Jonathan Lee

Worldly Images

India Nov/Dec 2016 (Delhi Circular via Attari, Jhansi, Chhindwara, Jabalpur, Rayagada & Darbhanga)

I should have probably paid a lot more attention to what I was doing when planning this trip as I let things slip away that I probably shouldn’t have; although the Jaipur – Sikar MG section closing on 14th November would have been a bit of a bummer had I planned to do it; after arriving on 19th November!

I’d planned the trip around hopes that some of the new lines, in the final stages of construction, might well have started operations by the time it came around to me getting there. So, I planned to spend a few days in the Ranchi area hoping the Koderma – Giridih link and Koderma – Barkakana link might be finished; which the Koderma – Barkakana link had actually been completed, only freight was using the route when I left the UK but the final bit of the link from Kawar to the Giridih branch had yet to be completed. Strangely neither had the last section of the Lohardaga branch extension from Barkichanpi to Tori Jn; which had been ongoing for a good 4 years at this point.

On a brighter note the new section of line from Khajuraho to Lalitpur Jn opened for passenger operation on the 18th October and it just so happened that the only train of the day from Khajuraho to Lalitpur was a plus 35’ off my arriving overnight 12448 link from Jhansi. This saved me a return trip to Khajuraho later and coupled with the opening of the Bhind – Etawah Jn new line it made visiting the area worthwhile.

The surprise of the trip was finding 01707/01708 special fare special running from Jabalpur to Atari, which had been extended to run until the end of December 2016. Having already booked my flights out to India when I discovered it running I was amazed that it fell on the correct day for me and departed New Delhi for Atari 24 hours after I landed in Delhi! As the train ran via the curve at Katni South and didn’t use Katni Jn there was no diesel to electric loco change at Katni and the train had been reported running throughout with an ET Alco; which was a bonus for me, although I did have a hotel booked in Delhi just in case. What wasn’t a bonus being the fact that as it is a “special fare” special tickets must be bought for that train only and Indrail Pass reservations cannot be made on such trains. This resulted in me managing to create myself an IRCTC account, eventually, and booking my tickets to/from Atari very quickly and easily on there and printing them at home.

Other than the railway related disaster that the Jaipur MG had closed the bigger disaster was that on 9th November Modi had declared that the RS500 & RS1000 note were no longer legal tender; overnight! Measures had been put in place to issue new RS500 but the RS1000 would not be reissued and a RS2000 would come into fruition instead. All I had to do was get the RS7500 worth of RS500 notes changed when I got there; which could be done up to the end of December, at which point it would become worthless!

 

Flights

Booked through British Airways

BA143 1120 Heathrow – Delhi

BA142 0320 Delhi – Heathrow

 

Hotels

Delhi – Hotel Sunshine – While I had this place booked I didn’t use it, it was merely a booking to ensure I could get a sim card at Delhi airport

Jabalpur – Hotel Polo Max – The Hotel Polo Max is a new hotel and is literally in the station car park, outside the platform 6 exit. My booking at the Polo Max had been made through Booking.com while I sat having breakfast at Heathrow airport on my way out to India; and the hotel had the relevant paperwork when I walked in. Even though I wasn’t staying at the hotel until the following night they were happy to keep my bag in the left luggage room until I returned. The room, despite backing on to the station area, was quite quiet. It was also very spacious, clean and had AC. There was piping hot water too. Food in the restaurant was good every time I used it and they accepted card payments.

Ranchi – Hotel Accord – a 10-minute walk from Ranchi Jn station. Check-in was very quick and I was given a rather large room. It was clean, quiet (at the rear of the hotel), had very good AC that cooled the room quickly and there was piping hot water in a bathroom with toiletries provided. Breakfast was included, some of which was from a laid-out buffet but omelettes and the likes were cooked freshly upon request. The restaurant served up some very good food during my stay

Sambalpur – Hotel Sheela Towers – I arrived at the Hotel Sheela Towers just before midnight and as I’d rang from Asansol to tell them I’d be late arriving there wasn’t an issue with my room. I’d used the Sheela Towers before so knew what to expect. The room wasn’t anywhere near as good as the one had been at the Accord in Ranchi but it was good enough for the one night. Breakfast was included and served in the restaurant from 0730.

Rayagada – Hotel Raj Bhavan – Walking straight down the station approach, outside Rayagada station, brings you to a main road, directly opposite is the Hotel Raj, where I’d stayed before. If you veer right and take the first left down the side-street the Hotel Raj Bhavan is set back and hidden away from the main road; this was why I chose it in favour of the Hotel Raj. I had no problem checking in and the place seemed virtually empty; which was a little strange as Speedo had turned up the previous night and tried to check in but was told there was no room. At this point I was guessing that the night porter didn’t have the ability to check him in so found it easier to turn him away? Either way I had him a room sorted for that night.

The room in the Raj Bhavan was massive but ok, nothing special, just ok. I wasn’t expecting anything else to be fair. The bathroom was a bit of a state but on the plus side it had hot water. The hotel’s restaurant was closed due to a bereavement so the hotel manager told me so I found myself eating at the Hotel Raj, where the guy at the front desk recognized me from a visit 5 years previous.

Patna – Hotel Archie Inn – The Hotel Archie Inn, which I’d booked on Booking.com while in India, wasn’t the easiest place to find and it was easier in the end to get the auto driver to drop me at a larger hotel on the opposite side of the carriageway to it. It’s only a 5-minute walk up the main drag from the station anyway and the front desk were expecting me. The hotel room wasn’t the biggest and I did spend a few minutes killing mosquitoes before bed but all I needed was a place to sleep and it sufficed for that.

Darbhanga – Hotel Grand SM Regency – The staff at the front desk of the Grand SM Regency, which is situated directly above a shopping centre, seemed confused by my arrival. This surprised me a little as the last time I’d made a booking through Booking.com they’d been expecting me and all the paperwork was in their folder behind the desk. This time though a call to the manager then had them scurrying about. Ultimately though there was no sign of my paperwork but I was soon shown to my room, which was as good as the one I’d had during my previous stay. It had a large double bed, was clean, offered free bottled water every day, had a decent quality TV, AC and free toiletries. Rather than opt for room service that night I chose to eat in the hotel restaurant; the food in which was good quality and piping hot when it arrived.

 

Train Tickets

Indrail Pass 30 Days – £205.50

Booked in the UK through SD Enterprises Limited

 

Friday 18th November 2016 (Travelling to Delhi)

As I’d managed to completely forget about booking my advance train tickets to/from London it turned out cheaper to go to London the previous night and stay at the Ibis near Heathrow Terminal 5 instead. I even made a complete mess of the hotel booking, as well as forgetting to initially book the train tickets, which I realised a week or so after booking it! I’d only managed to book it for the 17/12 instead of 17/11. Thankfully, once I’d done the runaround with Ibis’ customer service, I managed to get the hotel to change the reservation directly at no cost; as the booking had been a non-cancellation one. I had been very grateful for Ibis accommodating me after my stupidity and thanked them profusely as I checked out and headed for the bus stop at Harlington corner. It was a busy morning heading to Heathrow’s terminals and ever bus was full and standing to Heathrow Central bus station, as were the buses that ran to Terminal 5.

Things were routine once I got to Heathrow Terminal 5, visa checked in passport at the relevant desk, breezed through security and was sat in Wetherspoon’s waiting for my breakfast to be served less than an hour after my alarm went off at the Ibis! While sat pondering my trip plan and what I needed to do when I got there, both reservation & hotel wise, I decided to make a hotel booking for Jabalpur on Booking.com; this would be as an alternative to staying in Katni and would make life quite a bit easier in both finding a hotel and dumping my bag for a day.

Boarding my British Airways 1120 departure to Delhi was quite straightforward for an India bound flight and all very civilized as well. Departure was on time as well.

 

Saturday 19th November 2016 (A day in Delhi)

Arrival into Delhi, after a good flight, was prompt and I was soon in the queue for immigration, with plenty of time to spare to do what I needed to afterwards and get to Delhi Cantt for the 0355 departure on the Rewari line. Not overly concerned I spotted the big queues at the Thomas Cook money changing counters and continued over to the local Indian change counters near the exit; then realised things weren’t going to be as straightforward as I thought that morning. During my 90 minutes of queuing, with only one person serving at the counter, notices confirmed that RS500 & RS1000 notes, that were no longer legal tender as of 09/11/16, would not be exchanged and that each person would only be allowed a maximum of RS5000 per transaction. Ultimately, I walked away with RS4850, or thereabouts. Luckily, I had about RS4000 in RS100 notes from my previous trip and now had to figure out where to change the RS7500 I had in old RS500 notes!

Money worries shoved aside I became a little concerned when the sim card selling counters were no longer where I expected them to be outside the main entrance. Thankfully they’d just moved to a different location and if you come out of the exit, turn immediately right, they’re on the right-hand side just along the wall. My Vodafone sim card cost RS700 and included 1 month of data. As with all sim cards in India now I had to provide my hotel booking details, which I had only booked to ensure I got the sim and had no intention of using the hotel at all; but it was £5 well spent as far as I’m concerned. All sims also must be activated later in the morning, governed by when the sim connects to the provider’s network. Mine did so about 2 hours later and it is then activated automatically, by using ringing the number you’re given when the sim is purchased, then following the automated prompts. Once turned off and back on again everything is a go!

Money & sim sorted I rushed out to the Delhi Police per-pay taxi rank and had no problem getting a taxi to whisk me to Delhi Cantt; which cost RS360 and put my spending tally at over RS1000 in 5 minutes, which was of course almost a quarter of what I’d just been able to exchange.

The level crossing barriers were down at Delhi Cantt when I arrived and 54413 0320 Delhi Jn – Rewari Jn should have already gone but the glaring headlight of an Alco soon came into view and I was beckoning to the taxi driver to stop and let me out by the side entrance at the Rewari end of the main platform. As I legged it onto the platform I was surprised at the light blue colour of the Alco at the head of 54413, let alone the fact that it was GY WDG3A 14552. This train had turned up some interesting locos in the past but this was by far the most interesting.

Having not had time to sort my bags out I spent the journey to Gurgaon getting my crap in order and at this point I was totally reliant on the Railtime App and the previous year’s timetable as nobody had yet managed to get hold of a new Northern Timetable since the later than usual change in October. When BGKT WDP4D 40094 rolled into Gurgaon with 19031 Ahmedabad – Haridwar I did it back to Delhi Cantt to pass the time and was immediately greeted with IZN WDG4D 70504 working 15014 Kathgodam – Jaisalmer; which I did back to Gurgaon for more chai, hot on the heels of BGKT WDP4D 40275 working 12414 Jammu Tawi – Ajmer Superfast.

After watching ABR WDM3A 16810 depart with 12982 Udaipur City – Delhi Sarai Rohilla, ABR WDM3A 18987 did the honours with 12458 Bikaner – Delhi Sarai Rohilla and upon arrival at Sarai Rohilla I was straight over to the booking office outside the old MG platforms. Just when I thought I’d landed a Northern Zone timetable it was pointed out that it was a Hindi only version and I was back to square one. I pondered the timetable situation as I ate freshly made Aloo Paratha’s at the breakfast place just over the car park, to the right. Not the cleanest of places, or most enticing from outside but definitely one serving excellent Aloo Parathas.

While registering my sim card at the end of the platforms I found LDH WDM3A 18884 being prepared and sure enough it dropped onto the opposite end of the stock worked in as 14624 Chhindwara – Delhi Sarai Rohilla, by ET WAP4 22966, and formed 14625 0645 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Firozpur. I only went out to Shakur Basti to head off some of the inbound Delhi commuters off the Rohtak line and was soon greeted with TKD WAG5 21383 with 54002 0615 Rohtak – Hazrat Nizamuddin; which of course was a surprise but not a surprise! I’d not been in Delhi since the OHL had been energized on the Rohtak line and of course all trains that only ran as far as Rohtak were now fair game for electric traction. I did it anyway and soon realised that 54424 0500 Bhiwani – Delhi Jn was right behind so got off at Daya Basti to do what turned out to be TKD WDM3A 16537 to Vivekanand Puri Halt instead.

NTES was now in full swing and the fact I didn’t have a timetable was that concerning as I attempted to plan moves based on the realtime info NTES provided. It wasn’t NTES that provided the next move though, but LDH WDM3A 16635 when it backed onto the stock at Sarai Rohilla to work 22472 0840 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Bikaner. I was thinking I might attempt to get the reservations I needed at Delhi Cantt but LDH WDM3A 14107 took my attention as we rolled in and I was soon heading back to Vivekanand Puri Halt with it on 54012 0240 Sadulpur – Meerut. TKD WDP4B 40019 was sat in at Sarai Rohilla with 12215 0920 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Bandra Terminus Garib Rath and had to suffice to get me back to Delhi Cantt. 12215 was yet another train that had now dropped off the Alco radar and had gone from a solid through Alco turn all the way to Bandra to being Alco to Ahmedabad for an electric to Bandra to now being a GM to Ahmedabad for electric to Bandra; that was another Alco hauled train lost on the Delhi – Ahmedabad corridor.

While NTES told me I had time before 19565 Okha – Dehradun arrived, it seemed I didn’t have as much as I needed in the reservation office and the shutters went down when I got to the front of the queue as it was break time! Luck, it seemed, wasn’t on my side; if only I knew the half of it at that point!

VTA WDM3D 11196 arrived with 19565 Okha – Dehradun and I was soon back at Sarai Rohilla staring into a very wedged reservation office, which is at the Vivekanand Puri side of the station at the bottom of the steps. Giving that up as a good job I decided to head into Delhi Jn on 54032 0720 Jind – Delhi Jn but gave that up as a bad job at Delhi Kishanganj when TKD WDP1 15012 and train just sat waiting, and waiting, so off I got and went to see if there was a reservation office I could barge myself into. I didn’t find a reservation office but did find an ATM outside the station with about 10 people queuing at it. As I had time I joined the queue, which was all civilized and in a straight line, but when I got inside to get my money out my card was declined, twice! While I wasn’t overly concerned at that point, as this sort of thing sometimes happened in India, I should have been!

So having not got a timetable, not got the reservations I wanted and not got any money out I waited patiently at Delhi Kishanganj for TKD WDP1 15022 to arrive with 54031 1145 Delhi Jn – Jind and thanks to NTES did it out to Shakur Basti for LDH WDM3A 16844 back to Delhi Kishanganj on 19024 Firozpur – Bandra Terminus, where I did get a stroke of luck go my way; KTE WDG3A 13094 was sat waiting the road with 12481 1310 Delhi Jn – Sri Ganganagar, which when it did set off the train was pulled up short of the platform at Vivekanand Puri Halt as well as it didn’t have the road there either; so I was off, just as SSB WDS6 36526 began to drag a set of stock out of the carriage sidings.

I was over the bridge and down on the platform before 36526 do even get to the platform end with the large rake it had. As it trickled by the train boards revealed it to be the set for 12616 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Chennai Central Grand Trunk Express; which was randomly being announced as it shunted out, despite not departing for over 3 hours. My motives were clear as I looked for the open door to clamber in but the other curious people only had one thing on their mind as they squinted from the other platforms as they glared at the name boards! There were only a few that clambered via the ballast from one platform to the other and then into the unreserved coaches as the stock had almost exited the platform; I was safely in a sleeper coach by this point.

15715 Kishanganj – Ajmer was one of the train’s I’d wanted to check the loco links out on as it could well find itself a back-up to my 12523 New Jalpaiguri – New Delhi at the end of the trip; this as since new sections of OHL had been energized it was now possible to run electrics from Barauni or Samastipur throughout to Delhi via the main line. I was pleased when MLDT WDM3A 16281 dropped in with 15715 and was Delhi Jn bound via Delhi Cantt for 14004 back to Sarai Rohilla with 14545 1310 Farukh Nagar – Saharanpur for TKD WDP4B 40013 towards Delhi Jn with 14014 1530 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Sultanpur. I’d wrongly assumed that 14014 would get into Delhi Jn before 14545, hence the shuffling of trains at Sarai Rohilla. I was wrong and when were staggered by NKJ WAG7 27778 with 15708 Amritsar – Katihar in the cutting outside Delhi Jn I decided 14014 was going slow enough to get off and was soon walking across the tracks as 40013 disappeared off towards Delhi Jn.

As NKJ WAG7 27778 eased 15708 into Delhi Jn, CNB WAG7 27628 was being prepared for departure with 15909 Dibrugarh – Lalgarh Avadh Assam Express and TKD WDP1 15038 was being prepared to depart with 54035 1540 Delhi Jn – Jakhal Jn passenger. As this was my first visit to Delhi since the OHL had been energized to complete the link between Delhi & Lucknow I wasn’t expecting much of a rush hour bash out towards Ghaziabad & Hapur. Old favourites such as 14014, 15274 & 14316 were now GM, GM & electric respectively so there was technically nothing Ghaziabad bound until either 14206 1825 Delhi Jn – Faizabad Jn. I’d been hoping that 54471 1715 Delhi Jn – Rishikesh would still be Alco throughout but when CNB WAG7 27996 dropped onto the stock to work it I got the impression that I wouldn’t be seeing any SSB knackered old WDM2’s on locals round Delhi anymore!

As 54471 1715 Delhi Jn – Rishikesh was being announced as departing 1 hour late my attention turned towards the station front and I headed out to attempt to get some reservations and food from the Comesum; I failed on both attempts as the Comesum had closed down and was boarded up and the reservation office was closed for break time, which seemed to be the in thing of the day when I turned up at these places! With no Comesum on offer my attention was then turned to the yellow WDS6’s in the station area and just had happened last time I’d been there, the stock for 15274 1715 Delhi Jn – Raxaul Jn was sat in one of the through roads with SSB WDS6AD 36317 attached and waiting for the road to shunt it out. The cover of the set of stock in the platform adjacent made it less conspicuous as I clambered up from the ballast and into an open door. I wasn’t sat waiting long before the set was drawn into the cutting and then propelled into platform 16, over the back of the carriage sidings.

Having already looked at the departure screens on platform 5 I’d figured out that 13120 1755 Delhi Jn – Sealdah would be departing from platform 9 and a long walk to the Ghaziabad end of the platforms revealed BWN WDM3A 16720 being prepared to work the train. In the adjacent platform, the set for 14659 1735 Delhi Jn – Jaisalmer was just being backed in and while everyone was scrambling for the unreserved coaches as it did so I easily hopped into a sleeper class coach and began walking through while the train backed in, to save a longer walk once it had stopped. When I got to the rear of the train SSB WDS6 36525 was just being detached and there was a commotion in the middle road behind it; which I found to be a whole new set of people clambering aboard another set of stock from ballast level as SSB WDS6 36300 was being attached to it. The boards confirmed it to be the set for 14206 1815 Delhi Jn – Faizabad Jn so I found myself an open sleeper class coach and strapped myself in for the ride.

It had been a mad hour at Delhi Jn and soon settled for BWN WDM3A 16720 on 13120 1755 Delhi Jn – Sealdah as the only move with an Alco I was likely to do that evening and was surprised when it stopped out of course at Sahibabad Jn. Knowing CNB WAG7 27996 would be somewhere behind with the late 54471 1735 Delhi Jn – Rishikesh I took the bull by the horns and got off, to be rewarded with LKO WDG3A 13415 also pulling up out of course with LKO WDM3D 11261 dead in train as it halted with 14206 1825 Delhi Jn – Faizabad Jn.

At Ghaziabad, there was no rest as GZB WAP7 30018 rolled in with another train that used to be Alco throughout 54304 0705 Kalka – Delhi Jn passenger. As an NTES line-up for Sahibabad confirmed that 54471 Delhi Jn – Rishikesh hadn’t departed Delhi Jn I headed back to Sahibabad for it. It made with time to spare for a swift chai and I was delivered back to Ghaziabad by 27996 with enough time to have a sit down and reflect on just how mad the evening had turned out to be. Before LDH WDM3A 18916 rolled in with 12039 1535 Kathgodam – New Delhi Shatabdi Express; which was almost empty from Ghaziabad to New Delhi.

At New Delhi, it was technically end of day. There weren’t even any ned moves I could do to/from Hazrat Nizamuddin. To my surprise, I found the Comesum closed at New Delhi as well and had to seek food in the food plaza on platform 1 instead and despite not having had one all day I asked at a book stall on platform 1 and was soon presented with an English version of the Northern Zone timetable; despite none being on display anywhere on the stall! I toyed with not bothering, as I’d have to carry it round for the whole trip, and was thinking I should get one at the end of the trip when I got back to New Delhi but bit the bullet and bought one as it would in theory come in handy over the next couple of days.

With nothing much else to do I just hung around on the station footbridge for a while watching the world go by and didn’t need any persuading to investigate when SSB WDS6AD 36275 dropped onto a set of stock to shunt it out of the station. The stock was that of 12012 Kalka – New Delhi Shatabdi and after I’d walked the whole length of it I couldn’t find a single door open so when it set off I just rode back down the platform on a footstep. It was absolutely deserted so nobody even blinked as I hopped off at the opposite end of it and went back up onto the foot bridge where I’d come from.

Boredom soon set in as nothing much was happening at New Delhi so I spent the rest of the evening in the waiting room getting my crap up to date as it had been a bit of a rushed day and I was way behind with gen and moves. NTES had kindly informed me that my bed for the night was running 2 hours late and 01707 Jabalpur – Atari Special Fare Special wouldn’t be at New Delhi until around 0300 in the morning! The wait to find out whether it would be expected traction or whether the link had changed to an electric somewhere along the route would just have to be a bit longer. It was a bizarre train anyway in that Indrail Pass reservations couldn’t be made on it and tickets had to be bought separately. Thankfully I’d managed to get myself an IRCTC account, the hard way, and had managed to book tickets online without any hassle at all. All that needed to happen now was an Alco roll round the corner with the train…….

