure; which by my watch was at 14:04:30, a little early…..

I managed to smash my way through what episodes of Falling Skies I had on my Surface in less than 2h30m, which left me with 5 hours’ worth of journey to kill with music instead. As is always the case with AC chair car the seats made me sweat half my body weight into them and as they’re not cloth seats the only place to soak it up was my combat pants; to put it bluntly AC chair car is rubbish and I hate it. The only reason I ended up on 12712 was because 12295 behind was already at WL/8 when I asked for my reservation to Vijayawada. Still 22606 delivered me to Vijayawada only a couple of minutes late and I certainly didn’t want for anything food/drink wise on board as Doon’s catering did a cracking job of constantly plying the train with goodies throughout the journey, and right up to arrival into Vijayawada too.

The whole reason for suffering an electric for the 431km’s it is from Chennai to Vijayawada, 12851 Bilaspur – Chennai Central, wasn’t due off Vijayawada until 0135 and I’d been struggling to find something to fill the time with and all I could come up with was doing 12704 Secunderabad – Howrah to Eluru for a choice of trains back. As I walked by BZA WDP1 15057, sat with 57212 2140 Vijayawada – Machilipatnam, I didn’t realise at that point I could actually do it to Gudivada! In the adjacent platform BZA WDP1’s 15066/15058 were just being removed from 17644 Kakinada Port – Chennai Egmore “Circar Express”.

I stood watching an RPF guy start to get heavy handed with his rather large stick, which waiting for 12704 to arrive. Whatever train he was dealing with was rammed full I soon figured out that the group of women around him were complaining that their “ladies” coach was full of men and they couldn’t even get through the door; mainly because people were hanging out of it! The big stock cured that issue and will have given a few a nice smarting across the back of their legs in the process. Coach cleared, the women could now board and the door was locked behind them; this didn’t stop a couple of youths climbing through the open emergency window to get back in, once the RPF went to deal with the other coaches, which were equally as rammed and I was sure that the train would be leaving people behind as a result.

It was while I was stood watching this scenario that I had one of those lightbulb moments, which had me scurrying back over to where WDP1 15057 was waiting with its train. I’d been looking at quick out and back moves to pass the time and had dismissed doing 57212 as there wasn’t anything back from one of the shacks between Vijayawada and Gudivada. Of course though I’d watched 57212 arrive into Gudivada when I’d been there two nights previous, waiting for 17015 Bhubaneswar – Secunderabad, which of course I could do back to Vijayawada and have over an hour before 12851 was even due in!

I only just saved myself a 4 hour fester, and with 12704 being late it was looking like I would have been resigned to the fester had my lightbulb moment not dawned when it did. En-route to Gudivada I passed 17404/17402 Narasarpur/Machilipatnam – Tirupati with KZJ WDG3A 13412 leading KZJ WDM3A 14022, 17255 Narasapur – Hyderabad with GY WDP4D 40202 and 17210 Kakinada Town – Secunderabad with BZA WDP1’s 15065/056; none of which were sat waiting at a station when 57212 rolled in, so no bonus move back to Vijayawada, or was there…..?

As we arrived into Gudivada KZJ WDM3A 14017 was sat in the adjacent platform. I took me a while to find a name board I could read but it turned out to be 07049 Machilipatnam – Secunderabad “Holiday Special” running about 30 late. There was no time for crossing via the footbridge and a ballast leap had to suffice; I couldn’t have been at Gudivada for more than two minutes before 14017 was hammering its way towards Vijayawada with a very empty holiday special indeed.

At Vijayawada 14017 gave way to KZJ WAG7 27831 for the journey to Secunderabad. It didn’t take any persuasion for me to find my way into the Comesum on platform 1, where a rather good Jeera Aloo was served. While eating I had the pleasure of watching KZJ WDM3A twins 18890/18897 arrive with 17015 Bhubaneswar – Secunderabad, the same pair I’d had two nights previous on it, so making the late 07049 had been a bit of a bonus really. I’d spotted KZJ WDM3A twins 18885/895 heading the other way with 17016 Secunderabad – Bhubaneswar, while en-route back on 07049.

Food over, I waited on the station footbridge for the platform of 12851 to be announced. Even when I was eventually stood on platform 6 waiting I was still a little skeptical that the train would turn up with the Raipur twins it had been spotted with in recent months, right up until the moment Raipur WDM3A twins 16348/16246 brought the train in! Relieved, I boarded my 2AC coach, where I was the only one to do so, made up my upper berth as quietly as possible and got myself horizontal for the journey to Chennai. We departed Vijayawada 30 minutes late.

The Moves

11378 Renigunta Jct Chennai Egmore 1205 (14/02) Mumbai CST – Karaikal 11017 PA WDM3D – Via Arakkonam, Chennai Beach
EMU Chennai Egmore Park 1040 Tambaram – Chennai Beach 40334 Suburban EMU
22606 Chennai Central Vijayawada Jct 1405 Chennai Central – Vijayawada Jct 12712 LGD WAP4
15057 Vijayawada Jct Gudivada Jct 2140 Vijayawada Jct – Machilipatnam 57212 BZA WDP1
14017 Gudivada Jct Vijayawada Jct 2130 Machilipatnam – Secunderabad Jct 07049 KZJ WDM3A – Holiday Special

 

Gen for Sunday 15th February 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

11394 GY WDM3D 22119 0545 Tirupati – Kacheguda (Double Decker)
11455 KYN WDM3D 11044 1800 (P) Madurai – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus
40142 GY WDP4D 12797 2005 (P) Kacheguda – Chitoor
23539 BZA WAG5 57429 0630 Tirupati – Gudur
21339 AJJ WAM4 16204 0645 Tirupati – Chennai Central (to Renigunta)
22038 RPM WAP1 16204 0645 Tirupati – Chennai Central (from Renigunta)
22659 ED WAP4 17416 1135 (P) Kolhapur – Tirupati
30398 RPM WAP7 12608 0630 Bangalore City – Chennai Central
22808 RPM WAP4 17314 2025 (P) Hubli – Chennai Central
28070 BZA WAG5 57240 0515 Bitragunta – Chennai Central
22258 ED WAP4 12698 2020 (P) Trivandrum Central – Chennai Central
30314 RPM WAP7 12711 0600 Vijayawada – Chennai Central

TNP WDM7’s 11003, 11004 & 11005 shunting at Chennai Central
TNP WDM7 11001 seen shunting north of Chennai Central

15066/15058 BZA WDP1’s 17644 1440 Kakinada Port – Chennai Egmore
13412 KZJ WDG3A 17404 1720 Narasapur – Tirupati (14022 KZJ WDM3A dead inside – will have worked 17402 1900 Machilipatnam – Tirupati portion to Gudivada)
40202 GY WDP4D 17255 1855 Narasapur – Hyderabad
15065/15056 BZA WDP1’s 17210 1735 Kakinada Town – Secunderabad
18885/18895 KZJ WDM3A’s 17016 1700 Secunderabad – Bhubaneswar
27831 KZJ WAG7 07049 2130 Machilipatnam – Secunderabad (Holiday Spl – from BZA)
18890/18897 KZJ WDM3A’s 17015 0835 Bhubaneswar – Secunderabad

The Photos


Monday 16th February 2015 (Planes, Trains & Automobiles)

A decent night’s sleep had me still horizontal at just after 0800. NTES showed that 12851 was 60 late but the make-up time into Chennai should negate some of that; or would have done had it not taken us an hour to do Tondiarpet to Chennai Central! The result being a 90 minute late arrival into Chennai Central, which cut down on the time I had to get to the airport for my 1325 flight to Delhi quite considerably! On the journey in though no less than 5 different TNP WDM7’s were seen shunting, 11004, 11006, 11007, 11013 & 11014 and I also spotted two GOC WDG3A’s, 13449/13457, dead inside an electric on a freight train near Tondiarpet. I did wonder whether these were more transfers from GOC to TNP, almost at their destination?

I managed a quick shot of the Raipur twins on the blocks at Chennai Central and was careful to not get spotted while doing so, having been told by RPF a few days earlier that I couldn’t take photos on the station. A quick exit was then made and I was accosted by an auto driver outside the exit, who ultimately took me to Chennai Airport for RS350. The meter was on most of the way and got to RS280 before he turned it off as we approached the airport. The 20km journey took almost an hour due to bad traffic, some of which is caused by the ongoing building of the Chennai Metro, but I had plenty of time and there was no queuing to check-in as all the lines were empty and security was a breeze, which certainly makes a refreshing change in India. Before I knew it I was sat upstairs eating some good old Western comfort food at KFC!

My Jet Airways flight departed on time and was very pleasant, having good on board staff and good food. The ambience was also a good one as most people on board chose to take their afternoon nap while flying! We were on the ground at Delhi IGI Domestic terminal 3 at 1612, 3 minutes early, and I was in a pre-paid taxi heading for Hazrat Nizamuddin at 1624! The taxi cost RS430 and the journey took 55 minutes, the traffic in Delhi being worse than that in Chennai earlier.

I managed to make 54011 1735 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Rewari but as there was no advertising the train anywhere on the statin I had to hunt round for it and eventually confirmed with the loco pilot of TKD WDP3A 15536 that his train, sat in platform 2, was indeed for Rewari; it departed 2 minutes later, with me remaining on the platform. TKD WDP3A 15514 arrived into the same platform shortly after 15536 had departed, with what I assumed to be 54022 1800 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Bhulandshahar, again it departed without my presence. The third time lucky commuter, 54001 1825 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Rohtak, wasn’t quite so lucky when TKD WDP3A 15508 turned up. It also wasn’t so lucky in the respect that it didn’t arrive into platform 2 as the other two evening commuters had; it simply pulled up alongside it in the through road! I could only assumed when it arrived that it was 54001 but the loco pilot confirmed it and I had to walk down the ballast, past a group of crows picking at the two bits of dog remains that lay either side of a rail as I did so, to clamber up onto the train. I was quite thankful that my back seemed to be getting better that this point as I’m not quite sure I’d have made it up a few days ago!

15508 was a cracking engine, even though I only did it round to New Delhi. The 20 plus coaches it was hauling made it work hard and it did what any good Alco should in the process, and that’s pour black smoke out when being notched up. I was surprised that the train hadn’t filled to bursting point by New Delhi, or even at New Delhi itself but I guess there were still quite a few places in the Delhi suburbs for people to join at yet.

As I walked down the platform at New Delhi I was aware that 54411 Rewari – Meerut was running late but it had already gone when we arrived. I wasn’t aware of 54473 Delhi Jct – Saharanpur running late though as it wasn’t showing on NTES, which is often the case when trains haven’t departed their origin and they should have already departed the station you’re looking at. A quick check did indeed show it to have not departed Delhi Jct so I was back onto 54001 for a short run to Sadar Bazar, where I only had to wait 15 minutes for LDH WDM2 17879 to arrive with the late 54473 1815 Delhi Jct – Saharanpur.

Had I just stayed on platform 14, where 54473 had arrived, I could have saved myself the walk across the station to find out which platform 12425 2040 New Delhi – Jammu Tawi Rajdhani would be departing from; it was of course platform 14! In the process through I did think about getting a shower in the waiting room until I saw the state of them and also noted an Alco at the head of 12957 1955 New Delhi – Ahmedabad Rajdhani; but couldn’t be bothered to walk down and see which one!

Back over on platform 14 I decided against food as it would be served on board the Rajdhani anyway and when SSB WDS6 36520 brought the stock in at 2010 I was starting to get a bit peckish. Coach A2, which I was reserved in, was towards the rear of the train so I had a long walk back once I’d checked the engine number; or not as the case was and I didn’t even get the engine number in the end either! I was so disgusted when a WAP7 dropped onto the train that I stormed off over the footbridge in search of a pre-paid auto to take me to Delhi Sarai Rohilla, without registering its number!

I’d originally booked on 22401 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Udhampur throughout but when 19415/19416 Ahmedabad – Katra started running in late January I decided that the plus 17 onto the Pathankot – Katra DMU at Udhampur, which would get me to Katra for 19416 returning to Ahmedabad, wasn’t very comfortable at all. To combat the problem Flossy got me a reservation on the Jammu Rajdhani, which would have had me into Jammu with two hours to spare for either 22401 or 74909 DMU, whichever turned up first. Now of course I only had the one option and no thanks to IR having trained up enough loco pilots on electric locos to allow the Jammu Rajdhani to now be electric throughout!

There were only a couple of autos at the pre-pay stand but I managed to get one of them, the journey to Sarai Rohilla costing RS75 and taking 20 minutes. As I’d been waiting for food on board the Rajdhani I now had to deal with that situation and found the Hotel Raj, right outside the station entrance at Sarai Rohilla. A piping hot and very tasty Kashmiri Dum Aloo with rice and Nan was served up, all costing RS195.

22401 2215 Sarai Rohilla – Udhampur was being announced as departing from platform 2 when I arrived but that stock hadn’t been in, as I walked onto the statin after food I could see the familiar red and white coaches of the Udhampur AC Express and there was definitely a familiar shape at the head end; it turned out to be TKD WDP3A 15544 and I was well pleased as some reports had showed a TKD WDP4 to have worked 22401 on the odd occasion. What was also pleasing about the train was that A1 & A2 coaches were less than half full which resulted in me claiming an empty compartment to myself, as opposed to yet another lower side berth, and the TTE confirmed I was ok to stay there after departure.

After a bit of a bellow at the very good 15544 I settled down to bed and could still hear the noise it was making coming through the window. The only downside to that though was that I could also hear the noise from the loco’s horn, which I thought might keep me up all night, even with my earplugs in; but it didn’t!

The Moves

16348 Vijayawada Jct Chennai Central 0855 (15/02) Bilaspur Jct – Chennai Central 12851 R WDM3A’s 16348/16246 in multi – via Tenali and ECML direct to Chennai Central
16246
VT-JFY Chennai Terminal 1 Delhi IGI Domestic Terminal 1325 Chennai – Delhi 9W-740 Jet Airways
15508 Hazrat Nizamuddin Sadar Bazar 1825 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Rohtak 54001 TKD WDP3A
17879 Sadar Bazar New Delhi Jct 1815 Delhi Jct – Saharanpur Jct 54473 LDH WDM2
Auto New Delhi Jct Delhi Sarai Rohilla Pre-pay, RS75, 15 minutes Bowled by WAP7 on 12425 at NDLS!
15544 Delhi Sarai Rohilla Udhampur 2215 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Udhampur 22401 TKD WDP3A – via Dayabasti, Panipat, Ambala, Pathankot Cantt, Jammu Tawi – Banked in rear from Jammu Tawi by LDH WDM3A 17907

 

Gen for Monday 16th February 2015
(Other than in the move above)

TNP WDM7’s 11004, 11006, 11007, 11013 & 11014 shunting at Chennai Central

15536 TKD WDP3A 54011 1735 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Rewari
15514 TKD WDP3A 54022 1800 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Bhulandshahar
15009 TKD WDP1 12861 1510 (PP) Visakhapatnam – Hazrat Nizamuddin (Link Exp – 13 hours late)
30211 GZB WAP7 14212 1735 New Delhi – Agra Cantt
40059 TKD WDP4B 14085 1800 Tilak Bridge – Sirsa
30xxx ???? WAP7 12425 2040 New Delhi – Jammu Tawi
????? ??? WDMx 12957 1955 New Delhi – Ahmedabad Rajdhani

The Photos


Tuesday 17th February 2015 (Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra; here we come…)

When I woke just before 7am it was back to the old school as my phone wouldn’t pick up a signal in Jammu, thus NTES wouldn’t work. As we weren’t booked to stop anywhere between Pathankot Jct and Jammu Tawi it was hard to work out how late we were but I estimated we’d be into Jammu at about 0800, 45 minutes late; which in theory meant that the DMU to Katra was in front of us and would remain so. The very fact that we stopped at every station into Jammu, to await the road forward, gave me the impression that we were in fact following the Katra DMU.

There was no sign of any DMU when we arrived into Jammu Tawi, just after 0800, but there were a lot of people waiting on platform 1 so maybe the DMU was actually behind us and we’d just been following something else in? Either way LDH WDM3A 14068 was just backing onto 19224 0740 Jammu Tawi – Ahmedabad; better late than never. 22401 literally emptied out at Jammu Tawi and I was the only person reserved in coach A1 beyond Jammu Tawi; I was left struggling to understand why the train actually ran at all as others who have done the train have also reported in being empty. Further to that Doon’s catering can’t be getting much return on their investment, having assumingly bid for the contract to ply the train?

After a stop of less than 10 minutes at Jammu Tawi the road came off and we set sail towards Udhampur; trailing at the rear of the train was the familiar sight of a Ludhiana liveried Alco, which I confirmed to be WDM3A 17907 when we arrived into Udhampur. The line north of Udhampur must have taken some building as there are numerous bridges over high gorges and valleys, along with various tunnels of different lengths, some of which aren’t straight either. Whilst I won’t say the scenery is spectacular the trip is worth making all the same, even if it’s only to marvel at the engineering that has taken place to allow the journey to even happen in the first place. The best bit of scenery is between Bajalta and Manwal where meandering rivers in the valley meet green rice paddies and the mountains stretch towards the skies; all while the train crisscrosses the valley via man-made structures that really don’t look out of place at all in their setting.

En-route we only passed one train, at Bajalta, that was 54652 0650 Udhampur – Jammu Tawi, which was formed of the stock for 12919/12920 Jammu Tawi – Indore “Malwa Express” and hauled by LDH WDM3A 16472. On arrival at Udhampur it became evident that the Katra DMU hadn’t gone as there were quite a few people waiting for it; all probably off 12445 Delhi Jct – Udhampur which looked to have arrived with TKD WDP4D 40109 and was stabled adjacent to the platforms. As I was so close to the front of the train I managed to get a photo of 15544 at Udhampur without attracting any unwanted attention from the RPF or Army staff floating about. The same couldn’t be said for 17907 on the rear of the train though as it was off and stabled in the yard before I got to the rear of the train; had I even managed to do so though it had stopped right at the side of the Army barricade on the platform so it wouldn’t have been a good idea to try anyway?

In the rather large yard adjacent to the two platforms there was a DMU, split into various parts, with three cars in the yard, two mounted onto the back of road wagons ready for transfer away and another sat ready to be loaded onto road transport. This might account for why one of the DMU turns that involves Udhampur is currently cancelled? Although quite why conventional stock can’t substitute I don’t know.

I barely had time to finish my first chai of the day when the horns of the DMU, working 74909 0435 Pathankot Jct – Katra, could be heard in the distance. It was about 40 minutes late but had a bit of makeup time in the schedule so should arrive into Katra before 19416 1035 Katra – Ahmedabad was due away. The DMU wasn’t wedged but there were very few empty seats. Unlike the journey from Jammu Tawi to Udhampur the journey between Udhampur and Katra isn’t that scenic; mainly due to the fact that about half of the journey seems to be spent in tunnels. This bit of the journey’s engineering having to cut through the mountains, as opposed to bridging the valleys like the Jammu Tawi to Udhampur section. I would be very interested to see what the rest of the line would have to offer once it was open fully towards Srinagar and Baramula.

Electrification of the line throughout from Udhampur to Katra was in the advanced stages with overhead wires up almost all the way. I suspect that now electrification has almost reached Katra that as the line opens up section by section towards Qazigund then each section will already be electrified? Just outside Udhampur, on the right hand side, there is what appears to be an island platform with tracks either side and electrification of the whole area takin place. Could this be the proposed branch off to Doda being constructed?

Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra station is quite a place for the service it currently has but I’m guessing that in the future as more express trains reach there it will need all of the space it has. As our DMU approached I was glad to see an Alco sat waiting in the adjacent platform, which could only be working 19416 1035 Katra – Ahmedabad as there’s wasn’t anything else for it to be. It turned out to be VTA WDM3A 18609 and with 10 minutes before departure I managed to get my little legs to take me to the opposite end of the station, to get some photos with the station sign in, before departure.

The reservation sheets attached to 19416 didn’t have many reservations on them, although the train had only started running on 23rd January; although that wasn’t an excuse for the lack of reservations on 22401 the previous night as it had been running for 2 years! The nice TTE on board found me a compartment of four, which I had all to myself all the way to Pathankot Jct. Lunch was ordered from the on board staff and delivered at Jammu Tawi, just after departure; I never did see my RS20 change for the RS80 meal though!

The stock for 12238 1400 Jammu Tawi – Varanasi was sat in when we left but with no engine on it. This was a train that was usually worked by an LDH WDM3A throughout but since Jammu had been electrified the train was diesel under the wires throughout and having seen what happened to the New Delhi – Jammu Rajdhani the previous night I was wondering if the Badhumpa Express had now gone the same way; especially as I had been planning to do it on this particular day and was booked on it again in a few days’ time! There weren’t many electrics on shed through and surprisingly a pair of GD WDM2’s, 17829/17997, were just being serviced, which hadn’t been there when I’d gone north and as 12237 Varanasi – Jammu Tawi arrives at 1125 I was left wondering if they’d actually arrived with that and something had happened to the regular LDH engine somewhere in the Lucknow or Varanasi area?

My chances of having the GD twins, if they were indeed they were for 12238, dwindled the moment 19416 departed Jammu Tawi, although when we arrived into Pathankot Jct 10 minutes early I jumped straight into an auto and headed to Chakki Bank, now of course known as Pathankot Cantt, to do 19223 Ahmedabad – Jammu Tawi back into Pathankot via the south curve. Had LDH WDM3A 16052 actually been about 15 minutes later I would have seen 12238 heading south; this having been my original plan from Jammu Tawi had 19416 not been running; and I’d have been hoping it made 19223!

Having never taken a look at the NG line that runs from Pathankot Jct to Jogindernagar I went to have a look at what it was all about and hidden way right at the very bottom of the station, near the buffer stops, is the NG station. ZDM3 #198 was just shunting the stock away to the carriage sidings, having arrived with 52466 0720 Baijnath Paprola – Pathankot Jct and ZDM3 #179 was just backing down to work 52469 1550 Pathankot Jct – Baijnath Paprola. PTK Diesel Loco Shed is hidden away in the yard area adjacent to the station but I wasn’t adventurous enough to venture across and see what was knocking around.

After a bit of a fester LDH WDM3A 18991 arrived with 18101 1425 Jammu Tawi – Tatanagar and LDH WDM3A 16052 departed straight away with 19223. 18991 was quickly run round and while that was going on LDH WDM3A 16623 shunted off shed to work 54616 1720 Pathankot Jct – Amritsar Jct; leaving TKD WDP3A 15528 as the sole diesel on shed. The pantry car on board 18101 was serving veg chow Mein while I was on board, it was the first time I’d ever heard veg chow mein being sold from a pantry car on board a train, in India, and I have to say they were surprisingly good.

At Gurdaspur we were held outside the station for a DMU to arrive first and then let into the station’s only platform. As we’d made the late running 14037 Delhi Jct – Pathankot Jct I got off to await its arrival; it giving another option back towards Pathankot. In the end 14037 crossed 54616 1720 Pathankot – Amritsar at Gurdaspur, 16623 arrived into the platform with 54616 while LDH WDM3A 16153 arrived into the platform loop, line 2 as it was referred to when the train was announced. As I needed neither loco I opted to wait the 40 minutes for 54615 1735 Amritsar – Pathankot instead; which turned into 1h40m!

I spent the time waiting at Gurdaspur trying to figure out a better move to get to Ambala to meet Pelham the following evening and in the process came across something I’d completely missed during the course of my trip planning; the fact that there was a new line from Abohar to Fazilka! Try as I might to get the line in the following day, and get to Ambala, where I had to be for 0800 Thursday morning, was proving a little difficult so I gave up on it in the end. It either involved lots of DMU mileage or finishing very late back at Ambala, if I’d actually make it there at all!

LDH WDM3A 18580 eventually arrived an hour late with 54615 from Amritsar, I’d watched it depart Pathankot with 14634 1410 Pathankot – Amritsar, as I’d arrived on 19416 from Katra. There was plenty of room at the front of the train but unfortunately one of those noisy families from hell invaded the emptiness right at the last minute so I spent the journey trying to drown them out with my IPod!

Back in Pathankot a stroll outside the station revealed the Hotel Green Bar & Restaurant, which is out to the main road, turn right and it’s on the left about 100 yards up the road. The food was very good and as fresh as it comes, the restaurant was clean and the hotel looked like quite a nice place to stay; still I had my next overnight, courtesy of Indian Railways to look forward to!

LDH WDM3A 16052 returned from Jammu Tawi with 19226 2125 Jammu Tawi – Bathinda Jct, having gone up on 19223 Ahmedabad – Jammu Tawi. The AC was to the front of the train on arrival and obviously the rear on departure from Pathankot. While I was making my bed up some guy came down and told me the TTE had just allocated him the berth as nobody had turned up. I’d actually made two reservations for this train, which both had separate PNR’s, one from Jammu Tawi to Pathankot and the second from Pathankot to Firozpur; this was just in case I changed my plans and ended up boarding at Pathankot, this way I wouldn’t lose my berth in the process. Although it seemed the TTE wanted to give it away anyway. Once he checked my ticket all was well and sleep soon came.

The Moves

17907 Jammu Tawi Udhampur 2215 (16/02) Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Udhampur 22401 LDH WDM3A – banking in rear; TKD WDP3A 15544 leading as train engine
11115 Udhampur Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra 0450 Pathankot Jct – Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra 74909 DMU – 11114/11115 power cars
11114
18609 Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra Pathankot Jct 1035 Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra – Ahmedabad Jct 19416 VTA WDM3A
Auto Pathankot Jct Pathankot Cantt RS150, 10 minutes Autorickshaw
16052 Pathankot Cantt Pathankot Jct 1120 (16/02) Ahmedabad Jct – Jammu Tawi 19223 LDH WDM3A
18991 Pathankot Jct Gurdaspur 1425 Jammu Tawi – Tatanagar 18110 LDH WDM3A
18580 Gurdaspur Pathankot Jct 1735 Amritsar Jct – Pathankot Jct 54615 LDH WDM3A
16052 Pathankot Jct Firozpur Cantt 2125 Jammu Tawi – Bathinda Jct 19226 LDH WDM3A – via Amristar (RR), Jalandhar City (RR), Kapurthala

 

Gen for Tuesday 17th February 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

14068 LDH WDM3A 19224 0725 Jammu Tawi – Ahmedabad
19722 SSB WDS4 stabled at Udhampur
40109 TKD WDP4D 12445 2050 (P) New Delhi – Udhampur
18580 LDH WDM3A 14634 1410 Pathankot Jct – Amritsar
16015 LDH WDM3A 18101 1450 (PP) Tatanagar – Jammu Tawi
16623 LDH WDM3A 54616 1720 Pathankot Jct – Amritsar
16153 LDH WDM3A 14037 0800 Delhi Jct – Pathankot Jct
15528 TKD WDP3A 15036 2320 Pathankot Jct – Delhi Jct

The Photos


Wednesday 18th February 2015 (The Abohar to Fazilka avoiding move)

When I woke a quick glance out of the window had me a little concerned, especially when NTES showed 19226 to be running 1h44m late as well. It turned out that my window was just misted up and the thick fog I thought I could see outside was nothing more than a mist; so the late running must have just been caused by general issues along the way. Somewhere near Lohian Khas I looked out of the window and spotted, what I thought at the time was, LDH WDM3A 18705, which was working 54644 0625 Firozpur Cantt – Jalandhar City; had I not been horizontal, and nowhere near in a position to get off, I should have been off for it and I’d have been back at Jalandhar before I’d even left Firozpur and even in with a chance of making 11058 Amritsar – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, which would have got me all the way to Ambala by Alco. The perils of being half asleep in a morning certainly screwed me over there in the end!

The late running of 19226 put pay to me going beyond Firozpur to Faridkot, where I had originally had the option of either 54561 0650 Ludhiana – Firozpur passenger, which turned up with TKD WDP1 15022, or my booked train, 19223 Ahmedabad – Jammu Tawi. As it turned out I had plenty of time for breakfast instead and having tried the restaurant of the hotel straight outside the station exit I ended up in a more local place a bit further up the road as the hotel’s place was pure veg. A quite sizeable 4 egg omelette and two veg paratha’s went down a treat; all for RS100.

With time to kill I spent some time trying to get some arty photos of ZDM3 #150, which is plinthed above head height just outside the station entrance at Jalandhar City. I obviously attracted the attention of the various auto drivers, all of whom provided some entertainment while I photographed them as well; more to please them than anything else.

There wasn’t much doing at all at Firozpur, other than chai selling. TKD WDP1 15022 was eventually taken off the set it had arrived on and ultimately backed onto the set that arrived from Ludhiana on 14629 0710 Ludhiana – Firozpur, to work 54642 1130 Firozpur – Delhi Jct via Bathinda. 14629 was worked in by LDH WDG3A 14832, with GD WDM3D 11331 on the rear of the set. The latter was removed to the yard immediately while the former remained with the stock. When my 19223 Ahmedabad – Jammu Tawi arrived, 45 minutes late, it did so with ABR WDM3A 16769 at the front of the train and LDH WDM3A 14068 at the rear of the train. 16769 was immediately detached but it didn’t run round the train as I’d suspected, it went into the yard! When I got to the opposite end of the train 14068 had just been detached; quite what it had done to get where it was in the first place is a mystery as I’d seen it back onto 19224 Jammu Tawi – Ahmedabad at Jammu the previous day. With all the LDH loco’s I’d seen covering the ADI – JAT – BTI link and then with ABR’s 16769 just turning up I was struggling to understand whether the while link was now in the hands of LDH locos or whether ABR needed a helping hand due to a loco shortage. Either way when LDH WDG3A 14832 dropped onto 19223 I became even more confused but definitely was not complaining! What an absolute faff but a faff that all took place in ten minutes flat, from arrival to departure of 19223!

The efficiency embraced by Firozpur’s top smart staff was wasted when we stopped just outside Firozpur for 30 minutes to allow a Jalandhar – Firozpur DMU to cross with us. Once we got going again I thought I’d better see how things were going at Jalandhar; and the screen that NTES wasn’t delivering good news to me when it eventually loaded up. My options south to Ambala were limited as it was and due to the lateness of 19223 I was going to miss 14650, which was showing on time The next two trains south were then typically showing late; the latter two being a bit strange as both only started at Amritsar and wouldn’t have departed if they were as late as they were showing. It turned out that 14650 was showing right time as it hadn’t actually departed Amritsar and both 18104 Amritsar – Tatanagar and 14604 Amritsar – Saharsa were rescheduled to start later.

19223 arrived into Jalandhar over an hour late and its opposing working 19224 was sat in waiting to depart with LDH WDM3A 16302. A quick check of NTES as we neared to Jalandhar showed 14650 to have left Amritsar but common sense told me to get an auto to Jalandhar Cantt and do the faster 12472 Jammu Tawi – Bandra Terminus to Ambala instead; so off I went, the auto only taking about 10 minutes and costing me RS100. As I walked onto the station LDH WDM3A 18703 was just arriving with what I soon figured out to be the late running 54637 1200 Hoshiarpur – Jalandhar City. It was at this point that I realised that it had been 18703 I’d spotted from my berth earlier in the morning and not 18705; and here it was having gone to Jalandhar, then on to Hoshiarpur and was almost back at Jalandhar City, while I’d only managed to just arrive from Firozpur! I was in a gambling mood and as 18703 got the road straight away I tempted fate and did it back to Jalandhar City; feeling quite safe that it would get there before 14650 did from Amritsar. In the end I had plenty of time to purchase supplies before bagging myself a lower side berth in 3AC on 14650.

Meanwhile, back in Delhi, good old Pelham was almost cocking his move up; still at least he’d actually made it into the country this time so he was doing one better than his November attempts. He’d been festering at Gurgaon for quite a while when I got the text asking where trains were, heading towards Delhi. He eventually ended up on 12216 Bandra – Delhi Sarai Rohilla, arrived Sarai Rohilla at 1350, not 1315 like NTES showed, and got an auto to Delhi Jct. Expecting the worst, as he’d arrived after the booked departure time of 14731 1415 Delhi Jct – Fazilka, he was well surprised to find the train still sat in and it eventually departed 30 late with LDH WDM3A 16611; which I hoped I’d be having an appointment with later that evening. Ending up on 14650 was probably going to turn out a better move as it stopped at Rajpura Jct. If it didn’t lose any more time I’d make 54558 Patiala – Ambala passenger there with plenty of time to spare. As we departed Ludhiana I was quite pleased to see LDH WDM3A 18563 only just arriving with 54572 from Firozpur; and glad I’d played the right move in doing 19223 to Jalandhar instead.

As luck had it 14650 was just rolling into Rajpura Jct as 54553 1555 Ambala Cantt – Dhuri Jct was. NTES had given the impression that I’d miss 54553 at Rajpura but only by a few minutes; somehow it had managed to lose 30 minutes between Ambala and Rajpura though and a quick leap off 14650 as it hit the platform end had me scurrying across the tracks and running up the platform towards 54553 as LDH WDM3A 16001 came to a stand. As 54553 was late I decided to spend a short while at Kauli as opposed to going to where it would cross 54558 1715 Patiala – Rajpura. I’d been expecting both trains to be rammed full, them being commuter trains, but there were seats available on both.

It was decision time as the only WDP1 to be rebuilt, TKD’s 15048, rolled into Ambala City with 54558. Did I or didn’t I risk Ambala Cantt for 14731; the train that Pelham was on. It hadn’t been reported for almost an hour and then just as we came to a stand at Ambala City it showed having arrived at Ambala Cantt, so off I got. I waited there for almost an hour! The reporting on NTES for 14631 first showed it over 30 minutes late and having arrived, and then departed, Ambala Cantt right time. In the end an updated report showed the correct times and for a change NTES screwed me as I’d have made Ambala Cantt, off 54558, with plenty of time to make 14731; as confirmed by Pelham when I saw him get off at Ambala City.

As Pelham had been on board 14731 for a good while it made sense for him to get off and do 54758 Sri Ganganagar – Ambala Cantt passenger back into Ambala, for possibly either 14711 Rishikesh – Sri Ganganagar or 14681 New Delhi – Jalandhar back to Ambala City. I on the other hand needed to do 14731 with LDH WDM3A 16611 and was originally hoping that it would make 54758 at Rajpura but no such luck with it being so late and I passed TKD WDP1 14041 just after Sambhu and was resigned to waiting at Rajpura for 14526 Sri Ganganagar – Ambala Cantt.

An hour and a half later I departed Rajpura with TKD WDP3A 15525 on 14526, it had progressively lost time en-route into Rajpura and then been held there to allow 12030 Amritsar – New Delhi Shatabdi to go in front. Meanwhile, back in Ambala Pelham was having the pleasure of LDH WDM3A 14103 back out to Ambala City to meet me and just as 14526 was arriving so was 14711 Rishikesh – Sri Ganganagar with LDH WDM3A 18878.

The extended evening bash, for not much gain really, had us back into Ambala Cantt just before 2130 and an overpriced auto had us at the Hotel Puran Palace 5 minutes later; our fare being RS150, yet at the same time as I asked how much one guy said RS150 and the other RS200. It probably shouldn’t have been much more than RS50!

The Hotel Puran Palace had been booked through Boking.com and only cost RS1500 for a double room with AC. The hotel staff were expecting us and showed us straight to our room, after filling in all the formalities of course. The room was decent, had all touch sensitive switches and a decent sized TV. The bathroom was huge and the only thing that let it down was the water pressure; which made attempting to get a shower almost impossible and we had to wait for a bucket to fill, very slowly, instead. The water was piping hot though and available 24/7 too. Food in the posh restaurant was reasonably priced, the staff were very attentive and the food quality was good.

After dinner I reveled in the fact that this was my first hotel of the trip, having been in the country for 8 days, and made use of all the facilities our room had to offer. There was initially a small problem though in that there was a private party going on, on the same floor as us, and the music was ridiculously loud. A quick word down at reception had the hotel managed apologising profusely and running straight upstairs to get it turned down and then ultimately off by 2330!

Even though we didn’t have to be up too early we only made it to be by just before midnight in the end. Strangely the hotel beds were less comfortable than a 2AC sleeper berth; they were rock hard but it didn’t stop sleep….

The Moves

14832 Firozpur Cantt Jalandhar City 1120 (17/02) Ahmedabad Jct – Jammu Tawi 19223 LDH WDG3A
Auto Jalandhar City Jalandhar Cantt RS100, 10 minutes Autorickshaw
18703 Jalandhar Cantt Jalandhar City 1200 Hoshiarpur – Jalandhar City 54637 LDH WDM3A
22706 Jalandhar City Rajpura Jct 1155 Amritsar Jct – Jaynagar 14650 GZB WAP4
16001 Rajpura Jct Kauli 1555 Ambala Cantt – Dhuri Jct 54553 LDH WDM3A
15048 Kauli Ambala City 1715 Patiala – Ambala Cantt 54558 TKD WDP1
16611 Ambala City Rajpura Jct 1415 Delhi Jct – Fazilka Jct 14731 LDH WDM3A
15525 Rajpura Jct Ambala Cantt 1400 Sri Ganganagar Jct – Ambala Cantt 14526 TKD WDP3A

 

Gen for Wednesday 18th February 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

18703 LDH WDM3A 54644 0625 Firozpur Cantt – Jalandhar City
15022 TKD WDP1 54561 0650 Ludhiana – Firozpur Cantt, 54642 1130 Firozpur Cantt – Delhi Jct
14832 LDH WDG3A 14629 0710 Ludhiana – Firozpur Cantt (GD WDM3D 11331 on rear)
18563 LDH WDM3A 54572 1100 Firozpur – Ludhiana
16769 ABR WDM3A 19223 1120 (P) Ahmedabad – Jammu Tawi (to Firozpur – LDH WDM3A 14068 on rear, also to Firozpur)
16302 LDH WDM3A 19224 0725 Jammu Tawi – Ahmedabad
22528 HWH WAP4 15707 2330 (P) Katihar – Amritsar
155xx TKD WDP3A 11057 2345 (PP) Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Amritsar
15041 TKD WDP1 54758 1045 Sri Ganganagar – Ambala Cantt
14103 LDH WDM3A 14681 1445 New Delhi – Jalandhar City
18878 LDH WDM3A 14711 1450 Rishikesh – Sri Ganganagar

The Photos


Thursday 19th February 2015 (Jaijon Doaba really is in the middle of nowhere)

We were up and down at reception by 0715. The previous night we’d done a deal with the hotel to allow us to cancel our room on Friday night, which had been done through Booking.com as well, and return on Saturday night as planned. This then allowed us to leave our big bags in the hotel’s cloak room while staying in Bathinda on Friday night instead. My time at Rajpura the previous evening had me pondering the Abohar – Fazilka new line and I ended up working a decent move out to get it in on Friday, before returning to Ambala direct from Abohar on 14526 Sri Ganganagar – Ambala. This little move also allowed me to get the curve from Jalandhar City to the Jammu line in as well but did mean we’d miss out on a couple of days spinning about at Ambala; swings and roundabouts I suppose?

A cycle rickshaw from the hotel to Ambala Cantt only cost RS20 and upon arrival I had the unfortunate business of having to ring my credit card company as someone had attempted to spend $799 on a flight with Caribbean Airlines. It turned out that they’d also transferred $1 to an unnamed PayPal account and then made another transaction for $2 a week later; obviously testing the water? As a result of my conversation with the fraud squad my card was then cancelled and a new one would be waiting at home when I arrived; the only problem being was that all the hotel bookings I’d done through Bokking.com were made using that card so I was hoping none got cancelled as a result.

After photographing both ZDM3 #152 & YP #2825 outside the two entrances at Ambala Cantt, veg puffs and chai had to suffice for breakfast, until we managed to get omelettes on board 14605 Lalkua – Amritsar as it stood in the platform at Ambala. This train was newly introduced and covered the newly opened line from Morinda to Ludhiana and what’s more it’s regular loco link was a LDH WDM3A throughout; on this occasion it was 18850 and what a machine it was, loud, crisp and it poured out thick black clag at the sniff of the power handle being touched by the loco pilot. Not only was the engine excellent, the train was like a ghost train. It came into Ambala empty as it was and not many people got on en-route either.

En-route to Chandigarh we passed LDH WDG3A 14800 with 54304 0705 Kalka – Delhi Jct passenger, which is diesel under the wires throughout. A 20 minute fester at Chandigarh had us about 40 minutes late, which we’d picked up most of by Ludhiana, until we were held there for an hour. As we arrived 14038 Pathankot Jct – Delhi Jct was just preparing to depart with TKD WAG7 27318. Meanwhile, while we were held for a northbound Shatabdi and 12497 New Delhi – Amritsar to overtake us, TKD WDP3A 15521 arrived with 12037 New Delhi – Ludhiana Shatabdi.

14605 is quite slackly timed though and it did make a little time back but or original 90 minute fester at Beas, the last station before Amritsar, was cut to a short one instead. Enough time to walk round the rather pleasant market just outside the station and get some fresh chai and samosas for the afternoon bash. Yet another almost empty train, 19612 Amritsar – Ajmer, arrived with ABR WDM2 16825. This was a train that had only started running again after the regular cancellation of it during the fog season so maybe that had something to do with how empty the train was?

