Jonathan Lee

Worldly Images

India March 2016 (Lucknow to Bangalore via Hyderabad & Ooty)

By them time I’d figured out what I actually wanted to do on this trip I was on about the fifth plan! An original plan had included Khajuraho but as the new section linking Lalitpur to Khajuraho and completing the loop was almost finished that idea got scrapped in favour of heading to Ranchi. The idea behind that being that 12873/4 Anand Vihar – Hatia covered the section from Barkakana to Muri with twin PTRU Alco’s, however, after much scrutinizing of IR’s fog cancellations when I eventually came up with a plan IR told me that certain trains didn’t run so it was back to plan A; which then got superseded after I found the Jhalawar City branch in Samit’s new Indian Railway atlas so a different plan was hatched; using 22443 Kanpur – Bandra Terminus to get to Kota to cover the Jhalawar City trains. Unfortunately, it eventually came to light that 22443/4 didn’t use the main line from Mathura to Bharatpur and ran via Achnera instead; thus meaning that the section from Mathura to Bayana remains a desert for diesel hauled trains!

Having originally planned to do the Amritsar – Saharsa Garib Rath from Delhi to Lucknow, it came to light in early February that Delhi to Ghaziabad electrification had been completed and the section was live; with electric traction unfortunately being used! As a result, the rather cheap flights on offer from Delhi to Lucknow looked like an enticing alternative and would also guarantee that we made the Nainital Express at Aishbagh that night; so a £21 flight it was instead.

Little did we realise just how much of a bonus the flight would be when the news came out that Jat agitation in Harayana had cut a main waterway into Delhi and the whole Jat community was protesting all over Harayana due to the government not allowing the correct quotas for certain castes into government jobs. The long and short of that was hundreds of trains a day being cancelled in Harayana in the week leading up to when we flew out; while 10 million people in Delhi remain without water and the army had to step in and take control of the damaged waterway! Included in the cancellations were 12203/4 Saharsa – Amritsar – Saharsa Garib Rath’s!

Thankfully the cancellations calmed down a bit before we set off for India and at least 12957/8 New Delhi – Ahmedabad Rajdhani had started running again, which we would be using during the trip. With our plans about as set as they could be it was with great anticipation that we set off to find exactly what Indian Railways could throw at us……

 

Flights

Booked through British Airways & GO Air direct

BA143 1145 Heathrow – Delhi IGI Terminal 3

G8-181 0525 Delhi Domestic (Terminal 1D) – Lucknow

BA118 0700 Bangalore – Heathrow

 

Hotels

Kanpur – Hotel Raja Seth – less than 10 minutes’ walk from Kanpur Central station with a 24-hour reception. Rooms are spacious and clean enough, with the restaurant serving decent food as well. The staff at the front desk we accommodating and didn’t mind us returning after midnight.

Kota – Hotel Raffles – a good 10-minute walk from Kota Junction station. Has very clean and spacious rooms and the staff were expecting us with our booking.com reservation. Toiletries are provided in the room, breakfast is included and the food in the restaurant was very good; with pleasant staff throughout the place.

Ajmer – Hotel Moon Star – This hotel was booked through Booking.com but is not located where the hotel map shows it to be, or google maps. When I rang to ask for direction the hotel staff hung up on me and then wouldn’t answer their phone again; despite at least half a dozen attempts to get through to them! The result being we had to stay elsewhere.

Ajmer – Hotel Ajmer Inn – is located almost on the spot where the Moon Star is shown on the map; a 5-minute walk from Ajmer station. The hotel provided us with a clean room with many mod-cons that we didn’t get time to make use of, but we did make time to enjoy the complimentary breakfast. The room was spotless and the AC worked well and the staff even turned their WiFi back on so I could make contact with Booking.com to advise of the issues with the Moon Star.

Jaipur – Treebo Raya Inn – literally over the road from Jaipur Junction station, the hotel was expecting us, with the booking being made through Booking.com, and the room we were initially given was one with a double bed; this was soon swapped for a room with twin beds, which was clean and spacious and at only £20 for the room it was a bit of a bargain for the cleanliness and very well appointed room, with free toiletries and bottled water included.

Vadodara – Hotel Surya – the hotel staff were more than happy to let us into our room when we arrived before check-in time, although they did allocate us a double room initially but a twin one was soon sorted out. Having stayed at the Surya before, which is a 5-minute walk over the massive footbridge outside Vadodara station, we knew what to expect. The room was spacious enough, had decent beds and air conditioning. Toiletries were provided and hot water was 24/7.

Ahmedabad – Ritz Inn – is a 10-minute walk from Ahmedabad station and is basically about a luxurious as you’ll get without high end hotels. Its spotless inside has large, clean, well-appointed rooms with all the mod-cons and toiletries provided. Breakfast is included and the pure veg restaurant serves up very good food.

Secunderabad – Hotel United 21 – is about ½ a kilometer up the main road outside Secunderabad station. The staff at the front desk couldn’t have been more helpful and check-in was a breeze. Our room was a decent size, with twin beds and toiletries provided. The air-con was much needed! Food in the hotel restaurant was very good, despite the order being initially wrong on the first night. The staff were fine about it though and sorted it straight away.

Coimbatore – Hotel Vinayak – which was only a 5-minute walk through the maze of narrow streets opposite Coimbatore station. We were checked in quickly and despite the guy at check-in being insistent that I paid the bill the following morning I managed to get it paid before we went up to the room as we were checking out at 0430! The room wasn’t big and was nothing to write home about at all, it was sweltering and even the AC and fan didn’t seem to make a difference initially. Although very rough around the edges it sufficed for a cheap room for the 6 hours we’d spend in it!

Ooty – Fortune Resort – The Fortune Resort Sullivan Court is on the outskirts of Ooty in a quiet secluded spot, an auto from Ooty (Udagamandalam) station is around the RS80-100 mark. It looks nice on the outside and even nicer on the inside and was a bit upmarket to the places I usually use in India but it was well worth the money. The staff were very helpful in reception as we checked in and the room was absolutely spotless and provided everything we needed from toiletries to tea/coffee making facilities; bizarrely the one thing we didn’t need was the air conditioning as it was cool enough for it not to be turned on at all. We used the hotel restaurant for lunch, where the food was very good but priced accordingly with main meals being around the RS600 mark. The hotel staff organized us autos on numerous occasions to take us back to the station when asked.

 

Train Tickets

Indrail Pass 21 Days – £137

Booked in the UK through SD Enterprises Limited

 

Saturday 27th February 2016

I was so glad to be getting into my taxi from work to Peterborough station at 0620 after 67007 failing on 1M16 2044 Inverness – Euston, just south of Dunkeld, had given me a rather fraught night at work; when I left work 1M16 was 142’ late, which was a lot better than the 210’ late it had been at Perth after 67021 had gone light from Craigentinny to rescue it! The journey to London, in first class, on 1A01 0505 Leeds – Kings cross with 91110 was just what I needed; nice and quiet and relaxing!

The journey out to Heathrow on the underground was hassle free and so was check-in at Heathrow Terminal 5 and after a customary Wetherspoons breakfast we boarded our British Airways flight BA143 1120 Heathrow – Delhi IGI. As I was off nights I was ready for sleep the moment we boarded and was vaguely aware that we’d had some sort of delay on the stand as I drifted in and out of sleep; t turned out that two people didn’t make the flight and their bags had to be removed from the hold resulting in a 30’ late start from the stand.

 

Sunday 28th February 2016 (A day in the life of Lucknow cranking)

The late start didn’t cause any issues and after a good flight we were on the stand 20 minutes late. After my last arrival into Delhi I was expecting carnage at the immigration desks but the queues were quite tame and even the E-visa queues were about as short as they could be; last time I’d been there they were queuing out of the immigration hall!

Having changed money, collected Pelham’s big bag off the carousel and sorted ourselves out I switched my phone on and instantly activated 3G by exchanging credit to do so; that was us all set. Outside the arrivals hall are big sign posts for shuttle buses to Delhi’s Domestic Terminal 1D, where all but Air India’s domestic flights depart from. There’s a small sign on the wall by the bus stands telling people that they must get a ticket before boarding the bus, which is free if you have an onward connecting flight and can prove it. We showed our booking details and were given a ticket which is shown to the on-board conductor; as we were pulling off the stand he came across a few people without tickets and halted the bus to make them go and get them. This delayed us by 10 minutes while they did as more people turned up in the meantime. The bus journey, on a ramshackle old thing, took about 15 minutes to do the 7 or so kilometers between the terminals.

We’d originally planned to do 12204 Amritsar – Saharsa from Delhi to Lucknow but due to it being regularly late and the fact that the overheads had gone live between Moradabad and Delhi we opted to fly to Lucknow instead; hence us heading to Terminal 1D. As we’d only booked the flights a week before we flew out I managed to get onto the 0525 Go Air flight to Lucknow but as Pelham had wanted to do the morning in Delhi, originally he booked the 1325 Indigo flight but then changed it to the 0625 Indigo flight when the Jat agitation started to seriously mess things up in Delhi. Having met up airside for a coffee at Costa we parted ways for a while as I went off for my 0525 sleeper flight to Lucknow.

On arrival into Lucknow my Go air plane was the only on there. It took me 3 minutes from the plane doors to getting into a taxi, having bought my pre-paid ticket from the booth immediately opposite the airport exit; just inside the main doors before you exit into the outside world. The journey into Lucknow, through pretty deserted streets, took 15 minutes and cost RS400. As I’d been watching NTES in the car I managed to persuade the driver to take me to Lucknow City instead for an extra RS100 and I was dropped there with plenty of time to make, what turned out to be a late, 18191 Chhapra – Farrukhabad; which produced UDL WDM3A 16175.

Having dropped into Lucknow Junction, where GD WDM3A 16080 was just dropping on to 15043 0805 Lucknow Jn – Kathgodam, I headed straight over to Lucknow Charbagh and dumped my big bag in the cloak room on platform 1. I’d been considering heading over to Kanpur on either of 14123 Pratapgarh – Kanpur Central or 14221 Faizabad – Kanpur Anwarganj but when I found LDH WDG3A 13322 sat in platform 7 with 54377 0030 Prayag – Bareilly passenger I was swayed otherwise! I rang Pelham to tell him the move and he made it onto the platform with three minutes to spare.

Unfortunately the driver was a bit of a windbag on 13322 and didn’t do the engine justice at all during our run to Kakori; it sounded very meaty and had a deep throb to its voice that wasn’t used to its full potential, even as it hammered away into the distance on half power…..

Due to 14266 Dehradun – Varanasi being 3 hours late there were two options back towards Lucknow Charbagh and the first arrived with GD WDM3A 16497 with LKO WDG4 12184 running inside it; working 54332 0720 Balamau Jn – Lucknow Jn passenger, complete with milk churns filling every available doorway. These all got off at Alamnagar with us though and were loaded into two small vans for onward transportation to wherever the milk would be sold I guess?

14266 Dehradun – Varanasi wasn’t too far behind at Alamnagar but in between 54332 and it was 14524 Ambala Cantt – Barauni which passed through with LDH WDM3A 16661 leading the way. Then it happened, and so early in the trip as well, the dulcet drone of SGUJ WDP4 20061 arrived with 14266 and with no further choices we had to do it back into town; where we planned to head over to Aishbagh and cover the 1050 MG departure. LDH WDG3A 14711 soon changed that though and having got ourselves berths in 3AC on board 19410 Gorakhpur – Ahmedabad we were soon Kanpur bound to do 14222 Kanpur Anwarganj – Faizabad back; that was until we came to a grinding halt at Manaknagar. Having already stood for nearly 10 minutes on the outskirts of town a few more minutes festering at Manaknagar was just adding to the lack of time we were rapidly getting at Kanpur so we decided to play it safe and get off while we still had the chance; and it turned out that it was a good job we did.

Had 51813 Jhansi – Lucknow Charbagh passenger been anywhere near to time we could have done that back into Charbagh but as it turned out a late running 64206 0910 Kanpur Central – Lucknow Charbagh saved us getting an auto back into the city; where upon arrival we had 13 minutes to get to Aishbagh to make 52244 1140 Aishbagh – Pilibhit Jn and having spotted LKO WDM3D 11268 with 54256 Lucknow – Varanasi (via Pratapgarh) and GD WDM3A 16497 with 54334 Lucknow – Varanasi (via Faizabad), by the time we got into an auto outside the station we had 9 minutes to get to Aishbagh; we did it in 7 and legged it over the footbridge to just make the train. No sooner had we spotted IZN YDM4 6503 at the front did 52244 get the road and departed only 2 minutes late.

The plan was only ever to do 52244 to Lucknow City for 15203 Barauni – Lucknow Jn back in and then do lunch. GD WDM3A 16207 was close to time with 15203 and we were soon in the Comesum on platform 1 at Charbagh having dropped Pelham’s big bag into the cloak room adjacent first. I’d been looking forward to my veg noodles and jeera aloo but unfortunately the noodles were ridiculously hot and spoilt what could have been a decent meal!

After lunch we parted ways for a bit, with Pelham heading over to Aishbagh to do some YDM4’s while I planned to do 14222 Kanpur Anwarganj – Faizabad to Barabanki; planned being the operative word as when it rolled in with new WDP4D 40297 I was both annoyed and relieved. Annoyed as my afternoon move had gone down the pan and relieved as we could have been bowled by it at Kanpur after we’d arrived off 19410 Gorakhpur – Ahmedabad. Not to worry though as NTES soon showed me the way to go when I started doing station enquiries for all the peripheral stations to Lucknow; with Utratia coming up trumps when I found 54255 Varanasi – Lucknow Charbagh running nice and late, which meant I could do 54294 1345 Lucknow Charbagh – Pratapgarh Jn, which was still sat in the statin waiting to go, out for it back. And a nice little move it turned out to be with LKO WDM3A 16502 out to Utratia for MLDT WDG3A 14757R and LKO WDM3D 11157 back in, both working in tandem. I got the impression the MLDT Shakti was on some sort of test run as it was spotless and seem to have just some out of works?

As 54255 rolled in I noticed LKO WDM2S 017566 sat at the Varanasi end of the station with one sleeper coach, loaded with people; so I was immediately down to investigate. The driver of 017566 didn’t speak and English but gestured with his hand towards the bay platforms, which are 8 & 9 at the Varanasi end of the station, when I asked where he was taking the coach. The sub was soon off and so I hopped aboard and eventually found myself in a random little head-shunt just off the end of platform 1, between it and platform 2. The WDM2S was immediately hooked off and away to do something else; leaving the coaches occupants to Relax in the afternoon sunshine. LKO WDM3A 16378 with BKSC WDM3A 16149 dead inside were being attached to 12876 New Delhi – Puri during my shunt move, after a WAP4 had been removed from the train.

Having seen JHS WDM3D 14156 sat with 51814 1635 Lucknow Charbagh – Jhansi I was going to do it out to Manaknagar, that was until LDH WDM3A 16290 arrived in the adjacent platform with 13049 Howrah – Amritsar; which I did to Alamnagar instead and had been hoping to get back into Lucknow before 51814 depart but had no such luck in that respect. Had I actually done an auto I might have made it but when the silhouette of a train could be seen in the distance, which had a red signal at the Lucknow end of the station it would have been rude not to await events. The late running 12588 Jammu Tawi – Gorakhpur never did stop at Alamnagar but the signal check slowed it enough for me and quite a few others to board as it passed through and GD WDM3A 16529 led the way back into Charbagh.

Having been scanning NTES for Alamnagar departures I was already aware that 24369 Bareilly – Shaktinagar was late enough to allow me to do 54331 1705 Lucknow Charbagh – Balamau passenger back out for it but when GD WDG3A 13640 arrived with 14265 Varanasi – Dehradun, which was a lot different to the WDP4D that had gone the other way on the opposing working that morning, that turned into the better option; especially as there was no engine on 54331 when 14265 departed.

Pelham’s afternoon at Aishbagh had been rewarding for him and as he made his way back to Lucknow Charbagh by auto he had the gen on which train to do and what platform it was on, yet still managed to miss it when he almost got on the wrong 1705 departure from Charbagh, on a different platform to that which I’d text him! A last minute announcement for 54331 saved him from a potentially embarrassing moment but he soon arrived into Alamnagar with LKO WDM3D 11459 leading 54331. Less than 10 minutes later we were heading back into Charbagh with LKO WDM3D 11395 on 24369 Bareilly – Shaktinagar; where another meal at the Comesum followed. Thankfully the egg curry was nowhere near as spicy as the meal spoiling noodles had been earlier!

Having pigged out we did 18192 Farrukhabad – Chhapra round to Lucknow City with UDL WDM3A 16175. Unfortunately, there was no slowing for a signal check at Aishbagh so no getting off as the train passed through. IZN YDM4 6686 was sat in the platform with our 15308 2025 Aishbagh – Tanakpur Nainital Express. With plenty of time to get back to Aishbagh for it we attempted to get a rickshaw back down to Aishbagh but the riders all wanted RS200 for the journey; which was definitely not what we’d be paying on a cycle rickshaw! We walked out of the statin to the right and turned left down the road and eventually found some auto’s and an electric rickshaw; which if we’d have just turned left out of the station and walked to the end of the car park we’d have found a lot easier! Having talked the electric rickshaws driver down to RS150 we headed off towards Aishbagh and I say towards as he clearly didn’t have a clue where Aishbagh station was as he had to ask for directions the moment we set off. Luckily Google maps were playing ball on my phone and the location was accurate so I directed him to our destination.

We had about 20 minutes to spare when we go to Aishbagh and having found out compartment in 2AC were greeted with the fact that one of the berths was empty throughout; that soon changed to both when the young woman in the other berth immediately asked to move to a “family” compartment upon seeing us. We weren’t complaining when 15308 set off right time with only us in the compartment. When we’d booked our berths on the train 15308 had still been open for reservations through to Izatnagar and all that had been done was everyone had been reserved up to Pilibhit instead. We told the TTE that we were going through to Tanakpur, when he checked our tickets on departure; but that seemed to fall on deaf ears……..

 

Gen for Sunday 28th February 2016

16080 GD WDM3A 15043 0805 Lucknow Jn – Kathgodam

16661 LDH WDM3A 14524 2245 (P) Ambala Cantt – Barauni Jn

22684 CNB WAP4 24227 0450 Varanasi Jn – Kanpur Central

11268 LKO WDM3D 54256 1110 Lucknow Charbagh – Varanasi Jn (via Pratapgarh)

16497 GD WDM3A 54334 1100 Lucknow Charbagh – Varanasi Jn (via Faizabad)

40297 ?? WDP4D 14222 Kanpur Anwarganj – Faizabad

16378 LKO WDM3A (16149 BKSC WDM3A dit) 12876 0625 New Delhi – Puri (from Lucknow)

14156 JHD WDM3D 51813 0250 Jhansi Jn – Lucknow Charbagh, 51814 1635 Lucknow Charbagh – Jhansi Jn

11459 LKO WDM3D 54331 1705 Lucknow Charbagh – Balamau Jn

16176 GD WDM3A 15204 1500 Lucknow Jn – Barauni Jn

 

Photos for Sunday 28th February 2016

 

Monday 29th February 2016 (Possibly a final fling at Pilibhit)

I was aware we’d arrived at Pilibhit when I heard the commotion outside on the platform and people walking up and down the corridors to get off. This was my cue to use the facilities while I was awake and no sooner had I got comfortable in my berth again there came a hammering on the compartment door; it was the TTE telling us we were at Pilibhit; as I said, it had clearly fallen on deaf ears when I’d told him we were going to Tanakpur the previous night! Suitably reminded he still demanded to see our tickets but soon left us alone.

We were up by Banbassa and surprised when the good old Nainital arrived into Tanakpur only 5 minutes late after a bit of a stagger the other side of Banbassa; the reason for which became clear on the return journey to Pilibhit. IZN YDM4 6533 was in the sidings at Tanakpur when we arrived, shut down against the stock which it would use to work 52230 0725 Tanakpur – Shahjahanpur. Upon arrival 6686 shunted the 2AC coach off the set and deposited it into the sidings to return to Aishbagh that night; just as used to happen when the Nainital Express used to run through to Lalkua. Having formed the stock back up, 6686 ran round and worked 15314 0600 Tanakpur – Aishbagh Express.

The train was pretty empty all the way back to Pilibhit, which allowed us to take in the surroundings a bit more. I’d not been to Tanakpur since my one and only visit in 2006 and a lot had changed along the line since then and its MG days were definitely numbered! There were earth-works all along the branch with most stations having already got BG platform building well under way. Sleepers were scattered around all over the place and anywhere that had road access to the railway had piles of sleepers by it and piles of neatly stacked ballast weren’t far away. There was even a deviation being used by the current MG trains to allow the exiting formation to be excavated and foundations for a new bridge were being put in. It was sad to see but the Pilibhit area could only survive the BG revolution for so long and it was horrifying to see BG tracks already down in the middle road between platforms 1 & 2 at Pilibhit, when we arrived. Platform 1 itself was a building site with diggers excavating towards the Mailani end of the station while men were laying the foundations for the new BG tracks to be put in situ right behind them! I’ll give it to IR, they didn’t seem to be messing about at Pilibhit at all; it was only a matter of time before the iconic semaphores outside the station were just a bygone memory!

As we were late into Pilibhit, mainly because of the deviation on the Tanakpur branch, I leapt off 15314 before it crossed to platform 4 as IZN YDM4 6531 was sat in the bay platform at Pilibhit, waiting to depart with 52227 0755 Pilibhit – Tanakpur; which we were doing back out to Majhola Pakarya to intercept 6533 coming into Pilibhit with 52230 0725 Tanakpur – Shahjahanpur. As Pelham had missed the opportunity to get off outside the station he had to wait until the train hit the platform end before leaping off and then walking back across to the bay platform to join me; there was still time for chai before the token was taken down to the loco though!

It was a bit of a stagger out to Majhola Pakarya and 6533 was already sat in waiting to leave so it was a quick ballast leap and walk to the front; before it staggered back to Pilibhit. 52230 was held at the outer home at Pilibhit for 10 minutes, before eventually drawing up to the gantry that had the far left signal off to indicate we were going across to the far platforms. As our combined stagger and fester outside the station had put a load of time into 52230 it well and truly missed 15309 0930 Pilibhit – Aishbagh Express so we had plenty of time to do a bit of photographing as there were a few arrivals/departures before we’d leave on 52243 1125 Pilibhit – Aishbagh.

In the makeshift diesel loco shed at Pilibhit were YDM4’s 6625, 6626 and 6575, all undergoing maintenance. Outside the shed, in a line of three, were YDM4’s 6700, 6528 & 6444, all of which were being given a good scrubbing down by one lad with a bucket! Over in the head-shunt, by the Tanakpur end of the bay platform, was YDM4 6477 which had all its engine room doors open and didn’t look like it would be going anywhere soon. Round the back of platform 4 were YDM4’s 6503 & 6479 and at the Mailani end of the carriage sidings were YDM4’s 6601 & 6603.

The first train to depart was 52229 0630 Shahjahanpur – Tanakpur, which had been sat in platform 4 when we’d arrived; which did so with YDM4 6552. We were quite surprised to find YDM4 6503 departing soon after wit 52230 Tanakpur – Shahjahanpur, having expected 6533 to run round. All became clear after YDM4 6755 arrived with 52298 0805 Shahjahanpur – Pilibhit and was drawn off the stock and shut down. Having also expect that to run round we were quite disappointed to find 6533 ex 52230 trundling down the platform to drop onto the other end; which basically confirmed that with the limited scope for running round at Pilibhit now the railways had adopted a drop-on policy rather than a run round one. This left me hoping that 6755 would work 52221 1510 Pilibhit – Aishbagh instead as it was one of the few IZN YDM4’s I needed to get in! The one downfall of our little photographic jaunt was Pelham snapping the lens off his camera when he tripped over a signaling wire and cracked his camera on the railhead that broke his fall. Luckily for him he’d brought a small compact camera with him as well!

As 52243 1125 Pilibhit – Aishbagh approached Mala, where we were getting off anyway, the train was brought to a stand just outside the station by staff with red flags. There were a load of people stood across the level crossing just ahead and I initially thought there’d been some sort of incident on it or the youths were protesting and blocking the crossing; all became clear when a band of TTE’s boarded the train and began ruthlessly checking tickets, with a plethora of armed RPF walking round the outsides of it. Those caught without tickets were held by the RPF and marched away once the TTE’s had been through the train. There weren’t many people held by the RPF in the end but I did notice a few youths scurrying into the undergrowth at the rear of the train; those would be the lucky ones, unless of course they were planning to go beyond Mala? Randomly, when YDM4 6511 departed Mala with 52238 0310 Aishbagh – Pilibhit, it was right away once it got the road to depart. We could only assume that another block was possibly taking place elsewhere on the line so people couldn’t get word around as to what was happening and where?

Back at Pilibhit nothing much had changed, 6755 was still shut down at the bottom end of platform 3 and everything else was still on shed, where it had been when we’d departed. While eating two helpings of Aloo Tikki 6531 arrived back from Tanakpur with 52204 1040 Tanakpur – Pilibhit; then having arrived into the bay it was shunted off, across the main lines and onto the stock to form 52233 1410 Pilibhit – Shahjahanpur. Before it could depart though 6451 arrived with 52232 1105 Shahjahanpur – Pilibhit, which we photographed arriving with the BG works in the foreground before walking out towards the semaphore gantry on the main line to photograph 6531 departing with 52233 to Shahjahanpur.

With a bit of time to kill before the next arrivals we relaxed on the platform, in the shade, and just watched the world go buy. Unfortunately, that world involved one of those rather large big yellow hornet type things interfering with our space and the damn thing only went and stung me on the inside of my arm! It was as though someone had stuck a needle in it with the sharp pain it inflicted and the shock of it had me cursing quite loudly; much to the intrigue of the on looking locals! The aftermath ended up being a rather large swelling on my arm that thankfully stopped when it got to about 3 by 3 inches but it was very tender and painful to touch. Unfortunately, all my medical stuff was in my big bag in Lucknow Charbagh’s cloak room!

It was very pleasing when 6755 dropped onto the stock that 6451 had brought into the middle road platform at Pilibhit after arriving with 52232 1105 Shahjahanpur – Pilibhit. Before it could depart though 6756 had to arrive with 15310 Aishbagh – Pilibhit and 6552 with 52220 1255 Tanakpur – Pilibhit, off which a load of people transferred to 6755’s train and it was quite wedged by the time it rolled out of town, with standing room only.

The plan was always to get off at Paranpur for 52255 0630 Gonda – Pilibhit, which was surprisingly only 40’ late when we got off but ended up being 80’ late so we had a bit of a fester; but had the Paranpur monkeys to keep us entertained during our wait. Some of them looked a bit scabby and with the way they were scavenging about on the floor for any scrap of a morsel they could find to eat, I was guessing they were all a little hungry. This possibly proven when one of the smaller ones picked up a banana that had fallen off a bunch, that had been in a bag that one of the larger ones had clearly stolen from an unsuspecting passenger, and it was immediately attacked by another; which basically had a hold of its face and wouldn’t let it put the banana in its mouth! Both went off screeching until one of the elders made the bully leave it alone……

Thankfully things calmed down a bit after 6755 had departed and we just had a curious little friend to contend with who sat at our feet while we drank chai. The biscuits we’d bought were left well and truly alone until we were absolutely sure there wouldn’t be an onslaught of monkeys trying to take them from us! We were eventually allowed to eat our biscuits in peace on board 52255 0630 Gonda – Pilibhit when YDM4 6571 departed Paranpur with a very empty train indeed.

At Pilibhit we ventured outside to get some food and found that the MG rail crane, that was in the station car park in bits earlier in the day, had been almost completely assembled on its plinth outside the station; and work hadn’t finished there. With bright lights shining on one guy was painting various bits of the crane, including touching up the works plates and other small fittings, while other tightened bolts and made sure things were set up correctly. While the crane was an interesting thing to display outside Pilibhit, and at a deciding time in the railway junction’s history, I’m pretty sure a nice Izatnagar liveried YDM4 would make a lot prouder statement than that of a rail crane? In fact, why not have both….?

YDM4 6591 arrived into Pilibhit 1h20m late with 15313 1050 Aishbagh – Tanakpur and in a change to the norm, ran round. This was the stock and loco to form our 15307 2130 Tanakpur – Aishbagh Nainital Express, which would be inevitably late as a result. Just before 15313’s departure from Pilibhit 6531 arrived with 52236 1730 Shahjahanpur – Pilibhit and was chained as it ran into the platform, delaying our departure further. When 15313 eventually departed it was 1h30m late and we were glad of the almost deserted train; which allowed for a bit of relaxation on the way to Tanakpur.