 

Gen for Saturday 19th November 2016

Alco

11470   KYN WDM3D at Delhi Cantt with the Deccan Odyssey tourist train

16810   ABR WDM3A      12982 (P) Udaipur City – Delhi Sarai Rohilla

15048   TKD WDP1           54309 0515 Delhi Jn – Rewari

18987   ABR WDM3A      12458 (P) Bikaner – Delhi Sarai Rohilla

18884   LDH WDM3A      14625 0645 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Firozpur

15047   TKD WDP1           13007 (PP) Howrah – Sri Ganganagar (10 hours late)

16635   LDH WDM3A      12456 (P) Bikaner – Delhi Sarai Rohilla, 22472 0840 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Bikaner

16537   TKD WDM3A      54424 Bhiwani – Delhi Jn

14107   LDH WDM3A      54012 0240 Sadulpur – Meerut

14806   LDH WDG3A       14042 (P) Kotdwara – Delhi Sarai Rohilla (start Najibabad Jn; Kotdwara branch closed)

13094   KTE WDG3A        12481 1310 Delhi Jn – Sri Ganganagar

16281   MLDT WDM3A  15715 (P) Kishanganj – Ajmer

16720   BWN WDM3A    13120 1755 Delhi Jn – Sealdah

13415   LKO WDG3A (11261 LKO) 14206 1825 Delhi Jn – Faizabad

18916   LDH WDM3A      12039 1535 Kathgodam – New Delhi Shatabdi

GM

40094   BGKT     19031 (P) Ahmedabad – Haridwar

40275   BGKT     12414 (P) Jammu Tawi – Ajmer

70504   IZN         15014 (P) Kathgodam – Jaisalmer

20101   BGKT     12461

40219   BGKT     12915 (P) Ahmedabad – Delhi Jn

40019   TKD        12215 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Bandra Terminus

40013   TKD        12085 Jaipur – Delhi Sarai Rohilla Double Decker

40352   GD          12555 (P) Gorakhpur – Bhiwani

40290   TKD        16032 (P) Katra – Chennai Central

12715   IZN         14321 Bareilly – Bhuj

12215   LKO (16858 TNP) 19023 (P) Bandra Terminus – Firozpur

40073   BGKT     19601 (P) Udaipur City – New Jalpaiguri

Electric

22966   ET           14624 (P) Chhindwara – Delhi Sarai Rohilla

21383   TKD        54002 Rohtak – Delhi Jn

27778   CNB       15708 Amritsar – Katihar

27628   CNB       15909 (PP) Guwahati – Lalgarh

27996   CNB       54471 1735 Delhi Jn – Rishikesh

30018   GZB        54304 0705 Kalka – Delhi Jn

 

Moves for Saturday 19th November 2016

14552 Delhi Cantt Gurgaon 0320 Delhi Jn – Rewari Jn 54413 GY WDG3A
40094 Gurgaon Delhi Cantt 1005 (18/11) Ahmedabad Jn – Haridwar 19031 BGKT WDP4D
70504 Delhi Cantt Gurgaon 2040 (18/11) Kathgodam – Jaisalmer 15014 IZN WDG4D
18987 Gurgaon Delhi Sarai Rohilla 2220 (18/11) Bikaner Jn – Delhi Sarai Rohilla 12458 ABR WDM3A
18884 Delhi Sarai Rohilla Shakur Basti 0645 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Firozpur Cantt 14625 LDH WDM3A
21383 Shakur Basti Daya Basti 0615 Rohtak Jn – Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin 54002 TKD WAG5
16537 Daya Basti Vivekanand Puri Halt 0500 Bhiwani Jn – Delhi Jn 54424 TKD WDM3A
16635 Delhi Sarai Rohilla Delhi Cantt 0840 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Bikaner Jn 22472 LDH WDM3A
14107 Delhi Cantt Vivekanand Puri Halt 0240 Sadulpur Jn – Meerut Cantt 54012 LDH WDM3A
40019 Delhi Sarai Rohilla Delhi Cantt 0920 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Bandra Terminus 12215 TKD WDP4B
11196 Delhi Cantt Delhi Sarai Rohilla 0745 (18/11) Okha – Dehradun 19565 VTA WDM3D
15012 Vivekanand Puri Halt Delhi Kishanganj 0720 Jind Jn – Delhi Jn 54032 TKD WDP1
15022 Delhi Kishanganj Shakur Basti 1145 Delhi Jn – Jind Jn 54031 TKD WDP1
16844 Shakur Basti Delhi Kishanganj 0500 Firozpur Cantt – Bandra Terminus 19024 LDH WDM3A
13094 Delhi Kishanganj Vivekanand Puri Halt 1310 Delhi Jn – Sri Ganganagar Jn 12481 KTE WDG3A
36526 Delhi Sarai Rohilla C.S. Delhi Sarai Rohilla Platform 5 Shunt stock in for 12616 Delhi SR – Chennai Central SSB WDS6R
16281 Delhi Sarai Rohilla Delhi Cantt 0600 (18/11) Kishanganj – Ajmer Jn 15715 MLDT WDM3A
14004 Delhi Cantt Delhi Sarai Rohilla 1310 Farukh Nagar – Saharanpur Jn 14545 TKD WDM3A
40013 Delhi Sarai Rohilla Cutting Outside Delhi Jn 1530 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Sultanpur 14014 TKD WDP4B
27778 Cutting Outside Delhi Jn Delhi Jn 0710 Amritsar Jn – Katihar Jn 15708 NKJ WAG7
36317 Delhi Jn Middle Road Delhi Jn Platform 16 Shunt stock in for 15274 Delhi Jn – Raxaul SSB WDS6AD – via Cutting (RM)
36525 Delhi Jn Platform 10 East End Delhi Jn Platform 10 West End Shunt stock in for 14659 Delhi Jn – Jaisalmer SSB WDS6AD
36300 Delhi Jn Middle Road Delhi Jn Platform 11 Shunt stock in for 14206 Delhi Jn – Faizabad SSB WDS6AD
16720 Delhi Jn Sahibabad 1755 Delhi Jn – Sealdah 13120 BWN WDM3A
13415 Sahibabad Ghaziabad Jn 1825 Delhi Jn – Faizabad Jn 14206 LKO WDG3A – LKO WDM3D 11261 dit
30018 Ghaziabad Jn Sahibabad 0705 Kalka – Delhi Jn 54304 GZB WAP5
27996 Sahibabad Ghaziabad Jn 1735 Delhi Jn – Rishikesh 54471 CNB WAG7
18916 Ghaziabad Jn New Delhi Jn 1535 Kathgodam – New Delhi Jn 12039 LDH WDM3A
36275 New Delhi Jn Platform 3 South End New Delhi Jn Platform 3 North End Shunt stock out ex 12012 Kalka – New Delhi SSB WDS6AD

 

Photos for Saturday 19th November 2016

 

Sunday 20th November 2016 (A long day with a short time in Atari on the Pakistan border)

Despite NTES showing 01707 Jabalpur – Atari as being 2 hours late there was plenty of make-up time as it approached New Delhi but despite that and the fact that New Delhi station had turned into a ghost station the make-up time wasn’t capitalized on; and the train seemed to stagger through the Delhi suburbs to reach New Delhi still almost 2 hours late. Despite an initial scare as an electric rounded the corner in the distance, with what turned out to be a freight, while 01707 was being announced I was so glad when KTE WDM3A 16553 chugged down the platform with it; more for the fact it had been a very long day and my bed had arrived than anything else! Surprisingly the 2AC on the train was quite empty and I ended up with a bay of 4 berths to myself so could get comfy in peace, without others disturbing me; mainly since there was someone already in my berth! It didn’t take long for me to drift off once I’d sorted my bed out, which took the TTE waking the coach attendant to get me some bedding!

Thankfully it was quiet on board and those that were on board seemed to have alighted before I was inclined to surface from my pit! By which time I’d managed to miss anything that could have resembled breakfast at Ludhiana and Jalandhar had nothing to offer at all. Thankfully Amritsar provided both a simple meal from a platform vendor, as well as crisps, pop, chai and biscuits. When I got back onto the train with my snacks the 2AC coach was full off cleaning staff, the leader of which was quite surprised to see me; and when I say me I mean anyone at all, not just a foreigner. When he realised I wanted to go to Atari I was left to my own devices. As it turned out, on arrival into Atari, I wasn’t just the only passenger in the 2AC coach from Amritsar to Atari, I was the only passenger on the whole 16 coach train; and it turned out to be the same on the return to Amritsar! I can only assume that the lack of patronage between Amritsar & Atari meant that the train ran through to Amritsar to get out of the way of Amritsar? Either way the cleaning staff had finished with the AC coaches by the time we arrived and immediately started on the SL & UR coaches.

I don’t know what I was expecting of Atari but it the station had quite an eerie feeling. The main platform, the one 01707 arrived into, accommodated the whole train and was lined down its entirety with processing offices to deal with passengers on the bi-weekly Samjhauta Express from Old Delhi (14001/14002). Some of these processing offices look very new while those at the Amritsar end of the platform clearly haven’t been used in a long time; their windows are dirty, things look to be falling to bits and the thick layer of dust on the floor appears to have only been disturbed by one set of footprints in recent times.

The station footbridge, at the Pakistan end of the station, is blocked off and can’t be used so access to the other platform is via the foot crossing at the same end of the station. By the time I’d reached it not only had KTE WDM3A 16553, which was thankfully still with me, been removed from the train but it was already running back through the station towards the opposite end of the train. While I was very, very tempted to get my camera out, my previous issues at Gadra Road while heading towards Munabao a couple of years earlier prevented me from doing so. This unfortunate even had resulted in a 3-hour grilling in Barmer police station and screwed my next two days up. With only 3 hours in Atari the risk just wasn’t worth it and the photo from the Amritsar end of the train was rubbish anyway as the loco was under the station canopy; or so I kept telling myself when I had the urge to attempt a photo!

The station master’s office is housed in the station building on the opposite platform and while sheltering from the sun to look at ME Maps to figure out if there was anything nearby the TTE from the 2AC collared me and told me he was going to walk to the market and I was welcome to join him. Initially I set off down the long road outside the station with them; the sign at the head of which advertised the fact that Pakistan is a mere 4 miles from Atari station at the Wagah border crossing. A combination of the fact I was walking with two bags in the hot afternoon sunshine and that there just wasn’t anything about, soon had me back in the shade at the station; where the sensation of glaring eyes from the locals wasn’t!

After a relaxing hour or so sat in a sleeper class coach munching on what goodies I had with me I was told by the staff that I could take my 2AC berth. KTE WDM3A 16553 eased 01708 1445 Atari – Jabalpur away smack on time; which is pretty much where 01708 & on time parted company! I don’t know why but we sat outside Amritsar for an hour, I can only assume waiting a platform, and time was gradually lost from there onwards.

As I’d had on the outward journey, I had a whole compartment of 4 berths to myself for the southbound run and used the space to relax for most the afternoon before making my bed up after departure from Ludhiana; where I’d been hoping that food might have been on offer but nobody came into the 2AC and as the AC was right at the front it was too far up the platform for stalls to be nearby. Maltloaf had to suffice for tea that night! On the bright side of that I’d started to eat through the goodies I brought from home quite early in the trip so it would become lighter sooner rather than later at this rate.

My journey south was marred by the news of a tragic derailment near Kanpur, which had obviously made the BBC news back home as various family members had attempted to get in touch to make sure I was nowhere near it. Ironically, had the Ait – Konch branch not gone over to electrics vice JHS WDS6’s recently I would have been heading down the Jhansi – Kanpur line the following day. As it turned out over 140 people lost their lives when 19381 Indore – Patna derailed near Pokhrayan 60km from Kanpur.

 

Gen for Sunday 20th November 2016

16553    KTE WDM3A       01707    0915 (19/11) Jabalpur Jn – Attari

16553    KTE WDM3A       01708    1445 Attari – Jabalpur Jn

 

Moves for Sunday 20th November 2016

36524 New Delhi Jn Platform 1 South End New Delhi Jn Platform 1 North End Shunt stock out ex 12001 Bhopal – New Delhi SSB WDS6R
16553 New Delhi Jn Attari 0915 (19/11) Jabalpur Jn – Attari 01707 KTE WDM3A – via Ludhiana, Jhalandar, Amritsar
16553 Attari Gwalior Jn 1445 Attari – Jabalpur Jn 01708 KTE WDM3A – via Amritsar, Jhalandar, Ludhiana, New Delhi

 

Monday 21st November 2017 (A disaster in the making and the worst birthday ever!)

KTE WDM3A 16553 eased into Gwalior Jn just after 0900, a fraction over 90’ late. I’d not even noticed New Delhi in the night and had obviously slept well. My plan on arrival into Gwalior had originally been to do a quick out and back on the NG to Motijheel but there was no sign of any action on the NG at all; nothing in the platform and no sign of a loco running in the yard outside the station.

My need to get reservations, one of which was for the following day from Jhansi to Katni Jn, took precedence at that point; as did getting some breakfast and attempting to get money. I managed to score on all attempts but getting to the right ticket office for the reservations proved harder than it needed to be, although resulted in the right outcome; window No.1 in the advance reservation office on the main side of the station being the correct place.

The cash machine, with no queue at all I might add, in the station booking hall denied me cash and it was at that point that I wondered if the text message I’d received from my bank in the UK had more to it than I’d realised. They’d asked me the previous day if I’d attempted to make a transaction for an amount over £20 at Delhi Kishanganj Railway station, which I’d assumed had meant the failed withdrawal of RS2000; which at the approximate RS80 per £1 would be just over £20. I was beginning to wonder if there was more to it but didn’t have time to deal with it right at that moment.

The rather nice looking new hotel right in the station car park, call Hotel Ambience, provided a rather good breakfast, accepted my card for payment and were even persuaded to change some of my RS500 note stash that I had. Initially they were going to change me RS1000 but when the nice lady at the desk pulled out a pristine RS2000 note they were happy to take RS2000 in 500’s off me; and seemed quite sympathetic to my issues now that I didn’t seem to be able to get money out of a cash machine!

Reservations, cash & breakfast dealt with, I’d managed to miss the booked departure time of 52175 0930 Gwalior – Sabalgarh and as there hadn’t been much life on the NG platform before I’d set about doing my tasks I concluded that the train hadn’t run. Of course, that was pure speculation and my mind was soon sidetracked when I came across JHS WDG3A 13432 sat waiting to depart with a late running 21802 Indore Jn – Jhansi Jn. With NTES basically telling me I could do it to Dabra, without buggering up my plans for the day, I managed to get to the second coach from the front before it started moving and thanks to a brief halt at Sithouli I wasn’t in said coach for long. NTES soon had me stringing together a succession of moves on local passenger trains and when TKD WAG7 27462 turned up (with KTE WDG3A 13564 dead inside it) on 51832 0620 Agra Cantt – Jhansi I was following behind 21802 to Antri; where LDH WAG7 28083 (with GZB WAP7 30282 dead inside) was heading the other way with 51815 0730 Jhansi – Agra Cantt passenger. Thanks to a very brief stop, for a passenger train, at Gwalior I made 51882 0735 Agra Cantt – Gwalior passenger at Birla Nagar with TKD WAM4 21316 dropping me back into Gwalior with plenty of time to kill before my planned trip to Etawah.

While milling about by the NG platforms at Gwalior I got talking to a railway employee, who was naturally curious as to what I was doing. The conversation soon led on to discussing the NG and it turned out that trains were running with 52174 0615 Sabalgarh – Gwalior being expected to arrive “after 30 minutes’ sir”. With plenty of autos about it would have been rude not to head out to Ghosipura, where my wait there was about 30 minutes so as ever the estimated time was way under the actual expected time. This being only my 3rd ever move on a narrow-gauge train and having seen how wedged the NG trains get out of Gwalior, I was expecting to have to hang on wherever I could but as the NG skirts Gwalior on its way in most people had seemingly got off and there was even room inside one of the small wooden coaches as GWO NDM5 #805 trundled the short distance into Gwalior Jn.

Upon arrival on the NG my BG train, 59821 Kota Jn – Bhind, was just being announced to arrive in the adjacent platform. At Bhind 59821 would then form 59827 1500 Bhind – Etawah Jn over the newly constructed section that now completes the link from Gwalior to Etawah. I’d done Bhind a few years earlier and getting Bhind to Etawah covered was no easy thing to do and literally took the whole day to basically get to cover the 37km stretch! Imagine my horror when I caught sight of the blue/yellow of a WDG4D arriving with 59821! Not only was it a WDG4D it was KYN WDG4D 70325 a long way from home depot and to rub it in it had JHS WDM3A 18880 dead inside it.

While I sat with the timetable in one hand and the phone with NTES on in the other things seemed to look up a little when the shunter got between the GM & Alco and undid the pipework; but left the couplings alone. He then split the Alco from the stock completely and 70325 ultimately shunted 18880 into the sidings, just off the platform end, before dropping back onto the stock and working 59821 forward single handed. I did it out to Birla Nagar for JHS WDM3B 14162 straight back in with 59824 0955 Bhind – Gwalior to kill some time; my plan now being to use the rather handily time 19666 Udaipur City – Khajuraho to head to Jhansi; 9 hours earlier than planned!

There was at least some room on board 19666 as LDH WDM3A 16472 hammered its way to Jhansi and en-route I contemplated doing it all the way to Khajuraho and spending the night there. My original plan had been to return from Etawah to Gwalior then head down to Jhansi and do 22448 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Khajuraho into Khajuraho. Shortly after I planned my trip the extension of the Lalitpur Jn – Tikamgarh line opened all the way to Khajuraho and as luck had it, the one train of the day over it from Khajuraho to Jhansi via Lalitpur departed Khajuraho 35 minutes after 22448 arrived. I so should have stayed on 19666 through to Khajuraho! I didn’t though and suffered massively as a result of my want to do some Alco’s on the Jhansi evening commuters.

Jhansi Jn station isn’t the most convenient for milling about and figuring out what’s going off, mainly due to the fact it has bay platforms at both ends of the station to handle local passenger trains. What my milling about did reveal though was the fact that there were no less than 6 WDS6’s in the station area 36043, 199, 262, 268, 271 & 272. The first of which to get my full attention was 36199 as it dropped onto a passenger rake in platform 5; I had no issues riding up the platform with it. The second that got my attention had been hidden from sight until I was upon it. 36043 had been shunting stock in the carriage sidings of the south end bay platforms and the set it was on was already quite well loaded with locals; so, I joined them while it shunted the stock into the platform to form 51828 1810 Jhansi Jn – Itarsi Jn, which was ultimately worked by ET WAG 5 23xxx.

JHS WDM3D 11284 arrived with a late 51817 0710 Khajuraho – Jhansi and ran round the same set of stock to work 51805 1725 Jhansi – Manikpur. I’d been hoping 51817 might make 51805 the following day when I came in from Khajuraho myself and at this point I found out it couldn’t miss; not that it was going to be any consolation for what would happen later. With no other moves on the cards at this point 11284 did nicely as I headed out to Orchha on board 51805, to wait for a very late 54160 Allahabad Jn – Jhansi Jn. It was a pleasant surprise when 54160 rolled into the darkness with ET twins 11270/16221 in multi and they dropped me back into Jhansi in time to view 11103 1650 Jhansi – Bandra Terminus; which had been advertised as starting 4 hours late.

JHS WDM3D 11236 had the honours with 11103 Jhansi – Bandra Terminus and a nice little move it was out to Datia for 11107 Gwalior – Varanasi back; that was until JHS WDG4B 70005 rolled in with it. With no other choice that didn’t involve an electric I did the freight engine back to Jhansi anyway. Upon arrival, this is where the day took another twist.

NTES shows a train list for a given station with trains that “will” arrive there in the next 4 hours. It was almost 2300 and I was a little bemused that my 22448 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Khajuraho, booked to depart Jhansi at 0225, wasn’t showing on the list. Sure enough, a listing of the individual train, in this case 12448 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Manikpur, as 22448 was the portion, showed it not have departed origin; and it was due away from Delhi at 2010! Further scrutiny of NTES found 12448 on the “rescheduled” page, showing 3 hours’ delay. It was right about this time that doing 19666 Udaipur City – Khajuraho through to Khajuraho seemed like a very sensible thing to have done. Not only was I now looking at a very crap night in Jhansi but my plans for Khajuraho the following day were, even now, completely out of the window!

With only an hour left of my 41st birthday I was left wondering what else could possibly go wrong, as I walked out of the station in a vain attempt to locate a hotel nearby. Google maps showed nothing right outside the station and neither did my eyes when I went for a walk; so back to the station it was, where I found JHS WDM3A 18812 just dropping onto 12190 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur. With plenty of time on my hands and NTES seemingly confirming that 12190 would make a very late running 51808 Banda – Jhansi at Nivari, it was pointless moping around the station, so off I went. An out of course stop at Barwa Sagar had me airing on the side of caution though; which there was absolutely no need to in the end when JHS WDG3A 13058 rocked up over an hour later with 51808 Banda – Jhansi passenger not far off 4 hours late! Back at Jhansi there was nothing else to do to keep me occupied at all so I went in search of somewhere to relax for a while and ultimately succumbed to the same fate everyone else had, as I got myself curled up on the upper class waiting room floor; even at this point, round about 0130, 12448 2010 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Manikpur hadn’t departed Delhi! At that point even the move in and out of Khajuraho via Mahoba had faded into just a plan on paper; best laid plans, eh….?

 

Gen for Monday 21st November 2016

Alco

13432   JHS WDG3A        21802 (P) Indore – Jhansi

14162   JHS WDM3B       59824 Bhind – Gwalior

16211   JHS WDM3A       11015 (P) Lokmanya Tilak – Gorakhpur

11270/16221 JHS WDM3A’s 54160 Allahabad Jn – Jhansi

11236   JHS WDM3D       11103 1650 Jhansi – Bandra Terminus (4-hour late start)

11284   JHS WDM3D       51817 0710 Khajuraho – Jhansi, 51805 1725 Jhansi – Manikpur

18762/14165 ET WDM2/WDM3D 02598 1420 (P) Mumbai CST – Gorakhpur (13 hours late)

13174/13312 JHS WDG3A’s 12447 Manikpur – Hazrat Nizamuddin (to Jhansi)

GM

70325   KYN        59821 2205 (P) Kota – Bhind (18880 JHS dit to Gwalior)

40337   JHS         12175 (P) Howrah – Gwalior

40268   RTM       19165 (P) Ahmedabad – Darbhanga

70004   JHS         11107 Gwalior – Varanasi

Electric

27462   TKD (14564 KTE) 51832 0620 Agra Cantt – Jhansi

28083   LDH (30282 GZB) 51815 0730 Jhansi – Agra Cantt

21316   TKD        5xxxx 0735 Agra Cantt – Gwalior

22717   LGD        12782 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Mysore

 

Moves for Monday 21st November 2016

13432 Gwalior Jn Sithouli 2005 (20/11) Indore Jn – Jhansi Jn 21802 JHS WDG3A
27462 Sithouli Antri 0620 Agra Cantt – Jhansi Jn 51832 TKD WAG7 – KTE WDG3A 14564 dit
28083 Antri Birla Nagar Jn 0730 Jhansi Jn – Agra Cantt 51815 LDH WAG7 – GZB WAP7 30282 dit
21316 Birla Nagar Jn Gwalior Jn 0735 Agra Cantt – Gwalior Jn 51882 TKD WAM4
Auto Gwalior Jn Ghosipura RS70, 10 minutes
805 Ghosipura Gwalior Jn 0615 Sabalgarh – Gwalior Jn 52174 GWL NDM5
70325 Gwalior Jn Birla Nagar 2205 (20/11) Kota Jn – Bhind 59821 KYN WDG4D
14162 Birla Nagar Gwalior Jn 0955 Bhind – Gwalior Jn 59824 JHS WDM3B
16472 Gwalior Jn Jhansi Jn 2220 (20/11) Udaipur City – Khajuraho 19666 LDH WDM3A
36199 Jhansi Platform 5 South End Jhansi Platform 5 North End Shunt a passenger rake out to Carriage Sidings JHS WDS6
36043 Jhansi Carriage Sidings Jhansi Platform 7 Shunt stock in for 51828 1810 Jhansi – Itarsi JHS WDS6
11284 Jhansi Jn Orchha 1725 Jhansi Jn – Manikpur Jn 51805 JHS WDM3D
11270 Orchha Jhansi Jn 0625 Allahabad Jn – Jhansi Jn 54160 JHS WDM3D 11270 / JHS WDM3A 16221 in multi
16221
11236 Jhansi Jn Datia 1650 Jhansi Jn – Bandra Terminus 11103 JHS WDM3D
70004 Datia Jhansi Jn 2040 Gwalior Jn – Varanasi Jn 11107 JHS WDG4D
18812 Jhansi Jn Barwa Sagar 1610 Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur Jn 12190 JHS WDM3A

 

Photos for Monday 21st November 2016

 

Tuesday 22nd November 2016 (Not a visit to Khajuraho – disaster recovery mode)

Jhansi Jn upper class waiting room floor didn’t make for the comfiest bed but it sufficed. It was warmer than outside, strangely rather quiet and as long as there was a pathway to the toilet at the rear nobody seemed to disturb anyone. A random check of my phone at one point revealed that my 12448 had departed Hazrat Nizamuddin just under 6 hours late and that was pretty much how it stayed for the 6h15m journey it had to get to me at Jhansi. Even though I could relax a little, knowing what time my train would eventually arrive, my back eventually got the better of me and I was up and about in search of chai just after 0600.

Jhansi station was quite busy for the time of morning, with both people and trains. There isn’t much in the way of places to eat nowadays though, especially since the Comesum Plaza had closed at Jhansi as well. I later found out that Comesum had apparently not renewed their license with Indian Railways, hence the mass closing down of their plaza’s. Just like the previous evening there was a lot of walking to do to find out what was going off in both the north and south end bay platforms but my walk to the north end paid off the moment I got there when I spied WDS6 36268 being attached to a set of stock. This stock turned out to be for 51815 0730 Jhansi – Agra and the WDS6 was soon depositing it, and me with it, in platform 7 in readiness. At the time WDS6 36199 was shunting in the station yard and as I walked back down the platform I noticed another set of stock being backed into platform 3. From the footbridge, I could see it was a WDS6AD body shape but jumped on the stock as it backed in nonetheless; along with a load of people who clearly knew what train they were getting on, unlike me! I confirmed that the WDS6 shunting the stock in had been 36262 and then confirmed with someone on the train that the stock was to form 51818 0650 Jhansi – Khajuraho via Lalitpur; just to rub in the fact that I wouldn’t be doing the track anytime soon! While the opportunity was right in front of me to do 51818 to Khajuraho via Lalitpur, the fact that it was a plus 4 hours onto anything out of Khajuraho and that 22447 Khajuraho – Hazrat Nizamuddin was then only a plus 5 onto the last overnight I could do from Jhansi to Katni, put me off the whole idea; so I walked away, as JHS WDG3A 13058 backed onto the train, already knowing I had to plan another trip to the area to recover Etawah as well.