Thanks to NTES we were aware that 11057 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Amritsar was 2 hours late, which enabled us to go through to Phagwara Jct to possibly do it back to Jalandhar Cantt; depending on how late it turned up. When it arrived at 1650 we had 32 minutes to get to Jalandhar Cantt for our 1722 departure to Jaijon Doaba, a journey that is given 17 minutes in the timetable and took 14 minutes; LDH WDM3A 18943 putting in a sterling performance. Was it me though or did LDH seem to be taking over literally everything in the area; what with the 19223/4/5/6 link and now 11057 being LDH links vice their original ABR & TKD respectively?

Our day appeared to take a massive turn for the worst as a DMU arrived into platform 3 of Jalandhar Cantt at bang on 1722, which was the booked departure time of 54526 1715 Jalandhar City – Jaijon Doaba. Resigned to the fact that we’d bowled by a DMU vice loco-hauled on 54526 we were literally up shit creek without a paddle and my brain was struggling to come up with an option to get out of it, especially having just watched 12338 Jammu Tawi – Varanasi depart south with LDH WDM3A 18550. As there was no announcement for the DMU I just thought I’d ask someone where it was going and was so relieved when the reply came back as Hoshiarpur! It turned out that the DMU was working 74916 1630 Jalandhar City – Hoshiarpur and a quick check of NTES then showed 54526 to have departed Jalandhar City only a few minutes ago; the relief we both felt was tremendous.

LDH WDM2 17768 arrived with a load 8 set, which looked to be a regular load 7 set with a brake at either end and an extra coach tagged on behind the engine. By Phagwara Jct, where the Jaijon Doaba branch turns off the main line, the locals confusion as to why we were on their local train for local people soon got the better of them; us telling them we were going to Jaijon Doaba just seemed to add a little more confusion to the mix but at least they knew we were on the train intentionally at that point.

The run down to Nawanshahr Doaba Jct was quite fast but that was where any hopes of getting to Jaijon Doaba at a reasonable time faded away, minute by slow minute! It wasn’t until we’d been sat waiting to head down to Rahon, where the loco would run round and return via Nawanshahr Doaba Jct to Jaijon Doaba, that we realised we were waiting for 74953 1645 Jaijon Doaba – Jalandhar City DMU to come back from Rahon; which must have only gone down minutes before we arrived. It was only 90 minutes late and resulted in 54526 being 75 minutes late as it then headed off to Rahon, although quite why it bothered was anyone’s guess as the train was virtually empty on departure from Nawanshahr Doaba Jct with only one person seen to actually get off the train at Rahon and nobody at all got on!

17768 took the allotted 20 minutes to run round and be ready for the off at Rahon and other than the odd person getting on or off en-route the train ran with no more than a dozen people on all the way to Jaijon Doaba with Pelham & I having the whole front two coaches to ourselves all the way. The line speed from Nawanshahr Doaba Jct is poor with numerous 20kmph slowing progress towards our destination; the tediousness of having to slow all the time looked to take its toll on the loco pilot too as his frustration was definitely taken out on the power handle in the cab and despite the crap line there was quite a bit of entertainment from the aging WDM2.

Our arrival into Jaijon Doaba was 80 minutes after booked time at 2150 vice the more sociable 2030. The station was the only building lit for miles around, that we could see anyway, and the load 8 set didn’t even fit in the platform! Further to that we weren’t allowed to exit the platform without producing our tickets, when asked by some guy standing by the exit. Outside the station itself it was pitch black and we probably wouldn’t have been able to negotiate the pathway to the main road without a torch. We were eventually escorted there by two young lads off the train, who had a 2km walk ahead of them to their village; we on the other hand only had a 500m walk to the Kangs Nirvana Resort & Spa.

The Kangs Nirvana Resort had been a gem of a find to enable a decent move on the only loco-hauled train to do the Jaijon Doaba branch. I’d originally looked to see if there would have been a way of getting from Jaijon Doaba to Una by road off 54526; judging by the fact that Jaijon Doaba was in the middle of nowhere and in complete darkness with only the odd lorry passing us as we walked to the hotel I’d say this would only have been possible if pre-arranged anyway. Then as luck had it I happened upon the Kangs Nirvana Resort and at just 500m from Jaijon Doaba station it was absolutely ideal for a 2030 arrival and 0500 departure the following morning.

I ended up making the hotel reservation through Makemytrip.com and had to present the hotel voucher upon arrival. The price on the voucher had been RS3463 but I managed to get it down to RS3000 upon arrival, as we’d be checking out before breakfast. Thankfully the young lad at reception copied our passports and filled out all the paperwork for us while we were showed to our room and then straight to the restaurant.

The resort was geared up for people taking a bit of a retreat to the countryside to get involved in relaxation or outdoors activities and we walked by quad bikes, two swimming pools and some water slides as we were escorted to our room. There was a storm brewing though and lightening was almost constantly flashing in every direction so the use of the pools, slide and the thought of outdoors activities didn’t look very inviting at all.

Our hotel room wasn’t massive but for the 5 hours we would ultimately spend in it, it didn’t need to be. The bed was two single beds pushed together to make a double but with only one sheet covering both. We had to ask for two extra blankets as there was only one and that certainly wasn’t going to keep us warm on a cold night such as this. There was no handle on the outside of the toilet door and the water was constantly running into the toilet so I switched it off. There were free toiletries supplied in the bathroom but that alone certainly didn’t warrant the RS3463 price tag attached at all; our room in Ambala the previous night was far superior and for less than half the price. The food however was something else. It was rustled up in no time at all and was freshly prepared by the restaurant staff, who all had nothing else to do other than cook our meal anyway as we were the only people on the restaurant. The portion sizes were quite large and both our meals were very tasty too. We definitely went to bed well fed that night, with our alarms set for 0425; having only managed to make it to bed at 2330, no thanks to Indian Railways of course.

The Moves

18850 Ambala Cantt Beas 2315 (18/02) Lalkua Jct – Amritsar Jct 14605 LDH WDM3A- via Chandigarh, New Morinda, Ludhiana
16825 Beas Phagwara Jct 1430 Amritsar Jct – Ajmer Jct 19612 ABR WDM2
18943 Phagwara Jct Jalandhar Cantt 2345 (17/02) Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Amritsar Jct 11057 LDH WDM3A
17768 Jalandhar Cantt Jaijon Doaba 1715 Jalandhar City – Jaijon Doaba 54626 LDH WDM2 – via Rohan (RR)

 

Gen for Thursday 19th February 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

40058 TKD WDP4B 22462 2255 (P) Katra – New Delhi
14800 LDH WDG3A 54304 0705 Kalka – Delhi Jct
22688 GZB WAP4 14614 0700 Firozpur – Chandigarh
18988 TKD WDM3A 11058 0830 Amritsar – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus
27318 TKD WAG7 14038 0700 Pathankot – Delhi Jct
15521 TKD WDP3A 12037 0700 New Delhi – Ludhiana Shatabdi
22956 LDH WAP4 12497 0640 New Delhi – Amritsar
xxxxx LDH WDMx 12920 0900 Jammu Tawi – Indore
17768 LDH WDM2 54637 1200 Hoshiarpur – Jalandhar City
18833 LDH WDM3A 19224 0740 Jammu Tawi – Ahmedabad
30017 GZB WAP7 15209 0845 (P) Saharsa – Amritsar
18550 LDH WDM3A 12238 1400 Jammu Tawi – Varanasi

The Photos


Friday 20th February 2015 (What an utterly miserable day)

I woke at 0422, 3 minutes before the alarm went off. Thanks to my earplugs I hadn’t been kept awake by the storm overnight, as it hit about an hour after we went to bed. Pelham told me it sounded like the rain was going to come through the roof it was that heavy! Thankfully it had stopped when we walked out of the hotel room at 0435, the ground was saturated though and the power of the rain was evident in the dirt on the floor. There was still plenty of lightening about but the worst of the storm looked to have passed.

I had visions of us being locked in the complex, despite telling the reception crew we’d be departing at 0430 the previous night, yet they seemed to be waiting for us when we dropped the key off and we were shown straight out of the gate. As we neared the statin we could hear 17768 running, which was a good sign as we’d had visions of the crew taking an extended rest period due to the late arrival. The stock was soaked inside with the rain even having barged its way in through gaps in the closed windows; those that remained open though resulted in the seats and floors around them being drenched and there were puddles everywhere.

The train crew came out of the lodging house 10 minute before departure, while we were trying to get some photos in the darkness and rain, and 54525 0500 Jaijon Doaba – Jalandhar City departed at 0501! The train was no fuller on the return as it had been coming out the previous night and we bagged ourselves two bench seats and stretched out in a vain attempt to recover some sleep. The train was pounded by rain every now and again, which ultimately made its way in through every gap no matter how well plugged, and it was a cold morning; to put it bluntly it was fucking miserable, and that’s coming from an Englishman used to this sort of crap weather!

By the time I’d got round to checking NTES to see what was going on at Jalandhar Cantt there seemed to be some good news on the horizon, albeit short-lived good news, with 12337 Varanasi – Jammu Tawi being late and our 54525 only being 34 late away from Banga we had a very good chance of making it at Jalandhar Cantt. This meant we’d be able to get to Pathankot Cantt by Alco as opposed to electric to make 19224 Jammu Tawi – Ahmedabad, as per the amended plan for the day. As I said though it was short lived as a 38 minute fester then ensued while we waited for 74952 0655 Jalandhar City – Jaijon Doaba to cross us. This then actually looked like it could result in us not making either of the two trains we needed to at Jalandhar Cantt to get us towards Pathankot and as it turned out 15653 Guwahati – Jammu Tawi was too late for us to even consider anyway so all our eggs ended up in the 16031 Chennai Central – Jammu Tawi “Andaman Express” basket; which thanks to Ludhiana regulating lost enough time to allow 54525 off the branch and into Phagwara Jct before it!

So as not to temp fate we got off at Phagwara to do 16031 as there was every possibility that 54525 would get held in the loop, as it stopped at Chiheru, for both 13005 and 16031 to go by as they were so close behind. Of course that didn’t happen and there was no sign of 54525 anywhere when we did 13005 Howrah – Amritsar to Jalandhar Cantt in front of 16031. This proved to be quite a useful move too as the pantry car sellers on board 13005 were in full swing and in the 16km journey we managed chai and omelettes.

When 16031 Chennai – Jammu Tawi arrived with TDK WDP4B 40020 it came as a bit of a surprise as I’d been expecting an electric anyway. Had I actually done my homework I’d have been expecting a TKD WDM3A to be turning up as the train ran via Rohtak and Dhuri to Ludhiana; at which point I’d have probably been a little pissed off but as it stood I’d not been expecting an Alco anyway so my own ignorance had saved a bit of a disappointment.

We managed to get two berths in the only AC coach on 16031, which is 3AC, to Pathankot; knowing full well we were probably only going to Mukerian anyway. The journey was harmless and we did get off at Mukerian. I’d figured out en-route that we could actually do 12920 Jammu Tawi – Indore to Dasuya, in front of 19224 Jammu Tawi – Ahmedabad which we planned to do to Bathinda. There wasn’t much to keep us occupied at Mukerian other than watching a puppy wandering about the tracks attempting to get back up onto the opposing platform where its family was. Not one of the dogs on the platform even so much as looked its way when it was howling up to them or standing on its hind legs with its nose peering over the platform edge; I guess it was one of those “you’ll learn the hard way” moments.

LDH WDM3A 16471 arrived about 30 minutes late with 12920 Jammu Tawi – Indore and as neither of us needed it we opted to stay behind and wait for 19224 and attempt to get berths to Bathinda earlier. 19224 of course turned up, about 35 late, just after it had started to hammer it down again and the AC on the train was right at the rear of the train, about as far away from the confines of the statin canopy as it could be; we weren’t the only ones scurrying down the platform as LDH WDM3A 16015 eased its way into the platform. While there were actually plenty of free berths in 2AC we couldn’t find the TTE so just took the empty compartment of four until I eventually found the TTE dossed out, just before we arrived into Jalandhar. The resulting conversation revealed there to be only 3 berths free until Bathinda and we ended up with the two together.

At Jalandhar City, having now done the curve in off the Jammu Tawi line, LDH WDM3A 18833 was just waiting to depart with the northbound opposing working of 19224 Ahmedabad – Jammu Tawi. As we’d seen this heading south on 19223 the previous day it basically confirmed my suspicions in that the LDH locos must be coming off en-route, somewhere like Jodhpur maybe, and a different loco, probably an ABR one, must then takeover for the run to Ahmedabad. This holds true for both 14068 & 18833 as I’d seen both heading south one day and then again heading north the following day with the opposing train. Quite how, or why, ABR 16769 ended up at Firozpur on 19223 earlier in the week is a bit of a mystery now though.

It took until Lohian Khas for the first glimpse of sunshine to make it through the clouds, at 1500 in the afternoon. It had been a truly miserable day all round and probably the worst day for weather I’d ever had on my travels in India. Yes I’d been when there’d been storms in the past but they generally only lasted for about 10 minutes and the cloud then dissipated again but this was simply British weather at its best and more suited to a crappy Autumn, October day.

At Firozpur the ABR/LDH loco link for 19223/4 sank into place and the mystery was solved; ABR WDM3A 14117 was just shunting out of the station as LDH WDM3A 16015 rolled in and immediately backed onto the opposite end of the train, allowing 16015 to then shunt off and into the sidings. This then meant that ABR WDM3A 16769, that I’d seen arrive into Firozpur with 19223 the other day must have been booked to be swapped there; thus meaning the loco link for 19223/4/5/6 was only ABR engines on the Ahmedabad – Firozpur leg and LDH engines for the rest of the link.

As we arrived off the Jalandhar line there was also a train arriving off the Bathinda line, this was 54568 1415 Bathinda – Firozpur with LDH WDM3A 16662. This then shunted off the train and ran through the station to drop onto the stock to work 14630 1725 Firozpur – Ludhiana. That set had arrived only minutes after 54568 as 14602 1210 Sri Ganganagar – Firozpur with LDH WDM2 Jumbo 17792, which was promptly detached from the set and then ran straight to the carriage sidings; it was later seen shunting the set out for 13308 1825 Firozpur – Dhanbad “Ganga Sutlej Express”, as we departed for Bathinda on 19223.

NTES came in handy on the journey across to Bathinda as we planned to get off at Gangsar Jaito for 54641 0710 Delhi Jct – Firozpur but we were running about 30 late. As it turned out 54641 had departed Bathinda late anyway so we took a chance and went to Gangsar Jaito anyway, expecting to either arrive at the previous station first and have to wait for it, or arrive into Gangsar Jaito and find it waiting there for us; we actually arrived into Gangsar Jaito first!

As I didn’t need TKD WDP1 15009 I went forward to Bathinda to do 19225 1840 Bathinda – Jammu Tawi back out to Gangsar Jaito for the same train Pelham would be on coming back into Bathinda; he of course did 15009 on 54641. I thought things might get a little tight at Bathinda when we stopped outside the station at Goneana, the last station before Bathinda. It turned out that the section signal at Goneana was faulty and the train had to be brought into the station under a shunt signal and the crew then had to sign the statin master’s book before passing the faulty signal at danger. As a result I only made 19225 by 7 minutes and thankfully it was new LDH WDM3A 16302, which I’d seen on the 19223/4/5/6 circuit earlier in the week.

Wary of the fact that the train I was going to Gangsar Jaito for was booked to cross with 19225 there I positioned myself towards the rear of the train to prevent being a way from the rear of the train I was going for, if it was already sat in waiting to go. When we slowed down to a stand outside Goneana I decided to walk through the sleeper class towards the front of the train, just in case the section signal at the opposite end of the station was faulty, as if the train stopped I’d be getting off. It turned out that the home signal at the Bathinda end of the station was faulty and we passed that at danger and then greens all the way into the distance; yet the train still briefly stopped in the middle road, so off I got into the pitch black station that was Goneana.

While waiting at Goneana I sent Pelham a message to tell him what I’d done, which he got the following day just after we departed Abohar on our way back to Ambala! I then used Google Maps to look for hotels near to Bathinda station. I was aware that there were some right outside the main entrance, as I’d used the Hotel Basant before, but they were all basic and I wanted somewhere that did food as well. The nearest to the station, with a trip advisor review, was the Hotel Regency and a quick call to them, after getting their number from their website, secured a super deluxe room for RS1200 plus tax. While the Regency didn’t have a restaurant the very helpful guy on the phone confirmed they offered room service and that if I should need picking up that I should ring and they would send the boy to meet us at the station exit and guide us the 5 minutes to the hotel.

I hadn’t noticed the station lights go on behind me while I was deep in conversation but what arrived wasn’t quite what I expected as Pelham had already sent me a message to confirm that 54564 1730 Firozpur – Bathinda was TKD WDP1 15036. I eventually realised that the DMU was actually working 74988 1610 Fazilka – Bathinda running late and 15036 arrived about 20 minutes later with 54564, itself about 25 minutes late.

Once we’d got our bearings sorted, thanks to Google Maps, it took 5 minutes to walk out of the station, turn right and then first left to then find the Hotel Regency just up the road on the right hand side. The guy I’d been talking to on the phone was waiting outside the door to greet us and his manager at the top of the stairs as we were led in. Both guys couldn’t have been more helpful, they spoke fluent English and explained everything we needed to know about the room, including how to extract hot water 24 hours a day. The only slight annoyance was that the electricity in our room didn’t want to charge anything so I had to leave my phone out in the corridor to charge but the excellent room served meal more than made up for that minor inconvenience. While the rice wasn’t piping hot the curry was and it was one of the best I’d had in India and definitely contained the best cuts of chicken I’d ever had; there wasn’t an ounce of fat and all the meat was breast meat. As usual there was way too much for us to finish between us and unfortunately quite a lot went to waste.

The bill for both the room and food was settled up before we went to bed and we were both asked politely if we’d put a review on trip advisor. They then went on to tell us that the only other review they had was from a foreigner, who was actually the only other foreigner they’d had stay at the hotel; their good friend Mark Torkington they referred to said foreigner as. Imagine how withered they were when I told them we both knew their good friend and that he’d be back in India himself in a couple of weeks!

I was quite glad to be getting into bed that night; the previous night’s lack of sleep was starting to take its toll. The hotel had kindly provided us with separate blankets for our large double bed, in our decent sized room, and they were needed with the weather not having been the best all day. We’d been told that all the other rooms in the hotel had been booked and everyone would be arriving at 2300; I never heard a peep with my earplugs in!

The Moves

17768 Jaijon Doaba Phagwara Jct 0500 Jaijon Doaba – Jalandhar City 54525 LDH WDM2 – via Rohan (RR)
22619 Phagwara Jct Jalandhar Cantt 1910 (18/02) Howrah – Amritsar Jct 13005 GZB WAP4
40020 Jalandhar Cantt Mukerian 0515 (18/02) Chennai Central – Jammu Tawi 16031 TKD WDP4B
16015 Mukerian Firozpur Cantt 0740 Jammu Tawi – Ahmedabad Jct 19224 LDH WDM3A 16015 to Firozpur, ABR WDM3A 14117 forward – via Pathankot Jct (RR), Jalandhar City, Kapurthala
14117 Firozpur Cantt Bathinda Jct
16302 Bathinda Jct Goneana Bhai Jagta 1840 Bathinda Jct – Jammu Tawi 19225 LDH WDM3A
15036 Goneana Bhai Jagta Bathinda Jct 1730 Firozpur Cantt – Bathinda Jct 54564 TKD WDP1

 

Gen for Friday 20th February 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

30406 GZB WAP7 54622 0855 Pathankot Jct – Jalandhar City
16471 LDH WDM3A 12920 0900 Jammu Tawi – Indore
18833 LDH WDM3A 19223 1120 (P) Ahmedabad – Jammu Tawi
17792 LDH WDM2 14602 1210 Sri Ganganagar – Firozpur, then seen shunting stock for 13308 1825 Firozpur – Dhanbad out of the carriage sidings
16662 LDH WDM3A 54563 1415 Bathinda – Firozpur, 14630 1725 Firozpur – Ludhiana

The Photos


Saturday 21st February 2015 (The Abohar to Fazilka un-avoidance move)

There was a choice of three different out and back moves at Bathinda of a morning, on either of the Sri Ganganagar, Firozpur or Ambala lines. The safest move was the one on the Sri Ganganagar line as we had to be on the 0915 Bathinda – Fazilka, which of course ran via the newly opened Abohar – Fazilka section; this would correct the fact that I’d not even realised it had been open and thus not factored it into the original trip plan.

At the station that morning we found TKD WDP1 15046, with LDH WDM3A 16355 dead in train, sat waiting with 54561 0650 Bathinda – Firozpur, which put that move out of the equation. Offlink LDH WDM3A 18871 was sat with 14520 0655 Bathinda – Delhi Junction “Kissan Express” but there were no locos on either 54552 0730 Bathinda – Ambala or 54755 0705 Bathinda – Sri Ganganagar. While we waited for something to occur with both LDH WDM3A 16124 arrived with 19024 Firozpur – Bandra Terminus; this train had been reported with WDP4’s recently so I was glad to see an Alco with the train.

When the rear of the set for 54755 to Sri Ganganagar started to move backwards we assumed an engine had bon and walked up to the front to find TKD WDP1 15052 having back on with a sleeper coach that looked like it had been shunted off another train, as there were people asleep in berths. Rather than risk the Ambala line move we decided on the safe bet of being on the Sri Ganganagar line, just in case anything decided to be late, and 15052 departed at its scheduled time of 0705.

As 54754 0615 Sri Ganganagar – Bathinda was late 15052 had a short wait at Malout for recently rebuilt TKD WDP1 15048 to arrive. I’ve never been a fan of WDP1’s but as they go 15048 sounded quite good so if the rebuild program made them better, then I was all for the whole lot going through it; unfortunately it didn’t return it to 12 cylinder cult status, with a typical growl, but it was certainly an improvement on most of the rest of the class; 15062/066 excepted as they were both still proper 12 cylinder Alco’s when I last had them.

Rather than risk a mad rush at Bathinda, with what was clearly going to turn into a minus when 54754 was allowed to run into Bathinda before 54559 0915 Bathinda – Fazilka would be allowed to depart, we got off at the halt 9km outside Bathinda, Bahman Diwana, to await the arrival of 54559 in a relaxed state instead.

LDH WDM3A 16279 had the honour of working the daily passenger to Fazilka, via Abohar, and what a machine it turned out to be. Its old LKO marking were visible under the LDH paint makeover but that didn’t prevent it from sounding the part; very loud and very crisp, unfortunately the load 7 set didn’t allow it to work very hard and line speed was reached way too easily, without any struggling at all.

By Abohar, with had a recent addition to its station signs to become Abohar Jn now the line to Fazilka was open, we’d picked up a bit of time and 16279 was quickly detached to run round. While it was running round 14525 Ambala – Sri Ganganagar was being announced to arrive; this train was only a plus 3 at Abohar onto the Fazilka passenger so we hadn’t even entertained risking it but it still made, despite both trains being late. TKD WDP1 15045 led the train and we discovered the AC chair car towards the rear of the train and noted it as we’d be travelling back to Ambala with 14526 on its return from Sri Ganganagar.

The run from Abohar to Fazilka covers 43km, as per the km posts along the length of the line. The junction for the line is a lead straight out of Abohar station, which runs parallel to the Bathinda line for 2.2km before turning north to head to Fazilka. The line speed is good and the line itself in good condition. All the stations along the route look like they were built a long while ago and then left to fend for themselves while the rest of the construction was completed; most having been taken over by weeds in some way, shape or form. There are two places along the route where trains can cross, Churi Walan and Khui Khera, and Khui Khera was used daily to all the crossing of 54560 returning to Bathinda and 14602 Sri Ganganagar – Firozpur on its return. The whole line runs through pretty rural areas and the train wasn’t that well used, which probably explains why there are only two trains a day in each direction use it. The line certainly cuts down on the previous distance one would have to travel by train from Abohar to reach Fazilka, with the 43km being less than a quarter of the 196km it was previously via Bathinda and Kotkapura! Despite 54559 running late almost throughout its journey 16279 eased round the corner into Fazilka 10 minutes early, there being plenty of makeup time in the schedule.

As we were so close to the Pakistan border I was a little skeptical about getting the camera out but the train crew didn’t bat an eyelid as we set about photographing 16279 at its destination. Luckily for us we found all the local army and RPF in one place on the station, the footbridge having prevented their line of sight from spotting us down by the engine. After a cup of chai to celebrate the new track we took up residence back at the front of the train and enjoyed a bit more of 16279 on the way back to Abohar. At Khui Khera we waited for 14602 Sri Ganganagar – Firozpur Express to arrive, which for the second day in a row was worked by a LDH WDM2 Jumbo, on this occasion 17791; having seen the next member of the class 17792 arrive at Firozpur with the train the previous afternoon.

At Abohar 16279 was promptly run round again and then waited for TDK WDP1 15027 to arrive with 54757 0625 Ambala – Sri Ganganagar, before heading off into the distance and leaving us to be the subject of a bit of attention for the first time during the trip. Posing for photographs with a growing number of locals soon became boring though and I was glad when 14526 was announced as arriving.

I’d half expected 14526 to not return from Sri Ganganagar with 15045 and my suspicions were confirmed when 15031 brought the train in; the link swapped at Sri Ganganagar off 14525 to 14526. The AC chair car was fourth from the front and the TTE was stood in the doorway. As we had a 6 hour journey ahead of us we fancied a bit of comfort and thankfully the TTE’s reservation sheet revealed a raft of empty seats as he opened it up. We were given seats 53 & 54, which were at least two together in the two plus three seating arrangement that Ac chair car has. Then came the confusion as it became blatantly obvious that neither the TTE nor TTI had ever seen an Indrail Pass before. 10 minutes later, after reading every word the pass had written on it and two phone calls to different people, my pass was handed back and we were left to relax in the freezing cold. The AC was that cold that the condensation was dripping from the ceiling at the end of the coach and a towel had been placed on the floor to prevent a slipping hazard. Thankfully it didn’t remain cold throughout the journey!

At Bathinda TKD WDP1 15035 arrived just after we did, with 54641 0710 Delhi Jct – Firozpur, and TKD WDP3A 15510 was sat waiting to depart with 12048 1620 Bathinda – New Delhi Shatabdi; both us and it ended up departing simultaneously at 1620, until we came to a stand half way out of the platform, to then continue at our own pace.

The journey towards Ambala wasn’t too bad and thankfully the AC chair car didn’t fill up, which allowed me to move from my window seat to an end seat on the opposite site of the aisle to escape the constant blow of the AC. En-route we crossed LDH WDM3A 18543 with 54553 1555 Ambala Cantt – Dhuri, just south of Dhuri and then LDH WDM3A 16304 with 14731 1415 Delhi Jct – Fazilka, just south of Patiala. The latter had to be spotted with the help of a Maglite torch as the LDH numbers on their locos aren’t easy to spot during the day, let alone at night. The loco pilot of 14731 approached the station with caution, until the token ring was set on fire to allow him to see it; once it was spotted 16304 was opened up, the token exchange done with ease and 16304 hammered off into the distance.

At Rajpura Jct we were Shatabdi’d! The same thing had happened when I’d been waiting at Rajpura for 14526 three days previous and despite 14526 being into Rajpura first it was held in platform 2 for the late running 12030 Amritsar – New Delhi Shatabdi to go first. On this occasion though there was a second train to go by us which turned up a bit of a surprise indeed; 12338 Jammu Tawi – Varanasi ran through platform 1 lead by WAP7 30412. Was this the downward spiral for yet another cult train that used to be through Alco? Only two days previous we’d seen 12338 at Jalandhar headed by LDH WDM3A 18550 so this could be the very first time the Begumpa Express had been worked by an electric loco? Either way it was a train that didn’t exist anymore as far as my need to ever do it went; unfortunately!

Arrival into Ambala Cantt was only 15 minutes late in the end and we decided to walk to the Hotel Puran Palace, it only taking 10 minutes. One the way we passed two wedding precessions, both making a right racket in the street and both could be heard in our room at the hotel when we arrived! We were given room 114 again and ended up straight in the restaurant for another good meal, even if the poor waited did forget to have our second dish of chicken tikka made. The hotel manager came to talk with us while we waited and advised that even though the hotel weren’t going to charge us for our none attendance the previous night, Booking.com had already charge the hotel their commission so we had to pay the RS192 on top of the bill; which wasn’t a problem at all.

Back in room 114 I was beginning to wonder if the wedding music in the street was ever going to stop. What did stop though was the hot water, not only did it stop being hot, it stopped coming out altogether. The other thing that stopped in the room was the Wi-Fi; it appeared that our room was the furthest from the router so unless I stood in the corridor, at the top of the stairs, there was no Wi-Fi either. The hotel manager had asked that I give a review on booking.com as they’d been so helpful; while the same holds true it doesn’t take away the fact that some basic amenities hadn’t been available during our stay and the plug socket had blown one of my chargers up! Still the hotel was value for money at RS1500 per night and the food in the restaurant was very good. I was well surprised that my earplugs drowned out the sound of the wedding procession outside, when I put them in at 2330! Another late night with only just over 6 hours sleep to look forward to; I’d been getting more when doing overnights on trains!

The Moves

15052 Bathinda Jct Malout 0705 Bathinda Jct – Sri Ganganagar Jct 54755 TKD WDP1
15048 Malout Bahman Diwana 0615 Sri Ganganagar Jct – Bathinda Jct 54754 TKD WDP1
16279 Bahman Diwana Fazilka Jct 0915 Bathinda Jct – Fazilka Jct 54559 LDH WDM3A – via Abohar (RR)
16279 Fazilka Jct Abohar Jct 1245 Fazilka Jct – Bathinda Jct 54560 LDH WDM3A
15031 Abohar Jct Ambala Cantt 1400 Sri Ganganagar Jct – Ambala Cantt 14526 TKD WDP1

 

Gen for Saturday 21st February 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

15046 TKD WDP1 54561 0650 Bathinda – Firozpur (LDH WDM3A 16355 dead in train)
18871 LDH WDM3A 14520 0655 Bathinda – Delhi Junction
16124 LDH WDM3A 19024 0505 Firozpur – Bandra Terminus
17921 TKD WDM3A 12482 0545 Sri Ganganagar – Delhi Junction
15045 TKD WDP1 14525 0515 Ambala Cantt – Sri Ganganagar
17791 LDH WDM2 14602 1210 Sri Ganganagar – Firozpur (via Fazilka)
15510 TKD WDP3A 12048 1620 Bathinda – New Delhi Shatabdi
15035 TKD WDP1 54641 0710 Delhi Junction – Firozpur
18543 LDH WDM3A 54553 1555 Ambala Cantt – Dhuri
16304 LDH WDM3A 14731 1415 Delhi Jct – Fazilka
30030 GZB WAP7 12030 1650 Amritsar – New Delhi
30412 ??? WAP7 12338 1400 Jammu Tawi – Varanasi (First electric hauled Begumpa Exp?)

The Photos


Sunday 22nd February 2015 (The Delhi Circulation)

We were checked out of the hotel by just after 0600 and the walk to the station was a lot quieter than it had been the previous night. We’d only just bought our first chai when 22452 0540 Chandigarh – Bandra Terminus arrived into platform 1, 10 minutes early. LDH WDM3A 14103 had the honours and the AC, towards the rear of the train, was quite empty so we managed to confirm with the TTE that we could have a compartment to ourselves for the run to Delhi Cantt. It was long after departure that the curtains were drawn, lights turned out and the bedding laid out. Unfortunately anything that could rattle in the compartment did so, so things had to be done to prevent the constant noise from keeping us awake.

The run was a cracking one and 14103 hammered its way to Panipat but was brought to a stand at Adarsh Nagar Delhi, where we eventually overtook a WAG7 hauling a newly refurbished set of Rajdhani stock towards Delhi; which then overtook us later while we sat at Patel Nagar waiting to get out onto the main line to Delhi Cantt. Ultimately we saw the set again later at Hazrat Nizamuddin when we arrived, so that must have been its destination as the WAG7 had been detached by that point.

En-route through the Delhi slums from basically Adarsh Nagar Delhi to Delhi Cantt there is so much going on. On the north side of Delhi it all seems to be about collecting recyclable rubbish and sifting it into the various components; on a grand scale. On the west side of Delhi, near Dayabasti, the train runs through slums with satellite dishes pointing from virtually every dwelling; all of which look to be joined and give very little room to move around the place. Further south, between Patel Nagar and Delhi Cantt the dwelling are more solid and at least built of bricks, even if they are literally inches from the railway tracks and in one certain place it seems to be where all things wood are made; with workers cutting away and building away while all the wood shavings are collected together and bagged up Indian style, in bags bigger than me! It was while heading by the dwellings on the approach to Delhi Cantt that I took the full brunt of a bucket of water, while standing minding my own business at the doorway. I was only glad that it was clean water and not some crappy water that was being discarded. Whether I was the subject of a practical joke or just unlucky, I’ll never know, but while when we came to a stand about 1km north of Delhi Cantt I used the opportunity to get out into the sunshine to attempt to dry off, after ringing my shirt out!

When we eventually arrived into Delhi Cantt the delay was explained as at long last a bit of remodeling at the north end of the station was taking place and platform2 was at last being reinstated; it had been closed since the Delhi – Rewari MG had closed in December 2006! This resulted in platform 1 being out of use and trains in bother directions having to use only platform 3 or 4 but that meant there was only one lead in and out of the statin at the south end and was causing delays as a result.

As it turned out we only had to wait outside Delhi Cantt for about 15 minutes for 12985 Jaipur – Delhi Sarai Rohilla to depart with TKD WDP4B 40050, before we were allowed into platform 3. In the middle road, between platforms 3 & 4 was SSB WDM2S 17642, in a strange green livery, with a full AC rake. It had name boards on the side to say it was the Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train but was clearly empty at that point. Shortly after we arrived TKD WDP3A 15514 did so with 54412 Meerut – Rewari passenger, which delayed the arrival of 14660/2 Jaisalmer/Barmer – Delhi Jct with BGKT WDP4 20093; which was sat outside waiting to get into the station. This subsequently delayed the arrival of our 12065 Ajmer – Hazrat Nizamuddin Shatabdi, which was following closely behind.

12065 could be heard setting off from the signal south of Delhi Cantt and was thankfully the correct traction; ABR WDM3a 16770 doing the honours. The train emptied out quite well at Delhi Cantt, leaving plenty of space for us to choose from, and departed a little over 30 minutes late as it headed towards Delhi. We were routed back through the connecting line that joined the Delhi to Rewari line with the Delhi to Rohtak line, and ran back through the woodwork area to come to a halt in the furthest left hand platform at Patel Nagar station. Most of the rest of the train alighted here and made their way over to the adjacent metro station, people clearly knowing the score with the loco run-round at Patel Nagar.

12065 is the only diesel hauled train over the Kirti Nagar to Hazrat Nizamuddin section and is one of only a handful of loco-hauled train to cover the sparse route full stop. 16770 was detached quickly and run round straight away. During the run round TKD WDP1 15029 arrived and departed with 54310 0930 Rewari – Delhi Jct and RTM WDM3A 18831 passed through with a rake of high capacity parcels vans; the loco had “not fit for passenger” on the cab side.

When 16770 attempted to couple back up to the south end of 12065 the buckeye coupler on 16770 wasn’t gripping the knuckle on the coach and when the shunter closed the coupling on the loco, to test it out, it then took him 5 minutes to get it open again! A little help from the loco pilot’s assistant soon had things in order and within two minutes of being re-coupled 16770 was off. The train was brought to a stand with the back coach in the platform to allow the shunter to put the guard’s lodging box in the rear coach and then we set sail for Hazrat Nizamuddin.

The run over the Safdarjung branch was surprisingly quick but thanks to the coupling issues and delays around Delhi Cantt we arrived into Hazrat Nizamuddin 20 minutes late at 1255. We’d been hoping to make 19023 Mumbai Central – Firozpur, which was a minus 18 at Hazrat Nizamuddin but it had also been late; and unfortunately had departed about 10 minutes before we arrived. Our back-up plan had been to think about getting an auto rickshaw to New Delhi to see if 19023 would depart late and if we missed it there to then get another auto over to Delhi Jct to wait for 14520 1455 Delhi Jct – Bathinda “Kissan Express”. Ultimately we were saved by 12192 Jabalpur – New Delhi, which had been sat outside Hazrat Nizamuddin as we arrived into platform 1; it was being announced as arriving on platform 2 as we rolled down platform 1 and ET WAM4 20625 was already bringing the train in as we walked over the footbridge.

We only spent 5 minutes at Hazrat Nizamuddin and the run to New Delhi only took about 19 minutes; we arrived into platform 1 of New Delhi at 1319 and we could see a set in platform 6 with a tail light on the rear and name boards for 19023/19024 so leapt off before the train stopped and hightailed it over the footbridge. I was wary that both 19023 Mumbai Central – Firozpur and 19024 Firozpur – Mumbai Central were shown in New Delhi at the same time on NTES and as we ran over the footbridge we were soon heading down onto platform 3 where 19023 actually stood, it thankfully not having departed at its right time of 1315.

LDH WDM3A 16661 was at the head of the train waiting for the off and departure came at 1330. It was a massive bonus that we’d made 12192 at Hazrat Nizamuddin, let alone 19023 at New Delhi but there was more to come! As we departed TKD WDM3A 18751 arrived with 16032 Jammu Tawi – Chennai Central, which didn’t please us to much as we’d had TKD WDP4 40020 on the northbound 16031 two days previous; so was this link now WDP4 or not?

Having departed 15 minutes late from New Delhi, we hoped that 19023 would now make 14519 Bathinda – Delhi Jct at Delhi Kishanganj; it ended up going one better and making 12482 Sri Ganganagar – Delhi Jct, which wasn’t even booked to stop at Kishanganj! According to NTES LDH WDM3A 16663 had been sat at Delhi Kishanganj since 1317 and didn’t eventually depart until 1402. The stock would form 14731 1415 Delhi Jct – Fazilka back out of Delhi; so that was going to be a late start as a result and upon arrival we left everyone trying to chase their coach down the platform as we headed straight out to the Comesum for something to eat.

Our food from the Comesum ended up having to be parceled up as the Jeera Aloo took so long to make and by the time we got to platform 1 to board 14520 1455 Delhi Jct – Bathinda most of the spare reserved seats had already gone in chair car and we just managed to get two together; AC chair car was completely wedged solid from Delhi Jct!

Thankfully we managed to finish off our food before Delhi Kishanganj, mainly as our first attempt to depart got us all of about 20 yards down the platform; the second attempt then being 10 minutes later. From Kishanganj the train was basically wedged solid, we didn’t know it at the time but it was due to there having been recruitment exams in Delhi for government intelligence services and teaching; which had finished at 1300 that afternoon. LDH WDM3A at the head of the train sounded quite good and had a very prominent turbo whine, which thankfully didn’t give way to any metallic screaming!

At Rohtak quite a few people got off the Kissan Express, with its new and improved LDH loco link vice TKD WDP1. TKD WDP1 15008 was in the adjacent platform and eventually departed with 54015 1750 Rohtak – Bhiwani. TKD WDP1 15006 arrived later with 54018 1600 Bhiwani – Rohtak and TKD WDP1 15055 departed with 54034 1550 Jind – Delhi Jct. We had the option to do 54034 to the first station south for 54035 1540 Delhi Jct – Jakhal back but as NTES showed the latter 20 minutes late we chose not to risk missing our 19718 Chandigarh – Jaipur; 54035 did make it in the end but only by 4 minutes!

While waiting at Rohtak we ended up surrounded by a group of youths, all of whom had been to Delhi to do the exam for the government intelligence service or teaching. Apparently there’d been about 2 lakh people attending the exam and through the selection process about 1500 would ultimately be selected for interview. One of the youths let me keep his exam paper, which was written in both Hindi and English but had to be answered in English only and they’d had from 1120 to 1300 (1h40m) to complete the papers. There were sections on Indian history and English language as well as general aptitude questions; the paper made quite a good read but obviously I was going to score about zero on the Indian History parts. At one point the group gathered around us amounted to about 40 but they were no hassle at all and just generally interested in our conversations. It was the arrival of our train that eventually broke up the conversation; ABR WDM3A 17918 arriving 10 minutes early with 19718 Chandigarh – Jaipur.

The whole point of doing this train was because it covered the newly opened Rohtak – Rewari direct line. While I can’t really comment much on the line, as it was dark, I can say we were early at every station, including Rewari; which looked completely different to how it had last time I’d visited, which was in the MG days. The MG platforms looked the most unchanged, although of course they had BG tracks in them now. The far eastern side platforms had had a complete facelift and if I’m not mistaken a new station building built too? The upsetting sign though was the fact that electrification masts were already present on the platforms and there was a train sat between platforms loaded with a load more! Soon there was going to be nowhere sacred in India and it would just be another country with more electric hauled services than it needed…..