In the sidings at Tanakpur was YDM4 6601, which had worked down with 52203 1750 Pilibhit – Tanakpur, which we’d missed thanks to 52255 being over an hour late. It would return to Pilibhit the following morning with 52230 0725 Tanakpur – Shahjahanpur. 6591 was detached, with a few coaches, on arrival and set about shunting the 2AC coach into the rake to form 15307 to Aishbagh. The TTE was lingering about on the platform and once I’d told him we had berths reserved from Pilibhit he was happy for us to get in them from Tanakpur. It was a good job I asked when I did as he had his hands full shortly afterwards with a group of people who were sat in Sleeper Class that obviously didn’t have sleeper class tickets so a heated argument ensued; which of course resulted in someone going to the ticket office and paying the excess. Quite why they even bothered with Sleeper Class in the first place begs a question as the train was literally empty. There couldn’t have been more than a dozen people on it from Tanakpur when 15307 departed 90’ late!

The 2AC had plenty of free space according to the TTE yet we ended up in a compo with a couple and their child, who thankfully wasn’t a very young one and was actually very good and nice and quiet! Once everyone was settled down the lights were out and everyone was asleep well before Pilibhit. Despite us blocking the AC vents with the bedroll bags it was still freezing cold in the compartment unfortunately. I was vaguely aware of Pilibhit as we departed and was only aware that 6756 had replaced 6591 as Pelham mentioned it when he returned to the compartment.

 

Gen for Monday 29th February 2016

IZN YDM4’s (outbased at Pilibhit)

Pilibhit DLS – 6625, 6626, 6575

Pilibhit stabled – 6477, 6444, 6528

6686 15308 2025 (P) Aishbagh – Tanakpur, 15314 0600 Tanakpur – Aishbagh

6531 52227 0755 Pilibhit – Tanakpur, 52204 1040 Tanakpur – Pilibhit, 52233 1410 Pilibhit – Shahjahanpur

6552 52229 0630 Shahjahanpur – Tanakpur, 52220 1255 Tanakpur – Pilibhit

6601 52203 1750 Pilibhit – Tanakpur

6533 52230 0725 Tanakpur – Shahjahanpur (to Pilibhit), 52243 1125 Pilibhit – Aishbagh

6503 52230 0725 Tanakpur – Shahjahanpur (from Pilibhit), 52234 1335 Shahjahanpur – Pilibhit

6591 15313 1050 Aishbagh – Tanakpur (throughout), 15307 2130 Tanakpur – Aishbagh (to Pilibhit)

6755 52298 0805 Shahjahanpur – Pilibhit, 52221 1510 Pilibhit – Aishbagh

6451 52232 1105 Shahjahanpur – Pilibhit

6603 52223 1740 Pilibhit – Mailani

6756 15310 0720 Aishbagh – Pilibhit, 15307 2130 Tanakpur – Aishbagh (from Pilibhit)

6511 52238 0310 Aishbagh – Pilibhit

6571 52255 0630 Gonda – Pilibhit

6700 15317 1535 Pilibhit – Shahjahanpur, 15318 1905 Shahjahanpur – Pilibhit

 

Photos for Monday 29th February 2016

Tuesday 1st March 2016 (It’s all about the Konch Branch!)

After a decent night’s sleep I was surprised when I woke to find us in the station at Mohibullapur and only about 20 minutes late; not the 90’ late we’d been after setting off from Tanakpur. A quick check on NTES showed 18191 Chhapra – Farrukhabad being on time so we got ourselves sorted in time to get off at Lucknow City and do it into Lucknow Junction; which would also save us having to get an auto from Aishbagh to Lucknow Charbagh as well.

Of course 18191 never turned up on time and as a result we could have done 6756 into Aishbagh for 6515 back up to Lucknow City with 15310 0720 Aishbagh – Pilibhit. Still we got to add another new train to the General Motors list when 19037 Bandra Terminus – Gorakhpur rolled into Lucknow City with IZN WDP4D 40151 and not the usual GD WDM3A. We’d seen the opposing working heading through Aishbagh two nights previous with a GM as well but didn’t see the number of it.

After 19037 had departed horns could be heard in the distance and UDL WDM3A 16647 was soon upon us with 18191; which departed Lucknow City almost an hour late and was 45’ late into Lucknow Junction. This resulted in us having to get a spirt on to collect our big bags from the cloak room at Charbagh if we were going to make 14123 Pratapgarh – Kanpur Central. We managed it though and as LKO WDM3D 14159 was arriving with 14123 an announcement was being made for 14221 Faizabad – Kanpur Anwarganj so we hung around on the footbridge in an attempt to see what it was after I’d been bowled by a GM on the return working two days previous. With nothing in sight though we found ourselves some standing space on board 14123 to Unnao Jn.

No sooner had we arrived at Unnao and got our first chai of the day did ET WDM3D 11307 head the other way with 15206 Jabalpur – Lucknow Jn Chitrakoot Express. Then came LKO WDM3D 11395 with 14222 Faizabad – Kanpur Anwarganj so the GM I’d seen on 14223 two days previous must have been an off-link? Next up was UDL WDM3A 16647 with 18191, having run round at Lucknow Jn while we got out bags at Charbagh and departed in front of it! Thankfully LKO WDM3D 11154 turned up with the first of the two Kanpur bound passengers of the morning, 54211 0510 Rae Bareli – Kanpur Central and we did that forward to Kanpur Bridge Left Bank to wait for the second passenger bound for Kanpur; 54335 0700 Balamau – Kanpur Central. Having passed a bit of a surprise in JHS WDG4D 70313 with 12512 Trivandrum – Gorakhpur, we ended up with a lengthy fester in the blazing morning sunshine!

Our boredom was broken when SPJ WDM3D 11279 arrived with a freight. Having photographed it the crew wanted to show us round the cab of the loco and have their photos taken. They told us they’d been on duty since 0500 and were working the train forward to Kanpur Anwarganj, where a relief crew would take it forward. By the time they got to Kanpur Anwarganj they’d have been on duty over 8 hours to work a train for 74km!

It was a relief to see 54335 Balamau – Kanpur Central approaching in the distance and a surprise when it arrived with LDH WDG3A 14807. By the time we got in to Kanpur it was too late to do any moves before heading out to Ait Junction to cover the Konch branch train; so we headed over to the Hotel Raja Seth and got ourselves a room sorted for the night. The hotel staff weren’t concerned that we’d not be back until possibly after midnight as reception was manned 24/7.

Food was sought at the overhauled refreshment room on platform 1 at Kanpur Central before we managed to get ourselves berths in 2AC on board 12521 Barauni – Ernakulam Rapti Sagar Express to Orai. The move we were doing hinged on 11123 Barauni – Gwalior Mail behind being within 47 minutes of right time as it was a plus 47’ off it at Ait Jn onto the 1705 Ait – Konch branch train. Last time I’d attempted the move 11123 had been bang on time into Kanpur but the Rapti Sagar had been late and scuppered everything as it overtook 11123 en-route and delayed it by over 2 hours in the end! On this occasion it seemed that Kanpur had it round their neck with the Rapti Sagar being about 10’ late into Kanpur and the Gwalior Mail not far behind it, also about 10’ late. Unfortunately, JHS WDM3D 14162 staggered out of Kanpur and was held at Bhimsen as well; this putting more time into the Gwalior Mail behind.

Once out of the Kanpur suburbs the run to Orai was quite a good one and when we got to Orai we let the option to do a taxi to Ait for the 1705 Konch train pass us by as 11123 was an hour late and quite slackly timed into Orai; that was a mistake as when JHS WDM3D 11158 arrived into the back platform at Orai I was a sure sign that it wouldn’t be departing straight away. Sure enough it was held for a freight and then its opposing working of 11124 Gwalior – Barauni to arrive with JHS WDM3D 11529; before being allowed to proceed. Needless to say there was no sign of the Konch rake when we arrived into Ait Jn at 1808, 90’ late!

Our option was now reduced to hoping that the 2000 Konch – Ait Jn made the minus 5 into 11015 Lokmanya Tilak – Gorakhpur Kushinagar Express as if not it was going to be a long night and we’d have to head towards Jhansi instead! At least there was a nice new stall open on the platform at Ait though; so we could have chai while we waited. When we heard the approaching horn in the distance it was definitely a good sign and when the loco was opened up the familiar 6-cylinder growl gave the loco’s ID up.

JHS WDS6AD 36271 arrived into Ait Jn with 51866 1800 Konch – Ait Jn at 1828, just 7 minutes early. As it was still just about daylight we managed to get a few photos before the loco was detached from its load 3 set. When detached the loco pilot got off and came to us to tell us we were riding in the cab with him, once he’d confirmed we were going to Konch; and no didn’t seem like an answer! While he went away to get himself a chai we hung around by the engine and were harassed by a few young hedge monkey kids; which to be honest just need a good hiding to get them in line and teach them a little respect.

The cab of 36271 was set out differently to any Indian Alco I’d been in before as the desks weren’t an “L” shape they were angled out on each other instead, leaving less room between them in the middle of the cab. It was a clean cab though and everything was in working order. The loco pilot told us he had two more trips to Konch to do before his shift finished at Ait Jn. It would have been rude to not ask questions while we were there and we gleaned the following; the reason the Konch branch trains were still worked by diesels, after electrification, was as the loco pilot links would all have to change as it was diesel men who worked the branch. The loco was swapped out at Ait Jn when the fuel got down to 1000L. With a capacity of 4500L and using approx. 400L per day on the branch this mean that it was usually every 7 to 8 days. The 1000L obviously being enough to get the loo back to Jhansi. The branch itself is 30kmph max throughout but with two unmanned crossings that are 15kmph. Unfortunately, the short rake and low line speed meant even the little W~DS6 wasn’t put through its paces and never got above notch 4; I was watching it on the micro-processor panel!

At Konch the loco was run round immediately, while we remained in the cab, and after photographs the loco pilot insisted we sit in the statin master’s office until departure time. At 2 minutes to departure time the station master decided he wanted photos of us, which resulted in a2 minute late start. With the loco pilot knowing we were going for the minus 5 onto the Kushinagar Express he assured us we would make it. In the end NTES assured us we would make it when 11015 showed departing Jhansi 60’ late! We only just missed 19167 Sabarmati Express, which was almost 2 hours late but at least the chai stall was still open to pass the time; and I’d rather 11015 be 60’ late than right time and have disappeared into the distance as we arrived!

As it happened JHS WDM3D 11293 arrived into Ait Jn with 11015 Kushinagar Express 80’ late. The TTE in AC soon confirmed there were no berths available in either 2AC or 3AC yet two very kind Nepalese guys allowed us to use one of their berths while they chewed the cud in the next compartment. When we arrived into Orai the TTE came to speak to me and showed me his reservation sheets, on which were mine & Pelham’s names with berths 23 & 24 allocated in 2AC from Ait to Lucknow. By sheer coincidence and thanks to Indian Railways not cancelling off the reservations we now had berths through to Kanpur and got ourselves dossed out straight away, after thanking the Nepalese guys for the load of their berth! The reservations had been made originally when I’d attempted to put together a trip involving Ranchi and then Konch afterwards, however Indian Railways told SDEL in London that 11123 Barauni – Gwalior didn’t run on this particular day and with another train involved also cancelled due to the fog timetable being introduced we changed the plan; but it seems IR didn’t cancel the reservations.

By Bhimsen 11015 was only 10’ late but after it was held at Govindpuri it was 30’ late into Kanpur Central. We were quite pleased to find an omelette wallah just outside the station at Kanpur Central and having devoured that it was straight to bed; it was 0100!

 

Gen for Tuesday 1st March 2016

16530 GD WDM3A 15108 2315 (P) Mathura Jn – Chhapra Jn

40151 IZN WDP4D 19037 2240 (PP) Bandra Terminus – Gorakhpur Jn (from Lucknow Jn)

11307 ET WDM3D 15206 2040 (P) Jabalpur – Lucknow Charbagh

11395 LKO WDM3D 14221 0505 Faizabad – Kanpur Anwarganj, 14222 1255 Kanpur Anwarganj – Faizabad

70313 JHS WDG4 12512 0610 (PP) Trivandrum Central – Gorakhpur Jn (from Lucknow)

22049 GZB WAP1 12180 0550 Agra Cantt – Lucknow Jn

14156 JHS WDM3D 54157 0815 Jhansi Jn – Kanpur Central

11529 KTE WDM3D 11124 1150 Gwalior – Barauni Jn Mail

36271 JHS WDS6AD 51866 1800 Konch – Ait Jn, 51867 1905 Ait Jn – Konch, 51868 2000 Konch – Ait Jn, 51869 2155 Ait Jn – Konch

 

IZN YDM4

6515 15310 0720 Aishbagh – Pilibhit Jn

 

Photos for Tuesday 1st March 2016

 

Wednesday 2nd March 2016 (A day in the life of Kanpur; and then some…)

We were up and out of the hotel by 0730 and our bags were in the cloak room at Kanpur Central by 0745. Pelham went straight out to Unnao with ET WDM3D 11278 on 15206 Jabalpur – Lucknow Jn Chitrakoot Express. I waited for 12592 Yesvantpur – Gorakhpur but when that rolled in with JHS WDM3D 11164 I opted for an auto to Kanpur Anwarganj to cover 19715 Jaipur – Lucknow Jn; which was a waste of time when WDP4B 40073 arrived with it. Still, it was a cheaper ride back to Kanpur Central than an auto!

Kanpur Central was a hive of activity with IZN WDM3D 11352 passing through with 15101 Chhapra – Mumbai CST, LKO WDM3D 11396 arriving with 54153 0255 Rae Bareli – Kanpur Central, CNB WAG9 31652 arriving with 54151 0720 Fatehpur – Kanpur Central and stranger in town NGC WDM3A 16087 sat waiting to depart with 14110 1000 Kanpur Central – Chitrakoot Express; which I was considering doing.

Meanwhile it seemed like a good idea to get an auto out to Govindpuri and do the late running 51813 Jhansi – Lucknow passenger back in for 16087 on 14110. However, when I got to Govindpuri a pair of Shakti’s were sat in the Kanpur bound platform with a freight. As I got my camera out to take a photo the loco pilot beckoned me to the cab, where I wrongly assumed he was going to tell me not to take photos; I couldn’t have been more wrong when he asked where I was going and when I told him Kanpur Central he told me to get in! The road was off moments later and KTE WDG3A’s 14733/14570 were my ride back into town, where I was even dropped off in a platform and not the middle road.

By this time Pelham was on his way back into Kanpur with UDL WDM3A 18994 on 18191 Chhapra – Farrukhabad. When JHS WDG3A 14623 arrived with 51813 Jhansi – Lucknow Charbagh passenger my move with NGC’s 16087 on 14110 was abandoned and I sent Pelham a mage to let him know what platform it was on and where to meet me. I watched 18191 snake in across our path but when the JHS Shakti departed with 51813 Pelham was nowhere to be seen. We were reunited at Kanpur Bridge Left Bank after a text message told me he was in the middle of the train, having not made it to the front. As NTES was showing 54211 Rae Bareli – Kanpur Central passenger as being late enough we did 14623 forward to Magarwara; which was a mistake but thankfully not one we’d later regret when we found LKO WDM3D 11154 with the stock off 54211 at Kanpur Central when we eventually got back. 54211 was just powering away, having exited the loop at Magarwara, as we slowed for the stop. This resulted in a nice fester for us, which actually could have been a lot less if we’d needed LKO WDM3D 11395 that got stopped in the middle road with 14222 Faizabad – Kanpur Anwarganj.

LKO WDM3A 16192 led 54335 Balamau – Kanpur Central passenger, which arrived into Kanpur a lot earlier than it had done then previous day; and actually had a good run in. Unfortunately, we’d just missed 15037 1045 Kanpur Central – Kasganj Express, which departed 45’ late and that was basically that for a while as we waited it out for 15004 Gorakhpur – Kanpur Anwarganj, which just kept getting later and later and even when it did arrive it was put into platform 1 and sat for 45 minutes to allow other trains to use the main platforms to pass through. When it did go we thought we’d end up missing 51824 Farrukhabad – Allahabad passenger at Kanpur Anwarganj as NTES had showing as arriving there 30 minutes previous. As it happened GD WDM3A 18736 arrived into the back platforms at Anwarganj and JHS WDM3D 11341 was sat in platform 1 but with a GM on a freight between it and us; so we had to leap off at the platform end, wait for the train to pass by us, leg it round the front of the GM and onto the platform; only to stand waiting for it to depart for the next 10 minutes! During which time GD WDM3A 16189 arrived with 05305 1100 Farrukhabad – Kanpur Anwarganj special and ran round to work back with 05306 1500 Kanpur
Anwarganj – Farrukhabad special. It was a stagger back into Kanpur and we were help outside long enough to have to watch GD WDM3A 16530 go by with 15107 Chhapra – Mathura!

Back at Kanpur something very random happened; it was 1545 in the afternoon and out overnight train was due away at 1820, when we heard an announcement for our 22443 Kanpur Central – Bandra Terminus “running late by 5 hours, inconvenience is deeply regretted”! While it was a bit of an inconvenience, it could have been a lot worse had it been a 2320 departure for example! Of course this now meant a bit more spinning about for us; so that’s exactly what we didn’t do!

Ex KJM WDM3D 11523, now of JHS, was sat in platform 1 with 51823 Allahabad – Farrukhabad passenger, 3 hours late, and KTE WDM3A 18963 was sat in with the stock to form 18204 Kanpur Central – Durg, having arrived with 18203 Durg – Kanpur Central earlier. The afternoon passenger departures were LKO WDM3A 16192 with 54212 1420 Kanpur Central – Rae Bareli, LKO WDM3D 14154 with 54336 1520 Kanpur Central – Balamau, LKO WDM3A 18774 with 54154 1632 Kanpur Central – Rae Bareli and pick of the bunch SPJ WDG3A 13611 with 51801 1620 Kanpur Central – Khajuraho; guess which one we did……

Having stood at the signal outside Kanpur Central for 15 minutes, waiting the road forward to Govindpuri, I was considering getting off 51801 and walking back into Kanpur but the road came off just as I’d decided to walk to the rear of the train to assess the walk! It was quite a good run then, until the signal outside Govindpuri; where ahead was a completely empty platform! In the distance we could see the silhouette of an Alco approaching that we thought could be the very late 54157 Jhansi – Kanpur Central passenger so we got off and walked into the station; only to find the silhouette to have been a pair of MLDT Alco’s with a freight and watch 13611 bring its train in as we stood on the platform end!

With NTES having shown 54157 departing Bhimsen over an hour ago but not having been reported at Govindpuri we were a little skeptical but 10 minutes after we arrived a load of horn blaring came from round the corner, on what we now know to be the Bhimsen line, and JHS WDG3A 13433 rolled in with 54157, just the 4 hours late! It was par for the course when it had a staggering run into Kanpur Central and was held outside waiting a platform. GD WDM3A 14063 was sat in at Anwarganj waiting the same fate with 15038 1200 Kasganj – Kanpur Central; which thankfully ran round to form 55327 1900 Kanpur Central – Farrukhabad passenger. We also managed to miss 14723 1725 Kanpur Central – Bhiwani, which we’d been hoping to do out to Anwarganj for 15038 back, which passed with LKO WDM3D 11396.

As an alternative to doing GD WDM3A 14063 out to Anwarganj we considered doing 11124 Gwalior – Barauni to Unnao, that was until it rolled in with JHS WDG4 12889! So 14063 it was, which eventually departed 25’ late with 55327. Prior to which there’d been a bit discussion between some guy who’d got rather a lot of goods stashed under the seats and the local RPF; who I got the impression was trying to tell him he had way over the permitted limit to carry on a train. Other people joined the argument, which in the end just stopped when the loco pilot blew up to depart then everyone went about their business with nothing more said on the matter!

There weren’t any autos at Anwarganj so we had a leisurely journey back to Kanpur on a cycle rickshaw. There were plenty of autos at the end of the long station approach had we walked down mind. We stopped our rider outside the Hotel Raja Seth, where we had a good meal before waiting it out on the station; which was about all we could do by that time. GD WDM3A 16066 had arrived with 54325 1100 Sitapur City – Kanpur Central passenger and JHS WDM3A 18671 shunted the stock out an hour later. The surprise of the evening came when new RTM toy WDP4D 40266 arrived with 19167 Darbhanga – Ahmedabad; so another cult trains bites the dust….?

Our 5-hour late departure went to 5h30m at around 2230 and the stock wasn’t even shunted into until 0002 by JHS WDM2S 018766. I’d been expecting JHS WDM3A 18761 to drop on and work the train but it was JHS WDG3A 13433 that did the honours instead; departing Kanpur Central at 0030, 6h10m late!

 

Gen for Wednesday 2nd March 2016

11278 ET WDM3D 15206 2040 (P) Jabalpur – Lucknow Jn

11352 IZN WDM3D 15101 2115 (P) Chhapra Jn – Mumbai CST

11164 JHS WDM3D 12592 1720 (PP) Yesvantpur Jn – Gorakhpur Jn

11396 LKO WDM3D 54153 0255 Rae Bareli – Kanpur Central, 14723 1725 Kanpur Central – Bhiwani

31652 CNB WAG9 54151 0720 Fatehpur – Kanpur Central

16087 NGC WDM3A 14110 1000 Kanpur Central – Chitrakoot

18774 LKO WDM3A 14724 1825 (P) Bhiwani – Kanpur Central, 54154 1632 Kanpur Central – Rae Bareli

11154 LKO WDM3D 54211 0510 Rae Bareli – Kanpur Central

22613 GZB WAP4 12180 0550 Agra Cantt – Lucknow Jn

14154 LKO WDM3B 54336 1520 Kanpur Central – Balamau Jn

18963 KTE WDM3A 18203 1940 (P) Durg Jn – Kanpur Central, 18204 1820 Kanpur Central – Durg Jn

16192 LKO WDM3A 54212 1420 Kanpur Central – Rae Bareli

16189 GD WDM3A 05305 1100 Farrukhabad Jn – Kanpur Anwarganj, 05306 1500 Kanpur Anwarganj – Farrukhabad Jn

40073 BGKT WDP4B 19716 1210 Lucknow Jn – Jaipur Jn

16530 GD WDM3A 15107 0500 Chhapra Jn – Mathura Jn

11523 JHS WDM3D 51823 xxxx Allahabad Jn – Farrukhabad Jn (from Kanpur)

12889 JHS WDG4 11124 1150 Gwalior – Barauni Jn Mail

40266 RTM WDP4D 19167 2050 (P) Ahmedabad Jn – Darbhanga Jn

28432 CNB WAG7 (25012 CNB WAP4 dit) 22441 1830 Allahabad Jn – Kanpur Central

 

Photos for Wednesday 2nd March 2016

 

Thursday 3rd March 2016 (Discovering Jhalawar City)

Having slept almost solidly, I woke at 0730 and my venture to the toilet revealed that we were sat in Achnera station. As it’s not a booked stop, only a run round location, NTES had to confirm that 22443 was now only 4h55m late; after clearly recovering some time overnight. When I got back to the compartment I noticed water on the floor of the compartment and then discovered that Bert’s water carrier had a leak. It was perched on the little table with bedroll papers underneath to soak up the leak; it was a shame that it hadn’t stemmed it and as a result it had dripped onto the floor and the front of my bag was soaking wet; as were the contents of the bottom and top pockets. Bert certainly knew how pissed off I was as I gave him a rather stern telling and threw his water carrier out of the compartment!

Thankfully I managed to get back to get back to sleep after I’d got my bag onto my berth and laid out wet things to dry! By 1045, when I eventually surfaced, everything was dry! I’m thankful that it was just water in the carrier and nothing else! It turned out that the water spiller himself was a station master at Vadodara and was travelling back to work with his family; where he was on duty the following day. He didn’t know it at the time but he was going to have a busy day later in the week when a freight train derailed in platform 1 at Vadodara station!

22443 was held outside Kota Jn for 15 minutes and ultimately arrived into Kota at 1230, 5h20m late. Thankfully it hadn’t lost a load more time overnight and cost us the planned move to Jhalawar City later in the afternoon. As I went to make sure JHS WDG3A 13433 was still on 22443 RTM WDM3D 11527 arrived with 59837 0945 Jhalawar City – Kota Jn; which we should have, at the very least, been on back from Ramganj Mandi Jn had we missed the minus 3 onto the outbound train to Jhalawar City there.

With a bit of a concerted effort we managed to get to the Hotel Raffles, a good 10-minute walk away from the station, get checked in, dump our bags and do a RS40 auto back to the station to make 59356 0500 Mathura – Ratlam passenger; which was still having the van loaded at the front of the train when we arrived. As BRC WAG5 21143 departed with 59356, about 25’ late, RTM WDM3A 14071 was seen stabled in the yard with RTM WDM3D 11527 also there having run round the Jhalawar City set and taken into the yard. KTE WDS6 36121 was shunting in the station and ET WDS6 36155 was shunting in the goods yard. Stabled on shed were ET WAG5 23760, BIA WAG5 23351, ET WAM4 20686, BZA WAP4 25037 & BRC WAP4 22209.

It was scorching at Dakaniya Talav, the first shack south of Kota Jn, and even festering in the shade was hard work but for the guys attempting to load a 20ft long steel support onto a rickety four-wheeler flat trolley it was more than hard work; and they certainly made hard work of it! Once they’d loaded it and balanced it properly they had to wheel it away and there was only one way they would be getting it to where they needed; and they had no qualms at all in swinging the girder out into the tracks as they then attempted to push it up a hill and over to the opposite side of the station. Not one of them looked to see if there was anything coming; if there had been people would be dead, there’s no question about it. Something travelling at even 60kmph would have skittled the support beam down the platform and everyone would have had to be on the ball to get out of the way!

59355 0700 Ratlam – Mathura was held at Dadhdevi for 19037 Bandra Terminus – Gorakhpur to overtake it and as soon as BRC WAP4 22563 had departed Dakaniya Talav 59355 was being announced as arriving shortly; and arrive shortly it did with BRC WAG5 23761. A further delay occurred to 59355 outside Kota Jn, where it sat for 10 minutes; meanwhile RTM WDM3D 11527 was started, prepared and had backed the stock in to form 59840 1545 Kota – Jhalawar City before the road came off for us to run into the station. The electrics that had been on shed were moved into the yard while we waited and when we departed on 59840 they were all lined up in a different order, all split from each other and stood 10ft apart from each other; clearly ordered for their next workings?

On departure from Kota 59840 was quite empty towards the front of the train. It had set off 18’ late due to 12466 Jodhpur – Indore being late and getting preference in front of us. The loco pilot on it was that keen to get away that the luggage van door had to be locked as the train moved off and another guy had to chase the train down the platform to melt the seal onto the paperwork and almost ran out of platform while doing so! The loco pilot of our 3D wasn’t so keen it seemed and took ages to even get it to full power as the train began its journey towards Jhalawar City. Despite the loco pilot seeming to lack an understanding of what to do with the power handle, the run down the main line to Ramganj Madi Jn was still quite a good one and 1527 was a good loco. The run over the branch, as it currently is until it links with Biyavra Rajgarh Jn on the Maksi Jn to Ruthitai Jn line and then ultimately then onwards to Bhopal, was a decent one; the whole line was through desert, which had rocky outcrops every now and again.

We were only a few minutes late into Jhalawar City and the loco was immediately detached to run round. The station has three platforms and even a loop round the back. There was a footbridge being built, the sign for which said it should be completed by 15/03/16 but judging by the work completed at the time I was thinking not. During a conversation with the loco pilot he told us that the OHL on the section from Ramganj Mandi Jn had been recently energized and the trial period would be over within a week; which meant that there was no reason why electric traction couldn’t work the Jhalawar City branch trains after the trial was over. He also confirmed that electrification would progress towards Bhopal as well.

The run back to Kota was better than that one the way out and the train was empty as well. En-route we passed 05614 1930 Kota – Jhalawar City passenger special but couldn’t tell the livery of the loco as it hammered by, let alone see the number. RTM WDM3A 14071 had disappeared when we got back to Kota so we assumed it could have been that but weren’t so sure when we got to the station the following morning. Back at the Hotel Raffles a decent meal was served up but it seemed that Pelham was succumbing to the onset of “Delhi Belly” and his toilet visits overnight confirmed it; he was officially broken!