When I found JHS WDM3A’s 18718/18945 in the south end bay platforms, with 54159 0710 Jhansi Jn – Allahabad Jn, it was my cue to leave Jhansi and I did them out to Mau Ranipur to await the arrival of the 6 hours late 12448 Hazrat Nizamuddin there. While there I took the opportunity to rung my bank about my card not working and the text message they’d sent me asking if I’d used it in Delhi. My wife had tried to resolve the issue the previous night for me but of course they wouldn’t speak to her about it. It wasn’t a long conversation and it was quickly apparent that my card had indeed been cloned when I’d used it in the cash machine at Delhi Kishanganj but the bank had stopped any transactions. Whoever had cloned it had attempted to take cash out of various cash machine across Delhi, the most recent attempt at which had been 30 minutes before I’d made the phone call! Unfortunately, though, that was that, and I was no officially without a bank card for the whole trip so couldn’t withdraw any cash at all; this just adding to my woes. Thankfully though I have good friends and I was meeting up with two of them the following day in Katni for the day. Youth was towards the end of his trip and had sensibly brought two cards with him so was able to double the amount of money he could withdraw per day and was kind enough to get me some out and hand it over the following day to alleviate my monetary problems.

I was quite surprised when JHS WDG3A’s 13312/13174 arrived with 12448 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Manikpur, 6 hours late. I’d seen the pair arrive into Jhansi the previous night with the opposing working of 12447 and had hoped they might go back to whence they came; but they were nowhere to be seen at Jhansi that morning and I’d forgot I’d even seen them until they rolled into Mau Ranipur. I soon got talking to a guy on board who’d been on since Delhi and he told me that 12448/22448 were always good runners and that the Khajuraho portion was often into Khajuraho before time. He’d been talking to staff at Hazrat Nizamuddin who’d told him that a couple of the coaches had been reported with “issues” and they needed to be looked at before the train could depart and there was no spare rake to use. Whether this cautious approach was to do with the derailment at Pokhrayan two days earlier or not remains to be seen.

As 12448 arrived into Mahoba Jn a JHS WDM3A, which I didn’t see the number of, was waiting to drop onto the rear portion of the train to work 22448 to Khajuraho and LDH WDM3A 16472 was sat in the opposite platform waiting to depart with 19665 0910 Khajuraho – Udaipur City. On my original plan, pre Khajuraho to Lalitpur opening, I’d planned to do 19665 back from Khajuraho to Mahoba; having made it on a plus 2h50m! I’d then planned to get off at Mahoba and do 12176 Gwalior – Howrah forward to Chitrakoot. While photographing the Jhansi Shakti’s during their time at Mahoba I had a moment of inspiration, based on an observation I’d made the previous day at Gwalior. I suddenly remembered that I’d watched 12175 Howrah – Gwalior arrive at its destination with JHS WDP4D 40337 so I was soon clambering back on board 12448 to relax in an empty bay of 4 in 2AC to Chitrakoot instead! And a good move it turned out to be as JHS WDG3A’s 13295/13441 were sat waiting to depart with 54160 0625 Allahabad Jn – Jhansi Jn passenger and I soon found myself at Atarra, having passed a JSH WDP4D with 12176 Gwalior – Howrah on the way there.

I’d managed to make the late running 14110 Kanpur Central – Chitrakoot Intercity but when it rolled in with JHS WDG4 70031 I opted to walk back into the street outside the station and wait for some fresh samosas to be cooked in front of me, replenish my supplies and relax in the confines of Atarra station for it to return with 14109 1455 Chitrakoot – Kanpur Central. It wasn’t my most sensible idea of the day as I eventually realised that Chitrakoot would have been better to guarantee a seat on the fully unreserved Intercity but food took precedence. Luckily there was space towards the front of the train when 70031 rolled back in with 14109 equally as late as 14110 had been heading towards Chitrakoot. It was only a load 11 rake though and the GM made mincemeat of it as it hammered towards Kanpur, picking up time as it went. While not a massive fan of GM’s I can’t help but notice how well the WDPs/WDGs do when accelerating away with a train, regardless of its length; unfortunately, the noise, not that there is much of it compared to an Alco, just doesn’t do it for me; and it fades away to virtually nothing at speed, a bit like certain classes of loco do when above 40mph in the UK.

Despite picking up time 14109 lost some en-route while being held at places but it had me into Kathara Road with plenty of time to spare for 15205 1730 Lucknow Jn – Jabalpur Jn, which was itself almost an hour late by the time it got to me there. There wasn’t a great deal going on in rural Kathara Road and if it hadn’t been for all the chai walla’s getting off there, doing the same move as me, there’d have been no entertainment at all. They were all young lads and were basically doing what young lads do when they’re bored; messing about. The result being that all their chai had gone by the time 15205 arrived as they’d drank it all, their pack of cards was all over the station platform and every chai cup they’d used was strewn amongst them. Basically, they’d turned what had been a nice clean and respectable station platform into a tip; but provided some entertainment nonetheless!

ET WDM3A 11277 had charge of 15205 Lucknow Jn – Jabalpur Chitrakoot Express and I found Youth already on board; having boarded at Kanpur. Had the Konch branch still been WDS6 I’d planned to have been at Kanpur for the train myself, of course the derailment at Pokhrayan would have put pay to that plan though! As it had been a long day for the both of us a brief chat was enough before we called it a day; knowing that Speedo would be on the train when we awoke the following morning, having had the same JHS WDG3A’s I’d had that morning, 13174/13312, on the return working of 12447 Manikpur – Hazrat Nizamuddin to meet 15205 en-route.

 

Gen for Tuesday 22nd November 2016

Alco

13058   JHS         51818 0650 Jhansi – Khajuraho

13282   LDH        12184 (P) Pratapgarh – Bhopal

18718/18945 JHS 54159 0710 Jhansi – Allahabad Jn

16472   LDH        19665 0910 Khajuraho – Udaipur City

11583   LKO        51802 0705 Kanpur Central – Manikpur (5h30m late)

GM

70031   JHS         14109 Kanpur Central – Chitrakoot, 14110 Chitrakoot – Kanpur Central

 

Moves for Tuesday 22nd November 2016

13058 Barwa Sagar Jhansi Jn 1750 (21/11) Banda – Jhansi Jn 51808 JHS WDG3A
36268 Jhansi Carriage Sidings Jhansi Platform 7 Shunt stock in for 51815 0730 Jhansi – Agra JHS WDS6AD
36262 Jhansi Platform 3 South End Jhansi Platform 3 North End Shunt stock in for 51818 0650 Jhansi – Khajuraho JHS WDS6AD
18718 Jhansi Jn Mau Ranipur 0710 Jhansi Jn – Allahabad Jn 54159 JHS WDM3A 18718 / JHS WDM3A 18945 in tandem
18945
13312 Mau Ranipur Chitrakutdham Karwi 2010 (21/11) Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin – Manikpur 12448 JHS WDG3A’s 13312/13174 in multi – 6 hours late start due stock issues
13174
13295 Chitrakutdham Karwi Atarra 0625 Allahabad Jn – Jhansi Jn 54160 JHS WDG3A’s 13295/13441 in multi
13441
70031 Atarra Kathara Road 1455 Chitrakutdham Kawri – Kanpur Central 14109 JHS WDG4D
11277 Kathara Road Katni Jn 1730 Lucknow Jn – Jabalpur Jn 15205 ET WDM3D

 

Photos for Tuesday 22nd November 2016

 

Wednesday 23rd November 2016 (Katni Jabalpur madness Day 1)

15205 Lucknow Jn – Jabalpur is due into Katni Jn at 0510 and an 0445-alarm call had NTES revealing that we were about spot on time! Youth and Speedo were both awake and preparing to get off too and Katni was soon upon us. Youth was heading away from Katni later that afternoon so dropped his bag in the cloak room by the exit on platform 1 and copious amounts of chai followed as we chewed the cud about our encounters thus far on our trips. We were all soon Sihora Road bound when the booked electric for 22182 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur gave way to ET WDM3D twins 11426/11139; the loco pilot of which had confirmed to me that they would be working said train while the locos were waiting in the platform.

At Sihora Road confusion reigned when Speedo & I leapt across the ballast to board 51701 Jabalpur – Rewa passenger, as we left Youth on the opposite platform to do a move forward to Jabalpur; then there was just one standing at Sihora Road! While youth ultimately did 12182 Ajmer – Jabalpur forward with another set of ET twins we passed them as we headed to Sleemnabad Road with ET WDM3A 16776, which was where the plan took a bit of a set-back as most Jabalpur bound trains were late; this meant we had to watch ET twins 18816/11276 arrive into Sleemnabad with 18233 Indore – Bilaspur “super-slow” before we departed with NKJ WDM3A 16772 on 11452 0600 Rewa – Jabalpur.

Back at Sihora Road there was a bit of a precession that included PA WDP4D 40144 towards Jabalpur with 12150 Patliputra – Pune, ET WDM3A 14100 towards Katni with 12390 Chennai Egmore – Gaya (with Youth on board), ET Twins 16214/11134 towards Jabalpur with 12577 Darbhanga – Mysore then MGS WDM3A 16057 arrived with 12190 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur. After this had departed ET twins 16095/11316 hammered through with 11066 Darbhanga – Lokmanya Tilak and then we did KTE WDM3A 16718 behind it with 11652 0500 Singrauli – Jabalpur; which caught MGS WDM3A 16057 and 12190 up at Madan Mahal. As 12190 had been there the longest, and had clearly been held for ET twins 16095/11316 to go by, it got the road first so I leapt across and did it forward, leaving Speedo to follow in behind on 11652. My philosophy being that I had that bit longer to go and dump my bag at the hotel I’d be staying at the following night by doing 12190 into Jabalpur.

The Hotel Polo Max at Jabalpur is a new hotel and is literally in the station car park. Even though it’s only a 2-minute walk from the station entrance I was still swamped by auto drivers wanting to take me to a hotel! Just outside the station entrance (platform 6 exit), to the left I noticed an ATM, which had no queue and the person leaving had cash in his hand; if only I had the opportunity to use it! Despite my misfortune in the cash stakes though I pointed it out to Speedo later who managed to freely use it, three times in a row, to withdraw RS2000 each time. He only stopped so as not to get his card barred for too many consecutive transactions. It seems that while the maximum withdrawal amount may be RS2000 per day, that foreign cards couldn’t be limited to one transaction whereas Indian cards could. Thankfully my monetary woes were about to get a whole lot better when I walked into the Polo Max.

My booking at the Polo Max had been made through Booking.com while I sat having breakfast at Heathrow airport on my way out to India; and the hotel had the relevant paperwork when I walked in. Even though I wasn’t staying at the hotel until the following night they were happy to keep my bag in the left luggage room until I returned. Having managed to get some RS500 notes changed in Gwalior the previous morning I chanced my arm at getting some more changed and was pleasantly surprised at the result. I explained that I had RS5500 in RS500 notes and the girl behind the counter asked me to hold on while she contacted someone to find out if they could be changed. I initially thought this was one of the hotel management staff but soon realised it wasn’t when she told me that each RS500 note could be changed for RS300 in RS100 notes. This would have equated to me handing over RS5500 and getting RS3300 back; which was instantly dismissed. The next offer was RS4000 for the lot and thankfully for me I managed to talk them up to RS5000 for the lot; meaning they made RS500 for doing nothing and I paid RS500 for making my life a whole lot easier and getting rid of something that was worth nothing at all. RS5000 was counted out in front of me and I handed over my RS5500 in RS500 notes. I got the impression the girl was going to get her “friend” to come and do the transaction him/herself but she told me she’d sort it out later; as she counted out the money to give me from the hotel’s stash!

I walked away from the Polo Max one big bag lighter and RS500 lighter in the pocket but I was solvent and with the money Youth had loaned me, the bit I had left from the start of the trip and what I’d just accumulated I could actually breathe again and a bottle of cold Thumbs Up had my name on it somewhere on Jabalpur station! I was back on the platform just after 12190 arrived, some 4 hours late, and found Speedo collecting his stock numbers at the bottom end of the platform.

No expense was spared after Speedo had withdrawn his RS6000 from the cash machine outside the station and we splashed out on a decent Egg Curry in the non-veg refreshment room on platform 1, followed by chocolate and that cold Thumbs Up that had my name on it. It was like finding some money when you were a kid and blowing it on crap! Unfortunately, crap was pretty much what our afternoon moves were, basically there weren’t any thanks to late running; so, we just watched the world go by at Jabalpur instead.

KTE WDM3A 16718 was placed onto the stock to work 11451 1745 Jabalpur – Rewa quite early, whereas sister KTE WDM3C 16735 was used for shunting and only placed onto the stock to work 11651 1515 Jabalpur – Singrauli shortly before the booked departure time. One thing I gleaned from this was that, having had 16718 on 11652 earlier and it was now poised to work 11451 to Rewa, 16735 should in theory be 11652 Singrauli – Jabalpur/11451 Jabalpur – Rewa the following day and then coming back into Jabalpur with 11452 Rewa – Jabalpur on Friday morning. As I needed 16735 it was noted in the back of my mind and left there for future reference. Meanwhile ET twins 16487/11319 dropped in on their way to Patliputra, vice WDP4 I believe, with 12141 Lokmanya Tilak – Patliputra Superfast; something else that was noted in the mind.

It was nice of ET twins 11309/16528 to drop into Jabalpur, with a 2 hour late running 13201 Rajendranagar – Lokmanya Tilak, only 30 minutes before our booked 12192 1730 Jabalpur – New Delhi was to depart. On arrival at Madan Mahal ET twins 18693/18769 were sat waiting the road back into Jabalpur with the opposing, not so late, working of 13202 Lokmanya Tilak – Rajendranagar. It would have taken a brave man to risk doing them back into Jabalpur for 12192, which would be departing in less than 15 minutes at that point!

ET WDM3D 11507 turning up with 12192 1730 Jabalpur – New Delhi was an unexpected bonus and the run to Itarsi was a good one. This was where Speedo and I would part ways, I was heading to Chhindwara and he was heading to Bhopal to get bowled out by offlink ET WDP4D 40168 on 17019 Ajmer – Hyderabad; not that he knew it at that point though!

A decent meal was sought at the Hotel Shri Niwas, a short walk outside Itarsi station, after which Speedo picked the first train to get him to Bhopal while I was resigned to a late night of train spotting at Itarsi as my planned train, 14624 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Chhindwara, was due until 0240 the following morning; thankfully it wasn’t late either!

It was quite hard work walking up and down the platforms at Itarsi, trying to keep up with what was going on. Still, they were all quite busy with vendors doing their thing and there was a constant precession of trains keeping the place alive while I waited. There were plenty more sets of twins in/out of Itarsi that night, including ET’s 11316/16095 departing with 11055 Lokmanya Tilak – Gorakhpur, KTE’s 16275/16757 arriving with 11094 Varanasi – Mumbai CST, ET’s 16216/16737 arriving with 18234 Bilaspur – Indore and finally ET’s 11426/11139 arriving with 11472 Jabalpur – Indore. There were three surprises that night, GD WDM3A 16712 with 12597 Gorakhpur – Mumbai CST, TKD WAG9 31297 with 02422 0835 Delhi Safdarjang – Nanded (Special) and a strange offlink of PTRU WDM3A 16325 for 51672 1445 Katni – Itarsi passenger. The latter eventually providing me with something to do during my fester when ET WDS6 36156 was eventually used to shunt the stock, left behind in the platform by 16325, into the carriage sidings.

I’d at one point considered trying to get on 59385 Indore – Chhindwara Panchvalley Passenger, which had a 3AC coach in its rake, but had decided against it. ET WAG5 23328 had worked in with 59385 but I hadn’t seen what had departed with it. It wouldn’t be until the following afternoon that I realised I should have attempted to do 59385. When BIA WAM4 21351 arrived with my 14624 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Chhindwara I thought nothing of it and as the AC was at the wrong end of the train I couldn’t be bothered to walk down and find out what would work forward; and was content to get straight to bed instead and find out the following morning at Chhindwara.

 

Gen for Wednesday 23rd November 2016

Alco

16223/18923 ET 11065 1215 (P) Lokmanya Tilak – Darbhanga

16422   KTE         51673 0400 Itarsi – Satna

11518   KTE         11266 0615 Ambikapur – Jabalpur

16487/11319 ET 12141 (P) Lokmanya Tilak – Patliputra

16735 (3C) KTE 11651 1515 Jabalpur – Singrauli

16718   KTE         11451 1745 Jabalpur – Rewa

18693/18769 ET 13202 (P) Lokmanya Tilak – Rajendranagar

16416   PTRU     11448 (P) Howrah – Jabalpur

13561   KYN        11207 (P) Nagpur – Rewa

16282   MLDT    82533 (P) Darbhanga – Lokmanya Tilak

18809/18765 ET 11463 (P) Somnath – Jabalpur

16550   KTE         22104 Faizabad – Lokmanya Tilak

11316/16095 ET 11055 Lokmanya Tilak – Gorakhpur

16712   GD          12597 (PP) Gorakhpur – Mumbai CST (23 hours late)

18593   ET           12187 Jabalpur – Mumbai CST

16325   PTRU     51672 1445 Katni – Itarsi

11277   ET           12160 Jabalpur – Amaravati

16275/16757 KTE 11094 Varanasi – Mumbai CST

16528/11309 ET 18233 (P) Indore – Bilaspur

14114   ET           51674 Satna – Itarsi

16216/16737 ET 18234 Bilaspur – Indore

11426/11139 ET 11472 Jabalpur – Indore

GM

40107   ET           12296 (P) Patliputra – Bangalore City

40042   ET           22181 1500 Jabalpur – Hazrat Nizamuddin

40153   PA           22132 Mandaudih – Pune

40041   ET           22188 1610 Jabalpur – Habibganj

40248   ET           12168 Varanasi – Lokmanya Tilak

40123   ET           11061 Lokmanya Tilak – Muzaffarpur (from Itarsi)

Electric

22034   GZB        12421 (P) Nanded – Amritsar

23328   ET           59385 Indore – Chhindwara (to Itarsi)

31297   TKD        02422 0835 Delhi Safdarjang – Nanded (Special)

22348   SRC        11061 Lokmanya Tilak – Muzaffarpur (to Itarsi 40123 ET forward)

21351   BIA         14624 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Chhindwara (to Amla Jn 11381 ET forward)

 

Moves for Wednesday 23rd November 2016

11426 Katni Jn Sihora Road 1750 (22/11) Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur Jn 22182 ET WDM3D’s 11426/11139 in multi
11139
16776 Sihora Road Sleemnabad 0730 Jabalpur Jn – Rewa 51701 ET WDM3A
16772 Sleemnabad Sihora Road 0600 Rewa – Jabalpur Jn 11452 NKJ WDM3A
16718 Sihora Road Adhartal 0500 Singrauli Jn – Jabalpur Jn 11652 KTE WDM3A
16057 Adhartal Jabalpur Jn 1610 (22/11) Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur Jn 12190 MGS WDM3A
11309 Jabalpur Jn Madan Mahal 2330 (22/11) Rajendranagar – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus 13201 ET WDM3D 11309 / ET WDM3A 16528 in multi
16528

 

Photos for Wednesday 23rd November 2016

 

Thursday 24th November 2016 (A Chhindwara revelation and return to Jabalpur)

I was well on the way up the Chhindwara branch, which of course would soon become a connected line to Jabalpur & Gondia and not a branch at all, when I got up. It was immediately evident out of the windows that electrification of the Chhindwara branch was well under way and it didn’t seem far from completion. This didn’t bode well for the rest of the old NG system between Chhindwara, Jabalpur & Gondia and if electrification was to follow conversion I hoped it would take a while!

Arrival into Chhindwara was a few minutes before the booked arrival of 0950, as could be expected with the amount of recovery time there is in the schedule on the way down the branch. From 14624 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Chhindwara arriving at 0950 there is only 25 minutes allowed before 14623 1015 Chhindwara – Delhi Sarai Rohilla departs. This rake also shares with 14625/14626 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Firozpur and from 14623 arriving into Delhi at 0615 there is only 30 minutes for the engine change to take place before 14625 0645 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Firozpur departs and then only 20 minutes between 14626 arriving back at 14624 beginning the cycle towards Chhindwara again. During fog this cycle of trains are well and truly knackered and I’ve been caught at Delhi myself by the very late arrival of the inbound from Chhindwara to form my train towards Firozpur. None of that was relevant on this glorious morning in Chhindwara though; although little did I realise that it very soon would become relevant as bad fog was on its way to wreak havoc across the IR network!

A walk to the front of the train at Chhindwara revealed two things, one that Chhindwara station was a building site and two that ET WDM3D 11381 was at the head of the train. The crew didn’t seem in much of a hurry to run 11381 round after it had been detached, given the limited amount of time before 14623 should depart Chhindwara on its return journey to Delhi. The reason soon became evident and I almost didn’t clock what was going on! While standing precariously on a wall at the end of the platforms I noticed the stock start edging away from me, initially I thought it was moving on its own accord but when I saw the clag appear at the opposite end of the rake my fear instantly disappeared and I went into flap mode. Luckily, I was only about three engine lengths from the stock when it started moving and I easily caught up with it. I could only watch on from the rear coach as the WDS6 I’d not seen when we arrived into Chhindwara dragged the stock clear of the platform and 11381 followed behind it. Despite the rake only being 15 coaches, after it had been deposited back in the platform by the time I got to the opposite end of the train, what turned out to be R WDS6 36004 was already unhooked and stabled back in the head-shunt; which I assumed was the same place it had been stood when I hadn’t noticed it as we arrived.

Quite pleased with my morning bonus I assumed that the fact that Chhindwara was a building site was the very reason the shunt had been required in the first place? I couldn’t tell there’d ever been an NG at Chhindwara at all as even new BG platforms were in the process of being erected. One thing of note though was the fact that there was no electrification work at all in the station area, not even on the existing BG.

We were late away from Chhindwara and I was in a world of my own ay Amla Jn, where we sat for a good 30 minutes but thankfully departed in front of 12539 Yesvantpur – Lucknow; which I was booked on from Itarsi and was bang on time right behind us. It wasn’t until we arrived into Betul and I spotted an ET Alco departing with 59395 1335 Betul – Chhindwara, which is part of the rake-share off the Panchvalley Passenger, that I went to the door to investigate. I was surprised myself that I hadn’t realised that the time spent at Amla Jn had been for a loco change and I found BIA WAM4 21351 at the head of the train and not ET WDM3D 11381 as I’d assumed it still to be. While the timings for 14624 on the way out do allow 30 minutes for a possible engine change at Amla Jn, the return timings for 14623 only have the train at Amla Jn for 5 minutes! It was at that point I realised that not attempting to get on 59385 Indore – Chhindwara Panchvalley Passenger the previous night had been a mistake. The result being the realisation that I must have had BIA WAM4 21351 from Itarsi to Amla the previous night as otherwise there was no other feasible way it could have got there to work 14623! I was amazed that I’d not seen or heard 11381 come off the train at Amla Jn and spent the rest of the journey back towards Itarsi “having a word” with myself! The event of the previous few days seemed to be throwing me off my game……

I was keen to get back on top of my game and equally as keen to get into Itarsi to grab a bite to eat before 12539 Yesvantpur – Lucknow arrived immediately behind but when 14623 came to a stand outside Itarsi station I could feel my food time slipping away so when ET WDM3A 16738 pulled up to wait its turn to get in on the Khandwa line I was already poised ready; sure enough 16738 was allowed into Itarsi Jn first with 11053 Lokmanya Tilak – Azamgarh running 10h30m late! While I only gained 5 minutes for my scurry across the ballast, it was enough to allow me to find out which platform 12539 would depart from and then safely find someone selling the food I wanted while not fearing the train would arrive and depart without me noticing; which I reckon can be easily done at Itarsi. ET WDM3A 14114 was waiting outside the station for the electric to come off before dropping onto 12539 Yesvantpur – Lucknow. I was glad I’d made my booked train as things weren’t looking good for another train towards Jabalpur for a couple of hours.

En-route to Jabalpur ET WDS6 36167 was noted with a short electrification train at Sontalai before it started to get dark and before I knew it, after a good snooze in my lower side berth Jabalpur was upon us with 14114 doing the honours in style and not losing much time during the journey, considering all the slowing down.