Having not been able to get any proper food at Rewari we resigned ourselves to chai and biscuits and relaxed for the journey towards Jaipur; having already hatched a plan to get off at Gandhinagar Jaipur for 19410 Gorakhpur – Ahmedabad behind us. This would cut down on our fester at Jaipur in the night, although we didn’t actually know how long that fester would be at this time.

The Moves

14103 Ambala Cantt Delhi Cantt 0540 Chandigarh Jct – Bandra Terminus 22452 LDH WDM3A – via avoiders at Delhi Jct & Sarai Rohilla
16770 Delhi Cantt Hazrat Nizamuddin 0545 Ajmer Jct – Hazrat Nizamuddin 12065 ABR WDM3A – via Patel Nagar (RR), Delhi Safdarjung
20625 Hazrat Nizamuddin New Delhi Jct 1745 (21/02) Jabalpur Jct – New Delhi Jct 12192 ET WAM4
16661 New Delhi Jct Delhi Kishanganj 0725 (21/02) Mumbai Central – Firozpur Cantt 19023 LDH WDM3A
16663 Delhi Kishanganj Delhi Jct 0545 Sri Ganganagar Jct – Delhi Jct 12482 LDH WDM3A
16126 Delhi Jct Rohtak Jct 1455 Delhi Jct – Bathinda Jct 14520 LDH WDM3A
17918 Rohtak Jct Gandhinagar Jaipur 1245 Chandigarh Jct – Jaipur Jct 19718 ABR WDM3A – via Jhajjar, Rewari

 

Gen for Sunday 22nd February 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

20080 BGKT WDP4 12915 1830 (P) Ahmedabad – Delhi Jct, 12916 1505 Delhi Jct – Ahmedabad
40050 TKD WDP4B 12985 0600 Jaipur – Delhi Sarai Rohilla Double Decker
15514 TKD WDP3A 54412 0655 Meerut Cantt – Rewari
20093 BGKT WDP4 14660 1715 (P) Jaisalmer – Delhi Jct
15040 TKD WDP1 14546 0605 Saharanpur – Farukh Nagar
15029 TKD WDP1 54310 0930 Rewari – Delhi Jct
40087 TKD WDP4D 12392 1310 New Delhi – Rajgir
18751 TKD WDM3A 16032 2345 (P) Jammu Tawi – Chennai Central
16371 LDH WDM3A 14520 0655 Bathinda – Delhi Jct
40019 TKD WDP4B 12986 1735 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Jaipur Double Decker
15055 TKD WDP1 54034 1550 Jind – Delhi Jct
15008 TKD WDP1 54015 1750 Rohtak – Bhiwani
15006 TKD WDP1 54018 1600 Bhiwani – Rohtak
11229 VTA WDM3D 12957 1955 New Delhi – Ahmedabad
40082 BGKT WDP4D 12462 2000 (P) Jodhpur – Delhi Jct

The Photos


Monday 23rd February 2015 (Hello Jaipur)

Gandhinagar Jaipur came around way too quickly and having had hardly a wink of sleep we rolled off the train at just after midnight to wait for 19410, which was showing as right time when we alighted. Quite a lot of people got off at Gandhinagar Jaipur and the auto Walla’s had quite a lot of folk to ferry about, even more when people started getting bored with waiting to get into Jaipur; as 19718 just sat and sat. Ultimately it was held for 12957 New Delhi – Ahmedabad Rajdhani to go by it; VTA WDM3D 11229 in fine for as it hammered through. Regardless of the fester though 19718 would have been into Jaipur right time as it had rafts of make-up time for the last 5km of its journey.

Once 19718 departed for Jaipur there was hardly anyone about but us and the auto Walla’s in the car park. I attempted to get some sleep, Indian style, on one of the concrete benches on the platform but was disturbed every 15 minutes or so by WDG4’s heading through with heavy freight trains; so my attempts proved fruitless in the end. I was quite glad when 19410 Gorakhpur – Ahmedabad turned up with VTA WDM3A 18993 and we just stood in the sleeper class for the short journey into Jaipur; it had managed to lose an hour by the time it reached us too, probably having been held for the Rajdhani to overtake it at one point.

The first thing to do at Jaipur was dump the bags in the cloak room on platform 1 at Jaipur. This was a simple enough tasks, once the two guys in the cloak room had woken up and opened the gate! The next thing to do was get chai, we hadn’t had any for a while and it was actually quite cold so a nice warm chai went down a treat. Then we headed off to the Meter Gauge platforms where we found two sets of stock, one in platform 6 and the other in platform 7; these are the only two platforms on the MG at Jaipur. The departure screens had shown the 0440 Jaipur – Sikar to go from platform 6 and the 0615 Jaipur – Churu to go from platform 7. We found FL YDM4 6694, still in Mavli Junction blue livery, having obviously had a recent stint there, at the head of the 0440 departure and FL YDM4 6650 at the head of the 0615 departure. Both of these were great news for me as they were both quite high mileage ones and the whole point of spending 3 days in Jaipur was a last ditch attempt to clear an India YDM4 for 1000km; something I’d been trying to so for 10 years now and generally failing miserably at! The spanner in the works was sat in the yard though….

When we walked round the stock and into the yard we found FL YDM4 6649 sat there, we figured this would work the 0745 departure to Churu. The big issue now was that I had a choice of two high mileages ones to do to Churu and back but 6649 was new! Quite where it had come from I don’t know but as usual a new YDM4 certainly chucked a spanner in the works on this occasion; but I certainly was going to flag it. There wasn’t really a move to contemplate as we’d be doing the 0440 out regardless, however we couldn’t find a door open on the set and ended up having to go round the offside of the 0615 set to find only one open on it; so in we got.

Although we were horizontal for a while it certainly couldn’t be classed as 2 hours sleep. We were woken by the cleaner as he came through the set and swept all the rubbish out onto the tracks in the yard; after which he turned out the lights and disappeared as quickly as he’d turned up! When 6694 was started up that was our queue to get our arses into gear and change stock. There was plenty of room on the 0440 set so we managed to get horizontal for a bit on that after it had set off, keeping all the outer window blinds down, as well as the inner windows themselves in an attempt to keep warm.

When we rolled into Ringas 6637 was sat waiting to head into Jaipur, on what though it actually took us 5 minutes to figure out as it wasn’t on the simplifier we had. Thanks to the Railtime app we soon figured it was 02090 0400 Sikar – Jaipur running bang on an hour late! All the timetable adjusting and flapping took until the approach to Chomun Samod, where 6650 was already sat in waiting with the 0615 Jaipur – Churu so over we went and were back at Ringas in no time.

Darkness had drifted away by this time and light was beginning to fill to arena that is India; someone had forgot to turn the heating on though as it was still cold, something that more chai had to attempt to combat. I was actually beginning to think I should have brought my jumper with me, as well as my coat, but of course it was safely tucked away in the cloak room and all I could do was wish I had it! Ringas actually got a little busy and at one point there were three trains in the station; 2 MG and 1 BG train.

FL YDM4 6650 departed with 52085 0615 Jaipur – Churu shortly after FL YDM4 6656 arrived with 02082 0420 Churu – Jaipur. The latter was then held for 25 minutes to await the arrival of LDH WDM3A 16001 with 59716 0500 Rewari – Phulera passenger on the BG; this despite the fact that it wasn’t a booked connection and 02082 should have departed at 0752, 3 minutes before 59716 was booked to arrive. Not good timetabling from IR in the first place and it begs the question as to why all three trains didn’t connect into each other like they used to do when Ringas was MG only? Either way we departed 30 minutes late but still crossed 02093 0745 Jaipur – Churu at Chomun Samod and sure enough 6649 was already sat waiting when we arrived.

To salvage something from the aim of the day I opted to do 02093 as far as I could towards Churu to do 6650 all the way back into Jaipur on 52086 1210 Churu – Jaipur; this happened to be a booked crossing at Ramgarh Shekhawati, only 24km from Churu. When we crossed 6733 at Goriyan, with 19736 1030 Sikar – Jaipur Intercity Pelham was off and on his way back towards Jaipur to find 6426, which we’d seen heading into Jaipur with 02088 0305 Churu – Jaipur earlier; leaving me to enjoy the relative emptiness of 02093 on my own.

The train was quite full to Sikar but emptied out quite a lot there and the train wasn’t well frequented at all for the remainder of its journey. At Sikar I could see 6623, 6627 and 6655 on shed, I didn’t realise at the time but 6729 & 6738 were bother there as well but hidden out of sight; Pelham got all the gen on the fleet later that afternoon. Beyond Sikar the line gets more rural and more arid and the dust that fill the air is ridiculous; I’d forgotten just how bad doing YDM4’s in the Rajasthan sandpit can be and by the end of the day my eyes were streaming and my nose was running quite a bit too.

Despite the 30 minutes late we were, all caused by 57916 Rewari – Phulera BG passenger, we crossed everything where we should have done, although that was only 6694 at Fatehpur Shekhawati with 02096 1030 Churu – Sikar. We were in first at Ramgarh Shekhawati, which gave me enough time to get some samosas off a random Walla on the platform; he was the first seller to grace any station with his presence since I’d left Sikar.

When 6650 arrived with 52086 1210 Churu – Jaipur I decided to adopt the Indian stance of getting an afternoon nap on the luggage rack and was woken only by a text from Pelham asking me to save him a seat as he would be getting on at Sikar; we were just approaching Sikar at the time so down I got and sorted two seats, just before the hoards descended!

Pelham had found 6426 heading back out of Jaipur with 52083 1010 Jaipur – Sikar and done it through to meet me. As he’d had a good 20 minutes at Sikar he’d managed to get round the MG DLS at Sikar and found out that 6623, 6627 & 6655 were on maintenance, 6694 had been swapped out on its return from Churu and had been replaced by 6627; fresh off exam. 6729 was on the load bank, hammering away at the back of the shed and 6738 was inside the shed having a bit of heavy work done on it. Sikar had an allocation of 12 YDM4’s in total and all were effectively in service but for routine maintenance. When trying to extract info from the guy that showed him round the shed he was told that the MG would remain at Sikar for a further two years, which was good news as far as I was concerned and may even allow another trip before it was completely dismissed. BG tracks were already in situ off the Loharu line so it wouldn’t be long before services started no doubt?

The run back towards Jaipur was pretty uneventful really, 6650 was doing its stuff but it certainly wasn’t a good YDM4; 6649 had been the best I’d had during the day, although we had been at the back when we had 6637 earlier in the morning. We crossed 6656 heading out of town with 19735 1330 Jaipur – Sikar Intercity and then 6637, which had sat in Jaipur all day, with 02089 1655 Jaipur – Sikar commuter train, about as wedged as it was going to get. It made for a cracking photo arriving into Nindhar Benar as the driver notched up from a standing start at the outer home signal; it poured thick black clag out and polluted Nindhar as it approached. Once stopped some youths got up onto the roof but were soon told to get down, and did so quite amicably. While the train was wedged, it wasn’t that wedged, although it isn’t the first time I’ve seen people on the roof of that particular train!

On the approach to Jaipur IZN WDM3D 11300 was just departing on the BG with 14321 Bareilly – Bhuj; the loco pilot assistant must have lived at Phulera, or beyond, as he was off 6650 as we approached the platform end, he then scrambled across the ballast and waited for the whole train to pass before getting the guard to slow it enough for him to get on! On arrival into Jaipur we had arranged a complimentary pick-up as provided by the Hotel Karni Niwas. I’d phoned earlier to advise what time we’d arrive and an auto was dispatched to collect us from outside the Hotel Raya Inn; directly opposite Jaipur Jct station. Unfortunately our ride was already waiting so we couldn’t really do ABR WDM2 16838 to Gandhinagar Jaipur on the late running 12196 1500 Ajmer – Agra Fort.

The traffic was busy in Jaipur but we were at the Karni Niwas within 10 minutes. The new Jaipur Metro system now dominates the area outside the station and our auto driver told us it would open in March for full service. The hotel owner was expecting us and gave us room 205 when requested; a room Pelham and I had used before. Food was immediately ordered and a much needed shower was taken while it was prepared. Washing was dropped off before our food arrived, to be done the following day, and we were all sorted by 2000, fed, watered, clean and washing being done!

At that point we knew we had 15 minutes to get to the station to do a quick out and back to Gandhinagar Jaipur, out with 19613 Ajmer – Amritsar and back with 12036 Agra Fort – Jaipur Shatabdi. We made it to the statin just as 19613 was arriving into platform 1 with BGKT WDP4B 40044 and that put pay to that move straight away. We’d been expecting an ABR WDM3A, especially as we’d had one on the opposing working from Beas to Jalandhar the previous week.

Once we’d decided there was no BG move to do we went to see what the score was on the MG. 6733 was already sat bolted to the stock for the 0615 departure the following morning and 6649 was sat in the yard, in exactly the same place it had been when we’d found it earlier in the morning; so we assumed it would likely be for the 0745 to Churu again the following morning. This meant that 6650 had done the 2015 to Churu, as we’d seen 6627 sat with the stock for the 1825 to Sikar when we arrived earlier. Having seen what we’d seen we decided that the best course of action would be to get up for the 0615 Jaipur – Churu again the following morning and do 6733 throughout and back; assuming of course it did what we expected and didn’t get swapped.

A pre-paid auto back to the Karni Niwas cost RS55 and we were literally straight to be when we got there, the lights being out just after 2100. It had been a very long day and we’d been on the go almost 2 days straight by that point; so sleep didn’t take long to come by!

The Moves

18993 Gandhinagar Jaipur Jaipur Jct 0445 (22/02) Gorakhpur Jct – Ahmedabad Jct 19410 VTA WDM3A
6694 Jaipur Jct Ringas Jct 0440 Jaipur Jct – Sikar Jct 52081 FL YDM4 (outbased at SIKR)
6637 Ringas Jct Chomun Samod 0400 Sikar Jct – Jaipur Jct 02090 FL YDM4 (outbased at SIKR)
6650 Chomun Samod Ringas Jct 0615 Jaipur Jct – Churu Jct 52085 FL YDM4 (outbased at SIKR)
6656 Ringas Jct Chomun Samod 0420 Churu Jct – Jaipur Jct 02082 FL YDM4 (outbased at SIKR)
6649 Chomun Samod Ramgarh Shekhawati 0745 Jaipur Jct – Churu Jct 02093 FL YDM4 (outbased at SIKR)
6650 Ramgarh Shekhawati Jaipur Jct 1210 Churu Jct – Jaipur Jct 52086 FL YDM4 (outbased at SIKR)

 

Gen for Monday 23rd February 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

FL YDM4’s (Sikar outbased)

6426 02088 0305 Churu – Jaipur, 52083 1010 Jaipur – Sikar, 02085 1415 Sikar – Churu, 02086 1730 Churu – Sikar, 52082 1950 Sikar – Jaipur
6627 52084 1250 Sikar – Jaipur, 02081 1825 Jaipur – Sikar (to Sikar only)
6637 02090 0400 Sikar – Jaipur, 02089 1655 Jaipur – Sikar, 02081 1825 Jaipur – Churu (from Sikar)
6649 02093 0745 Jaipur – Churu, 02094 1400 Churu – Jaipur
6650 52085 0615 Jaipur – Churu, 52086 1210 Churu – Jaipur, 02087 2015 Jaipur – Churu
6656 02082 0420 Churu – Jaipur, 19735 1330 Jaipur – Sikar, 52087 1705 Sikar – Churu
6694 52081 0440 Jaipur – Sikar, 02095 0725 Sikar – Churu, 02096 1030 Churu – Sikar
6733 19736 1030 Sikar – Jaipur

At Sikar DLS

6623, 6627, 6655 on general maintenance
6729 on the load bank
6738 undergoing heavy maintenance inside the shed

Other

40116 BGKT WDP4D 12308 2030 (P) Jodhpur – Howrah
11212 VTA WDM3D 12958 1745 (P) Ahmedabad – New Delhi
16001 LDH WDM3A 59716 0500 Rewari – Phulera
11300 IZN WDM3D 14321 0605 Bareilly – Bhuj
16838 ABR WDM2 12196 1500 Ajmer – Agra Fort
20101 BGKT WDP4 19711 1805 Jaipur – Bhopal
40044 BGKT WDP4B 19613 1755 Ajmer – Amritsar

The Photos


Tuesday 24th February 2015 (All the way there and back; Jaipur – Churu swansong)

After a decent sleep I still wasn’t so pleased when the alarm went off at 0515 but we both managed to drag our asses out of bed and be out of the hotel by 0530. There were a couple of auto’s by the main road and we had no issue getting one to the station; which cost us RS50, RS5 less than the pre-pay had cost the previous night!

We gathered supplies from the various stalls as we walked down the length of the station to the MG platforms, where we found some freshly cooked samosas; which sufficed for breakfast. Everything in the MG station area was exactly as it had been when we’d left it the previous night; all that had happened in our absence was the 2300 arrival from Churu had formed the 0440 Jaipur – Sikar, both loco 6426 and stock, although we didn’t confirm it had been 6426 of course until we passed it later in the day.

The morning was a lot milder than the previous one had been and windows were opened up quite early, even by the locals, en-route to Ringas. 6733, while not an outstanding example of the FL YDM4 fleet was still a good one though and we could have picked a worse engine to do all the way to Churu and back. Not quite as late as it had been the previous day, 02090 0400 Sikar – Jaipur was already sat waiting for us to arrive at Chomun Samod with ex works FL YDM4 6627 at its helm. This could only have meant that 6627 did not work through to Churu the previous night with 02081 1825 Jaipur – Churu; when we passed 6637 later in the journey with 52088 0800 Churu – Sikar the swap made sense. 6637 had worked to Sikar on 02089 1655 Jaipur – Sikar and then forward from Sikar with 02081 1825 Jaipur – Churu, leaving 6627 at Sikar to work 02090 at 0400 into Jaipur. What we couldn’t confirm though was whether there had been an actual set swap as well as now the Loharu line has been converted to BG there is no head shunt to allow a loco shunt move at the Churu end of the station so any loco change taking place going north would have to involved the train loco shunting off and onto shed before the replacement loco shunts off shed and onto the train; a bit messy me thinks but of course doable.

6656 was sat waiting for us at Govindgarh Malikpur with 02088 0305 Churu – Jaipur and we had to await the arrival of 6650 at Ringas with 02082 0420 Churu – Jaipur. The moment it arrived we were given the road, the loco pilot assistant the token and the loco pilot gave 6733 what for!

We were joined from Ringas to Sikar by Mr Sanjay Sharma, who currently worked as a mechanical engineer at Sikar Diesel Loco Shed (DLS). He’d recently returned from a four year stint in Malaysia on deputation to IRCON, maintaining the 30 YDM4’s that IRCON hire to KTMB. When he’d departed India for Malaysia four years previous Sanjay had worked at Phulera DLS but despite the fact that the positions are held open for those on deputation in Malaysia they do have to take whatever vacancy is available in the same division. Sanjay lives in Ajmer so his journey had now become a lengthy one to work as a result and he’d travelled up overnight from Ajmer to Ringas and waited for our train there; he wouldn’t return home for two weeks. While on deputation IRCON actually pays Indian Railways a fee for the use of its skilled workforce and the money earned in Malaysia certainly makes the deputation worth it.

We of course got talking about the Sikar YDM4 allocation and Sanjay confirmed that there were 12 YDM4’s allocated to Sikar, and this was on a rotational basis as all yearly exams and overhauls were done at Phulera still so when locos were sent away others returned to replace them. One such example of recent overhaul was 6627, which had looked pristine when we’d seen it earlier in the morning. Everything returning to Phulera goes by MG to Ringas and is then loaded to BG flat wagons for the rest of the journey to Phulera.

When asked about the future for Phulera Sanjay couldn’t confirm but he did say that there is talk in IR of it being converted to a DEMU shed and there could well be a second one at Merta Road also. This would keep everyone in a job that was currently out based at either Sikar or Mavli Jct as well. He went on to also say that spare parts for the YDM4’s weren’t supplied to Sikar now and if they needed to replace parts another loco ultimately ended up as a donor and that was generally the one that would be returning to Phulera next for overhaul. Our journey to Sikar was made very pleasant by Mr Sanjay Sharma and he welcomed us to the DLS any day we were around; something we may well have time to fit in the following day hopefully.

Beyond Sikar the sandpit that surrounds the railway really was in fine form and had my nose streaming in no time; the line really is a cracking line but the dust and heat really are a pain in the arse! The run down the line was a good one and we passed 6637 at Fatehpur Shekhawati with 5208 08oo Churu – Sikar. What spoilt the last bit of the run though was the 30 minute fester at Ramgarh Shekhawati to await the arrival of 02096 1030 Churu – Sikar with 6426 which all but confirmed it had done as suspected and arrived into Jaipur with 52082 1950 Sikar – Jaipur and returned to Churu with 52081 0440 Jaipur – Churu. The fester became clear when we got to Bissau though as the loop line was occupied by 7 coaches, one of which was an old pantry car, all of which had on them awaiting authorization for overhaul; I’m guessing authorization was never going to be given based on the current state of the MG network across India?

Our arrival into Churu Jct was only 8 minutes before we should have departed again to head back to Jaipur; we were 37 minutes late and had been over 45 minutes late at one point. The BG conversion of Churu has transformed it no end. There actually isn’t an MG platform anymore and trains depart from basically a siding by the BG platforms, where steps are provided down off the platform to ground level and again over the water pipes between the BG platform and MG tracks. Once we’d got our photos we had to head outside the station to gather supplies as there wasn’t much to choose from on the station itself. All was well though and we were back on the train, in the front coach, by the time 6733 had run round; ready to do the 198km in the opposite direction.

We waited for connections off the Bikaner – Rewari line and saw ABR WDM3A 16003 arrive with 22471 0915 Bikaner – Delhi Sarai Rohilla and ABR WDM3A 14121 arrive with 14705 0705 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Bhagat Ki Khoti. The return journey seemed to fly by, the train never really filled up at all. One thing that did puzzle me a little was the amount of buffalo and cow carcasses littered around the track’s edges. There must have been hundreds throughout the journey from Jaipur to Churu and it was something I’d noticed the previous day between Ringas and Jaipur. Some were already skeletons and some had only just succumbed to the elements; I could only assume that it was the dry conditions that had caught some of the wondering animals off guard and they’d ended up stranded miles from any water? Of course there could be a completely different reason?

On the return journey there was ample opportunity to get some decent video footage of 6733 as it made its way back to Jaipur, YDM4’s are always entertaining when driven hard and the driver did give 6733 a bit of punishment on the way back at times. Having seen what had happened the previous day with locos returning from Jaipur we predicted what every train would be before we crossed it and were correct on every occasion so it looked like there were specific diagrams for the Sikar based YDM4’s apart from the loco swap-outs at Sikar; but everything stuck to diagram in and out of Jaipur.

We passed 6649 at Ramgarh Shekhawati working 02093 0745 Jaipur – Churu for the second day in a row, then 6656 at Sikar waiting for departure with 02085 1415 Sikar – Churu. Next it was the turn of 6650 at Baori Thikria with 19735 1330 Jaipur – Sikar Intercity; finally we had to wait for 6627 to arrive into Nindhar Benar with 02089 1655 Jaipur – Sikar and it was as wedged as it had been the previous day! It was while we were waiting for it to arrive that the guy that had showed Pelham round Sikar DLS the previous day showed up; he was travelling home to Phulera and confirmed, as 6627 approached, that it was so clean as it had been recently overhauled.

Back at Jaipur, where we ended up almost right time, we had a bit more time to play with than the previous day. 6426 was sat in the adjacent platform with the stock for 02081 1825 Jaipur – Churu; we’d actually thought that this train departed at 1730 and not 1825 and couldn’t understand why it was held for two days at Jaipur for a late running 1725 arrival to get in before being allowed to depart, and it was empty too! It was the Railtime app that confirmed the departure time of 1825 and the departure boards in the upper class waiting room on platform 1 also confirmed the amended time of departure; the old 1730 departure time being clearly visible under the new 1825 departure time.

We’d decided that we would do 54833 1825 Jaipur – Hisar to Gandhinagar Jaipur and get an auto to the hotel from there, do food and then return to the station to do a quick out and back move on the Phulera line on the 2015 Jaipur – Phulera passenger. We found 54833 Jaipur – Hisar passenger in platform 4 and it was back to back with the 1820 Jaipur – Phulera passenger. It soon became evident that we were going to be late away when the points were set for BGKT WDP4 20101 to depart from platform 5 with a late running 12182 1805 Jaipur – Jabalpur Dayodaya Express. Pelham had been talking to the loco pilot before departure who confirmed to him that he worked the train through to Kota so the GM must work the train throughout to Jabalpur with 12182 being diesel throughout again after a stint with electrics from Katni to Sawai Madhopur; unfortunately the wrong type of diesel!

Once 12182 had gone it was the turn of VTA WDM3A 18863 to delay us further with 19403 Ahmedabad – Sultanpur and once that had departed something else arriving from the north then added another 10 minutes to our departure as we had to cross the whole station to depart so the lowly passenger train would just wait! 32 minutes after the booked departure RTM WDM2 18529 got 54833 underway at 1857. We managed to negotiate a RS150 fare back to the hotel Karni Niwas from Gandhinagar Jaipur but the driver didn’t know where the hotel was. I asked him to get us to the station and I’d guide him from there; the result of that was me not realizing we couldn’t turn right where we needed to and taking a slight detour down a one-way system as a result. I got us there in the end though but by the time we’d got food ordered and sorted our fresh laundry out there was no way we were going to be making it back to the station for a 2015 departure so we relaxed over food instead. The food order was different to the previous night and the chicken tikka masala wasn’t big enough to feed two so we had to order a second dish; I also had to get another Nan made as the one presented to me was more like a crisp than a Nan.

The water in the hotel on this night was piping hot, unlike the previous night, and it certainly washed away the dust that we’d accumulated during the day. My nose wasn’t playing ball at all after a second day in the desert so god knows how it was going to be the following day; my sinuses felt like they were ready to explode! Nothing prevented sleep though and having paid the food, laundry and room bill we could relax in the morning knowing we didn’t have to mess about to get out of the hotel at 0530 in the morning. The guy that runs the hotel couldn’t have been more helpful though and insisted we bell him to get out in the morning o if we needed any assistance before we departed.

The Moves

6733 Jaipur Jct Churu Jct 0615 Jaipur Jct – Churu Jct 52085 FL YDM4 (outbased at SIKR)
6733 Churu Jct Jaipur Jct 1210 Churu Jct – Jaipur Jct 52086 FL YDM4 (outbased at SIKR)
18529 Jaipur Jct Gandhinagar Jaipur 1825 Jaipur Jct – Hisar Jct 54833 RTM WDM2

 

Gen for Tuesday 24th February 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

FL YDM4’s (Sikar outbased)

6426 52081 0440 Jaipur – Sikar, 02095 0725 Sikar – Churu, 02096 1030 Churu – Sikar, 52084 1250 Sikar – Jaipur, 02081 1825 Jaipur – Sikar (to Sikar only)
6627 02090 0400 Sikar – Jaipur, 02089 1655 Jaipur – Sikar, 02081 1825 Jaipur – Churu (from Sikar)
6637 52088 0800 Churu – Sikar, 19736 1015 Sikar – Jaipur
6649 02093 0745 Jaipur – Churu, 02094 1400 Churu – Jaipur
6650 02082 0420 Churu – Jaipur, 19735 1330 Jaipur – Sikar
6656 02088 0305 Churu – Jaipur, 52083 1010 Jaipur – Sikar, 02085 1415 Sikar – Churu
6733 52085 0615 Jaipur – Churu, 52086 1210 Churu – Jaipur, 02087 2015 Jaipur – Churu

At Sikar DLS

6623, 6655, 6694 on general maintenance
6729 now off the load bank
6738 undergoing heavy maintenance inside the shed

Other

16003 ABR WDM3A 22471 0915 Bikaner – Delhi Sarai Rohilla
14121 ABR WDM3A 14705 0705 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Bhagat Ki Khoti
40096 BGKT WDP4D 19711 1805 Jaipur – Bhopal
11396 IZN WDM3D 14311 0605 Bareilly – Bhuj
20101 BGKT WDP4 12182 1805 Jaipur – Jabalpur (LP confirmed he worked it to Kota)
18863 VTA WDM3A 19403 0605 Ahmedabad – Sultanpur
20098 BGKT WDP4 12970 1955 Jaipur – Coimbatore

The Photos


Wednesday 25th February 2015 (The day it finally happened; it had only taken me 10 years!)

Getting out of the hotel at 0530 in the morning wasn’t an issue once we’d got the padlock off the gate; there was no need to disturb anyone in the process. Autos were a plenty on the main road and the one we stopped wanted RS100 to take us to the station. Every time he lowered his price by RS10 and every time I told him firmly we would be paying RS50, which is exactly what we paid but he only backed down when we started to walk off.

There was a definite plan to the day and assuming everything worked to plan, or at least 6733 did, this day would see me at last clearing an Indian YDM4 for 1000km; something that has eluded me for almost 10 years and it definitely wasn’t through lack of trying! The plan would hopefully have us going out to Ringas on the 0615 Churu, to do 6733 back into Jaipur on the 0420 from Churu. It would then do 19735 1330 Jaipur – Sikar Intercity, assuming it stuck to diagram, and it was en-route to Sikar that the magic number would be reached; there was a long day ahead though and of course things could get swapped, so we’d just have to keep our fingers crossed.

We dropped our big bags at the cloak room on platform 1 and gathered supplies from the stall on the MG platforms. 6637 was sat with the stock for 52085 0615 Jaipur – Churu, as expected having arrived on 19736 1030 Sikar – Jaipur Intercity the previous day and 6649 was glued to its spot in the yard, ready to work it’s train, 02093 0745 Jaipur – Churu for the third day in a row! We loaded up in the front coach and 6637 got us under way right time. At Dehar Ka Balaji the train loaded up quite well and then even more at both Nidhar Benar and Chomun Samod and from then on all that could be heard, all the way to Ringas was some quite noisy singing coming from the other half of the coach and a group of women who’d got on at Chomun Samod; quite what they found so joyous at that time in the morning I don’t know but they were certainly persistent I’ll give them that. The loco pilot on 6637 did a good job of trying to drown them out as he gave it a good hammering to Ringas; it was one of the better Sikar examples but 6426 still had to be the best.

Having passed 6426 at Chomun Samod with 02090 0400 Sikar – Jaipur, as expected, then 694 at Govindgarh Malikpur with 02088 0305 Churu – Jaipur we were a little optimistic about what we may find arriving on 02082 0420 Churu – Jaipur at Ringas; as 6694 had replaced 6650 on the circuit so maybe Sikar DLS were in a swapping mood? 52085 was into Ringas first and we had time to mill around the station for a while before the road was pulled off for 02082 to arrive. Photographing it arrive from the station footbridge seemed like a good vantage point and we eagerly awaited the train’s arrival; hoping it would be 6733. The zoom lens on the camera gave us a bit of a dower for a few seconds as it looked like 6729 was arriving through the haze, one the photo was zoomed in. Thankfully though, as the loco got closer, our eyes homed in to the number 6733 on the front of the loco and the move was on!

The run into Jaipur was all about getting a seat and the emptiest place was at the front anyway, by the time the train left Nindhar Benar though it was full and standing with people on their daily commute into Jaipur. We were late arriving into Jaipur but had enough time for a few photos from the station footbridge before walking the length of the station to board 52083 1010 Jaipur – Sikar for a second run to Ringas for the morning. 6694 was already attached to the stock and ready to go and until Dehar Ka Balaji the train was empty, then it was rammed from there onwards.

We got talking to a couple of students on board 52083 who’d been to their 1 hour lecture for the day at university in Jaipur and were now returning to the home in Ringas. They explained that the train was full due to there being a three day festival in Ringas, which concluded on the 28th February, which celebrated the birth of Lord Krishna; apparently 50 Lakh people were expected to visit Ringas during the festival so we’d picked a good day to leave the Jaipur area it seemed.

The conversation to Rings was constant and quite a good one. The people on board explaining that what I’d been trying to figure out at Chhota Gudha was actually string making. I’d seen two people standing a good 50 yards apart from each other every day we’d passed but couldn’t work out what they were doing with whatever was stretched out between them; now I knew! One thing the young lads did seem a bit concerned about was the fact that we weren’t wearing face masks, which I initially thought was for the amount of dust in the air, but they explained that in Rajasthan there was a serious outbreak of Swine Flu and the government were giving out free masks to all tourists, that we should be wearing. I’d seen a few Indians wearing face masks so this would explain a few things; although it was only a few I might add. Maybe it could also explain the amount of dead cows along the side of the tracks towards Churu as well? A quick check on Google showed that 225 people had died in the outbreak and that the Rajasthan government was having to draw up a real plan to combat it. I was guessing that the dead were probably in outlying villages where medical help wasn’t available? The other state hit was Telagana, which of course was the last state I’d visit on the trip….

6627 was already sat in at Ringas and the sun was perfect on it’s clean self for a photo; we only just made it to the opposite end of the station, just as the loco pilot blew up, to get a quick shot and had to board the train as it was setting off. There weren’t any seats so we stood in the front vestibule end all the way into Jaipur. When we got a few photos at Jaipur an RPF guy, with a big dog, took a bit of interest and couldn’t quite figure out why we were riding with old trains and photographing them. Neither he nor his mate, who’d been sat in the guard’s van at the front of the train on the way into Jaipur, had been bothered when we’d got off and took photos en-route into Jaipur and thankfully his stern look was nothing more than a look and he accepted our explanation of why we were doing what we were and went on his way. They can be a strange bunch the RPF…

The moment of truth was upon us and thanks to Jaipur doing what they should have 6733 was already sat at the head of 19735 1330 Jaipur – Sikar Intercity and the move was well and truly on. The irony of the fact that it would be 6733 that I’d clear first in India was the fact that we could have had a relaxing morning on all three day’s we’d been in Jaipur and got up for the 0745 Jaipur – Churu, done it out and back every day and having spun 6649 on day one we’d cleared it on day 3 and actually before we’d have cleared 6733!

We loaded up for the journey and waited until 22 minutes after the booked departure time for no reason, that I could see anyway, before token was handed over and we were allowed to depart. At least we had a good driver for the run out of town though and he wasn’t afraid of the power handle. At Govindgarh Malikpur we had to await 52084 1250 Sikar – Jaipur arriving, before we could depart, and it was already sat outside at the outer home waiting to come in. 5 minutes after we’d come to a stand a member of staff walked down to the points at the Ringas end of the station and set them for 52084 to arrive into the loop. He should have been down there and had that done before we’d even arrived to save time but that doesn’t seem to be the way in India. When 52084 set off the driver absolutely hammered it into the station and thick black clag poured out when it set off, unfortunately it was too far away at the time for my camera lens to zoom in. It made sense when the engine came into view, with the amount of clag that it put out, that it was 6738 and not 6650 as we’d expected; 6738 had always been a clag monster and the heavy maintenance it had been on at Sikar obviously hadn’t been that heavy! This was the second swap of the day with 6738 having replaced 6656 on the circuit.

Respect to Pelham who flagged the new 6738 in favour of clearing 6733 instead, however his calculations of where’d he’d clear it had been worked out wrongly and our plan to get off 19735 at Baori Thikira would have seen him on 999km, which would have been a bollock dropped had he not realised at Ringas! As a result it was no hardship going through to Ringas for 6649 back in on 02094 1400 Churu – Jaipur, however doing that move could well have become a hardship as just before Palsana we realised that 02094 was the only train of the day not to stop at Goriyan on its way into Jaipur. This was confirmed on both the Railtime app and NTES. As we were 30 late there was potential for 19735 to be held at Goriyan while 02094 went hammering through; and NTES showed 02094 to be only a few minutes late as well. The result was us getting off a Ranoli Shishu and ultimately waiting for 02094 to arrive 30 minutes late! With my first YDM4 cleared in India the photos of 6733 departing Ranoli Shishu, clagging away, really summed up the day, or three days really, and I was so glad I’d taken the time to do what I needed in Jaipur; and more importantly that the gamble with 6733 had paid off as the other two potential candidates, 6650 & 6694 had both been swapped out during the three days so it could have all ended in tears; again!

There were plenty of shops lining the streets at Ranoli Shishu and I even managed to get my sim card topped up while we waited. There weren’t many people about but we managed to attract a few who wanted to talk to us while we waited but they were no hassle compared to the twat that got on at Ringas and sat opposite us and just generally annoyed us, until he got off at Ringas. He was one of those little shits that you want to just slap round the head but I settled for just telling him what I thought of his antics instead.

I was dusk by the time we crossed 6426 at Govindgarh Malikpur with 02089 1655 Jaipur – Sikar and we departed 40 minutes late; yet arrived into Jaipur at 1930, bang on time, having had a cracking run in, which topped off the three days we’d spent on the Jaipur MG nicely.

With plenty of time to kill before our 2300 departure, overnight to Udaipur City on 19665 Khajuraho – Udaipur City, we had a couple of move options, which turned into one due to there being no sign of the stock to form 59735 2010 Jaipur – Phulera by 2015. I suspected it was a rake share with 59806 Bayana – Jaipur passenger, which was only due in at 2000 but showing 48 late arriving on NTES. The plus at the first shack out of Jaipur was only about 15 so we did ABR WDM3A 14029 on 19613 Ajmer – Amritsar to Gandhinagar Jaipur instead; which we’d actually expected to find a GM on after seeing it with one two days previous. As we departed platform 1 though ABR WDM3A 16321 was just arriving into platform 2 with 59806 so it looked like 59735 wouldn’t be that late after all; and we confirmed the rake share later, back at Jaipur, when we saw 16321 arrive back in from Phulera.

The short run out and back to Gandhinagar had us heading back in on 12036 Agra Fort – Jaipur Shatabdi, which unfortunately turned up with BGKT WDP4D 40095; with no other option, except an auto, we did the GM back into Jaipur and walked over the road to the Hotel Raya Inn where a very good Aloo Pyaza Mirch was served and at a very reasonable price. There was no rush to get back to the station as NTES was showing our 19665 as being almost 2 hours late.

The fester was spent in the 2AC waiting room on platform 1, getting some paperwork up to date and using the charging facilities. Pelham meanwhile disappeared outside for 1h45m train spotting leaving me with all the bags and no real way of going to the toilet without him being present to look after everything!

Having seen ABR WDM3A 14016 head up to Khajuraho with 19666 the previous day it was no surprise when it arrived with 19665, which eventually departed at 0146, just the 2h46m late. We had side berths 5 & 6 in HA1 and a quick conversation with the TTE had us moving to empty berths 11 & 12 instead to get away from the door. The AC was on freeze mode and even ramming the bedroll bags into the grilles didn’t make any difference to the temperature in the coach so it was a case of wrapping up warm, making the best of it and hoping that we didn’t develop colds by the morning!

The Moves

6637 Jaipur Jct Ringas Jct 0615 Jaipur Jct – Churu Jct 52085 FL YDM4 (outbased at SIKR)
6733 Ringas Jct Jaipur Jct 0420 Churu Jct – Jaipur Jct 02082 FL YDM4 (outbased at SIKR)
6694 Jaipur Jct Ringas Jct 1010 Jaipur Jct – Sikar Jct 52083 FL YDM4 (outbased at SIKR)
6627 Ringas Jct Jaipur Jct 1030 Sikar Jct – Jaipur Jct 19736 FL YDM4 (outbased at SIKR)
6733 Jaipur Jct Ranoli Shishu 1330 Jaipur Jct – Sikar Jct 19735 FL YDM4 (outbased at SIKR)
6649 Ranoli Shishu Jaipur Jct 1400 Churu Jct – Jaipur Jct 02094 FL YDM4 (outbased at SIKR)
14029 Jaipur Jct Gandhinagar Jaipur 1755 Ajmer Jct – Amritsar Jct 19613 ABR WDM3A
40095 Gandhinagar Jaipur Jaipur Jct 1740 Agra Fort – Jaipur Jct 12036 BGKT WDP4D

 

Gen for Wednesday 25th February 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

FL YDM4’s (Sikar outbased)

6426 02090 0400 Sikar – Jaipur, 02089 1655 Jaipur – Sikar
6627 19736 1015 Sikar – Jaipur
6637 52085 0615 Jaipur – Churu, 52086 1210 Churu – Jaipur, 02087 2015 Jaipur – Churu
6649 02093 0745 Jaipur – Churu, 02094 1400 Churu – Jaipur
6694 02088 0305 Churu – Jaipur, 52083 1010 Jaipur – Sikar, 02085 1415 Sikar – Churu, 02086 1730 Churu – Sikar, 52082 1950 Sikar – Jaipur
6637 52085 0615 Jaipur – Churu, 52086 1210 Churu – Jaipur, 02087 2015 Jaipur – Churu
6733 02082 0420 Churu – Jaipur, 19735 1330 Jaipur – Sikar
6738 52084 1250 Sikar – Jaipur, 02081 1825 Jaipur – Sikar

At Sikar DLS

6623, 6650, 6655, 6656, 6729 on general maintenance

Other

20012 SGUJ WDP4 22982 1705 (P) Sri Ganganagar – Kota
16869 ABR WDM3A 09721 0640 Jaipur – Udaipur City
18543 LDH WDM3A 59716 0500 Rewari – Phulera
16842 ABR WDM3A 12195 0505 Agra Fort – Ajmer
40116 BGKT WDP4D 12414 1815 (P) Jammu Tawi – Ajmer
40040 BGKT WDP4B 12991 0600 Udaipur City – Jaipur
40089 BGKT WDP4D 19707 2100 (P) Bandra Terminus – Jaipur, 12980 2025 Jaipur – Bandra Terminus
13530 VTA WDG3A 08243 1805 (P) Bilaspur – Bhagat Ki Khoti
16321 ABR WDM3A 59806 1350 Bayana – Jaipur, 59735 2015 Jaipur – Phulera, 59736 2230 Phulera – Jaipur
17789 ABR WDM2 59705 0600 Suratgarh – Jaipur
17725 ABR WDM2 54805 2315 (P) Ahmedabad – Jaipur (40069 BGKT WDP4 dead in train)
16814 ABR WDM2 59722 1405 Hisar – Jaipur
40185 BGKT WDP4D 12462 2000 Jodhpur – Delhi Jct
40092 BGKT WDP4D 19031 1005 Ahmedabad – Haridwar
40083 BGKT WDP4D 22477 1805 Jaipur – Jodhpur
40094 BGKT WDP4D 14659 1735 Delhi Jct – Jaisalmer
11230 VTA WDM3D 12958 1745 Ahmedabad – New Delhi Rajdhani

The Photos

 

Thursday 26th February 2015 (Dud gen from Mavli shed had us on a wild goose chase!)