 

Gen for Thursday 3rd March 2016

11527 RTM WDM3D 59837 0945 Jhalawar City – Kota Jn

22563 BRC WAP4 19037 2240 (P) Bandra Terminus – Gorakhpur Jn

22324 BRC WAP4 12466 0610 Jodhpur – Indore Jn

30013 GZB WAP5 19019 0005 Bandra Terminus – Dehradun

 

Photos for Thursday 3rd March 2016

 

Friday 4th March 2016 (En-route to Ajmer, where our hotel was missing!)

We were up by 0700 and while I enjoyed a complimentary breakfast of omelette, toast & chai, Pelham enjoyed some complimentary bog roll in the lobby toilet! Check-out took seconds, which was very efficient by Indian hotel standards and we were soon on our way to the station in an auto for 29020 0845 Kota Jn – Mandsor link; which is a portion off 19020 Bandra Terminus – Dehradun.

As we entered the platforms our 29020 was showing to be departing from platform 1A, which is a bay platform. KTE WDM3A 16736 was in platform 4, which we assumed to have arrived from Jhalawar with 05613 0600 Jhalawar City – Kota Jn passenger special, which soon set off again, loaded with people, with 51611 0815 Kota Jn – Bina passenger. The stock for our 29020 was nowhere to be seen in platform 1A and when RTM WDM2 18654 pulled up in platform 2 I was pretty sure I knew what was going to happen next; and sure enough in the distance a plume of black smoke all but confirmed my suspicions as a set of stock began to propel towards platform 1A. A swift walk towards the top end of the platform, as a precaution, was clearly needed when the yellow side of the loco doing the propelling came into view. While the stock seemed to be going a little quick a brisk run alongside, to throw the little bag on, made it easier to get on with the big bag on my back. Pelham initially flagged trying to get on but then attempted anyway; his failing to put his little bag down first was his downfall as he couldn’t pull himself in with only one hand! Unfortunately for him he followed me down the platform on foot. Once the stock was placed I had to walk back down the length of the train to discover that the loco doing the shunt was KTE WDS6 36121; which was a bonus start to the day and despite getting it in I now wished I’d been at the station for 19020 arriving to get the full shunt in from one side of the statin to the other. Sure enough though 36121 was removed and RTM WDM2 18654 soon dropped onto the front to work the train.

The 2AC was right at the rear of the train and was almost empty, the coach attendant told us to sit wherever we wanted and the female TTE told us she’d be back later when presented with our Indrail passes. She was back later and brought someone else with her who attempted to get some money out of us for the reservation fee. Despite me telling him to read the cover of our Indrail passes, which he clearly didn’t, he was convinced he was going to charge us for a reservation fee until I pointed out the first line on the back of the pass, which reads “…. Without payment of any additional charges for reservations….”; and there ended the conversation.

29020 was 20’ early into Chittaurgarh, which seemed to be the order of the day there as after photographing 18654 leave ABR WDM3A 16675 arrived 35’ early with 59604 0930 Udaipur City – Ajmer Jn; and was run round waiting to go before it should have even arrived. The opposing working of 59603 0725 Ajmer Jn – Udaipur City was also doing well and had arrived at Chanderia 20’ early according to NTES so it was a good job 59604 set off from Chittaurgarh RT as it was only a plus 7 there. It was a move that was never going to miss though, despite the double track between the two, as a WDG4 set off at the same time as 59604 and used the opposite line to make its way to Chanderia at the same time; so 59603 wouldn’t be able to depart there until either it or us arrived.

ABR WDM3A 16769 was sat waiting to depart Chanderia with 59603, with NGC WDG3A 14910 dead inside. At Chittaurgarh both locos were removed and looked to be running round the train together. By the time we departed towards Mavli Jn with RTM WDM3A 16791 on 22901 Bandra Terminus – Udaipur City the locos were attached to the opposite end of the stock, still coupled and with 16769 now shut down and a crew in 14910, which was now running and being prepared by the fresh crew. As it didn’t affect our plans for the day, just the time we’d have at Mavli Jn, we got off at Fatehnagar to wait for 59603 behind; hoping that the NGC Shakti would be leading the way when it arrived, which it was! Strangely the old, low down MG platforms at Fatehnagar were only just being replaced by proper BG platforms at coach level.

At Mavli Jn 14910 arrived into platform 3 with the first of the three trains that would soon occupy the three BG platforms there. ET WDM3A 16783 was next along and into platform 2 with 59836 1430 Udaipur City – Nimach and ABR WDM3A 16030 last into platform 1 with 09722 1505 Udaipur City – Jaipur special; that had now been running as a special for a number of years. With FL outbased YDM4 6732 sat in the MG platform, having arrived with 52071 1200 Bari Sadri – Mavli Jn, the station was as full as it was ever going to get; with all platforms occupied! We did 09722 to Kapasan and stood in the 3AC while we did. 20 minutes after arrival KTE WDM3A 16783 was soon along with 59836 and there was plenty of room on board through to Chittaurgarh.

Food was sought at one of the hotels over the road from the station, of which Pelham managed to consume one mouthful and then disappear off to the bog. The next I heard from him, after finishing my food, was when he rang me to ask for some more bog roll as he’d ran out! After showing the bog who was boss all seemed to be well as we joined 12982 Udaipur City – Delhi Sarai Rohilla Chetak Express for the run to Ajmer with ABR WDM3A 16792; where we’d be staying the night. There was room in 2AC, which allowed us to relax a while en-route; our problems only began when we arrived into Ajmer…..

Having rang the Hotel Moon Star from Chittaurgarh to tell them we wouldn’t arrive until approx. 2300, all was well until we got to when the Hotel Moon Star was shown on the Google Map printout I had. A little confused, I checked the Booking.com reservation, which showed it to be in the same place. Staff at the nearby Hotel Ajmer Inn hadn’t heard of it so we continued walking down the main road for a while only to turn round 10 minutes later. I attempted to ring the hotel, who told me to wait for a minute when I explained the situation to them; then hung up and wouldn’t answer the phone again after repeated calls to them! So with not much option we walked back to the Hotel Ajmer Inn and checked in there instead. The hotel staff kindly turned their WiFi back on so I could e-mail Booking.com to tell them about the situation and we didn’t get to be until nearly midnight as a result; having arrived into Ajmer at 2235!

 

Gen for Friday 4th March 2016

16736 KTE WDM3A 05613 0600 Jhalawar City – Kota Jn, 51611 0815 Kota Jn – Bina Jn

16152 RTM WDM3A 19329 0730 Indore Jn – Udaipur City

6732 MVJ YDM4 52071 1200 Bari Sadri – Mavli Jn

 

Photos for Friday 4th March 2016

 

Saturday 5th March 2016 (A stagger to Pushkar and then on to Jaipur)

Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time to savour the delights of the Hotel Ajmer Inn, which had provided us with a clean room with many mod-cons but we did make time to enjoy the complimentary breakfast, well I did anyway, before heading to the station to enjoy the delights that the newly built line to Pushkar had to offer.

The stock to form 59607 0915 Ajmer Jn – Pushkar arrived off 59601 0500 Marwar Jn – Ajmer Jn; which was formed of ABR WDM3A 16810 and load 11. Bizarrely the Pushkar train doesn’t run on Tuesdays and Fridays but the Marwar passenger runs daily! Loadings were light, other than in the front coach, which every local using the train seemed to want to get into; so we moved to the second coach and had it pretty much to ourselves. At Madar ABR WDM3A 16030 was just arriving with 54806 0535 Jaipur Jn – Ahmedabad Jn and was on load 24; a mixture of passenger coaches and high capacity parcels vans scattered throughout the rake, which must have been for a reason? Unfortunately for us Madar was where the journey became a stagger.

The Pushkar branch runs through some desolate landscapes, which are generally desert. The journey down the branch was a totter at no more than 30kmph and all the level crossings en-route are worked by a traveling gateman. Nobody got on or off at either of the intermediate stations en-route and it was understandable why with both being in the middle of nowhere. Despite being allowed 1h10m to cover the length of the 25km branch from Madar to Pushkar we still arrived 5’ late into Pushkar Terminus. You can do the maths on the average speed but it took us 1h30m to do 32km. Whereas our return journey to Ajmer took 55 minutes by road!

Had I not beckoned an auto driver from the level crossing outside Pushkar station there would have only been one auto there, which was loaded with the two other white folk off the train by the time we got outside the station front. The auto I’d beckoned was thankfully still waiting, after we’d got a few quick photos of the train; both the auto driver and the two tourists in the other auto couldn’t quite believe what they heard when I asked to be taken straight back to Ajmer Jn but we were soon underway; quite surprised at the quote of RS400. We automatically assumed we’d be going the whole distance in the auto but when the driver kept stopping and asking taxi drivers to take us forward we were soon being transferred in town to a taxi. Having travelled about 10 minutes in the auto from Pushkar station to the town centre, we handed over RS100 to the auto driver and agreed with the onward taxi driver that we’d pay him RS300 on arrival at Ajmer Jn station.

It seemed like staggering around at no miles an hour was what happens in these parts as the taxi driver was quite possibly the slowest I’d ever come across in India yet he still managed to get us back to Ajmer Jn in only 45 minutes, despite a bit of traffic slowing us down on the approach to the city centre. Unfortunately, we missed 19269 Porbandar – Muzaffarpur, which had been about 35’ late, and this was the last booked Alco hauled train from Ajmer to Jaipur until 19611 1755 Ajmer – Kolkata that evening.  As a result, we decided to do one of the GM hauled trains, of which there were plenty to choose from, and decided on 12988 1250 Ajmer – Sealdah as a last option. Unfortunately, 15013 Jaisalmer – Kathgodam produced the booked traction with IZN WDP4D 40137 doing the honours and when BGKT WDP4 20090 arrived with 12414 Jammu Tawi – Ajmer it was a waste of time waiting for 12413 1405 Ajmer – Jammu Tawi; a train that was once booked for twin LDH WDM3A’s of course. When ABR WDM2 16871 arrived into Ajmer with 12195 Agra Fort – Ajmer Intercity we were offered a lifeline but it seemed that TKD WDP4B 20101 was poised to drop onto the opposite end so we did 12988 anyway, with BGKT WDP4 20096 and an empty compartment to ourselves in 2AC. This move meant we’d be in Jaipur over three hours before we’d even leave Ajmer if we’d waited for 19611; and we’d have plenty of time to view what was going on, on the Jaipur MG by doing what we were doing. Shortly before departure BGKT WDP4D 40184 arrived with 54801 0700 Jodhpur – Ajmer passenger and shortly after departure a rather nice man came round for lunch orders; and a very fresh and piping hot egg biriyani was served en-route.

As 12988 departed Phulera a few YDM4s were visible on the Diesel Loco Shed with at least one being in a blue livery so either an ex Mavli one or another IZN one having been transferred? Upon arrival into Jaipur YDM4 6738 was shunting a set of stock out of the station, which revealed the blue machine I’d wanted to see; ex IZN YDM4 6476 being fuelled, still sporting its IZN livery but with FL markings having replaced the IZN ones. Common sense would have said that 6476 would be doing the 1600 departure to Sikar and 6738 the 1845 departure to Sikar so without further ado we made our way straight to the Hotel Treebo Raya Inn, literally over the road from the MG end of Jaipur Jn station; and were only asked if we wanted an auto about 15 times as we headed over!

With the Treebo Raya Inn being a relatively new hotel I’d never stayed there before and only ever eaten there. The hotel was expecting us, with the booking being made through Booking.com, and the room we were initially given was one with a double bed; this was soon swapped for a room with twin beds, which was clean and spacious and at only £20 for the room it was a bit of a bargain for the cleanliness and very well appointed room with free toiletries and bottled water included. Having dumped our bags, we were soon heading back to the station; where the moment of truth as regards 6476 would be revealed.

The moment of truth wasn’t one I liked very much as 6738 was sat in the platform with the stock to form 02089 1600 Jaipur – Sikar and 6476 was just about to push its set in the yard, where it stabled beside spare YDM4 6623. I didn’t like what we were told next either, as a railway guy we questioned while photographing 6738 told us that the 1845 would be formed off the stock that arrived at 1755 on 52084 1410 Sikar – Jaipur. What I was trying to get out of him was what the loco (6476) would be working next and the answer I got was “4am in the morning, sir”; which was definitely not what my ears wanted to hear. It was one of those dilemmas of do you, don’t you, and if you don’t you may well regret not doing so forever; which is an issue I have previous with as regards 6211 at Madurai some years ago!

02089 1600 Jaipur – Sikar was surprisingly not too full at all, even after loading up at Dehar Ka Balaji. 6738 was a dirty engine if not one of the better sounding ones of the Sikar based fleet but it gave a spirited run towards Chomun Samod, by which time most of the shutters on the train were down as it was hammering it down with rain; as a storm passed by. As 6656 was sat waiting at Chomun Samod with 52084 1410 Sikar – Jaipur we chose to go through to Baori Thikria to do 52086 1705 Sikar – Jaipur back instead. Leaving Ringas Jn the storm looked to have passed over and things were dry, yet just round the corner from the station we passed through an area where the ground was white over and a mist was rising from it. I initially thought that the white stuff was blossom and the mist was just the water from the storm evaporating quickly on the hot sand. I couldn’t have been more wrong, the white stuff was actually marble sized hailstones that completely covered the ground where the storm had been at its strongest and the massive temperature distance was causing the mist as they quickly melted. All the locals were clearly intrigued by what they were seeing and taking photos on their mobiles. When we stopped at Sonthaliya one guy nipped off and picked up a few on the hailstones; which were still freezing cold. Having seen how intense the rain had been at the south side of Ringas I definitely wouldn’t have liked to have been caught out in the open when the hail started as there would probably have been some pain inflicted when they hit! As we approached Baori Thikria the light was fading and lightening cold been seen in the distance. The puddles created by the flash rains made for a nice reflection shot of 6738 as it waited for 52086 to arrive.

6651 was far better than 6738, in that it had a better and deeper growl and was louder with it. The loco pilot was good too and wasted no time in getting the little thing to full power. By Chomun Samod I wasn’t really paying much attention to what was going on outside, other than watching the constant lightening bolts, so it was a good job Pelham was on the ball and noticed that 02081 1845 Jaipur – Sikar was in the station as we approached. It was a good job I had my torch to hand as we couldn’t even tell the livery of the engine let alone see the number without it! It was only 6-bloody-476! In an instant, and just when I’d resigned myself to an 0400 start the following morning, we were now presented with a 2325 finish instead; and having quickly gathered our stuff we off and soon heading away from Jaipur when we should have been heading towards it; all thanks to listening to some guy at Jaipur, who clearly either didn’t understand what I was asking him or didn’t have a clue what locos were working what. Either way we’d have been better not listening to him as if we hadn’t we’d have been back into Jaipur on 6656 to cover the 1845 departure anyway!

What can I say though? 6476 is nothing short of a bloody monster! It certainly wasn’t of the usual standards of an IZN example and whatever Phulera had done to it when they got it, it’s been transformed into one of the best sounding YDM4’s I’ve heard in a while; and it literally kept me at the door all the way to Palsana, where 6738 was sat in waiting to take us back to Jaipur with 52082 2005 Sikar – Jaipur. Once we’d managed to get into the empty front coach, after someone had unlocked the door for us, we had plenty of space to stretch out and relax on the journey back into Jaipur. Upon arrival into Jaipur 6651 was stabled with a set in the yard and 6623 was standing adjacent, having not moved at all. This meant 6656 had worked 02087 2105 Jaipur – Sikar.

A quick dash outside the station revealed an omelette wallah just by the exit from the station car park, which was just what our bellies needed. It was straight to the hotel and bed after that; with another midnight finish!

 

Gen for Saturday 5th March 2016

16810 ABR WDM3A 59601 0500 Marwar Jn – Ajmer Jn

16030 ABR WDM3A 54806 0535 Jaipur Jn – Ahmedabad Jn

40137 IZN WDP4D 15013 0045 Jaisalmer – Kathgodam

40184 BGKT WDP4D 54801 0700 Jodhpur – Ajmer Jn

20090 BGKT WDP4 12414 1810 (P) Jammu Tawi – Ajmer Jn

16871 ABR WDM2 12195 0505 Agra Fort – Ajmer Jn

16563 ABR WDM4A 59714 1845 Jaipur Jn – Phulera Jn

 

SIKR YDM4’s

6623 spare at Jaipur

6738 02089 1600 Jaipur – Sikar, 52082 2005 Sikar – Jaipur

6476 02081 1845 Jaipur – Sikar

6656 52084 1410 Sikar – Jaipur, 02087 2105 Jaipur – Sikar

6651 52086 1705 Sikar – Jaipur

 

Photos for Saturday 5th March 2016

 

Sunday 6th March 2016 (A day in the life of the Jaipur – Sikar MG)

Despite our late finish we were both up before the alarm went off. After a quick shower I realised that we could do a spin move to Gandhinagar Jaipur as NTES showed 54834 2330 (P) Hisar – Jaipur as being late enough for the on time 14322 Bhuj – Bareilly Ala Hazrat Express to make it. Checkout from the Treebo Raya Inn was quite speedy and the hotel staff were happy to keep our big bags for the day; we’d be returning for food later that evening, before our overnight to Ahmedabad, anyway.

The first train we saw arrive was 59713 0700 Phulera – Jaipur passenger with ABR WDM2 16839 and closely behind was IZN WDM3D 11346 with 14322 Bhuj – Bareilly. As it was slightly late arriving, probably thanks to following 59713 in from Phulera, 14322 was 10’ late departing Jaipur. Unfortunately, 54834 2330 (P) Hisar – Jaipur passenger had picked up time and was sat outside the station waiting the road in as we departed; with RTM WDM3A 16828 at its helm. We did have a lifeline though in 12195 Agra Fort – Ajmer Intercity, which according to NTES was a few minutes late but as 14322 rolled into Gandhinagar Jaipur ABR WDM2 16869 was just starting away with 12195. In a strange but no so strange turn of events the train came to a stand again and we had enough time to leg it over the ballast and clamber aboard before it set off again; karma was restored.

Due 6476 causing us the late finish the previous night we’d dismissed the idea of getting up for the 0625 Jaipur – Sikar and did so in time for the 1000 Jaipur – Sikar instead; and what should we find bolted to the front? Only 6-bloody-476, which can only have arrived with 02082 0455 Sikar – Jaipur and run straight round to form 52083 1000 Jaipur – Sikar. 6656 arrived a little late with 02088 0605 Sikar – Jaipur and moments later 6476 was blowing up for the off. As the train was wedged from Dehar Ka Balaji, with milk churns filling the vestibules and aisles, there wasn’t much scope for bellowing out of doors anyway. Having crossed 6651 at Nindhar Benar with 02090 0740 Sikar – Jaipur we were off at Jaipur for 6738, which was just arriving with 19736 1030 Sikar – Jaipur as we were. As there was no time to get to the front we used the minutes to get some snacks and pop and relaxed at the rear of the train back into Jaipur; which was relatively empty all the way.

As the inbound 19736 Sikar – Jaipur is only a plus 5 onto the opposing outbound working of 19735 at Jaipur there wasn’t much time to do anything when we arrived; even though we did arrive 10 minutes early. 6651 was sat ready and waiting and by the time we’d ambled down to the front, got some photos and nipped into the yard to get some photos of 6656 & 6623, it was time to go. With 6651 being another good FL example there was plenty of hanging out of the door on the way out of town. Pelham opted to go through to Sikar for a browse round the diesel loco shed, in the hope that 6731 might produce on the return working. I was off at Baori Thikria for the machine that is 6476 back into Jaipur as I had an appointment with 6738 on the 1845 Jaipur – Sikar! We had to wait at Chomun Samod for 6656 to arrive with 02089 1600 Jaipur – Sikar, which did so in spectacular fashion as the loco pilot attempted to get his train under way quickly from the home signal by giving it the lot from a standing start; the resulting plume pf thick black clag shot directly upwards for about 30ft. And if that wasn’t enough he opened it up again as he approached the front of 6476; right where I was going to take my photo of it arriving, it was very impressive to say the least.

An early arrival into Jaipur offered me an unexpected bonus, well sort of bonus anyway, which actually turned out to be more than I bargained for in the end. 12404 1520 Jaipur Jn – Allahabad Jn was still sat in waiting to depart, unfortunately it was BGKT WDG4 12417 and not an Alco but I decided to do it out to Gandhinagar Jaipur anyway for an auto back; only the auto back turned into GD liveried IZN WDM3D 11252 with a slightly late 14311 Bareilly – Bhuj and by the time I had walked down to the MG platforms back at Jaipur Jn 11252 was just departing; in between ABR WDM3A 16793 with 59714 1845 Jaipur – Phulera and YDM4 6738 with 02081 1845 Jaipur – Sikar.

As it was a Sunday the 1845 departure from Jaipur was relatively empty after departure from Dehar Ka Balaji as there were obviously no commuters about. Unfortunately for Pelham 6651 was waiting for me at Chomun Samod with 52086 1705 Sikar – Jaipur and as I crossed from one train to the other I left 6738 on exactly 1000km; hence my appointment with it!

Back at Jaipur food at the Treebo Raya Inn had been on the agenda but as we walked up platform 1 to exit the station it was evident that 19715 2100 Jaipur – Lucknow Jn, standing in platform 1, was headed by an Alco vice the booked GM? IZN WDM3D 11345, as it turned out to be, provided us with a move to Gandhinagar Jaipur and having been to the hotel to confirm the restaurant closing time we still had plenty of time to get back before it did so at 2230. Indian Railways had other ideas.

On the approach to Gandhinagar we passed a slightly late 12036 Agra Fort – Jaipur, which had an ABR Alco at its helm vice the expected GM; which was a little unfortunate as both 59722 Hisar – Jaipur passenger and 12986 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Jaipur Double Decker had lost time and ultimately we ended up with an hour fester at Gandhinagar Jaipur as a result.

As we were in need of food we managed to find an omelette wallah with a difference outside the station. This guy made the omelets with only a little onion etc thrown in and then fried the remainder on the hotplate separately, before piling the lot on a plate, sandwiched between two pieces of fried bread; it was all very nice and piping hot!

By the time we’d finished our food 12986 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Jaipur Double Decker was being announced on the station. When it arrived with newly refurbished 14002, with no shed markings anywhere, for the second day in a row, I did it into Jaipur on my own and Pelham waited for 19665 Khajuraho – Udaipur City behind, which I watched arrive into Jaipur with ABR WDM3A 16769; which we’d had into Chittaurgarh a few days earlier. I’d considered doing an auto back to Gandhinagar Jaipur for 19665 but the lighting in the station coaxed me into getting a few night photos around the place instead.

As we were too late for food at the hotel we walked over to the food places over the road from the station exit; where every one of them wanted to coax us through their front door, so we chose the one that didn’t harass us and were rewarded with a decent aloo Dopyaza for our troubles. After food we collected our bags from the hotel and returned to the station to find LDH WDM3A 16353 having arrived with 59722 1405 Hisar – Jaipur and LDH WDM3A 16355 just arriving with 59802 2230 Phulera – Ratlam. The only other train we spotted was 14659 Delhi Jn – Jaisalmer with BGKT WDP4 20078. Our 12958 New Delhi – Ahmedabad Rajdhani dropped into Jaipur just after midnight with VTA WDM3D 11421. Beds were quickly made up and Bert was round to check tickets the moment the train set off; the lights were out moments later!

 

Gen for Sunday 6th March 2016

16839 ABR WDM2 59713 0700 Phulera Jn – Jaipur Jn

16828 RTM WDM3A 54834 2330 (P) Hisar Jn – Jaipur Jn

16813 RTM WDM3A 54833 1825 Jaipur Jn – Hisar Jn

16793 ABR WDM3A 59714 1845 Jaipur Jn – Phulera Jn

16769 ABR WDM3A 19665 0910 Khajuraho – Udaipur City

40078 BGKT WDP4B 14659 1735 Delhi Jn – Jaisalmer

16353 LDH WDM3A 59722 1405 Hisar Jn – Jaipur Jn

16355 LDH WDM3A 59802 2230 Phulera Jn – Ratlam Jn

 

SIKR YDM4’s

6651 52081 0400 Jaipur – Sikar, 02090 0740 Sikar – Jaipur, 19735 1330 Jaipur – Sikar, 52086 1705 Sikar – Jaipur

6738 52085 0625 Jaipur – Sikar, 19736 1030 Sikar – Jaipur, 02081 1845 Jaipur – Sikar

6476 02082 0455 Sikar – Jaipur, 52083 1000 Jaipur – Sikar, 52084 1410 Sikar – Jaipur, 02087 2105 Jaipur – Sikar

6656 02088 0605 Sikar – Jaipur, 02089 1600 Jaipur – Sikar, 52082 2005 Sikar – Jaipur

 

Sikar DLS

6650/6655 – out of service with parts removed (dumped looking demic)

6627, 6637, 6731 & 6733 on shed and in working order

 

Photos for Sunday 6th March 2016

 

Monday 7th March 2016 (A trip down the Rajpipla branch on “the” train of the day)

Being woken by the attendants on a Rajdhani isn’t always a good sign but the fact they were handing out breakfast at 0740 definitely was; I was expecting it to be about 0600! Our run south towards Ahmedabad seemed to be a good one until we came to a grinding halt about 20km north of Mahesana and sat for about half an hour. The result being us arriving into Mahesana 25’ late; not a good sign when we only had a plus 20’ at Ahmedabad onto 17017 Rajkot – Secunderabad.

Having passed offlink VTA WDG3A 13485 just north of Mahesana with 19708 Bandra Terminus – Jaipur, vice WDP4, all eyes were trained on the MG side of Mahesana station as we arrived, where only one YDM4 was present which we couldn’t see the number of due to the stock of 59482 0730 Patan – Mahesana being in the way, which had been brought in by VTA WDM3A 18543. As we departed so did 59509 0830 Mahesana – Viramgam passenger, with what looked like a VTA WDM3D leading the way but it was round the corner onto the Viramgam line before we could catch it to see what it was.

As we departed Mahesana we were blissfully unaware of the fact that had we looked out of the opposite side of our train on arrival we’d most probably have seen a YDM4 and stock sat in the MG platform waiting to depart with 79402 0850 Mahesana – Taranga Hill! The fact that the Taranga Hill MG DMU services were being worked by a YDM4, vice the DMU, hadn’t come to light until after we’d got home and only after someone had asked a question on IRFCA as to how the services were running; the response advising that the service had been worked by YDM4’s for a few months due to the non-availability of the DMU! As I say though we were completely oblivious to this fact as we left Mahesana; but I had steam coming out of my ears when I got home and found out a very rare opportunity had gone begging, especially when I’d passed through the damn place!

As 12958 passed through Kalol SBI YDM4 6416 was just departing with 52914 0645 Ahmedabad – Ranuj, 6628 was sat in waiting to depart with 19916 0810 Ahmedabad – Mahesana Intercity and another YDM4 was also in with 52911 0530 Ranuj – Ahmedabad. While we stopped at Sabarmati ex FL YDM4 6563 rolled through, heading towards SBI DLS, now in the familiar SBI lilac colours. 12958 literally emptied at Sabarmati and the train was like a ghost train into Ahmedabad; having departed 15’ late at 0919 we still had plenty of time to make 17017, which was booked to depart Ahmedabad at 1000; and were thankful of a spot on time arrival into Ahmedabad at 0940! Worth noting as we attempted to exit the train was the fact that all of the doors on one side of the train were blocked by “stuff”, everything belonging to the attendants and making it impossible to exit from one side of the train completely. It hadn’t dawned on me until near Ahmedabad but I’d had the same issue trying to find a door to look out of at Mahesana, when more doorways had been blocked. Dangerous doesn’t even begin to explain the situation and Indian Railways should really have a rethink on how they stock trains like Rajdhani’s and/or educate their on train staff by the look of things!

While walking over the footbridge at Ahmedabad the electronic screens confirmed 17017 Rajkot – Secunderabad would depart from platform 4 and it was already in when we got down onto said platform. We were towards the very rear of the lengthy train at that point and so was the AC accommodation so while Pelham went to spot the locos I attempted to find the AC TTE. When 17017 departed bang on 10am there had been not TTE in sight throughout any of the 5 AC coaches but at least Pelham had fulfilled his part of the bargain and spotted KZJ WDG3A/WDM3A twins 13444/14017 at the front of the train; after a lengthy walk! I was quite surprised to find a WDG3A/WDM3A combo on the train as this combination was very rare on passenger workings; it would be something we’d become very used to by the end of the week though.