I’d initially expected to be heading towards Sihora Road when I got to Jabalpur, on board one of 12181 2025 Jabalpur – Hazrat Nizamuddin or 15206 2040 Jabalpur – Lucknow Charbagh but as ET WDM3D 11507 heading the first of the two was dud it didn’t make sense to do offlink PTRU WDM3A 18636 with the second as it would have been a dead-end move; especially when I found ET WDM3D 11305 at the opposite end of the station with 12160 2050 Jabalpur – Amravati, sat in the adjacent platform to dark blue liveried KTE WDM3A 16072 which had recently arrived with 11702 0410 Indore – Jabalpur. As I had some time to kill before anything would depart I headed out to the Hotel Polo Max to check in and even had time to get myself a good meal in the hotel restaurant, which I paid for by card, before heading back over to the station to see what would come my way. The room, despite backing on to the station area, was quite quiet. It was also very spacious, clean and had AC. There was piping hot water too.

The two hours from 2045 to 2245 turned into a good couple of hours, as usual thanks to a bit of late running, and resulted in three round trips to Madan Mahal involving 8 Alco’s! Starting with 11305 on 12160 2050 Jabalpur – Amravati, with put me straight into ET WDM3A 16819 with 51189 1130 Itarsi – Cheoki. KTE twins 18960/18963 were soon along with 11094 Varanasi – Mumbai CST, working their new link recently taken over from mainly ET GM’s; which again dropped me more-or-less straight into ET twins 11209/11427 with 12854 1545 Bhopal – Durg. At that point I was ready to give up but couldn’t resist KTE WDM3A 16422 with a very late, almost 4 hours, 51674 1330 Satna – Itarsi passenger. I’d resigned myself to doing an auto back from Madan Mahal this time as 11271 1620 Itarsi – Bhopal had shown on NTES as arriving at Madan Mahal before 51674 had departed Jabalpur; but no, KTE WDM3D 11517 was still sat in the platform when its shed-mate drew in with 51674. So, all in all it turned out to be a very productive late evening and having eaten earlier all I had to do was go to bed when I got back to my room and look forward to a full day of nedding around the Jabalpur area the following day; before heading off towards Chopan and the land of Patratu Alco’s. To save time the following morning I paid my bill by card before I headed upstairs.

 

Gen for Thursday 24th November 2016

Alco

14113 ET 51253 0800 Amla Jn – Chhindwara

16738 ET 11053 (P) Lokmanya Tilak – Azamgarh (10h30m late)

18765/18809 ET 11464 1200 Jabalpur – Somnath

11306 ET 51190 1920 (P) Cheoki – Itarsi

?????/11135 ET 11296 (P) Patliputra – Bangalore City

11507 ET 12181 2025 Jabalpur – Hazrat Nizamuddin

18636 PTRU 15206 2040 Jabalpur – Lucknow Charbagh

16819 ET 51189 Itarsi – Cheoki

16072 KTE 11702 0410 Indore – Jabalpur

11305 ET 12160 2050 Jabalpur – Amravati

14086/16708 ET 18234 Bilaspur – Indore

36167 ET at Sontalai with electrification train

GM

40165 PA 12150 (P) Patliputra – Pune

40215 ET 12670 (P) Chhapra – Chennai Central

 

Moves for Thursday 24th November 2016

36156 Itarsi Jn Platform 7 North End Itarsi Jn Platform 7 South End Shunt stock out ex 51672 Katni – Itarsi ET WDS6
21351 Itarsi Jn Amla Jn 1200 (23/11) Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Chhindwara 14624 BIA WAM4 21351 to Amla Jn for ET WDM3D 11381 forward
11381 Amla Jn Chhindwara
36004 Chhindwara Shunt Release stock Shunt release stock 14624 to 14623 at Chhindwara R WDS6
11381 Chhindwara Amla Jn 1015 Chhindwara – Delhi Sarai Rohilla 14623 ET WDM3D 11381 to Amla Jn for BIA WAM4 21351 forward
21351 Amla Jn Itarsi South Jn
16738 Itasri South Jn Itarsi Jn 1640 (23/11) Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Azamgarh 11053 ET WDM3A – 10h30m late
14114 Itarsi Jn Jabalpur Jn 1050 (23/11) Yesvantpur Jn – Lucknow Charbagh 12539 ET WDM3A
11305 Jabalpur Jn Madan Mahal 2050 Jabalpur Jn – Amravati 12160 ET WDM3D
16819 Madan Mahal Jabalpur Jn 1130 Itarsi Jn – Cheoki Jn 51189 NGC WDM3A
18960 Jabalpur Jn Madan Mahal 1120 Varanasi Jn – Mumbai CST 11094 KTE WDM3A’s 18960/18963 in multi
18963
11209 Madan Mahal Jabalpur Jn 1545 Bhopal – Durg Jn 12854 ET WDM3D’s 11209/11427 in multi
11427
16422 Jabalpur Jn Madan Mahal 1330 Satna Jn – Itarsi Jn 51674 KTE WDM3A
11517 Madan Mahal Jabalpur Jn 1620 Itarsi Jn – Bhopal 11271 KTE WDM3D

 

Photos for Thursday 24th November 2016

 

Friday 25th November 2016 (Jabalpur – the land of ET twin Alco’s; apparently!)

I made sure I had time to have a much-needed hot shower, shave and change of clothes before leaving my bag in the hotel reception for the day and heading out to carry on where I’d left off the previous night. Thanks to NTES I knew what was late and what wasn’t and started right where I’d left off with opposing working of the last train I’d done the previous night; 11272 1815 (P) Bhopal – Itarsi with KTE WDM3A 18732 to Madan Mahal for ET WDM3A 16773 back in on the opposing working of where my previous evening’s move had started; 12159 1745 (P) Amravati – Jabalpur. Then came the train I’d aimed to get up for shortly afterwards, 18233 Indore – Bilaspur Narmada Express, which is so far from an express it makes some local passenger trains look fast! Either way ET twins 18693/18769 provided the customary power and dropped me at Sihora Road, where I expected to be viewing and chewing for a while.

KTE WDG3A 14648 provided the pastime for the short period I ended up at Sihora Road, while it sat in the middle road with a coal rake, heading towards Katni. Thanks to it occupying the middle road it provided me with a bonus that I wouldn’t have normally been able to take advantage of as KYN WDM3A 16049, with 01453 1045 (P) Pune – Varanasi special, had to divert via the platform loop to get around said coal rake. As I was ballast side of it waiting to photograph it at the time I ended up poised on the ballast to pounce the moment it came to a halt. Thankfully it did and I could afford to clamber onto the platform and walk down the rake to find some space in the rather empty rake.

It was a good, fast run to Katni after the Sihora Road unofficial stop and I was surprised to make 22182 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur with ET WDM3D 11311 just being prepared to work the train forward. There was a plethora of trains to choose from at this point to head back towards Jabalpur with and this was the first of the bunch at 3 hours late. I thought I’d missed it when ET WDM3D 11507 had hammered by no far outside Katni but that turned out to be 12182 Ajmer – Jabalpur instead. With options behind I was off at Sihora Road again and was very pleasantly surprised when JHS Shakti twins 13300/14988 rolled in close behind with 12190 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur; it was the booked shed link on this occasion but the Shakti twins were certainly unexpected. The festering around the train did at Adhartal wasn’t though but that in itself resulted in the train being there long enough for me to confirm that 11452 0600 Rewa – Jabalpur behind would stop itself; and as predicted two days previous KTE WDM3C 16735 had done as expected and followed its link through to head to Rewa the previous evening. This dropped me nicely into Jabalpur to recompose myself, gather supplies and even grab a good meal from the hotel restaurant before heading back out for round two!

The legendary Somnath Express, 11464 1200 Jabalpur – Somnath, had provided some interesting traction over the years and had gone from being booked a RTM Alco throughout to ending up with electric traction in the middle of its journey and then having a regular ET WDP4 between Itarsi & Jabalpur. This was something that would change in the near future when electrification was completed between Itarsi & Jabalpur and would result in the majority of its journey being electric hauled; for today though it seemed to be providing ET Alco twins on the Jabalpur – Itarsi sections more often than it did ET GM’s and ET WDM3A’s 18765/18809 were a welcome sight when I’d walked down the length of Jabalpur station. The fact that they made KTE WDM3A 18930 with a late running 51671 0545 Itarsi – Katni passenger at Madan Mahal was even more welcome; and randomly it was right in front of PTRU WDM3A 16325 with an even later 51673 0400 Itarsi – Satna Jn passenger. It was quite interesting watching all those people that turned up for a passenger train at Jabalpur, just as 18930 was pulling out, look distraught as they thought they had hours to wait for the next passenger train towards Katni; only to be relieved when they watched 16325 roll in shortly afterwards with a nice empty one going the same way!

I only made it as far as Gosalpur on 51673 as ET WDM3D 11425 was sat waiting to road to continue its journey towards Jabalpur with 12545 Raxaul – Lokmanya Tilak. This delivered me back to Jabalpur right at a time where chaos was about to ensure with the amount of trains that would be vying for space. Not to mention the fact that it turned out to be quicker to walk into Jabalpur station while 12545 was chained twice on the approach to platforms.

As seems to be the case on most occasions the nice little out and back to Madan Mahal, that should occur with 13201 Rajendranagar – Lokmanya Tilak making 13202 Lokmanya Tilak – Rajendranagar, wasn’t going to as the former was down the pan. With no other train to get there, and with two trains heading into Jabalpur with prospective Alco twins I turned to the auto rank outside and less than 10 minutes later and RS100 lighter, I was scrambling out and onto the platform; where I assumed that the train sat waiting the road in was one of 13202 Lokmanya Tilak – Rajendranagar or 11463 Somnath – Jabalpur. It was neither and what train it was didn’t matter as the ET twins 16487/11319 at the head of it were both new. 12141 Lokmanya Tilak – Patliputra Superfast eventually got itself into Jabalpur and as NTES had no updates for either 13202 or 11463 I was soon screaming back down the road in a second auto to attempt to make either. I had the pleasure of watching ET twins 16708/14086 pull out with 13202 Lokmanya Tilak – Rajendranagar as I rolled up but as 11463 Somnath – Jabalpur had been behind it all the while on NTES I was safe in the knowledge that it would be along soon and was pleased when ET twins 14108/18692 arrived and not a WDP4!

The running ab out didn’t stop when I got back to Jabalpur and there was just enough time to grab a cold Thumbs up and some chocolate before the next set of ET twins were rolling in; WDM3A’s 18923/16223 with 13201 Rajendranagar – Lokmanya Tilak. Thankfully they didn’t hang around too long at Jabalpur and had me at Madan Mahal in time to spot what turned out to be KTE WDM3A twins 16777/16740 approaching with 11093 0010 Mumbai CST – Varanasi; they topped off a mad part of the afternoon as the fourth set of twins in succession and yet there were more to come!

When KTE WDG3A 14643 rolled in with 51672 1445 Katni – Itarsi it caught me completely off guard as I wasn’t really paying attention at that point and wasn’t expecting a Shakti on the train. I’d been paying attention to turquoise liveried KTE WDM3A 16710 which had shunted the stock in to work 11451 1745 Jabalpur – Rewa. As I walked over to do 14643 to Madan Mahal I’d resigned myself to the fact that my newfound wealth could stump up for a third auto of the afternoon to get me back for 16710 on 11451 but I didn’t need to as ET WDP4D 40123 was sat there waiting its turn to get platformed at Jabalpur with 12167 0035 Lokmanya Tilak – Varanasi; that turned out to be the first of three GM’s that made it into my moves book that evening two were basically auto rickshaw avoidance moves and the third, ET WDP4D 40166 working 12168 1025 Varanasi – Lokmanya Tilak, was just stopped in the right place at the right time and I needn’t have bothered doing it at all if I’d thought about it instead of leaping onto it as it sat in the middle road at Sihora Road. I ended up doing the next train that would have stopped at Sihora Road anyway, forward from Jabalpur. What doing the GM did do though was allow me some time to slow down and chill for a bit while my evening meal was served in the Hotel Polo Max’s restaurant.

After another excellent meal, and collecting my bag, things started to take a turn for the worse when the hotel’s card machine wouldn’t work. The same thing had happened the previous night but it had just needed plugging in to a charger then, unfortunately the same didn’t cure the problem on this occasion, neither did turning it off and on again, or removing the sim and reinserting it. I’d told the hotel staff that I was strapped for cash on my arrival the previous evening and explained the same to them again. This resulted in a call to the hotel manager who, after some discussion, told the hotel reception staff to give me my dinner on the house; it had only come to about RS350 in the end anyway. Of course, they did this and while I was walking out, after thanking them very much, I could hear the squabble about which department’s tally was going to take the hit; whether it was to be the restaurant, where the food had come from, or the reception, where the machine hadn’t worked…….

Back in the real world the Jabalpur evening rush was heating up and there were plenty of trains about, the one I was interested in, and the one I could have been on back from Sihora Road, 18234 0955 Bilaspur – Indore Narmada “Supers-low” Express dropped in with ET WDM3A twins 16216/16737. They thankfully made ET WDM3D 11198 at Madan Mahal with a 3 hour late running 51189 1130 Itarsi – Cheoki passenger. This got me back into Jabalpur in time to watch the last and 9th set of twins I’d have for the day roll in with 11094 Varanasi – Mumbai CST; the bonus of it they were Katni Shakti’s 14930/14608. ET WDP4 40160 provided the auto-rickshaw avoidance back into Jabalpur with 12061 1740 Bhopal Habibganj – Jabalpur Jn as unfortunately I missed ET twins 16528/11309 with 12854 Bhopal – Durg.

What a way to end a hectic day in Jabalpur, where soon most trains would be worked by electrics and the likes of the day I’d just had would pale into insignificance as far as I was concerned. I’d had 9 sets of Alco twins during the day and had seen around 20 different sets of twins working over the three days I’d been in the Itarsi/Jabalpur/Katni area; I’d never known it better and it would soon succumb to those pesky overhead wires and the Alco numbers at Itarsi & Katni would surely begin to dwindle down? Still, I enjoyed the day and the enjoyment I’d had on my previous visit to Jabalpur was the one and only reason for this last-ditch return; before it all went away. It had been a long day though and I was rather glad when the stock for my overnight journey was backed in, a little late; and PTRU WDM3A 16416 led the way with 11447 2350 Jabalpur – Howrah Shaktipunj Express.

 

Gen for Friday 25th November 2016

Alco

18693/18769 ET 18233 Indore – Bilaspur

11578 KTE 51703 0710 Jabalpur – Sukrimangela, 51704 Sukrimangela – Jabalpur

16282 MLDT 82534 Lokmanya Tilak – Darbhanga

18939 ET (40173 ET) 51190 Cheoki – Itarsi

11507 ET 12182 (P) Ajmer – Jabalpur, 12192 1730 Jabalpur – New Delhi

16718 KTE 51701 0730 Jabalpur – Rewa

11583 SPJ 22967 (P) Ahmedabad – Allahabad

18930 KTE 51671 0545 Itarsi – Katni

11425 ET 12545 (P) Raxual – Lokmanya Tilak

16677 KTE 22909 1940 (P) Valsad – Puri

11428 ET 11266 0615 Ambikapur – Jabalpur

11578 KTE 11651 1515 Jabalpur – Singrauli

16708/14086 ET 13202 2215 (P) Lokmanya Tilak – Rajendranagar

14108/18692 ET 11463 0930 (P) Somnath – Jabalpur

18923/16223 ET 13201 2330 (P) Rajendranagar – Lokmanya Tilak

16416 PTRU 11448 (P) Howrah – Jabalpur

16777/16740 KTE 11093 0010 Mumbai CST – Varanasi

14643 KTE 51672 1445 Katni – Itarsi

16710 KTE 11451 1745 Jabalpur – Rewa

11191 ET 15119 Rameswaram – Mandaudih

11198 ET 51189 1130 Itarsi – Cheoki

16216/16737 ET 18234 Bilaspur – Indore

16528/11309 ET 12854 Bhopal – Durg

14930/14608 KTE 11094 Varanasi – Mumbai CST

18964 KTE 11271 Itarsi – Bhopal

16735 (3C) KTE 51706 Sukrimangela – Jabalpur

18826/11135 ET 15018 Gorakhpur – Lokmanya Tilak

GM

40164 ET 11450 Katra – Jabalpur

40061 ET 12322 Mumbai CST – Howrah

40144 PA 12149 (P) Pune – Patliputra

40042 ET 22181 1500 Jabalpur – Hazrat Nizamuddin

40041 ET 22188 1610 Jabalpur – Habibganj

40123 ET 12167 Lokmanya Tilak – Varanasi

40107 ET 15647 Lokmanya Tilak – Guwahati

40166 ET 12168 Varanasi – Lokmanya Tilak

40160 ET 12061 1740 Habibganj – Jabalpur

 

Moves for Friday 25th November 2016

18732 Jabalpur Jn Madan Mahal 1815 (24/11) Bhopal – Itarsi Jn 11272 KTE WDM3A
16773 Madan Mahal Jabalpur Jn 1745 (24/11) Amravati – Jabalpur Jn 12159 ET WDM3A
18693 Jabalpur Jn Sihora Road 1715 (24/11) Indore Jn – Bilaspur 18233 ET WDM3A’s 18693/18769 in multi
18769
16049 Sihora Road Katni Jn 1045 (24/11) Pune Jn – Varanasi Jn 01453 KYN WDM3A
11311 Katni Jn Sihora Road 1750 (24/11) Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur Jn 22182 ET WDM3D
13300 Sihora Road Adhartal 1610 (24/11) Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur Jn 12190 JHS WDG3A’s 13300/14988 in multi
14988
16735 Adhartal Jabalpur Jn 0600 Rewa – Jabalpur Jn 11452 KTE WDM3C
18765 Jabalpur Jn Madan Mahal 1200 Jabalpur Jn – Somnath 11464 ET WDM3A’s 18765/18809 in multi
18809
18930 Madan Mahal Jabalpur Jn 0545 Itarsi Jn – Katni Jn 51671 KTE WDM3A
16325 Jabalpur Jn Gosalpur 0400 Itarsi Jn – Satna Jn 51673 PTRU WDM3A
11425 Gosalpur Jabalpur Jn 2035 (24/11) Raxaul Jn – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus 12545 ET WDM3D
Auto Jabalpur Jn Madan Mahal RS100, 3km, 8 mins
16487 Madan Mahal Jabalpur Jn 2335 (24/11) Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Patliputra 12141 ET WDM3A/D twins 16487/11319 in multi
11319
Auto Jabalpur Jn Madan Mahal RS100, 3km, 8 mins
14108 Madan Mahal Jabalpur Jn 0930 (24/11) Somnath – Jabalpur 11463 ET WDM3A’s 14108/18692 in multi
18692
18923 Jabalpur Jn Madan Mahal 2330 (24/11) Rajendranagar – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus 13201 ET WDM3A’s 18923/16223 in multi
16223
16777 Madan Mahal Jabalpur Jn 0010 Mumbai CST – Varanasi Jn 11093 KTE WDM3A’s 16777/16740 in multi
16740
14643 Jabalpur Jn Madan Mahal 1445 Katni Jn – Itarsi Jn 51672 KTE WDG3A
40123 Madan Mahal Jabalpur Jn 0035 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Varanasi Jn 12167 ET WDP4D
16710 Jabalpur Jn Sihora Road 1745 Jabalpur Jn – Rewa 11451 KTE WDM3A
40166 Sihora Road Jabalpur Jn 1025 Varanasi Jn – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus 12168 ET WDP4D
16216 Jabalpur Jn Madan Mahal 0955 Bilaspur – Indore Jn 18234 ET WDM3A’s 16216/16737 in multi
16737
11198 Madan Mahal Jabalpur Jn 1130 Itarsi Jn – Cheoki Jn 51189 ET WDM3D
14930 Jabalpur Jn Madan Mahal 1120 Varanasi Jn – Mumbai CST 11094 KTE WDG3A’s 14930/14608 in multi
14608
40160 Madan Mahal Jabalpur Jn 1740 Bhopal Habibganj – Jabalpur Jn 12061 ET WDP4D

 

Photos for Friday 25th November 2016

 

Saturday 26th November 2016 (Chopan – where another one of “those” nights ensued!)

When I woke my Shaktipunj Express was between Singrauli & Chopan and was still about an hour late. Before Obra Dam LKO WDM3D 11217 had passed with 14370 Bareilly – Singrauli and PTRU WDM3A 16092 had been waiting at the next crossing point with 22348 Patna Jn – Singrauli link Express. Both were noted for later in the afternoon and it didn’t take me long to figure out that I could get both in on their return journeys that evening.

On departure from Obra Dam, on the left-hand side while heading towards Chopan, is the Obra Thermal Power station and in the staging yard just north of the station was PTRU WDS6 36233. Just beyond that there’s a big open yard complex and within that were at least 3 industrial use Alco’s shunting, two were clearly WDS6’s and numbered simply No.1 & No.2; while the third loco was in a WDM2 body shell and without hearing it I couldn’t tell what type of Alco it was, although I suspected it was a 16-cylinder variant.

At Billi Junction 11447 Jabalpur – Howrah crawled to a stand alongside a local passenger train, which I soon confirmed was a late running 53351 0800 Barwadih – Chunar. PTRU WDM3A 18821 had charge of it and MGS WDG4 70401 was dead inside it. Surprisingly 53351 got the road first and I was soon leaping across to board 53351 while the crew of 18821 blew up for departure. On arrival into Chopan PTRU WDP4D 40217 was poised at the Billi end of the station and was soon dropping onto the opposite end of 11447 Jabalpur – Howrah when PTRU WDM3A 16416 rolled in shortly after 53351 had arrived. In the meantime, a lot of faffing about at the front of 53351 had resulted in both locos being removed and while 40217 was being attached to 11447 everything else in the station was being detached from whatever it had arrived with and soon 18821/70401 ex 53351 and 16416 ex 11447 were on the shed adjacent to the station.

While I’d half suspected that 11447 would be a PTRU WDP4 forward from Chopan, I’d not banked on it and had planned to head towards Barwadih after the engine change; which I now wasn’t going to do for obvious reasons. When PTRU WDM3A 18690 came off shed to work 53351 it went in the memory bank for later as doing 53351 to Chunar was a dead end move and I’d be doing it back as well. The only option I could now come up with move wise was to head towards Singrauli with 51677 1030 Chopan – Shaktinagar and do a step-back move involving the two Alco’s I passed on my way into Chopan.

Thankfully I’d managed to get myself some food from the stalls on the station when I arrived as no sooner had both 53351 & 11447 gone did the place literally shut up shop! It was a waiting game then as 51675 Katni – Chopan passenger was a few hours late and the rake and loco formed 51677 1030 Chopan – Shaktinagar. I was given false hope when UDL WDG3A 14721 approached but when it did so with only 3 coaches I soon realised it wasn’t 51675 from Katni. In fact, it was loaded with dignitaries and a raft of Army to protect them. The arrival of said train might well indicate why the station seemed to be going through a facelift and every office had stuff strewn about and piled up outside it; while everything that could be painted was getting a lick of it!

While UDL’s 14721, which I would come across again a few days later, was running round, PTRU WDM3A 16109 arrived with 51675 and was run round the empty set to work back with 51677 to Chopan, departing 2h33m late when it did get away. During the stop at Chopan a flat wagon had been added to the rear of the passenger set which had wagon bogies loaded onto it to make the rake a mixed train.

I was looking out again as we passed Obra Thermal and when I spotted the WDM2 bodied Alco, in glorious sunshine, in the staging sidings by the north signalbox I opted to get off and spend the afternoon at Obra attempting to photograph the industrial Alco’s. I attempted to leave my big bag in the station master’s office after 51677 had departed but he was having none of it so off I trudged in the sweltering heat with both my bags.

I walked down the track towards a footbridge I’d noticed on the way in. This footbridge crossed both the main line and then the main yard at the Obra Thermal; where I saw the Alco on the way in. It’s about a 1km walk and took me about 15 minutes, needless to say the purple Alco I’d seen on the way in was nowhere to be seen when I got there so I walked onto the bridge and positioned myself in the middle of it, where I crossed the yard, and waited. It was a good vantage point and I soon saw said Alco shunting down in the main power station yard area, I also saw at least one WDS6 shunting as well but unfortunately nothing came back up to the staging sidings during the time I stood on the footbridge waiting. The only thing that passed beneath it were ET WDM2/WDM3A twins 18825/16213 with a freight, heading towards Singrauli.