When I woke in the morning we were still travelling in the same direction so I knew we hadn’t run round at Chittaurgarh yet. As it happened, when I pulled back the curtain in my lower berth, we were just running into the station at Chittaurgarh and after the run round we were 3 hours late departing for Udaipur City. NTES confirmed that any morning move we had been able to do was well and truly out of the window as the four trains that should have been behind us going into Udaipur were all in front of us now and the plus 1h01m connection onto the 0635 Mavli – Marwar MG train had gone down the pan before I’d even opened the curtain at Chittaurgarh; and let’s face it, having departed Jaipur 2h46m late it was never going to happen anyway! All we could hope for now was that the plus 2h55m we had at Udaipur for 59604 0940 Udaipur City – Ajmer passenger would make.

When we got the road from Ranapratapnagar into Udaipur City we were always going to make the Ajmer passenger due to the single line and did so with 10 minutes to spare; 19665 delivering us to our destination 2h45m late. ABR WDM3A 18841 was sat waiting to go with 59604 and we had just enough time to get the first chai of the day before it departed. The front coach was relatively empty and 18841 was a cracking engine to start the day with and as we arrived into Mavli Jct RTM WDM3A 18629 was sat waiting to depart with 59835 0700 Neemach – Udaipur City passenger. As I didn’t need it this would allow us time to walk round the shed at Mavli while waiting for 09721 Jaipur – Udaipur City; which has been running as a special for over two years now and really should be in the timetable!

Before going to the DLS there was enough time to walk round the corner from Mavli Jct, following the MG tracks, to photograph 52073 0500 Marwar – Mavli approaching its destination. The idea with going round the corner is that the sun is perfect at its time of arrival on the front of the train but it isn’t so once it bends round towards the station. The same electrical cabinet I’d used last time I’d photographed 52073 arriving into Mavli, on yet another occasion I’d missed the 0635 Mavli – Marwar, was used again and we didn’t have to wait long before the horn of a YDM4 could be heard approaching in the distance and 6470 came trundling by shortly afterwards. By the time we got back to the station 6470 had already run round and was just backing onto the stock again. What we should have done at that point was ask for a lift on the stock down to the shed as it then propelled the stock down to be cleaned; it would have saved us the walk!

Mavli Jct DLS is just off the platform end at the Udaipur end of the station and we could see three locos on shed from the station. As we approached the DLS there were staff outside and they had no issues with us taking photographs and let us walk where we wanted, which was very sociable of them. On shed were 6629, dumped out the back at the other end of the main building, newly overhauled 6695, which was pristine inside the engine room, and 6739 was out in the main staging point having a bit of a service. 6470 eventually joined the ranks of the DLS and was shut down after it propelled 6695 into the confines of the shed.

As one of the guys at the shed spoke decent English I took the opportunity to try and find out what the two locos out working were and was told 6674 had gone to Marwar and 6632 had gone to Bari Sadri and immediately 6632 got my interest up as it was one I needed. The big mistake I made at that point was not checking through the gen I had with me as it could have put enough doubt in my mind to query what I’d been told but as I was blinded by the prospect of a second new YDM4 on the trip my mind was off and 5 minutes later I’d figured out through Google Maps that the first station on the Bari Sadri line was 12km from Mavli and there was a virtually straight road from Mavli to Vallabhnagar.

Back on the station, with about an hour to kill before 09721 would arrive for Udaipur I went to investigate the transport situation outside the station and no sooner had I walked out did an auto pull into the statin car park. The driver said he’d take us to Vallabhnagar for RS250, I tried to barter him down but he wouldn’t budge, so RS250 was the price. I asked him to wait for 5 minutes while we got water and pop and 10 minutes later we set off for Vallabhnagar, not having seen another auto at all; which was why we headed out so early really. 52071 1200 Bari Sadri – Mavli Jct would have only just been departing its origin when we set off in our auto; it having 70km to do and us only 12!

The run in the auto was a good fast run down relatively empty roads and it took only 20 minutes to get us to Vallabhnagar station. Thankfully I spotted the yellow station sign though, just as the driver was going to turn away from it and head into town, assuming there was a town there, and pointed him up the approach to the station building; where he dropped us off.

Vallabhnagar station was a shadow of its former self and in a state of decay. The little waiting area by the old ticket window provided shelter from the midday sun, which was beaming down at about 30 degrees, and the station building itself was now inhabited by pigeons. On the main road, just off the station approach were a few shops and at one point during our 2h30m wait some random guy came to ask if we wanted chai! The water pump on the station was used by all around to get their fresh water and as we got there the local P-way gang were having a break there and refilling their water bottles while they did so. They soon headed off on their P-way, foot driven, trolley and left us all to our own devices to wait it out for the only train of the day from Vallabhnagar to Mavli.

Time flew by really, I spent a couple of hours getting my crap in order while Pelham spent the time walking aimlessly about the place and struggling to find some amenities to answer his urgent call of nature, which eventually had to be answered the Indian way in the nearby bushes! Nobody at all bothered us during the time we had at Vallabhnagar and it was quite a peaceful place to just pass away two and a half hours. It wasn’t until we’d been there for two hours that I even contemplated checking the loco list I had in my bag, which then put the doubt in my mind about whether 6632 would arrive with 52071 or not as my bureaucracy had 6632 as possibly being exported to Tanzania as TRL’s #7316. This left me thinking that the guy at the shed had got his number mixed us and that 6732 would ultimately arrive with 52071; I tried to remain optimistic though!

The line from Vallabhnagar towards Bari Sadri is very straight and through the heat haze we thought we could see the silhouette of a YDM4 approaching way off in the distance, which was only a few minutes before departure time. We came to the conclusion that our eyes were deceiving us as the silhouette didn’t seem to be making any ground but eventually we could make out the dark shape of a YDM4 through the haze and the horn could be heard way off in the distance.

Our cameras were poised as the train approached and as it got near enough to read the loco number on the front, through the heat haze, it did indeed reveal itself to be 6732 and not 6632, proving that the last 3 hours had been nothing but a wild goose chase and we’d basically wasted the afternoon for nothing; when we could have been doing BG moves instead. That said the Vallabhnagar experience was definitely different and gave me something to write about!

When 6732 brought 52071 to a stand it did so with the guard’s van, which was in the middle of the train, right by us. The guard was at the door with his box of tickets ready to sell tickets to those boarding at Vallabhnagar. I told him straight away we had Indrail passes and he waved us on without question. The selling of tickets from the guard’s van isn’t a common thing in India and this was only one of two branches I’d experienced it on; the other being the Kodinar branch from Veraval. As there were only two people to actually buy tickets we were away soon enough and despite the line being a totter into Mavli the loco pilot did give 6732 a little bit of thrash.

All our eggs were in one basket at this stage as by doing the move we had we now relied purely on 59603 0725 Ajmer – Udaipur City passenger not being more than 40 late so we didn’t miss our 1745 Udaipur City – Ahmedabad MG overnight. When we got to Mavli though both BG trains that were due to cross there were being announced as being right time and 09722 Udaipur City – Jaipur was just departing as we hit the platform end so we couldn’t see one of the engines we’d missed while being on our wild goose chase to Vallabhnagar.

Having not had a great deal to eat all day we were thankful that the stalls at Mavli had decided to reopen for the afternoon rush and the one that had hot samosas won my custom; both stall owners were crawling over each other to try and get us to buy stuff, both of whom had to be told to shut up and leave us to decide what we wanted and where to buy it from in the end!

6732 remained in the MG platform after arrival and due to the fact that none of the other YDM4’s on shed were running when we passed it, we assumed it was likely to have done the 1830 Mavli – Marwar that evening. RTM WDM3A 18653 arrived on the BG first, with 59836 1455 Udaipur City – Neemach, which was the second loco we’d missed while on our wild goose chase and a new one at that. Of course dud ABR WDM3A 16770 arrived shortly afterwards with 59603 0725 Ajmer – Udaipur City; this being the same loco we’d had from Delhi Cantt to Hazrat Nizamuddin via Safdarjung earlier in the trip. It delivered into Udaipur City early though and allowed us plenty of time to scan the station for food. The last time I’d been at Udaipur for the 1745 Udaipur – Ahmedabad MG train the refreshment room hadn’t been open in the afternoon but thankfully on this occasion it was and on the table in front of the guy at the counter were freshly made up packages; all hot to the touch. We walked away with egg biryani, chapattis and chocolate for after’s and headed straight over to the MG side of the statin to find our train and eat our food.

Since my last visit to Udaipur City the only MG platform the station had remaining had been dismissed and was in the process of being turned into another pit road for BG carriage sidings. 19943 1745 Udaipur City – Ahmedabad was stabled on a road which used to be the run round loop with no platform at all yet bizarrely there was a single set of steps positioned by the train to help people get into it! These steps were of course used by nobody at all and just left by the trackside. This recent event at Udaipur City was just another nail in the coffin as regards the Udaipur – Ahmedabad Meter Gauge section.

As the 2AC accommodation has been removed from the Ahmedabad – Udaipur – Ahmedabad overnight trains since it was reintroduced in December 2014 we had to slum it in sleeper class. A stroke of luck resulted in us having a full six berth compartment area all to ourselves when the third person allocated on the reservation sheet didn’t turn up, so we made the most of it. SBI YDM4 6355 was found at the head of 19943 and SBI YDM4 6254 was stabled in the sidings with the breakdown train. The loco pilot for our train was just walking down to his engine as I was walking back and he told me I couldn’t take photos; my response was to tell him I was a tourist and I was taking a photo of 6254 whether he liked it or not. My response seemed to shock him a little and he just left me alone then. I did tell Pelham to be careful though when he went to the front of the train but the loco pilot just stared at him as he took his photo and didn’t say a word.

Food was devoured after the photo session and we were underway bang on time at 1745, the TTE having been through our S3 coach before departure to check everyone was present and correct. As always it was a totter out of Udaipur and we crossed the northbound day train 52928 0710 Ahmedabad – Udaipur City at Umra as booked; it was already sat in waiting to leave with SBI YDM4 6325 and we’d been checked outside to await its arrival before passing straight through Umra non-stop.

As darkness fell so did the temperature inside the train and all the windows and outer window blinds were eventually closed to keep any warmth possible inside. I was so glad I had two sheets from IR AC trains as opposed to one; and even then with both sheets and my coat on, and not being used as a pillow, I struggled to keep warm! I also struggled to get to sleep due to the noise being made by a rather rowdy group of olds a few compartments down!

The Moves

14016 Jaipur Jct Udaipur City 0910 (25/02) Khajuraho – Udaipur City 19665 ABR WDM3A – via Chittaurgarh (RR)
18841 Udaipur City Mavli Jct 0940 Udaipur City – Ajmer Jct 59604 ABR WDM3A
Auto Mavli Jct Vallabhnagar RS250, 12km, 20 minutes Autorickshaw
6732 Vallabhnagar Mavli Jct 1200 Bari Sadri – Mavli Jct 52071 FL YDM4 (outbased at MVJ)
16770 Mavli Jct Udaipur City 0725 Ajmer Jct – Udaipur City 59603 ABR WDM3A
6355 Udaipur City Ahmedabad Jct 1745 Udaipur City – Ahmedabad Jct 19943 SBI YDM4

 

Gen for Thursday 26th February 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

Meter Gauge

Mavli junction DLS – 6629, 6695, 6739

6470 MVJ YDM4 52073 0500 Marwar – Mavli
6674 MVJ YDM4 52076 0635 Mavli – Marwar (as advised by shed staff)
6325 SBI YDM4 52928 0710 Ahmedabad – Udaipur City

6254 SBI YDM4 – stabled at Udaipur City with breakdown train

Broad Gauge

18629 RTM WDM3A 59835 0700 Neemach – Udaipur City
18653 RTM WDM3A 59836 1455 Udaipur City – Neemach
14016 ABR WDM3A 12982 1715 Udaipur City – Delhi Sarai Rohilla
16157 RTM WDM3A 12996 2135 Udaipur City – Bandra Terminus
20101 BGKT WDP4 12964 1815 Udaipur City – Hazrat Nizamuddin

The Photos


Friday 27th February 2015 (Somebody has taken away the WDM2S’s from Anand Junction!)

The 0425 arrival into Ahmedabad off 19943 from Udaipur is always a bit of a shock to the system but as it was quite cold overnight the system was already shocked enough and I was quite glad when we arrived into Asarva, just 2km from Ahmedabad, as I knew I’d be getting off soon. We were only a few minutes late into Ahmedabad and the first thing on our minds on arrival was finding the omelette Walla on platform 1 to get some breakfast and sure enough he was at the bottom of the steps at the Baroda end of the station and just about to pour a fresh mixture into his pan; it went down a treat, as did the chai afterwards.

There wasn’t a great deal doing at Ahmedabad of a morning and our train to Vadodara, 19116 2215 Bhuj – Bandra Terminus, arrived 25 minutes late with VTA WDM3D 11421. This was soon replaced by BRC WAP4 22923 for run forward journey under the wires and our journey to Vadodara was spent huddled under blankets in the 2AC, trying to keep warm, as the AC was on overdrive; both Pelham and I had now developed a bit of the sniffles due to very cold AC and this wasn’t helping matters either.

As we approached Vadodara Junction RTM WDM3A 16812 was just about to depart from platform No. 7 with 19310 Indore – Gandhinagar Capital. Platform 7 is the lowly platform right at the end of Vadodara station at the Ahmedabad end of the station, way out on a limb from the main station; where our train to Kathana would depart from later in the morning.

Once we’d got our bearings at Vadodara it was quite easy to navigate our way to the Hotel Surya, out of the main entrance, over the footbridge and down on the left hand side. From there it was a first right and about 50 yards up the road on the left. The guy at the hotel’s reception had been expecting us and knew my name when we walked through the door; only because we were the only tourists that had a booking that day. Despite the fact our booking was for that night we were allowed to check in and as we were checking out before breakfast the following morning we were allowed breakfast that morning instead.

The room was on the 5th floor and was a decent size with AC, flat screen TV with satellite channels and a fridge. The bathroom was only a pokey place but the water was hot and it was clean enough but a few mosquitoes had to be dealt with straight way! Other than that though it was fine.

Having seen the Shanti Express running round in platform 7 that morning we assumed that our Kathana passenger would come in and do the same, and we weren’t wrong; the electronic display screen in the main hall showing 59103 departing from platform 7. We found out the hard way that there were no shacks open on platform 7 to get supplies and had to return to the main station to get some. It was a good job we did too as supplies turned out to be non-existent down the Kathana line.

While waiting for the set to form our 0935 Kathana departure to arrive we admired VTA WDS6AD 36507, which stabled by the buffer stops in the loops adjacent to platform 7; then, without any announcement at all, RTM WDM3A 16152 appeared with 59102 0600 Kathana – Vadodara. The train looked quite wedged but that impression was only given by the fact that everyone was at the doors ready to get off. Once they’d all got off and dispersed though there were literally a dozen people left on the platform to board the 0935 to Kathana and we were very surprised to find the train virtually empty as we walked down the platform. By the time 16152 had run round and was ready for departure there was only one other person in the front coach with us. Departure was eventually about 20 minutes late.

The Kathana branch diverges at Vasad Jct and once on the branch we’d accumulated a few other folk in our front coach and even some sat with us; all equally as confused as the next as to why we were going to Kathana and none of whom could speak a word of English to be able to understand our reasons. The one woman sat in our compo area was insistent we went with her to her home for khana but we politely declined, about 10 times, and stuck to our plans; she even looked a little disappointed when she got off en-route.

By Kathana we were only a few minutes late. The station has only one platform and a run round loop adjacent. The area adjacent to the station is largely covered by trees and in among the trees were monkeys and some deer like creatures. On the other side of the station buildings, outside the main entrance, there was a street lined with small shacks, all selling different things but none had pop; which would have gone down great in the morning heat.

Photos are best after the train arrives as the sun is perfect on the offside of the train, although it’s still not a bad shot once the loco has run round. We hid in the shady confines of the train once 16152 had run round and it departed right time on the return journey. The return journey was as empty as the outward and we were pretty much left to our own devices all the way to Vasad Jct, where despite arriving late enough to miss 59049 Valsad – Viramgam passenger we made it by plenty of time as it too was late.

Ur plan for the afternoon had been to cover the Vadtal Swaminarayan Branch but as 59049 arrived 40 minutes late into Vasad and it was only a plus 34 at Anand Junction onto the branch train it looked certain that we’d miss it. The other disappointment with 59049 was that it arrived with BRC WAP7 30066 dragging dead BRC WAG5 21120! We actually thought we were in with a chance of making 59163 1520 Anand Jct – Vadtal Swaminarayan passenger as we approached Anand; these hopes were dashed though as we were brought to a stand outside the station, where the empties for 59163 were let out of the sidings ahead of us and crossed over our path. We could see the train departing from where we were stood, about a kilometer outside of the station, and once it was clear we were allowed in.

It became clear as we arrived why we’d missed the Vadtal train when we saw the tamping machine working at the north end of platform 2, obviously putting it out of use temporarily. We opted to go forward to Kanjari Boriyavi Jct just in case the Vadtal train was still sat in the back platform waiting for the token, or someone to actually get the train away; of course it wasn’t so as we had nearly an hour to get to Vadtal we collared an auto driver down by the level crossing and he was soon on the case, charging us RS100 for the 7km journey.

The streets in Kanjari Boriyavi were dust ridden and pot-holed and as we set off I was hoping that the whole route wasn’t going to be the same as we’d never make it and likely need a new ass by the time we got there! Thankfully, once we got through the village a tarmac road appeared out of the dust and away we went. The total journey time from station to station was only 18 minutes and we arrived just as RTM WDM3A 16823 was entering the station; effectively beating it there!

The Vadtal branch trains, until as recently as November, had been worked virtually solidly by RTM WDM2S’s which had been stabled at Anand Jct and used for shunting milk wagons about there. It seemed that this practice had now finished as a VTA WDM3A had been seen with the trains in January and now 16823 had turned up; and what’s more there were no WDM2S’s anywhere to be seen in any sidings between Ahmedabad and Vadodara! The only other engine stabled at Anand had been VTA WDM3D 11564, which seemed a complete waste of a loco to me!

After photographing 16823 we ended up taking to the loco pilot but his limited English didn’t get us any conclusive answers as to why the branch trains weren’t WDM2S’s anymore. He did go on to tell us that one of his friends had seen another foreigner photographing trains as Modasa a couple of years ago, which could only have been Simon Moore, which proves that when us foreigners get to these far out places the train crew do talk amongst themselves about the idiots they’ve spotted in these non-tourist places.

59162 1635 Vadtal Swaminarayan – Bharuch departed its origin 15 minutes late and on arrival into Anand 16823 was immediately removed and replaced by BRC WAP7 30070. Despite having seats on the train we decided to get off and wait for the first express behind to Vadodara instead. VTA WDM3D 11564 was still sat in the north sidings, shut down, and just as we’d arrived VTA WDM3D 11541 had departed off the north curve loop towards Ahmedabad with what we could only eventually assume was an ecs. 11541 had been stabled over the back at Anand Jct on the Godhra platforms earlier in the day and there was nothing on NTES, Railtime or station departure boards to give an indication that the train it had departed with had been in service.

While we were waiting for 12949 Porbandar – Santragachi to arrive ET WDM3A 18856 headed north with 15045 Gorakhpur – Okha, then LDH WAG7 24632 arrived 1h15m late with 12949 and we managed to get seats in 2AC for the short journey back to Vadodara.

Food was the order of the evening back at the hotel as we’d not really eaten properly at all during the day. Unfortunately though I found my veg Rogan Josh to be about the blandest Indian meal I’d ever had; there wasn’t even a taste to it, let alone and spiciness. Then to add insult to injury by the time we got back to the room all the hot water had gone and we had to have cold showers! It had still be hot 45 minutes previous when we’d been to wash up before food! We weren’t up late with an 0650 start looming the following morning.

The Moves

22923 Ahmedabad Jct Vadodara Jct 2215 (26/02) Bhuj – Bandra Terminus 19116 BRC WAP4
16152 Vadodara Jct Kathana 0935 Vadodara Jct – Kathana 59103 RTM WDM3A
16152 Kathana Vasad Jct 1245 Kathana – Vadodara Jct 59104 RTM WDM3A
30066 Vasad Jct Kanjari Boriyavi Jct 0605 Valsad – Viramgam Jct 59049 BRC WAP7 – BRC WAG5 21120 dead inside
Auto Kanjari Boriyavi Jct Vadtal Swaminarayan RS100, 7km, 18 minutes Autorickshaw
16823 Vadtal Swaminarayan Anand Jct 1635 Vadtal Swaminarayan Jct – Bharuch Jct 59162 RTM WDM3A
24632 Anand Jct Vadodara Jct 0755 Porbandar – Santragachi Jct 12949 LDH WAG7

 

Gen for Friday 27th February 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

22538 BRC WAP4 19005 2025 (P) Mumbai Central – Okha (to Ahmedabad)
16030 ABR WDM3A 54804 0615 Ahmedabad – Jodhpur
11421 VTA WDM3D 19116 2215 (P) Bhuj – Bandra Terminus (to Ahmedabad)
16812 RTM WDM3A 19310 2245 (P) Indore – Gandhinagar Capital
22279 BRC WAP4 19216 2105 (P) Porbandar – Mumbai Central
16152 RTM WDM3A 59102 0600 Kathana – Vadodara
16823 RTM WDM3A 59163 1520 Anand Jct – Vadtal Swaminarayan
30070 BRC WAP7 59162 1635 Vadtal Swaminarayan – Bharuch (from Anand Jct)
18856 ET WDM3A 15045 0410 (P) Gorakhpur – Okha
22729 ED WAP4 12656 0935 (P) Chennai Central – Ahmedabad
22705 BRC WAP4 19215 0820 Mumbai Central – Porbandar
22353 BRC WAP7 12917 1720 Ahmedabad – Hazrat Nizamuddin

The Photos


Saturday 28th February 2015 (The way to Chhotaudepur)

Up at 0600 and out of the hotel by 0615, having left our big bags with the hotel for the day, we were at the station by 0630. 59117 0650 Vadodara – Chhotaudepur was showing to depart from platform 2 but when RTM WDM3A 16807 arrived into platform 3 with a set of stock the loco pilot was soon confirming to me that it was the set for 59117. All the doors were locked so I scooted through the guards van at the front and found a door open in the front coach on the off side. I chose my seat before opening the platform side door for Pelham; who no sooner had I done it came walking down the coach behind me!

By departure time the train was full, not wedged, but still thankfully comfortable. Just before departure a guy came up to my window and asked where I was going, clearly a little concerned that we were on the wrong train, and was relieved to find that we actually wanted to go to Chhotaudepur. We spent half of the journey then talking to the same guy, who was about the only person in the coach that spoke any decent English. He’d been working night shifts in Vadodara all week and was travelling home to his wife for the weekend.

The Chhotaudepur line crosses no fewer than three different sections of the remaining NG lines in the area, the first being at Pratapnagar, just outside Vadodara. The NG line from Jambusar Jct runs underneath the main BG Vadodara to Surat line at Vishwamitri and is then parallel with the Chhotaudepur BG line to Pratapnagar. At Pratapnagar there is a lot of work going on and it looks like new carriage sidings are being constructed along with a carriage shed as well. On the NG side there was nothing doing at all, there were no locos around and all that was visible were a few demic coaches and some dumped wagons. Quite where Pratapnagar DLS is situated isn’t evident.

At Dabhoi Jct we waited to cross RTM WDM3A 16152 arriving with 59118 0550 Chhotaudepur – Vadodara, which allowed enough time for a quick photograph of ZDM5 #526 which was sat in on the NG side of the station with 52019 0620 Miyagam Karjan – Chandod; the NG at Dabhoi station still seemed to be very much integrated into the station surroundings instead of out on a limb.

At Chuchapura we passed the final bit of NG line on the route, this section from Tankhala is very poorly integrated at Chuchapura with the BG trains on the Chhotaudepur – Vadodara line. For example 59117 is booked to depart at 0826 to Chhotaudepur and 52032 arrives from Tankhala at 0835! Whether these trains actually still run or not is a big question as despite there being two pairs of trains to Tankhala in the Western timetable it also says below table 90 that the section is closed in connection with gauge conversion works on the Pratapnagar to Chhotaudepur section. Is this just a simple printing error that hasn’t been removed from the timetable?

The run to Chhotaudepur was ok; the line speed is ok to Bodeli but beyond it becomes a usual branch line totter. Unlike the Kathana line the previous day the villages on the route seemed to be well inhabited but the area surrounding the line wasn’t as well farmed as the Kathana line. Chhotaudepur itself had nothing really to offer around the station area and left us thankful that we’d got supplies again before we’d set off that morning.

We had plenty of space to ourselves until the train started to load on the return journey, which wasn’t an issue until a woman got on with her two kids, both of which looked a little worse for wear and had snotty noses and she didn’t look too good herself. As Pelham had literally just been reading in the paper that Swine Flu had now killed 256 people in Gujarat we changed coaches at Dabhoi and cleansed our hands after we did so.

ZDM5 #511 had been sat in a Dabhoi with the stock to form 52024 1345 Dabhoi – Malsar which made for a few decent photos while we waited for the DMU to arrive with 76455 1140 Vadodara – Chhotaudepur. With the way the day panned out the more I regretted not getting off to do 52024.

We only had a plus 25 at Vadodara onto 16587 Yesvantpur – Bikaner Weekly Express, we were late enough to miss it but it was well down the tubes according to NTES and eventually turned up 2 hours late! As we approached Vadodara ERS WDM3A notched up, after it had cleared the platform, with 16337 Okha – Ernakulam; giving a nice display as it hammered by us. While we festered on the station we watched RTM WDM3A 16172 arrive with 59104 1245 Kathana – Vadodara, which we then assumed formed 59119 1755 Vadodara – Chhotaudepur as RTM WDM3A 16807 and its set formed 59101 1605 Vadodara – Kathana and actually departed Vadodara before we did! Moments after 16172 had arrived VTA WDS6 36507 dropped a wagon loaded with wheels onto the rear of its set; and that about summed up all the movements at Vadodara for the 2 hours we were there! Other than BRC WAP7 30066 leading dead BRC WAG5 21120 heading back south to Valsad with 59050 Viramgam – Valsad passenger; all we could assume from that was that 30066 must have been on a test run for the very same combination to return back south having gone up with 59049 Valsad – Viramgam the previous day.

KJM WDM3A 18704 arrived with 16587 and there was plenty of space in the unreserved at the front so we chose to stand for the short journey to Anand Jct. Our departure was halted momentarily while BL WCAM1 21846 arrived with 59442 1240 Ahmedabad – Mumbai Central passenger; then we were away. And what a disappointing example KJM had produced on this occasion. While 18704 pulled ok it sounded terrible, in that it had no chug, no growl and just a load of general engine noise instead; it basically sounded like a poor WDM2; very disappointing indeed. What was even more disappointing was that we’d missed the Vadtal branch, royally, and that I’d realised that 19575 Okha – Nathdwara, the train we’d be doing back to Vadodara, was not actually through diesel and was in fact electric from Ahmedabad to Ratlam; that’s what happens when you rely on one source of information too much and don’t cross reference! So the afternoon was pretty much fucked and left me wishing I’d done a Narrow Gauge move somewhere instead.

At least we only had to watch RTM WDM3A 16823 arrive with 59163 1635 Vadtal Swaminarayan – Bharuch, which was replaced by BRC WAP7 30080. 16823 the shunted a milk wagons from the adjacent platform, which had obviously been knocked off the rear of a northbound train, it then shunted two more off the rear of 19215 Mumbai Central – Porbandar and took all three off somewhere. VTA WDM3D 11564 was still sat over in the north sidings and on investigation we found it’s works plate to give a builders date of November 2014. I’d half expected it to be on the Vadtal branch but obviously not. Now had I realised soon enough that 19575 Okha – Nathdwara was electric from Ahmedabad we could have done KYN WCAM2 21865 back to Vadodara on 11087 Veraval – Pune, which is a booked turn for a WCAM2 according to Elocos, but no we ended up waiting a further hour for BRC WAP4 22704 instead; no bonus freight electric this time!

The Hotel Surya was a lot busier than it had been the previous night and thankfully the food was a lot tastier. The staff on the front desk joked with Pelham as we waited for our bags, as he’d left his credit card there that morning after checkout and only realised when he went to use the cash machine during our afternoon fester; so ended up walking back to the hotel to get it!

Our overnight move was 19309 Gandhinagar Capital – Indore, which was showing to depart from platform 7 and when we got down there the place was heaving with people; the Shanti Express looking like it was popular choice and of course it was still Alco throughout under the wires all the way. RTM WDM3A 16555 arrived about 15 minutes late and was promptly run round. The AC was towards the rear of the train after the run round, which was good to prevent being kept awake by the loco horn all night, and the 2AC we were in looked quite busy. Still everyone got themselves sorted soon enough and the coach lights all went out one by one.

The Moves

16807 Vadodara Jct Chhota Udepur 0650 Vadodara Jct – Chhota Udepur 59117 RTM WDM3A
16807 Chhota Udepur Vadodara Jct 1045 Chhota Udepur – Vadodara Jct 59122 RTM WDM3A
18704 Vadodara Jct Anand Jct 0500 (27/02) Yesvantpur Jct – Bikaner Jct 16587 KJM WDM3A
22704 Anand Jct Vadodara Jct 0715 Okha – Nathdwara 19575 BRC WAP4
16555 Vadodara Jct Indore Jct 1825 Gandhinagar Capital – Indore Jct 19309 RTM WDM3A – via Ratlam, Ujjain, Nagda, Dewas

 

Gen for Saturday 28th February 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

Narrow Gauge

526 PRTN ZDM5 52019 0620 Miyagam Karjan – Chandod
511 PRTN ZDM5 52024 1345 Dabhoi Jct – Malsar

Broad Gauge

16152 RTM WDM3A 59118 0550 Chhotaudepur – Vadodara
30066 BRC WAP7 59050 0730 Viramgam – Valsad (BRC WAG5 21120 dead in train)
16172 RTM WDM3A 59104 1245 Kathana – Vadodara, 59119 1755 Vadodara – Chhotaudepur
16807 RTM WDM3A 59101 1605 Vadodara – Kathana
30058 BRC WAP7 12010 1430 Ahmedabad – Mumbai Central
21846 BL WCAM1 59442 1240 Ahmedabad – Mumbai Central
22540 BRC WAP4 19059 1330 Surat – Jamnagar
16823 RTM WDM3A 59162 1635 Vadtal Swaminarayan – Bharuch (to Anand Jct)
30080 BRC WAP7 59162 1635 Vadtal Swaminarayan – Bharuch (from Anand Jct)
21865 KYN WCAM2 11087 0750 Veraval – Pune
22671 ED WAP4 12656 0935 (P) Chennai Central – Ahmedabad
22293 BRC WAP4 19215 0820 Mumbai Central – Porbandar
16098 RTM WDM3A 11465 0930 Somnath – Jabalpur (in/out of BRC)
22813 BRC WAP4 19038 1320 (P) Gorakhpur – Bandra Terminus

The Photos


Sunday 1st March 2015 (Damn that bloody MG closing!)

When I looked out of the curtains we just departing Dewas, not too late but it was a miserable day, about as dreary as they came in England let alone in India. The rain was that fine sort where everything just got wet without it even realizing rain was falling. It didn’t look too warm either and we soon confirmed it was cold when we dropped into Indore Junction about 15 minutes late at 0645. What neither of us picked up on the previous night was that the boards on 19309/19310 Gandhinagar Capital – Indore had a rake share with 19329/19330 Indore – Udaipur; this was the train we planned to do back out of Indore at 0730 and there was no surprise, once we’d realised, when RTM WDM3A 16555 ran straight round to work to Udaipur.

Our first priority on arrival was to dump the big bags in the cloak room on platform 1, which is just underneath the steps of the furthest south footbridge. This was the easy part, trying to find breakfast was the hard part and ultimately we failed miserably at it and ended up with crisps and biscuits as nowhere had managed to cook anything yet and the refreshment room on platform 1 was closed; some guy just gesturing towards the state of the, now removed, MG tracks as it that was his reason for not being open.

Our reason for being in Indore was to do 19301 2055 Indore – Yesvantpur to Akola, which covered the newly opened route from Narkher to Badnera via New Amravati. I’d attempted to do this route a year earlier but had missed 19713 Jaipur – Secunderabad at Itarsi; which probably turned to be a blessing in disguise as the train is worked by a GM anyway, something I obviously wasn‘t aware of when I’d planned the trip. When I’d planed current trip though the day in Indore was centered around doing the MG all day, that was until IR finally closed the Indore – Mhow section on 7th February 2015 and started taking the tracks out immediately after the departure of the last train to Mhow! As a result of this the day had to be amended to do stuff on the BG and despite electrification there still seemed to be a few trains in and out of Indore that were diesel, which of course my plan took into account. Again though a bit more cross referencing rather than relying solely on India Rail Info for the loco links would have warned me of yet another error in my plan and ultimately the day turned into nothing more than a day to kill before our overnight out; we couldn’t even manage to bash old electrics properly either, or really at all for that matter!

The old MG platforms at Indore were in ruins and diggers were already at work at 7 in the morning digging out the formations beneath where the tracks had been in platform 1, some concrete foundations had already been laid at the bottom of the pit part way down and a bit more had been done by the end of the day. Platform 2 had sleepers strewn all over it and the old tracks were nowhere to be seen. The majority of the MG station was off limits but for the refreshment stalls and access to the north end footbridge. It looked like a new station was being built just north of the main one, on the MG side of the line most of the tracks were already down to the north of Indore towards Lakshmibainagar and electrification masts were up but no wires were present yet. At Lakshmibainagar the old MG station wasn’t recognizable and new platforms had been constructed. Where the MG used to cross the BG, to head to Ratlam, the tracks were down either side of the existing BG but not connected up yet.

In Indore we found BRC WAG5’s 23167 & 23168 in the station area, along with RTM WDM3A 16170, which appeared to be the shunt engine for the day. We didn’t have any issues getting berths on 19329 Indore – Udaipur to Dewas and were randomly given the same two we’d spent the previous night sleeping in. We never made it to Dewas on 19329 though, which could well have been a wrong decision but it was one we made and couldn’t reverse the consequences of.

19329 got held at Mangliya Gaon for the opposing working of 19330 Udaipur – Indore to hammer by with RTM WDM3A 14071 as train engine and RTM WDM3D 11422 dead inside. We were then put inside again at Barlai where it seemed to make sense to get off and do 59388 0800 Indore – Nagda Passenger, which I suspected might come round the corner with BRC WAG5 23167; as it had been the only loco in the station on a set of stock when we’d departed at 0730. I was of course wrong and BRC WAG5 23168 eventually rocked up with a short passenger rake and was subsequently held for ET WDM3A 16485 to hammer through with 21126 Bhind – Indore, which was about 2 hours late. Had we stayed on 19329 to Dewas we’d have made 21126 and been able to do it back to Indore. Instead we remained at Barlai and had to wait for the excuse of a train that was 22183 Habibganj – Indore Double Decker to run through with its 3 double deck coaches and single generator coach; ET WAM4 21342 was the loco.

As we arrived into Dewas on 59388 BRC WAP4 22057 was just setting off with 19311 Pune – Indore; a connection that wouldn’t have made. We had the option to do a step-off on the way back into Indore and as NTES was on our side at the time decided to do BRC WAP4 22604 when it arrived with 59306 Ujjain – Indore passenger; we’d been expecting a WAM4 at least, or even a WAG5, but for the second time that morning we’d made the wrong decision and we should have waited at Dewas for 11472 Jabalpur – Indore behind! 18234 Bilaspur – Indore had dropped time by the time we arrived at Barlai, which meant getting off at Lakshmibainagar could turn into a big mistake, and we then sat at Barlai for both ET WAM4 21342 to cross us with 22186 1000 Indore – Mumbai Central and ET WAM4 21315 to overtake us with 11472 Jabalpur – Indore; and resigned ourselves to the fact that we might as well have written the morning off completely, especially as I’d originally thought 59306 Ujjain – Indore was still in the hands of RTM WDM3A’s! Had I actually looked at the Elocos gen I had it would have confirmed that it was booked electric and not diesel as per India Rail Info!

Having had a crap enough morning bash we were hoping for a lot better from the afternoon, which we knew was going to start with ET WAP4 22513 on 12919 1225 Indore – Jammu Tawi to Dewas. We’d not been too successful with food in Indore again and the weather hadn’t improved at all, although it had stopped raining. We put our faith in the pantry car staff on 12919 getting their act into gear straight away, so we could get something to eat before Dewas.

While probably not a very comfortable plus, and one that might actually not have made at all, 12919 was held at Indore for 18234 Bilaspur – Indore to arrive before it departed. ET WAM4 21341 had the honour and before it arrived 12227 Mumbai – Indore Duronto had stealthed its way into the station with BRC WAP7 30067. As we set off, 10 minutes late, there was a bit of a commotion in the doorway. Some guy was rapidly throwing his bags into the coach and then clambered in himself, his wife was too slow to get on and was left standing on the platform; the guy’s reaction was to attempt to pull the chain in our compo but the GRP guy sat there gave him a few swift slaps as he tried to do so and put pay to any chain pulling. The guy then leapt off the train as it neared the platform end, leaving all three of his bags on board. I half expected the train coming to a stand, as the guards are sometimes sympathetic and stop the train; there was no such luck for anyone on this occasion as 22513 picked up speed and the guys bags were then heading towards Jammu Tawi at that point!

Our friendly GRP guy, who spoke no English, did another two favours en-route to Dewas, firstly he changed a RS500 note so we could pay the pantry car Walla for our biryani’s; he then told said pantry car Walla where to go when he kept demanding more money for the food. We stopped to begin querying it at RS120 for two egg biryani’s and never paid another Rupee after the GRP basically dismissed the Walla! As we clambered out of the sleeper class coach we’d been sat in to Dewas someone was on the platform to get the bags off the train that the idiot had left on at Indore. We assumed that their trip to wherever they were going had gone in the bin; for that day at least.

As we got to the opposite platform ET WAM4 20682 was just arriving with 59386 Chhindwara – Indore fast passenger; yet another example of an old electric avoiding us on this particular day! I was almost on the verge of taking my coat off when the sun put in the 2 minute showing that it did while we were at Dewas but the cloud soon showed it who was boss and the coat remained well and truly on for the rest of the day! We should have only had 10 minutes at Dewas for 19801 Kota – Indore Intercity back into Indore but for some reason I hadn’t been able to track it very well on NTES; mainly as the reporting for it had been almost nonexistent. By the time it got to an hour late I decided to ask at the information window and was told it would not arrive until 1445, which was 1h20m late and at the time the set should have been departing Indore on 19802 with the return working! I was glad of the announcement to tell everyone that it was late……

When 19801 rounded the curve into Dewas we were glad to find the correct traction at its helm; RTM WDM3D 11560 and what a treat it turned out to be. The front coach was virtually empty and we had the run of the doors, even though it was still cold. Our departure was delayed slightly as BRC WAP4 22812 arrived with 19312 Indore – Pune, which wasn’t shown to run on a Sunday in the timetable, and then 11460 was notched up to depart. While in the lowest notches it had a very distinct popping noise from the exhaust, which disappeared when the engine was on full power; and when it was on full power it was a bloody good engine to listen to. It was very loud and I’ll bet the crew weren’t too pleased to have had to drive it long hood leading, though I was pleased and it certainly brightened the afternoon up as it departed Dewas at 1509, 1h49m late!