As we headed out of the platform at Ahmedabad BRC WAG5 23116 was sat in the adjacent platform with 59050 0730 Viramgam – Valsad passenger and VTA WDS6 36047 was shunting a set of stock back into the carriage sidings; other WDS6’s present at Ahmedabad shunting were 36046 & 36257. Eventually a TTE did come through the AC coaches of 17017, which wasn’t full at all on departure from Ahmedabad and it turned out that the seats we’d chosen were ok to Vadodara Jn.

Luckily for 17017 it was slackly timed to Vadodara as it needed it after a bit of a stop-start journey on the outskirts by the yard north of Vadodara station. The reason soon became apparent when we arrived into the station and found a set of wagons in platform 1, all of which were derailed! There were a total of 9 in all and VTA WDS6R 36506 was being used to assist in shunting wagons clear once they’d been re-railed. The re-railing team consisted of at least 30 men, all of whom seemed to play their own part in proceedings with the odd few leading the group. A quick walk down the platform soon gave away the cause of the derailment, which was a failed weld. This had resulted in the rail nearest the platform tipping over onto its side, under the weight of the wagons on top of it. Local papers the following morning had photos of the wagons and announced the chaos and delays that the derailment had caused. As it so happened two other English railfans just so happened to have been on the footbridge when the wagons dropped off the road; and the topic made for a good conversation when we bumped into Carl Porter & Henders the following morning, completely by fluke!

We’d pre-booked the Hotel Surya in Vadodara and they were more than happy to let us into our room when we arrived, although they did allocate us a double room initially but a twin one was soon sorted out. Having stayed at the Surya before, which is a 5-minute walk over the massive footbridge outside Vadodara station, we knew what to expect. The room was spacious enough, had decent beds and air conditioning. Toiletries were provided and hot water was 24/7.

We needed to sort out our afternoon/evening plans as we’d be heading down to Ankleshwar then up to Rajpipla on the only train of the day and needed to sort out transportation out of the place. The hotel staff were very helpful in our plight and got us in touch with a local firm they used for sightseeing tours, the owner of which was easy to deal with and arranged us a taxi at 1915 from Rajpipla back to the hotel, the agreed cost of which was RS2500; which for a journey of approx. 75km was acceptable to us. Before heading out on our afternoon adventure we used the hotel restaurant, of which there are two, one either side of the reception. One serves only Guajarati Thali’s so we opted for the multi-cuisine restaurant instead and a good meal was served up; during which the taxi that would be picking us up from Rajpipla turned up, along with the guy I’d spoken to over the phone. He just wanted us to see the taxi and the driver before we headed out so both he and we knew who we’d be looking for upon arrival into Rajpipla.

The afternoon moves involved doing 16337 Okha – Ernakulam to Ankleshwar, which was only a plus 38’ onto 59167 1630 Ankleshwar – Rajpipla passenger. With the delays being caused by the derailment in platform 1 we were hoping the move wasn’t going to go down the pan. When we got back to the station VTA WDG3A 13459 had dropped into platform 1, behind the derailed wagons, with a re-railing crane; although it didn’t look to be needed as there were only two more wagons left to re-rail and while we waited we watched on as one was jacked up and lowered gently back onto the rails, while the rail nearest the platform was put back upright and clamped in place.

Due to the platform constraints BRC WAG5 23116 was let out of Vadodara, with 59049 Viramgam – Valsad passenger, before the waiting KJM WDP4 20023 was allowed in with 16587 Yesvantpur – Bikaner; a train that had been worked by a KJM Alco 12 months earlier. As it turned out everything cleared Vadodara in time for 16337 Okha – Ernakulam to have the run of the mill and we were pleased when ERS WDM3A twins 16293/14049 rolled in with the train; having half expected it to be twins vice a single Alco. The AC was right at the front of the train as well, with plenty of room. It wasn’t the best run south to Ankleshwar but we had plenty of time for the Rajpipla passenger when we arrived.

59167 1630 Ankleshwar – Rajpipla was formed of only two coaches, which really didn’t warrant VTA WDG3A 13484 being wasted on the train at all; it could so easily be worked by a smaller loco and even a WDS6 on such a small load. As we found out Carl & Henders had done the branch a couple of days earlier when VTA WDG3A 13292 had been in charge so VTA Shakti’s seemed to be the run of the mill traction for the branch it seemed. Whether the train had been worked by a RTM WDM2S in the past, like the Vadtal Swaminarayan trains had been, will remain a mystery but Shakti’s are certainly a waste for such a menial job!

It was a scorching afternoon and we were lacking in the liquid and food stakes so a quick walk outside the station revealed rafts of places to get some train food for the journey. There was really no need to sit in the front coach and both coaches were relatively empty on departure and never really filled up at all. The run wasn’t a stagger, when the train was moving, the fact that it took 2h45m to cover the 63km branch was due to the fact that the guard had to sell tickets at every station, from his brake van, and there was a travelling gateman on board who had to manually close and open every level crossing gate en-route. Said gateman did take exception to me getting a few photos en-route until he was presented with the paperwork to show that foreigners were allowed to take photos on IR premises; from which point he was quite friendly. Along the route remnants of the NG days are evident at stations, some of which still have NG station signs visible. The line is one of those that time has clearly forgot and despite modernization and re-gauging it still retains the ambience of what I perceive to be a narrow gauge line. I can’t comment too much as I’ve only ever done on NG journey in India! En-route we had a decent conversation with three guys travelling to Rajpipla, one of which only used the line to get to/from his place of work; it was the shortest and cheapest way of getting to Dabhoi. He travelled out on a Monday morning then returned on a Saturday evening, using road transport between Rajpipla and Dabhoi; in the form of shared taxis. The journey was a nice relaxing one and while sat outside Rajpipla, waiting for the points to be set for us to enter the platform, the sun was just going down and a hoard of very large bats were passing over above; every time it looked like the last ones had gone it was as though someone painted a spot in the sky, as far as the eye could see, and more and more just kept emerging from afar! They were still passing over as we rolled forward into the station, where 59167 was brought to a stand at 1910, 5 minutes early. We were greeted outside the station by our taxi driver, who turned out to be one of the best taxi drivers I’d ever had in India. He took no risks yet didn’t potter around and said absolutely nothing at all during the 1h48m it took to cover the 73km back to the Hotel Surya. We handed over our agreed RS2500 and walked straight into the restaurant for some much needed food. Thankfully, at last it seemed like Pelham’s troubles had disappeared and tablets he’d bought in Chittaurgarh had done the trick. Which was just as well as I didn’t have any more bog roll to give him…….

 

Gen for Monday 7th March 2016

13485 VTA WDG3A 19707 2100 (P) Bandra Terminus – Jaipur Jn

18547 VTA WDM2 59482 0730 Patan – Mahesana Jn, 59475 1025 Mahesana Jn – Patan

23116 BRC WAG5 59050 0730 Viramgam Jn – Valsad

20023 KJM WDP4 16587 0500 (P) Yesvantpur Jn – Bikaner Jn

 

SBI YDM4’s

6416 52914 0645 Ahmedabad – Mahesana

6628 19916 0755 Ahmedabad – Mahesana

6306 52921 0600 Himmatnagar – Ahmedabad

 

Photos for Monday 7th March 2016

 

Tuesday 8th March 2016 (A trip down the Modasa Branch)

It was an early start and a long walk from the hotel to the bay platform at Ahmedabad end of Vadodara station; where RTM WDM3D 11418 had just been detached from 19310 Indore Jn – Gandhinagar Capital Shanti Express. There was room for us to relax in 2AC towards Ahmedabad, which was better than standing in Sleeper Class at stupid o’clock of a morning.

While out on the platform looking for some morning chai, which I didn’t manage to find, I came across two strays ambling down the side of the train; appearing to be licking the windows as they did so! It was only Carl Porter & Henders and while I knew they were in the area I certainly hadn’t been expecting to bump into them unexpectedly. It was good to catch up, even if it was only briefly, on the run forward to Nadiad, where I left Pelham on board and alighted with Carl & Henders; my plan being to cover the Modasa branch, Pelham was going to Ahmedabad to cover the MG and do some YDM4’s while Carl & Henders had a day of spinning about on the Ahmedabad – Vadodara line ahead of them! It was awfully nice of Pelham to take my big bag through to Ahmedabad with him as well; which would eventually get dropped at the Hotel Ritz Inn when he got there but not before he’d struggled out to Sabarmati and back with three bags!

After a very brief chat on the platform at Nadiad, Carl & Henders did BRC WAP4 25037 towards Annand to cover the Vadtal Branch train. I flagged it and had hoped for something a bit better than a WAP4 when BRC WAP4 22705 rolled in behind with 19216 Porbandar – Mumbai Central. Unfortunately, 19033 Valsad – Ahmedabad produced BRC WAP4 22560 for the return move from Kanjari Boriyavi Jn and upon arrival back into Nadiad I decided to do a move that Carl had suggested to me earlier, which was wedge myself into the two little coaches that formed 52037 0915 Nadiad Jn – Bhadran on the NG and sort myself out an auto back at Pij, the first stop on the line. With time being of the essence I didn’t bother using a shared auto and got myself one to take me straight back to Nadiad for RS100.

Just as I was walking back onto Nadiad station VTA WDM3D 11211 was just rolling to a stand in the bay platforms; having arrived with 59152 0600 Modasa – Nadiad. VTA WDM3A 18863 was just being prepared on the adjacent road when 59152 arrived and was soon shunting out to drop onto the business end of the train to work 59153 1000 Nadiad Jn – Modasa while 11211 was shunted into the spot it had occupied and was shut down.

Unlike the Rajpipla branch train the previous night the Modasa set was load 5 but just like the Rajpipla set it was empty all the way down the branch. The line speeds were good, where the train was allowed to stretch its legs, but again the stopping and starting for manually operated level crossings is what put all the time into the journey. The travelling gateman actually told me en-route that he had 22 level crossings to operate along the route while the smaller crossings were operated by locals that were contracted staff and didn’t work for Indian Railways.

Thankfully I’d got some provisions before setting off in the morning, half expecting there to be nothing at Modasa; and I wasn’t wrong. The town was a good mile away from the station and it was scorching hot so I didn’t even contemplate walking it. While hanging about I got talking to the guard, who told me it was going to be in the mid-40’s the following week, which was way too hot for my liking! Half way back towards Nadiad on the return journey I was beckoned into the guard’s van and had a pleasant couple of hours chewing the cud with the guard as we headed back. It turned out that the guard used to work at Ahmedabad, and still lived there, but had transferred to Nadiad for the easier life as there were no actual night duties and the night lodge turns were spent in a bed at either Modasa or Petlad Jn on the NG. The only additional work as a guard at Nadiad was the selling of tickets along the routes, at stations with no booking office. This involved locals queuing at the guard’s door to purchase tickets from what was essentially a large wardrobe and trains couldn’t depart from the stations until ticket dispensing had been completed. All in all, the Modasa branch had been a good experience but it was good to be back into civilization when we dropped back into Nadiad Jn.

As per the morning VTA WDM3D 11211 was running in the adjacent road and was soon dropping onto the set to work 59151 1825 Nadiad Jn – Modasa and 18863 was soon detached and shut down where it had stood. Unfortunately, I’d just missed a train heading towards and as luck didn’t have it 12216 Bandra Terminus – Delhi Sarai Rohilla was showing on NTES as 45’ late. While photographing PTRN ZDM5 #520, which had arrived back from Bhadran with 52038 1410 Bhadran – Nadiad passenger, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to give another of Carl’s suggestions from the morning a whirl!

Having noted how far out of town the level crossings were, that 59154 had stopped at heading into town, I was soon heading out of town with VTA WDM3D 11211 on 59151 1825 Nadiad – Modasa. I had absolutely no problem getting off at the level crossing at Km marker 1.8, or getting an auto to take me straight back to Nadiad station either. I even had time for pop and chai before BRC WAP5 30087 arrived with the late running 12216 Bandra Terminus -Delhi Sarai Rohilla Garib Rath. This was unfortunately a train that had previously been Alco hauled throughout but had succumbed to electric traction for the Mumbai – Ahmedabad section since the timetable change at the back end of 2015.

12216 was approaching Ahmedabad as RTM WDM3D 11418 was just dropping onto shed just south of the station. As we rolled into Ahmedabad RTM WDM3A 16196 was just being prepared having replaced 11418 on 19309 Gandhinagar Capital – Indore Shanti Express. While it was dark my eagle eyes had spotted a yellow engine on a set of stock at the south end of the station as we arrived but investigations revealed it to be VTA WDS6 36255 which is one I’d done down the platform on a previous trip; however, as it shunted it’s set out it revealed VTA WDS6 36047 with another set in the platform behind, which wasn’t one I’d had before! Then out of nowhere came VTA WDS6 36256, arriving into the station with a set out of the carriage sidings so on I got and was dropped nicely at the north end of the station. No sooner had 36255 cleared the platform ends with its set did 36047 blow up and was soon taking me back down to the south end of the station; which did leave me with a rather long walk back to the north end unfortunately.

As Pelham was out at Sabarmati waiting to do SBI YDM4 6306 back in with 19915 1825 Mahesana – Ahmedabad I went to see what was about and figure out if I could do any of it.  I’d missed seeing what had replaced BRC WAP5 30087 on 12216 for the run north to Delhi but did find RTM WDM3A 18678 just dropping onto 19216 Mumbai Central – Porbander, which I could do out to Sabarmati Town for a walk across the yard to Sabarmati for an MG train back into Ahmedabad. While hanging about beside 18678 it didn’t even dawn on me that the train in the adjacent platform would stop at Sabarmati and I was almost completely oblivious to the fact that VTA WDG3A 13462 was at its helm until a few minutes before it departed and I only just got to the engine, when I realised what was going on, as it blew up to depart! The train turned out to be 14805 Yesvantpur – Barmer, which handily dropped me at Sabarmati and not Sabarmati Town on the main line. Just as 14805 departed SBI YDM4 6306 was arriving into the MG with 19915 Mahesana – Ahmedabad so Pelham missed it and ended up on RTM WDM3A 18678 to Sabarmati Town instead. Unfortunately for him VTA WDM3D 11212, which had been sat in the platform at Sabarmati Town, as 14805 ran towards Sabarmati, was just departing as he arrived on 19216 so he had to walk across to Sabarmati to meet me.

SBI YDM4 6416 stopped by on its way out of town with 52902 2035 Ahmedabad – Mahesana and unfortunately we didn’t have any luck when 19708 Jaipur – Bandra Terminus arrived with BGKT WDP4D 40280 and not an Alco offlink so we waited for 52938 Botad Jn – Ahmedabad passenger instead. When the road came off for it to arrive and then cross to the loop midway down the platform we thought it made sense to walk to towards the top end of the platform and hop on as it arrived with ex FL YDM4 6654. There didn’t seem to be a good reason for it to be held on the loop but when the loco pilot boarded to use the facilities he told us another train would depart from the platform side first and he wasn’t wrong when SBI YDM4 6332 arrived with 52901 1930 Mahesana – Ahmedabad; so over we leapt! As we arrived SBI YDM4 6325 was sat waiting to depart with 19944 2300 Ahmedabad – Udaipur City.

Food was the order of the evening back at the Ritz, where one of the waiters recognized me from a previous visit! The food was freshly made, piping hot and as good as ever. Thankfully the late start we had the following morning at least allowed us to enjoy the semi-luxury that the Ritz had to offer.

 

Gen for Tuesday 8th March 2016

18947 ABR WDM3A 19223 1120 Ahmedabad – Jammu Tawi

18616 ABR WDM2 19224 (07/03) 0740 Jammu Tawi – Ahmedabad

11479 RTM WDM3D 59547 1200 Ahmedabad – Okha

11179 ED WDM3D 16734 0645 Okha – Rameswaram

11422 RTM WDM3D 19120 0630 Somnath – Ahmedabad

11564 VTA WDM3D 12957 1740 Ahmedabad – New Delhi Rajdhani

13462 VTA WDG3A 11089 0540 Bhagat Ki Kothi – Pune (to Ahmedabad)

11211 VTA WDM3D 59152 0600 Modasa – Nadiad Jn

13202/13250 MLY WDG3A’s 17018 1500 (P) Secunderabad Jn – Rajkot Jn

23168 BRC WAG5 59161 0545 Bharuch Jn – Vadtal Swaminarayan (to Anand Jn)

16823 RTM WDM3A 59161 0545 Bharuch Jn – Vadtal Swaminarayan (from Anand Jn)

11418 RTM WDM3D 19309 1825 Gandhinagar Capital – Indore Jn (to Ahmedabad)

16196 RTM WDM3A 19309 1825 Gandhinagar Capital – Indore Jn (from Ahmedabad)

18678 RTM WDM3A 19215 0820 Mumbai Central – Porbander (from Ahmedabad)

11302 IZN WDM3D 14312 1225 Bhuj – Bareilly Jn

40280 BGKT WDP4D 19708 0845 Jaipur Jn – Bandra Terminus

 

NG

520 PTRN ZDM5 52040 0720 Petlad Jn – Nadiad Jn, 52037 0915 Nadiad Jn – Bhadran, 52038 1410 Bhadran – Nadiad Jn, 52039 1915 Nadiad Jn – Petlad Jn

 

SBI YDM4’s

6246 52943 1750 Gandhigram – Botad

6252 empty stock loco at Ahmedabad

6258 52904 1915 Ahmedabad – Mahesana

6306 52906 1355 Ahmedabad – Mahesana, 19915 1825 Mahesana – Ahmedabad

6332 52908 1120 Ahmedabad – Mahesana, 52901 1930 Mahesana – Ahmedabad

6400 52940 1410 Botad – Gandhigram

6416 52920 0910 Ahmedabad – Himmatnagar, 52919 1420 Himmatnagar – Ahmedabad, 52902 2035 Ahmedabad – Mahesana

6376 52907 1225 Mahesana – Ahmedabad

6325 19944 2300 Ahmedabad – Udaipur City

6557 52905 0620 Mahesana – Ahmedabad

6628 52921 0600 Himmatnagar – Ahmedabad, 52916 1150 Ahmedabad – Nandol Dehegam, 52915 1350 Nandol Dehegam – Ahmedabad, 52926 1545 Ahmedabad – Khed Brahma

6654 52938 1700 Botad – Ahmedabad

 

Photos for Tuesday 8th March 2016

 

Wednesday 9th March 2016 (A 1227km journey from Ahmedabad to Secunderabad)

It was a leisurely morning at the Ritz, where a good breakfast was had before we checked out and headed over to the station for our 24h30m, 1227km journey to Secunderabad aboard 17017 0500 Rajkot Jn – Secunderabad Jn, which is one of the best trains to do on the route with it still being diesel throughout and twin Alco’s at that! We knew the power would be MLY WDG3A’s 13250/13202 as they came trundling into the platform as Carl Porter had seen 17018 heading towards Rajkot the previous day and sent me a message. Unfortunately for us the Ac was right at the rear of the train so there wasn’t really any bellowing at the engines to be done.

The long journey started off with a good conversation with a senior official in Central Services who was travelling to Baroda with Army Officers who waited on him hand and foot, bringing water, papers and even a box full of ice cream; which went untouched and was later given to the officers themselves to demolish! On arrival at Vadodara Jn our conversation came to an abrupt end though and we were left to our own devices in our compartment of four; which remained exactly that way all the way to Secunderabad! Sat in at Vadodara as we arrived were KZJ WDM3A/WDG3A twins 18885/13655 with the opposing working of 17018 Secunderabad – Rajkot; which was a bit of a bonus as both were new for me and we’d be now making sure we were at Begumpet for them arriving with 17017 24 hours after we’d pass through there ourselves on the previous day’s 17017 but 2 days from now!

The daytime journey was quite relaxing with having the berths to ourselves, but for some guy in the side berth opposite snoring rather loudly as he slept through the day. Lunch came at Surat, in the form of bread rolls and spicy balls and a dinner order was taken later but when it was presented in the Mumbai suburbs the RS130 price tag was well off the mark and the whole lot was given back to the guy serving it. Shortly afterwards though an IRCTC rep came round doing a proper food order near Vasai Road, which would be delivered at Kalyan; and a good Veg Biriyani was served up for almost half the price.

While at Kalyan we arrived in the adjacent platform to that where 16340 Nagercoil – Mumbai CST was stood, which did so with a WDP4 at the head end! Dinner was devoured before Karjat, where KYN WAG7 bankers 27411/27118/27102 were waiting in the shunt neck to drop onto the rear and banked us up to Lonavala. As we made our berths up later I noticed a rat sat down the side of the lower berth so as the compartment was empty out bags got retrieved from under the seats and were chained up on the upper berths instead; I’d had two rat related maltloaf incidents that had left me with holes eaten in my bag and I wasn’t wanting another.

 

Gen for Wednesday 9th March 2016

18885/13655 KZJ WDG3A’s 17018 1500 (P) Secunderabad Jn – Rajkot Jn (at Baroda)

40xxx ???? WDP4B 16340 0630 (P) Nagercoil Jn – Mumbai CST (at Kalyan)

 

Photos for Wednesday 9th March 2016

 

Thursday 10th March 2016 (An afternoon in Secunderabad)

It was a leisurely morning as we approached Vikarabad Jn pretty much on time. Unfortunately, that’s where our timely trundle came to an end and our 17017 Rajkot – Secunderabad express was held for the lowly 57155 Gulbarga – Hyderabad passenger, which gracefully overtook us with PA WDG3A 14678 doing the honours. After a 45 minute wait we eventually set off and soon caught and overtook 57155 and were soon overtaking 17009 Bidar – Hyderabad Intercity with GY WDP4D 40225 at its helm; another one biting the dust! As we were late we didn’t want to get off 17017 at Begumpet for 57155 behind as we wouldn’t have had time to get into Secunderabad for 17058 1225 Secunderabad – Mumbai CST Devagiri Express; so straight into Secunderabad it was. KZJ WDG3A 13418 was just about to depart with 57651 1050 Secunderabad – Repalle passenger and surprisingly GTL WDM3A’s 16702/16752 were already bolted to the stock to form 17058 Secunderabad – Mumbai CST; which would be a nice start to the afternoon. As we headed out of the station we noted no less than 5 sets of Alco twins in the station area; MLY WDG3A’s 13250/13202 off 17017, GTL WDM3A’s 16702/16752 with 17058 and MLY WDM3A’s 18974/16201, 16500/16601 & 18796/16447 sat in the staging roads between the old MG platforms and the main BG platforms.

A quick walk down the road to the Hotel United 21 was as welcome as it could have been; it was hot and dusty and seemed a lot further than it actually was under the circumstances. It was only about half a kilometer up the road and it was utterly amazing just how much work had taken place in a year with the Hyderabad Metro system being well underway along the main road outside Secunderabad station. There was a long way to go yet mind but the overhead spans were starting to take shape and a rather large machine was being employed to build the spans round a curve outside the station; the works were causing chaos to the traffic outside the station though!

I’d stayed at the United 21 on my previous visit to Secunderabad, the staff at the front desk couldn’t have been more helpful and check-in was a breeze. Our room was a decent size, with twin beds and toiletries provided. The air-con was much needed! We didn’t hang around for long and were soon heading back to the station, where the food places on platform 1 were just gearing up for dinner and a rather large Egg Biriyani was soon rustled up for us to take away and eat at our leisure on board 17058 Devagiri Express; which had whole coaches to choose from in Sleeper Class.

While sat minding our own business KYN WDP4D 40233 arrived with 11020 Bhubaneswar – Mumbai CST Konark Express, which had recently changed links from twin KZJ WDG3A’s to GM, and KJM WDP4 20068 arrived with 17230 Hyderabad – Trivandrum Central. Shortly before we departed KJM WDG3A 13030 arrived with 17319 Hubli – Secunderabad and then GTL’s 16702/16752 were showing the trailing coaches who was boss! It was a spirited run out to Bolarum, after the potter round the corner to Malkajgiri. I was surprised to find KZJ WDM2S 017501 sat in the loop with a small ballast train and even more surprised to find OHL works well underway with spans up all the way through the station and a load of stanchions piled in a yard adjacent to the station which would soon spell the end for diesel hauled trains over the Nizamabad line! It was a far cry from the old MG days, which came to an end in the early years of the century!

There wasn’t much doing at Bolarum and as expected the return 17057 Mumbai CST – Secunderabad Devagiri Express was late, which allowed for a bonus move when MLY WDG3A 13251 arrived with a surprisingly on time 57308 1240 Medchal – Kacheguda. Not wanting to get stranded at Bolarum Bazar I legged it into the car park as 13251 arrived and dispatched the only auto there to Bolarum Bazar to collect us on arrival. I only just made it back onto the platform as the train set off and was a little concerned when the auto driver I’d just spoken to was looking on from the car park as the train departed and not looking like he’d be heading out to Bolarum Bazar anytime soon!

At Bolarum Bazar we were relieved to find a couple of auto’s knocking about at the bottom of the embankment outside the station and were just in the process of negotiating a price with one when the guy I’d dispatched from Bolarum came screaming round the corner. Our negotiations soon ended and our man explained our actions to those we were walking away from; all was well as we headed back to Bolarum along deserted streets, the journey taking about 6 minutes and ultimately costing us RS100 as the driver wanted extra for the out and back fare.

We had plenty of time before 17057 Mumbai CST – Secunderabad arrived with GTL WDM3D’s 11450/11553. It was a welcome respite in the AC as it was a ridiculously hot afternoon outside in the real world. The run back to Secunderabad was a bit of a stagger and we were held at Malkajgiri alongside MLY WDG3A 13251 with 57308 1240 Medchal – Kacheguda, which hadn’t made it to destination yet and departed before we did. Despite having 60 minutes to cover the 15km from Bolarum to Secunderabad the lateness was never recovered and 17057 was rolling into Secunderabad at 1455, 25’ late! We’d been hoping to make 12026 1445 Secunderabad – Pune Shatabdi and thought we’d missed it, until an announcement came over as we rolled down the platforms, informing all that 12026 was ready to leave from platform 1! By the time we’d legged it over the footbridge 12026 was already on the move, luckily it wasn’t going too fast and we were both safely aboard as what turned out to be GTL WDM3A 16696 eased out of the platform.

In the platform at Secunderabad were KZJ WDM3A/WDG3A twins 18983/14574, waiting to depart with 17204 Kakinada Port – Bhavnagar, and on the curve at Hussain Sagar, waiting to run into Begumpet after 12026 did, was KYN WDM3D 11355 with 12702 1445 Hyderabad – Mumbai CST. With all being new a new plan for the afternoon soon had us doing 11355 out to Vikarabad for a short wait for 18983/14574 forward to Tandur, where we had a while to wait for a very late running 57659 Solapur – Falaknuma passenger; which wouldn’t have made the move possible had it not been 3 hours late so there wasn’t much complaining from us and when it arrived with PA WDM3D 11364 it topped the day off nicely. There had been an option to do 18520 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Visakhapatnam back but it had dropped to 90’ late while we’d been waiting so we didn’t entertain it and went straight back to Secunderabad instead.

A swift walk back to the Hotel United 21 had us into the restaurant and ordering what turned out to be a very good meal in the end, but not before the waiter and kitchen staff had made a right hash of proceedings! Having asked for a boneless chicken chettinad, and having been told it could be done, we were presented with a chicken chettinad which wasn’t boneless, which of course was sent straight back and fresh boneless dishes were made for us. The piping hot rice we’d had on the table the whole time then had to be sent back as it was stone cold by the time the fresh dishes came out; so there was a further wait while fresh rice was made, all the while our curry was sat on the table! In the end though the food was very good and tasty, not too spicy.

 

Gen for Thursday 10th March 2016

14678 PA WDG3A 57155 0345 Gulbarga – Hyderabad

40225 GY WDP4D 17009 0650 Bidar – Hyderabad

13418 KZJ WDG3A 57651 1050 Secunderabad – Repalle

40233 KYN WDP4D 11020 1525 (P) Bhubaneswar – Mumbai CST

20068 KJM WDP4 17230 1125 Hyderabad – Trivandrum Central

13030 KJM WDG3A 17319 2050 (P) Hubli Jn – Secunderabad, 17320 1540 Secunderabad – Hubli Jn

22354 LGD WAP4 12713 0610 Vijayawada – Secunderabad

27828 KZJ WAG7 57518 1615 Tandur – Hyderabad

14941 KZJ WDG3A 12735 1950 Secunderabad – Yesvantpur

40202 GY WDP4D 17010 1830 Secunderabad – Bidar

 

Photos for Thursday 10th March 2016

 

Friday 11th March 2016 (A cracking day in Secunderabad/Hyderabad)

We were up for 0700 and at Secunderabad station for 0740, ready for what the day would throw at us! Having seen KZJ 13418 head out to Repalle the previous day with 57651 and knowing that KZJ WDM3A/WDG3A twins 13655/18885 would be heading towards us with 17017 Rajkot – Secunderabad the initial plan was to 13418 to Begumpet with 57605 0805 Secunderabad – Vikarabad passenger for the latter back in. While waiting for 57619 to arrive from Repalle, with 13418 and the stock to form 57605, we had a scan round the station and found GTL WDM3D’s 11120/11449 having arrived with 17015 Bhubaneswar – Secunderabad and MLY WDM3A’s 16500/16601 having arrived with 12733 Tirupati – Secunderabad.