While I’d been careful not to draw attention to myself I was eventually spotted by the crew of PTRU WDS6 36233, when they came out of the mess facilities. I was beckoned down to them and assumed I was going to get grilled about what I was doing and why. While they were curious to know what I was doing they soon understood and as I began to walk away they shouted me back and beckoned for me to join them in the cab of 36233; which I was never going to refuse! It was quickly established that I was going back to the station and that they’d drop me there after they’d done a bit of shunting. Thankfully I had time to spare before my trains back to Chopan would arrive.

No sooner had I got settled in the cab did a set of wagons appear from the direction I’d been staring in for the previous couple of hours! The set was stopped Chopan side of the footbridge and we went to collect it. From where I’d been stood on the footbridge it would have made for a cracking photograph but I was happy where I was and even happier when I realised that when we started to move the set into the staging yard the Obra Thermal loco was still attached to the opposite end of the long rake and judging by the plumes of Alco clag in the distance it was assisting us into the yard; both locos seemed to be making a bit of a meal of it and the shunt was far from smooth. The immediate issue of which loco was at the other end soon went away when I got the crew of 36233 to confirm via the radio and even my limited Hindi could work out the reply of “number two” from the other end!

Once in the yard I’d hoped 36233 would head back up to the opposite end of the set it had just assisted in, so I could get some photos of No.2, but once the set was secure the crew told me we were heading to a different yard to pick something up and then they would take me into the station. We headed towards the Dam end of the yard, reversed and went into another big yard, buffered up to a brake van and then had a bit of a seminar session with both the crew and I taking photos of each other. During the time in the yard a freight had arrived into Obra Dam station and it eventually dawned on me that the bake we’d collected would be attached to the rear of it in the station. To get to which we had to shunt all the way to the edge of the bridge that went over Obra Dam itself, before propelling the brake onto the rear of the train in the station. The driver of 36233 was getting relief in the station and his mate was already there waiting. He knew I was heading back to Chopan and wanted to take me back in his crew van with him. I was of course content in waiting for one of two trains back to Chopan; and in the end neither eventuality happened as the freight guard that had turned up to get into the brake van we’d just shunted onto the rear of the train insisted I stay with him to Billi Jn.

At Billi Junction I was told by the guard to walk to the front of the freight that was in the adjacent road to us as his train wouldn’t be going forward for some time; I was told to be quick too. Thankfully I found PTRU WDG3A’s 13156/13165 at the head of the train I’d just got off but PTRU WDG4’s 12986/70018 at the head of the other and stood on the side of the leading GM was the ALP, looking out for me it seemed. He was quick to beckon me up and moments later we were on the move towards Chopan. The afternoon hadn’t gone anywhere near like I’d planned or thought it would and when I was dropped off at Chopan I attempted to redeem what I’d originally set out to do that afternoon and headed straight over to the auto stand outside the station (depot side) and was headed back to Obra Dam moments later.

The auto cost me RS200 and only took 20 minutes to get me back to Obra Dam, where the sun was beginning to dip and the temperature was soon dropping. Despite only starting at Singrauli 14369 1620 Singrauli – Bareilly turned up about 30’ late but LKO WDM3D 11217 did not disappoint at all and I’d say it was the best BG Alco I had on the trip. It was a trip I cut short on it though when PTRU WDM3A 16092 pulled up alongside at Billi Jn, which appeared to be a bit of a stop-all junction! I was happy enough to watch 11217 disappear off though while I decanted towards 23347 Singrauli – Patna link Express and when 23347 arrived into Chopan PTRU WDM3A 16416 was just dropping onto the rear of 14371 Barwadih – Chopan link Express to shunt it to the rear of 14369; with 14371 having been worked in by PTRU WDM3A 16766.

It was at this point of the evening that the realisation sank in that my night was going to be another long one. I’d been watching my overnight train on NTES all day as it is one IR’s trains that it notoriously late and is generally up to 5 hours late. The 50-odd minutes late that 18102 Jammu Tawi – Tatanagar had been at the start of the day had degenerated into 6 hours by this point, which meant an 0400 departure from Chopan at the earliest and with no hotels nearby it would be a long night indeed. Unfortunately, 12874 Anand Vihar – Hatia had only been 5 hours late itself on this particular day and not 12 hours late like it had been earlier in the week. This meant that it had gone while I’d been at Obra Dam earlier. So, resigned to the fact I’d have a bit of festering about either way I used NTES to work out that I could head out towards Renukut on 53352 Chunar Barwadih to pass the time; for the late running 53343 Gomoh – Chopan back in. As PTRU WDM3A 18690 eased away from Chopan, the bustling station was playing host to PTRU WDM3A 16116 with 13345 Varanasi – Singrauli and PTRU WDM3A 16766 was poised to drop onto the Shaktinagar portion when it left, to work forward with 23345 Varanasi – Shaktinagar link Express.

I made Renukut for 53343 Gomoh – Chopan with PTRU WDM3A 16762 and as 51679 Katni – Chopan was so far down the pan itself I made this with ease at Billi Junction and it was nearly midnight when I got back to Chopan. There were new station buildings on the station, one of which was an upper class waiting room and adjacent was a sleeper class waiting room; the latter already being rammed and there wasn’t even any room on the floor. When I asked at the station master’s office I was told that the keys for the waiting rooms hadn’t been handed over and that I’d have to wait on the platform. While pondering my night, standing on the station footbridge, I was approached by an RPF guy. This encounter resulted in me being given one of the freshly painted benches outside the RPF office to get some sleep on. It was a decent length wooden bench and quite wide too. While it was quite rickety, it sufficed and was surprisingly easy to sleep on. Two hours later though the RPF wanted their bench back and brought me a different one to sleep on; this one was a metal framed one with three bucket seats along it and was totally useless as a bench to sleep on. I soon found myself on board the empty set of stock in platform 1, which only had one unlocked door throughout the set. The only problem with that being that it was adjacent to a stall where everyone was stood watching a TV, which was playing loud enough for the whole village to hear it! The result of the night being that I’d had more sleep on the waiting room floor 5 days earlier!

 

Gen for 26th November 2016

Alco

11217 LKO 14370 (P) Bareilly – Singrauli, 14369 Singrauli – Bareilly

16092 PTRU 22348 (P) Patna Jn – Singrauli, 22347 Singrauli – Patna Jn

16109 PTRU 51675 Katni – Chopan, 51677 Chopan – Shaktinagar, 51678 Shaktinagar – Chopan, 51676 Chopan – Katni

16766 PTRU 14371 Barwadih – Chopan (16416 PTRU shunt to 14369 at Chopan), 23345 Chopan – Shaktinagar (portion off 13345)

18690 PTRU 53351 Barwadih – Chunar (from Chopan)

18758 PTRU 18613 Ranchi – Chopan

16116 PTRU 13345 Varanasi – Singrauli

16762 PTRU 53343 Gomoh – Chopan

16763 PTRU 51679 Katni – Chopan

GM

40217 PTRU 11447 2350 (P) Jabalpur – Howrah (from Chopan)

 

Moves for 26th November 2016

16416 Jabalpur Jn Billi Jn 2350 (25/11) Jabalpur Jn – Howrah 11447 PTRU WDM3A
18821 Billi Jn Chopan 0300 Barwadih Jn – Chunar 53351 PTRU WDM3A with MGS WDG4D 70401 dit
16109 Chopan Obra Dam 1030 Chopan – Shaktinagar 51677 PTRU WDM3A – 2h33m late start, mixed train with flat wagon on rear
36233 Obra Dam Yard Obra Dam Station Shunts in Obra Dam Yard Complex PRTU WDS6 36233 & Obra Thermal Power Station WDS6 #2 T&T Coal Rake Obra Yard power station entrance to Staging Yard then 36233 shunt brake van from staging yard to Obra Dam station
#2 Obra Dam North Cabin Obra Dam Staging Yard
13156 Obra Dam Billi Jn Freight PTRU WDG3A’s 13156/13165 in multi – freight train in guard’s van
13165
12986 Billi Jn Chopan Freight PTRU WDG4B/D twins 12986/70018 in multi – freight train in guards van
70018
Auto Chopan Obra Dam RS200, 6km, 15 minutes
11217 Obra Dam Billi Jn 1620 Singrauli Jn – Bareilly Jn 14369 LKO WDM3D
16092 Billi Jn Chopan 1700 Singrauli Jn – Patna Jn 23347 PTRU WDM3A
18690 Chopan Renukut 1400 Chunar – Barwadih Jn 53352 PTRU WDM3A
16762 Renukut Billi Jn 0540 NSCB Gomoh Jn – Chopan 53343 PTRU WDM3A
16763 Billi Jn Chopan 1015 Katni Jn – Chopan 51679 PTRU WDM3A

 

Photos for Saturday 26th November 2016

 

Sunday 27th November 2016 (Chopan to Koderma; a bit of a disaster)

I eventually gave up on any further attempts a sleep when ABR WDM3A 14096 arrived with 19414 Kolkata – Ajmer and joined everyone on the platform drinking chai and having a bite to eat. When PTRU WDG3A twins 13509/13333 arrived with the opposing working of that I was waiting for, 18101 Tatanagar – Jammu Tawi, I wasn’t about to let it go and sensed the end was night for my lack of sleep as I headed to Churk to head 18102 Jammu Tawi – Tatanagar off at the pass. When 18102 eventually arrived into Churk it was gone 5am and it was over 9 hours late! Thankfully it had PTRU WDM3A twins 16404/16760 leading the way and even more thankfully I was reserved in a lower side berth in 3AC so could get myself curled up and dossed out, just as the rest of the train was waking up. Unfortunately, 3AC doesn’t have curtains so I couldn’t hide from the world but I was very grateful of the berth I’d got and managed to get some sleep none-the-less.

It wasn’t a memorable journey for anything other than the lack of food options along the way. On the approach to Barkakana Jn I found something on NTES that I hadn’t expected at all in that 53373/53374 Koderma – Barkakana – Koderma were listed on the station line-up. While I knew the section had been open to freight since about February I’d not checked before I’d left the UK to see if passenger trains had started running; this bonus added a new dimension to the night’s plan. I soon figured out that I could do 53374 across to Koderma and wait it out for my 18610 Lokmanya Tilak – Ranchi, which was due there at 0100, and I saw supposed to be boarding at Gomoh after doing 18619 Ranchi – Dumka to Chandrapura for 18620 Dumka – Ranchi back to Bokaro Steel City and then a taxi to Gomoh. 53374 to Koderma for 18610 seemed like a lot more sensible move.

I was very grateful of the snacks available at Barkakana and while the PTRU twins were being detached from 18102 I found BKSC WAG5 23516 sat waiting to leave with 58622 1415 Barkakana – Adra passenger. As I was going to do 18102 forward to Ramgarh Cantt for road transport back, doing a WAG5 instead of a WAM4 was a better idea; so, on I got and it definitely turned into a better idea as TATA WAM4 21366 was still sat in the platform at Barkakana when I got back there in an Auto 20 minutes later. It would have been rude not to do a second trip to Ramgarh, just for the fun of it and especially now I had the money to pay for auto’s!

I literally stuffed my face silly at Barkakana until KGP WDG3A 13351 arrived with 53373 Koderma – Barkakana and was promptly run round the rake to return to whence it had come from with 53374. As with all newly opened lines the arriving train hadn’t been wedged at all and it seemed like the whole idea of the new service was still a bit of a novelty. Novelty or not though it was a very welcome bonus for me after I’d missed out on so much during the first week of this trip. The only unfortunate thing was that it was in total darkness throughout so I didn’t see any of the surrounding area. Due to that fact, I utilized the luggage rack to catch up on some sleep and was deposited in Koderma Jn just before 2300.

 

Gen for Sunday 27th November 2016

14096 ABR 19414 (P) Kolkata Chitpur – Ajmer

 

Moves for Sunday 27th November 2016

13509 Chopan Churk 1450 (26/11) Tatanagar – Jammu Tawi 18101 PTRU WDG3A’s 13509/13333 in multi
13333
16404 Churk Barkakana Jn 1420 (25/11) Jammu Tawi – Tatanagar 18102 PTRU WDM3A’s 16404/16760 in multi – 8 hours late
16760
23516 Barkakana Jn Ramgarh Cantt 1415 Barkakana Jn – Adra Jn 58622 BKSC WAG5
Auto Ramgarh Cantt Barkakana Jn RS150, 10 minutes
21366 Barkakana Jn Ramgarh Cantt 1420 (25/11) Jammu Tawi – Tatanagar 18102 TATA WAM4
Auto Ramgarh Cantt Barkakana Jn RS150, 10 minutes
13351 Barkakana Jn Koderma Jn 1700 Barkakana Jn – Koderma Jn 53374 KGP WDG3A

 

Monday 28th November 2016 (A day in Ranchi – WAG heaven)

I didn’t end up with too much time to kill at Koderma Junction, which was a good thing as there’s not a great deal there. When ET WDM3D 11320 rolled in with the weekly 18610 Lokmanya Tilak – Ranchi I was thankful it was a GM. It’s the only train that’s diesel hauled that covers the Gomoh – Chandrapura section. As my reservation on board wasn’t until Gomoh there was someone already in my booked berth but the TTE did find me another berth to occupy until Gomoh. After I moved at Gomoh I found myself wide awake and as I couldn’t sleep I found myself checking NTES and was very surprised to find 18620 Dumka – Ranchi 4 hours late. As this meant it would be behind 18610 from Chandrapura, I confirmed this on NTES and got off for it at Bokaro Steel City.

Blue BKSC WDM3A 16745 turned up in the fog with the late 18620 and thankfully there were a few berths free in 3AC and I managed to get myself a lower side berth after asking specifically for one. Had I gone through to Ranchi on 18102/18110 the previous evening my plans could well have ended up buggered by 18620 being late and I might not have got to Gomoh for 18610 at all, let alone make it at Chandrapura!

Some sleep did occur to Ranchi and upon arrival I was quite surprised at the fog and how cool it was; nothing that a few hot chai’s didn’t ease though. It was evident from NTES that most things were running late that had come from the Bihar area and I could only assume it was due to fog. Of course, this helped me out a little in my morning moves; which turned into a bit of a WAG-fest, albeit not straight away.

I wasn’t sure at this stage if 12832 Bhubaneswar – Dhanbad Garib Rath had gone over to electric vice Alco on the electrified section from Jharsuguda. After doing SRC WAP1 22004 to Hatia on 18615 Howrah – Hatia my suspicions were confirmed when TATA WAM4 21305 arrived with 12832; which I did back to Ranchi and just made MGS WAP4 22937 with a late running 18621 Patliputra – Hatia which dropped me straight into 53062 0755 Hatia – Barddhaman passenger, which had been sat in at Hatia waiting with TATA WAG5 23210 (MGS WAP4 22803) when I’d left on the Garib Rath earlier.

As 18613 0740 Ranchi – Chopan Intercity had been showing to depart late on NTES anyway I wasn’t surprised when it came in empty stock behind 53062. It was another of the trains that used to be through Alco in the Ranchi area but this one had also recently gone over to electric from where it could. In this case, it was Barkakana and LDH WAG7 24606, that had charge of 18613, had been parked up at Barkakana the previous afternoon when I’d been there; so, must have worked 18614 forward to Ranchi. I planned to get an auto back in from Namkon after doing 24606 out but didn’t need to as ASN WAG5 23179 was sat waiting the road in with 13404 Bhagalpur – Ranchi; this being a train that used to be Alco throughout but had gone over the electric from Andal in recent years.

13404 pulled up by 18604 Bhagalpur – Ranchi, another train that also used to be Alco throughout but now gets an electric from Kiul. These trains used to be very handy for getting between Bhagalpur and Ranchi with Alco! As TATA WAG5 23213 was about to get the off to run empty stock to Hatia I wasted no time in looking for an open coach so I could head through to Hatia with it. Locals seem to use any train they can between Ranchi & Hatia and I found during my time at Ranchi that either the front or back coach was the place to be, or the vans at the front or back of the train. The staff at Ranchi did seem to do a good job of locking the trains up but also seemed to have a good rapport with the locals wanting to use the trains. The assistant loco pilot waved at me as I leapt into the front luggage van while he was waving his green flag, so there clearly wasn’t an issue doing these empty stock trains.

At Hatia TATA WAG5 23213 ran straight into the carriage sidings adjacent to the back platform so there wasn’t much of an issue getting to the platforms and as it happened TATA WAG5 23393 was sat in the back platform with 58026 0900 Hatia – Kharagpur; so, it was off one set, to the ballast, then straight up onto the other. I was back in Ranchi before I knew it and this time had chance to breathe before my next move as there was no sign of the Lohardaga branch train arriving.

The Lohardaga trains use the old NG branch platform 1A and there is even a separate entrance to said platform at the Hatia end of the station, where there’s also a ticket window. I found out the hard way that this entrance is only open from just before the arrival of the first Lohardaga train to just before departure of the last but it came in very hand as my hotel was only a 2-minute walk from this entrance! BKSC WDM3A 16649 arrived with 58652 0735 Lohardaga – Ranchi and was promptly run round the load 12 set to work back out with 58653 0930 Ranchi – Barkichanpi; the Lohardaga to Barkichanpi section had been an extension of the old NG line and it would ultimately open to Tori eventually but the last bit from Barkichanpi to Tori seemed to be taking years to complete. The stock itself was a mixed bag of half decent passenger coaches and a random selection of old DMU coaches mixed in; one of which was an old DMU driving vehicle with its windows all boarded up. As my afternoon plan needed me at Hatia at 1340 I couldn’t do 16649 out and back to Barkichanpi but I did it out to Argora, the first stop some 2km out of town, and walked back to my hotel to check in before heading to Hatia.

The walk only took about 30 minutes and was about as straight as they come. I’d stayed at the Hotel Accord last time I’d been in Ranchi and despite having the room booked for 3 nights I’d rang the hotel the previous night to tell them I’d be turning up this morning instead of the previous night. They were expecting me when I walked in and were very quick to check me in and show me to my rather large room. It was clean, quiet (at the rear of the hotel), had very good AC that cooled the room quickly and there was piping hot water in a bathroom with toiletries provided. As breakfast was still being served I quickly grabbed some, some of which was from a laid-out buffet but omelettes and the likes were cooked freshly upon request. A quick shower later and I was fresh as a daisy and felt like a different person. It had been a hard week and I was looking forward to a few days with a bit less stress and without a bit of disaster thrown it!

TATA WAG5 23550 was over an hour late with 58143 0530 Tatanagar – Hatia and upon arrival into Hatia was boarded by people waiting for the then late running 58161 1145 Hatia – Jharsuguda. My plan was to cover the tri-weekly 12873 1340 Hatia – Anand Vihar, which used to get twin PTRU Alco’s but had recently changed over to elusive BKSC links instead; this giving the once freight only BKSC Alco a considerable amount of work, which included 18619/18620 Ranchi – Dumka Intercity. When I took a walk onto the footbridge, that spanned the station area and the whole of Hatia’s carriage sidings, every Alco I saw was from BKSC’s pool; so, it now seemed that everything Alco-wise in the Ranchi area was now in the hands of BKSC locos. There were three twin sets on shed and quite a few others scattered around it. I’d half been expecting a BKSC WDS6 to be shunting the carriage sidings but found BKSC WDM3A’s 16145 & 16149 to be doing that job and there wasn’t a WDS6 in sight. BNDM WDM3A’s 16144/16299 broke the BKSC monopoly when they arrived with 18452 Puri – Hatia and were promptly removed and set to shed for servicing. Just Ranchi side of the station was a long line of electrics, mainly WAG’s, waiting their duties that afternoon; when everything headed back out of Ranchi.

Even though I’d recently done breakfast at the hotel I passed the time with a semi-decent veg biriyani from the refreshment room at the Ranchi end of platform 1, by the footbridge, before loading up on cold Thumbs Up, crisps and chocolate for the afternoon journey to Muri. I’d originally planned to do 12873 Hatia – Anand Vihar to Renukut for 18102/18110 Jammu – Rourkela back as 12873 is the only train that covers the Muri – Barkakana section with Alco now. After the previous day’s issues with the very late 18102/18110 I wasn’t going to entertain the fiasco that would come so had decided to only do it to Muri and had planned to do it to Barkakana the following day. One day a week there’s an easy move with 12873 to Barkakana for 12874 back on a plus 30 minutes, this is only doable on a Thursday though and with 12874 being an average of 5 hours late, even that move is fraught with danger.

The stock for 12873 1340 Hatia – Ranchi was backed in shortly before departure time and as the rake was that long I couldn’t see what was backing it in. Even though I hadn’t seen a WDS6 on shed I wasn’t taking the chance and leapt aboard a sleeper coach while others were doing the same in the 2nd unreserved. I walked back through the sleeper coaches as the train was being shunted in to save a lot longer walk than I needed and when I got back to the Ranchi end of the station BKSC WDM3A 16145 was just being removed from the stock; never mind eh!? It wasn’t long before the twins were backing down and BKSC’s WDM3A’s 16645/16728 were bolted to the stock for their 582km run to Chunar. The AC coaches on the rake are towards the front leaving Hatia, although others had recently done the train and they were towards the rear so I don’t know which is the correct formation. I had a compartment to myself from Hatia and nobody joined me at Ranchi so it was a comfortable journey. Due to the late departure of 12873 from Hatia it turned out that the dead connection off 16649 returning from Barkichanpi had made at Ranchi but it wasn’t something I’d been willing to risk earlier.

It’s a nice journey from Ranchi to Muri through the hills, unfortunately most it is downhill in this direction so the noise from the Alco’s was mostly dynamic braking heading down towards Muri. What is even more interesting about the section from Ranchi to Muri is that in either direction the railway takes a completely different alignment and has different stations, with trains only calling at them in one direction only; so, for journeys to Ranchi locals must use one station and for journeys from Ranchi they must use another. This isn’t very conducive to riding a bike to the station of course!

Despite 12873 being closed to an hour late than half an hour from Ranchi it picked up a considerable amount of time en-route to Muri Jn, where it then took an age to get into the station and stagger down the lengthy platform. The first of three trains heading back to Ranchi in quick succession, 58661 Tatanagar – Hatia, was already sat in waiting to depart with TATA WAG5 23159. Had it not been for my jumping off 12873 and legging it across the platform I could well have missed it. I was pleased with the empty front coach on said passenger train but the peace was shattered at the first stop, Silli, by a raft of college students that were legging it across the tracks to run for the train; of course, they ended up in the front coach as it was pulling out by the time they reached the train. Even though the peace had been shattered they turned out to be a good bunch and I sat talking to them until TATA WAG5 23390 pulled up alongside 23159 at Goutamdhara with 53061 0615 Barddhaman – Hatia. They were a little bemused at me getting off one train and onto the other, especially when they departed first on 58661; still, the peace was restored as all those that had missed 58661 at Silli had crossed from 53061 to it and would get back to Ranchi earlier as a result. On board 53061 it was about as peaceful as it gets on a local passenger train.

TATA WAG5 23552 wasn’t far behind me at Ranchi, when it arrived with 58025 0840 Kharagpur – Hatia, which I did forward to Hatia and was pleased to find TATA WAG5 23585 only just arriving with a late running 58162 0730 Jharsuguda – Hatia; to form late running 58142 1800 Hatia – Tatanagar.

As I departed I noticed BNDM WAG7’s 27158/27144 coupled to the stock for 18622 2200 Hatia – Patliputra and decided I’d be having a look at that later, after I’d covered the empty stock from Hatia to Ranchi for 18619 Ranchi – Dumka. I had plenty of time to kill before any of that though and in-between moves used the Hotel Accord’s restaurant, which served up a very good meal to set me up for the evening.

There was no surprise later when TATA WAM4 21305 returned from Dhanbad with 12831 Dhanbad – Bhubaneswar Garib Rath, which I did down to Hatia to find BKSC WDM3A 16149 sat in the station yard with the stock for 18619 2125 Ranchi – Dumka. I wasn’t the only person that used this stock to get back from Hatia to Ranchi but I was the only person off it that immediately headed back to from Ranchi to Hatia on board 18625 Patna Jn – Hatia, with KZJ WAG7 27829. As I rolled into Hatia the crew of BNDM WAG7’s 27158/27144 were just preparing their locos for the off and they were spot on time departing Hatia with 18622 2200 Hatia – Patliputra. The BNDM WAG’s topped off a decent day and while there’d been very little Alco involvement I’d still enjoyed the day nedding about on local passenger trains with WAG’s. It was a shame that Ranchi didn’t have more Alco hauled trains to go at as it was a nice area to spend some time in.