19802 being late buggered our late afternoon plans completely as we’d planned to do 19801 back out to Dewas for 14317 Indore – Dehradun to Ujjain and then back into Indore on 22185 Bhopal – Indore Double Decker. We hammered through Mangliyagaon as TKD WDM3A 16272 waited to continue onwards with 14317 Indore – Dehradun and we arrived into Indore at 1555, having had an excellent run other than waiting for RTM WDM3A/WDM2 combo 18643/18640 to cross us at Barlai, having come out of the oil refinery at Mangliyagaon with a loaded train. We were in just 1h10m after 19802 should have departed going back to Kota!

The run round at Indore wasn’t as efficient as it should have been and at one point an announcement came over the tannoy for the loco pilot of 19802, who was next seen having a heated discussion with a member of shunting staff while the loco was stood waiting to back down. 19802 eventually departed Indore at 1642, 1h57m late. The chair car on board had only three other people in it so we opted for the comfort rather than cramming into the front. As we passed the carriage sidings BRC WAG5 23167 and ET WAM4 21341 were just shunting the stock in for 18234 Indore – Bilaspur, 21341 ultimately working the train, and ET WAM4 20682 was just about to propel the stock in for 11471 Indore – Jabalpur.

I’d been that impressed with 11560 on the way in that I intended to get some video footage of it on the way out on my phone but all the video ended up being was footage of the ongoing MG to BG conversion works between Indore and Lakshmibainagar; the driver was a complete and utter windbag and once we’d got the road at Barlai it took him 2m58s to get 11560 to full power, from a rolling start which was on the main line and with green signals for as long as the eye could see; I mean it wasn’t as though he needed to make any time up or anything as I guess 1h57m late starting from Indore was just acceptable…..

At Dewas we were surprised to find RTM WDM3A 16098 with 13 empty ballast wagons after watching it depart Vadodara the previous night with 11465 Somnath – Jabalpur. It made for a few photos as the light disappeared though. And for our last crap move of the day we were disappointed to find ET WAP4 22980 return from Bhopal with 22185 Bhopal – Indore Double Decker, after ET WAM4 21342 had gone out with the set. In summary we’d had a bad day doing Alco’s around Indore and an even worse one while trying to redeem something from it and attempting to get some older electrics in instead! It was definitely a day I was willing to forget about; Indore now being a rubbish place for a crank to visit with no MG and it’s now electrified.

30 minutes late into Indore we were glad to be heading for a proper meal. Google Maps showed the Hotel Lemon Tree to be in walking distance and we set off walking to it. It only took about 7 or 8 minutes to get to but we didn’t expect the main road, which it was at the other side of, to have a barrier all the way the middle of it for as far as the eye could see! It was good job we weren’t old and knackered! The food at the Lemon Tree was good and much needed, the bill came to RS1500 though, for just two mains, two rice and two bread; so it’s not the cheapest of places but it was clean and the food was fresh.

We had plenty of time to spare after getting back to the statin and collected out bags from the cloak room about 30 minutes before 19301 2055 Indore – Yesvantpur was booked to depart. RTM WDM3D 11422, having come into Indore dead inside on 19330 from Udaipur, didn’t back the LHB rake in until 25 minutes before departure and I was surprised to not find a mad rush for the 2AC. In fact the 2AC wasn’t well frequented at all and we ended up with a compartment of 4 all to ourselves throughout to Akola the following day. Once the TTE had checked our tickets it was bed made, lights out and doss…..

The Moves

16555 Indore Jct Barlai 0730 Indore Jct – Udaipur City 19329 RTM WDM3A
23168 Barlai Dewas Jct 0800 Indore Jct – Nagda Jct 59388 BRC WAG5
22604 Dewas Jct Indore Jct 0805 Ujjain Jct – Indore Jct 59306 BRC WAP4
22513 Indore Jct Dewas Jct 1225 Indore Jct – Jammu Tawi 12919 ET WAP4
11560 Dewas Jct Indore Jct 0630 Kota Jct – Indore Jct 19801 RTM WDM3D
11560 Indore Jct Dewas Jct 1445 Indore Jct – Kota Jct 19802 RTM WDM3D
22980 Dewas Jct Indore Jct 1435 Bhopal Jct – Indore Jct Double Decker 22185 ET WAP4
11422 Indore Jct Akola Jct 2055 Indore Jct – Yesvantpur Jct 19301 RTM WDM3D – via Ujjain RR, Bhopal, Itarsi, New Amravati

 

Gen for Sunday 1st March 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

22234 BRC WAP4 19323 0615 Indore – Habibganj
16272 TKD WDM3A 14318 0550 (P) Dehradun – Indore
14071 RTM WDM3A 19330 2035 (P) Udaipur City – Indore (RTM WDM3D 11422 dead in train)
22538 BRC WAP4 12961 1905 (P) Mumbai Central – Indore, 12962 1625 Indore – Mumbai Central
16485 ET WDM3A 21126 1710 (P) Bhind – Indore, 11125 2005 Indore – Jhansi
21342 ET WAM4 22183 0600 Habibganj – Indore, 22186 1000 Indore – Bhopal (Double Decker’s)
21315 ET WAM4 11472 2300 (P) Jabalpur – Indore, 59385 1300 Indore – Chhindwara
21341 ET WAM4 18234 0955 (P) Bilaspur – Indore, 18233 1715 Indore – Bilaspur
30067 BRC WAP7 12227 2315 (P) Mumbai Central – Indore
22812 BRC WAP4 59380 1030 Maksi – Indore, 19312 1430 Indore – Pune
20682 ET WAM4 59386 2105 (P) Chhindwara – Indore, 11471 1740 Indore – Jabalpur
30360 TKD WAP7 12415 1600 Indore – Hazrat Nizamuddin

The Photos


Monday 2nd March 2015 (The Khamgaon deviation)

It was a relaxing morning on board 19301 to Akola, the train hadn’t filled any overnight and hardly any vendors had managed to infiltrate to spoil the coach karma; it was quite a pleasant journey all in all. When we woke though NTES showed us 1h48m late and it was a good while before we reached Narkher, where the new line via New Amravati to Badnera Jct branched off and as we departed Narkher we could see PA WDM3D 11181 sat over the back of the station, with what we could only assume to be 51184 0900 Narkher – Bhusaval. We were about 1h45m late and departed just after 0900 so it must have been held for us to go over the branch first.

The run over the branch was quite a quick affair and there was nothing in the way to delay us. What I didn’t realise was that the whole length of the line from Narkher to Badnera has overhead wires now erected and I can only assume it won’t be long before it will be energized as the whole branch looked to be complete. Of course when it is there’s no reason why any train over the branch needs to be electric and 19301 could be electric all the way from Indore to Akola.

Arrival into Akola was at 1252, only 1h02m late in the end. This then allowed us 2h28m to get to Khamgaon by road to hopefully find the Jalamb – Khamgaon branch train sat waiting to depart with an Alco and stock as opposed to the usual railbus. We were taking a complete gamble with this move as the branch train had been photographed in June 2014 with a CLA WDM2S and stock and someone else had confirmed on IRFCA that they had seen it since then, but also in 2014; still as far as I was concerned it was worth the gamble. However we had to get to Khamgaon first, which looked easier on a map than it actually turned out to be….

Outside Akola station front there was nothing but autos and we needed a taxi to get us to Khamgaon. Google maps showed the journey to be 53km, via a direct road, and that it would take approx. 1 hour to get there from Akola. We were immediately swamped by auto drivers, one of which turned out to be a right royal pain in the arse! After a bit of consultation it turned out that there weren’t any taxis in Akola and that we would have to make the journey by auto, which would cost us RS1000; however, one guy put his phone onto my hand and at the other end was a guy who spoke excellent English, who it turned out was willing to take us to Khamgaon and would come down to the station in approx. 5 minutes with his car. The guy that had put the phone in my hand told me he was a good friend and was willing to take us in his own car.

Meanwhile, while we waited in the shade of the station front, we were harassed to death by local urchins and auto drivers, some of whom tried to usher us into an auto when it came along and told us it was our taxi! The guy who’d called his mate just beckoned to me to be calm and just to ignore them and told me that his friend would be along shortly. Being calm wasn’t at the top of my agenda though and I began to take my frustrations out on the very annoying auto drivers, some of whom eventually got the message and started to disperse. 5 minutes later the guy who was to take us to Khamgaon turned up but not in a car on a motorbike; he basically came down to make sure we were legitimate first and to confirm exactly what we’d discussed on the phone; that we only wanted to go one way and didn’t need ferrying around once we got to Khamgaon. This only wasted yet more time, which was starting to get a little thin on the ground and in the end, 5 minutes later, we were taken in an auto to a hotel outside the statin when Mr Shakil Khan picked us up in his car. Having arrived at Akola at 1252 we eventually set off for Khamgaon at 1336 with only 1h44m to make the 1520 Khamgaon – Jalamb Junction shuttle.

The journey was via a direct road, which was a decent enough road, surface wise, but the amount of lorries hammering up and down it made it quite hard to make any progress at times and with the odd bus weaving in and out as if the driver had no care in the world for the safety of his passengers, it certainly made for an interesting journey. Mr Khan was quite a talkative guy and we conversed all the way to Khamgaon, generally about India, its politics and the general state of affairs throughout the country. He couldn’t quite understand how we managed to accept India for what it was and deal with the general disarray that the country threw at foreigners; my response to that was that if you travel to somewhere enough you eventually sink into the routine that everyone else follows and as long as you accept a place for what it is and generally act like a local then you’re accepted a lot better and fit in to society just like the rest of the locals.

As we approached the outskirts of Khamgaon, with about 25 minutes to spare before the 1520 departure to Jalamb, Mr Khan had to start asking for directions to the station; he’d been to Khamgaon before but only made the journey about once a year to visit relatives. Thankfully the station wasn’t far from the edge of town and as we pulled into the car park people were already queuing for tickets for the 1520 departure. My first glimpse of a train gave me the impression that it was a coach I was seeing and not a railbus and a quick scan on the platform revealed an orange Alco at the head of three coaches; the gamble had paid off and the Khamgaon deviation in our bash was worth the hassle!

We had our photo taken with Mr Khan before he departed and paid the agreed fare of RS2200. He was soon on his way back to Akola, a lot better off for the day, and we were soon taking photos of PA WDM2 18605 at the head of 71112 1520 Khamgaon – Jalamb Jct. The stock was all ex DMU stock and it wasn’t particularly wedged either. The timetable on the wall outside the ticket office had only 4 trains each way per day, as did the Western timetable; I assumed that since the service was now loco-hauled and not a railbus that the service had been thinned for two reasons, one as there was no way the loco-hauled set would be able to run round in ten minutes at either end and two that the capacity of the train was now far greater and IR didn’t necessarily need to run frequent trains to ferry the same amount of people about.

The crew for 18605 eventually turned up at 1519 to start the loco and we amazingly departed 4 minutes later; at 1523. The train wasn’t full to the gunnels but had plenty of college kids on board. There was no myther at all during the journey, that started at Jalamb, but equally there was no thrash from 18605 either and we pretty much tottered our way throughout the 13km journey; the loco pilot only needing to apply power every now and again to give the little three coach train a spurt of life.

The Khamgaon train platform at Jalamb Junction is on a spur adjacent to the Manmad bound platform and once 18605 had come to a stand there was an opportunity to get some decent photos of the loco, on the curve and in full sunshine, before it ran round. Not only did the sun decide to sporadically disappear, locals sporadically took it in turns to stand in front of the loco and try and figure out what we were doing; that soon turned into a mass gathering around us by the time we’d finished. A railway worker on the platform, who I think was the shunter, tried to tell us that we couldn’t take photographs so I referred him to the Indian Railways publication that I had with me, section 1.3 of which quotes “Foreign nationals, visiting India as tourists, do not require clearance for undertaking still/video photography for personal and non-commercial use”; needless to say that was the end of that conversation and we continued to take photographs as we pleased.

As we made our way onto the platform and into the shade, it seemed our following were going to do just the same and sheep us around the place. Once we’d withered the chai stall owner with our presence we ultimately became completely surrounded by a group of all ages really. There wasn’t any malice or real hassle and we ended up having a decent conversation with the group; who were all fascinated with our English money and needless to say some of it ended up staying in Jalamb. The group couldn’t quite understand why we were going from Akola to Manmad via a taxi to Khamgaon and train to Jalamb when the train we were waiting for, 11040 Gondia – Kolhapur “Maharastra Express” had departed Akola only 1h35m after we had in our taxi; and to be frank when its put like that it had me wondering a bit as well! Still, we achieved what we set out to do but of course, as with many branch lines in India the line from Jalamb to Khamgaon was set to be extended to Jalna on the Manmad – Nanded line. Of course though it could well be wired throughout when built and made sense to do so as it was already strung up to Khamgaon, making the branch trains diesel under the wires throughout.

11040 wasn’t too late and while it was booked electric to Bhusaval we were still pleased to see BSL WAM4 21334 arrive with the train; as opposed to a WAP4. We’d been told by all the locals on the platform where the AC was on the train and were ushered towards it as the train arrived. The TTE gave us two berths in 2AC straight away and we relaxed for the journey towards Manmad; bidding all our friends at Jalamb goodbye as we departed.

The Elocos coaching link booklet had shown the electric on 11040 to run through to Manmad weekly but Bhusaval daily. All I could assume from that was that once a week the electric actually went through to Manmad; thankfully it wasn’t on a Monday and the man with the gloves was already in between and uncoupling 21334 as I got to the front of the train. There hadn’t been a great deal on Bhusaval ELS as we came by; there was a WAM4, 206xx, with a lot number painted on the side and a crash damaged AJNI WAG7 31068, which didn’t look like it was in a repairable state.

I’d seen PA WDG3A 14811 from the train as we’d arrived but hadn’t realised it had newly built WDP4D 40216 attached; it was that new that it had no shed allocation on it anywhere and when 14811 backed down onto the stock with it I was able to check the works plate to find it had been built in January 2015; it was spotless, other than the grease on its buffers. 14811 turned out to be a cracking engine and as we were quite close to the front of the train we could hear it quite well from the doors.

We were almost an hour late into Manmad on 11040, arriving at about 2115. The original plan for the trip would have had us arriving at 0115 the following morning off 17058 from Nanded, having done 19301 through to Nanded instead of getting off at Akola. The latter plan had only changed when I’d discovered the possibility of the Khamgaon branch being hauled. As a result there was no a necessity for a hotel in Manmad and I’d rang the Hotel Shree Leela International from Arakkonam a couple of weeks previous and they were kind of expecting us when we turned up; probably only because I rang as we departed Bhusaval to tell them we’d be an hour later than planned.

The Hotel Shree Leela International is set back from the main road that runs at 90 degrees to the railway, in a quiet location. The walk to get there is interesting, especially at night, but we made it there safe enough having taken it easy along the way, it taking about 10 minutes at a steady pace. Check-in was simple enough and the C forms were largely filled out by the hotel staff once they’d copied our passports and sent them to our room. We’d chosen a room with twin beds, which had AC a decent flat screen TV, was sizable and eventually had hot water. While the boy was sent to our room to take a meal order we declined the offer as we’d eaten on our way into Manmad; all we had to do was get clean and get to bed as we needed to be up at 0515 for, the return working of the train we’d arrived into Manmad on, 11039 Kolhapur – Gondia, departing at 0615.

The Moves

Taxi Akola Jct Khamgaon RS2200, 53km, 1h30m Private Car – not taxis in Akola!
18605 Khamgaon Jalamb Jct 1520 Khamgaon – Jalamb Jct 71112 PA WDM2 – vice railbus on load 3
21334 Jalamb Jct Bhusaval Jct 0820 Gondia Jct – Kolhapur 11040 BSL WAM4 21334 to Bhusaval for PA WDG3A 14811 forward; with new build WDP4 40216 dit
14811 Bhusaval Jct Manmad Jct

 

Gen for Monday 2nd March 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

6719 MHOW YDM4 52976 1300 Akola – Mhow

The Photos


Tuesday 3rd March 2015 (The Dhule fiasco bonus)

I’d already checked that 11039 Kolhapur – Gondia was on time before we left the hotel and once at the station our big bags were left in the cloak room, which is through the booking hall on the left hand side. As we walked over the station footbridge we watched 11057 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Amritsar depart; while it was heading to Chalisgaon as well it was unfortunately electric hauled. What we hadn’t realised as we watched the train depart, 1h48m late, was that it would ultimately do us a massive favour and create us a better day as a result.

We drank chai while waiting for 11039 to arrive into platform 1 and were pleased to see it do so with the correct traction, PA WDM3D 11391. There was space in the 2AC for us to Chalisgaon and once there we were on the hunt for some breakfast, the best bet seeming to be over the far side of the station. However as we stood scanning the place from the station footbridge I noticed an Alco shunting some stock at the Manmad end of the station and moments late an announcement came telling everyone that 51111 0600 Chalisgaon – Dhule passenger would be 1h15m late. When the stock arrived, with SL and C coaches to the rear, it then made sense as to why an originating train would depart over an hour late; there had been slip coaches from 11057 that were Lokmanya Tilak Terminus to Dhule slip worked and conveyed to Dhule by 51111 passenger. So rather than wait until the 0950 Chalisgaon – Dhule passenger we ended up on the 0600 instead; which departed at 0726, 1h26m late.

The 57km long branch from Chalisgaon to Dhule produced a cracking run from ET WDM3A 16223 with its load 8 set of coaches; 5 of which were ex DMU coaches and the other three the slip coaches from 11057. The line was fast and there was no messing about at stations at all. The train was full but not heaving and we had seats all the way to Dhule right at the front of the train. The outward journey took just 1h09m from end to end and left us hoping we’d have a bit of the same on the return; we couldn’t have been more wrong though!

As the stock was all ex DMU stock, which didn’t have toilets, the bushes just off the end of the platform got quite a watering after the train had arrived! 16223 was run round quite quickly and we managed photos at either end of the station before getting into the 3AC coach, at the Chalisgaon end of the train, for the return journey to Chalisgaon. There were other people in it, mainly staff and GRP, but we weren’t bothered by anyone. 51112 0750 Dhule – Chalisgaon departed at 0835, just 45 minutes late.

All the previous fast running we’d had along the branch all began to go to waste at Shirud, where we sat for 25 minutes to allow an oil tank train to arrive in the opposite direction, headed by KZJ WDG3A’s 13446/13655. The crap thing about it was that the Shakti’s had been sat outside waiting from the moment we arrived into the statin and it took 25 minutes to get us moving again. NTES had shown 51154 Bhusaval – Mumbai local as being approx. 50 minutes late so there wasn’t really a concern; we’d been hoping to make this train back to Manmad after our bonus early run down the Dhule branch.

The second installment of incompetency came at Jamdha, where yet again there was a train sat outside as we arrived, it took the staff 14 minutes to pull off for PA WDM3D 11457 and PA WDM2 17935 to come into the station and 24 minutes after coming to a stand we left for Chalisgaon; bearing in mind we arrived at Jamdha at 1007 and 51113 was due off going the other way at 1009. I’ll bet everyone on the station was well impressed to be seeing their train heading in the wrong direction, after it should have already departed in the right direction with them all on board!

We were told by a GRP guy on board that the freight didn’t run every day, only selected days of the week. The oil tankers were bound for Shirud only but the grain was bound for Dhule. Despite the bonus run early run to Dhule we weren’t so lucky with the getting back to Manmad early stakes and as we arrived at 1046 from Dhule, NTES showed 51154 as having departed for Manmad at 1044, just 2 minutes earlier. We did have a back-up move in 15018 Gorakhpur – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus but it was almost an hour late and we’d have to wait well over an hour for it. Still it could have been worse as 15018 had been over 4 hours late the previous day and had we end up on the 0950 Chalisgaon – Dhule, which departed at 1123, we’d be well and truly missing 15018 and not having a train back to Manmad until after 1600! For the record the three slip coaches were shunted off the set after 51112 arrived at Chalisgaon, which involved a double shunt as the brake van was marshalled at the rear of the train, sandwiching the slip coaches in.

While we festered at Chalisgaon there was a bit of action through the station and we watched the KZJ Shakti’s, 13446/13655, return light from Shirud and attach to another set of oil tankers down by the pit road, before heading off down the Dhule branch with them shortly before we set off for Manmad. Again despite the fact that 15018 was booked electric through Manmad we were pleased to find something other than a WAP4 at the head of the train and 21959 turned out to be my first KYN WCAM2 ever.

Being back into Manmad at the time we were was a massive bonus as it meant not only that we could do an afternoon move but that we could get some food before doing the move. There were plenty of places outside the station to choose from and I managed to pick the one that was pure veg first and we ended up walking further down the road to find one that would do an egg curry and a very good one it was too.

The afternoon move, and really all that we could actually do before our overnight to Nizamabad, was to be 12628 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Bangalore Karnataka Express to Kopargaon, where we’d have a choice of two trains back into Manmad. GTL WDG3A 13257 was sat in at Manmad with 17687 1500 Manmad – Dharmabad Express and once we’d finished walking aimlessly around Manmad station we waited at the Delhi end for 12627 Bangalore – Hazrat Nizamuddin to arrive; when it did though there was a big shock in store!

I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing as 12627 rolled down the platform but my eyes definitely weren’t deceiving me and KJM WDP4 20055 brought the train to a halt and was removed minutes later and replaced by an electric for the run to Delhi. This was the first time I’d ever known a GM do the Karnataka Express let alone a single loco. What soon became a concern, once the mind had time to process what had gone on, was that now the Karnataka loco link is MLY twins and not ET twins they must interlink at Manmad to get the locos back to home depot and of course we were booked on 17063 2100 Manmad – Secunderabad overnight! Having arrived at Manmad in the early afternoon there was plenty of time to service the locos off the Karnataka and have them ready for a 2100 departure to Secunderabad and even if not they could also re-engine 17057 Mumbai CST – Secunderabad at 0215 instead; the bad news was that we were booked on 17063 to Nizamabad and 17057 from Nizamabad to Secunderabad so either way there was definitely potential to get withered by the GM.

With the possible impending doom in the back of our minds we were very pleased when MLY WDM3A’s 16753/18972 produced to work 12628 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Bangalore City forward from Manmad; replacing ET WAP4 22875. The AC on 12628 was right at the front of the 24 coach train and we had no problems getting a couple of berths to Kopargaon. The engines sounded pretty good hammering away towards Daund and it couldn’t be long before the newly erected overheads were energized and electrics took over most trains on the route to Pune. That would also mean that the Karnataka would then need an engine change at Pune and not Manmad so maybe the link would go over to PA engines after electrification to Daund?

Kopargaon doesn’t have a lot going for it and our walk round outside the station revealed a couple of local shops for local people and nothing much more. The station does have a decent refreshment room on it though. As the Karnataka Express had been late our wait at Kopargaon was halved and when 17205 Sainagar Shirdi – Kakinada Town came round the corner with twins we were well chuffed. The twins were actually MLY WDG3A’s 13238/13244, definitely not what we’d expected and a massive bonus. The last time I’d done the train, into Shirdi, it had been a single MLY WDM2! A big difference in horse power from 2600 to 6200! The one thing both occasions did have in common though was how empty the train was and we basically had the run of the front coach all the way to Manmad. The engines were in a bit of a state but still entertaining, neither loaded up at the same time when the loco pilot took power and the plumes of black clag that came from each did so separately; even the transitions on each loco came in at different times!

As we drew into the platform at Manmad it became evident that the train was going to fill and we had to literally fight our way through the crowds to get out of the train. We made a bee line for the Hotel Shree Leela International to use the restaurant before our overnight; noticing that KJM WDP4 20055 was sat over the back of the station as we made our way to the station exit. The potential to be bowled out was now firmly on our minds and it was pretty much all we talked about over food; imagine the relief when we got onto the station, having collected our bags from the cloak room, when we found MLY WDM3A’s 16695/18894 just being attached to our train! 20055 was nowhere to be seen at that point and the twin had been discounted from the equation as I thought they were KZJ locos and not MLY ones; they’d arrived on 12715 Nanded – Amritsar shortly before 20055 had with the northbound Karnataka Express. Whether it was the booked link continuation or not we were pleased and even if 20055 did end up on 17057 in the morning it wouldn’t be the end of the world for the run into Secunderabad.

The 2AC on 17063 Ajanta Express was almost empty out of Manmad but it filled almost to capacity at Nagarsol and the TTE confirmed there weren’t any vacant berths en-route. Once everyone got sorted I was surprised how calm the coach was and I didn’t even hear people get on at Aurangabad.

The Moves

11391 Manmad Jct Chalisgaon Jct 1530 (02/03) Kolhapur – Gondia Jct 11039 PA WDM3D
16223 Chalisgaon Jct Dhule 0600 Chalisgaon Jct – Dhule 51111 ET WDM3A – 1h26m late start
16223 Dhule Chalisgaon Jct 0750 Dhule – Chalisgaon Jct 51112 ET WDM3A
21959 Chalisgaon Jct Manmad Jct 0530 (02/03) Gorakhpur Jct – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus 15018 KYN WCAM3
16753 Manmad Jct Kopargaon 2115 (02/03) New Delhi Jct – Bangalore City Jct 12628 MLY WDM3A’s 16753/18972 in multi
18972
13238 Kopargaon Manmad Jct 1710 Sainagar Shirdi – Kakinada Town 17205 MLY WDG3A’s 13238/13244 in multi
13244
16695 Manmad Jct Nizamabad 2100 Manmad Jct – Secunderabad Jct 17063 MLY WDM3A’s 16695/18894 in multi
18894

 

Gen for Tuesday 3rd March 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

21329 BSL WAM4 22848 0015 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Visakhapatnam
21940 KYN WCAM2 13201 2330 (PP) Rajendranagar – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus
40213 PA WDP4D 12779 1510 (P) Vasco Da Gama – Hazrat Nizamuddin
20632 ET WAM4 15017 0635 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Gorakhpur
22554 GZB WAP4 51424 1430 Manmad – Igatpuri
22203 BSL 12533 1945 (P) Lucknow Jct – Mumbai CST
20055 KJM WDP4 12627 1920 (PP) Bangalore City – New Delhi (Vice 2xMLY Alco!)
30263 AJNI WAP7 12542 1110 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Gorakhpur
22875 ET WAP4 12628 2115 (P) New Delhi – Bangalore City (to Manmad)
18894/16695 MLY WDM3A’s 12715 0930 Nanded – Amritsar (to Manmad)
13257 GTL WDG3A 17687 1500 Manmad – Dharmabad

The Photos


Wednesday 4th March 2015 (To be bowled by a GM; or not to be bowled by a GM)

When the alarm woke me at 0515 NTES showed that we were 41 minutes late. As we were on a plus 1h05m this was acceptable but as we found out when we arrived into Dharmabad we were actually 1h15 minutes late; I’d been expecting Basur next at 41 minutes late. As with all trips there has to be something that potentially goes down t and it looked like the Bodhan branch might be it when we departed Dharmabad. If we missed the 0630 down the branch the next train to Bodhan was 11h25m later at 1755 and there would be no hanging around for that!

It was the single line that saved us in the end and MLY WDM3A 18796 was sat waiting to depart with 57501 0630 Nizamabad – Bodhan as we arrived. It was only on load 3 and thankfully sat right at the Secunderabad end of the station; as we were right at the front of our 20 coach 17063 Ajanta Express. For some random reason I thought we’d had an engine change in the night as I was adamant that the leading loco of the twins had been blue and not orange; this of course warranted a quick run up the platform to spot the engines before having to run back to the Bodhan branch train so as not to miss it. It was completely needless as the locos were the same and both had obviously been orange when we’d set out from Manmad.

There was enough time for a quick chai before we set off and when we did we passed the signal at the end of the platform at danger so there were obviously signaling issues at Nizamabad. In the yard to the north of the station were two Shakti’s PA 13559 and MLY 14629, both were attached to separate breakdown trains and shut down. On the run to Jankampet Junction, where the Bodhan branch takes a left turn, we were treated to a good sunrise; we weren’t treated to much after that as the run down the branch was a complete and utter stagger, all the way! The load 3 set wasn’t well frequented at all, which made up for the totter. Once at Bodhan though things got even slower in the station limits and the loco took 20 minutes to run round and did so at less than walking pace; of course it was a massive run round loop as well, not bad for a place that has three trains in/out a day.

The return journey was a little better frequented, and more people got on at Gandhi Park Halt, which is about a kilometer outside Bodhan and about the limit to where the loco had to run to, to reverse during its run round. We were 30 late away and obviously never picked any time up due to the stagger factor. On board we chatted to a young Muslim girl who had been told by her father that she must speak English as often as possible; it showed that she’d practiced a lot in both her accent and vocabulary as she even threw in some slang words as she spoke. Years ago females would hardly glance a westerner’s way in India let alone chat to them but this girl seemed very comfortable talking to us and even joked with us about things too. She was a typical teenager though and in that rebellious stage of life where she didn’t want to do as she was told; she was bright though so would get over that no doubt and her excellent English would probably do her well too.

While we’d missed our planned southbound move at Nizamabad there was an option to continue on 57502 to Dichpalli for the late running 57561 Kacheguda – Manmad and although 57502 went we opted to get off and try and find some breakfast and when MLY WDG3A 13239 arrived with 57561 we did it forward to Jankampet Jct instead. 51421 Pune – Nizamabad passenger, which had departed at 1425 the previous day, had been showing as 20 late on NTES and we’d expected it to be sat at Jankampet Jct waiting for us; when 57561 got the road though we began to become a little concerned as if it got too much later there was every chance it could be looped for 17057 Mumbai CST – Secunderabad to overtake it. After 15 minutes my curiosity got the better of me but the station master soon put my mind at rest when he confirmed that “train is coming”.

Bizarrely the station master’s assistant told us we couldn’t take photos, while we were poised as the train hit the end of the platform; of course he was too late to prevent the inevitable at that point but telling a couple of tourists not to take photos in the middle of nowhere is just ridiculous and beyond the call of duty. We didn’t argue the toss with him as PA WDM3D 11407 arrived and just walked down the platform to get on chuntering to ourselves. Thankfully 51421 got the road straight away and away we went.

At Nizamabad we found GY WDP4D 40188 at the head of a short rake to form 57687 1415 Nizamabad – Kacheguda passenger, it must have arrived on 57601 0600 Kacheguda – Nizamabad. While I was sure it was an offlink I was also sure that if we’d stuck to or original plan, had we not missed the first move at Nizamabad, that we’d have ended up on said GM back into Nizamabad that morning! Moving from one GM to the possibility of another, our eyes were firmly cast in the direction of our arriving 17058 Devagiri Express from the moment it was first announced; hoping that we didn’t see a WDP4 come round the corner with it.

When the familiar sight of an orange nose came round the corner, followed by a second loco, we were quite relieved. When we noticed that both locos we marshalled long hood leading our suspicions were confirmed when they passed us; it was GTL WDG3A’s 14577/14995 which we’d seen removed from a freight at Manmad the previous afternoon. The freight had been worked forward by an electric and we just assumed they were stabling until it returned from whence it went. It was obvious that these locos weren’t in the MLY link to work any of the twin turns so we were left thinking that maybe the Devagiri Express was the next part of the link for the locos off the northbound Karnataka Express at Manmad and that there was a specific reason why 20055 hadn’t been sent to Secunderabad, other than the fact it would have been way out of position as regards getting back to home depot. Our assumptions drew a few conclusions; maybe the crew in the Devagiri Express link didn’t sign WDP4s? Maybe KJM didn’t want to lose their engine for the full link cycle so it was going to be sent back on the Karnataka Express the following day? Maybe the link imbalance had actually started at Manmad in the first place and the GM had done its bit and was now back where it needed to be? Who really knows! At the end of the day though we were treated to a pair of MLY Shakti’s into Secunderabad and we were only a few coaches from the front of the train, the 2AC was almost deserted too; so it was good news all round as we relaxed in relative comfort.

We were making good progress towards Secunderabad, until we hit Malkajgiri. Just as we came to a stand in the platform MLY WDG3A 13390 blew up to depart in the adjacent platform. We weren’t remotely prepared to get off for it and wouldn’t have made it even if we had got ourselves sorted as quickly as possible; the train appeared to be 57308 1240 Medchal – Kacheguda running about an hour late. When we eventually departed Malkajgiri we staggered from signal to signal into Secunderabad and watched time pass by enough to bugger our afternoon move up.

As we arrived into Secunderabad at 1510 we should have missed both 12026 1445 Secunderabad – Pune Shatabdi and 19201 1500 Secunderabad – Porbandar yet both were still sat in. Unfortunately though we didn’t have a choice of trains as VTA WDP4D 40167 was at the head of 19201 so we had to dash over to platform 1, where 12026 stood with the road already off. The mad dash turned out to be needless and 35 minutes later 12026 eventually departed; the road having been pulled off and put back twice and it was only at the third time of asking that the train departed! The TTE explained to us that there had been some binding brakes in the set that had to be attended to before departure; hence the 60 minute late departure! PA WDM3A 18773 wasn’t really tested to Begumpet and upon arrival this was where Pelham and I parted company. He headed straight out of the station to get an auto back to Secunderabad for 17223 1645 Secunderabad – Kurnool City to Kacheguda, as he was heading for the airport to get to Ahmedabad that night. I waited on the same platform for 17320 1600 Secunderabad – Hubli, which we’d seen at Secunderabad with KJM WDG3A 13038. In the meantime MLY WDG3A 14632 arrived and departed with 17429 1535 Hyderabad – Tirupati, which we’d passed on the curve at Hussain Nagar, waiting for us to go first on 12026; the Shatabdi clearly being given preference.

En-route to Lingampalli I noticed two of the old MG Pullman coaches loaded on the back of BG flat wagons. They were in a yard just north of Bharatnagar. They were in a bad way with most of the windows smashed and could well have been going for scrap? The last time I’d seen that set it had been stabled at Dehar Ka Balaji on the loop, in a very good state! After arrival at Lingampalli on 17320 the move went a little awry due to late trains heading into Secunderabad so rather than fester for hours I decided to do an EMU back to Begumpet for 57156 1725 Hyderabad – Gulbarga passenger. I was surprised that the EMU was on time to start with, although we did depart about a minute late waiting for staff to get from either end of the adjacent platform to the EMU; having arrived on a freight headed by VSKP WDG3A twins 14673/14636.

En-route back to Begumpet I passed MLY WDG3A twins 13244/13238 returning to Manmad with 17206 Kakinada Town – Sainagar Shirdi; I’d assumed that they’d do the train when they were sat in the bay at the Begumpet end of the station. At Begumpet there wasn’t long to wait before PA WDM3D 11382 arrived with a surprisingly on time Gulbarga passenger and there was still plenty of time to wait at Lingampalli when I got back. LGD WAP7 30325 was still sat there with the stock for 12737 Secunderabad – Kakinada Port but at least it was being prepared at that point.

As darkness fell mosquitoes began to pester and I was grateful of 57548 Purna – Hyderabad arriving when it did; it should have actually been the third of three trains, behind 57659 Solapur – Falaknuma and 57518 Tandur – Hyderabad passengers but both the other two were late. The last time I’d done 57548 it had been a pair of Shakti’s and it was on this occasion as well and for the first time I had Shakti’s from different shed multi’d up! MLY WDG3A, which was an ex GY engine, 13377, led KZJ WDG3A 14943. With no other option I was set for doing the train all the way into Hyderabad. The loco pilot was a little keen to get away at Lingampalli though and almost left with everyone wanting ton still on the platform as those getting off were still doing so. I made a bid for it when the train departed the first time but the train was brought to a stand by the guard at the rear. When the train departed a second time everyone who wanted to be off was.

KZJ WDG3A 13447 was sat in the opposite platform at Sanathnagar with 17010 Secunderabad – Bidar Intercity. As it would return in the morning there was no point getting off for it as the move wouldn’t be great getting back into Secunderabad. Further on, while we sat in the platform at Khairatabad, just outside Hyderabad, PA WDM3D 11388 arrived with 57130 1945 Hyderabad – Bijapur passenger; as the saying goes “a bird in the hand…….”, so off I got and headed straight back to Begumpet where LGD WAG9 31474 was just arriving with the late running 57518 Tandur – Hyderabad passenger. At that point it was quite tight for getting back into Hyderabad for 12720 2030 Hyderabad – Ajmer Express but I’d never even seen a WAG9 on a passenger train before, let alone had one so even if I missed 12720 there was always the auto option to get back to Secunderabad. As it turned out I had 5 minutes to spare at Hyderabad and even had time to walk right to the front of 12720 and enjoy the empty front coach round to Secunderabad. MLY WDM3A twins 18911/16017 were at the head of the train and KYN WDG3A 13571 was at the head of 17032 2040 Hyderabad – Mumbai CST, which would have been done to Begumpet had I missed 12720.

The MLY twins deposited me into Secunderabad and topped off a rather good day. My hotel was only a short walk from the station and about 600m up St Mary’s road, on the right hand side; the Hotel United 21 is clearly visible. Check-in was quick and I was shown straight to my room. The room was very spacious and was probably the best room I’d have on the trip. It was clean, had a large bed, AC, flat screen TV and free toiletries in the bathroom, which had 24/7 piping hot water. Food in the restaurant was served until 2200 and I made it by about 45 minutes. The food was prepared fresh and was very hot, while not the best meal I’d had during my travels it was still decent. I was glad of the hotel facilities as it had been a hot day and I felt like a scruff; all fresh and clean I didn’t make it to bed until gone 2300 though!

The Moves

18796 Nizamabad Bodhan 0630 Nizamabad – Bodhan 57501 MLY WDM3A
18796 Bodhan Nizamabad 0745 Bodhan – Mirzapalli 57502 MLY WDM3A
13239 Nizamabad Jankampet Jct 0450 Kacheguda – Manmad Jct 57561 MLY WDG3A
11407 Jankampet Jct Nizamabad 1425 (03/03) Pune Jct – Nizamabad 51421 PA WDM3D
14577 Nizamabad Secunderabad Jct 2110 (03/03) Mumbai CST – Secunderabad Jct 17057 GTL WDG3A’s 14577/14995 in multi
14995
18773 Secunderabad Jct Begumpet 1445 Secunderabad Jct – Pune Jct 12026 PA WDM3A – 1h late start brake issues
13038 Begumpet Lingampalli 1600 Secunderabad Jct – Hubli Jct 17320 KJM WDG3A
EMU Lingampalli Begumpet 1710 Lingampalli – Falaknuma 47187 MMTS Local EMU
11382 Begumpet Lingampalli 1725 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally – Gulbarga 57156 PA WDM3D
13377 Lingampalli Khairatabad 0730 Purna Jct – Hyderabad Deccan Nampally 57548 MLY WDG3A 13377 / KZJ WDG3A 14943 in multi
14943
11388 Khairatabad Begumpet 1945 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally – Bijapur 57130 PA WDM3D
31474 Begumpet Hyderabad Deccan Nampally 1615 Tandur – Hyderabad Deccan Nampally 57518 LGD WAG9
18911 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally Secunderabad Jct 2030 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally – Ajmer Jct 12720 MLY WDM3A’s 18911/16017 in multi
16017

 

Gen for Wednesday 4th March 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

Breakdown train at Nizamabad – 13559 PA WDG3A & 14629 MLY WDG3A

13258 GTL WDG3A 17689 0730 Kacheguda – Akola
40188 GY WDP4D 57601 0600 Kacheguda – Nizamabad, 57687 1415 Nizamabad – Kacheguda
16201/16549 MLY WDM3A’s 17057 1225 Secunderabad – Mumbai CST
13390 MLY WDG3A 57308 1240 Medchal – Kacheguda
40167 VTA WDP4A 19201 1500 Secunderabad – Porbandar
13244/13238 MLY WDG3A’s 17206 0615 (P) Kakinada Town – Sainagar Shirdi
13447 KZJ WDG3A 17010 1830 Secunderabad – Bidar Intercity
13571 KYN WDG3A 17032 2040 Hyderabad – Mumbai CST

The Photos


Thursday 5th March 2015 (A day bashing trains or a day bashing autos?)

Having sweated to death during the night, and not slept very well as a result, I wasn’t too pleased to be getting up at 0615 but I probably couldn’t have got back to sleep anyway so attempting was just a waste of time. The bill was paid promptly and the hotel staff beckoned me an auto into their compound from the main road. I’d had an option of getting up for the 0600 departure to Begumpet to await the arrival of 11019 Mumbai CST – Bhubaneswar “Konark Express” or the later start, which resulted in an auto to Begumpet instead. At least the auto was direct from the hotel though and only took 20 minutes; it cost RS150.

It became a good start to the day when KZJ twin WDG3A’s 13338/14578 arrived into Begumpet with the Konark Express and they put me into Secunderabad Jct with enough time to get my big bag dropped off at the cloak room on platform 1; once I’d found it! It isn’t signposted but is outside one of the Moula Ali end exits in the foyer. That done I was out just in time to watch KZJ WDG3A 14785 arrive with 57619 Repalle – Secunderabad fast passenger, which then formed 57605 0810 Secunderabad – Vikarabad passenger; and a very empty passenger train it was when it departed Secunderabad only a few minutes late.