Having completed the circuit of the station we noticed a set of stock in the carriage headshunt at the Begumpet end of the station and when we heard an announcement for 17035 0820 Secunderabad – Sirpur Kaghaznagar we put two and two together as the set began propelling back towards platform 1; so we walked up to the end of the platform and leapt into the guard’s van as the set hit the platform end and rode back down to the opposite end of the platform with the stock. We only just made it back to the Begumpet end of the platform before KZJ WDM2S 017689 disappeared into the distance! Meanwhile KZJ WDG3A 13418 arrived with 57619 Repalle – Secunderabad Delta Fast Passenger as we were trundling down the platform in our guard’s van!

Chai flowed rather well on platform 3 while we waited on the stock for 57605 to depart. It was only just after 0800 and it was already warming up a bit too quickly for my liking so chai soon gave way to cold pop! As 13418 eased out of Secunderabad we passed LGD WAG9 31154 running light towards the station and as we passed by Hussain Sagar GTL WDM3A 16602 (with KZJ WDG3A 14929 dead inside) was sat on the curve waiting for us to head into Begumpet first with the typically late 57547 0755 Hyderabad – Purna passenger. Just as we arrived into Begumpet KYN WDP4D 40235 was just arriving with 11019 Mumbai CST – Bhubaneswar Konark Express.

As NTES was showing 17017 Rajkot – Secunderabad an hour late it was a no-brainer when GTL WDM2 16602 dropped into Begumpet with 57547 and we were soon Sanatnagar bound. As we arrived into Sanatnagar we could see what turned out to be MLY WDM3A’s 16475/18978 approaching in the distance with the late running 17205 Sainagar Shirdi – Kakinada Port; unfortunately, the red at the end of the platform came off to a yellow as the train hit the platform end and they went sailing through as we watched on from the ballast between the two trains. This resulting in an auto back to Begumpet costing us RS150 and it took 26 minutes to get us there, no thanks to the bad traffic of a morning. NTES wasn’t updating for any train after it had passed through Lingampalli and we were basically blind as we approached the station; and actually thought we might have missed 17017 during our lengthy auto journey! A quick question at the information window on platform 1 put or minds at rest though and a lengthy fester followed.

It seemed like there was a bit of a farce going on in the Lingampalli area as 17017 had shown RT passing through but was 60’ late by Begumpet. We needn’t have been concerned at all about getting back from Sanatnagar as we ultimately watched GY WDP4D 40202 arrive with 17009 Bidar – Hyderabad Intercity, PA WDM3A 16215 with 57155 Gulbarga – Hyderabad passenger and lastly PA WDG3A 13549 arrive with a 4 hours late running 57129 Bijapur – Bolarum passenger; any one of which we could have done back in from Sanatnagar! Which wasn’t annoying at all!

While we couldn’t do any of the trains that arrived we did photograph them all arriving, which generated a bit of interest from the local RPF; who were both appeased when I presented the paperwork that confirmed that tourists could take photographs on IR premises for personal use. Had I not had it we could have been having a completely different conversation as they initially came over to tell us we couldn’t take photos! Thankfully KZJ WDG3A/WDM3A twins 13655/18885 soon arrived with 17017 Rajkot – Secunderabad and got us out of the conversation as we headed back to Secunderabad; some three hours after we’d departed in the first place!

Surprisingly PA WDG3A 13549 was still in at Secunderabad with 57129 Bijapur – Bolarum and no sooner had we discover it did it get the road and depart; with us on board to Lallaguda Gate. Surprisingly it took us a few minutes to find an auto driver that would take us back to Secunderabad station but when we did the journey only took about 12 minutes and cost RS80. When we got back there were no less than 7 sets of Alco twins in the station area: Obviously KZJ’s 13655/18885 ex 17017 Rajkot – Secunderabad which we’d just arrived on, GTL WDM3D’s 11120/11449 headed our 17058 1225 Secunderabad – Mumbai CST Devagiri Express, MLY WDM3A’s 16475/18978 were sat after they’d worked in with 17204 Sainagar Shirdi – Kakinada Port, MLY WDG3A’s 13236/13377 had arrived with 12703 Howrah – Secunderabad, MLY WDM3A’s 16500/16601 were sat after arrival with 12733 Tirupati – Secunderabad earlier and two other MLY pairs, 14716/14967 & 18893/16388 had also arrived in the 3 hours we’d been away.

As we milled about on the station KJM WDP4 20029 arrived with 17230 Hyderabad – Trivandrum and just as 11120/11449 departed with 17058 Devagiri Express KJM WDG4 12740 was on the approach with 11020 Bhubaneswar – Mumbai CST Konark Express. Unlike the previous day at Bolarum there was no KZJ WDM2S 017501 knocking around and 57308 Medchal – Kacheguda wasn’t on time; it was just as hot though! As 17057 was showing an hour late though there was no danger of missing it as we headed out to Bolarum Bazar with MLY WDG3A 13390 leading the way. After we’d discovered plenty of road transport at Bolarum Bazar the previous day we didn’t bother dispatching one from the Bolarum car park on this occasion; which soon came to bite us on the arse when there were no auto’s anywhere to be seen at Bolarum Bazar! We ended up walking down the main road and thankfully collared a guy in the distance, who was about to do one as I got his attention. We were back at Bolarum 12 minutes after we’d departed, relaxing in the shade; where it was still about 35 degrees!

GTL WDM3A/WDM3D twins 16387/11376 did the honours with the return 17057 Mumbai CST – Secunderabad Devagiri Express, which was looped round the back at Malkajgiri but thankfully not long enough to have us legging it over the bridge at Secunderabad to make 1 the Pune Shatabdi; GTL WDM3A 16696 was just arriving with 12025 as we arrived and GTL WDM3A 16600 was just shunting out to drop onto the other end. As we walked down platform 1, towards the short set that forms the Pune Shatabdi, KJM WDG4 12647 came into view in platform 2 as it sat waiting with 17320 1540 Secunderabad – Hubli; vice KJM Alco!

For the second time on this particular day we passed by Hussain Sagar and there was a train sat on the curve waiting to get into Begumpet; this time we were passing on 12026 Secunderabad – Pune while KYN WDM3D 11254 was sat waiting for us to clear with 12702 1445 Hyderabad – Mumbai CST Hussain Sagar Express. A quick decision had us off 12026 at the end of Begumpet platform and a steady jog round the corner allowed enough time to even get some photos of 11254 on the curve before boarding the first AC coach we came to and recovering a little while 12702 waited for 12026 to clear the platform at Begumpet.

Back at Begumpet we’d already decided the order of the afternoon was to investigate what was going on at Hyderabad and covering 17429 1615 Hyderabad – Tirupati seemed to make sense. Our auto from Begumpet to Hyderabad Deccan Nampally cost RS150 for the 6km journey and took 22m minutes; with metro works slowing progress as we got closer to Hyderabad.

17429 Hyderabad – Tirupati was in the bay platforms at Nampally and just as we got to the front of the train, to discover GTL WDM3A 16706 at its helm, we noticed a set of stock being drawn into the cutting to set back into a platform. We walked over to platform 4 and found a door open in Sleeper Class as the set was backed in. In an attempt to save some legwork, we walked through the set as it was being backed in and discovered that it was the set to form 12604 1650 Hyderabad – Chennai Central. KZJ WDM2S 017796 was already detached from the set by the time we got back to the top end of the platform and no sooner had we done so did we spot another set in the cutting waiting to back in! This set backed into platform 6 and as before we managed to hop on as the set hit the platform end, and walked through it as it set back. This set turned out to be the set for 12728 1715 Hyderabad – Visakhapatnam and revealed KZJ WDM2S 017777 when we walked back to the top end of the platform. Thankfully we had enough time to gather some cooling refreshments and snacks before walking back down the platform to do 17429 to Begumpet with GTM WMD3A 16706.

Having seen them at Secunderabad earlier, we were pleased when ex KZJ and now MLY WDG3A’s 14938/14891 turned up with 17002 1650 Secunderabad – Sainagar Shirdi; which we did forward to Lingampalli to await events, with options for 57659 Solapur – Falaknuma, 57518 Tandur – Hyderabad or 57548 Purna – Hyderabad. We were hoping that we’d have been able to put a move together involving something towards Hyderabad for 57156 Hyderabad – Gulbarga back towards Lingampalli for something else back towards Hyderabad; as we’d been expecting PA WDM3A 16215 to come out of Hyderabad with 57156. Fortunately for us PA WDG3A 13549 worked 57156, as we found out when it arrived into Lingampalli while we were still waiting for a train to take us back towards Begumpet! NTES wasn’t doing well again in the Lingampalli triangle but we did get the impression that 57659 Solapur – Falaknuma was well down the pan and it was ultimately cancelled at Secunderabad later that night! Strangely 57548 Purna – Hyderabad turned up in front of 57518 Tandur – Hyderabad and even more strangely it had GTL WDM3A 16602 as its loco with KZJ WDG3A 14699 dead in train. 16602 had been the engine we’d had on 57547 Hyderabad – Purna that morning and had obviously been swapped over en-route to return with 57548; which was a practice I’d never seen before with this pair of trains.

57130 1945 Hyderabad – Bijapur was being announced as 57547 rolled into Begumpet and PA WDM3A 16215 was soon taking us to Sanatnagar for the second time that day. Despite a keen member of the RPF at Sanatnagar, who suggested we return to Secunderabad by auto or bus, we knew what we were doing and KZJ WAG7 27828 turned up at a very opportune moment with the late running 57518 Tandur – Hyderabad passenger, to prove my point to the RPF that there was indeed a train back to Begumpet. While we were keen enough to wait for the very late running 57659 at Begumpet, we couldn’t be bothered and did an MMTS EMU back into Secunderabad instead.

It was total gridlock outside Secunderabad station as we began our walk back to the Hotel United 21 and it soon became clear why. There were buses queued back almost to the hotel, horns blaring constantly and all because some idiot bus driver had crashed into one of the metro hoarding signs and got stuck on it; completely stopping the job. Back at the hotel the hotel staff excelled themselves and we were served up a fantastic boneless chicken chettinad to top off what had been a cracking day and we went to bed that night hoping for more of the same the following day.

 

Gen for Friday 11th March 2016

40235 GY WDP4D 11019 1510 (P) Mumbai CST – Bhubaneswar

16475/18978 MLY WDM3A’s 17205 1710 (P) Sainagar Shirdi – Kakinada Port (to Secunderabad)

40202 GY WDP4D 17009 0650 Bidar – Hyderabad

16215 PA WDM3A 57155 0345 Gulbarga – Hyderabad

12740 KJM WDG4 11020 1525 (P) Bhubaneswar – Mumbai CST

20029 KJM WDP4 17230 1125 Hyderabad – Trivandrum Central

13236/13377 MLY WDG3A’s 12703 0725 (P) Howrah – Secunderabad, 12734 1805 Secunderabad – Tirupati

12647 KJM WDG4 17320 1540 Secunderabad – Hubli Jn

40148 GY WDP4D 12604 1650 Hyderabad – Chennai Central

30415 ??? WAP7 12728 1715 Hyderabad – Visakhapatnam

13549 PA WDG3A 57156 1725 Hyderabad – Gulbarga

40xxx GY? WDP4D 17010 1830 Secunderabad – Bidar

40276 KYN WDP4D 17032 2040 Hyderabad – Mumbai CST

 

Of note were the following twins at Secunderabad at 1200:

MLY 14716/14967, 16475/18978, 16500/16601, 13236/13377, 18893/16388

KZJ 13655/18885

 

Photos for Friday 11th March 2016

 

Saturday 12th March 2016 (Another day in Secunderabad/Hyderabad)

As we were heading overnight to Bangalore we headed out to the station early enough to dump our bags in the cloak room on platform 1 at Secunderabad. For me I wasn’t sure what would become of the morning as KZJ WDG3A 14928 was expected to turn up with 57619 Repalle – Secunderabad Delta Fast Passenger, to for 57605 0805 Secunderabad – Vikarabad. We managed to miss the stock shunting out of the carriage sidings to form 17035 0820 Secunderabad – Sirpur Kaghaznagar; so when it was dropping back in we had to leap on blind. We soon found that KZJ WDM2S 017689 was in charge of the shunt for the second morning in a row; we’d hoped it might have been 017530 instead.

When KZJ WDG3A 14928 rolled in with 57605 as expected, that was my cue to head out to Moula Ali to do 57626 Manuguru – Secunderabad Kakatiya Fast Passenger back in but just as I was heading out of the station to get an auto I caught an announcement for a late running 77605 Falaknuma – Bolarum DMU. A quick check revealed that I could this out to Malkajgiri for 17063 Manmad – Secunderabad Ajanta Express back in instead. I only just made the DMU and was the only person in the leading coach as it departed.

MLY WDM3A rebuild 14035 was sat in the back platform at Malkajgiri, with what I discovered to be 57689 0500 Nizamabad – Kacheguda. A few photos later and I was on board, expecting to be Sitafalmandi bound, and was off at Lallaguda Gate moments later. Out of the blue LGD WAP7 30258 trundle to a stand in the platform, completely fouling the level crossing. Not having a clue what was going off I beckoned to the driver to find out if it would stop at Malkajgiri; when the response of yes came I was on board. What I hadn’t realised at the time was that the train I was boarding was actually 12649 Yesvantpur – Hazrat Nizamuddin express, which was technically right away Kacheguda to Nagpur! The driver must have known he was going to come to a stand at Malkajgiri to await something coming the other way, before 12649 could cross over; or at least I hoped he did as my day could well have gone downhill rather rapidly at that point!

The Ajanta Express was late but not too late when MLY WDM3A’s 18903/18894 arrived into Malkajgiri. Pelham was at Secunderabad, photographing the Ajanta arrive and we met up again to watch KZJ WDM3A 18912 depart with 18309 Sambalpur – Nanded. After which we noticed WAG9 31604 arrive into platform 3 with just three coaches and dropping down behind it was a WDM2S. We only just got to it as 017530 was detaching the coach and setting off so on we leapt and rode to the Begumpet end of the station with it.

MLY WDM3A’s 16388/18893 had arrived with 12703 Howrah – Secunderabad and a few minutes after we’d discovered them 57626 Manuguru – Secunderabad Kakatiya Fast Passenger arrived with no less than 3 Alco’s on the front. I’d half expected it be the case as the train was used to ferry KZJ locos to/from shed and 17018 Secunderabad – Rajkot was running later in the afternoon so I suspected that KZJ WDM3A’s 18761/18889 had been sent across to work that and as soon as they were removed KZJ WDG3A 14617 was run round to the other end to form 57651 1050 Secunderabad – Repalle; and Moula Ali bound we were. Just as we were about to depart KJM WDP4 20029 arrived with 12747 Guntur – Vikarabad and then we were off and what a machine 14617 turned out to be.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to see as we passed MLY DLS but WDM2S 017775 was visible over the wall. As time was of the essence we didn’t hang around at Moula Ali and headed for the three autos in the car park; none of which had a driver in them. We ended up having to get one of the station staff to get their owners out of the station master’s office and even then none of them would take us to Secunderabad. Initially we were told to walk a kilometer down the road and get a bus into town, before we managed to persuade one to take us to Lallaguda Gate instead; where we’d find another to take us the rest of the way into Secunderabad so we could do 17058 Devagiri Express out to Bolarum.

The run to Lallaguda gate took 15 minutes and cost RS150. We rolled up to the level crossing there just as MLY WDG3A 14577 did with 57474 Bodhan – Mahbubnagar passenger. Despite our best efforts the 30 second station stop got the better of us and we ended up watching it leave. As we had a little bit of time and I’d noticed 57129 Bijapur – Bolarum was in the vicinity we hung around at the station for a while to soon be rewarded with PA WDG3A 13169 bowling round the corner not 5 minutes later with a 57129 that was 4 hours late; as per the previous day!

As GTL WDM3D’s 11450/11553 would work 17058 1225 Secunderabad – Mumbai CST we decided to do 57129 through to Bolarum instead. Unfortunately, 57129 was held for an hour round the back at Malkajgiri and we ended up watching the GTL WDM3D’s hammer through. The station master wasn’t quite sure when 57129 would be allowed to proceed but while I was milling about on the platform he beckoned to me, as KJM WDM3A 18704 passed through towards Kacheguda with an empty stock, that we’d be going once it had cleared the points. As luck didn’t seem to be on our side on this particular afternoon, 57308 Medchal – Kacheguda was bang on time and was just starting away from Alwal, 4km outside Bolarum, as we came to a stand; with MLY WDG3A 14779. Had we actually stuck to our original plan and managed to get the auto driver to take us back to Secunderabad, we’d have done 11450/11553 to Bolarum and had the luxury of doing 14779 to Bolarum Bazar for PA WDG3A 13169 back into Bolarum with the later running 57129!

We were so pleased to find GTL WDM3D’s 11567/11566 arrive with 17057 Mumbai CST – Secunderabad Devagiri Express, which arrived back into Secunderabad bang on time; unlike the previous two day’s attempts! As we walked up the platform the stock to form 17018 1500 Secunderabad – Rajkot was just being backed in and in the hope of it being the only WDM2S we hadn’t had over the three days, we leapt on. Unfortunately, it wasn’t 017673 it was the train engines; as suspected KZJ WDM3A’s 18761/18889.

GTL WDM3A 16552 was sat in the adjacent platform and was poised to drop onto the Pune Shatabdi after GTL WDM3A 16600 arrived with 12025 Pune – Secunderabad. A swift walk to get some food on platform 1 had us boarding 12026 moments before it departed; the set had been in Secunderabad station a mere 12 minutes from arriving on 12025 to departing on 12026! The massive portion of noodles we’d both ordered was devoured en-route to Begumpet, where we arrived as an announcement advised that 12702 Hussain Sagar Express was running 2 hours late. We could only assume that to be due to 17031 Mumbai CST – Hyderabad having been 6h30m late into Hyderabad earlier!

We made the minus onto 12748 Vikarabad – Guntur Express and went straight back into Secunderabad with KJM WDP4 20029 to view and chew; MLY WDG3A’s 13236/13377 had been stabled in the station and we’d hoped they would work 17206 Kakinada Port – Sainagar Shirdi forward. MLY WDM3A’s 16658/16551 ware sat in with 12703 1555 Secunderabad – Howrah and KJM WDG3A 13297 was waiting to depart with 17320 1540 Secunderabad – Hubli and KZJ WDM3A/WDG3A twins 14021/14926 arrived with 17020 1515 Hyderabad – Ajmer. As I didn’t need anything I decided to just hang around and watch the world go by while Pelham headed out to Malkajgiri on 17020.

By the time Pelham had got himself back to Secunderabad in an auto, I’d collected our big bags and managed to struggle from the bottom end of platform 1 to the top end of platform 10 with them; where sure enough MLY WDG3A’s 13236/13377 had re-engined 17206 Kakinada Port – Sainagar Shirdi. As we had to be round at Kacheguda for 1905 there wasn’t much scope for delays and we were grateful of the fact that 17206 departed almost to time; and even more grateful that the next MMTS EMU from Begumpet to Falaknuma was almost on time as well. The first class of which was relatively empty an allowed for a decent enough journey round to Kacheguda.

While passing through Secunderabad we spotted KZJ WDG3A 13418 having arrived with 57652 0700 Repalle – Secunderabad and KZJ WDG3A 14974 was just dropping onto the other end of the stock to work 57625 1850 Secunderabad – Manuguru Kakatiya Fast Passenger. Also in the station were three sets of twins waiting to depart; GTL WDM3D’s 11566/11567 with a late 17016 1650 Secunderabad – Bhubaneswar Visakha Exp, MLY WDM3A’s 18910/18978 with 17064 1810 Secunderabad – Manmad Ajanta Exp and KZJ WDM3A’s 18898/16388 with 12734 1805 Secunderabad – Tirupati Narayandari Exp. Arrival into Kacheguda revealed MLY WDG3A 14779, which we’d missed earlier on 57308 Medchal – Kacheguda, shunting in the station sidings and KJM WDG3A’s 13035/13053 sat waiting with our Bangalore bound overnight, 12785 1905 Kacheguda – Bangalore City; which we were please to find the twins on and not a GM; which had worked the train in recent months as an off-link, this train having been a solid KJM GM turn in recent years of course.

We initially attempted to get some food from one of the roadside places outside the station and our omelettes were successfully ordered but when those rustling them up wanted to charge us RS50 for each a bit of an argument ensued; which resulted in us forcibly getting our money back despite the omelettes being made. A decent portion of noodles was later made at the refreshment place on platform 1 at Kacheguda; before we walked to the very rear of 12785, where the AC coaches were, and settled in for the night. Being 20 coaches from the engines is never much fun and once food was done our upper berths were made up and there was nothing much more to do other than go to bed after the TTE came through and checked tickets.

 

Gen for Saturday 12th March 2016

14928 KZJ WDG3A 57619 2125 (P) Repalle – Secunderabad, 57605 0810 Secunderabad – Vikarabad Jn, 57606 1055 Vikarabad Jn – Secunderabad

18912 KZJ WDM3A 18309 0850 (P) Sambalpur Jn – Nanded (from Secunderabad)

14974 KZJ WDG3A 18504 1910 (P) Sainagar Shirdi – Visakhapatnam (to Secunderabad), 57625 1840 Secunderabad – Manuguru

25038 BZA WAP4 18504 1910 (P) Sainagar Shirdi – Visakhapatnam (from Secunderabad)

16388/18893 MLY WDM3A’s 12703 0725 (P) Howrah – Secunderabad, 12734 1805 Secunderabad – Tirupati

18761/18889 KZJ WDM3A’s (14617 KZJ WDG3A dit) 57626 2215 (P) Manuguru – Secunderabad

18761/18889 KZJ WDM3A’s 17018 1500 Secunderabad – Rajkot Jn

11450/11553 GTL WDM3D’s 17015 0835 (P) Bhubaneswar – Secunderabad, 17058 1225 Secunderabad – Mumbai CST

20029 KJM WDP4 12747 0545 Guntur Jn – Vikarabad Jn

14577 MLY WDG3A 57474 0445 Bodhan – Mahubnagar

40235 KYN WDP4D 11020 1525 (P) Bhubaneswar – Mumbai CST

18904 KJM WDM3A 16570 1400 Kacheguda – Yesvantpur

13297 KJM WDG3A 17320 1540 Secunderabad – Hubli Jn

14779 MLY WDG3A 57308 1240 Medchal – Kacheguda

16658/16551 MLY WDM3A’s 12703 1555 Secunderabad – Howrah

14021/14926 KZJ WDG3A’s 17020 1515 Hyderabad – Ajmer Jn

40111 GY WDP4D 12604 1650 Hyderabad – Chennai Central

13418 KZJ WDG3A 57652 0700 Repalle – Secunderabad

11566/11567 GTL WDM3D’s 17016 1650 Secunderabad – Bhubaneswar (2 hours late)

18910/18978 MLY WDM3A’s 17064 1810 Secunderabad – Manmad Jn

 

Photos for Saturday 12th March 2016

 

Sunday 13th March 2016 (Not expecting the unexpected in Bangalore)

An early morning rise found 12785 was just departing Yelahanka, 15 minutes late. Unfortunately, that soon changed when we were held between Yelahanka & Bangalore East for 45 minutes and ultimately arrived into Bangalore City at 0713, 48’ late! Having passed ED WDM3A’s 16657/14054 (with ED WDG3A 13513 dead inside) near Bangalore Cantt with 12677 0615 Bangalore City – Ernakulam, GTL WDM3A 16656 at Bangalore Cantt with 56703 0740 Bangalore Cantt – Vijayawada and RPM WAP7 30363 just departing Bangalore City with 56510 0700 Bangalore City – Marikuppam passenger we had hardly any time at all to do what we’d wanted to at Bangalore City on arrival. With only 2 minutes before the departure of 56514 0715 Bangalore City – Karaikal passenger we were grateful of being at the rear of 12785, which allowed us to scoot round the bottom of the station and up into the stock of 56514 in platform 1 moments before ED WDG3A 14661 set off. What a cracking run up the hill it was to Bangalore Cantt it was too.

The original idea had been to consider doing 56503 0740 Bangalore Cantt – Vijayawada to Yelahanka for one of the morning commuters to Yesvantpur but with it being a Sunday there it was only a small plus onto 56524 Hindupur – Bangalore City and with 56526 Kolar – Bangalore City not running on Sunday’s it wasn’t even worth considering the risk so we’d decided on an auto from Bangalore Cantt to Yesvantpur instead. That was until we managed to leg it across the ballast at Bangalore Cantt onto a late running 16525 Kanniyakumari – Bangalore City and headed back into Bangalore City with GZB WAP4 22613. The idea being that we could dump our big bags in the cloak room and have plenty of time to still get an auto from Bangalore City to Yesvantpur for the inbound morning trains.

That idea soon went out of the window when we made 56515 0745 Bangalore City – Hubli and went to investigate. Having expected it to be a GM we were surprised to find KJM WDG3A 13030 with the train; either way it would have saved a taxi but as it was Alco it would have been rude not to do it up to Yesvantpur instead of an auto; big bags or not!

As there were only three inbound trains to Bangalore on a Sunday, from Hindupur, Arsikere & Tumkur there was still plenty of choice and with 56221 Bangalore City – Tumkur thrown into the mix there was scope to do moves. It was a warm morning and after drowning ourselves in chai on the platform we spent the morning, literally, festering about on the footbridge waiting events with cold pop for company.

Everything was running late and NTES was a very useful tool for the morning. First to arrive with 56524 Hindupur – Bangalore City with a rather unexpected KJM WDG4 12636. As it was freight engine we didn’t think much of it and just assumed it had dropped out vice Alco the previous evening as KJM were short of engines. I did it anyway, leaving Pelham behind on the footbridge waiting for an Alco behind. As everything was late though I hoped to get back to Yesvantpur before the next train arrived. The auto drivers at Malleswaram seemed to have other ideas though as not one of the three waiting outside the Bangalore bound platform would take me! Thankfully the first one I stopped on the opposite side of the station did so; the 3km journey costing RS80 and taking 7 minutes. Not surprisingly Pelham was still on the footbridge at Yesvantpur when I got back!

PA WDM3A 16215, which we’d had 2 days earlier on 57130 Hyderabad – Bijapur passenger, arrived with 22133 Solapur – Yesvantpur and shortly afterwards KJM WDP4 20060 arrived with an 11 hours late running 11005 Dadar – Puducherry; which delayed proceedings somewhat as regards passenger trains, all of which appeared to have been held outside somewhere for 10005 to arrive. Not that it actually mattered when KJM WDP4 20053 rolled in with 56224 Arsikere – Bangalore City passenger; which we’d really not been expecting. When KJM WDP4D 40298 arrived with 56221 Bangalore City – Tumkur passenger, just to rub it in, the alarm bells really were beginning to ring and we were left wondering what the hell had happened in the Bangalore area for all the passenger trains to now be in the hands of KJM GM’s!? 1 GM buggering up things is a bowl out, 2 is unforgivable but 3 was just beyond a joke and definitely not a good sign!

KJM WDG3A 13118 provided something to pass the time when it arrived with 16572 Bidar – Yesvantpur and made for some decent photographs with the Bangalore Metro passing by in the background; which passed the time until some relief from the GM infestation broke the back of the morning! Relief eventually arrived in the form of 56926 Tumkur – Bangalore City, over an hour late, with KJM WDM3A’s 14077/16294 in multi; which were about as unexpected as the GM’s that had been bowling us out all morning. Unfortunately, the loco pilot had switched the inside loco, 16294, out and it was shut down with only 14077 providing power; as luck didn’t have it 16294 was the one I needed out of the two so as Pelham headed towards Bangalore with 14077 I waited for 56228 Shimoga Town – Bangalore City instead.