 

Gen for Monday 28th November 2016

Alco

16144/16299 BNDM 18452 (P) Puri – Hatia

Electric

22004 SRC 18615 (P) Howrah – Hatia

22937 MGS 18621 (P) Patna Jn – Hatia

24606 LDH 18613 0740 Ranchi – Chopan

23210 TATA (22803 MGS) 53062 Hatia – Barddhaman

22997 MGS 18623 (P) Rajendranagar – Hatia

23213 TATA 18604 (P) Bhagalpur – Ranchi

23179 ASN 13404 (P) Bhagalpur – Ranchi

21317 TATA 13352 (PP) Alappuzha – Dhanbad

22278 MGS 13303 Dhanbad – Ranchi

21386 MGS 13304 Ranchi – Dhanbad

 

Moves for Monday 28th November 2016

11320 Koderma Jn Bokaro Steel City 1550 (26/11) Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Ranchi Jn 18610 ET WDM3D
16745 Bokaro Steel City Ranchi Jn 1845 (27/11) Dumka – Ranchi Jn 18620 BKSC WDM3A
22004 Ranchi Jn Hatia 2210 (27/11) Howrah – Hatia 18615 SRC WAP1
21305 Hatia Ranchi Jn 2015 (27/11) Bhubaneswar – Dhanbad Jn 12832 TATA WAM4
22937 Ranchi Jn Hatia 1525 (27/11) Patliputra – Hatia Jn 18621 MGS WAP4
23210 Hatia Ranchi Jn 0755 Hatia Jn – Barddhaman Jn 53062 TATA WAG5 – MGS WAP4 22803 dit
24606 Ranchi Jn Namkon 0740 Ranchi Jn – Chopan 18613 LDH WAG7
23179 Namkon Ranchi Jn 1925 (27/11) Bhagalpur Jn – Ranchi Jn 13404 ASN WAG5
23213 Ranchi Jn Hatia ECS ex 18604 Bhagalpur Jn – Ranchi Jn TATA WAG5
23393 Hatia Ranchi Jn 0900 Hatia – Kharagpur Jn 58026 TATA WAG5
16649 Ranchi Jn Argora 0930 Ranchi Jn – Barkichanpi 58653 BKSC WDM3A
Walk Argora Ranchi Jn 2km, 25 minutes
23550 Ranchi Jn Hatia 0530 Tatanagar – Hatia 58143 TATA WAG5
16145 Hatia Platform 3 North End Hatia Platform 3 South End Shunt stock in for 12873 1340 Hatia – ANVT BKSC WDM3A
16645 Hatia Muri Jn 1340 Hatia – Anand Vihar Terminus 12873 BKSC WDM3A’s 16645/16728 in multi
16728
23159 Muri Jn Goutamdhara 1130 Tatanagar – Hatia 58661 TATA WAG5
23390 Goutamdhara Ranchi Jn 0615 Barddhaman Jn – Hatia 53061 TATA WAG5
23552 Ranchi Jn Hatia 0840 Kharagpur Jn – Hatia 58025 TATA WAG5
23585 Hatia Ranchi Jn 1800 Hatia – Tatanagar 58142 TATA WAG5
21305 Ranchi Jn Hatia 1600 Dhanbad Jn – Bhubaneswar 12831 TATA WAM4
16149 Hatia Ranchi Jn ECS for 18619 2125 Ranchi Jn – Dumka BKSC WDM3A
27829 Ranchi Jn Hatia 1140 Patna Jn – Hatia 18625 KZJ WAG7
27158 Hatia Ranchi Jn 2200 Hatia – Patliputra 18622 BNDM WAG7’s 27158/27144 in multi
27144

 

Photos for Monday 28th November 2016

 

Tuesday 29th November 2016 (Another day in Ranchi – WAG heaven)

I made time for breakfast before heading out for the morning and with no Alco moves being available until the afternoon I settled for another morning of nedding about on WAG’s. TATA WAG5 23583 was already having its stock ex 18604 Bhagalpur – Ranchi cleaned out and doors locked when I got to the station. Those using it to get to Hatia were all in the front coach and the staff locking it up seemed to entrust them with a padlock to deal with the door once it had arrived at Hatia and they’d vacated. I joined them on their journey and we departed just as ASN WAG5 23179 arrived into Ranchi with 13404 Bhagalpur for the second day running.

TATA WAG5 23326, with MGS WAP4 22822 dead in tow, soon whisked me back to Ranchi with 53062 0755 Hatia – Barddhaman and CNB WAG7 27995 was already sat in with 18623 Patna Jn – Hatia; which had me back at Hatia within 15 minutes of departing! Initially I’d expected to be doing TATA WAG5 23317 back from Hatia with 58026 0900 Hatia – Kharagpur but TATA WAM4 21306 arrived with the late running 13352 Alappuzha – Dhanbad first so I did it back to Ranchi and then the elastic band snapped as I headed away from Ranchi and into the hills with 23317 on 58026; having confirmed that BKSC WDM3A 16649 was on the Lohardaga branch trains for the second day running.

Gangaghat is the station on the line(s) between Ranchi & Muri where both independent lines in either direction meet up before taking their own deviations again. I didn’t have much time there before heading back towards Tatisilwai with TATA WAG5 23309 on 58143 0530 Tatanagar – Hatia, where I then did TATA WAG5 23311 forward to Namkon with 53337 0545 Garhbeta – Ranchi for stranger in the camp, MGS WAG7 28291 into Ranchi with 53335 0700 Dhanbad – Ranchi. Strangely 53335 pulled into the same platform that 53337 had arrived into at Ranchi and 28291 was detached from the one set and buffered up to the set in front of it, while 23311 was run round from its set and attached to the rear of the set I’d just arrived on; thus the loco off 53337 worked 53338 and the locos off 53335 worked 53336 albeit with opposing sets off 53337 & 53335, so the rakes swap at Ranchi but the locos stick with the link and not the set.

I decided against going down to Hatia for 12873 1340 Hatia – Anand Vihar in favour of having a good afternoon meal at the Hotel Accord instead; and they didn’t let me down. While my night in the hotel wasn’t really going to be much of a night I did tell the hotel staff I’d be back at about 0400 the following morning so they weren’t concerned when they locked up that night.

I was pleasantly surprised to find BKSC WDM3A’s 16743/16742 arrive with 12873 when I got to the station and even more surprised when the train was on time arriving; the same pair had been spotted on the 12873/4 circuit the previous week. The set was in the opposite formation to what the previous days had been so I sat in a very empty sleeper coach at the front of the train and had a very enjoyable journey to Muri, where the train was that early that I even had time for photos before continuing forward to Barkakana in the same, equally empty, sleeper coach.

At Barkakana I planned to do 11447 Jabalpur – Howrah Shaktipunj Express to Dhanbad for 18620 Dumka- Ranchi back to Ranchi but strange goings on had me doing 53344 Chopan – Gomoh passenger out of Barkakana. While causally drinking chai at one of the stalls I’d not really paid much attention to the loco swap taking place on 53344, after PTRU WDM3A 16766 arrived with it. It was only when I could see three locos dropping onto the set that my interest outweighed the necessity to drink chai. What I found at the head of the train was quite unusual and the numbers of the leading locos meant something to me from my UK cranking; TATA WAG5 23641 was dead against the stock with TATA WAG9’s 31459/31432 topping it. There was never any question of me not doing this pair, especially with the numbers they carried the same as carried by Class 31’s in the UK. My only concern was at what point 11447 might overtake 53344. However, I soon realised that 11447 was given 40 minutes longer than 53344 to cover the same distance to Chandrapura Jn, despite stopping at considerably less stops; and 11447 was given a total of 5 hours to cover the 106km from Barkakana to Dhanbad, talk about slack timings. That said I didn’t tempt fate and opted to get off my pair of WAG9’s at Bokaro Thermal to await what turned out to be a boring HWH WAP4 22520 with 11447. Not surprisingly 11447 was on time but it still didn’t overtake 53344 all the way to Chandrapura. Thankfully it was still right time at Katrasgarh so I went through to Dhanbad for 18620, which itself was about 30’ late.

I only had a short time at Dhanbad and there was no surprise when BKSC WDM3A 16146 turned up with 18620, after I’d had it into Ranchi in the empty stock to form opposing working 18619 the previous night. The TTE on board 18620 was very accommodating and even woke some guy up who was dossed in the lower side berth he was giving me and moved him elsewhere. I was grateful of the berth, even though I’d prepared myself for the event that I might have had to stand in sleeper class to Ranchi.

 

Gen for Tuesday 29th November 2016

Alco

16649 BKSC Lohardaga Branch all day

Electric

27995 CNB 18623 (P) Rajendranagar – Hatia

23326 TATA (22822 MGS) 53062 Hatia – Barddhaman

23179 ASN 13404 (P) Bhagalpur – Ranchi

21306 TATA 13352 (PP) Alappuzha – Dhanbad

21386 MGS 13320 Ranchi – Deogarh

22278 MGS 13319 Deogarh – Ranchi

23369 TATA 53338 1522 Ranchi – Garhbeta

28291 MGS 53336 1547 Ranchi – Dhanbad

 

Moves for Tuesday 29th November 2016

23583 Ranchi Jn Hatia ECS ex 18604 Bhagalpur Jn – Ranchi Jn TATA WAG5
23326 Hatia Ranchi Jn 0755 Hatia Jn – Barddhaman Jn 53062 TATA WAG5 with MGS WAP4 22822 dit
27995 Ranchi Jn Hatia 2120 (28/11) Rajendranagar – Hatia 18623 CNB WAG7
21306 Hatia Ranchi Jn 0600 (27/11) Alappuzha – Dhanbad Jn 13352 TATA WAM4
23317 Ranchi Jn Gangaghat 0900 Hatia – Kharagpur Jn 58026 TATA WAG5
23309 Gangaghat Tatisilwai 0530 Tatanagar – Hatia 58143 TATA WAG5
23311 Tatisilwai Namkon 0545 Garhbeta – Ranchi Jn 53337 TATA WAG5
28291 Namkon Ranchi Jn 0700 Dhanbad Jn – Ranchi Jn 53335 MGS WAG7
16743 Ranchi Jn Barkakana Jn 1340 Hatia – Anand Vihar Terminus 12873 BKSC WDM3A’s 16743/16742 in multi
16742
31459 Barkakana Jn Bokaro Thermal 0615 Chopan – NSCB Gomoh Jn 53344 TATA WAG9’s 31459/31432 in multi with TAT WAG5 23641 dit
31432
22520 Bokaro Thermal Dhanbad Jn 2350 (28/11) Jabalpur Jn – Howrah 11447 HWH WAP4
16149 Dhanbad Jn Ranchi Jn 1845 Dumka – Ranchi Jn 18620 BKSC WDM3A

 

Photos for Tuesday 29th November 2016

 

Wednesday 30th November 2016 (An eastward move before heading west to Sambalpur)

Thankfully 18620 Dumka – Ranchi wasn’t 4 hours late into Ranchi as it had been two mornings ago, and I was waking the night security staff up to unlock the front gate at the Hotel Accord by 0400. A couple of hours in bed followed. As I’d prepared my bag for the off before I’d headed out the previous afternoon I had time to grab a quick bite at breakfast before heading to the station to do a move that wasn’t really a straightforward one and involved quite a bit of electric mileage. The reward would be covering a bit of track that I hadn’t even realised Alco’s did and came across it only by default; that was Kandra Jn to Sini Jn, which was only covered by the weekly 12375/6 Chennai Central – Asansol – Chennai Central, which was diesel between Asansol & Visakhapatnam. I’d originally planned to do, and had reservations for, 18451 Hatia – Puri to Jharsuguda for 12376 forward; which was how I’d come across the fact 12376 was Alco from Asansol in the first place.

I whiled away my last moments at Ranchi Jn drinking chai from the stall near the exit of platform 1, where the same guys had served me for the last three days and not once had they tried to overcharge me. They sold the best chai in the place and only charge RS6 per cup too. The station cleaners had also started early on this particular morning and if Ranchi Junction’s perpetual cleaning was anything to go by then Indian Railways should be running a very tidy ship in the near future; it was literally non-stop! There were people cleaning the footbridges, washing the platforms, jet-washing the tracks and then there was even someone riding round on a platform cleaner. It was definitely progress as far as I was concerned. I was quite sad to leave Ranchi behind as TATA WAM4 21317 got 12832 Bhubaneswar – Dhanbad Garib Rath under way. It had been an enjoyable few days, even without so many Alco’s to do.

I had no problem getting a seat on 12832 to Dhanbad as the train was half empty. At Dhanbad there were a couple of options towards Asansol but I took the first one that turned up, 19608 Ajmer – Kolkata with ASN WAM4 21380. This was another one of those trains that used to be Alco throughout a couple of years previous but had eventually succumbed to electrics in the wired territories. Again, there was no problem getting a berth in AC, if only for the 59km to Asansol. Upon arrival into Asansol memories of my previous visit there came flooding back and the many platform vendors were all pushing their freshly prepared veg biriyani’s; which did nicely for lunch while I waited and watched an electric world pass me by.

The stock to form 12376 1600 Asansol – Chennai Central was shunted in at the last minute and I was more concerned with attempting to get a seat than a photo but was well impressed with UDL WDG3A’s 14824/14721 at the head of the train. With 5 AC coaches in the rake I was quite confident that seats would be available, unfortunately there was nothing in the solitary 2AC coach, not that I could occupy all the way to Sambalpur anyway, so yet another 3AC lower side berth had to suffice; and suffice it did.

As it was soon dark the journey was a bit nondescript but my eagle eyes spotted VSKP WDM3A’s 16240/16054 just dropping onto 13351 Dhanbad – Alappuzha as 12376 departed Rourkela Jn; it was 2 hours late. I kept an eye on 13351 to Jharsuguda and as it wasn’t far behind I got off for it as I needed 16240. As 13351 stopped at Sambalpur Road it also meant that some of the time I’d lost was recovered with the journey to my hotel being shorter from Sambalpur Road than it would be from Sambalpur Jn.

I arrived at the Hotel Sheela Towers just before midnight and as I’d rang from Asansol to tell them I’d be late arriving there wasn’t an issue with my room. I’d used the Sheela Towers before so knew what to expect. The room wasn’t anywhere near as good as the one had been at the Accord in Ranchi but it was good enough for the one night.

Moves for Wednesday 30th November 2016

21317 Ranchi Jn Dhanbad Jn 2015 (29/11) Bhubaneswar – Dhanbad Jn 12832 TATA WAM4
21380 Dhanbad Jn Asansol Jn 1925 (28/11) Ajmer Jn – Kolkata 19608 ASN WAM4
14824 Asansol Jn Jharsuguda Jn 1600 Asansol Jn – Chennai Central 12376 UDL WDG3A’s 14824/14721 in multi
14721
16240 Jharsuguda Jn Sambalpur Jn 1050 Dhanbad Jn – Alappuzha 13351 VSKP WDM3A’s 16240/16054 in multi
16054

 

Thursday 1st December 2016 (A day in Sambalpur)

While it wasn’t a particularly early start, it was a very rude awakening when I found BNDM WDP4D 40349 at the head of 58136 0735 Sambalpur Jn – Jharsuguda passenger! Not what I’d got out of bed for! Still it got me up the hill to Sambalpur Road for 18005 Howrah – Jagdalpur back down it, with BNDM WDM3D 11235. This train has a portion detached from the rear at Sambalpur Jn and the Jagdalpur train runs forward with a smaller rake beyond Sambalpur, with the Sambalpur portion being reattached on the way back. It wasn’t immediately evident what was going to shunt the portion off 18005 into the carriage sidings but while I was photographing a couple of freights at the Rayagada end of the station I noticed a crew getting into a set of Raipur twins; which turned out to be WDG3A’s 13126/13593 with the latter switched out yet still running. They soon found themselves attached to the dumped Sambalpur portion of 18005 and had me on board when 13126 did the shunt, with 13593 idling. While the shunt doesn’t quite make it to Sambalpur Road, it does reverse in the dead-end loop that finishes just before the platform ends there and the shunt is a free way of getting back to Sambalpur Road; which doesn’t involve an auto.

I had a nice relaxing morning at Sambalpur Road, where there was unfortunately a distinct lack of freight around, compared to the last time I was in the area. There was still a bit of action, even if it did involve R WDM3A 18927 running through light from Sambalpur Jn and VSKP WDM3A twins 16468/16722 shunting stock up the hill from Sambalpur Jn. Before the two passenger’s heading into Sambalpur Jn turned up VSKP WDM3A twins 14089/18804 hammered up the hill from Sambalpur Jn with 18422 Ajmer – Puri. The sight and sound of Alco’s hammering up the hill from Sambalpur Jn to Sambalpur Road were in their twilight years as in the 12 months since my last visit to the area electrification masts had already begun to be erected. While not yet fixed in place they were already resting in their holes, ready to be fixed in place and the scenery would soon become a sprawling mess of spaghetti overhead wires.

When VSKP WDM3A 16512 turned up with 12893 Bhubaneswar – Balangir I let it go in favour of 58131 Rourkela – Puri behind; and played the correct move when BNDM WDM3A 16119 turned up. Back at Sambalpur Jn it would soon be decision time with both 12880 Bhubaneswar – Lokmanya Tilak & 12836 Yesvantpur – Hatia due within a short space of time; so, I went to find a place outside the station to photograph the former arriving. I didn’t think much of the blue Alco rebuilds approaching, until I could read their numbers, and was very pleased when VSKP WDG3A twins 14513/14581 dropped in with 12880. No sooner had they cleared the points did BNDM WDM3A 16119 set sail with 58131 Rourkela – Puri, after being run round in the bay platform. 15 minutes later 14513/14581 were bolted to the opposite end of their stock and ready for departure towards Jharsuguda. There was a nice empty “physically challenged” compartment right behind the locos with my name on it and as the train eased out of the platform I let everyone else get into the front unreserved passenger coach and stealthed into my own empty compartment to enjoy the thrash all for myself.

When 12880 was stopped at Jharsuguda Road I took a punt and got off to wait and see if 12836 Yesvantpur – Hatia would also get stopped. My punt paid off and sure enough BNDM WDM3A twins 16134/16318 drew to a stand in the platform for a short period before getting the road into Jharsuguda Jn; where 14513/14581 were just being berthed by BNDM WDM3A twins 16144/16299 and VSKP WDM3A twins 14044/16xxx. Also in the carriage sidings was BNDM WDS6 36177, shut down and not being used at that point; it was in use later in the evening though.

While resigning myself to the fact that my next move would end up being BNDM WDP4D 40317 on 12871 Howrah – Titlagarh Ispat Express, which I’d seen work the outward 12871 towards Rourkela that morning, I came across a neat little move while scouring NTES that involved MGS WAG7 27071 that was sat in at Jharsuguda waiting time with 58111 0630 Tatanagar – Itwari passenger. With the opposing working, 58112 2130 (P) Itwari – Tatanagar, being late I was able to nip out to Ib on 58111 for BIA WAM4 21348 back on 58112; with the minimal of fuss.

The inevitable happened when BNDM WDP4D 40317 rolled in with the Ispat Express but it was a means to an end and there was plenty of space to relax in while it whisked me towards my next set of VSKP WDG3A twins; that was totally unexpected. 13652/14531 were already in the platform at Sambalpur Road when the Ispat rounded the curve at a fair speed. Needless to say, a very quick ballast leap occurred and I was soon heading back out of Sambalpur Road, albeit at the rear of 58213 0830 Titlagarh – Bilaspur. I did walk down at Sasson to sample the twins but the small rake was nothing for a pair and I got off at Rengali anyway to wait for 18106 Bhubaneswar – Rourkela behind; which turned up with BNDM WDM3A 16076 and deposited me into Jharsuguda for 18107 Rourkela – Koraput, just as WDS6 36177 was backing onto a set, in platform 3. I needed no persuading to investigate and figured that the set was off the terminating 58161 Hatia – Jharsuguda and once 36177 got the dummy signal and set off, I made myself comfortable. The stock was shunted over to the carriage sidings, which at least saved me a walk over the footbridge but did gain me one down the carriage sidings.

When BNDM WDM3D 11234 arrived with 18107 1810 Rourkela – Koraput, other than being pleased that it was of my last couple of BNDM WDM3D’s I’d never have expected to be seeing it in a news article after it and 8 coaches of 18448 Jagdalpur – Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed on the night of 21st January 2017 at Kuneru while hammering along at 100kmph! This would be the 4th major derailment in India in 2 months! Thankfully I was delivered back to Sambalpur Jn without incident and a quick auto to the Hotel Sheela Towers soon had me reunited with my bag and I managed to fit a quick meal in, in the hotel restaurant, before returning to the station for my impromptu overnight towards Rayagada.

My original plan had been to use Sambalpur as a stepping stone en-route to Raipur from Ranchi but the reason I’d planned to be in Raipur had been taken away before I set off on the trip so a re-plan was inevitable. 18209/18210 Raipur – Dalli Rajhara had been withdrawn due to low patronage and the rake used for a Durg – Raigarh SF special instead. This was a little annoying as this train had been the only loco-hauled set to ply the Dalli Rajhara branch and even then, it had only been for 3 days a week. Unfortunately, I’d left doing the Dalli Rajhara branch too long and had suffered the consequences. My re-plan had warranted a last-minute reservation on 13351 Dhanbad – Alappuzha from Sambalpur to Bobilli Jn; this being one of the ones I’d managed to get done at Gwalior towards the start of the trip. I’d originally been WL4 but a text message had confirmed that I’d been allocated a confirmed berth on charting; so, all was well when VSKP WDM3A twins 16235/16379 rolled in with 13351. My berth was unfortunately an upper side berth but beggars can’t be choosers when faced with the fact there may not have been a berth for me at all.

 

Gen for Thursday 1st December 2016

Alco

13652/14531 VSKP 58213 0830 Titlagarh – Bilaspur

18929 BNDM 58132 0330 Puri – Rourkela

16114 BNDM 18006 0415 Jagdalpur – Howrah

18989 VSKP 58302 Koraput – Sambalpur

16165 BNDM 58138 1915 Sambalpur – Jharsuguda

16118 BNDM 18302 1415 Rayagada – Sambalpur

GM

40317 BNDM 12872 Titlagarh – Howrah, 12871 Howrah – Titlagarh (to/from Jharsuguda)

40349 BNDM (16165 BNDM) 58137 1720 Jharsuguda – Sambalpur

 

Moves for Thursday 1st December 2016

40349 Sambalpur Jn Sambalpur Road 0735 Sambalpur Jn – Jharsuguda Jn 58136 BNDM WDP4D
11235 Sambalpur Road Sambalpur Jn 2310 (30/11) Howrah – Jagdalpur 18005 BNDM WDM3D
13126 Sambalpur Jn Sambalpur Road (Loop outside station) Shunt Sambalpur portion off 18005 HWH – Jagdalpur to C.S. R WDG3A – in multi with R WDG3A 13593 which was switched out
16119 Sambalpur Road Sambalpur Jn 0815 Rourkela Jn – Puri 58131 BNDM WDM3A
14581 Sambalpur Jn Jharsuguda Road 0710 Bhubaneswar – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus 12880 VSKP WDG3A’s 14581/14513 in multi
14513
16134 Jharsuguda Road Jharsuguda Jn 0830 (30/11) Yesvantpur Jn – Hatia 12836 BNDM WDM3A’s16134/16318 in multi
16318
27071 Jharsuguda Jn Ib 0630 Tatanagar – Itwari Jn 58111 MGS WAG7
21348 Ib Jharsuguda Jn 2130 (30/11) Itwari Jn – Tatanagar 58112 BIA WAM4
40317 Jharsuguda Jn Sambalpur Road 0655 Howrah – Titlagarh Jn 12871 BNDM WDP4D
13652 Sambalpur Road Rengali 0830 Titlagarh Jn – Bilaspur 58213 VSKP WDG3A’s 13652/14531 in multi
14531
16076 Rengali Jharsuguda Jn 1310 Bhubaneswar – Rourkela Jn 18106 BNDM WDM3A
36177 Jharsuguda Jn Platform 3 Jharsuguda Carriage Sidings Shunt stock away ex 58161 Hatia – Jharsuguda BNDM WDS6 – via SPB line curve (RMPR)
11234 Jharsuguda Jn Sambalpur Jn 1810 Rourkela – Koraput 18107 BNDM WDM3D
16235 Sambalpur Jn Parvatipuram Town 1050 Dhanbad Jn – Alappuzha 13351 VSKP WDM3A’s 16235/16379 in multi
16379

 

Photos for Thursday 1st December 2016

 

Friday 2nd December 2016 (Rayagada day 1 of 3)

13351 is always a good runner time wise and it wasn’t far off time when I got off at stupid o’clock at Parvatipuram Town. Having originally planned to go through to Bobilli Jn, I’d figured out I could do more by getting off at Parvatipuram but as the northbound 58528 0300 Visakhapatnam – Raipur passenger was late the southbound 58303 0500 Rayagada – Visakhapatnam was going to get to Parvatipuram first; hence the bailing out at Parvatipuram Town. VSKP WDM3D 11568 was along shortly afterwards and I was surprised just how many people were waiting to board 58303 at Parvatipuram.