57605 was held at Hussain Nagar for 17430 Tirupati – Hyderabad to cross our path and head down into Hyderabad. I thought we might have been held for 57547 Hyderabad – Purna passenger, which I’d been thinking of doing to Sanathnagar for what I presumed would be KZJ WDG3A 13447 back on 17009 Bidar – Hyderabad Intercity. This plan went in the bin on arrival at Begumpet when 57547 was being announced as running 1 hour late and when GTL WDG3A 13225 arrived with 17207 Sainagar Shirdi – Secunderabad it seemed like the sensible option.

When at Begumpet I’d been aware that 17017 Rajkot – Secunderabad would have been the next train in after 17207, which is booked for twin KZJ locos. As the saying goes though, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush; and 13225 was there at the right time. Despite a decent run into Secunderabad there simply wasn’t enough time to get back to Begumpet by road for 17017, or so I thought at the time as it was showing on a Begumpet station line-up as right time; it was an hour late when it arrived into Secunderabad though! My instant reaction was to do an auto round to Malkajgiri, with a view to doing a move involving 57474 Bodhan – Mahubnagar for 57307 Kacheguda – Medchal; another plan that went out of the window when the back end of 17063 Manmad – Secunderabad was sat in the station. The train was clearly being held to await space at Secunderabad, just like we’d been on 17057 Mumbai CST – Secunderabad the previous afternoon.

I didn’t manage to make it to the front of the train before it set off but discovered MLY WDM3A’s 16601/18974 at the head of the train on arrival into Secunderabad. Another set of MLY WDM3A’s, 18903/18910, were just being prepared to depart with 18509 Visakhapatnam – Nanded while KZJ WDM3A’s 18885/18895, which had arrived with 17015 Bhubaneswar – Secunderabad, were being used to shunt stock out of the platform and into the Moula Ali end carriage sidings. What I didn’t realise at this point was that I still probably had time to get to Begumpet for 17017 Rajkot – Secunderabad but as NTES wasn’t working I didn’t know. When KZJ WDG3A 14573arrived with 57626 Manuguru – Secunderabad passenger and was promptly run round to form 57651 1050 Secunderabad – Repalle passenger it would have been rude not to do it to Moula Ali and by the time I got back to Secunderabad I’d already had what I’d have considered to be a good day, all with the help of three auto’s; and it was only lunch time!

GTL WDM3A’s 16684/16656 were sat in when I got back to Secunderabad, having arrived with 17017 Rajkot – Secunderabad. As 11020 Bhubaneswar – Mumbai CST “Konark Express” was 30 minutes late there was plenty of time for a piping hot egg biryani from the refreshment stalls on platform 1. While I was consuming said biryani PA WDM3D 11364 returned from Bolarum with 57131 Bolarum – Hyderabad passenger, just the 2 hours late. At 1220 MLY WDM3A’s 18894/16695 were dropped onto 17057 1225 Secunderabad – Mumbai CST; this train always seems to be a late start from Secunderabad and of the three times I’d actually viewed the train this was the first time the engines had turned up before departure time!

In the end 11020 was almost an hour late but with KZJ WDG3A’s 14781/14887 at its helm I wasn’t complaining. At Begumpet I’d missed both the minuses onto 12701 Mumbai CST – Hyderabad and 17329 Hubli – Secunderabad but did make 57517 Hyderabad – Tandur passenger, which unfortunately wasn’t a WAG9 on this occasion but strangely an offlink, shed wise, in ET WAG5 23025; so I did it to Sanathnagar anyway for the fourth auto of the day back to Begumpet where I waited to watch PA WDM3A 18773 arrive with 12025 Pune – Secunderabad Shatabdi; the same one we’d had out of Secunderabad on 12026 return working the previous afternoon.

I might as well have done the auto I’d been in from Sanathnagar straight through to Hyderabad, which is where I ended up in auto number 5 of the day. The auto drivers outside the station couldn’t decide what they were going to charge me and after one had already quoted me RS180 a second tried RS250; what a treat he was and even his mates berated him for being an idiot! I managed to get them down to RS150 and the afternoon potter through the Hyderabad suburbs wasn’t too bad. Surprisingly the run only took 20 minutes and I had 10 minutes to spare when I was dropped off at the bottom of the station approach.

In Hyderabad were PA WDM3D 11364 already attached to the stock to work 57156 1725 Hyderabad – Gulbarga passenger, GTL WDG3A 13068 on the blocks having looked to arrive with 17430 Tirupati – Hyderabad and GTL WDM3A 16023 was attached to the other end to work 17429 1535 Hyderabad – Tirupati back out. KYN WDG3A 13588 was on the blocks of the main platform, having likely worked in with 12701 Mumbai CST – Hyderabad and attached to the opposite end of the set, to work back out momentarily, was KYN WDG3A 13557 which would do 12702 1445 Hyderabad – Mumbai CST; which made a prompt departure at 1445.

As we headed out of Hyderabad KJM WDP4 20054 was just approaching with 17229 Trivandrum – Hyderabad. As luck didn’t have it 12702 was held at Hussain Nagar, the story of my day really, for the late running 12026 1445 Secunderabad – Pune Shatabdi to be allowed to go in front of us as booked. Had I got off the train and walked round the corner to Begumpet station I’d have probably made 12748 Vikarabad – Guntur Superfast but a it was KJM WDP4 20062 was just departing as the road came off for us to enter the station and even though I managed to leap off the train at the bottom of the footsteps as we arrived, I still didn’t make it over in time to safely get on the 1512 EMU to Secunderabad so I risked another auto back to Hyderabad for 17430 instead. The auto drivers were withered; having seen me less than an hour earlier and I now wanted to go to the same place again! There was no messing this time though and I told them what I was paying and ensured that the driver knew I was in a hurry; and his driving obviously took into account that fact!

Without the skillful driving of the driver of my sixth auto of the day I wouldn’t have made 17429 at all but as it turned out I had three minutes to get up the station approach and I thankfully knew where the train was in the station, which helped a great deal. I was in the back coach to Begumpet and easily made the 1554 EMU into Secunderabad; which had I waited at Begumpet after missing the last one is exactly the same train I’d have ended up on into Secunderabad anyway. It was nice of the first class to stop right at the bottom of the steps and an unwinding journey was had into Secunderabad. En-route w passed KZJ WDG3A’s 13407/13412 with 17204 Kakinada Town – Bhavnagar, I wasn’t sure if they were multi’d up though as they were both the same way round which doesn’t seem to be normal practice with KZJ WDG3A’s nowadays, and KJM WDM2 17902 with 17320 1600 Secunderabad – Hubli.

Back in Secunderabad I collected my big bag from the cloak room as the afternoon could, and ultimately did, get very unpredictable as I headed round to Kacheguda to attempt some moves there in the afternoon. MLY WDM3A’s 16683/16551 were sat in on the far side of the station as I headed across for 17223 1645 Secunderabad – Kurnool City; they turned out to be with 17058 Mumbai CST – Secunderabad. I wasn’t surprised to find GY WDP4D 40202 at the head of 17223 either as Pelham had done the train round to Kacheguda the previous afternoon and also had a GY WDP4D on it. With half an hour to kill before departure I used the waiting room adjacent to platform 10 to charge my phones and then went round the corner to Kacheguda in the AC chair car on 17223; which amazingly had only two seats reserved in it for the duration of the train’s journey!

As 17223 departed Secunderabad MLY WDM3A’s 16683/16551 were in the station area with a crew in them, possibly for 17064 Secunderabad – Manmad “Ajanta Express”? Also of note was the fact that LGD WAG9 31448 was sat with a train in the middle of the station; it had been sat in the dock by platform 1 all day. Maybe Hyderabad/Secunderabad was the place to get WAG9’s in on passenger trains? 17223 was looped at Sitafalmandi for an MMTS local to go by and while we were sat waiting GTL WDG3A 13254 passed through with what I could only assume was 57473 1610 Kacheguda – Bodhan passenger running an hour late; as I later found out though assuming was a dangerous thing to do when attempting to do passenger trains in the Kacheguda area!

As we ran into Kacheguda MLY WDM3A’s 14041/18907 were stabled in the Secunderabad end of the carriage sidings and KZJ WDG3A 14785 was shunting stock at the opposite end. Stabled adjacent to the station was MLY WDG3A 13240 which backed onto a set of stock in the carriage sidings shortly after I’d arrived; this was where I learnt that assuming, when at Kacheguda, wasn’t the best thing to do, as I assumed it was collecting the stock to form 57435 1735 Kacheguda – Kurnool City. 5 minutes later there was an announcement for 57435, saying that it would depart 1 hour late. I couldn’t quite understand why this would be the case when the loco and stock appeared to be in the sidings, yes 14785 was blocking it in at that point but it didn’t take over an hour to get a set of stock shunted into the station. What’s more 57456 1410 Mahubnagar – Kacheguda, which was allegedly the rake share for 57435, was showing on NTES as having arrived right time.

When there was no sign of any action in the carriage sidings at 1810 I decided to do the 1815 EMU out towards Falaknuma; this was the same train I’d done from Lingampalli to Begumpet the previous day! As I got to Falaknuma GTL WDG3A 14633 was just arriving and I assumed it to be with 57448 1610 Mahubnagar – Secunderabad and as it wasn’t new I let it go; again my assumption would be proved completely wrong later in the evening when the real 57448 turned up! Shortly after 14633 went 17024 Kurnool City – Secunderabad turned up with the surprise of MLY WDG3A twins 13450/13653; the latter was in a blue livery, very similar to that of Raipur DLS, but it had some writing on the side that I couldn’t read in the dark, which probably explained why it was in a different livery? The twins were very good and despite it being a short journey to Kacheguda there was plenty of stop-start thrash to be had; and the train was empty.

At Kacheguda I found GTL WDG3A 14633 waiting to depart with 57435 1735 Kacheguda – Kurnool City passenger, almost 2h30m late. This meant that the train I’d watched 14633 depart Falaknuma with had been 57456, and not 57448 as I’d assumed, it had been 3 hours late; not bad for a train that had been shown on NTES as right time throughout its journey. As I headed out of the station to get an auto the short distance to Sitafalmandi another late train was being announced, 57688 1855 Kacheguda – Nizamabad would apparently be arriving shortly on platform 3. What I didn’t expect was to arrive shortly with it!

It was a day of justs and there was another example of a train just arriving as I got to Sitafalmandi. I was going there to do 17640 Akola – Kacheguda back in and thought that GY WDM3D twins 11410/11351 were it until I realised there was no AC on the train. Again assumptions; it didn’t cross my mind until I scanned the boards on the train that it was 57687 1415 Nizamabad – Kacheguda passenger heading into Kacheguda, over 2 hours late, which of course would then form 57688 back out, that was being announced when I’d left the station 15 minutes previous. Quite pleased with the GY twins I was a little confused as to why they were on the train; 57687 being the same train we’d seen at Nizamabad the previous day with GY WDP4D 40188 of course. All eventually became clear at Kacheguda later though.

While admiring the twins at Kacheguda there appeared to be no rush to run them round for 57688, even though it was 90 late by that point. My lack of paying attention almost resulted in me missing 57688 back out as it departed 20 minutes after arrival, while the GY twins were still being prepared by another crew. GTL WDG3A 13240 had run through the station just after 57687 had arrived, and clearly sneakily dropped onto the opposite end of the stock; I didn’t even hear the horn go and only noticed the train departing when there was a rush from the platform to train, as there always is when a train departs in India! I had nothing to lose in doing the train back out, other than yet more Rupees to an auto driver, especially as 17640 Akola – Kacheguda hadn’t arrived yet either.

MLY WDG3A 13258 was sat over the back of the station with 17640 when 13240 rolled in with 57688. It departed 5 minutes later and when the train arrived into platform 3, the same platform 57688 had vacated, it was evident that 17640 had been waiting for the platform to become vacant, the crew preparing the GY twins seemingly having done me a favour in taking their time as 17640 wouldn’t have been able to get in until they’d moved.

The very same GY twins, 11410/11351, were found in the adjacent platform to that which 17640 arrived into; now attached to 17603 2100 Kacheguda – Yesvantpur. I was thinking this was an offlink as all the paperwork I had showed 17603/4 to be a GY WDP4 throughout. Now the question was, was the link in-between 17604/17603 at Kacheguda to do 57601 0600 Kacheguda – Nizamabad and 57687 1415 Nizamabad – Kacheguda as this would explain both 40188 at Nizamabad the previous day and why the twins had also come off 57687 to work 17603.

While I was stood admiring the GY twins again I was approached by a guy who turned out to be the station master at Kacheguda. I took the opportunity to quiz him about the reporting of trains on the NTES system in the area, and how they all appear to be right time but are actually hour late; I simply got the answer “this is India sir” and shrugged his shoulders! When I asked him specifically about two trains that should have gone hours ago, but had actually been shown as arriving at their destination on NTES, he told me that 57659 Solapur – Falaknuma was 2h30m late and 57448 Mahubnagar – Secunderabad was 4 hours late.

Based on the fact that 57659 Solapur – Falaknuma arrived 2h35m late, very close to how late I’d been told by the station master, I did it out to Malakpet even though it was dud PA WDG3A 13064. I wasn’t comfortable going any further at that time of night and could even walk the 2km back if I needed to. Thankfully I didn’t need to and GTL WDG3A 13075 turned up 4h05m late with 57448; so if the station master can tell me almost to the minute how late the passenger trains are, why the hell does India Railways allow its electronic system to be blatantly abused? Up until this point I’d thought NTES was a cracking system but what happens around Kacheguda with the local passenger trains is definitely something to be wary of and basically there’s no way of knowing if a train has actually gone or not; which is rubbish when you’re a crank.

Enough was enough and I didn’t even contemplate anymore moves after that. While I drank chai on the platform KZJ WDG3A 14785 eventually backed the set into platform 1 to form 57620 2100 Kacheguda – Repalle; it was 2205 at that point! I find it disgraceful sometimes that locos, crew and stock for trains have been around for hours and yet a simple departure time can’t be met, which ultimately cases further issues later in the coaching link; which is probably why passenger trains in the Kacheguda area are screwed? My advice don’t even bother planning any moves, just turn up at Kacheguda and ask the station master how late everything is; and be armed with some cash for auto’s in between moves.

I spent the last 90 minutes of the day in the nicely renovated AC waiting room on platform 1, which had plush leather sofas in it and was pretty much spotless. There was a fee for using it though, which was RS30 for the first 2 hours and then RS10 for every hour after that; basically you could do an 8 hour overnight in it for RS90 and I’d have had no problem sleeping on the nice sofas they had. When I emerged to find out what was going on outside I found GTL WDM3D 11150 sat in platform 1, having arrived with 57624 0515 Guntur – Kacheguda; and get this it was only 10 minutes early! Or was it just a day late; who knew in these parts? The station was pretty much deserted but for a few folk waiting for my train; 12976 Jaipur – Mysore Superfast Express, which was announced as being 30 minutes late the moment I got outside the waiting room. As my coach HA1 was on the electronic display right at the Secunderabad end of the station I headed down there to wait. Hiding under the footbridge I found GTL WDM3A’s 16684/16656, which I’d missed earlier on 17017 Rajkot – Secunderabad, so that was bonus. I’d forgot the link was now GTL and not MLY and had expected 14041/18907 out of the sidings at the top end of the station to work the train.

I counted the coaches on 12976 as LDG WAP7 30297 arrived with the train; there were 24, 9 of which were AC. Other than the obvious Rajdhani’s, Garib Rath’s and the likes this train had the most AC coaches in a train consists that I’d ever come across. Usually I consider 6 AC coaches to be a lot but 9 of them isn’t far off a third of the train. My HA1 was only three from the rear of the train, which I was quite glad of as there wouldn’t be any horn noise from the engines! The 2AC part of HA1 wasn’t very busy at all; a lot seemed to get off at Kacheguda though. I was booked in lower berth number 19, which is in the last compartment where there are only two berths. The upper was occupied by a young girl, who barely flinched as I made my bed up as quietly a possible, then got virtually straight to sleep in it.

The Moves

Auto Secunderabad Jct Begumpet RS150, 6km, 15 minutes Autorickshaw
13338 Begumpet Secunderabad Jct 1510 (04/03) Mumbai CST – Bhubaneswar 11019 KZJ WDG3A’s 13338/14578 in multi
14578
14785 Secunderabad Jct Begumpet 0810 Secunderabad Jct – Vikarabad Jct 57605 MLY WDG3A
13225 Begumpet Secunderabad Jct 1710 (04/03) Sainagar Shirdi – Vijayawada Jct 17207 GTL WDG3A
Auto Secunderabad Jct Malkajgiri RS150, 20 minutes Autorickshaw
16601 Malkajgiri Secunderabad Jct 2100 (04/03) Manmad Jct – Secunderabad Jct 17063 MLY WDM3A’s 16601/18974 in multi
18974
14573 Secunderabad Jct Moula Ali 1050 Secunderabad Jct – Repalle 57651 KZJ WDG3A
Auto Moula Ali Secunderabad Jct RS120, 20 minutes Autorickshaw
14781 Secunderabad Jct Begumpet 1525 (04/03) Bhubaneswar – Mumbai CST 11020 KZJ WDG3A’s 14781/14887 in multi
14887
23025 Begumpet Sanathnagar 1215 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally – Tandur 57517 ET WAG5
Auto Sanathnagar Begumpet RS100, 4km, 15 minutes Autorickshaw
Auto Begumpet Hyderabad Deccan Nampally RS150, 6km, 20 minutes Autorickshaw
16023 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally Begumpet 1535 Hyderabad Deccan Nampally – Tirupati Jct 17429 GTL WDM3A
EMU Begumpet Secunderabad Jct 1530 Lingampalli – Falaknuma 47185 MMTS Local EMU
40202 Secunderabad Jct Kacheguda 1645 Secunderabad Jct – Kurnool City 17223 GY WDP4D
EMU Kacheguda Falaknuma 1710 Lingampalli – Falaknuma 47187 MMTS Local EMU
13450 Falaknuma Kacheguda 1500 Kurnool City – Secunderabad Jct 17024 MLY WDG3A’s 13450/13653 in multi
13653
Auto Kacheguda Sitafalmandi RS100, 5km, 15 minutes Autorickshaw
11410 Sitafalmandi Kacheguda 1415 Nizamabad – Kacheguda 56587 GY WDM3D’s 11410/11351 in multi
11351
13240 Kacheguda Sitafalmandi 1855 Kacheguda – Nizamabad 57688 MLY WDG3A
13258 Sitafalmandi Kacheguda 0930 Akola Jct – Kacheguda 17640 MLY WDG3A
13064 Kacheguda Malakpet 1020 Solapur – Falaknuma 57659 PA WDG3A – 2h35m late
13075 Malakpet Kacheguda 1610 Mahubnagar – Secunderabad Jct 57448 GTL WDG3A

 

Gen for Thursday 5th March 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

13245/13374 MLY WDG3A’s 17019 1740 (PP) Ajmer – Hyderabad
18895/18885 KZJ WDM3A’s 17015 0835 (P) Bhubaneswar – Secunderabad
14585 KZJ WDG3A 57564 2330 (P) Nanded – Hyderabad
18903/18910 MLY WDM3A’s 18509 1925 (P) Visakhapatnam – Nanded
20062 KJM WDP4 12747 0545 Guntur – Vikarabad, 12748 1345 Vikarabad – Guntur
16684/16656 GTL WDM3A’s 17017 0500 (P) Rajkot – Secunderabad
11364 PA WDM3D 57130 0845 (P) Bijapur – Bolarum, 57131 0905 Bolarum – Hyderabad, 57156 1725 Hyderabad – Gulbarga
11440 GY WDM3D 12219 2305 (P) Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Secunderabad Duronto
18894/16695 MLY WDM3A’s 17058 1225 Secunderabad – Mumbai CST
11398 KYN WDM3D 18519 2315 (P) Visakhapatnam – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus
18773 PA WDM3A 12025 0550 Pune – Secunderabad, 12026 1445 Secunderabad – Pune
13068 GTL WDG3A 17430 1915 (P) Tirupati – Hyderabad
13588 KYN WDG3A 12701 2150 (P) Mumbai CST – Hyderabad
20054 KJM WDP4 17229 0715 (P) Trivandrum Central – Hyderabad
13412/13407 KZJ WDG3A’s 17204 0400 (P) Kakinada Town – Bhavnagar (don’t know if in multi)
16683/16551 MLY WDM3A’s 17057 2105 (P) Mumbai CST – Secunderabad
17902 KJM WDM2 17320 1600 Secunderabad – Hubli
13254 GTL WDG3A 57473 1610 Kacheguda – Bodhan
40119 GY WDP4D 22119 0545 Tirupati – Kacheguda Double Decker
40148 GY WDP4D 12766 0655 Amaravati – Tirupati
14633 GTL WDG3A 57456 1410 Mahubnagar – Kacheguda (3 hours late), 57435 1735 Kacheguda – Kurnool City (2h35m late)
40130 GY WDP4D 12797 2005 Kacheguda – Chitoor
11410/11351 GY WDM3D’s 17603 2100 Kacheguda – Yesvantpur (off 57687 from Nizamabad)
11150 GTL WDM3D 57624 0515 Guntur – Kacheguda
30297 LGD WAP7 12976 1940 (P) Jaipur – Mysore

The Photos


Friday 6th March 2015 (Twins all the way…….)

When I woke we were about and hour from Hindupur, where I’d originally booked my berth to. I’d actually worked out a different move in the end and had alternatively planned to go through to Bangalore Cantt and get off there for the 12628 New Delhi – Bangalore City “Karnataka Express” there instead; just in case it was late and I was left out on a limb at Hindupur. As it turned out The Karnataka Express was only 15 minutes late on NTES and behind that 12252 Korba – Yesvantpur “Wainganga Express” was showing right time so this meant I could do the Karnataka to Yelahanka for the Wainganga forward to Yesvantpur and pick up my planned move there; the Karnataka was a dead connection onto 56225 1340 Bangalore City – Tumkur passenger anyway so I’d actually be better off doing the Wainganga move anyway.

As the locos had run round at Guntakal they were at my end of the train and I had a bit of a bellow as we approached Hindupur; I have to say I wasn’t that impressed at all and expected far better from a pair of WDM3A’s. When I alighted at Hindupur I walked to the front of the train to watch the twins depart and it was a good job I did. I hadn’t thought anything of it when bellowing as the engines were the right way round, loco livery wise, for 16684/16656 to have run round, but the locos at the head of the train were actually GTL WDM3A’s 16600/16715; I could only assume the swap had taken place at the loco’s home depot of Guntakal? It was a bit of a bonus for me as both pairs had been new; and the bonuses didn’t stop there that morning.

I didn’t have a long wait at Hindupur for the Karnataka Express to arrive with the third pair of new engines for the day; MLY WDM3A’s 16201/16549 had been seen heading out of Secunderabad with 17058 1225 Secunderabad – Mumbai CST two days previous and had found their way onto the southbound Karnataka two days later. The MLY twins gave a lot better run to Yelahanka than the GTL twins did into Hindupur and they clagged well too, unlike the GTL pair. My attempts to get the clag shot of them leaving Yelahanka proved fruitless though as the loco pilot trickled out of the station until the last of the 24 coaches was clear of the points then blackened the skies in the distance!

The wait at Yelahanka, in the hot afternoon sunshine, from Karnataka to Wainganga, was less than the one I’d had at Hindupur from the Jaipur – Mysore Superfast to the Karnataka; the moment the Karnataka was clear of the station the announcing started for the Wainganga right behind. Last time I’d done the Wainganga Express it had been from Kacheguda to Korba and return to Raipur with KJM WDG3A 13049 and it was booked Alco throughout; imagine how surprised I was when KJM WDM3D’s 11522/11520 rolled down the platform with the train! I was so impressed that I had to get my camera out and get a photo of the twins arriving; that was when the shouting started! Two railway employees came out of their office, the moment I got my camera out, and began shouting at me to stop taking photographs. I gave as good a verbal onslaught back as they gave and never moved the camera from my eye at all in the process. When I’d finished taking my photographs I then had a go at the pair and told them it wasn’t illegal to take photographs on railway premises, and then boarded the train. Another railway guy got on after me and asked what their problem was, when I told him he told me to be stern and tell them to get out of the way, then carry on doing what I wanted to do; he confirmed it wasn’t an issue taking photos on railway premises before exiting the train through the opposite side and continuing with his business.

KJM turns out some of the best kept Alco’s in India and despite being relatively new the WDM3D twins were a cracking pair, making them my fourth pair in a row for the day; pair for a pair for a pair for a pair! As we approached Yesvantpur and the big curve that brings you round to the station approach, by the carriage shed, we caught up with KJM WDG3A 13043, which was running parallel on the adjacent line with the stock for 16501 Yesvantpur – Ahmedabad, and had a bit of parallel running almost all the way into Yesvantpur. I didn’t manage to get my phone turned on in time to video the best bit unfortunately!

At Yesvantpur there were three trains sat in, all bound for Secunderabad/Kacheguda; KZJ WDG3A 14889, which I’d seen shunting at Secunderabad the previous morning, should already have departed with 12735 1330 Yesvantpur – Secunderabad, KJM WDG3A 13273 was sat with 16569 1430 Yesvantpur – Kacheguda and last but not least, and probably the most important spot was KJM WDP4 20031 with 17604 1530 Yesvantpur – Kacheguda. The latter only confirmed, in my mind, that the GY twins I’d seen at Kacheguda with 17603 the previous night had been an offlink; but with a KJM engine on 17604 was this not also an offlink and should it not have been a GY WDP4?

While scanning the station for food I found some freshly prepared egg biryani’s on platform 1 and was that hungry that I ate almost every grain of rice! All followed by crisps, biscuits and freezing cold Thumbs Up. While I waited for 56580 Nelamangala – Bangalore City passenger to arrive GTL WDG3A 13248 headed out to Tumkur with 56225 1340 Bangalore City – Tumkur, which I’d have on its return. KJM WDM3A 17961 arrived into platform 1 with 56277 0730 Chikkamagalur – Yesvantpur passenger and was run straight round to work 56278 1515 back to Chikkamagalur; taking fuel at the top end of platform 1 before dropping down to he attached. Finally KJM WDP4B 40055 arrived with 12726 Dharwad – Bangalore City, shortly before KJM WDG3A 13249 arrived into the same platform with 56580 1400 Nelamangala – Bangalore City passenger; which I did down to Bangalore.

The high numbered platforms looked busy on arrival into Bangalore City, KJM WDP4 20028 departed immediately after 56580 arrived, from the adjacent platform. 16201 1530 Bangalore City – Shimoga Town Intercity was sat waiting to go and KJM WDM2 17751 was sat in the adjacent platform to that with the stock for 56227 1630 Bangalore City – Shimoga Town. Shunting in the carriage sidings was KJM WDS6 36243, which was noted for later, or another day, and sat in the yard with the stock for 56523 1745 Bangalore City – Hindupur was KJM WDM3A 18704; this rather poor example of a KJM WDM3A we’d had out of Vadodara on 16587 Yesvantpur – Bikaner a week earlier.

KJM WDM3D 11525 was immediately dropped onto the rear of the stock I’d arrived on and 13249 was just detached and left at the same end of the station that it had arrived. India Rail Info had a train shown in it that wasn’t timetabled; it was numbered 56581 and shown as the 1530 Bangalore City – Yesvantpur. This train was basically a stock transfer for the coaching link to then form 56242 Yesvantpur – Salem. I was a bit skeptical about the train even running but when 11525 backed down and was coupled up it seemed to make sense that it would run. There was no advertising for the train anywhere but strangely the boards on the side actually showed 56242 as being a Bangalore City – Salem. Sure enough though the train crew confirmed that the set was going to Salem and just as the loco pilot confirmed it the road came off and away the train went; with me and a load of passengers on board.

Being aware of 17751 being sat at Bangalore City with 56227 1630 Bangalore City – Shimoga Town I got an auto straight back down to Malleswaram and waited there for it coming up the hill, then did it back to Yesvantpur to wait for GTL WDG3A 13248 to return from Tumkur. While waiting KJM WDM3D 11519 was shunting in the station, KJM WDP4B 40009 arrived with 16532 1700 Bangalore City – Ajmer and KJM WDP4 20008 arrived with 17307 1330 Mysore – Dharwad. Both of those trains had provided much Alco entertainment in the past and 16531/2/3/4 Garib Nawaz Expresses were renowned for producing twin WDG3A’s of GY, KJM or even KZJ on occasion; good times…..

GTL WDG3A 13248 was about 20 minutes late arriving back from Tumkur with 56227 but it wasn’t so late by the time it arrived into Bangalore City. KJM WDM2 17930, which I’d seen at Yesvantpur shunting earlier in the trip with “de-rated to 2400hp” written inside the cab, was sat waiting to go with 56525 1810 Bangalore City – Chikballapur and until I spotted what I did from the footbridge that was going to be my next move.

As I was walking over to the main platforms to see what was going on I noticed the stock for my overnight, 16523 2000 Bangalore City – Karwar, in the middle carriage sidings with what turned out to be KJM WDS6 36016 sat on the adjacent road, which would have enticed me away from 17930. As my eyes scanned across though I spotted what looked like KJM WDG3A twins at the head of 16216 1815 Bangalore City – Mysore Intercity and went to investigate. Sure enough KJM WDG3A’s 13345/13260 were multi’d up and coupled to the front of the train. This train had always been booked for a KJM WDP4 so I was very surprised to find what I did at the head of it. Now came the dilemma though, although there wasn’t much of a decision to make really. 16523 Bangalore – Karwar was now booked for a KJM WDP4 from Bangalore to Mysore and I’d been considering doing the 1900 passenger to Mysore anyway, so when presented with a good get out clause why the hell would I not embrace it; especially as it would be my 5th new set of twins for the day!

The train was pretty rammed in chair car and unreserved but there was a bit of room in the AC chair car so that’s where I sat, the TTE finding me a place among all the locals travelling home. I was quite surprised the train was so busy actually as it was Holi Day in India and both Pelham and Youth had text to tell me that trains up north were very quiet. It seemed that Holi really wasn’t celebrated down south and I was actually quite thankful really as it could have been carnage with the powder being thrown around everywhere. Unfortunately this move put pay to me doing 17930, which I hoped would produce at the end of the trip, when I was back in Bangalore for a couple of days. Both the WDS6S’s shunting at Bangalore would have to wait also but now I knew what stock they shunted in, and round about what time, it would make getting them in a little easier.

13345/13260 were by far the best of the five sets of twins I’d had on this particular day and 13345 outshone 13260 as well. They were very loud when notched up and had that deep and powerful throb to them when on full power; it was a pleasure listening to them as hey hammered away towards Mysore. Upon arrival I wasted no time in finding somewhere to eat and chose the Kings Court Hotel just up the road from the station; I’d actually been planning to stay here until I’d found out that the Bangalore – Karwar/Kannur was now worked by a GM between Bangalore & Mysore, my alternative plan now saw me returning from Chikkamagalur to Bangalore vice going back to Hassan to do the Shravanabelagola branch. My thinking was that once the line was completed between Nelamangala & Shravanabelagola I’d have to go and do it anyway so why waste the day doing a bit of it to have to return again in the future?

While not fully expecting it, it was in the back of my mind that 13260/13345 might well work 16523 Bangalore City – Karwar forward from Mysore and actually be en-route to Subramanya Road to swap out with another pair that were required back for maintenance. When KJM WDP4 20009 arrived with 16523 I had a long walk back from what became the front of the train, as my 2AC in the Karwar portion of the train was right at the back! Sure enough 13260/13345 dropped onto the train, almost immediately, and I began to think my assumptions may be correct; of course we all now how my assumptions went the previous day don’t we…..

I was glad there was nobody in my berth when I got on as it could have been a long night if it had been given away by the TTE en-route to Mysore; who was fine when he did come for my ticket and gave me no issues whatsoever. While it was a little late into Mysore 16523 sat there for 50 minutes and I was asleep before the train departed; obviously I needed to catch up on a bit of the old shuteye!

The Moves

16684 Kacheguda Guntakal Jct 1940 (04/03) Jaipur Jct – Mysore Jct 12976 GTL WDM3A’s 16684/16656 in multi – via Dhone
16656
16600 Guntakal Jct Hindupur 1940 (04/03) Jaipur Jct – Mysore Jct 12976 GTL WDM3A’s 16600/16715 in multi
16715
16201 Hindupur Yelahanka Jct 2115 (04/03) New Delhi Jct – Bangalore City Jct 12628 MLY WDM3A’s 16201/16549 in multi
16549
11522 Yelahanka Jct Yesvantpur Jct 0800 (05/03) Korba – Yesvantpur Jct 12252 KJM WDM3D’s 11522/11520 in multi
11520
13249 Yesvantpur Jct Bangalore City Jct 1400 Nelamangala – Bangalore City Jct 56580 KJM WDG3A
11525 Bangalore City Jct Yesvantpur Jct 1530 Bangalore City Jct – Yesvantpur Jct 56581 KJM WDM3D – stock transfer move for 56242 YPR – Salem
Auto Yesvantpur Jct Malleswaram RS80, 3km, 10 minutes Autorickshaw
17751 Malleswaram Yesvantpur Jct 1630 Bangalore City Jct – Shimoga Town 56227 KJM WDM2
13248 Yesvantpur Jct Bangalore City Jct 1550 Tumkur – Bangalore City Jct 56226 GTL WDG3A
13345 Bangalore City Jct Mysore Jct 1815 Bangalore City Jct – Mysore Jct 16215 KJM WDG3A’s 13345/13260 in multi
13260
13260 Mysore Jct Mangalore Jct 2000 Bangalore City Jct – Karwar 16523 KJM WDG3A’s 13260/13345 in multi – piloted between Sakleshpur & Subramanya Rd by UBL WDG4’s 12141/12113
13345

 

Gen for Friday 6th March 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

14889 KZJ WDG3A 12735 1330 Yesvantpur – Secunderabad
13273 KJM WDG3A 16569 1430 Yesvantpur – Kacheguda
20031 KJM WDP4 17603 1530 Yesvantpur – Kacheguda
40055 KJM WDP4B 12726 0515 Dharwad – Bangalore City
13248 GTL WDG3A 56225 1340 Bangalore City – Tumkur
17961 KJM WDM3A 56277 0730 Chikkamagalur – Yesvantpur, 56278 1515 Yesvantpur – Chikkamagalur
20028 KJM WDP4 16201 1530 Bangalore City – Shimoga Town
18704 KJM WDM3A 56523 1745 Bangalore City – Hindupur
40009 KJM WDM4B 16532 1700 Bangalore City – Ajmer
20008 KJM WDP4 17307 1330 Mysore – Dharwad
17930 KJM WDM2 (de-rated to 2400hp) 56525 1810 Bangalore City – Chikballapur
11187 ED WDM3D 16232 1600 Mysore – Mayilduthurai
16804 ED WDM3A 16236 1745 Mysore – Tuticorin
20009 KJM WDP4 16523/16517 2000 Bangalore City – Karwar/Kannur (to Mysore)

The Photos


Saturday 7th March 2015 (Since when have GM’s been allowed to bank Alco hauled trains?)

My alarm was set to allow me to get the breakers at Subramanya Road, which would only be a couple of coaches from me once the Shakti twins had run round at Hassan. To be honest I hadn’t actually been expecting anything to assist down the Ghats from Sakleshpur, with their being twins on the train, but if I didn’t check I’d never know. I wasn’t sleeping very well anyway and ended up finding a nasty surprise at the head of the train when I went to check. There were four engines at the front of the train but unfortunately two of them where GM’s. I didn’t know it until Subramanya Road but the locos were UBL WDP4’s 12141/12113 and I was wondering if the fact that they were on the train was a simple path saving exercise? Either way I didn’t waste much time outside the train and attempted to get back to sleep for a while; which was a complete and utter waste of time as the whole coach was waking up and starting to go about their business and by Kabakaputtur I was well and truly up!

Despite being aware it was on its way, I managed to not see what the engine was on 56643 0605 Mangalore Central – Kabakaputtur; I saw it but just didn’t see the number of the WDM3D as I was on the wrong side of the train when we crossed it. By Mangalore Junction we were almost on time and the morning heat was already making its presence felt. For 0800 in the morning it was positively sweltering!

As 16523 arrived into Mangalore Junction ERS WDM3A 16536 was waiting to head north with 56665 0605 Kasaragod – Byndoor passenger and about 15 minutes after it left ERS WDM3A 16666, I a light green livery that I’d never seen before, arrived with 12201 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Kochuveli Garib Rath; it sat round for a good 20 minutes while the stock was watered. In the meantime ERS WDM3A 14055 trundled through, heading north, with 22636 0815 Mangalore Central – Madgaon. The fact that it didn’t actually stop didn’t stop a load of vendors boarding as it passed through, although it wasn’t going that fast at all and even I could have got on at the speed it was doing.

Electrification works were ongoing at Mangalore Junction but not too far gone so there was still plenty of time for Alco action in the area. Masts were only in the process of being erected and there was no sign of overheads actually going up. Next year’s trip might just have to feature Mangalore and south of though, to ensure I get another trip in before electrification is completed.

ED WDM3D 11208 was the loco I’d not seen on 56643 heading to Kabakaputtur and it arrived on time coming back with 56642 to Mangalore Central. The load 5 set was empty as well. On the short journey into Mangalore Central we were held where the double tracks goes to single to allow ERS WDM3A 16405 to depart Mangalore Central with 16517 Bangalore City – Kannur portion and then we ran into the bay platform on the left hand side of the station. ERS WDG3A 13197 was just about to shunt a set of stock out as we arrived an ED WDG3A 13500 was sat at the other side of it waiting to depart with 16523 Bangalore City – Karwar portion, in fact it was being announced as ready for departure as we came to a stand on 56642.

I was so glad I’d checked the status of 16516 Karwar – Yesvantpur, on a Mangalore Junction station line-up, on the way into Mangalore Central. It was showing 30 minutes late and as it was a plus 8 at Surathkal in the first place, the fact that 16523 was about to depart 20 late would make it a comfortable plus at Surathkal; or so I thought! I thought that 13197 shunting out might actually result in me missing 16523 anyway but I had plenty of time to scramble across the tracks once it had cleared the path for me to do so and it departed 21 minutes late.

As with most NTES station line-up’s how late the train is showing to arrive is generally incorrect and it’s usually later in reality as the system takes into consideration any slack in the schedule. I was expecting to find 16516 abut 45 minutes late when I checked but was horrified to actually find it showing right time, on a report only 5 minutes prior to me checking, but still showing to be at Mangalore Junction 30 minutes late! How the hell did that work? How it worked was irrelevant though and I now had an issue in that 16523 wasn’t booked to stop at Mangalore Central and it was definitely going to miss 16516 at Surathkal if indeed it was right time. I remembered the chai Walla’s getting on 22636 as it passed through Mangalore Junction earlier; and it seemed like my only way to prevent an overnight move to get to Hassan was to attempt to get off as the train passed through Mangalore Junction, and make like a chai Walla.

I was poised ready and could already see a couple of vendors stood on the platform ready to board as we rounded the large curve into Mangalore Junction. In the end it was an easy step-off, the train going plenty slow enough to not be risking a stupid move. It was such a relief as the next train to get me to Hassan, after 16516, would be the return overnight from Kannur/Karwar to Bangalore City. Had I not made 16523 at Mangalore Central I’d have been surprised to find the twin Shakti’s, that I’d effectively had all the way from Bangalore City to Mangalore Junction, on two different trains of course, working 56647 1015 Mangalore Central – Subramanya Road passenger; which has to be a different loco out of Mangalore anyway as it’s the same set off 56642 Kabakattupur – Mangalore Central, which terminated in a dead end platform with no run round loop. 13260 was leading into Mangalore Junction and the loco pilot had shut 13345 down on the inside; a pair of 3300hp locos for five coaches is a bit much after all! This move again fuelled my theory that there was to be a loco swap going on at Subramanya Road and I was fully expecting to find 13260/13345 waiting to bank 16516 when it arrived at Subramanya Road. I wish they had been……

KJM WDG3A 13035 actually arrived into Mangalore Junction 5 minutes early but still managed to leave late after the run round took longer than it needed to, especially with no traffic about at all. The AC chair car was almost empty and I had the six seats in the centre of the coach, with the table, to myself to Subramanya Road. Unfortunately I was then invaded by a family with three kids, who had reservations elsewhere in the coach but just decided they wanted to invade me; of course I moved but the kids were nothing short of an annoyance, running up and down and generally not doing as they were told; thank god for iPods!

The first thing I clapped eyes on as we arrived into Subramanya Road was 13345, sat in the adjacent road to that which we arrived on. When I got off to get some photos I soon realised that the twins had run round the load five set and were now attached to the south end to work 56646 1325 Subramanya Road – Mangalore Central, with 13260 now shut down on the inside. Had I been paying attention out of the other side of the train I’d have spotted UBL WDG4’s 12089/12024 in the shunt spur, which had shunted out and were just dropping down onto the rear of the train when I finally spotted them. There were another set of UBL WDG4’s in the yard, shut down, but no other Alco’s anywhere to be seen, other than heading both trains that stood in the station. The whole reason for having done the Hassan move was to get the Alco bankers in; but it seemed like that boat had now sailed and IR had found a more efficient way of utilizing it’s assets so as not to have to provide both Alco and GM bankers at Subramanya Road?