Pelham had been hoping to do 56926 to Malleswaram for an auto back to Yesvantpur for 56228 but neither of us had realised when discussing it that 56926 was right away Yesvantpur – Bangalore so he ended up doing an auto back from Bangalore City to Malleswaram instead; for a lengthy fester! Meanwhile back at Yesvantpur the GM fest didn’t let up as PA WDG4 12536 dropped onto the stock to work 18112 1030 Yesvantpur – Tatanagar, KJM WDP4 20044 arrived with 17603 Kacheguda – Yesvantpur, UBL WDP4B 40016 went with an 8 hours late 16209 Ajmer – Mysore, UBL WDP4 20032 went with 17308 Bagalkot – Mysore, KJM WDP4D 40279 arrived with 12630 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Yesvantpur Karnataka Sampark Kranti and finally KJM WDP4 20062 arrived with 16202 Shimoga Town – Bangalore City!

I was very surprised when KJM WDM2’s 16876/16862 arrived with 56228 Shimoga Town – Bangalore City and even more surprised when both were still running and multi’d. As space was limited at Yesvantpur they’d been put over on platform 4 out of the way and were held for both 16209 and 17308 to depart towards Bangalore first. When 16202 Shimoga Town – Bangalore turned up as well I assumed it would get held for that as well but bizarrely we got the road and went over an hour late! Pelham was pleased with what turned up at Malleswaram to take him back into Bangalore City and upon arrival it was relief to get rid of our big bags in the cloak room; which is by the main entrance in the booking hall.

Having sought some refreshments and replenished our train food stash we headed back over to the far side of the station to see what turned up to work 56579 1220 Bangalore City – Nelamangala; the idea being we’d do it to Yesvantpur and get an auto across to Bangalore Cantt for the late running 12628 New Delhi – Bangalore City Karnataka Express. When KJM WDP4 20055 arrived with 56281 0700 Chamarajanagar – Bangalore City, to form 56579, we figured we’d be better at least doing a freight GM up the hill and as UBL WDG4 13324 was sat with 12725 1300 Bangalore City – Dharwad it was the better option.

While watching the world go by we noticed KJM WDS6 36023 drop onto a set of stock in platform 8 and went to investigate. We only just got to it as it began to set off so hopped aboard. There were a couple of other folk on board as well and nobody batted an eyelid as 36023 dragged the set out and into the head shunt at the Yesvantpur end of the station. As we were propelled back into the station ED WDG3A’s 14795 & 13511 were running separately to the Yesvantpur end of the station. Once 36023 had dumped the set into platform 10 and been detached both ED Shakti’s were dropped on top of the set but neither were coupled to it. What we wouldn’t realise until later in the week was that 13511, with 14795 dead inside, would have arrived into Bangalore City with 56582 1055 Yesvantpur – Bangalore City stock transfer move. This is the loco(s) and stock off 56241 0520 Salem – Yesvantpur being transferred to Bangalore City; which must have followed closely behind 56228 Shimoga Town – Bangalore City passenger and arrived while we’d been over the other side of the station at the cloak room. It was a shame it hadn’t arrived at Yesvantpur during my fester there!

UBL WDG4 12324 eased 12725 1300 Bangalore City – Dharwad out of Bangalore about 10 minutes late, which wasn’t an issue as the Karnataka Express was about an hour late so we had plenty of time when we got in our pre-paid auto outside Yesvantpur station; our 25-minute journey costing RS100. Unfortunately, despite me making sure I reminded the driver we were going to Bangalore Cantt we were delivered back to Bangalore City instead; we were less than impressed and made sure the auto driver knew it! To be fair to him it was probably half his fault and half the woman at the pre-pay booth’s fault as he’d gone off what she’d written on the slip. Unfortunately for us it was in Hindi so we had no clue what it said! Either way we weren’t where we needed to be and didn’t have enough time to get to Bangalore Cantt so retired for some afternoon food at the Bangalore City Comesum. Where a very good egg curry was rustled up.

Afterwards we were thankful to discover GTL WDM3A’s 16702/16696 having arrived with the Karnataka Express. Both of which we’d had on different trains at Secunderabad three days earlier. 16702 had been in a pair with 16752 on 17058 Secunderabad – Mumbai CST Devagiri Express and 16696 had worked 12026 Secunderabad – Pune Shatabdi. Both must have ended up back at GTL Shed at some point to be put together and ended up working to Manmad to re-engine the Karnataka Express the previous afternoon! Unless of course they’d re-engined it at Guntakal earlier in the morning?

While we watched on from the Yesvantpur platforms KJM WDM2S 017902 eventually shunted the stock off the Karnataka Express into the middle sidings at Bangalore City and having photographed KJM WDM2’s 16876/16862 being prepared to work forward with 56282 1530 Bangalore City – Chamarajanagar passenger, we photographed KJM WDP4 20055 arriving back from Nelamangala with 56580 1400 Nelamangala – Bangalore City passenger; ED WDG3A 14795 was shunted then out and dropped onto the opposite end of the stock to work 56581 1530 Bangalore City – Yesvantpur Jn stock transfer move to then form 56242 1605 Yesvantpur – Salem passenger. ED WDG3A 13511, which had been with 14795, was nowhere to be seen but we later found it shunting in the station at Yesvantpur.

As ED Shakti 14795 pulled away from Bangalore City with 56581 it was close on the tail of KJM WDP4 20062 with 16201 1530 Bangalore City – Shimoga Town and both trains ran parallel all the way to Yesvantpur, 16201 on the right road and 56581 on the wrong road. Both locos were worked hard with the Shakti having the upper edge on its smaller rake and 56581 made it to Yesvantpur first. It was definitely a different experience running parallel and I was surprised at just how loud the GM was as we crawled by it at a slightly elevated angle; so could hear the noise coming directly out of the stack.

KZJ WDM3A/WDG3A twins 18980/14781 were at Yesvantpur waiting to depart with 12193 1550 Yesvantpur – Jabalpur Jn, which we assumed will have worked in with 12194 Jabalpur – Yesvantpur, only just over 2 hours earlier, which we’d originally been booked on from Kacheguda to Yesvantpur but had changed our reservation to 12785 when the link had changed to twin KJM Alco’s; in an attempt to try and maximize the day at Bangalore. We all know how that went though eh, and we’d have been no worse off doing 12194 to Bangalore at all!?

While we expected 56227 1630 Bangalore City – Shimoga Town to be a GM, based on how the day had gone so far, we didn’t want to risk watching an Alco arrive so got ourselves a pre-paid auto to Malleswaram and were this time very specific when we asked for it; and ensured that the driver repeated back to us where he thought he was taking us. The fact he bizarrely didn’t seem to know where Malleswaram station was did amaze us a little but he managed to drop us there in the end. The 10 minute, 3km journey costing RS65. Sure enough KJM WDP4 20055 was soon along with 56227 1630 Bangalore City – Shimoga Town; which must have run straight through the station at Bangalore City once ED WDG3A 14795 had departed with 56581, the stock which 20055 had arrived with as 56580 1400 Nelamangala – Bangalore City, and dropped onto the set to form 56227.

Back at Yesvantpur, getting chai’d up at the same stall we’d frequented earlier that morning, we watched the first freight electric we’d seen all day, NKJ WAG7 27372, arrive with 12540 Lucknow Charbagh – Yesvantpur and following closely behind was GTL WDG3A 14685 with 56226 1550 Tumkur – Bangalore City passenger; which we’d expected having seen it in the head shunt at Bangalore City earlier in the day, with 56225/56226 being a solid GTL link. Off and onto what though I’ve never worked out! Despite the short run back into Bangalore City GTL’s 14685 proved to be a bit of a machine and it was one of those 16-cylinder Alco’s that seemed to have a 12-cylinder growl to it; very much like sister GY WDG3A 14684 had done some years previous. Which left me wondering if a couple of WDG3A’s in the number series had been built with different turbo’s or something?

Bangalore hadn’t ceased to amaze, or disappoint if you look at it from a different perspective, and when we found KJM WDG4’s 70180/12639 at the head of 16216 1815 Bangalore City – Mysore Chamundi Express not only was it a great disappointment in the Alco stakes but it was a massive cause for concern as we were booked to return from Mangalore a few days later with 16518/16524 Kannur/Karwar – Bangalore City (via Hassan), the locos from which were in the link to/from 16215/16216 Chamundi Express. We didn’t have time to do anything about what could be an impending disaster at that point and set about the evening move with the fact very much in the back of our minds!

GTL WDM3A’s 16696/16702 were sat in platform 1 with 12627 1920 Bangalore City – New Delhi Karnataka Express as KJM WDM3A’s 16294/14077 eased away with 12786 1820 Bangalore City – Kacheguda; which gave a cracking run up to Bangalore Cantt on their big load. We’d planned to view either 56513 Karaikal – Bangalore City passenger or 12678 Ernakulam – Bangalore City but as AJJ WAP1 22045 was just arriving with 56261 0800 Arakkonam – Bangalore City we leapt across the ballast to do it back into Bangalore City; noting that 56504 Vijayawada – Bangalore Cantt had arrived into the bay platform 1A with KJM WDG4 12470 topping GTL WDM3D 11118 as we did so.

ED WDM3A’s 16462/18532 were already sat in at Bangalore City with 16232 1530 Mysore – Mayilduthurai Jn and having only expected the train to be a single ED WDM3D the twins were a bonus. A bonus that we did back up to Bangalore Cantt to arrive just as ED WDG3A 14739 was doing so with 56513 Karaikal – Bangalore City; so it was straight back down to Bangalore City again. Unfortunately, GTL WDM3A’s 16696/16702 were just pulling away with 12627 Karnataka Express as we were arriving but we did just make 16522 1935 Bangalore City – Bangarapet Jn so did that straight back up to Bangalore Cantt with RPM WAP7 30363; in the hope we still made 12678 Ernakulam – Bangalore City coming back down.

Our luck had to run out at some point and it was no great surprise when we passed ED WDM3A’s 16460/16169, half way up the hill to Bangalore Cantt, with 12678 Ernakulam – Bangalore City. At least we didn’t have to do an auto back into Bangalore City though as 12609 Chennai Central – Bangalore City was right behind with RPM WAP7 30391. As we arrived back into Bangalore City ED WDM3A’s 16803/16674 were now visible in the bay behind platform 1, having arrived earlier with 11014 Coimbatore – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus.

Having had a good evening, despite the daytime moves being marred by the GM infestation, we sought some food from one of the refreshment places on platform 1 before collecting our bags and heading over to platform 6 to view 16236 Mysore – Tuticorin. While waiting for it to arrive though NTES revealed a bit of a potential issue for us in that our overnight to Salem, 11013 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Coimbatore, was running 2 hours late. With only a plus 2h25m at Salem for the 0600 passenger via the new line at Namakkal to Karur, a quick look at the history of 11013 showed it to be a constant late running with arrival into Karur being regularly over 2 hours late. So when ED WDM3A’s 16564/16465 arrived into Bangalore City with 16236 Mysore – Tuticorin there was only one thing to do to safeguard the following morning’s plan; and thankfully the TTE had room in 3AC for us to Salem so all was well. With it being a 2115 departure from Bangalore City we attempted to get some sleep straight after departure as it was booked into Salem at 0200, 1h35m before 11013 was due there so it didn’t look as though we’d be getting much sleep either way.

 

Gen for Sunday 13th March 2016

16657/14054 ED WDM3A’s (13513 ED WDG3A dit) 12677 0615 Bangalore City – Ernakulam

16656 GTL WDM3A 56503 0740 Bangalore Cantt – Vijayawada

30363 RPM WAP7 56510 0700 Bangalore City – Marikuppam

22024 AJJ WAP1 56214 2135 (P) Tirupati – Chamarajanagar (to Bangalore City)

40056 UBL WDP4B 16536 1410 (P) Solapur – Mysore

16215 PA WDM3A 22133 1920 (P) Solapur – Yesvantpur

20060 KJM WDP4 11005 2130 (PP) Dadar – Puducherry (11 hours late)

20053 KJM WDP4 56224 0500 Arsikere Jn – Bangalore City

40298 KJM WDP4D 56221 0920 Bangalore City – Tumkur

14077/(16294) KJM WDM3A’s 56926 0815 Tumkur – Bangalore City

12536 PA WDG4 18112 1030 Yesvantpur – Tatanagar

13118 KJM WDG3A 16572 1810 (P) Bidar – Yesvantpur

20044 KJM WDP4 17603 2100 (P) Kacheguda – Yesvantpur

40016 UBL WDP4B 16209 0530 (PP) Ajmer Jn – Mysore (8 hours late)

20032 UBL WDP4 17308 1410 (P) Bagalkot – Mysore

40279 KJM WDP4D 12630 0845 (PP) Hazrat Nizamuddin – Yesvantpur

20062 KJM WDP4 16202 0635 Shimoga Town – Bangalore City, 16201 1530 Bangalore City – Shimoga Town

20055 KJM WDP4 56579 1220 Bangalore City – Nelamangala, 56580 1400 Nelamangala – Bangalore City

16702/16696 GTL WDM3A’s 12628 2115 (PP) New Delhi – Bangalore City, 12627 1920 Bangalore City – New Delhi

27372 NKJ WAG7 12540 2000 (PP) Lucknow Charbagh – Yesvantpur

18890/14781 KJZ WDM/WDG3A’s 12194 1550 Yesvantpur – Jabalpur

40015 UBL WDP4B 17307 1330 Mysore – Bagalkot

20027 UBL WDP4 16534 1700 Bangalore City – Jodhpur Jn

70180/12639 KJM WDG4’s 16216 1815 Bangalore City – Mysore Jn

30349 RPM WAP7 1800 Bangalore City – Marikuppam

12470 KJM WDG4 (11118 GTL WDM3D dit) 56504 2040 (P) Vijayawada – Bangalore Cantt

40046 UBL WDP4B 2045 Bangalore City – Mumbai CST

16803/16674 ED WDM3A’s 11014 0845 Coimbatore – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (to Bangalore)

16169/16460 ED WDM3A’s 12678 0910 Ernakulam Jn – Bangalore City, 11013 2235 (P) Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (from Bangalore)

 

Photos for Sunday 13th March 2016

 

Monday 14th March 2016 (Melting in the blistering heat on the Karur – Erode line)

16236 dropped us into Salem about 20 minutes late. We immediately found two sets of stock back to back in platform 2 which had ED WDG3A’s 14795/13510 stood off at one end for 56241 0520 Salem – Yesvantpur and ED WDG3A’s 14665/14798 stood off, and split from each other, at the other end; which we confirmed with the staff cleaning the stock was the stock for 56105 0600 Salem – Karur. As the stock was open and empty we used it as a bedroom, unfortunately there were quite a lot of mosquitoes about and it was a very warm night so sleep didn’t really happen much.

When we eventually gave up on sleep 56241 0520 Salem – Yesvantpur had departed and we found 14665 to have disappeared as well, leaving ED WDG3A 14798 to be attached to our stock and work 56105 0600 Salem – Karur. While enjoying a few morning chai’s and minding our own business on the stock ED WDM3A’s 16460/16169 arrived into Salem with 11013 LTT – Coimbatore; 2h13m late at 0548! I was glad we’d opted to play it safe as it would have been one of those journeys where you spend it worrying about missing your connection otherwise!

ED’s 14798 was a very good engine and the line speed over the newly built line via Namakkal to Karur was good. 56105 0600 Salem – Karur wasn’t very well frequented throughout though, which was good for us as we got to relax for the whole journey. By Karur though it was becoming a very warm morning indeed and it would only get worse from there onwards. There wasn’t much to do at Karur Jn but at least it had a few vendors to supply us with food and cold drinks; the most valuable asset we found though was platform 1’s cold water dispenser that really did get some use and was lovely on the back of the neck and behind the ears as the temperature rose and humidity tightened its grip!

KJM WDP4B 40054 was first to show up at Karur and did so with a 2 hours late running 10021 Dadar – Tirunelveli. When it departed people were literally chasing it down the platform to get back on, having been caught unaware as it began to ease out of the platform. Surprisingly everyone managed to get back on. The first surprise of the day arrived not long after 11021 had departed, it was GOC relic in WDM2 18554 with 56841 0650 Trichy – Erode passenger; dead inside it was UBL WDP4 20008, which we later saw departing Erode Jn with 16340 Nagercoil – Mumbai CST.

56841 got the road virtually straight away at Karur and 56844 0750 Erode – Trichy Jn, which we’d been expecting to arrive into Karur before 56841 departed, was sat waiting at Murthipalayam for us with ED WDM3D 11195 and ED WDM3A 16874 dead inside. At Pugalur GOC WDG4 12594 was stabled up and chained to the tracks, 56841 was held a short while to allow 12084 Coimbatore – Mayilduthurai Shatabdi to pass through the loop with TNP WDM2 17946 then we were Kodumudi bound. As we were late we opted to bail off at Kodumudi anyway as there was potential for 56841/56320 to pass at Unjalur; where 56320 didn’t stop.

With the day in full swing the heat was at full temperature and it was a chore just walking down the platform with our bags; in fact, everything seemed to be an effort, including sitting down to try and relax, it really did take some effort to move about so the less moving the better! I did go up onto the footbridge to get a photo when the signals were pulled off for something to pass through the middle road; it was a little disappointing when ED WDG3A 13538 passed through light engine as it would have made an excellent photo of a lengthy freight train with the sun perfectly on it. That was all we saw in our time at Kodumudi and when ED WDM3D 11109 turned up 45 minutes late with 56320 0720 Coimbatore – Nagercoil it had likely crossed 56841 at Pasur as booked so we could have continued on with GOC’s 18554.

We were off 56320 at Pugalur for 56712 0625 Palakkad Town – Trichy behind it and fortunately didn’t have too long to wait. GOC WDG4 12594 had disappeared since we’d passed through earlier and had possibly been collected by ED WDG3A 13538? Everyone at Pugalur was hiding in the shade provided by the station canopy and when we got into the shade ourselves it was evident that someone was in pain judging by their cries. We found a guy laid on a bench and every now and again another guy, who seemed a complete stranger to him, was rubbing some sort of oil into his calves and ankles; the pain when he did so was very evident and he was basically pleading for it to stop. I got the impression that the guy was struggling to walk and had some serious issue with his lower legs, whether bite related or not we couldn’t tell but it was painful for him either way and he was left lying on the bench when ED WDM3A 16668 departed with 56712 Palakkad – Trichy.

As 16668 rolled into Karur with 56712 ED WDG3A 14798 did so at the same time with 06743 1130 Salem – Karur special which randomly wasn’t even listed on NTES but was shown on the station arrivals/departures list; it ran round to form 06744 1440 Karur – Salem special. Platform 1 was occupied by ED WDM3D 11214, which departed with 16340 Nagercoil – Mumbai CST as soon as our 56712 had cleared the points at the end of the platform. Our next train of the day, 56826 0530 Tirunelveli – Erode, had been showing as 45’ late on NTES, which had potential to bugger the afternoon move up royally; with the slack time in its schedule into Karur though we were pleased to see GOC WDG3A 13114 roll into the platform with 56826 only a couple of minutes late.

We needed a prompt departure with 56826 to preserve the afternoon’s plan but due to parcels being loaded into the van the train wasn’t ready as quickly as it could have been; which turned out not to matter anyway when I spotted a freight train coming off the Erode line, which of course prevented our departure. What happened next though was ludicrous as rather than let the freight in off the Erode line and 56826 depart, the freight on the Erode line was held of a freight coming from the Trichy direction to go onto the Salem line before being given the road into the station; which then took an age at its very slow pace. The result being that 56826 departed Karur 45’ late!

Thankfully the opposing working of 56825 1305 Erode – Tirunelveli was bang on time and 56826 was held at Pugalur for it to arrive. I’d half expected the train to feature GOC WDM2 18554 but was very surprised to find it dead inside ED WDM3D’s 11223/11104; which we confirmed were multi’d up and both powering as 56825 departed Pugalur with us unfortunately at the rear of the train having just leapt over the tracks and onto it after its spirited arrival. The move was back on track but the weather wasn’t letting up any at all; we were so thankful of the cold water dispenser on platform 1 when we got back to Karur!

ED WDM3A   had charge of 56713 1300 Trichy – Palakkad Town, which we did through to Erode and arrived just as UBL WDP4 20008 was departing with 16340 Nagercoil – Mumbai CST having replaced ED WDM3D 11214 there. ED WDS6 36187 was shunting stock round the back of the station and after a WAP4 had departed with 56846 1610 Erode – Jolarpettai GOC WDG3A 13114 backed the stock in to form 56842 1635 Erode – Trichy; which we’d expected it to do. During our short fester at Erode I noticed that it hadn’t become any less annoying since my last visit with the constant playing of advertisements over the public address system; thankfully the announcement for SES had now been replaced by a different once, which became equally annoying with time!

We could only do 13114 out to the first station on the Karur line, Pasur, which was small station in the middle of nowhere with a decent length platform. It was very peaceful and there was hardly anyone around at all. A notice on the station showed the amenities and gave an idea of how well used the place was; with a daily average passenger total of 100 and 10 season tickets sold a month there was no wonder the station average takings for a day was only approx. RS1500. Anywhere else in the world nobody would have entertained even building the station but that’s the beauty of Indian Railways, who actually run a service for people in rural areas!

Our wait wasn’t that long for ED WDM3D 11193 to arrive with 56319 0710 Nagercoil – Coimbatore and the wait for it to depart was longer than that for it to arrive. It was held for 30 minutes to allow 16339 Mumbai CST – Nagercoil to pass through with ED WDM3A 16504 leading the way. Needless to say, with all the slack time in its journey, 56319 was almost right time as it arrived into Erode. With a bit of time to kill we took refuge in a refreshment place, which had very good fans I might add, and were served up a very good egg biriyani.

We were heading to Coimbatore for the night and were fully expecting TNP WDM2 17946 to arrive with 12083 Mayilduthurai – Coimbatore Shatabdi; having seen it heading to Mayilduthurai with 12084 earlier in the day. 12083 was bizarrely the only train on the big departure screen without an allocated platform so we took a chance with platform 3 and got it wrong. No sooner had we walked under the subway to platform 2 when the train was announced did ED WDS6 36187 bring a set into platform 3 to form 22630 2130 Erode – Chennai Central. The loco pilot was powering coming up the platform though so it might have been difficult to board with our big bags!

12084 arrived 35’ late with TNP WDM3A 16859 and not 17946 as we’d expected. We managed to get some seats from the TTE in AC chair car but when we got into the coach it was freezing cold so we sat in the virtually empty chair car coach behind it instead and chilled out to Coimbatore. Despite nightfall the heat had not subsided by the time we reached Coimbatore and it was a chore just walking to the Hotel Vinayak; which was only a 5-minute walk through the maze of narrow streets opposite Coimbatore station. It was amazing how busy it was outside the station for the time of night and we were thankful the Hotel Vinayak was quite a way back from the main drag outside the station.

We were checked in quickly and despite the guy at check-in being insistent that I paid the bill the following morning I managed to get it paid before we went up to the room as we were checking out at 0430! The room wasn’t big and was nothing to write home about at all, it was sweltering and even the AC and fan didn’t seem to make a difference initially but a cold shower certainly did and drying off under a fan had its benefits too! What a day it had been, it was quite possibly the hottest and sweatiest day I’d ever had to endure in India and the papers showed that the current heatwave that India was suffering wasn’t going to let up anytime soon either; we went to bed clean, for now, and would only manage a maximum of 5 hours sleep before we had to be up and out; to be Ooty bound the following morning.

 

Gen for Monday 14th March 2016

14795/(13510 dit) ED WDG3A’s 56241 0520 Salem – Yesvantpur

14798 ED WDG3A 56106 0830 Karur – Salem, 06743 1130 Salem – Karur, 06744 1440 Karur – Salem

40054 KJM WDP4B 11021 2130 (PP) Dadar – Tirunelveli

11214 ED WDM3D 16340 0630 Nagercoil – Mumbai CST (to Erode Jn)

20008 UBL WDP4 16340 0630 Nagercoil – Mumbai CST (from Erode Jn)

16504 ED WDM3A 16339 1210 (P) Mumbai CST – Nagercoil (from Erode Jn)

36187 ED WDS6 shunt stock into Erode for 22650 Erode – Chennai Central

 

Photos for Monday 14th March 2016

 

Tuesday 15th March 2016 (Up the Nilgiri Mountain Railway to Ooty)

While the 0430 alarm call wasn’t too intrusive it could have done with being a few hours later! Still, we were up and out straight away and no sooner had we got to the station did RPM WAP7 30419 arrive with 12671 Chennai Central – Mettupalayam Nilgiri Express. Half asleep we got ourselves into an empty sleeper coach in the middle of the train, only to be told by a porter 5 minutes before departure that we needed to be towards the front for Mettupalayam as the rear portion on arrival (leading on departure) splits off 12671at Coimbatore and goes forward on its own; the Coimbatore portion remains at Coimbatore. Our lucky escape had us in the empty-ish 3AC towards the front of the train on departure, which AJJ WAP1 22016 worked forward. Unfortunately, the Mettupalayam branch had recently been electrified so that was the end of diesels down the branch.

At Mettupalayam ED WDS6 36015 was sat on shed yet our AJJ WAP1 22016 shunted its own stock away. 2013 built ONR X class steam loco 37398 was sat in the MG platform at the rear of the stock ready to propel 56136 0710 Mettupalayam – Udagamandalam (Ooty) up the Nilgiri Mountains. There’s a small museum at the end of the MG platform which now has X Class 37389 on display out the back with a few coaches. I was surprised to find some other X Class steam locos on Mettupalayam steam shed, neither of which were in steam; both were 1918 built but while 37386 had been converted to oil fired in 2011, 37384 is now the last remaining serviceable X class to be coal fired and sure enough its footplate was covered in coal.

Reservation sheets for 56136 are posted on the wall outside the Station Master’s office and we confirmed our seats to be numbers 5/6 in FS1, which just so happened to be the leading compartment of the leading coach going up the hill; with the train being formed of 1st reserved leading, 2nd reserved next then 2nd UR towards the rear of the train, next to the engine. The last time I’d done the train it had been in UR and it was a complete wedge out with people wedged into the aisles. It didn’t look that bad on this occasion but when I went to the rear of the train to get some photos there was a bit of a riot going on over seating with shouting and finger pointing to boot; all didn’t seem to be well in UR and I left it well alone and went about getting my photos.

The little X Class pushed us out of the station at bang on 0710 and began the journey up the Nilgiri Mountains as Mettupalayam seemed to be only just waking up; its whistle and chugging cutting through the silence as we headed into the wilderness, along the first 5km of non-rack track. Our compartment at the front of the train was full but the company was ok. We were on the wrong side of the train for the views but it didn’t really matter as the experience was good wherever you’re seated. Photo-stops en-route are plentiful as the steam loco fills up with water at every station en-route on the way up the mountains, these stops provide toilet stops as well as there aren’t any on board the train at all.

The rack section starts just after departure from the first water stop at Kallar and from that point gradient s of 1:12.5 are negotiated by the little train and progress is obviously a little slow. The stop at Hillgrove is the longest one and for a reason as it is the only station with a stall, which sells everything you could need to put you on until Coonoor. Hillgrove is a strange station as it has a low level platform which would have been for terminating trains from Mettupalayam back in the day; which doesn’t seem to be used anymore. As we departed Hillgrove and climbed higher towards Coonoor the thing I was grateful for most wasn’t the scenery, or the steam loco at the rear of the train; it was actually the fact that the air temperature was cooling down to a reasonable level and I wasn’t sweating for the first time in two days!

The approach to Coonoor was a spirited one and one that seemed to attract plenty of attention from onlookers, as though the sight of a steam engine as a one-off thing; which of course it was an everyday thing for the people of Coonoor. Every train window was occupied as the train approached Coonoor with people’s anticipation of our imminent arrival. To the left as 56136 eased into Coonoor station is X Class 37390, plinthed in the station car park area and to the right is the Coonoor loco shed which had plenty more steam loco’s on shed and of course the very reason we were now at Coonoor; the GOC YDM4’s on shed!