I didn’t have to wait long for VSKP WDG3A 13228 to turn up with 58528 and on arrival back into Parvatipuram Town I expected to be waiting there for 17482 Tirupati – Bilaspur behind; but when 18111 Tatanagar – Yesvantpur slowed to a stand KGP WDM3A twins 16711/16110 soon had me back at Parvatipuram. The early morning expedition was topped off nicely when VSKP WDM3A 16440 turned up, a little late, with 17482; and I was Rayagada bound, where I’d spend the next two nights.

On arrival into Rayagada I had time to get checked into a hotel. Walking straight down the station approach, outside Rayagada station, brings you to a main road, directly opposite is the Hotel Raj, where I’d stayed before. If you veer right and take the first left down the side-street the Hotel Raj Bhavan is set back and hidden away from the main road; this was why I chose it in favour of the Hotel Raj. I had no problem checking in and the place seemed virtually empty; which was a little strange as Speedo had turned up the previous night and tried to check in but was told there was no room. At this point I was guessing that the night porter didn’t have the ability to check him in so found it easier to turn him away? Either way I had him a room sorted for that night, across the corridor from me, but wouldn’t see him as he’d be late back after returning from Junagarh Road; where he’d already set off to so I’d already missed him.

The room in the Raj Bhavan was massive but ok, nothing special, just ok. I wasn’t expecting anything else to be fair. The bathroom was a bit of a state but on the plus side it had hot water. The hotel’s restaurant was closed due to a bereavement so the hotel manager told me so I found myself eating at the Hotel Raj, where the guy at the front desk recognized me from a visit 5 years previous. Youth had also been recognized there a couple of weeks earlier! From that I guess there aren’t many foreigners using hotels in Rayagada?

Having sorted my life out and filled my boots on food I ambled back to the station. VSKP WDM3D 11537 was sat in waiting time to depart with 58537 0530 Koraput – Visakhapatnam but VSKP WDM3A twins 18801/18928 were allowed to depart first with 19453 Gandhidam – Puri; which was the train I would have arrived into Rayagada on if I’d gone to Raipur to do the Dalli Rajhara branch. Before BNDM WDM3D 11235 arrived to run round with 18006 0415 Jagdalpur – Howrah I was admiring KGP WDM3A twins 16139/16421 as they arrived with a freight into the yard adjacent to the station. KGP locos on passenger work are a lot rarer than they used to be and at that point I had no idea that I’d be acquainting myself with 16139/16421 later in the day!

18006 was a little late away but the BNDM 3D proved its worth as it hammered through the hills towards Muniguda. There was a distinct lack of freight about as I headed up the hill from Therubali towards Bissam Cuttack and that I did see was GM hauled. Both sets of Alco bankers were stood in separate head-shunts outside Therubali station; VSKP WDG3A’s 13569/13264 & 14920/14673. On arrival into Muniguda, after a cracking run, VSKP WDG3A twins 14518/13078 were sat in the middle road waiting to head towards Rayagada with a freight. I wasn’t about to waste the opportunity and it was only a short distance to the brake van on the rear, where I couldn’t manage to get the guard’s attention from the ballast so I clambered up to the platform on the brake and he was nowhere to be seen. When I heard the horn of the Alco’s at the opposite end of the train I peered over the opposite edge of the platform to find the guard talking into his radio and waving his flag. He obviously looked confused to see my little white head peering over the edge but once I’d had a quick chat with him he was at ease and keen to indulge me in conversation about the railways back in the UK.

It was a slow climb to Bissam Cuttack, where we ran non-stop through, but once over the brow we made good progress downhill towards Therubali. I wasn’t expecting a stop at Therubali either but the road through the middle wasn’t off and as we’d had a yellow approaching the loco pilot couldn’t see the departure signal until he was almost on top of it anyway due to the fact there was another freight in the station; this one headed by the KGP twins I’d watched arrive into Rayagada earlier; 16139/16421.

The loco pilot (LP) and assistant loco pilot (ALP) had watched me get out of the brake van and walk towards them, I was heading to get a photo but they gestured to me with that random head tilt and flip of their open hand; which basically means “what are you doing”. Before I’d even finished explaining to the ALP the LP was beckoning me into the cab and blowing the horn for departure at the same time. Of course, there was no argument from me! My only issue at this point was trying to figure out which banker had been attached to the rear. Thankfully the ALP confirmed that 13569 was one of the locos, whether from the guard or LP on the bankers I don’t know.

It was a good ride up to Muniguda again and the stop at Bissam Cuttack to remove the bankers was about as brief as they come. Just as I was dropped in the platform by the KGP twins did VSKP WDG3A 14885 arrive into the middle road. There didn’t seem to be a reason for it to stop but I noticed a couple of people walking away from the cab as I approached it. I soon found myself heading back towards Rayagada again, thanks to another friendly crew.

Back at Therubali there was yet another freight in, having bankers attached. This time though I thought my luck was going to run out as the road was off when it came into view but the crew slowed to almost a stand to let me off, right at the side of the brake on the freight opposite; the guard of which was confused but still as sociable as everyone else I’d had the pleasure of riding with that day; which was a very appreciated bonus with R WDG3A twins 13627/13320 leading the train and VSKP WDG3A twin bankers 14920/14673 attached to the rear. As it was getting late in the afternoon I was off at Bissam Cuttack when I came across BNDM WDM3A 16114 in the platform with 18005 Howrah – Jagdalpur. The passenger service isn’t fantastic between Muniguda and Rayagada in the later afternoon and I didn’t want to get stranded somewhere as the next train back after 18005 would be 18211 Durg – Jagdalpur some 5 hours later; although 58527 0530 Raipur – Visakhapatnam was some 3 hours late in the mix. Speedo had spotted it with VSKP WDM3A twins 16113/14005 leading dead VSKP WDM3D 11570 so I was aware what was working it well in advance.

While I would potentially have a bit of a wait for 58527 Raipur – Visakhapatnam passenger at Therubali I got off to wait for it there anyway. It wasn’t long before R WDM3A twins 16425/16246 were arriving with a freight from Rayagada; where they’d been sat when I’d departed that morning on 18006. VSKP WDG3A twin bankers 13569/13264 had been in the opposite platform when I’d arrived on 18005 and had shunted out to the loop after it had departed. I’d barely had to move from where I was stood to photograph the train arrive and the bankers being attached to the rear and hadn’t really been bothered about attempting to do this particular freight as I only wanted one of the Raipur 3A’s and I’d had the pleasure of the bankers earlier in the day; but when the guard did the flipping hand gesture I indulged him and was soon Bissam Cuttack bound; knowing full well I couldn’t miss 58527 as it hadn’t got to Muniguda at that point.

While 58527 wasn’t there waiting at Bissam Cuttack, it wasn’t long after the Raipur twins departed that it turned up, which resulted in the VSKP bankers having to wait at Bissam Cuttack and head back to Therubali behind 58527; which turned up with the aforementioned VSKP WDM3A twins 16113/14005 leading dead VSKP WDM3D 11570. Back at Rayagada, for the first time since heading out that morning, the fresh crew for 58527 had a bit of a job preparing their three locos, before departure towards Visakhapatnam. Meanwhile VSKP WDM3D 11568 was soon approaching with 18512 1350 Visakhapatnam – Koraput; having been turned straight back out at Visakhapatnam after arrival with 58303 Rayagada – Visakhapatnam passenger. This provided me with a train back to Singapuram Road for the late running 12808 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Visakhapatnam Samata SF Express; which clearly wasn’t being very superfast on this occasion as it was over 3 hours late!

When BKSC WDM3A twins 16599/16428 turned up with 12808 I was pleasantly surprised and equally confused as to how they’d managed to get into the link as 12808 is a loco change at Raipur. As 13352 Alappuzha – Dhanbad was a little late heading north and 12808 had picked up a bit of time I headed south from Rayagada with the BKSC twins and was gifted the same VSKP WDM3A twins on 13352 coming back, that I’d had overnight from Sambalpur on the opposing working of 13351 Dhanbad – Alappuzha. Either way the twins for twins move to Parvatipuram Town topped off a very good day and I celebrated with a very good, and very cheap, meal at the Hotel Raj before retiring to the Hotel Raj Bhavan for the night; having agreed to meet Speedo at 0630 the following morning in the hotel reception.

 

Gen for Friday 2nd December 2016

Alco

16251 BNDM 18447 (P) Bhubaneswar – Jagdalpur

11568 VSKP 58303 0500 Rayagada – Visakhapatnam

16118 BNDM 18302 1415 Rayagada – Sambalpur

16722/16468 VSKP 18309 Sambalpur – Nanded

 

Moves for Friday 2nd December 2016

11568 Parvatipuram Town Parvatipuram 0500 Rayagada – Visakhapatnam 58303 VSKP WDM3D
13228 Parvatipuram Parvatipuram Town 0300 Visakhapatnam – Raipur Jn 58528 VSKP WDG3A
16711 Parvatipuram Town Parvatipuram 1835 (01/12) Tatanagar – Yesvantpur Jn 18111 KGP WDM3A’s 16711/16110 in multi
16110
16440 Parvatipuram Rayagada 1035 (01/12) Tirupati – Bilaspur 17482 VSKP WDM3A
11235 Rayagada Muniguda 0415 Jagdalpur – Howrah 18006 BNDM WDM3D
14518 Muniguda Therubali Freight VSKP WDG3A’s in multi – freight in guard’s van
13078
16139 Therubali Muniguda Freight KGP WDM3A’s 16139/16421 in multi leading, VSKP WDG3A’s 13569/13264 banking in rear to Bissam Cuttack – freight in guard’s van
16421
13569 Therubali Bissam Cuttack
13264
14885 Muniguda Therubali Freight VSKP WDG3A – freight in guard’s van
13627 Therubali Bissam Cuttack Freight VSKP WDG3A’s 13627/13320 in multi leading, VSKP WDG3A’s 13569/13264 banking in rear – freight in guard’s van
13320
14920
14673
16114 Bissam Cuttack Therubali 2310 (01/12) Howrah – Jagdalpur 18005 BNDM WDM3A
16425 Therubali Bissam Cuttack Freight R WDM3A’s 16425/16246 in multi leading, VSKP WDG3A’s 13569/13264 banking in rear – freight in guard’s van
16246
13569
13264
16113 Bissam Cuttack Rayagada 0530 Raipur Jn – Visakhapatnam 58527 VSKP WDM3A’s 16113/14005 in multi with VSKP WDM3D 11570 dit
14005
11568 Rayagada Singapuram Road 1350 Visakhapatnam – Koraput 18512 VSKP WDM3D
16599 Singapuram Road Parvatipuram Town 0835 (01/12) Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin – Visakhapatnam 12808 BKSC WDM3A’s 16599/16428 in multi
16428
16379 Parvatipuram Town Rayagada 0600 (01/12) Alappuzha – Dhanbad Jn 13352 VSKP WDM3A’s 16379/16235 in multi
16235

 

Photos for Friday 2nd December 2016

 

Saturday 3rd December 2016 (Rayagada day 2 of 3)

Speedo was already in the hotel reception when I got downstairs and we were on the station before 0700. Breakfast was sought from the pantry car of 12836 Yesvantpur – Hatia after BNDM WDM3A twins 16252/16408 had arrived with the train. As the train was right away to Kesinga, near Titlagarh, we didn’t even entertain it and waited for 58302 0255 Koraput – Sambalpur to arrive instead. In the meantime, VSKP WDM3D 11549 departed with 58529 Durg – Visakhapatnam; which had we realised we could have done it to Ladda for the late running 58528 Visakhapatnam – Raipur back. This turned up at Rayagada after VSKP WDM3D 11569 had already run round 58302 and as it is very slackly timed into Rayagada it’s a gamble going for it.

In the 30 or so minutes we waited at Singapuram Road off 58302 there were two freights heading towards Rayagada in quick succession, the first set the precedence for the day with twin BNDM WDG4’s 70435/12912 but the second was R WDG3A twins 13595/13218. Neither stopped and both just trickled through. VSKP WDM3D 11536 was soon along with 58528 and as it dropped us into Therubali both sets of Alco bankers were visible in the head-shunts south of the station; neither pair were running or even being prepared. BNDM WDG4 twins 70126/12945 passed through while 11536 waited for them to clear the section at the opposite end of the station and 20 minutes after 11536 had departed VSKP WDG4 twins 70139/70405 dropped into Therubali.

VSKP WDM3A twins 16468/16722 headed 12807 Visakhapatnam – Hazrat Nizamuddin and we already knew, courtesy of NTES, at this point that the opposing 12808 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Visakhapatnam was 4 hours late and after arrival at Muniguda we had a bit of a wait whichever direction we were to head in. It was an hour before anything happened and we let BNDM WDM3A 16118 head towards Rayagada with 18301 Sambalpur – Rayagada without us, in favour of heading to Ambodala where we knew there were three consecutive trains back towards Rayagada. Before BNDM WDM3A 16114 turned up with 18006 0415 Jagdalpur – Howrah, VSKP WDG3A twins 14523/14547 passed through with a freight towards Ambodala and they were followed half an hour later by yet more GM’s, this time twin VSKP WDG4’s 70079/70513; GM’s really were dominating the day’s freight in the area.

At Ambodala there was an air of calm about the place and the place’s lone seller was just wheeling his four-wheeled cart down the platform and into the shade as 18006 came to a stand. While he didn’t have much on the go, he did have some random bottles of cold pop; the brands of which I’d never heard of. It was still enticing with the condensation dripping down the side of the bottle as he handed it to me and it was freezing cold too, so we had no complaints. It was nice of VSKP WDM3A 18989 to turn up with 58301 Sambalpur – Koraput as I’d seen it at Sambalpur two nights previous and had wondered where it had got to. At Doikalu it was evident, when we didn’t get the road straight away, what was going to happen and sure enough BNDM WDM3D 11235 hammered by with 18005 Howrah – Jagdalpur and at the same time KGP WDG3A twins 13366/13552 trundled through with a freight in the opposite direction. We continued some 20 minutes later after 18005 had cleared the section ahead and were off at Muniguda again, confusing the stall owner on platform 1 when we approached for some chai; having spent some time there drinking chai earlier in the day.

When VSKP WDG3A twins 13078/14518 passed through Muniguda with a freight I got the impression I’d been lucky the previous day, not just with the fact most freight had been worked by Alco’s but as nothing we’d seen heading north on this particular day had been stopped at Muniguda at all. And as BNDM WDM3A 16118 arrived heading back to Sambalpur with 18302 Rayagada – Sambalpur BNDM WDG4 twins 70489/12933 came to a stand in the middle road with a Rayagada bound freight. They were waiting at Singapuram Road when VSKP WDM3A twins 18938/16691 went by with the late running 12808 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Visakhapatnam; which I did through to Parvatipuram for 19454 Puri – Gandhidam back with suspected VSKP WDM3A twins 18928/18801. All while Speedo waited at Rayagada for 19454 as this was his train to Raipur and he didn’t want to risk missing it at Parvatipuram; it had made quite easily with about a plus 20 in the end.

After 19454 had departed I hung around to view 13352 Alappuzha – Dhanbad, which should have been ahead of it but was running late and was behind it on this occasion. When VSKP WDM3A twins 16054/16240 turned up I did them forward to Singapuram Road, basically because I’d forgotten that I’d had the same pair into Sambalpur two days previous and I thought I needed 16240. I got a bonus out of it though when BNDM WDM3A 16383 came to a stand at Singapuram Road with 18108 Koraput – Rourkela, which isn‘t booked to stop there. I’d originally planned to do 18448 Jagdalpur – Bhubaneswar back but 18108 not only got me a new BNDM WDM3A but it also got me back to Rayagada earlier and I was in the Hotel Raj’s restaurant before 18448 had even left Singapuram Road!

 

Gen for Saturday 3rd December 2016

Alco

11549 VSKP 58529 1800 (P) Durg – Visakhapatnam

16252/16408 BNDM 12836 (P) Yesvantpur – Tatanagar

11569 VSKP 18311 Koraput – Visakhapatnam

16118 BNDM 18301 Sambalpur – Rayagada, 18302 1415 Rayagada – Sambalpur

13228 VSKP 58527 0530 Raipur – Visakhapatnam

 

Moves for Saturday 3rd December 2016

11569 Rayagada Singapuram Road 0255 Koraput – Sambalpur Jn 58302 VSKP WDM3D
11536 Singapuram Road Therubali 0300 Visakhapatnam – Raipur Jn 58528 VSKP WDM3D
16468 Therubali Muniguda 0625 Visakhapatnam – Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin 12807 VSKP WDM3A’s 16468/16722 in multi
16722
16114 Muniguda Ambodala 0415 Jagdalpur – Howrah 18006 BNDM WDM3A
18989 Ambodala Muniguda 0715 Sambalpur Jn – Koraput 58301 VSKP WDM3A
18938 Muniguda Parvatipuram 0835 (02/12) Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin – Visakhapatnam 12808 VSKP WDM3A’s 18938/16691 in multi
16691
18928 Parvatipuram Rayagada 1030 Puri – Gandhidam 19454 VSKP WDM3A’s 18928/18801 in multi
18801
16054 Rayagada Singapuram Road 0600 (02/12) Alappuzha – Dhanbad Jn 13352 VSKP WDM3A’s 16054/16240 in multi
16240
16383 Singapuram Road Rayagada 1645 Koraput – Rourkela Jn 18108 BNDM WDM3A

 

Photos for Saturday 3rd December 2016

 

Sunday 4th December 2016 (Rayagada day 3 of 3)

The hotel staff at the Raj Bhavan were happy to keep my big bag for me after I checked out and I headed to the station prepared for another day of madness. I already knew at this point, courtesy of a text from Speedo at Raipur, that VSKP WDM3A twins 16239/16313 had departed Raipur with 58527 0530 Raipur – Visakhapatnam, with VSKP WDM3D 11536 dead inside. So, I was quite surprised when VSKP WDM3A twins 16249/16682 arrived into Rayagada with the opposing working of 58528 0300 Visakhapatnam – Raipur with VSKP WDM3A 14090 dead inside. It seemed pointless to me to transfer different sets of VSKP twins 525km in either direction; especially as both were powering their respective trains!

As the twins on 58528 at Rayagada had a coach to shunt off the rake, VSKP WDM3D 11512 had arrived after them with a late 58302 0255 Koraput – Sambalpur and was run round ready to go before they were reattached to the stock, so I did 11512 to Singapuram Road where I found a pair of friends, last seen at Jharsuguda; VSKP WDG3A’s 14581/14513 were waiting with a freight, heading in the Muniguda direction. There wasn’t a need to entertain this pair since I’d had them in Sambalpur so when the twins turned up with 58528 I headed towards Therubali with them and passed VSKP WDG3A twins 13651/13534, on the approach to Singapuram Road as I departed.

At Therubali R WDG3A twins 13060/13573 were just rolling to a stand so I legged across the tracks to get a photo before they went by me and before I’d even got half way down the train, towards the van at the back, the horn blared a few times and they were off, all I could do was watch them leave; an opportunity lost. No matter though as VSKP WDG3A twins 13121/13542 were along 15 minutes later and this time I was on my toes as regards getting to the rear of the train and was Singapuram Road bound a few minutes later. There was no rest for my little legs there either as R WDG3A’s 13146/13596 were waiting the road when we got there. Thankfully the legwork paid off after the crew on the loco, despite seeing me in the guard’s van on arrival, weren’t as friendly as others I’d come across over the last two days.

At Therubali, despite the efficient attaching of the bankers, which were VSKP WDG3A’s 13569/13264, the train was held to wait for 12807 Visakhapatnam – Hazrat Nizamuddin to go by and when VSKP WDM3A twins 16691/18938 rolled in with it, that was my cue to bail out and I did the twins forward to Muniguda; where chai from the stall on platform 1 didn’t seem to confuse as much as it had done the previous two days.

BNDM WDM3A 16118 paused with 18301 0600 Sambalpur – Rayagada, for the third day in a row, while I waited for 18006 0415 Jagdalpur – Howrah to take me towards the new pair that were heading my way with 58527 Raipur – Visakhapatnam passenger. BNDM WDM3A 16419 did the honours as far as Ambodala, where I didn’t get chance to buy cold pop from the young lad’s four-wheeled cart this time as R WDG3A’s 13404/13595 were sat in the back platform waiting to head south with an empty coal rake. After a quick photo, I was on my way down the platform towards the rear when the LP blew up for departure and was only about 6 wagons from the front when I noticed a door open on one. Common sense originally got the better of me but as I peered in I noticed two young lads already in the wagon, so under the cover of a tree I joined their party and made like a piece of coal as the train eased out of the platform. Both young lads spoke decent English and of course neither had tickets for their journey to Rayagada. It was a hot and rickety ride, that thankfully wasn’t as dusty as I thought it might be and I came off relatively unscathed considering my chosen mode of transport. When we stopped at Muniguda I took the opportunity to get off while I could and as the front of the train was way down the platform nobody saw me get out either. The two youths stayed on board.

I had a long wait for VSKP WDM3A twins 16239/16313 (with WVKP WDM3D 11536 dead inside) to turn up with 58527 Raipur – Visakhapatnam and they were 3h40m late when they did. The train was quite empty too but as the train was given almost 4 hours to do Muniguda – Rayagada it would pick up a considerable amount of time by Rayagada. I didn’t get chance to figure out how much though as VSKP WDG3A’s 13091/13210 were sat at Bissam Cuttack, just having bankers 13569/13264 detached. The guard in the van was one I’d ridden with the previous day and he was waving at me when he spotted my white head out of the door of the arriving 58527. I was heading back north moments later. Under normal circumstances this would have been a risky move with not knowing where the freight would stop next but as 12808 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Visakhapatnam Samata Express was 7 hours late there was a backup if we didn’t stop at Muniguda, or I missed the late running 58301 Sambalpur – Koraput passenger.

I was grateful of the yellow signals on the approach to Muniguda and as grateful for the red at the end of the platform. While the R twins didn’t hang around long enough for me to get to the front of the train, I was quite grateful as it was a long bloody walk! VSKP WDM3D 11511 was soon along with 58301 Sambalpur – Koraput, which was nearly 3 hours late itself, and as 58527 Raipur – Visakhapatnam had been in front of it any waiting passengers had gone with that; making 58301 even more empty than 58527 had been. I was quite enjoying my journey back towards Rayagada in the empty front compartment, using the doors to bellow from at my leisure, until a couple of youths got on with a bike at Therubali and blocked one of the doors. They were quite sociable though but got a rude awakening when the RPF confiscated their bike at Rayagada and chucked it underneath the footbridge for safekeeping; basically, as they didn’t have a ticket for it! While I hung around on the platform drinking chai they did a lot of pleading with the RPF, who just didn’t seem interested. They had ample opportunity to take the bike and leg it, while the RPF were imposing themselves on others that were wedging themselves into a now very full 58301, but they didn’t and to their credit they waited it out. Eventually, just as VSKP WDM3A twins 16379/16235 were arriving with a slightly late 13352 Alappuzha – Dhanbad, they were allowed to take their bike and clear off. I didn’t see if any money changed hands but on this occasion but it ended well for the pair; meanwhile my pair were at the head of 13352 and with 12808 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Visakhapatnam in the vicinity of Ambodala I headed out to Therubali with 16379/16235 and was eventually greeted with VSKP WDM3A twins 16722/16468 with 12808; them having gone up the previous day with the opposing working of 12807.