The journey forward to Hassan was uneventful on the outside of the train, for obvious reasons, but on the inside it was worse than travelling in 2nd unreserved; it was literally like travelling in cattle class with the noise, the children running about and the general lack of appreciation for others around! I really do hate travelling in AC chair car for that very reason, that and the general lack of privacy and the cramped seating arrangement! Still Hassan came round soon enough. We passed a couple of freights heading down the Ghats, both with GY twin WDG4’s, and also the set of UBL WDG4 twins I’d had pilot me down the Ghats that morning, 12141/113, running light back down the Ghats to Subramanya Road. So the pilot down the Ghats that morning did look like a positioning move to get them there to bank a train back north?

Glad to be off the train at Hassan, I was also glad to be able to see the Hotel Southern Star from the train as we arrived. It took me about 15 minutes, at a steady pace in the afternoon heat, left out of the station and straight down the main road. The hotel’s reception staff were expecting me, as my booking was through Booking.com, and I was presented with a complimentary mango juice while I checked in. Later on I was given a complimentary fruit basket, which was actually a banana and an orange on a plate. In the room complimentary bottled water was provided, along with AC that worked well, and the TV had a good quality picture. Most importantly the shower had piping hot water and not only was the bathroom clean; the whole room was pretty spotless too. I have to say that the towels were probably the best I’d ever used in India and they didn’t just move the water around your body when you tried to get dry; they actually did dry you!

As the hotel restaurant didn’t open until 1900 I wondered back down to the station, with a view to doing an evening move before food. On the way I stood watching some sort of demonstration outside a building near to the station, where some guys in the crowd were trying to bitch slap others who were leaving on their mopeds; all I could conclude from that was that the demo was union related. There was chanting and even the setting off of firecrackers, stupidly right in the middle of the crowd. Whatever the demo was, it was still going on when I walked back to the hotel 30 minutes later after flagging the move as dud KJM WDG3A 13030 had turned up with 56265 1730 Arsikere – Mysore. There was another train an hour later, which would put me onto the same train back into Hassan but I decided to just call it a day and head back to the hotel for food and an early night.

The hotel’s restaurant wasn’t full but there were other tourists eating there. The food was quite nice but the chef’s idea of a cheese nan was far from what I was expecting to get and I had to actually question whether it was a cheese nan at all, and whether I’d been given a plain one instead by mistake. The waited assured me it was a cheese Nan and tried to point out the odd bit of burnt cheese that had clearly only been sprinkled on top of said Nan and not stuffed inside like I’d expected.

Food done and having had the luxury of a second shower of the evening I was thankful of the early night and was in bed before 2100. The lack of sleep the previous night seemed to have taken its toll.

The Moves

12141 Sakleshpur Subramanya Road 2000 (05/03) Bangalore City Jct – Karwar 16523 KJM WDG3A’s 13260/13345 in multi – piloted between Sakleshpur & Subramanya Rd by UBL WDG4’s 12141/12113
12113
11208 Mangalore Jct Mangalore Central 0755 Kabakaputtur – Mangalore Central 56642 ED WDM3D
13500 Mangalore Central Mangalore Jct 2000 (05/03) Bangalore City Jct – Karwar 16523 ED WDG3A
13035 Mangalore Jct Hassan Jct 0530 Karwar – Yesvantpur Jct 16516 KJM WDG3A 13035, banked in rear by UBL WDG4’s 12089/12024 from Subramanya Road to Sakleshpur
12089 Subramanya Road Sakleshpur
12024

 

Gen for Saturday 7th March 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

11208 ED WDM3D 56643 0605 Mangalore Central – Kabakaputtur
16536 ERS WDM3A 56665 0605 Kasaragod – Byndoor
16666 ERS WDM3A 12201 1655 (P) Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Kochuveli
14055 ERS WDM3A 22636 0815 Mangalore Central – Madgaon
16405 ERS WDM3A 16517 2000 (P) Bangalore City – Kannur (from Mangalore Central)
13260 (13345 shut down inside) KJM WDG3A 56647 1015 Mangalore Central – Subramanya Road
13345 (13260 shut down inside) KJM WDG3A 56646 1325 Subramanya Road – Mangalore Central
13030 KJM WDG3A 56265 1730 Arsikere – Mysore

The Photos


Sunday 8th March 2015 (Nostalgia on the Talguppa branch; frustration on the Chikkamagalur branch)

Having slept quite well I made sure I checked out and paid my bill before going to the restaurant for breakfast; this would allow me a quick getaway if the food wasn’t forthcoming quick enough. The restaurant didn’t open until 0700 and my train was at 0755, a 15 minute walk away. Breakfast was included in the room rate and a fresh selection of south India dishes were just being laid out, buffet style, when I walked in. I was glad to hear that eggs were on the menu and cooked to my liking; the first omelette I’d had in days was soon rustled up while I gorged on toast and tea! I didn’t realise it at the time but I’d be very thankful of a decent breakfast later in the day!

I had plenty of time to get to the station, and plenty of time to hang around waiting for a late 16206 Mysore – Talguppa Intercity, as it was late. The last engine I’d seen the previous day turned out to be the first one I saw on this day as KJM WDG3A 13030 arrived with 16206 and on board the AC chair car was again almost empty; a bit of a theme with AC chair car in these parts. As the AC chair car was second from rear there wasn’t much bellowing to be done so I spent the journey relaxing instead. On the reservation sheet, passed to the coach, I was the only person reserved in AC chair car beyond Shimoga Town but there was actually me, one other guy and the coach attendant; who both slept almost all the way to Talguppa.

For only a few trains a day Talguppa station is quite a sizeable one, with three platforms capable of taking 20+ coaches and with watering facilities down the length of them. The set I arrived on was cleaned by the Talguppa cleaning crew and they may well have watered it but I was off down the high street while they were. I didn’t find much for lunch and while there were plenty of places selling stuff I returned to the train with crisps, Oreo’s and water; there wasn’t a bottle of pop to be found anywhere and the only thing I found out of a fryer where battered chili’s, which didn’t tempt me!

With nothing much else to do I sat on the stock to eat my “train food” in peace and to get out of the afternoon sunshine. While I ate I admired a guy’s perseverance as he stood in a tree, hacking away at a branch. He had way more stamina for the job than me and in that heat as well, he must have been mad; still after twenty minutes of me watching he managed to get the branch to give way and only two minutes before my departure.

Since its conversion from MG to BG the Talguppa branch has lost several stations along the route, the remnants of which remain, as do the remnants at some of the stations that have been rebuilt and bizarrely there are even stations that have been rebuilt, with the remnants of the old station being clearly visible, but the new station was never opened! Such examples, Anandapuram the old station building and booking office still stand behind the fence of the new station, the list of old train times still being clearly visible outside what used to be the booking office window and there’s even an old refreshment stall that’s just been abandoned and now decays into ruins, again just behind the fence of the new station. Arasalu station is one that was rebuilt and has all the old buildings still standing in the vicinity but was never re-opened to the public and now remains with weeds gradually overrunning the place. The whole line just appears to have been built right through the old alignment and the old buildings just abandoned when a fence was erected to separate them from the might BG tracks that had arrived in town! It was quite a nostalgic run really and I was glad I’d done the return in the front coach and not my booked AC chair car, as I got more of a feel for things. The thrash from 13030 was very good as well and the railway scenery a bonus really.

A storm had been brewing the whole time I’d been in Talguppa and eventually it let loose as 16205 Talguppa – Mysore approached Shimoga Town, the initial flash of lightening was immediately followed by one of the loudest cracks of thunder I’ve ever heard; that was consequently followed by the whimpers and then the crying of startled young children in the font coach. Thankfully the storm soon passed but more was to follow later on!

At Shimoga Town I had every intention of getting off for food and then doing 56271 1815 Shimoga Town – Chikkamagalur passenger throughout; KJM WDM3A 14084 had just arrived with the inward working as we pulled in. As 16205 was early arriving I managed to get over to the refreshment place on platform 1, get a fresh lemon rice, and back to the train before it departed; as it had filled considerably though I went forward to Birur in my booked AC chair car, which again wasn’t well frequented. The line speed from Shimoga towards Birur was a lot better and 13030 was put through its paces a bit better; it kept me at the door most of the way. The heavens had opened by Birur though and the rain was set to stay for the next 4 hours, continuously! It was a lot fresher with the rain clearing the air though.

There was a double back move available to pick up 14084 on the Shimoga Branch, which 16205 should have actually passed on the branch but 56276 hadn’t gone by the time we got to Birur and the move was still on; depending on how late it actually was. It was all go at Birur as KJM WDG3A 14639 arrived with 12080 Hubli – Bangalore City Shatabdi and KJM WDG3A 13054 arrived going the opposite way with 17309 Yesvantpur – Vasco Da Gama. The timetable came out when 14639 appeared and as it was on time I figured out I could do 12080 to Arsikere for 56278 Yesvantpur – Chikkamagalur into Chikkamagalur instead. This would arrive 50 minutes behind 56271 Shimoga – Chikkamagalur but it did mean that I wouldn’t have to get up for the 0630 departure in the morning to cover the loco off 56278; so it seemed like a sensible move anyway, and oh how I would regret getting off at Kadur when 12080 stopped for some reason. I was aware that 56276 Mysore – Talguppa hadn’t gone and it eventually turned up an hour late! In the meantime 13030 followed 12080 from Birur and ended up being stopped itself at Kadur, probably waiting for 12080 to clear the section ahead?

As 56276 was so late it wasn’t worth going beyond Birur with it, to head off 14084 coming the other way with 56271 so I got off to wait it out, in the pouring rain still; and a wait it turned out to be! I’d had KJM WDM2 17751 a few days previous and when it turned up on 56276 I was quite pleased as for an ageing WDM2 it sounded very good; the next time I saw it though I wasn’t a happy man…..

Birur Junction didn’t have much going for it but it did have a chai stall, so that sufficed. The only entertainment during my wait was provided by two very obedient dogs that just sat at people’s feet as they ate, waiting for some scraps to be thrown their way. As the 3G network didn’t seemed to have reached the Hassan, Talguppa, Birur area I was in the dark as to how late things were and at 2040, when 56271 was 50 minutes late and after no announcement had been made for the train at all, I went to find out where it was. A guy in the ticket office got on the phone when I asked him and told me it would be 10 minutes more before it arrived; I’ve become accustomed to any estimate being given by a railway employee to be underestimated and wasn’t surprised when it was actually 30 minutes before the train rolled into the station; then came the fun and games!

Annoyingly the first glimpse of 56271 on the horizon came immediately after ERS WDM3A’s 16457/16459 had passed through with a heavy freight; the former on full power and hammering away, the latter not so much and looked like it was really along for the ride as it spluttered away, emitting only the odd puff of black smoke as it tried to take power. Maybe there were some multiple working issues between the two? 16457 really did sound good though as it worked hard enough for the both to get the train up to speed. No sooner had it cleared though did a horn sound in the distance and a headlight then appear off the Shimoga line; my train obviously having been sat on the curve waiting to come off the branch while the freight was given priority. The first surprise, and utter annoyance, was to find KJM WDM2 17751 bring the train in with KJM WDM3A 14084 dead inside; I could have gone all the way to Shimoga and back instead of festering around at Birur, of course I wasn’t to know though. The next surprise wasn’t the fact that 17751 was removed from the train and 14084 started up, it was actually the fact that 14084 was then removed from the train as well and then 17751 dropped back onto the train. When I asked the shunter what was going on all he could tell me was that 14084 had problems and was now running light to Arsikere, with 17751 working forward to Chikkamagalur.

I guess I could actually be thankful that WDP4 20035 hadn’t been used off 16201 Bangalore – Shimoga but it was still very annoying when 56271 departed from Birur at 2152, 1h52m late; at which point I should have already been in Chikkamagalur for 22 minutes! Despite the new line status the Chikkamagalur branch is quite fast line, which was something of a relief, and while I tried to get a bit of sleep on the way the cold and damp weather put pay to that and I was left to just sit the journey out, listening to 17751 hammering away on the front of the train. Arrival into Chikkamagalur was at 2315, 1h45m late. KJM WDM3A 16862 was already sat in the opposite platform, run round and shut down, having arrived with 56278 Yesvantpur – Chikkamagalur, which had been due in at 2220. Assuming that it actually arrived right time, and regardless of that fact really, had 14639 not stopped at Kadur with the Hubli – Bangalore Shatabdi I’d have ended up at Chikkamagalur almost an hour earlier than I had done but the earlier finish enticed me off!

There didn’t look to be much happening outside the station so I made a quick exit from the train, as soon as it was going slow enough to get off, and rushed over the footbridge and into the station car park. I’d definitely played the correct move in doing so as there were only 3 auto’s in total in the car park and the first two I looked in had no driver anywhere to be seen, thankfully the last one had it’s driver nearby and while hesitant at first he got into his auto and told me he’d take me to the Hotel SK Regency for RS100. By the time we left the station car park everyone off the train was starting to exit the station and all looked a little lost at the lack of transport available to take them to their destination. The issue at Chikkamagalur being that the new station is a good 2 miles from the town, and at least a mile from the nearest civilization! As we departed the car park at least four people stopped my auto and asked for a ride, eventually though we did take another passenger; a woman who was struggling down the station approach with a young boy and two heavy bags. There was never going to be an issue from my point of view but I’ll give the driver his due he did turn round to ask for my ok before inviting her in. Luckily she was dropped off along the main road and we didn’t have to detour anywhere else on the way to the hotel. The journey to the Hotel SK Regency took 10 minutes, which included a stop for fuel. The driver tried to send other auto’s, from the main stand in town, down to the station but none of the drivers seemed interested in the guaranteed fare and just stayed where they were.

I’d rang the hotel twice to tell them I would be late and had been told that “the boy” would be there to let me in and there’d be no issue with my late arrival. I’d also been told that my room would be #205. When I walked through the front door, which I was surprised to find unlocked at 2330, the reception was in darkness and there were four bodies asleep under blankets on the floor. There were a load of keys on the desk but none of them were for room 205. The fact that I’d been sifting through them should have woken the bunch on the floor but it didn’t so I had to start shouting at the floor to wake someone. Eventually “the boy” came round and showed me to me room, which already had the key in the electrical slot, with the AC on, which was why I couldn’t find it at the front desk. The room was quite sizable and had a good sized double bed. With the cold night there was no need for AC and ultimately all I used the bathroom for was to brush my teeth. With the late arrival cutting down my stay to 7 hours maximum I wasted no time in getting to bed; unfortunately without a proper meal passing my lips since breakfast in Hassan that morning, 16 hours previous!

The Moves

13030 Hassan Jct Talguppa 0600 Mysore Jct – Talguppa 16206 KJM WDG3A
13030 Talguppa Birur Jct 1430 Talguppa – Mysore Jct 16205 KJM WDG3A
14639 Birur Jct Kadur Jct 1400 Hubli Jct – Bangalore City Jct 12080 KJM WDG3A
17751 Kadur Jct Birur Jct 1310 Mysore – Talguppa 56276 KJM WDM2
17751 Birur Jct Chikkamagalur 1815 Shimoga Town – Chikkamagalur 56271 KJM WDM2 – 95 late into Chikkamagalur

 

Gen for Sunday 8th March 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

13034 KJM WDG3A 52269 1020 Shimoga Town – Mysore
20025 KJM WDP4 56217 1000 Talguppa – Shimoga Town, 56218 1350 Shimoga Town – Talguppa
14084 KJM WDM3A 56270 1005 Mysore – Shimoga Town
13054 KJM WDG3A 17309 1430 Yesvantpur – Vasco Da Gama
20035 KJM WDP4 16201 1530 Bangalore City – Shimoga Town
16862 KJM WDM3A 56278 1415 Yesvantpur – Chikkamagalur

The Photos


Monday 9th March 2015 (Bangalore City; Shakti Central!)

When I got up at 0615 to check out I had to wake the dossers on the floor again in the hotel reception to pay my bill. The boy then had to ring someone, who turned out to be the guy I’d been talking to the previous night when I’d rang the hotel, and he told me to leave RS1000 with the boy. When I’d rang a couple of weeks previous to book the room I’d been quoted RS1250 so whether my short stay had prompted a smaller fee I don’t know, either way I could have ultimately just walked in the previous night, found room 205 on my own and then just walked out again on this morning without anyone ever knowing.

Being so far from the station did bother me a little in Chikkamagalur, especially when I couldn’t see an auto anywhere when I walked out of the hotel. Thankfully I soon found one hiding round a corner and he took me to the station for RS50, half the price of the previous night’s trip from the station. I’d left enough time to walk down to where the main auto stand in town had been, just in case, but in the end I was at the station with 45 minutes to spare before the 0730 Chikkamagalur – Yesvantpur departed; which I planned to do throughout at that point.

With Chikkamagalur having only two trains a day arriving, at 2130 & 2220, and two trains a day departing, at 0630 & 0730, I was surprised to find a tea stall on the platform; but it was very welcome and provided plenty of tea and snacks before I made myself comfortable for the journey. The sun was only just coming up when I got to the station and watching the red ball rise into the sky, eventually turning bright orange as it got higher, was a very welcome sight after the previous day’s positively miserable weather. It wasn’t long before the warmth could actually be felt either.

I positioned myself in the back coach at Chikkamagalur, which would be the front coach after KJM WDM2 17751 had run round at Kadur. I had the coach to myself on departure and that was the way it stayed until I ended up getting off the train. It was a very relaxing journey through the rather rugged landscape to Kadur as a result, allowing me to take photos as and when I wanted, when the opportunity arose. I was also grateful of one other thing that morning, the fact that I’d saved one of the three malt loaf’s I’d brought from the UK with me; which proved very useful for breakfast. The only other option would have been crisps and biscuits from the tea stall on the platform at Chikkamagalur! The scenery along the branch was quite good with mist lining the valley floor in the distance while mountains dominated one side and strange rocky outcrops dominated the other. The railway twisted and turned a bit as it found its way to Kadur and I was quite surprised to find the stations along the route manned being as big as they were with decent sized station buildings; and all for just 4 trains a day, which ultimately amounted to just an hour’s work in the morning and another hour’s work at night!

The run round at Kadur went pretty smoothly and I was amazed that I managed to keep the front coach to myself from there; at Arsikere though the platforms were lined with people and my solo status was about to come to an end. Meanwhile on the opposite side of the train stood 11006 Puducherry – Dadar “Chalyuka Express” with PA WDM3D’s 11370/11397 leading and PA WDG3A 13559 inside them, all the locos were running, 13559 even had a loco pilot in it and the 3D’s were definitely multi’d up. As I’d not expected to find the train there I had no clue that I could actually do it as I arrived and with time to figure out whether I could being short I was glad I was looking at the Southern Timetable and not the Western, in an attempt to figure it out! I fully expected the Chalyuka to go before I managed to figure something out but the pages in table 4 of the Southern timetable were easy to figure out that I could actually do it to Kadur and get back to Bangalore quite easily; the catch though was that 12826 that I’d have to return on was booked for a GM!

I weighted up the pro’s and con’s as I scrambled down to the ballast and up into the Chalyuka Express and while there was a bit of a mileage deficit on Alco’s in doing what I was about to do, there were guaranteed new engines on the train; which might not be the case in Bangalore of course. Unfortunately I left my decision making until it was too late to allow enough time to get to the front of the Chalyuka so had to enjoy the show from the rear of the train! The 3D’s at the front were a dirty pair, if pair is actually the correct word to describe them? The leading one, 11370, seemed to be doing what ERS WDM3A 16457 had been doing when passing through Birur the previous night; all the work! The inside one, 11397, kept revving up, which brought the clag, and then dying off as though it was trying to constantly take power but not actually managing to sustain it. The bonus of that was that the loco pilot in 13559 obviously had a bird’s eye view of 11397’s antics and offered a helping hand until the train was up to speed. This kind of thing had happened on the Chalyuka Express before when I’d been on it, back when it only ran Dadar – Yesvantpur. The loco in charge had been the booked KYN WDG3A back then and it was topped by a pair of GY WDG3A’s from Harihar. Neither of us on board expected the inside loco to work and we’d not actually checked while I’d been on board the train but after I got off at Arsikere all three engines were found to be powering the train into Yesvantpur; on this occasion though there wasn’t an issue with any of them, the twins were just required back in Bangalore for something.

When I got off at Kadur I had just enough time to get to the front of the train and as it was leaving managed to ask the loco pilot what the problem with 11397 was, as I gestured towards it, the answer was truly Indian; “no problem sir”. Off the train went and in came KJM WDP4 20060 with 12726 Dharwad – Bangalore Express. AC chair car was at the rear of the train and was actually quite a welcome sight compared to the 2nd unreserved and there was a bit of room for me to relax as I was whisked to Bangalore by the far superior General Motors loco on the front of the train…..

I’d actually hoped that 12726 would overtake 56277 en-route into Yesvantpur but it didn’t and 17751 was already run round in platform 1 ready to return to Chikkamagalur with 56278 at 1415. My first priority at Yesvantpur, as I actually had time, was to find some food. The hot egg biryani I found on platform 1 barely touched the sides as I devoured it on the platform; leaving virtually no trace of the fact that there’d ever been food in the container! This was my first proper food since breakfast the previous morning, if you discount the rice I had at Shimoga the previous afternoon, and my body was very thankful of something other than train food! My first bottle of ice cold pop for days also went down a treat; being back in the land of the living always has its rewards!

While I waited for 56580 1400 Nelamangala – Bangalore City to arrive I found the following in Yesvantpur station, KZJ WDM3A 18897 with 12736 1330 Yesvantpur – Secunderabad Garib Rath, KJM WDM3D 11519 with 16569 1430 Yesvantpur – Kacheguda and KJM WDP4 40066 with 17603 1530 Yesvantpur – Kacheguda. Of the three Hyderabad bound trains 17603 seemed to be the most popular; it certainly wouldn’t have been my choice of the three! GTL WDG3A 13257 worked through with 56225 1340 Bangalore City – Tumkur, which I’d make sure I got in on its return, and unlike the previous week 12252 Korba – Yesvantpur “Wainganga Express” arrived with a single KJM WDM3D, not twins, in the form of 11523. Having departed Yesvantpur with KJM WDG3A 14691 on 56580 I passed the KJM WDM3D twins I’d had on the Wainganga Express the previous week, 11522/11520, working 16201 1530 Bangalore City – Shimoga Town; a train that always produces the booked KJM WDP4, obviously not on this occasion!

There was plenty about in the Yesvantpur bound platforms at Bangalore City with KJM WDM2 17970 heading 56282 1530 Bangalore City – Mysore and KJM WDG3A 13263 already attached to the stock at the opposite end of the station to work 56227 1630 Bangalore City – Shimoga Town. I didn’t waste much time in getting back to the Yesvantpur end of the platforms though to find out what would work 56581 1530 stock transfer to Yesvantpur, for 56242 Yesvantpur – Salem passenger. KJM WDM2 17687 was soon shunting out of the loco holding siding and backing down so I turned my attention to the sidings adjacent as I head the familiar 6 cylinder noise coming from behind the stock in the platform. KJM WDS6 36243 soon came by me, as I stood on the foot crossing at the end of the platforms, dragging what appeared to be a full set of stock for 16589 Bangalore City – Kolhapur later that night. When it came to a stand with the last few coaches still in the carriage sidings, I was a little hesitant at first, but my thirst for a bit of WDS6 action got the better of me. I thought that as it had stopped where it did 36243 would just propel the set back down a different road, which wouldn’t be the end of the world if it did, but when I plucked up the courage to get in through an open door in the second from rear coach, sheltered from the sidings staff by the train itself and the station by the 1630 Shimoga stock, I was surprised when the set was drawn out into the shunt neck and then backed into a platform; where 36243 was detached and went back into the sidings to do more shunting. 16589 wasn’t due away until 2115 so it was a bit of a waste of a platform from early afternoon onwards but I wasn’t complaining and went off to get some snacks before doing the 1630 Shimoga Town to Yesvantpur to get GTL WDG3A 13257 in on its way back from Tumkur.

When I’d been on my way up the platforms, after first arriving, I got a photo of KJM WDG3A 14691 after arrival. I’d put my bag on top of a pile of packages and noticed after I’d taken my photo that there was a guy laying on the platform behind them. To be very blunt he didn’t look in a very good shape at all, he wasn’t breathing very well, was very thin and the worst thing was he had flies all over his eyes and mouth; he didn’t look like he was in any position to do anything about it either! I’d forgot about this guy when I walked back up the platforms for a second time about 20 minutes later, until I spotted him again; the fundamental difference the second time, and only difference, was that he’d stopped breathing! I stood for a few seconds to make sure my mind wasn’t playing tricks on me but unfortunately he definitely wasn’t breathing. Luckily there was an RPF guy in the immediate vicinity so he’d be able to help; you’d think? It took me a good 30 seconds to get him off his phone to start with and when I pointed out the guy, laying lifeless on the platform with people just walking by without even noticing him, he just looked round him, turned back round to me and said “yes, dead”, before walking off. There was absolutely nothing I could do to help the situation so I went about my business while the RPF did theirs; I hoped. What was a little sad about the whole situation was that people had obviously realised that the guy was in a bad way as by his side were an opened, but still full, packet of biscuits and a full bottle of butter milk that hadn’t been touched. The question I found myself trying to ask as I walked down the platform is why is it always left until it’s too late to attempt to help these types of people out; those in desperate need of help? The reality was that I’d spent nearly four weeks telling every person that had asked me for money to go away. Yet there was one guy at Bangalore City who’d tried his scam on with me twice, and realised who I was the third time he’d attempted, that prayed on tourists and obviously made a bit of money trying to scam them out of money on the station. He always asked for RS150, and people obviously gave it him on occasion, yet “we” won’t give a few Rupees to those that really are in desperate need of it at their time of need. While nothing will change for me I couldn’t get this guy’s image out of my head that night; it’s something I thankfully don’t see often but unfortunately this poor guy had succumbed to the harsh reality that is India’s life on the street and passed away in full view of everyone walking up and down the platforms at Bangalore City; while nobody blinked an eyelid………

Meanwhile, back in reality, ED WDM3A’s 16674/16668 arrived into Bangalore with 11014 Coimbatore – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus and I found KJM WDM3A 16585 sat in the main platforms with the stock for 17235 1700 Bangalore City – Nagercoil. When I got to Yesvantpur off 56227 1630 Bangalore City – Shimoga Town I walked down to photograph it departing and found GTL WDM3A’s 16713/16703 at the head of 12592 1720 Yesvantpur – Gorakhpur; 16703 obviously having been split from 16333, which I’d had it with earlier in the trip.

GTL WDG3A 13257 was late when it returned with 5656226 1550 Tumkur – Bangalore City and as a result it unfortunately missed and passed KJM WDG3A 13297, with 56523 1745 Bangalore City – Hindupur, between Malleswaram and Bangalore City. We did get in to allow enough time for me to do a sweep of the station by 1800. KJM WDM2 17930, which I confirmed had “de-rated to 2400hp” on the inside cab wall, was sat with the short rake to form 56525 1810 Bangalore City – Chikballapur and KJM WDG3A 14691 backed onto the stock I’d arrived on to form 56223 1820 Bangalore City – Arsikere. In the main platforms I found KJM WDP4 20058 waiting to go with 12786 1820 Bangalore City – Kacheguda and the most important find came at the opposite end of the station where KJM WDG3A’s 13118/13367 were sat with 16216 1815 Bangalore City – Mysore Intercity; this confirmed my suspicions that the loco link had changed for the overnight trains over the Subramanya Road Ghats and that there were now no Alco bankers required on the sections with the overnights being Shakti twins. The link must be as follows: 16216 SBC – MYS, 16523 MYS – MAQ, 56647 MAQ – SBHR, 56646 SBHR – MAQ, 16524 MAQ – MYS, 16215 MYS – SBC.

With a decision to be made I opted for the lure of the Shakti twins on 16216, knowing I could plan a move the following morning to get 13297 returning from Hindupur and 17930 returning from Chikballapur; the Shakti twins would be just about outside my window on their return two days later as I’d be in Kola hopefully. A right time departure was a good thing as I needed all the time I could to do the 13km journey back from Ken Geri in an auto and once down the hill out of Bangalore City the twins proved their worth on the short distance. I still think 13345 had sounded better when I’d had them on the same train previously.

It hadn’t dawned on me until we were on the approach to Kengeri that 16232 Mysore – Mayilduthurai hadn’t passed and low and behold it was just arriving as we were; that was an auto journey saved and more importantly a cracking journey back into Bangalore gained. ED WDM3D 11112 literally set the skies on fire when the loco pilot opened it up, and he wasn’t scared of the power handle. Flames must have reached 15ft out of the stack while thick black clag also poured out, once the engine regulated itself though the flames and clag died out but the noise emitted by 11112 was immense and the final run up the hill into Bangalore City station was fantastic. Joking aside though 11112 had the potential to set a station canopy on fire and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little concerned as we hit the end of platform 6 with the loco just getting to full power, dragging the heavy train up the hill still, with flames pouring out of the stack!

16232 had been late, which was why I’d made it, but it was sufficiently slackly timed enough to pull most of it back by Bangalore City and make 12627 1920 Bangalore City – New Delhi “Karnataka Express” with ease; although I think it was responsible for the Karnataka’s late start as it only departed itself at 1918. MLY WDM3A’s 18978/16388 were the Karnataka engines and I was glad I’d made it, although I’d have had plenty of time to get back in an auto anyway if I hadn’t made 16232 at Kengeri. The next issue though was making the minus 8 onto 12678 Ernakulam – Bangalore City at Bangalore Cantt. While the reporting for 12678 on NTES wasn’t the best it seemed to get better the closer it got to its destination and it was 20 minutes late when The Karnataka departed at 1930, 10 minutes late. When it came to a stand half way out of the platform and didn’t set off for another 10 minutes I thought I was going to pass 12678 as the Karnataka climbed up the hill towards Bangalore Cantt but one last refresh of NTES put the mind at rest when it showed 42 minutes late.

I had a bit of a riot with the 2AC coach attendant on the way to Bangalore Cantt who wanted me to shut the door and use the opposite side to lean out of; he clearly wasn’t understanding that I wanted to keep an eye out for my train back but thankfully a local on board did and soon put him right. The TTE on board confirmed that the false start and secondary 10 minute delay were due to loco problems. Just outside the station we passed KJM WDG3A 14740 with 56513 Karaikal – Bangalore City, which must have been stood for a good 15 minutes as it wouldn’t have been able to get in while we sat on the track circuit, having passed the departing signal.

The run up the hill to Bangalore Cantt never fails to disappoint and with the Karnataka Express being load 24 the twins had to work had on the slog up the hill. There was no sign of anything else heading down the hill by Bangalore Cantt but I didn’t have to wait long for ED WDM3A’s 16465/16169, the former an ex KGP loco, to arrive with 12678. The loco pilot was obviously keen to get home as he didn’t let up with the powering going down the hill towards Bangalore City; which made a refreshing change. Once into Bangalore City I was hotel bound and quite glad of it as I knew a decent evening meal would soon be in front of me.

I’d rang the Hotel Signature Inn in advance and they’d confirmed they had room for me. It’s about a 10 minute walk from Bangalore City station, out of the main entrance, up the approach road, turn right then at the busy junction dodge the traffic to get across, follow the road down and turn left at the first junction; it’s immediately on the left hand side. While I’d originally been quoted for a non-AC room at 900+tax I opted for an AC one at 1100+tax. Once checked it I was shown to my room, which was quite sizable and had a large double bed, for which my sheet from one of the 2AC journeys came in handy. I was pleased that the room was mosquito free and that there was constant hot water. Charging facilities were a plenty and I soon set about draining the place of electricity. Food in the hotel’s ground floor restaurant is quick, cheap and very tasty; and I can recommend the chili chicken.

Fed, watered, showered, shaved, implements charged and small bag ready for the off, I was glad to get into bed at a reasonable time, feeling fully refreshed for a change; with a plan in mind for the following morning, based on this evening’s rush hour viewings on their way out of town.

The Moves

17751 Chikkamagalur Arsikere Jct 0730 Chikkamagalur – Yesvantpur Jct 56277 KJM WDM2 – via Kadur RR
11370 Arsikere Jct Kadur Jct 2030 (08/03) Puducherry – Dadar 11006 PA WDM3D’s 11370/11397 in multi; in tandem with PA WDG3A 13559 inside
11397
13559
20060 Kadur Jct Yesvantpur Jct 0515 Dharwad – Bangalore City Jct 12726 KJM WDP4
14691 Yesvantpur Jct Bangalore City Jct 1400 Nelamangala – Bangalore City Jct 56580 KJM WDG3A
36243 Bangalore City Jct CS Bangalore City Jct Plat 9 Shunt stock in for 16589 Bangalore – Kolhapur KJM WDS6 – shunt move
13263 Bangalore City Jct Yesvantpur Jct 1630 Bangalore City Jct – Shimoga Town 56227 KJM WDG3A
13257 Yesvantpur Jct Bangalore City Jct 1550 Tumkur – Bangalore City Jct 56226 GTL WDG3A
13118 Bangalore City Jct Kengeri 1815 Bangalore City Jct – Mysore Jct 16215 KJM WDG3A’s 13118/13367 in multi
13367
11112 Kengeri Bangalore City Jct 1600 Mysore Jct – Mayilduthurai Jct 16232 ED WDM3D
18978 Bangalore City Jct Bangalore Cantt 1920 Bangalore City Jct – New Delhi Jct 12627 MLY WDM3A’s 18978/16388 in multi
16388
16465 Bangalore Cantt Bangalore City Jct 0910 Ernakulam Jct – Bangalore City Jct 12678 ED WDM3A’s 16465/16169 in multi
16169

 

Gen for Monday 9th March 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

16862 KJM WDM3A 56272 0630 Chikkamagalur – Shimoga Town
14639 KJM WDG3A 12079 0500 Bangalore City – Hubli
13243 KJM WDG3A 56917 0630 Bangalore City – Shimoga Town
18897 KZJ WDM3A 12736 1330 Yesvantpur – Secunderabad Garib Rath
11519 KJM WDM3D 16569 1430 Yesvantpur – Kacheguda
40066 KJM WDP4B 17604 1530 Yesvantpur- Kacheguda
13257 GTL WDG3A 56225 1340 Bangalore City – Tumkur
11523 KJM WDM3D 12252 0800 (P) Korba – Yesvantpur
11520/11522 KJM WDM3D’s 16201 1530 Bangalore City – Shimoga Town
17970 KJM WDM2 56282 1530 Bangalore City – Mysore
30398 RPM WAP7 56508 1805 Bangalore City – Marikuppam
16585 KJM WDM3A 17235 1700 Bangalore City – Nagercoil
16674/16668 ED WDM3A’s 11014 0845 Coimbatore – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus
17687 KJM WDM2 56581 1530 Bangalore City – Yesvantpur (stock transfer for 56242 YPR – Salem)
40057 KJM WDP4B 12008 1415 Mysore – Chennai Central (to Bangalore City)
16713/16703 GTL WDM3A’s 12592 1720 Yesvantpur – Gorakhpur
40008 KJM WDP4B 17307 1330 Mysore – Bagalkot
13297 KJM WDG3A 56523 1745 Bangalore City – Hindupur
17930 KJM WDM2 56525 1810 Bangalore City – Chikballapur
14691 KJM WDG3A 56223 1820 Bangalore City – Arsikere
20058 KJM WDP4 12786 1820 Bangalore City – Kacheguda
13049 KJM WDG3A 56237 1445 Mysore – Bangalore City
14740 KJM WDG3A 565513 0340 Karaikal – Bangalore City

The Photos


Tuesday 10th March 2015 (Bumbling around Bangalore)

For a change the 0630 alarm call wasn’t too bad and the brisk walk to Bangalore City station soon woke me up; the traffic hadn’t built up yet and was nothing like as busy as it had been the previous night. The first thing I found at the station that morning was ED WDM3A’s 16804/14054 arriving with the late running 16235 Tuticorin – Mysore; both of which were new for me and I already had plans to cover both the Mysore – Mayilduthurai & Tuticorin trains that evening so would be sure to get them in later in the day. Safe in the knowledge that the day would end on a high I found the stock for 56514 0715 Bangalore City – Karaikal just being dropped into platform 1 by WDS6 36016, having already walked over the footbridge once; a potential opportunity missed there!

By the time I got to the front end of the set GTL WDG3A 13232, an off-link to the usual KJM loco, was dropping onto the set to work the train. A good start to the day multiplied at Bangalore Cantt when the next GTL Shakti of the day, 14784, was sat in the right hand side bay platforms waiting to depart with 56503 0740 Bangalore Cantt – Vijayawada passenger. In the left hand bay platforms was a DMU and in the adjacent road KJM WDM3D 11528, neither of which had moved from the previous night! 56503/4 had recently changed its terminating point in Bangalore from Yesvantpur to Bangalore Cantt, which actually worked out better as last time I’d done it I did the Karaikal passenger to Cantt for an auto to Yesvantpur to avoid having to do the Bangalore City – Hubli passenger with its booked GM!

The plan for the morning was to head out to Yelahanka Jct on 56503 and hope that it made the small minus 4 onto 56524 Hindupur – Bangalore City passenger, which would hopefully be KJM WDG3A 13297 returning to town. Getting off 56524 at Yesvantpur would then allow me to do 56526 Chikballapur – Bangalore City behind, which would be KJM de-rated WDM2 17930. All was going swimmingly as 14784 eased away from Bangalore Cantt at 0740, bang on time; round the corner at Bangalore East is where my best laid plan fell to pieces as the train stood waiting the road round to Baiyyappanahalli for ages and after 20 minutes of standing I began to get cold feet about the move to Yelahanka as it looked to have the potential to not only miss the Hindupur passenger coming in but also the Chikballapur half an hour behind it.

There looked to be a few auto’s buzzing about down the main road and I decided enough was enough and got off. As only the rear few coaches were in the platform I had to walk down the ballast back to the station and then out into the station car park to play auto roulette! The first offer I had was for RS300 to take me to Yesvantpur; which was apparently a long way from “here”. I played the game though and instantly halved their offer and was adamant that RS150 was all I was paying, of course they went down to RS200 and then got stuck at RS180, until I began walking away; RS150 it was, the journey across town took 25 minutes and I arrived just as KJM WDM3A 16586 was doing so with 16572 Bidar – Yesvantpur.

I’d definitely played the correct move when I checked NTES to find 56503 arrived Yelahanka at 0903, 42 minutes late! Nothing was on time going back into Bangalore that morning but I would have definitely missed the Hindupur passenger on its way back into Bangalore so I’d done myself a favour really. First in was KJM WDG3A 14691 with 56224 Arsikere – Bangalore City passenger, which was closely followed by KJM WDG3A 13297 with 56524 Hindupur – Bangalore City passenger, as hoped. While everyone detrained on platform 1 I went to get a few photos of the freshly painted loco and noticed a new central headlight mounted above the sole bar, something which I later noticed on 13285 also. Such lights look exactly like the headlights fitted to Class 37’s in Scotland in the 1980’s but quite why they’ve got them is a mystery, especially when the dual beam headlight will light up the world in front of it.

I photographed the train depart Malleswaram, little did I realise at the time that the loco pilot would spot me at Bangalore City the following day and come to have a chat with me! KJM WDM2 17930 wasn’t far behind with 56526 from Chikballapur and on the way into Bangalore City it passed KJM WDM3A 14084 with 56221 0920 Bangalore City – Tumkur, obviously now fit for traffic after screwing my Chikkamagalur arrival up two days previous. Despite arriving into Bangalore after 1000 though I still made 16229 Mysore – Varanasi weekly express, which was just arriving into the back platform as we arrived, with KJM WDM3A 14028; which had recently been rebuilt and was sporting a nice dynamic brake blister on the short hood and the usual blue “rebuild” livery. It was a good run back up the hill to Yesvantpur too.

KJM WDG3A 13035 had arrived at Yesvantpur while I’d been away, with 12258 Kochuveli – Yesvantpur Garib Rath and KJM WDP4B 40007 was stood waiting to go with 17308 Bagalkot – Mysore; it stood for a long while before I began to wonder why. While stood minding my own business in the shade of platform 2 the reason, or what I figured could be the reason, why 17308 stood for so long came ambling into the platform. It was only 22694 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Bangalore City Rajdhani, headed by KZJ WDG3A’s 14622/13414. I think KJM WDP4 20023 was dead inside them, having obviously failed somewhere en-route as the train was 4 hours late! I say I think because I actually wrote down 40023 initially, as the train ran by me, but as it’s a SGUJ loco it can’t have been that.

As I walked towards the train I heard someone shout “non-stop, non-stop” behind me and then it dawned that indeed the Rajdhani is non-stop through Yesvantpur. Maybe he was shouting it in the wrong direction though as some people had already got off, with the luggage as well, so I was determined to get on. Initially I actually struggled to find a door where it was safe to get on as they were wedged with people and their luggage waiting to get off at Bangalore City. I ended up having to wait for a doorway to become clear, once people had finished getting off, while jogging down the side of the train as it trundled through. It wasn’t going too fast at all, my only concern ended up being whether I’d run out of platform before the doorway I’d picked became clear! I didn’t though and was on board safely enough, which is more than can be said for some of those getting off; they do make me cringe sometimes when holding onto the handrail while they gather their footing, one wrong step at that point and the consequences don’t bear thinking about.