There was plenty of time to wonder over to the shed while our train awaited the arrival of 56139 0915 Udagamandalam – Coonoor, which would provide the YDM4 for our onward journey; and of course X Class 37398 had to be shunted off to shed. On shed were the following:

X Class Steam Locos

37391 (1949 built) in ex works condition having just returned from a POH at GOC

37392 (1949 built) dumped round the side of the shed

37397 (2012 built) undergoing routine maintenance with its rods detached inside the shed

37398 (2013 built) having just arrived with 56136 0710 Mettupalayam – Ooty

37399 (2014 built) being prepared to work 56137 1400 Ooty – Mettupalayam that evening

 

GOC YDM4’s

6664 sat with a single coach in the yard to work 56143 1235 Coonoor – Ooty later in the day

6706 a complete surprise dumped in the back of the shed over a pit undergoing a bogie rebuild

6724 sat after maintenance and would work 56143 1235 Coonoor – Ooty the following day

I was a little surprised that only 4 YDM4’s were now present at Coonoor and that both the ones I wanted 6401 & 6414 had both disappeared. The staff later told us that 6401 had reached its ¼ life cycle and had returned to GOC and would likely be withdrawn and also that 6414 had returned to GOC for maintenance. Staff also told us that 6706 had been with them for about 11 months; this having last been seen at Bagalkot as a GTL based YDM4 working the line to Gadag so it was a big surprise to find it back in service after so long both out of service and out of circulation completely. The last entry in the log book in 6706’s cab was 29/02/16 so it had been out of service for a couple of weeks and wasn’t going to be back in service for a while either; which was a bit of a pain as it was the only one of the four YDM4’s at ONR that I wanted!

YDM4 6730, freshly painted, arrived into Coonoor with 56139 0915 Udagamandalam – Coonoor and having reversed in the headshunt south of the station it propelled its stock into the platform adjacent to that where 56136 0710 Mettupalayam – Udagamandalam sat. 6730 detached the leading coach and immediately shunted it onto 56136 to make the rake up to load 5 for the journey between Coonoor & Ooty; and then we were off on the final leg of the journey. The section from Coonoor to Ooty isn’t as steep at the section through the mountains with gradients only getting to 1:22.5 so adhesion is ok as none of the YDM4 have been rack fitted; bizarrely!

6730 sounded good as it propelled 56136 towards the summit of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway at Lovedale where the height above sea level is 7694ft as opposed to that at Mettupalayam of 1069ft. The climate was definitely different beyond Coonoor and the cooler air was very welcome; which with the front windows of the train open actually got a little cold in the front compartment but there was no complaining from us! There wasn’t much noise from 6730 where we were sat but there was plenty from the screaming kids on board as the train passed through tunnels en-route to Ooty and through a changing countryside that began to reveal tea plantations the closer we got to Ooty. Arrival into Ooty was a couple of minutes early and we managed to walk over the tracks and get a few photos before we headed off to our hotel to dump our bags. We could have headed out to Ketti with 6730 to do 6664 back in with 56143 1235 Coonoor – Ooty but we’d then have to keep our big bags with us all day so a trip to the hotel for food and a bag dump made better sense.

An auto from outside the station to our hotel cost RS100 and took about 10 minutes. The Fortune Resort Sullivan Court is on the outskirts of Ooty in a quiet secluded spot. It looks nice on the outside and even nicer on the inside and was a bit upmarket to the places I usually use in India but it was well worth the money. The staff were very helpful in reception as we checked in and the room was absolutely spotless and provided everything we needed from toiletries to tea/coffee making facilities; bizarrely the one thing we didn’t need was the air conditioning as it was cool enough for it not to be turned on at all. Having dumped our bags, we used the hotel restaurant for lunch, where the food was very good but priced accordingly with main meals being around the RS600 mark. The hotel staff organized us an auto to take us back to the station when asked, the price of which ended up being RS130; this due to the fact that the driver had to come empty from town to collect us.

We arrived at the station before the train did and found a lengthy queue for unreserved on the platform. Ticket checks were carried out at the station entrance and the RPF doing so attempted to direct us to the unreserved queue after looking at our Indrail passes, even after taking our tickets to the booking office ticket window he was insistent we joined the unreserved queue; fortunately, I won the argument and we were allowed to roam around where we wanted. We actually had reservations to Coonoor in 1st class.

YDM4 6664 turned up as expected with 56143 1235 Coonoor – Udagamandalam and formed 56137 1400 Udagamandalam – Mettupalayam with five coaches from Ooty. The leading one of which to Coonoor only, was an unreserved 1st class coach so we sat in that as opposed to wedging ourselves into the rear part of the train in FS1 where our reservation actually was. Unlike at Mettupalayam reservation lists are not displayed at Ooty so you have to check with the TTE what seat you’ve been allocated.

6664 gave a spirited run up the hill towards Lovedale but it was all downhill from there, as was the weather and it absolutely hammered it down with rain. There were other people in the coach and as it was open plan above seat height we could watch them attempt to close the windows; it was comical that some couldn’t even figure out how to do it and just sat in the middle of their compartment while rain poured into through the windows on either side. We managed to get almost all the windows closed in our compartment but the guy in the compartment in front couldn’t so he and his son ended up in our compartment after theirs got completely soaked. Thankfully the rain stopped and the sun came out on the approach to Coonoor so the stock dried out a little. It didn’t much matter for the coach we were in as it was immediately removed after 6664 had propelled the train into the station and X Class steam loco 37399 replaced it for the run down to Mettupalayam with only the four coaches.

Once 37399 had departed with 56137 to Mettupalayam we had time to walk round the deserted loco shed and eventually got talking to a couple of guys who gave us all the information we needed on the YDM4’s when questioned. The details of the X Class Steam locos remaining in service is painted on the side of the signalbox on the shed side; which was only slightly out of date during our visit as it had 37391 as being on POH at GOC but it was now back and on shed. Despite 37397 having its rods off and being on maintenance they did confirm to us that it would likely be the loco for the following day’s 56137 to Mettupalayam and that YDM4 6724 would be the loco for the following day’s 56143 1235 Coonoor – Udagamandalam. So it seemed that the YDM4’s cycled with each one starting on 56143 1235 Coonoor – Ooty and doing the circuit until 56142 1305 Ooty – Coonoor the following day. It was from these guys on shed that we got the gen on 6401/6414 and what was going on with 6706.

6664 shunted the stock into the platform to form 56138 1630 Coonoor – Udagamandalam but unfortunately there was no 1st unreserved on this train so we bagged some seats well before departure time in 2nd unreserved. The journey back to Ooty was a pleasant one, without any rain and the train wasn’t that full either. We had the pleasure of the company of a couple from Leicester throughout the journey but by the time we got to Ooty we were ready for some relaxation time at the Fortune Resort as it had been a long, long day. 6664 went back to Coonoor with 56140 1800 Udagamandalam – Coonoor while we managed to bag an auto to the Fortune Resort for RS80 outside the station.

Another excellent meal was had in the hotel restaurant before a relaxing evening in the very large room catching up on stuff. The nice room, relaxing atmosphere and cleanliness were just what we needed for a good night’s sleep; and we were grateful of the late start the following morning as we had another long day ahead as we headed back to Coimbatore. Our plans from that point were a little up in the air having looked at the options to avoid going to Mangalore and getting bowled by GM’s on 16518/16524 back to Bangalore!

 

Gen for Tuesday 15th March 2016

Nilgiri Mountain Railway

X Class Steam Locos

37384 (1918 built & last coal fired X Class) on shed at Mettupalayam

37386 (1918 built) on shed at Mettupalayam

37389 (1949 built) museum exhibit at Mettupalayam Railway Museum

37390 (1949 built) plinthed outside Ooty station

37391 (1949 built) in ex works condition having just returned from a POH at GOC

37392 (1949 built) dumped round the side of the shed

37397 (2012 built) undergoing routine maintenance with its rods detached inside the shed

37398 (2013 built) having just arrived with 56136 0710 Mettupalayam – Ooty

37399 (2014 built) being prepared to work 56137 1400 Ooty – Mettupalayam that evening

 

GOC YDM4’s

6664 56143 1235 Coonoor – Ooty, 56137 1400 Ooty – Mettupalayam (to Coonoor), 56138 1630 Coonoor – Ooty, 56140 1800 Ooty – Coonoor

6706 a complete surprise dumped in the back of the shed over a pit undergoing a bogie rebuild

6724 sat after maintenance and would work 56143 1235 Coonoor – Ooty the following day

6730 56139 0915 Ooty – Coonoor, 56136 0710 Mettupalayam – Ooty (from Coonoor), 56142 1215 Ooty – Coonoor

 

Other 30419 RPM WAP7 12671 2115 (P) Chennai Central – Mettupalayam (to Coimbatore)

 

Photos for Tuesday 15th March 2016

 

Wednesday 16th March 2016 (Heading back down the Nilgiri Mountain Railway)

A not so early rise had us in the hotel restaurant for breakfast by just after 8 o’clock. The choice was amazing and there was even a chef making freshly prepared eggs to your liking. After a very hearty breakfast indeed we got an auto to the station and left our big bags at the hotel to collect later; this one costing us RS150, the dearest of the trip and he wouldn’t back down at all on price!

Having gone through our options the previous evening as regards GM’s and the Hassan line we opted to take the potential bowl-out completely out of the equation and head back to Bangalore from Coimbatore instead of going to Mangalore. With a reservation already written out for 16528 Kannur – Yesvantpur from Coimbatore to Yesvantpur I was surprised when I had the reservation in my hands within minutes of arriving at Ooty station; where there was no queue at the booking office window at all. Unfortunately, we were WL1 & WL2 so there was a little more thinking to be done.

Trains arriving into Ooty make a nice photo propelling over the bridge outside the station as they do so and we had plenty of time to walk back up the station approach and board as 6664 was almost 10 minutes early arriving with 56141 0745 Coonoor – Udagamandalam. There was no 1st unreserved on 56139 0915 Udagamandalam – Coonoor so into 2nd unreserved we went; which was quite empty at the time of boarding. We didn’t both with any queuing as there weren’t that many people about anyway and it was a bit of a free for all anyway. I did try to get some seats in the reserved 1st class at the rear of the train and despite there being 4 available on the TTE’s list he was being a complete arse about the situation and insisted I get a reservation from the booking office before the seats were allocated; so we stayed in 2nd unreserved and had a relaxing journey down to Coonoor as it turned out; the coach was half empty.

The weather was nice and it was a warm but not a hot morning, with the air being fresh. As we ran by Coonoor station & shed, into the head-shunt to propel back into the platform, X Class steam loco 37391 was in steam and shunting on the shed with 37397 now being sat inside the shed and not in steam so maybe 37391 would end up going to Mettupalayam later in the day after all? YDM4 6724 was sat in the yard area with one coach, ready to work 56143 1235 Coonoor – Udagamandalam as we’d been told it would and 6730 was occupying the spot that 6724 had vacated and in the station X Class 37399 was waiting to shunt to shed having arrived with 56136 0710 Mettupalayam – Udagamandalam.

Having thought about things on the way down another reservation was written out and after a quick photo we were straight to the booking office at Coonoor. With Coonoor having its own advance reservation window we had to wait for some guy to finish banging on about connections he wanted to make somewhere; who thankfully wasn’t making any actual reservations. Unlike at Ooty the reservations for 12258 Kochuveli – Yesvantpur Garib Rath from Coimbatore to Yesvantpur took a while to issue as the woman doing them insisted in having as much detail as possible and even called a colleague over to help with the reservations. The tickets were eventually issued 4 minutes before 56136 was due to head up to Ooty; which left just enough time to rush to the toilet before departure. The berths on 12258 were at least confirmed so if we didn’t get confirmed on 16528 we had a back-up that night.

As the 2nd unreserved wasn’t full next to 6664 on 56136 we jumped in there instead of finding our booked 1st class reserved seats. Unfortunately, the loco pilot on 6664 wasn’t up to much and never actually got his YDM4 onto full power at all heading up to the summit at Lovedale! As the unreserved wasn’t wedged though, it was a nice journey nonetheless. At Ooty we managed a RS100 fare in an auto back to the Fortune Resort and checked out on arrival; a little after the 1200 deadline. The staff knew what we were doing though so there wasn’t an issue and we used the restaurant for lunch before heading back to the station for the last time and beginning our lengthy journey back to Coimbatore. Our little bit of luxury in Ooty, for two nights including food, came to RS8700.

YDM4 6724 arrived into Ooty with 56143 1235 Coonoor – Udagamandalam as expected. We were booked in 1st class reserved throughout to Mettupalayam and as it turned out there were only four people in the rear most compartment all the way to Mettupalayam so it was a decent journey back, with plenty of space to get to windows on either side for photos all the way down the mountains. At Coonoor we were surprised to find X Class Steam loco 37397 sat on shed waiting to shunt onto 56137 1400 Udagamandalam – Mettupalayam to replace 6724; especially after seeing 37391 on shed in steam that morning.

6724 soon shunted off the front coach and 37397 was soon shunting to the neck and reversing down to be attached. Just as it hit the platform end though some ignorant tosser walked straight in front of my camera and stood pointing his shitty ipad at the steam loco as it was being coupled up so I played him at his own game and went and stood straight in front of him with my head literally filling his lens as he attempted to snap away; and do you know what he couldn’t even see the irony as he tried to move round me, he was completely oblivious to everything and anything around him the ignorant tosser! Two tourists sat on a bench on the platform watched on giggling as events unfolded and smiled at me as I walked away having understood exactly what was going on!

After 37397 set off for Mettupalayam it wasn’t long before the temperature started rising and we knew what it was like to sweat again! There were plenty of photo opportunities on the journey back down the mountains with the only water stops being at Runneymede and Hillgrove. The one at Hillgrove providing the most entertainment as the station was infested with monkeys of all shapes and sizes. People were buying biscuits just to feed to the monkeys, which were running around the place with bags of all shapes and sizes and with all sorts of food stuffs! It was an interesting 10 minutes stop and while we stood drinking chai at the stall the cheekiest of monkeys peered over the edge of the canopy, upside-down, in search of anything they could possibly get their hands on. My biscuits went firmly in my pocket.

When 37397 came off the rack section at Kallar, it stopped briefly in the station and picked up a few locals, before being worked hard into Mettupalayam. 37384/37386 were still on shed as we arrived, having not moved, and as soon as the train stopped in the platform everyone was off. 37397 soon shunted the stock back into the carriage sidings and then went to shed itself. Before doing so though there was some discussion while the set was in the station, surrounding what appeared to be a hot axle box. The guy with the temperature gun checking the axles had taken off a cover after doing so, so I was guessing that coach might well be taken out of the set overnight.

Everyone seemed to be doing the same move and the platform was full of people waiting for 12672 1945 Mettupalayam – Chennai Central Nilgiri Express; which didn’t depart until 2h10m after 56137 arrived from Ooty. When ED WAP4 22765 arrived with 56144 1755 Coimbatore – Mettupalayam it ran round to shunt the stock into the carriage sidings before bringing in the set to form 12672 to Chennai. As our original plan had us going to Mangalore we had reservations on 12762 through to Tiruppur to cut the fester down a bit at Coimbatore; obviously we just got off at Coimbatore for our re-planned move; which would hopefully be 16528 Kannur – Yesvantpur through to its destination.

At Coimbatore ED WDM3D 11149 was waiting to depart with 16610 2030 Coimbatore – Nagercoil and we found ED WDM3D 11103 sat in the middle road, adjacent to 12672 Mettupalayam – Chennai, waiting to shunt the Coimbatore portion onto the rear of 12672. We’d been half expecting this to be done by a WDS6 and were a little disappointed to find a main line engine doing the shunt.

We managed to choose an excellent place to eat at and the Park Inn’s hotel restaurant served up the best chilly chicken I’ve ever had in India and at a very reasonable price. After talking to the staff they seemed to take great pride in their food preparation and we could tell in the taste.

Just as we got back to the station I had a text from 139 to tell me that our reservation status had been updated after charting and we were no confirmed in A1-40 but the second reservation was now WL1; so we’d have to wait it out and see what the TTE had to say. TNP WDM2 17946 arrived 60’ late with 12083 Mayilduthurai – Coimbatore before the moment of truth when ED WDM3D 11178 arrived with 16528 Kannur – Yesvantpur. Luckily the TTE was standing at the door in 2AC and was soon on our case. He checked his list to confirm we had one reservation confirmed and the other WL1 and told us to get on and he’d sort us out once the train had departed. Luckily for us he had a no-show in berth 26 so moved whoever should have been occupying berth 38 to 26 and allowed us to be in the same compartment with upper berths 38 & 40; which was a bit of a bonus. Berths were soon made up and as it was almost midnight sleep soon came.

 

Gen for Wednesday 16th March 2016

Nilgiri Mountain Railway

X Class Steam Locos

37384 (1918 built & last coal fired X Class) on shed at Mettupalayam

37386 (1918 built) on shed at Mettupalayam

37389 (1949 built) museum exhibit at Mettupalayam Railway Museum

37390 (1949 built) plinthed outside Ooty station

37391 (1949 built) in ex works condition having just returned from a POH at GOC

37392 (1949 built) dumped round the side of the shed

37397 (2012 built) 56137 1400 Ooty – Mettupalayam (from Coonoor)

37398 (2013 built) on shed undergoing routine maintenance

37399 (2014 built) 56136 0710 Mettupalayam – Ooty (to Coonoor)

 

GOC YDM4’s

6664 56139 0915 Ooty – Coonoor, 56136 0710 Mettupalayam – Ooty (from Coonoor), 56142 1215 Ooty – Coonoor

6706 a complete surprise dumped in the back of the shed over a pit undergoing a bogie rebuild

6724 56143 1235 Coonoor – Ooty, 56137 1400 Ooty – Mettupalayam (to Coonoor), 56138 1630 Coonoor – Ooty, 56140 1800 Ooty – Coonoor

6730 sat after maintenance and would work 56143 1235 Coonoor – Ooty the following day

 

Other

11149 ED WDM3D 16610 2030 Coimbatore – Nagercoil

11103 ED WDM3D shunt Coimbatore portion onto 12672 1945 Mettupalayam – Chennai Central at Coimbatore

30410 RPM WAP7 22640 1605 Alappuzha – Chennai Central

22042 AJJ WAP1 22615 1450 Tirupati – Coimbatore Jn

17946 TNP WDM2 12083 1450 Mayilduthurai Jn – Coimbatore Jn Shatabdi

22659 ED WAP4 16525 1030 (P) Kanniyakumari – Bangalore City

 

Photos for Wednesday 16th March 2016

 

Thursday 17th March 2016 (Another crack at the Bangalore whip!)

16528 arrived into Yesvantpur Jn 30’ early and the 2AC was almost deserted when we did! KZJ WDG3A/WDM3A twins 13378/18885 were sat waiting to go with 15016 0735 Yesvantpur – Gorakhpur Express; and to be honest we should have just done it to Hindupur and had done with it but we didn’t. However, as we were early arriving we did have a bonus move as we dropped nicely into 56515 0745 Bangalore City – Hubli and the day started off well when unexpected GTL WDG3A 13072 arrived with it; instead of the expected KJM loco, whether it be Alco or GM!

Having alighted 56515 at Chikbanavar we enjoyed a morning chai at the only stall on the station while admiring the more upmarket surroundings and watching college students walk down the tracks to their place of education. First to turn up, after only a short fester, and were surprisingly almost on time, were KJM WDM2’s 16876/16862 in multi and both working with 56224 0500 Arsikere Jn – Bangalore City. Although dud we chose to do them anyway as we couldn’t guarantee any of the other morning commuters would be Alco’s; as it turned out we wouldn’t have been bowled out.

In Yesvantpur carriage sidings KJM WDS6 36023 was no resident, which mean the one doing the shunts at Bangalore had to have changed; we later found it to be 36243. The waiting game was on at Yesvantpur and a waiting game it certainly was. Our favorite chai wallah was pleased to see us and as he had done three days previous he insisted on making us fresh chai from scratch! We were soon in our rightful spot on the south end footbridge and may as well have taken up train spotting for how well the morning went.

There were quite a few Alco’s about, just not on anything we could do and the precession went a little like this: KJM WDG3A 13118 arrived with 16572 Bidar – Yesvantpur, PA WDG3A 13549 arrived with 22133 Solapur – Yesvantpur and KJM WDP4 20025 passed through with 16536 Solapur – Mysore and then came a precession of commuters. KJM WDP4 20067 led 56524 Hindupur – Bangalore City, and bizarrely GTL WDM3D’s in multi and both working led a 7 coach 56926 0815 Tumkur – Bangalore City; which we suspected were the locos for the afternoon Tumkur turn and the pair that would have been used on this turn were most probably KJM’s 14077/16294, which later turned up at Bangalore City to work 12786 1820 Bangalore City – Kacheguda. UBL WDP4B 40015 was in charge of 56221 0920 Bangalore City – Tumkur and then came the nail in the coffin, as far as the day was concerned, when KJM WDP4 20045 arrived with 56526 Kolar – Bangalore City passenger. One of the things that had swung us into heading back to Bangalore was the prospect of doing the evening Kolar passenger and not having to worry about getting for our flight when we arrived there; as we would be doing if we’d done it the following day immediately before flying home at 0700 the following morning! As it looked we probably didn’t need to worry about that anymore but it was very frustrating nonetheless as what had originally been the Chikballapur passenger had only recently been extended to Kolar and now it seemed like I’d not be getting the old NG route in for Alco at all!

And so our fester continued, and just like our previous day in Bangalore we ended up waiting for 56228 Shimoga Town – Bangalore City passenger; in the vain hope that a new Alco would save us from yet another disastrous morning! Meanwhile, from the footbridge, we continued to spot trains and KJM WDM3A 14007 was next to arrive with what would have been our back-up train had we not got on 16528 at Coimbatore, 12258 Kochuveli – Yesvantpur Garib Rath. The GM’s kept flowing though as GY WDP4D 40113 arrived with 17211 Machillipatnam – Yesvantpur and an unidentified WDP4 20xxx dropped onto the stock to form 22695 Yesvantpur – Jaipur Premium AC Express. KJM WDG3A 13054 did break the monotony, or should that be monopoly, with 16229 Mysore – Varanasi but our morning just wasn’t to be when KJM WDP4D 40228 rolled up with 56228 Shimoga Town – Bangalore City; by which time we didn’t really have much choice as we needed to be in Bangalore to view 12975 Mysore – Jaipur; so down the hill to Bangalore we went, hoping for some better luck in the City!

As we’d almost resigned ourselves to the fact that the evening Kolar passenger would be a GM we still didn’t want to commit to a hotel at that point, just in case so dumped our big bags in the cloak room again until we could be sure. Another good meal was had in the Comesum to recharge the batteries and away we went on what turned out to be an afternoon of about as much luck as the morning had brought us; and the evening would be a disaster!

While we were sat waiting on the platform for 12975 we had the pleasure of watching ED WDG3A’s 14665/13499 roll into the Yesvantpur platforms, the latter being dead inside. When KJM WDS6 36243 dropped straight onto the opposite end and shunted the stock to platform 10, this was when the penny dropped and I realised it was 56582 1055 Yesvantpur – Bangalore City stock transfer move; which is the stock off 56241 Salem – Yesvantpur passenger. Which was then even more annoying as we could have done that in from Yesvantpur instead of the GM on 56228! Having now managed to miss two ED Shakti’s on that stock transfer we wouldn’t be making the same mistake the following day! And as luck didn’t have it, it was the dud one of the two, 13499, that went back to Salem that afternoon!

Even while we waited at Bangalore there were nothing but GM’s arriving and departing with trains; it was utterly ridiculous! KJM WDP4 20062 arrived with 16202 Shimoga Town – Bangalore City and UBL WDP4 20022 was immediately dropped onto the other end of the stock to form 12725 1300 Bangalore City – Dharwad. KJM WDP4B 40065 then arrived with 56281 0700 Chamarajanagar – Bangalore City and went forward with 56579 1220 Bangalore City – Nelamangala. All the while KJM WDP4 20053 was sat in the main platforms with the stock to form 18463 Bangalore City – Bhubanewsar Prashanti Express.

We were a little surprised to find our old friends from Secunderabad, KZJ WDM3A’s 18889/18761, arrive with 12975 Mysore – Jaipur but still did them up the hill to Bangalore Cantt anyway. As the 12628 New Delhi – Bangalore City Karnataka Express was 3 hours late we did RPM WAP5 30366 back into Bangalore City on 12639 0750 Chennai Central – Bangalore City; to pass the time. Where we found GTL WDM3D’s 11450/11553 doing exactly as we thought they would, backing onto the stock to form 56225 1340 Bangalore City – Tumkur passenger; both were still running and departed multi’d up and both working!

We chose to do LGD WAP7 30274 back to Bangalore Cantt on 22626 1430 Bangalore City – Chennai Central Double Decker and sat at Bangalore Cantt watching the world go by as the Karnataka dropped more time! There was plenty to keep us entertained though as a TTE was on the platform near the station exit, checking most tickets as people walked down the platform. He made his job look very easy as he pulled someone from the crowd every now and again; the culprits generally being in groups. Ultimately they all ended up the station master’s office to get a stern talking to and pay their fine. It was amazing how the sense of fear kept the guilty parties from walking, or running off, and those that did have a little look at attempting to do so ended up with hands on their shoulders as they were marched to the office. As is always the case they always pleaded that they had no money but they always came up with it and the TTE’s ploy of keeping their mobile phones, while they went to get the money to pay their fines, worked an absolute treat!

One bunch of three youths who initially tried to escape when caught on the platform without a ticket failed miserably in their attempt to get out of a fine; when trying to plead that they’d come onto the station over the wall at the bottom end of the platforms and were going to buy tickets. As the sign at the station entrance clearly states though, do not enter premises without a valid ticket, they had no argument at all; and clearly learnt that lesson the hard way. While the TTE was in the office with the RPF sorting the riff-raff out the woman doing the statin announcing was out on the platform doing tickets; she wasn’t anywhere near as efficient as the actual TTE but her presence was known though. It seemed that IR were having a massive clampdown on fare evaders; and rightly so.

Another pair of friends from Secunderabad had followed us to Bangalore when GTL WDM3D’s 11566/11567 arrived with a very late 12628 New Delhi – Bangalore City Karnataka Express. In Bangalore City the stock was being cleaned when we walked down to admire the locos but as soon as the pantry car was emptied KJM WDM2S 017902 began to shunt it out of platform 1. It had poised to drop on when the Karnataka Express arrived and by the time it had got to the middle of the platform it was going too fast for us to get off, let alone at the end of it; so into the middle sidings it was. We walked through the sleeper class coaches as the train was being shunted and not one of the cleaners on board batted an eyelid let alone queried what we were doing!

Over on the Yesvantpur/Mysore platforms the afternoon washout began when one of the station shunters confirmed to me, by pointing at the loco in the stabling point, that KJM WDP4 20045 would be the Kolar passenger loco later that evening. Where 20045 was sitting was on the nearest road to the carriage maintenance shed, behind platform 10, where in my experience the loco for the Chikballapur passenger always sat; so I wasn’t surprised when he pointed to it. Having arrived earlier with 12726 Dharwad – Yesvantpur, UBL WDG4 12312 was sat with the stock for 16589 Bangalore City – Kolhapur for later that night while the afternoon GM precession out of town got set to commence with KJM WDP4 20xxx heading 56227 1630 Bangalore City – Shimoga Town and KJM WDP4 20067 was sat with the stock for 56523 1745 Bangalore City – Hindupur; the only Alco in town being ED WDM3D 11110 sat in the main platforms with the stock for 17235 1715 Bangalore City – Nagercoil.

Based on the shunter’s gen about the Kolar being 20045, while we had time, we went to collect our bags from the cloak room and headed off to the Hotel Signature Inn, which is only a 10-minute walk from Bangalore City and was somewhere I’d stayed at before so knew what to expect. As we wanted to remain skeptical and leave our options open we attempted to negotiate a room for one night, with an option for the second once we’d figured out whether the Kolar passenger would work in our favour the following day. The owner was in reception and eventually sorted us out and even had a room made up with twin beds for us. As check-out was 24 hours be literally had almost right up until the last minute to check out the following day if we did bizarrely find an Alco on the Kolar. It was a swift bag dump in the room and we were immediately straight back out and station bound; making note of the fact that unfortunately the hotel’s restaurant was closed for renovation as we exited.

Back at the station KJM WDM3A’s 16294/14077 were just dropping onto 12786 1820 Bangalore City – Kacheguda when we walked onto it. The was no surprise when we found KJM WDP4 20045 sat waiting to depart with 56523 1810 Bangalore City – Kolar or that GTL WDM3D’s 11567/11566 were already sat in platform 1 waiting to depart with 12627 1920 Bangalore City – New Delhi Karnataka Express. UBL WDP4B 40015 arrived from Mysore to form 56223 1820 Bangalore City – Arsikere and ended the day’s passenger train misery; almost!