Having had the bonus of the day, as per the previous day, my gift back to Yesvantpur was KJM WDP4 20025 on 16023 Mysore – Yesvantpur, which sat for quite a while at Bangalore City before departing. The reason why presented itself when we eventually arrived into Yesvantpur, the station was chock-a-block. Having passed KJM WDG3A 13263 with 56228 Shimoga Town – Bangalore City on the way in I assumed 16023 took the platform it vacated. Spread across the station, and all having arrived in the time it had taken me to go to Bangalore City and back, were ET WDM3D 11278 having arrived with 17310 Vasco Da Gama – Yesvantpur, GY WDM3D 11117 having arrived with 17211 Machilipatnam – Yesvantpur, KJM WDM2 17687 having arrived with 56241 Salem – Yesvantpur passenger and was waiting to do 56582 stock transfer to Bangalore City as there were people sat on the set and KJM WDP4 20031 with 17603 2100 (P) Kacheguda – Yesvantpur. The only empty platform was platform 1 and 16202 Shimoga Town – Bangalore City was being announced to “arrive shortly on platform number 1” so it was soon going to be total gridlock!

It was no surprise when KJM WDM3D’s 11522/11520 arrived with 16202 Shimoga Town – Bangalore City, having seen them head out with 16201 the previous afternoon, and once into Bangalore they were detached and positioned for fuel at the top end of platform 10; which I found out on my return from Bangalore Cantt. KJM WDG3A 13049 arrived with 56281 Chamarajanagar – Bangalore City passenger and then formed 56579 1220 Bangalore City – Nelamangala passenger. This prompted me to do the 1220 Bangalore City – Marikuppam EMU to Bangalore Cantt instead, to wait for the Karnataka Express heading into Bangalore.

My wait at Bangalore Cantt wasn’t too long and I only saw AJJ WAM4 21275 head into Bangalore with 17210 Kakinada Town – Bangalore City, before MLY WDM3A’s 18796/16200 turned up with 12628 New Delhi – Bangalore City Karnataka Express. This pair were a new set of twins on the MLY twin circuit, which I’d not seen over the last 4 weeks; namely because I’d had 18796 to Bodhan a week earlier so it had obviously made its way back to MLY shed and been put with 16200.

I waited patiently at Bangalore City for 14084 to arrive back from Tumkur with 56226 Tumkur – Bangalore City passenger and had my suspicions as to what was going to happen when it did arrive; these were confirmed when PA WDM3D 11382 immediately shunted out of the holding sidings and dropped onto the opposite end of the stock to work 56225 1340 Bangalore City – Tumkur. Every other time I’d seen this train it had been a GTL WDG3A so the PA WDM3D must have been an off-link; where it actually came from and what it worked after returning from Tumkur was a mystery I hadn’t been able to solve during my time in Bangalore though. In platform 10 the stock for 56227 1630 Bangalore City – Shimoga Town was already positioned and KJM WDM2 17687 was sat as though it would eventually be bolted to it and work the train; it was blocked in by KJM WDM3D’a 11520/11522, which had obviously been sat waiting to go somewhere after taking fuel.

As there was nothing new for me over on the Yesvantpur platforms I went to see if WDS6 36016 was going to shunt the Karnataka stock into the carriage sidings but the locos were still attached at the Mysore end of the train and there was a raft of unloading to finish; so it wasn’t going to be anytime soon if it did. I opted to then do KJM WDP4B 40018 up to Bangalore Cantt on 18464 Bangalore City – Bhubaneswar, in the hope of 11014 Coimbatore – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus producing a new pair of ED WDM3A’s. There was no such luck but at least there was plenty to spot while I waited for the late running 11014. KJM WDM3D 11524 headed light towards Bangalore City while KJM WDM3A 14047 dragged KJM WDP4 20xxx and KJM WDM2 17930 light towards Krishnarajapuram. KJM WDG3A 13043, which seemed to be the shunt engine of choice across the greater Bangalore area, arrived light from Bangalore City and attached to the stock stabled in the middle road. The stock was for 12786 1820 Bangalore City – Kacheguda and it followed 11014 down the hill. ED WDM3A’s 16465/16169, which had worked 12678 Ernakulam – Bangalore into Bangalore the previous evening, were at the helm of 11014, the link clearly having them work 11013 at 2215 from Bangalore to Coimbatore after arrival from Ernakulam with 12678.

At Bangalore City KJM WDM3D 11528, which had been stabled at Bangalore Cantt that morning, was attached to 17235 1700 Bangalore City – Nagercoil and KJM WDM3D 11524, which had run through Bangalore Cantt while I’d been waiting for 11014, was just dropping onto the stock for 56523 1745 Bangalore City – Hindupur. The stock off the Karnataka Express had been shunted into the carriage sidings while I’d been away and unfortunately KJM WDM3A 16670, in ex works condition, was already attached and ultimately shunted the stock back into platform 1 just before I departed on 17235 at 1700.

The noise emitted from 11528 going up to Bangalore Cantt was cracking but the horns on it were something else; the loudest I’ve ever heard! When it set off from Bangalore the noise reverberated off the adjacent stock and actually had me covering my ears. Those in the front coach overnight were definitely going to have a sleepless night! On the way up the hill PA WDG3A 14706 passed by heading into Bangalore City with the stock to form 12683 1745 Bangalore City – Ernakulam; there were a few people on board so where it had come from I don’t know but it was clearly used by some to get to Bangalore City. I’d fully expected to do an auto back into Bangalore City from Cantt but sat in the opposite platform when 17235 arrived was a DMU. There was nothing timetabled at that time so I was wary at first, both of the time I had to get back and to make sure the DMU was actually going in the right direction. The station master confirmed that it was actually an empty rake and though it was going to Bangalore City he couldn’t give me a time of departure from Bangalore Cantt. The DMU was packed with people so obviously a well known about stock transfer move and while I pondered how long I was going to give the DMU to depart the guard came out of the station master’s office, told me to get on, and blew his whistle into his radio as he clambered into the back cab; that ended the pondering. I figured out the empty rake move was off 76508 1530 Bangarapet – Bangalore Cantt, although quite why it doesn’t get advertised as a through train to Bangalore City I don’t know.

I was back at Bangalore City by 1740 and had just enough time to wonder across to the Yesvantpur platforms to board 56523 1745 Bangalore City – Hindupur before KJM WDM3D 11524 departed, right time. KJM WDM3A 14084 was sat in the adjacent platform with 56525 1810 Bangalore City – Chikballapur when I departed on 56523, putting pay to my theory that KJM threw out its de-rated engines on the short Chikballapur rake, and from the footbridge I could see KJM WDG3A’s 13345/13260 at the head of 16216 1815 Bangalore City – Mysore Intercity. Unfortunately for me, and as per every time I’d been on 56226 1550 Tumkur – Bangalore City going in the opposite direction, 56525 and 56226 passed in the 20kpmh restricted zone just Bangalore City side of Malleswaram station; so as I had plenty of time to get back to Bangalore City I went through to Yesvantpur for an auto back, as opposed to getting off at Malleswaram to do the same. It only took 20 minutes to get back and cost RS100.

I even had time to get some food before the day’s finale and the noodles and naan I got from one of the refreshment places on platform 1 were very good. I sat and ate them on platform 6 while I waited for 16232 Mysore – Mayilduthurai to arrive; hoping that it may just produce an ED WDG3A instead of the usual ED WDM3D. ED’s 11228 eventually arrived with the train so I settled for hoping for as good a run up to Bangalore Cantt as ED’s 11112 had given me into Bangalore City on the same train the previous day; I was even disappointed in that hope too. 11228 wasn’t a patch on 11112 and as we passed KJM WDG3A 13368 on the way out, working 56513 Karaikal – Bangalore City passenger, I found myself wishing that it was on my train instead of the ED WDM3D.

Like the previous evening 12678 Ernakulam – Bangalore City hadn’t been reported too well on NTES but unlike the previous day there wasn’t a report at all since 1601 that afternoon and I found myself having to ask the station master how long it was going to be when it got to 2030 and it was over an hour late! I was told it would be another 10 minutes and unlike the last time I’d been told that, at Birur; it did actually turn up 10 minutes later. My wait did allow for much chai drinking and not much else other than train watching really, RPM WAP7 30411 with 16522 Bangalore City – Bangarapet, RPM WAP4 22767 with 16526 Bangalore City – Kanniyakumari and KJM WDP4 20054 with 11302 Bangalore City – Mumbai CST “Udyan Express” all headed out of town and RPM WAP7 30379 headed in with 12609 Chennai Central – Bangalore City; shortly afterwards ED WDM3A’s 16803/16678 rolled in with 12678.

By the time 16803/16678 arrived into Bangalore City ED WDM3A’s 14054/16804 were already sat in with 16236 Mysore – Tuticorin and at that time there were three sets of ED twins in Bangalore City; the last pair being 16465/16169 off 11014 Coimbatore – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus. Despite a right time departure and a very good run up to Bangalore Cantt 16236 missed 12607 Chennai Central – Bangalore City at Cantt. It wasn’t booked to make so I wasn’t annoyed to have to end the day with an auto back to Bangalore again and got it to take me straight to the Hotel Signature Inn.

I’d been thinking about it all day but having asked, and had confirmation, if the pre-paid taxi rank at Bangalore City was open 24 hours I’d decided to stay at the Signature Inn the following night as well and get a taxi to the airport at about 0330 on Thursday morning. The guy at reception understood what I wanted to do and confirmed it wouldn’t be an issue getting out at 0330; this also meant that I didn’t have to carry my big bags about with me when I went to Kolar the following day and I could be fully refreshed, if not quite awake, for my flight on Thursday morning.

The Moves

13232 Bangalore City Jct Bangalore Cantt 0715 Bangalore City Jct – Karaikal 56514 GTL WDG3A
14784 Bangalore Cantt Bangalore East 0740 Bangalore Cantt – Vijayawada Jct 56503 GTL WDG3A
Auto Bangalore East Yesvantpur Jct RS150, 22 minutes Autorickshaw
13297 Yesvantpur Jct Malleswaram 0630 Hindupur – Bangalore City Jct 56524 KJM WDG3A
17930 Malleswaram Bangalore City Jct 0755 Chickballapur – Bangalore City Jct 56526 KJM WDM2 – derated to 2400hp
14028 Bangalore City Jct Yesvantpur Jct 0720 Mysore Jct – Varanasi Jct 16229 KJM WDM3A
14622 Yesvantpur Jct Bangalore City Jct 2045 (08/03) Hazrat Nizamuddin – Bangalore City Jct 22694 KZJ WDG3A’s 14622/13414 in multi; KJM WDP4 20023 dead inside – 4 hours late!
13414
20045 Bangalore City Jct Yesvantpur Jct 0815 Mysore Jct – Yesvantpur Jct 16023 KJM WDP4
11522 Yesvantpur Jct Bangalore City Jct 0640 Shimoga Town – Bangalore City Jct 16202 KJM WDM3D’s 11522/11520 in multi – vice KJM WDP4
11520
150000 Bangalore City Jct Bangalore Cantt 1220 Bangalore City Jct – Marikuppam 66511 EMU – power cars 150000 & 150001
150001
18796 Bangalore Cantt Bangalore City Jct 2115 (08/03) New Delhi Jct – Bangalore City Jct 12628 MLY WDM3A’s 18796/16200 in multi
16200
40018 Bangalore City Jct Bangalore Cantt 1400 Bangalore City Jct – Bhubanewsar 18464 KJM WDP4B
16465 Bangalore Cantt Bangalore City Jct 0845 Coimbatore Jct – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus 11014 ED WDM3A’s 16465/16169 in multi
16169
11528 Bangalore City Jct Bangalore Cantt 1700 Bangalore City Jct – Nagercoil Jct 17235 KJM WDM3D
22004 Bangalore Cantt Bangalore City Jct ECS ex 1530 Bangarapet – Bangalore Cantt 76508 DMU – power cars 22004/22005
22005
11524 Bangalore City Jct Yesvantpur Jct 1745 Bangalore City Jct – Hindupur 56523 KJM WDM3D
Auto Yesvantpur Jct Bangalore City Jct RS100, 20 minutes Autorickshaw
11228 Bangalore City Jct Bangalore Cantt 1600 Mysore Jct – Mayilduthurai Jct 16232 ED WDM3D
16803 Bangalore Cantt Bangalore City Jct 0910 Ernakulam Jct – Bangalore City Jct 12678 ED WDM3A’s 16803/16678 in multi
16678
14054 Bangalore City Jct Bangalore Cantt 1745 Mysore Jct – Tuticorin 16236 ED WDM3A’s 14054/16804 in multi
16804

 

Gen for Tuesday 10th March 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

16804/14054 ED WDM3A’s 16235 1635 (P) Tuticorin – Mysore
20054 KJM WDP4 12785 1905 (P) Kacheguda – Bangalore City, 11302 2030 Bangalore City – Mumbai CST
16586 KJM WDM3A 16572 1810 (P) Bidar – Yesvantpur
14691 KJM WDG3A 56224 0505 Arsikere – Bangalore City
14084 KJM WDM3A 56221 0920 Bangalore City – Tumkur, 56222 1120 Tumkur – Bangalore City, 56525 1810 Bangalore City – Chikballapur
13035 KJM WDG3A 12258 1700 (P) Kochuveli – Yesvantpur
40007 KJM WDP4B 17308 1345 (P) Bagalkot – Mysore
13263 KJM WDG3A 56228 0400 Shimoga Town – Bangalore City
11117 GY WDM3D 17211 1515 (P) Machilipatnam – Yesvantpur
17687 KJM WDM2 56241 0520 Salem – Yesvantpur, 56582 1055 Yesvantpur – Bangalore City (stock transfer move), 56227 1630 Bangalore City – Shimoga Town
20031 KJM WDP4 17603 2100 (P) Kacheguda – Yesvantpur
11278 ET WDM3D 17310 2045 (P) Vasco Da Gama – Yesvantpur
13049 KJM WDG3A 56281 0655 Chamarajanagar – Bangalore City, 56579 1220 Bangalore City – Nelamangala
21275 AJJ WAM4 17210 1735 (P) Kakinada Town – Bangalore City, 56213 1500 Chamarajanagar – Tirupati (from Bangalore)
30366 RPM WAP7 22625 0725 Chennai Central – Bangalore City, 22626 1430 Bangalore City – Chennai Central
11382 56225 1340 Bangalore City – Tumkur, 56226 1550 Tumkur – Bangalore City
30364 RPM WAP7 1500 Bangalore City – Chennai Central
20025 KJM WDP4 11014 0845 Coimbatore – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (from Bangalore)
22555 ED WAP4 16315 1715 Bangalore City – Kochuveli
30398 RPM WAP7 56508 1805 Bangalore City – Marikuppam
20009 KJM WDP4 16557 1430 Mysore – Bangalore City
13368 KJM WDG3A 56513 0340 Karaikal – Bangalore City
13345/13260 KJM WDG3A’s 16216 1815 Bangalore City – Mysore
30411 RPM WAP7 16522 1935 Bangalore City – Bangarapet
30379 RPM WAP7 12609 1335 Chennai Central – Bangalore City
22767 RPM WAP4 16526 2000 Bangalore City – Kanniyakumari

The Photos


Wednesday 11th March 2015 (How to run a branch line service; and make a big loss!)

I’d originally planned to do 56510 0700 Bangalore City – Marikuppam passenger to Bangarapet but as it was only a plus 35 onto the 0930 down the Kolar branch I decided to set the alarm for 0600 and be at the station for 12608 0630 Bangalore City – Chennai instead. Thanks to the local mosque though I ended up at the station by 0610; I was unfortunately woken at 0526 and sleep went out of the window at that point!

ED WDM3A’s 16169/16465 departed right time with 12677 0615 Bangalore City – Ernakulam. It didn’t dawn on me, probably because I was half asleep, until the last coach left the platform that I could have actually done it to Bangalore Cantt! I was more interested in making sure I got one of the few vacant seats in AC chair car on 12608 to Bangarapet it seemed. When the TTE eventually turned up he turned out to be a bit of a know-it-all, who actually knew nothing about Indrail passes at all! As I didn’t have a reservation for the train he wasn’t going to let me on, his reason being that all ticket prices on Indian Railways are calculated on a distance travelled basis and he was adamant that the price I’d paid for my Indrail pass was calculated based on all my existing reservations; and that I should pay more to make extra journeys! After 5 minutes of this my tiredness got the better of me and I was very blunt when I asked “look, are you going to let me on or not?” Needless to say I was given the seat I’d asked for in the first place and all was well.

RPM WAP7 30389 got 12608 underway right time and the empty seats were soon filled at both Bangalore Cantt and Krishnarajapuram. GTL WDG3A 14906 was sat in the bay platform, 1A, at Bangalore Cantt, waiting to depart at 0740 with 56503 Bangalore Cantt – Vijayawada passenger; the same train that had been a cause for concern the previous morning. I wasn’t too pleased about having to flag 14906 but the Kolar branch had to be viewed so onwards I went. Bangalore Cantt DMU shed, which is randomly titled Bangalore Cantt DLS, did actually have a loco on it, KJM WDG3A 13335 appeared to be the shed shunt loco for the day; with nothing else to shunt but DMU coaches.

At Bangarapet I was very pleased to find KJM WDM2S 017664 sat in the platform, attached to one coach, but shut down. I was expecting it to have arrived at 0750 with the first train in from Kolar but that arrived with a DMU moments after 12608 did. A little concerned about what might, or might not, happen next I got the timetable out and realised quickly enough that I’d misinterpreted what I’d read and the first train from Kolar is actually 76506 0715 Kolar – Bangalore City; so there are only two return trips from Bangarapet to Kolar and not three return trips from Kolar to Bangarapet, as the DMU returns to Kolar in the evening. When said DMU did depart it was absolutely heaving, there hadn’t been much space when it arrived but there wasn’t much space on the footsteps as the train departed the platform and people jostled for space in an attempt to have enough foot space to remain safe for the journey towards Bangalore; I wouldn’t have fancied being at one of the intermediate stations between Bangarapet and Bangalore waiting to get on!

With 90 minutes to kill I got some photos of 017664 and then sat around for a bit; at least there were shacks on the platforms that did something other than south Indian food for breakfast so I was ok. When the sun came out I got more photos of the KJM WDM2S, which turned out to be quite representative of India with cows wondering around it, chewing on the green grass that surrounded the loco and coach. Eventually the cows had to be moved on by the train crew, who turned up to start the loco at 0830 and then had to run it round before they departed with the 0930 to Kolar. I got talking to the shunter eventually and asked him about the locos that worked the Kolar branch; he confirmed that it was only ever WDM2’s and never a WDS6. He also confirmed that 017664 was not dedicated to the service and that the loco was swapped every now and again but didn’t confirm how often. When I asked about the railbus that used to operate the service he just laughed and shrugged his shoulders; giving me the impression that it’s not likely to return anytime soon, or maybe even never return at all, after all it had been away for almost a year now!

Despite me not wanting to risk 56510 0700 Bangalore City – Marikuppam or 22617 0740 Bangalore City – Tirupati both arrived into Bangarapet bang on time at 0855 and 0903 respectively, with RPM WAP7 30410 and ED WAP4 22222 respectively. 76501 0930 Bangarapet – Kolar departed at 0940, 10 minutes late in the end but arrived into Kolar at 1038, only 3 minutes late. The line speed was decent throughout and the track was in good condition and with the branch being 17km I was actually thinking that IR were possibly risking it a bit with a lowly WDM2S, but it probably wasn’t down to providing a decent loco for the service it was more down to providing the service at all I guess; and who was going to complain if the loco failed and the service was cancelled?

Kolar station had clearly had a lot of money spent on it and the platforms were long enough to take lengthy trains. The station building had a station master and all the required facilities, including waiting rooms and a booking office. Once 017664 had run round I got talking to the loco pilot who told me that the cost of running the Kolar shuttle, just the two return trips from Bangarapet to Kolar we’re talking about here, was RS12000 per day and the service only generated approximately RS700 in revenue for IR per day. The fare for the journey is only RS5 and most people use the buses, as they’re obviously more frequent, but they cost approx. RS70 for the same journey apparently. My train down from Bangarapet had about 40 people on board I’d say and the return journey had even less, with only about 20 people; so that was approx. RS300 taken on a return trip, which cost about RS6000 to run. That included the crew’s wages and the operating costs, so the loco pilot told me, but not any maintenance costs to keep the track serviceable to allow the service to run in the first place. It was a good job IR provided the service for the people and not to make money! However the service connections at Kolar were a bit crap as the one train a day over the newly opened section from Kolar to Yelahanka Jct missed the first Bangarapet shuttle by 2 hours and made the next one by 4h10m! Likewise in the opposite direction the first arrival from Bangarapet made the only train of the day via Yelahanka by 3h40m. With only 8 trains a day serving Kolar at all, you’d have thought the timetable might have been refreshed a little to allow for connections to be made in either direction at Kolar? I suspect that eventually the Kolar shuttle will disappear altogether and the DMU that comes from Bangalore be used to fill in the shuttles during a longer layover, once it’s arrived from Bangalore; of course I could be completely wrong and IR could continue throwing money away to operate the Kolar shuttle?

The loco pilot on board 017664 was from Jaipur and he had a trainee with his from Patna; both seemed quite pleased that I’d been to their home cities. I told them I had to make 22625 Chennai – Bangalore City Double Decker at Bangarapet and they seemed as though it wouldn’t be an issue making the dead connection. When we departed 4 minutes late at 1104 I wasn’t so optimistic though; but when we rounded the corner into Bangarapet station and there’d been no sign of the double decker departing I was more optimistic, although I was then wondering how late it actually was and couldn’t check on NTES as Bangarapet seemed to be a black spot for it! 017664 brought 76502 to a stand in the platform at 1133, 2 minutes early and by the time I got over the footbridge to find out where 22625 was, it was approaching the end of the platform; I had just enough time to gather some food and drink before RPM WAP7 30394 brought the train to a stand and it departed 6 minutes late at 1141! The upper deck of the coach I was sat in was very sparsely populated, with only about half a dozen people in it.

I was aware that it was only a minus 13 at Bangalore Cantt onto 12976 Jaipur- Mysore Superfast Express and once I got access to NTES it confirmed that 12976 was over 20 minutes late and that I should make it at Bangalore Cantt; that was until 22625 was put inside at Baiyyappanahalli. When KJM WDP4 20036 overtook us with the late running 18463 Bhubaneswar – Bangalore City I feared we’d ultimately sit there for 12976 to do the same; and the wait after 18463 had passed certainly gave that impression. But no, the road came off about 5 minutes later and away we went; I only had 15 minutes at Bangalore Cantt waiting as a result. The back-up had I missed 12976 was of course 12628 New Delhi – Bangalore City Karnataka Express but I didn’t need it when 12976 rolled in with GTL WDM3A’s 16713/16703; the same pair I’d seen at Yesvantpur with 12592 Yesvantpur – Gorakhpur two days previous.

With time a bit limited on the approach to Bangalore City I leapt off the front coach as it hit the platform ends and was over at the Yesvantpur platforms before the back coach of 12976 had entered the platform. There hadn’t been a rush in the end as the stock for 56225 1340 Bangalore City – Tumkur hadn’t arrived at that point but GTL WDM3D 11120 was poised in the holding sidings to drop onto it when it did. KJM WDM3D 11525 was soon making a very dirty entrance into Bangalore City as it poured out black clag on the approach to the station with 56222 Tumkur – Bangalore City; the stock of which then formed 56225 back to Tumkur.

GTL’s 11120 was the first loco GTL had turned out for this link that hadn’t been a Shakti while I’d been there, excluding the PA WDM3D that had appeared the other day of course. As 56225 departed Bangalore City, late, 12628 New Delhi – Bangalore City Karnataka Express was just arriving in the main platforms; unfortunately I couldn’t see the number of either loco at the time. It was an interesting journey up to Yesvantpur with 11120 being very good but with a very distinct, and very loud, noise coming from the traction motors, even more so when on full power.

At Yesvantpur the place looked to be having a few difficulties with platforms again, a bit like the previous afternoon. 16569 1430 Yesvantpur – Kacheguda hadn’t gone and the stock wasn’t even in a platform; KJM WDM3D 11519 was sat in the through road with it, waiting to shunt it in once a platform became available. KJM WDG3A 13512 was just being attached to 17316 Velankanni – Vasco Da Gama Weekly, having run round on arrival into Yesvantpur. I hadn’t even realised at the time but had 17316 been 25 minutes late at Bangarapet I could have done it direct from there to Yesvantpur, and of course made the journey back to Bangalore Alco hauled vice electric! Thankfully a quick check on NTES shoed it to have been only a couple of minutes late at Bangarapet; so I hadn’t screwed up at Bangarapet in not waiting for it if it had been late. Of course if NTES had worked at Kolar I would have been aware of the potential in the first place; but of course it hadn’t! KJM WDP4 20031 was in with 17604 1530 Yesvantpur – Kacheguda and was started as I stood by it. When KJM WDG3A 13037 then arrived with 56277 0730 Chikkamagalur – Yesvantpur and proceeded to run round straight away, the fact that the DMU for 1455 Yesvantpur – Hosur had been allowed in then only left one platform empty, which was soon taken by KJM WDG4 12276 as it arrived with 12726 Dharwad – Bangalore City.

I thought 56580 Nelamangala – Bangalore City passenger might have been allowed in after 12726 had vacated platform 1 but I was wrong and KJM WDG3A 13285 was allowed in after it with 12777 Hubli – Kochuveli, it was replaced by an electric. 13285, like 13297 I’d seen earlier in the week had the small headlights mounted above the buffer beam. Once the Hosur DMU had departed 56580 was allowed in and arrived with KJM WDG3A 14639; I was quite glad of its arrival at the time as some guy had attached himself to me and wouldn’t quit as he poured out his life story and how he had to travel by train to get back to Yelahanka as he’d lost his job recently. Of course as the train approached the obvious question was asked but I’d had enough by then and just walked towards the train as I told him everything would work out in the end.

KJM WDM3A 14084 dropped onto the rear of 56580’s set to work 56581 1530 Bangalore City – Yesvantpur stock transfer move and then 56242 Yesvantpur – Salem forward. ED WDM3A’s 16804/16678 were just arriving with 11014 Coimbatore – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus and when I went to investigate what was sat with 17235 Bangalore City – Nagercoil, which was KJM WDM3A 16585, I found KJM WDP4B 40015 dropping onto the rear of 11014 for the run to LTT. KJM WDG3A 13297 was already sat in the far platform with the stock for 56227 1630 Bangalore City – Shimoga Town and KJM WDM3D 11524 was sat in the sidings attached to the stock for 56523 1745 Bangalore City – Hindupur. In the middle carriage sidings I found KJM WDG3A’s 13118/13367, which ultimately worked 16216 1815 Bangalore City – Mysore again, and MLY WDM3A’s 16683/16551, which had obviously arrived with 12628 New Delhi – Bangalore City Karnataka Express.

Having scoured the station I didn’t really have any options for new engines and was considering a trip to the hotel for a bit until I spotted WDS6 36016 dropping onto the Mysore end of the Karnataka Express stock, which was positioned in the middle carriage sidings. It wasn’t an issue getting on the stock as there were plenty of doors open and it was on an outer road so no other sets to clamber through in the process. As I boarded though I then noticed KJM WDM3A 16670 dropping on to the Chennai end of the set; which would have been the obvious candidate to do the shunt as it had done it every other day I’d seen it. I began to walk through the sleeper accommodation, towards the WDS6, when the stock started to move. When I looked out of the door I thought my eyes were deceiving me as the stock split apart but with both portions moving at the same time. Thankfully I’d clambered into the right portion as the bit I was in was moving in the Mysore direction; two coaches further back though and I’d have been going in the wrong direction and with the wrong engine! It turned out that 36016 was shunting an extra coach into the set while 16670 shunted out a coach at the opposite end of the sidings. Both parts of the stock were pieced back together on the same road, with 36016 then heading off to do something else while 16670 was left attached and eventually shunted the whole set into platform 1; I made my exit, that was enough excitement for one afternoon and food beckoned.

While sat in the empty front coach of 17235 1700 Bangalore City – Nagercoil, eating a freshly made egg biryani, I was so glad I checked 56504 Vijayawada – Bangalore Cantt before 17235 departed. My bright idea of a move was to do 17235 to Bangalore Cantt and then an auto to Baiyyappanahalli to do 56504 back into Bangalore Cantt for 56513 Karaikal – Bangalore City back into Bangalore City for 12627 1920 Bangalore City – New Delhi Karnataka Express back up the hill with MLY WDM3A twins 16683/16551. I discovered 56504 2h48m late about 2 minutes before 16585 departed with 17235! A move soon presented itself to me though.

KJM WDM3A 14019, in a very pristine condition and ex works by the looks of the recent re-build, arrived with the stock to form 12786 1820 Bangalore City – Kacheguda, which had again been sat in the through road at Bangalore Cantt. For some random reason ED WDM3A’s 16678/16803 were dropped onto the other end a while later and when I asked the crew preparing them why they were on the train I was told simply “speak with operations, we just drive what we’re given”! Other have seen ED twins on this train so it looks like the twins that arrive on 11014 Coimbatore – LTT are sometimes used on 12786 when KJM are short of a WDP4? Obviously this would probably leave KJM to provide vice the ED twins for 12677 the following morning to Ernakulam?

I’d noticed no engine stabled in the Yesvantpur platform carriage sidings, which usually worked 56525 1810 Bangalore City – Chikballapur, and sure enough KJM had kicked out a fresh one for it; and it couldn’t have got much fresher than KJM WDM3D 11578. It was the highest numbered WDM3D I’d seen, had a Jan 2015 works plate and didn’t look like it had actually done any work since being built; based on the state of the bogies, bodywork and very clean buffers. Could this have been its first revenue earning train since being built? Whether it was or wasn’t it gave me something to do until the Karnataka Express at 1920 and as time was on my side, and 56525 departed right time, I went all the way to Yesvantpur with 11578, rather than getting off at Malleswaram for the easy ride back. 11578 was a little disappointing, I’d been expecting a monster to be inside the shell, screaming to get out and show the world what it was made of, but it wasn’t to be and it was pretty average; hopefully it was due to the loco pilot taking it easy on the newbie?

An auto had me back in Bangalore City in 20 minutes and I even made 16232 Mysore – Mayilduthurai, which was showing 45 minutes late on NTES but due to the slack time it arrived 30 minutes late with ED EDM3D 11102. Having been already on the stock for 12627 1920 Bangalore City – New Delhi Karnataka Express I had a decision to make as I needed 11102 and one of the MLY twins so the question was, which would get the road first. I got off the wrong side of the Karnataka Express and was just about to head over to platform 6 when GTL WDG3A 13232 arrived with 56513 Karaikal – Bangalore City passenger, temporarily preventing me getting to 16232. While waiting a couple of railway staff hurried by me and all I heard over the radio as they headed towards the MLY twins was loco problems! By the time 56513 had cleared I could see that 16232 had the road to depart but no sooner had I got over to the platform did it get put back; I can only assume as the fresh crew were still preparing 11102, having only just got on board?

While I stood in the middle of the barrow crossing, that links platforms 1-5 with 6-10 via the middle carriage sidings, it didn’t really matter to me which train got the road first as I’d be doing it; I just needed to be able to get to it before it set off and it needed to be soon so I didn’t miss 12678 Ernakulam – Bangalore City at Bangalore Cantt. Eventually the road came off for the Karnataka Express first and I had plenty of time to board before it set off. The MLY twins put in the performance of the day up to Bangalore Cantt, the loco pilot obviously being a little annoyed with his late start and he wasted no time in punishing his locos for it. Very impressed with my run up to Bangalore Cantt I toyed with the idea of returning straight to Bangalore City with 12609 Chennai Central – Bangalore City, in the hope that 16232 would still be sat there with 11102; that idea went when 16232 arrived 15 minutes later, while 12609 was still sat in the platform at Bangalore Cantt!

While I waited at Bangalore Cantt GTL WDG3A 14685 arrived with 56504 Vijayawada – Bangalore Cantt passenger just 2h50m late, despite having 1h30m for the last 5km from Baiyyappanahalli! I was glad I’d not gone out for it in the end, more for the fester factor than anything else and with my month trip reaching its end I waited patiently for 12678 to arrive. It did so with ED WDM3A’s 16804/14054, which made sense based on what they’d done the previous day, but back in Bangalore City ED WDM3A’s 16668/16674 soon arrived with 16236 Mysore – Tuticorin; which was a little more pleasing as it meant I’d got all the ED twins in that I’d seen on the circuit during my time in Bangalore. While the ED twins put in a good performance up to Bangalore Cantt they weren’t quite as good at the MLY twins had been on the Karnataka Express but it was a performance acceptable and worth of being the last train of my trip.

For the second night in a row I missed 12607 Chennai Central – Bangalore City back down the hill so it was an auto direct back to hotel, again guided by me from the station approach. As I’d already packed the previous night I wasted no time in making sure everything was sorted for my early morning get up and was in bed, after a quick meal, by 2200, having paid my hotel bill while I waited for my food to be prepared.

The Moves

30389 Bangalore City Jct Bangarapet Jct 0630 Bangalore City Jct – Chennai Central 12608 RPM WAP7
017664 Bangarapet Jct Kolar 0930 Bangarapet Jct – Kolar 76501 KJM WDM2S – vice Railbus on load 1
017664 Kolar Bangarapet Jct 1100 Kolar – Bangarapet Jct 76502 KJM WDM2S – vice Railbus on load 1
30394 Bangarapet Jct Bangalore Cantt 0725 Chennai Central – Bangalore City Jct 22625 RPM WAP7
16703 Bangalore Cantt Bangalore City Jct 1940 (09/03) Jaipur Jct – Mysore Jct 12976 GTL WDM3A’s 16703/16713 in multi
16713
11120 Bangalore City Jct Yesvantpur Jct 1340 Bangalore City Jct – Tumkur 56225 GTL WDM3D
14639 Yesvantpur Jct Bangalore City Jct 1400 Nelamangala – Bangalore City Jct 56580 KJM WDG3A
36016 Bangalore Middle CS Bangalore Middle CS Shunt coach into Karnataka Express rake KJM WDS6 – shunt move via Mysore end RM, pick up coach RM, Mysore end RM
11578 Bangalore City Jct Yesvantpur Jct 1810 Bangalore City Jct – Chickballapur 56525 KJM WDM3D – works plate Jan 2015 (possibly its first revenue earning train)
Auto Yesvantpur Jct Bangalore City Jct RS100, 20 minutes Autorickshaw
16683 Bangalore City Jct Bangalore Cantt 1920 Bangalore City Jct – New Delhi Jct 12627 MLY WDM3A’s 16683/16551 in multi
16551
16804 Bangalore Cantt Bangalore City Jct 0910 Ernakulam Jct – Bangalore City Jct 12678 ED WDM3A’s 16804/14054 in multi
14054
16668 Bangalore City Jct Bangalore Cantt 1745 Mysore Jct – Tuticorin 16236 ED WDM3A’s 16668/16674 in multi
16674

Gen for Wednesday 11th March 2015
(Other than in the moves above)

16169/16465 ED WDM3A’s 12677 0615 Bangalore City – Ernakulam
16674/16668 ED WDM3A’s 16235 1635 (P) Tuticorin –Mysore
21277 AJJ WAM4 56214 2135 (P) Tirupati – Chamarajanagar (to Bangalore City)
14906 GTL WDG3A 56503 0740 Bangalore Cantt – Vijayawada
30410 RPM WAP7 56510 0700 Bangalore City – Marikuppam
22222 ED WAP4 22617 0740 Bangalore City – Tirupati
30393 RPM WAP7 12610 0800 Bangalore City – Chennai Central
22838 RPM WAP4 12510 0630 (PP) Guwahati – Secunderabad
20036 KJM WDP4 18463 0545 (P) Bhubaneswar – Bangalore City
40057 KJM WDP4B 12613 1115 Mysore – Bangalore City
11525 KJM WDM3D 56222 1120 Tumkur – Bangalore City
14084 KJM WDM3A 56581 1530 Bangalore City – Yesvantpur (stock transfer for 56242 YPR – Salem)
20031 KJM WDP4 17604 1530 Yesvantpur – Kacheguda
13512 KJM WDG3A 17316 2345 (P) Velankanni – Vasco Da Gama
12276 KJM WDG4 12726 0515 Dharwad – Bangalore City
13037 KJM WDG3A 56277 0730 Chikkamagalur – Yesvantpur, 56278 1415 Yesvantpur – Chikkamagalur
13285 KJM WDG3A 12777 0645 Hubli – Kochuveli (to Yesvantpur, electric forward)
16803/16678 ED WDM3A’s 11014 0845 Coimbatore – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (to SBC)
40015 KJM WDP4B 11014 0845 Coimbatore – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (from SBC)
11524 KJM WDM3D 56523 1745 Bangalore City – Hindupur
13297 KJM WDG3A 56227 1630 Bangalore City – Shimoga Town
16585 KJM WDM3A 17235 1700 Bangalore City – Nagercoil
30411 RPM WAP7 16520 1730 Bangalore City – Jolarpettai
20026 KJM WDP4 16557 1430 Mysore – Bangalore City
11120 GTL WDM3D 56226 1550 Tumkur – Bangalore City
13118/13367 KJM WDG3A’s 16216 1815 Bangalore City – Mysore
14639 KJM WDG3A 56223 1820 Bangalore City – Arsikere
16678/16803 ED WDM3A’s 12786 1820 Bangalore City – Kacheguda
21260 AJJ WAM4 56261 0800 Arakkonam – Bangalore City
30342 RPM WAP7 12609 1335 Chennai Central – Bangalore City
11102 ED WDM3D 16232 1600 Mysore – Mayilduthurai
14685 GTL WDG3A 56504 2050 (P) Vijayawada – Bangalore Cantt
30410 RPM WAP7 16522 1935 Bangalore City – Bangarapet
22647 LGD WAP4 16526 2000 Bangalore City – Kanniyakumari
20044 KJM WDP4 11302 2030 Bangalore City – Mumbai CST

The Photos


Thursday 12th March 2015 (Show me the way to go home….)

Despite my alarm being set for 0300 I woke three minutes before it went of at 0257, and felt surprisingly awake for the time of morning. Unfortunately I had no choice but to get up and wasted no time in getting dressed and downstairs to get out of the hotel. The guy who’d told me it wouldn’t be an issue getting out of the hotel at 0330 was up and about and unlocked the door the moment I walked into the darkened lobby. The walk to Bangalore City station was a bit more relaxed than the one the previous morning; the streets were all but deserted and there were hardly any motor vehicles about either.

I’d been told that the pre-pay taxi booth was open 24 hours by the guy I’d asked two days previous; he lied! However there were plenty of taxis lined up outside it and as ever each and ever driver wanted to take me to the airport. Each had a laminated list of pre-pay fares and the airport was listed as RS1100, which is what I paid for the 35 minute, 40km journey to Bangalore International airport. Still, I’ve always found pre-pay prices in Bangalore quite high compared to other cities and RS1100 to the airport is definitely a bit steep in my opinion.

When I arrived at 0400 there was hardly anyone about and I managed to get straight to a check-in desk to collect a boarding pass; having checked in online the previous morning on my way to Bangarapet. Immigration and security were a breeze and I spent two hours waiting at the gate, watching the seating area fill up, with pretty much nothing to do and only one place open for food and drink. The plane boarded on time and was off the stand a few minutes before time, unfortunately it wasn’t empty like my outbound flight had been, but there was nobody in the middle of the bank of three seats I’d chosen so at least there was a bit of room.

The flight was early back into Heathrow Terminal 5, even after circling for a while, which gave me a little extra time to get to Kings Cross for my 1435 train back to Doncaster; which I didn’t really need and had about an hour to kill before 91101 whisked me down the East Coast Main Line at 125mph! It doesn’t matter how many times you go to India, the run home on the ECML is always a refreshing change when the train gets up to speed and maintains it for more than 5 minutes, delivering you to your destination on time; which isn’t always the case with East Coast trains. Maybe Virgin could do a better job since they’d taken over the franchise while I’d been in India; this journey being my first on board a Virgin Train East Coast service and the scene was different at Kings Cross to what I’d been used to with everything having Virgin branding; except of course 91101 which was still in Flying Scotsman livery! A fitting end to a very enjoyable trip it was; but I was glad to be home when I got there.

The Moves

G-YMMB Bangalore Heathrow Terminal 5 0700 Bangalore – Heathrow BA118
91101 Kings Cross Doncaster 1435 Kings Cross – Leeds 1D18

 

One Comment

  1. Yogesh
    Posted 06/07/2015 at 4:36 am. Reply to this comment

    Very Good Trip Report! Nice Photos! Thanks for sharing!

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