As per the evening 3 nights ago the idea was to cover as many of the evening pair turns as possible so we waited patiently for 16232 Mysore – Mayilduthurai to arrive, and it did, bang on time, with ED WDM3A’s 16480/16674. While they were being prepared by the crew ED WDM3A’s 18532/16462 arrived with a 3 hours late running 11014 Coimbatore – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus. KJM WDP4 20057 was soon back onto the opposite end. When departure time for 16232 came and went we assumed that it was being held for the late running 11014 to depart first; which had the potential to put the move down the tubes as 12678 Ernakulam – Bangalore City wasn’t as late as it had been on our last visit. Things didn’t seem to be quite right when both the crew of our ED twins and the crew of the WDP4 that had re-engined 11014 were out on the platform; then we heard the noise!

We noticed some sort of demonstration going off on platform 6, with union banners and chanting, all of which was surrounded by an army of RPF. 30 minutes after said demonstration started the loco pilot of our ED twins told us that said demonstration was the reason we hadn’t departed. Unfortunately, his English wasn’t good enough to explain why but a paper we found the following day confirmed that it was signaling staff protesting in sympathy after the Hubli division had staged their protest over a senior member of staff being removed from duty for whatever reason, with other being implicated in whatever scenario was ongoing. In Hubli it turned out that the demonstrators had forced a loco pilot and his assistant off the footplate to deliberately delay a train there. In Bangalore though nothing of the sorts happened and other than the noise the demo was really quite a peaceful one; but damaging for Indian Railways nonetheless. One guy off our train came down to the front to find out what was occurring and was pointed towards the demonstrators by the crew, at which point he went absolutely ballistic and was remonstrating with the crew, arms flailing and voice raised. They had to commandeer a passing member of RPF, who would have otherwise just walked right by, and who was less than interested in anything anyone had to say. The man himself wanted the crew to go and demand the demonstration was stopped; which of course was never going to happen! Eventually though all things come to an end; I’d like to say it messed up our evening a bit but in all honesty it really didn’t!

Despite the demo still seemingly going on the Karnataka Express was first to get the road and I legged it over, leaving Pelham to do the ED twins; which I didn’t need so the GTL 3D’s or ED 3A’s, it didn’t really matter to me. 12627 1920 Bangalore City – New Delhi got the road at 1900, 40’ late and attempted to set off minutes later, only to be chained after only moving a coach length or so. This was quickly reset and we attempted to depart a second time, only to be chained again. The next thing I knew was the TTE came bounding through the coach I was stood in, absolutely furious. Somehow he seemed to know who was doing it, singled him out and dragged him off the train by his collar then marched him up the platform. I think it was only for the fact we set off for a third time that the guy didn’t get a hiding there and then!

As the GTL twins hammered up to Bangalore Cantt PA WDG4 70025 was waiting the road into Bangalore City with 56514 Karaikal – Bangalore City; vice ED WDG3A so we hadn’t missed anything there. There was nothing else in the section and the platform was empty at Bangalore Cantt when the Karnataka Express arrived. 12678 Ernakulam – Bangalore City was being announced though and ED WDM3A’s 14054/16657 arrived with it a few minutes later; and then sat in the station for 30 minutes!

I was surprised at the next two movements in the station when 12684 1845 Bangalore City – Ernakulam was next to arrive with WAP4 22261, 1h45m late. Then once that had arrived a WAP4 stood in the middle road got the signal to head down the hill to Bangalore City! ED WDM3A’s 16480/16674 turned up with 16232 Mysore – Mayilduthurai next, 90’ late. I spotted Pelham at a door and shone my torch in his face so he knew where I was; he had plenty of time to scramble across the ballast before 12678 headed down to Bangalore City 2 hours late.

KJM WDP4 20057 was still sat at Bangalore City when we got back and eventually departed at 2045, 5 hours late, having sat in the station for 2 hours! As it had been one of those days we should have known better than to wait for 16236 Mysore – Tuticorin, to see what it could throw at us, but wait we did. It kept getting later and later and it seemed it was being held outside when 56213 Chamarajanagar – Tirupati passenger arrived first; with no less than 3 GM’s on the point! UBL WDG4’s 12051/12134 were piloting a dead PA WDP4D 40143. The lot gave way to AJJ WAG7 24660, which you don’t see a lot of at Bangalore; the whole place is a bit of a desert for freight electric locos. 16236 Mysore – Tuticorin eventually arrived 45’ late with ED WDM3A’s 16564/16465, which we already had on the trip, so it was takeaway noodles from one of the station refreshment places, collect our bags from the cloak room, walk to the Signature Inn, devour noodles, shower and bed; in that order!

 

Gen for Thursday 17th March 2016

36023 KJM WDS6 Yesvantpur shunt loco

36243 KJM WDS6 Bangalore City YPR platforms shunt loco – shunted stock ex 56582 1055 Yesvantpur – Bangalore City from platform 8 to 10

13378/18885 KZJ WDG/WDM3A’s 15016 0735 Yesvantpur – Gorakhpur Jn

13118 KJM WDG3A 16572 1810 (P) Bidar – Yesvantpur

13549 PAN WDG3A 22133 1920 (P) Solapur – Yesvantpur

20025 KJM WDP4 16536 1410 (P) Solapur – Mysore Jn

20067 KJM WDP4 56524 0630 Hindupur – Bangalore City

11553/11450 GTL WDM3D’s 56926 0815 Tumkur – Bangalore City, 56225 1340 Bangalore City – Tumkur, 56226 1550 Tumkur – Bangalore City

40015 UBL WDP4B 56221 0920 Bangalore City – Tumkur, 56222 1120 Tumkur – Bangalore City, 56223 1820 Bangalore City – Tumkur

20045 KJM WDP4 56526 0600 Kolar – Bangalore City, 56525 1810 Bangalore City – Kolar

14007 KJM WDM3A 12258 1700 (P) Kochuveli – Yesvantpur

40113 GY WDP4D 17211 1515 (P) Machilipatnam – Yesvantpur

13054 KJM WDG3A 16229 0720 Mysore Jn – Varanasi Jn

20xxx ??? WDP4 22695 1130 Yesvantpur – Jaipur Jn

20062 KJM WDP4 16202 0635 Shimoga Town – Bangalore City

20022 UBL WDP4 12725 1300 Bangalore City – Dharwad

40065 KJM WDP4B 56281 0700 Chamarajanagar – Bangalore City, 56579 1220 Bangalore City – Nelamangala, 56580 1400 Nelamangala – Bangalore City

14665/(13499 dit) ED WDG3A’s 56582 1055 Yesvantpur – Bangalore City (ecs ex 56241 0520 Salem – Yesvantpur)

20053 KJM WDP4 18464 1400 Bangalore City – Bhubaneswar

40236 KJM WDP4 12613 1115 Mysore – Bangalore City

12312 UBL WDP4 12726 0515 Dharwad – Bangalore City

11110 ED WDM3D 17235 1715 Bangalore City – Nagercoil Jn

16294/14077 KJM WDM3A’s 12786 1820 Bangalore City – Kacheguda

11567/11566 GTL WDM3A’s 12628 2115 (PP) New Delhi – Bangalore City

18532/16462 ED WDM3A’s 11014 0845 Coimbatore – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (to Bangalore arr 3 hours late)

20057 KJM WDP4 11014 0845 Coimbatore – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (from Bangalore dep 5 hours late)

70025 PA WDG4 56513 0340 Karaikal – Bangalore City

16480/16674 16232 1600 Mysore Jn – Mayilduthurai Jn

22261 ED WAP4 12684 1845 Bangalore City – Ernakulam Jn

12051/12134 UBL WDG4’s (40143 PA WDP4D dit) 56213 1500 Chamarajanagar – Tirupati (to Bangalore)

24660 AJJ WAG7 56213 1500 Chamarajanagar – Tirupati (from Bangalore)

16564/16465 ED WDM3A’s 16236 1800 Mysore Jn – Tuticorin

 

Photos for Thursday 17th March 2016

 

Friday 18th March 2016 (A Bangalore hoorah & the Kolar resolution……..)

As we expected PA WDG4 70025 to work 56513 0715 Bangalore City – Karaikal, having seen it arrive the previous evening with 56513 Karaikal – Bangalore City, we got up to be at the station in time for 56515 0745 Bangalore City – Hubli; and what should we find stabled in the middle sidings when we got there, only PA WDG4 70025, the bloody thing! What had done the Karaikal passenger would remain a mystery!

Over at the Yesvantpur platforms the stock for 56515 0745 Bangalore City – Hubli was only just backing in when we got there; at 0740! At least it was the correct traction but when KJM WDM3A 18704 materialised it might as well not have been as it was absolutely shocking on the run up the hill to Yesvantpur, just as it had been a year previous when we’d had it out of Vadodara. It sounded like a very bad WDM2 with a wishy-washy noise to it as opposed to a 16-cylinder chug or hacking; very disappointing for a KJM machine, all of which are usually among the best Alco examples in the country.

We went straight out to Chikbanavar with 18704 and didn’t have to wait long before KJM WDG3A’s 13035/13053 turned up with 56926 0815 Tumkur – Bangalore City; multi’d up and both working. As we’d now viewed 56926 three times and it had been Alco twins every day we suspected that the link involved the Kacheguda link as well; with the previous day’s appearance of GTL WDM3D’s 11450/11553 being an anomaly due to non-availability of the KJM twins? As such the link probably goes like this: 56925 0530 Bangalore City – Tumkur, 56926 0815 Tumkur – Bangalore City, stand spare until 12786 1820 Bangalore City – Kacheguda, then the following night 12785 1905 Kacheguda – Bangalore City then maintenance and repeat the following morning? Two sets of twins would be needed and we saw two in the circuit with KJM WDM3A’s 16294/14077 being the other of course.

As we’d mostly been watching ED WDG3A’s arrive into Bangalore City on 56582 on the days we’d been in Bangalore, we were determined to change that now we’d figured out what had been happening. Rather than wasting our time at Yesvantpur watching GM after GM flow through we headed outside the station to get an auto to Lottegollahalli; to intercept 56241 0600 Salem – Yesvantpur passenger on its way in. We managed to pick a bad time to hit the pre-pay auto booth though as KZJ WDG3A 14619 had just arrived with 12735 Secunderabad – Yesvantpur and there was a bit of a queue. Out attempts to get one for a reasonable price away from the booth had the lowest quote at RS250 so we queued with everyone else! The pre-pay price was RS120 and it took us 10 minutes.

Lottegollahalli station was nothing but a building site when we got there and I had to check inside the booking hall that we were actually at the right station as there were no station signs at all on the platforms! As we walked onto the platform a DMU arrived with a late running 06592 0815 Hosur – Yesvantpur DMU special and after that had departed KJM WDP4 20053 passed through with 17603 Kacheguda – Yesvantpur. Thankfully our wait at Lottegollahalli only turned out to be 30 minutes as it wasn’t the best of places to wait, with not even a stall on its platforms. The booking office didn’t look as though it had actually sold a ticket in years but did have a price list on the wall and the only people turning up to the station were people to meet others off 56241 from Salem. So we were pleased when a horn could be heard in the distance and then ED WDG3A’s 13499/13514 appeared from around the corner with 56241; 13514 shut down inside, as suspected. The DMU forming 06595 1035 Yesvantpur – Chikballapur was sat waiting to go in the other platform.

56241 was empty as it skirted round to Yesvantpur and we had the run of the front coach to ourselves. KJM WDS6 36023 was shunting in Yesvantpur carriage sidings as we passed by and in the station KJM WDM3A 14012 had arrived with 16572 Bidar – Yesvantpur while PA WDG3A 13169 had arrived with 22133 Solapur – Yesvantpur; 13169 completing the set of PA Alco’s that we’d seen on that train and had seen in Secunderabad the previous week working 57155/57156 Gulbarga – Hyderabad – Gulbarga passengers. They’d arrived into Yesvantpur in the same order we’d had them in Secunderabad so the link must cycle somewhere and it was a lengthy link too, with the Pune engines getting about a bit and I suspect being homeward bound the moment they departed Yesvantpur with 22134 for Solapur?

We toyed with the idea of getting an auto straight from Yesvantpur to Bangalore Cantt to do the Karnataka express into Bangalore City but as there was a 1220 DMU from Bangalore City, up the hill to Bangalore Cantt, we decided to head into Bangalore City with 56582 empty stock anyway. However, when KJM WDM3A 18824 arrived into platform 4 we assumed it was 16202 Shimoga Town – Bangalore City and legged it over for it; only to be disappointed to find it was actually 16578 Harihar – Yesvantpur when we got there, so back over the footbridge we went. Then as KJM WDP4 20060 arrived with 16023 Mysore – Yesvantpur the loco pilot of ED WDG3A 13499 began to edge his train forward in the platform so we leapt on. He obviously knew he was going to get the road to Bangalore City after 16023 cleared the points; and duly did. He wasn’t shy of the power handle either as we hammered up towards the summit, before dropping down towards Malleswaram, and it was a good non-stop run to Bangalore City.

Now familiar with what was going to happen at Bangalore City when 56582 1055 Yesvantpur – Bangalore City arrived, by the time we’d walked to the opposite end of the stock KJM WDS6 36243 was already being attached. We got a little concerned as it sat and waited in the platform, ultimately for KJM WDP4 20062 to arrive with 16202 Shimoga Town – Bangalore City, as the coaches were having their blinds closed and doors locked; systematically from the rear to the front. The coach next to the engine was left open though and when the signal came off the shunter controlling the move leapt in, and we followed him. He had no problem at all with us being there and we had a good chat while the shunt took place. I actually think that if they think you know what you’re doing then they understand what you’re doing and sometimes even the reasons why; and just leave you be?

When back in the platform I tried to extract from the shunting staff what loco would work the Kolar passenger that evening as surprisingly KJM WDP4 20045, which had done so the previous night, was now sat at Yesvantpur; but KJM WDP4 20037 was sat in the right place in the shunt neck over by the carriage workshops. I got the impression that between them they didn’t actually have a clue but decided on 20037 when I actually asked if that would be the loco; I wasn’t convinced by their lack of clarity but was still also convinced that it would be a GM either way so left it alone. As we’d done the shunt with 36243 we’d missed the 1220 DMU to Bangalore Cantt so ended up in a pre-pay auto for RS80 from auto stand by the exit from the Yesvantpur end of platform 6; and not the main entrance of platform 1.

There was no rush at all to get to Bangalore Cantt for either 12976 Jaipur – Mysore or 12628 New Delhi – Bangalore City Karnataka Express as they were showing 3 hours and 2h15m late respectively on NTES! This gave us a bit of time to kill at Cantonment, where a strange lunch was sought after we couldn’t resist the smell of fresh bread coming from the bakery just in the station booking hall. Crisp sandwiches, followed by samosas and pop had to suffice in the absence of there being anything more substantial available at Bangalore Cantt.

NTES appeared to have a bit of a black hole as far as reporting went on after Yelahanka for either train and as it turned out we could have done KJM WDP4B 40066 up from Bangalore City with 18464 1400 Bangalore City – Bhubaneswar Prashanti Express. It was evident from NTES though that the Karnataka Express would arrive first and duly did so 2h15m late with GTL WDM3D’s 11150/11565. At Bangalore City Pelham decided to stay in the cool AC for a bit as he was suffering from a bit of heat rash on his legs. I went for a wonder and when I got to the other end of the station noticed 66532 1445 Bangalore City – Marikuppam was still in the station and the road had just come off; so on I leapt, knowing I had about 10 minutes to get to Bangalore Cantt for 12976 Jaipur – Mysore and I was pleased to find the platform at Bangalore Cantt empty on arrival. It wasn’t that was for long though as the train number was already in the describers on platform 1. I was reveling in my bonus move as a pair of Shakti’s appeared round the corner with 12976 Jaipur – Mysore; I was soon sulking though when MLY WDG3A’s 13250/13202 rolled by me. I didn’t see Pelham photographing the Shakti’s as they arrived into Bangalore City but was soon pointing out the error of his relaxing ways when I caught up with him; which of course on this occasion hadn’t cost him anything.

Over in the Yesvantpur platforms at Bangalore City or afternoon move up to Yesvantpur was one we could predict the locos of and ED WDG3A 13514 was poised to drop onto the stock as KJM WDP4 20056 arrived with 56580 1400 Nelamangala – Bangalore City passenger; it would of course work 56581 1530 Bangalore City – Yesvantpur stock transfer and then 56242 1605 Yesvantpur – Salem passenger. Meanwhile GTL WDM3D 11552 had disappeared from the shunt spur at the end of platform 8 and we’d assumed it had worked 56225 1340 Bangalore City – Tumkur and we’d be doing 13514 out for it back on 56226 1550 Tumkur – Bangalore City.

When 13514 was backing down onto 56581 I noticed that KJM WDP4 20037, which the staff had told us would work the evening Kolar passenger, was firmly attached to the stock to work 16201 1530 Bangalore City – Shimoga town and there was nothing now in the shunt neck by the carriage depot! A second attempt was made to extract info from the shunters to try and find out what would work the Kolar passenger, which proved to be fruitless, even after they asked the loco pilot of 13514 if he knew! I was still convinced it was going to be GM though so didn’t worry too much as we headed up to Yesvantpur on 56581 with yet another good run off an Erode WDG3A! All the ones we’d had thus far had proved their worth and were driven well by their respective loco pilots.

Yesvantpur station was almost completely full when 13514 arrived to block another platform with 56241 1605 Yesvantpur – Salem passenger. Platform 1 was occupied by KZJ WDG3A 14619 returning to Secunderabad with 12736 1645 Yesvantpur – Secunderabad and PA WDG3A 13169 was sat in one of the middle roads with the stock to form 22134 2150 Yesvantpur – Solapur later that night. UBL WDP4 20009 soon blocked the penultimate platform with 17307 Mysore – Bagalkot so 56226 1550 Tumkur – Bangalore City had to use the only platform left, which was number 6. The only problem with that was that the platform was rammed with people waiting for another train and as GTL WDM3D 11552 eased down the platform it came alive as people attempted to get into the front coaches with all their bags. The loco pilot and passengers on board were quick to tell everyone, as the train eased to a stand well short of the platform end, that this wasn’t their train and things soon settled down so people could actually get off 56226 and onto the platform. Thankfully there was no farce with the amount of people about; that occurred soon at Bangalore City instead!

GTL’s WDM3D 11552 proved its worth as the loco pilot gave it what for up towards Malleswaram and as we dropped into the platform at Bangalore City I noticed two trains sat side by side in platform’s 8 & 9. One with an Alco and one with a GM. I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing when KJM WDP4 20067 was at the head of 56523 1745 Bangalore City – Hindupur, leaving KJM WDG3A 14740, I assumed, to take charge of 56525 1810 Bangalore City – Kolar! As the front coach of 14740’s train didn’t have any boards on it I leapt off 56226 at the platform end and went to investigate to make sure; expecting Pelham to follow me.

Once I’d confirmed that 14740 was indeed working 56525 to Kolar I turned round to try and find Pelham, who was nowhere in sight, as we now had a dilemma as our big bags were in the hotel and we had 25 minutes to get there and back if we wanted to checkout. 5 phone calls later to Pelham revealed he’d not been able to leap of the moving train as we arrived due to his knee giving way, however he assumed, wrongly, that I’d be heading to the hotel so was half way there when we made contact! As we only had 17 minutes before 56525 would depart we decided that I’d get an auto to the hotel while Pelham went there to check out and get the bags ready; the same auto would end up waiting to take us straight back to the station. A great plan but when I got myself a pre-pay auto out at the front of the station not only did they not have a clue where my hotel was, neither did they have an urgent bone in their body and despite my urges to get a move on and I’d direct them, it just turned into a pointless exercise.

I ended up attempting to walk to the hotel but soon realised that I was never going to get there and back in time; the big problem with that being the fact that I had the room key! I’d been trying to ring Pelham all the while as I headed towards the hotel but I found out later he’d managed to turn the phone onto airplane mode so it wouldn’t accept calls! In the end I gave up with the walk and rang the hotel reception who put me on to Pelham, who was sat waiting in the lobby; unable to get into the room as the owner wasn’t there and I had the only other key! At this point we had 7 minutes before 56525 should depart and Pelham was station bound again while I negotiated the room for the night with the guy at reception. Not that we actually had much choice as I had the key and we had to return for our bags anyway. It wasn’t a problem with the hotel and I turned round to begin swiftly walking back to the station.

In the back of my mind I honestly believed that either both of us, or at least Pelham, were going to miss the train but as I was hurrying under the underpass from platform 1 to platform 8 I heard Pelham shouting “get running” from behind me; so off I set. I was a bloody good job we did run from that point as we heard the guard whistling the train away as we ran up the steps and as it was a short set we had to chase the train down the platform as it departed to get into the rear most door of the train! The time was 18:11:35………

Quite how Pelham, at the grand old age of 48, had done it was a miracle. He’d been unable to get an auto outside the hotel so had basically jogged the whole way, the most part of which is uphill; and he’d done it in 8 minutes; knackered knee or not. The jog had taken its toll though and he was still recovering as we walked up the platform at Malleswaram to get closer to the front and again at Yesvantpur as we went right to the front and I legged it for some food and drinks at the same time; and for the second time in 10 minutes KJM WDG3A 14740 was pulling away when I boarded with our snacks and stuff. What neither of us realised was that the small compartment we were in at the front of the train was a staff one and bizarrely the loco pilot brought the train to an immediate stand so we could get into the main part of the coach before setting off again!

Locals seemed a little concerned that we were on their train but all settled down when they knew that we actually wanted to go to Kolar; which of course they all found a little strange anyway! Once we’d recovered from our walk/jog 56525 was nearly at Chikballapur, where the train virtually emptied out completely. Still, people did use the train between Chikballapur and Kolar but not many. The line speed for the newly constructed line was excellent and it was smooth along with it. Having had a couple of decent engines during the day, namely 13499, 13514 & 11552, I have to say that KJM’s 14740 outshone them all and was without a doubt the best engine of the trip. There was nothing like leaving the best until last and I couldn’t keep myself away from the door at station stops along the route.

The timings for 56525 between Chikballapur and Kolar are somewhat fictional with the train only being allowed 1h14m to cover 82km with 10 station stops; compared to that of a DMU along the route that is given 2h08m. We were already 25’ late by Chikballapur as well so any hopes we may have had of getting ourselves from Kolar to Bangarapet in time to make 16521 2140 Bangarapet – Bangalore City had already gone out of the window. NTES did give us an alternative though as 12296 Patliputra – Bangalore City was running 4 hours late and would effectively be at Bangarapet at around 2240!

Our arrival into Kolar was at 2140, 40’ late on the booked (fictional) timings, so with an hour to potentially cover the 17km to Bangarapet we were skeptical; that was until we realised there was absolutely no transport whatsoever in the station area and with only about a dozen people actually getting off 56525 when it terminated, why would there be? In the adjacent platform was the DMU off 76505 1755 Bangalore Cantt – Kolar, which ran via Bangarapet, and no sooner had we arrived was 14740 detached to run round. With no real option we ended up in the station master’s office to ask about transport to get us back to Bangalore.

Luckily for us the station master at Kolar was fluent in English, didn’t really question what we were doing, or why, and was quickly on our case for transport. He was quick to tell us that there weren’t really any taxi’s based in Kolar and with the time of night we might struggle but as he knew someone he would make a call and see if they would take us back to Bangalore. Long story short, it took calls to three different people to get one to agree to take us to Bangalore at the time of night it was but the guy they’d sorted was well known to the station staff and reliable. When he arrived into the station car park the station master escorted us out, with the station RPF in tow while the crew from 56525 were making up their berths in the staff lodge on the platform. The station doors were locked behind us as the station master would be heading home after dispatching us as Kolar was manned by him constantly over split shifts; basically when trains were in the station and needed signaling.

The station master had agreed that we would only pay RS1700 for the journey back to Bangalore City and insisted we don’t pay any more and confirmed to the driver that the agreed fare was indeed RS1700 before we even got in. Before departure the station master assured us we were in good hands and even gave me his contact number, just in case. As it turned out though the journey took 1h20m, in a decent car, with a decent driver who was quick but not stupid with it. When we got to the outskirts of Bangalore City I picked us up on ME Maps and rather than end up at Bangalore City station I guided the driver to our hotel instead; where we were dropped at 2330. We gave the driver RS2000 anyway, as he’d done us a massive favour and delivered us back quicker than we’d thought he could. He’d been told by the station master at Kolar to hang around in Bangalore and take us to the airport later in the morning; as we’d got at least 4 hours before we needed to go though we sent him back home as there was time for sleep as we’d made good progress.

Pelham paid for the second night’s accommodation before we headed to the room, to save any hassle at 0330 in the morning! It had been a long day and before bed we needed to shower the dust and sweat away, as well as pack for our journey home the following morning; the result being it was just after midnight by the time we got our heads down but it was worth it. What a hectic, but cracking, interesting, but bizarre, end to the tip it had been but I was so pleased we’d managed to get to Kolar.

 

Gen for Friday 18th March 2016

40015 UBL WDP4B 56224 0500 Arsikere Jn – Bangalore City

14619 KZJ WDG3A 12735 1950 (P) Secunderabad – Yesvantpur, 12736 1645 Yesvantpur – Secunderabad

14012 KJM WDM3A 16572 1810 (P) Bidar – Yesvantpur

13169 PA WDG3A 22133 1920 (P) Solapur – Yesvantpur, 22134 2150 Yesvantpur – Solapur

20053 KJM WDP4 17603 2100 (P) Kacheguda – Yesvantpur

18824 KJM WDM3A 16578 0500 Harihar – Yesvantpur

20060 KJM WDP4 16023 0820 Mysore Jn – Yesvantpur

20062 KJM WDP4 16202 0635 Shimoga Town – Bangalore City

40036 UBL WDP4B 12725 1300 Bangalore City – Dharwad

22390 ED WAP4 12639 0750 Chennai Central – Bangalore City

40066 KJM WDP4B 18463 1400 Bangalore City – Bhubaneswar

11208 ED WDM3D 17235 1715 Bangalore City – Nagercoil Jn

20037 KJM WDP4 16201 1530 Bangalore City – Shimoga Town

20056 KJM WDP4 56281 0700 Chamarajanagar – Bangalore City, 56579 1220 Bangalore City – Nelamangala, 56580 1400 Nelamangala – Bangalore City, 56227 1630 Bangalore City – Shimoga Town

13514 ED WDG3A 56242 1605 Yesvantpur – Salem Jn

20009 UBL WDP4 17307 1330 Mysore Jn – Bagalkot

20021 UBL WDP4 16532 1700 Bangalore City – Ajmer Jn

20067 KJM WDP4 56523 1740 Bangalore City – Hindupur

11179 ED WDM3D 16527 2000 Yesvantpur – Kannur

 

Photos for Friday 18th March 2016

 

Saturday 19th March 2016 (The journey home)

An 0300 alarm call wasn’t really what we wanted but it was necessary. We were at Bangalore City station by 0330 negotiating a pre-paid taxi to the airport; the fares for which are actually pre-set and the fare for Bangalore Airport is RS1000 on the list yet the drivers attempted to extract a further RS200 for a toll charge. Despite the fact we wouldn’t be paying it anyway, as it’s included in the price, unfortunately for them we’d already passed through the toll section not 4 hours previous and when we told them it was only RS17 they gave up and miraculously our fare was the booked price of RS1000! The journey took 45 minutes and that was us homeward bound.

Our British Airways flight, BA118 0700 Bangalore – Heathrow, was thankfully on time so the wait at the airport wasn’t that long. Unlike most other international airports in India though the food options are somewhat limited and I ended up having pizza for breakfast from an Italian place. The plan turned into a bit of a sleeper service back to the UK and I was a lot more refreshed by the time we landed in Heathrow.

As Pelham had to collect his big bag from the luggage carousel, we managed to just miss the 1430 from Kings Cross but every cloud has a silver lining; with the machine that is 91110 being the loco on 1D19 1503 Kings Cross – Leeds. Despite being officially the fastest class 91 ever, having achieved 162mph back in 1989, we didn’t get home any quicker but were glad to be there when we got back…………..

Yet another successful trip over, with no real problems and those that did arise were easily overcome. Other than Pelham’s issues at the start of the trip there were no other illness issues and I was beginning to get used to doing three weeks in India with so much as a sneeze; long may it continue……

One Comment

  1. Adithya. V
    Posted 16/06/2016 at 9:15 am. Reply to this comment

    thoroughly enjoyed reading through

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