On arrival back into Rayagada the time had come to move on to pastures new and having collected my bag from the Hotel Raj Bhavan I ate in the Hotel Raj’s restaurant for the third night in a row; and was getting quite used to good food at cheap prices. It was a shame I was moving on and even more of a shame in that the whole area I’d been in for the last week would change beyond recognition very soon when electrification was complete and put yet another great Alco stomping ground into the bin; and would all become nothing but memories!

My train to get to the Bhubaneswar area was 12844 Ahmedabad – Puri and it arrived into Rayagada to time with VSKP WDM3A twins 18801/18928; the same pair Speedo has disappeared north on the previous night when they’d worked 19454 Puri – Gandhidam.

 

Gen for Sunday 4th December 2016

Alco

11568 VSKP 18437 Rayagada – Junagarh Road, 18438 Junagarh Road – Rayagada

11537 VSKP 58529 1800 (P) Durg – Visakhapatnam, 58xxx xxxx Visakhapatnam – Rayagada

16143/16076 BNDM 18310 Nanded – Sambalpur

16242 BNDM 18309 Sambalpur – Nanded

16114 BNDM 18005 Howrah – Jagdalpur

16118 BNDM 18301 Sambalpur – Rayagada, 18302 1415 Rayagada – Sambalpur

11235 BNDM 58301 Sambalpur – Koraput (from Rayagada)

11234 BNDM 18108 Koraput – Rourkela

16047 R 18211 Jagdalpur – Durg

11145 BNDM 18447 Jagdalpur – Bhubaneswar

18835 R 18518 Visakhapatnam – Korba

 

Moves for Sunday 4th December 2016

11512 Rayagada Singapuram Road 0255 Koraput – Sambalpur Jn 58302 VSKP WDM3D
16249 Singapuram Road Therubali 0300 Visakhapatnam – Raipur Jn 58528 VSKP WDM3A’s 16249/16682 in multi with VSKP WDM3A 14090 dit
16682
13121 Therubali Singapuram Road Freight VSKP WDG3A’s 13121/14542 in multi – freight in guards van
14542
13146 Singapuram Road Therubali Freight R WDG3A’s 13146/13596 in multi – freight in cab of rear loco
13596
16691 Therubali Muniguda 0625 Visakhapatnam – Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin 12807 VSKP WDM3A’s 16691/18938 in multi
18938
16419 Muniguda Ambodala 0415 Jagdalpur – Howrah 18006 BNDM WDM3A
13404 Ambodala Muniguda Freight R WDG3A’s 13404/13595 in multi – freight in empty coal wagon
13595
16239 Muniguda Bissam Cuttack 0530 Raipur Jn – Visakhapatnam 58527 VSKP WDM3A’s 16239/16313 in multi with VSKP WDM3D 11536 dit
16313
13091 Bissam Cuttack Muniguda Freight VSKP WDG3A’s 13091/13210 in multi – freight in guards van
13210
11511 Muniguda Rayagada 0715 Sambalpur Jn – Koraput 58301 VSKP WDM3D
16379 Rayagada Therubali 0600 (03/12) Alappuzha – Dhanbad Jn 13352 VSKP WDM3A’s 16379/16235 in multi
16235
16722 Therubali Rayagada 0835 (03/12) Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin – Visakhapatnam 12808 VSKP WDM3A’s 16722/16468 in multi
16468
18801 Rayagada Sakhigopal 1800 (03/12) Ahmedabad Jn – Puri 12844 VSKP WDM3A’s 18801/18928 in multi – via Vizianagaram (RR), Khurda Rd (RR)
18928

 

Photos for Sunday 4th December 2016

 

Monday 5th December 2016 (A day in Bhubaneswar before heading to Bangriposi)

When 12844 dropped into Khurda Road Jn BNDM WDM3D twins 11151/11168 were just waiting to head to Puri with 18451 Hatia – Puri Tapaswini Express. As it was right away Puri I didn’t both leaping across and went in search of breakfast while 18801/18928 were run round my 12844. As luck didn’t have it, I’d picked a day to be in the Bhubaneswar/Khurda Road area when there were limited Alco hauled trains about so my day would have to be spent doing WAGs on local passenger trains; either that I could sit trainspotting on a platform end!

Heading down the Puri branch dropped me nicely into VSKP WAG5 23752 as it headed to Khurda Road with 58417 0735 Puri – Gunupur and while it was running round there VSKP WAG5 23302 followed it off the Puri branch with 58416 0800 Puri- Cuttack, which I’d got off at Delang for, and BZA WAG7 28373 was sat in the adjacent platform waiting to head to Bhubaneswar with 78504 0545 Brahmapur – Bhubaneswar. It was like shelling peas, and the WAG madness didn’t stop when I got to Bhubaneswar either as VSKP WAG5 23575 was just rolling in with 58421 0515 Angul – Puri and when I got off it at Lingaraj Temple Road ANGUL WAG7 28738 was only 5 minutes behind with 58413 0530 Talcher – Puri. It took a quick leap at Retang to make KZJ WAG7 28653 with 58434 0730 Brahmapur – Cuttack and I was very grateful of the slow in pace when I got to Mancheswar; where I was aiming to view the only Alco hauled train of the day I thought I could possibly do at that point; before heading to Bangriposi with 12892 at 1710.

VSKP WDM2S 017765 was shunting some coaches at Mancheswar, where there wasn’t a great deal going on at all. The station was quiet, there weren’t many people about and the only noise was from the lorries turning up to the adjacent construction zone; right in the middle of which was a cow, just minding its own business and sat right in the middle of the natural path that the lorries would take. Of course, rather than move said cow on, everyone was giving it a wide berth and traversing a harder route to get round it in the process; that’s karma for you!

What I thought was 18303 Sambalpur – Puri approaching in the distance ended up being 12891 Bangriposi – Bhubaneswar, as it pottered through with VSKP WDM3D 11548 leading the way; which I hoped would run round and return to whence it came from that evening. After KYN WAG9 31416 passed through with a loaded coal rake towards Bhubaneswar, VSKP WDM3D 11512 paused with 18303 Sambalpur – Puri and I let it go, as I could only do it to Khurda Road to be safe anyway, in favour of doing VSKP WAM4 21307 behind into Bhubaneswar with 58425 0530 Kendujhargarh – Bhubaneswar; which followed closely behind KGP WDM3A 16131 that had passed through with a freight.

I was back to running about at Bhubaneswar when I spotted VSKP WDM2S 17831 about to propel a set out of the station and into the carriage sidings at the Mancheswar end of the station; the set also had the electric still attached and this shunting practice seemed to be the norm at Bhubaneswar, with the electric remaining attached to its set during the shunting in/out of the station. While I was bumbling down the platform on the empty set, ET WAG5 23027 arrived with 58002 0945 Puri – Santragachi Jn and I soon found myself Mancheswar bound again for the late opposing working of 58001 Santragachi – Puri back; which wasn’t anywhere near as rewarding when it rolled in with SRC WAP4 22529 and had a brand new WAP7 30500 dead inside; which had no shed branding on it anywhere.

Back in Bhubaneswar my plans for a hotel restaurant lunch went out of the window when I found BNDM WDM3D 11203 being prepared to work 18106 1310 Bhubaneswar – Rourkela. NTES was soon telling me I could do it to Dhenkanal for 18508 Amritsar – Visakhapatnam back; so, armed with a fresh egg biriyani, pop, crisps, chocolate and chai I was Dhenkanal bound with my last BNDM WDM3D 11203. It was quite a pleasing journey, with room in the non-AC chair car, and to see VSKP WDM3A twins 14044/16236 turn up with 18508 at Dhenkanal; it was 2AC for the return journey though.

At Bhubaneswar, another egg biriyani had to suffice for food before I boarded 12892 1710 Bhubaneswar – Bangriposi, which as I’d hoped had VSKP WDM3D 11548 at the head of the train. The reserved chair-car wasn’t full by any means and I ended up with a row of three seats to myself, for what turned out to be a relaxing run up the main line to Rupsa Jn, before we turned off onto the Bangriposi branch. The last time I’d headed down the branch it hadn’t been fully converted from NG to BG and was only open as far as Bhanjpur, just beyond Baripada. That was a good 5 years ago, and the thrice weekly 18007/18008 Shalimar – Baripada then used to run out and back from Shalimar during the day; and had reserved chair-car in its rake. Once Bhanjpur had been opened 18007/18008 used to run through from Baripada unofficially but now it terminates there officially but rather than run during the day its out from Shalimar in the evening and back from Bhanjpur early the following morning; at the unsociable hour of 0405 to be precise! Or so I believed as I was heading down the branch!

18007 Shalimar – Bhanjpur is only 45 minutes behind 12892 Bhubaneswar – Bangriposi on the branch from Rupsa Jn and while I was watching NTES to see how it was doing I was also keeping another eye on my map of Baripada in an attempt to figure out how far the hotels on it were from the station; my plan being to find some sort of road transport back from Bangriposi to Baripada, get a few hours’ kip then up for the early morning run into Shalimar with 18008. There were two things I didn’t know about 18008 at that point and when I looked at India Rail Info (IRI) to confirm the rake length for 18008 I should have found both things out but my haste only had me discovering that on 01/12/17, 5 days previous, 18008 had been retimed to depart Bhanjpur at 0615 vice 0405. This came as a complete surprise but also as a bit of a relief as it meant that a mere 5h30m fester at Bangriposi could have me doing 12891 0420 Bangriposi – Bhubaneswar back to Baripada for 18008 to Shalimar; as when 18008 was timed to depart Bhanjpur at 0405 it was well in front of 12891, even after its run round at Rupsa 12891 was still 44 minutes from its booked arrival there.

After Baripada I pondered things quite seriously and as 12892 was about 30 late I just decided to wait it out rather than getting into a taxi or an auto late at night by myself and bumbling around in complete darkness; and it was probably just as well based on how much road transport was around outside the station! What I didn’t realise until weeks later, which of course I wasn’t looking for based on the departure time of 18008 when I planned the trip, was that there are actually two places to stay about 2 miles from Bangriposi station. I hadn’t picked up on these as I’d been blinded by what I’d been presented with and had just assumed that there wasn’t anywhere to stay in Bangriposi. As it turned out, after WDM3D 11548 had run round and was shut down, I could stealth my way back onto the stock and get my head down anyway; so it wasn’t much different to doing a sleeper class overnight. Other than the train wasn’t moving and I had to get well deeted up with mosquito spray as a result. Other than those minor things it was child’s play compared to my recent nights sat Jhansi & Chopan.

 

Gen for Monday 5th December 2016

Alco

11151/11168 BNDM 18451 1555 (P) Hatia – Puri

11203 BNDM 18105 Rourkela – Bhubaneswar, 18106 1310 Bhubaneswar – Rourkela

11512 VSKP 18303 Sambalpur – Puri, 18304 Puri – Sambalpur

Electric

23900 VSKP 18426 (P) Durg – Puri (through Bhubaneswar)

23552 TATA 58005 Kharagpur – Khurda Road, 58006 Khurda Road – Kharagpur

 

Moves for Monday 5th December 2016

23752 Sakhigopal Delang 0735 Puri – Gunupur 58417 VSKP WAG5
23302 Delang Khurda Road Jn 0800 Puri – Cuttack Jn 58416 VSKP WAG5
28373 Khurda Road Jn Bhubaneswar 0545 Brahmapur – Bhubaneswar 78504 BZA WAG7
23575 Bhubaneswar Lingaraj Temple Road 0515 Angul – Puri 58421 VSKP WAG5
28738 Lingaraj Temple Road Retang 0530 Talcher – Puri 58413 ANGUL WAG7
28653 Retang Mancheswar 0730 Brahmapur – Cuttack Jn 58434 KZJ WAG7
21307 Mancheswar Bhubaneswar 0530 Kenujhargarh – Bhubaneswar 58425 VSKP WAM4
17831 Bhubaneswar Platform 2 South End Bhubaneswar Platform 2 North End Shunt a passenger rake out to Carriage Sidings VSKP WDM2S
23027 Bhubaneswar Mancheswar 0945 Puri – Santragachi Jn 58002 ET WAG5
22529 Mancheswar Bhubaneswar 2350 (04/12) Howrah – Puri 58001 SRC WAP4 with New build WAP7 30500 dit
11203 Bhubaneswar Dhenkanal 1310 Bhubaneswar – Rourkela Jn 18106 BNDM WDM3D
14044 Dhenkanal Bhubaneswar 2345 (03/12) Amritsar Jn – Visakhapatnam 18508 VSKP WDM3A’s 14044/16236 in multi
16236
11548 Bhubaneswar Bangriposi 1710 Bhubaneswar – Bangriposi 12892 VSKP WDM3D  – via Rupsa Jn, Baripada

 

Photos for Monday 5th December 2016

 

Tuesday 6th December 2016 (Bangriposi to Kolkata and a day in the “Black Hole” itself)

I was woken by WDM3D 11548 starting up at 0330 and the short journey towards Baripada, which actually turned out to be Bhanjpur as 12891 trickled through at a slow enough speed for me to get off and get myself a seat on 18008 0615 Bhanjpur – Shalimar; while 12891 continued to Bhubaneswar. I was pleased to find KGP WDM3A 16509 at the head of the train as KGP locos on passenger work were quite rare nowadays and 18007/18008 were probably the only regular link for KGP Alco’s left? With there being no more reserved coaches on the train these days I holed myself up in the front unreserved coach and made myself at home for the journey through to Shalimar.

The train never really got wedged out at all, maybe due to the retiming of it resulting in people using an earlier train on the main line from Rupsa? Either way, after the run round at Rupsa the LP hammered 16509 all the way to Santragachi and 18008 was never more than a couple of minutes late and was even waiting time at a couple of places. Kharagpur offered a bit of a refreshment stop and I had chai lined up on my window sill! At Santragachi Jn the train completely emptied out, to the point that there were only three people on the set when it departed Santragachi some 10 minutes after arrival. Just around the corner from Santragachi, on the Shalimar branch, 18008 was routed into the pit lanes of Padmapukur Carriage Sidings; which of course I found a little strange. It wasn’t until one of the carriage cleaners told me that the train would stop there, did I realise that was that. So close, yet so far to Shalimar. I was advised to walk back to the level crossing we’d just come over and head for the main road to get a bus to the city; which was never going to happen.

Pondering what had just happened as I walked back to the level crossing I quickly realised that I could cover the evening departure of 18007 from Shalimar and not jeopardize my overnight journey to Katihar. What I didn’t realise until weeks later was that if I’d looked at the forum part of IRI the previous night, when I discovered that 18008 had been retimed, I’d have seen that it was also terminating short at Santragachi until further notice but thankfully 18007 was still starting at Shalimar. When I came across an electric auto in the street I was soon headed back to Santragachi Jn, as it was nearer than messing about going towards the city and there were a few express trains to stop at Santragachi in the coming hours. A stroke of luck came my way during the journey as I allowed the driver to pick up another person en-route, who turned out to be a senior railway employee at Santragachi shed and was just nipping in to tend to some business. We chewed the cud about both our railway careers and to be honest, while my new friend was only 1 year older than me, his career seemed much more promising than my own. Still, as railway workers do to other railway workers he offered his help to me and while I didn’t need help in particular, I seized the opportunity to be cheeky; which had worked many other times in the past, not to mention in getting us round MLG MG DLS a few years previous!

My cheek had me riding into the shed, as opposed to being dropped at the station front, and I was put on the next set of empty coaching stock heading towards Howrah. I had a 66% chance of being successful in my quest and was well happy to find the set I was on, for 12860 1350 Howrah – Mumbai CST, headed by KGP WDS6 36183. Despite the journey into Howrah only being 8km the load 24 rake certainly made it work hard! I couldn’t thank my new friend enough as the set eased out of the yard, which is in between the two sets of platforms at Santragachi, and during the early afternoon I spotted no less than 12 KGP Alco’s shunting stock to/from Santragachi, 8 of which were main line Alco’s and only 4 were WDS6’s; 2 were even Shakti’s! 13113, 13183, 16117, 16133, 16136, 16180, 16382, 16513 & 36125, 36160, 36183, 36248.

My plan for the day had originally been to spend some time at both Howrah and Sealdah attempting to get some of the WDS6’s in at both locations while they shunted stock, that was until 18008 had been retimed to arrive Calcutta a lot later than the 0932 it had originally been. Still, it seemed I’d hit Howrah at a good time and HWH WDS6’s 36067, 36110, 36171, 36189, 36191 & 36216 were all active in the Eastern Railway platforms as were 36248 and some of the WDM3A’s in the South-Eastern platforms and despite my limited time at Howrah my legs were kept busy as I ran about the place; which wasn’t easy when it was from one side of the station to the other, then back again.

I’d figured that the easiest way to get to Shalimar for 18007’s departure to Bhanjpur was to head back out to Santragachi and do an auto from there. As it happened BKSC WAG5 23173, working 54004 Howrah – Bhadrak passenger, made a Santragachi – Shalimar EMU and made my life a bit easier in the process. The stock for 18007 was in Padmapukur carriage sidings as I went by on the EMU and KGP WDG3A 13113 was at the Shalimar end of the stock; which was a good sign. Thankfully that good sign turned into a reality about an hour later when 13113 brought the stock in and ran round to work 18007 Shalimar – Bhanjpur. I was beginning to get a little worried, despite the train number being in the electronic platform displays.

I was grateful of the late running 12704 Secunderabad – Howrah when 18007 deposited me at Santragachi, where quite a few were waiting to board 18007. This got me back into Howrah quite quickly and allowed me to use the pre-paid taxi rank to get myself to Sealdah; as opposed to running the gauntlet outside Santragachi. A pre-paid taxi from Howrah to Sealdah is only RS100 and takes about 30 minutes in moderate traffic. After a quick bite to eat at Sealdah with good friend Samit Roychoudhury I was left to my own devices for a couple of hours until my planned overnight to Sealdah. With my big bag already dumped in the cloak room it was a lot easier to get around and the evening rush of express trains was about to commence.

I’d like to say I waited patiently at the outer extremities of the platforms for any form of WDS6 action, but I was far from patient and was thankful when BGA WDS6 36227 got proceedings started. Everything then happened in a short space of time and there was no wonder both Howrah & Sealdah needed so many shunt locos as some stood on the blocks, after arriving with the respective empty stock, for a good couple of hours; which is a nice job if you land the right turn as a crew I guess? Within quick succession BGA WDS6’s 36093, 36219, 36227 & 36234 had all brought sets of stock in, for departures within the next 2 hours. Not all had doors open throughout the train and generally it was only the crew doors that were open. I figured out why soon enough when I spotted people lining up outside the unreserved coaches, which were opened systematically by the RPF and once one was full they’d open the next up. It was all very civilized and that was probably since the whole process was being videoed by another member of the RPF and he wasn’t scared of getting the camera right up in everyone’s face; this was a tactic I’ve only ever seen used in relation to football hooliganism in the western world but it seemed to work as a method of crowd control at Sealdah as well.

The stock for my 13163 Sealdah – Saharsa Hate Bazare Express was brought in by BGA WDS6 36219 and I found BWN WDM3A 14142 at the business end of the train when I walked up. It was a full train in 2AC and I was in a side upper berth. Unfortunately for me the young girl in the side lower below me wasn’t in the mood for swapping since she’d previously fell out of an upper berth and broken her arm; I could understand why! She was a chatty girl and was travelling to Katihar for work. While she was one for transmitting rather than listening I had a good insight into the world of independent Indian girls by the time I went to sleep that night and probably stayed up longer than I would have done as it was quite intriguing. The long and short though is that she was insecure, despite her very independent life, and unsure of where her career path was going to take her but she did earn a decent wage with the job she was doing for a young girl in India. Still, she enjoyed what she was doing and lived life for that moment and I guess there’s nothing wrong with pondering your next moves in life; just like I was when I went to bed in thinking about my move to get to Teznarayanpur the following morning. It was somewhere I’d manage to miss going to when it was MG twice, the first since we hadn’t realised the MG platform serving the branch had been truncated at the opposite end of the station and then passed Alco YDM4 6105 waiting to depart as we did so on the legendary Avadh Assam Express towards Bareilly. The second time, a year later now we knew the branch line still existed as MG, we happened to turn up just 4 days after the branch was closed for gauge conversion and YDM4 6105 was one of 4 YDM4’s stabled up on the make-shift shed at Katihar at that point. Not only was it annoying we’d missed the branch completely but the fact we’d also missed what was probably the oldest working YDM4 in service at the time; there definitely weren’t any 60xx series examples left at that point and 6105 was the next lowest numbered one; so it had to be! While all of the above annoys me every time I go to Katihar, it didn’t prevent me from getting to sleep that night.

 

Gen for Tuesday 6th December 2016

Alco

18996 HWH 13466 Malda Town – Howrah

11582 SPJ 13465 1515 Howrah – Malda Town

16508 BWN 13147 1935 Sealdah – New Cooch Behar

Shunt Locos

36067, 110, 171, 189, 191, 216 – HWH (shunting stock to/from Tikiapara CS)

36125, 160, 183, 248 – KGP (shunting stock to/from Santragachi CS)

13113, 13183, 16117, 16133, 16136, 16180, 16382, 16513 – KGP (shunting stock to/from Santragachi CS)

36093, 219, 227, 234 – BGA (shunting stock in/out of Sealdah)

Electric

23173 BKSC 58015 Adra – Howrah

27548 CNB 58004 Bhadrak – Howrah

 

Moves for Tuesday 6th December 2016

11548 Bangriposi Bhanjpur 0420 Bangriposi – Bhubaneswar 12891 VSKP WDM3D
16509 Bhanjpur Padmapukur Carriage Sidings Pit Roads 0615 Bhanjpur – Kolkata Shalimar 18008 KGP WDM3A – train caped at Padapukur CS and the 6 or so people turfed off!
E-Auto Padmapukur Carriage Sidings Santragachi Jn RS80, 10 minutes
36183 Santragachi Jn Carriage Sidings Howrah ECS for 12860 1350 Howrah – Mumbai CST KGP WDS6
36110 Howrah Platform 15 West End Howrah Platform 15 East End ECS ex 12178 Mathura – Howrah HWH WDS6
36248 Howrah Platform 20 West End Howrah Platform 20 East End ECS ex 12858 Digha – Howrah KGP WDS6
36179 Howrah Platform 9 West End Howrah Platform 9 East End ECS ex 12334 Allahabad City – Howrah HWH WDS6
23173 Howrah Santragachi Jn 1525 Howrah – Bhadrak 54004 BKSC WAG5
EMU Santragachi Jn Kolkata Shalimar 1540 Santragachi Jn – Kolkata Shalimar EMU
13113 Kolkata Shalimar Santragachi Jn 1735 Kolkata Shalimar – Bhanjpur 18007 KGP WDG3A
22892 Santragachi Jn Howrah 1555 (05/12) Secunderabad – Howrah 12704 SRC WAP4
Taxi Howrah Sealdah Pre-pay, RS100, 35 minutes
36227 Sealdah Platform 9a West End Sealdah Platform 9a East End ECS for 13103 Sealdah – Lalgola BGA WDS6
36093 Sealdah Platform 9b West End Sealdah Platform 9b East End ECS for 13147 Sealdah – New Cooch Behar BGA WDS6
36234 Sealdah Platform 9c West End Sealdah Platform 9c East End ECS for 13185 Sealdah – Jaynagar BGA WDS6
36219 Sealdah Platform 6 West End Sealdah Platform 6 East End ECS for 13163 Sealdah – Saharsa BGA WDS6
14142 Sealdah Katihar Jn 2010 Sealdah – Saharsa Jn 13163 BWN WDM3A – via Bandel, Katwa Jn, Azimganj Jn, New Farakka Jn, Malda Town, Kumedpur Jn

 

Photos for Tuesday 6th December 2016

 

Wednesday 7th December 2016 (A trip down the Teznarayanpur branch in thick fog!)

I used NTES to find out where we were when I woke up. Having looked out of the train door to find the train dripping with moisture and visibility down to a few feet, there was no surprise we were late; and the crew were more or less crawling along, feeling their way through the thick vale of fog that had been causing chaos across northern parts of India for a few days by this point. It was a bout of fog that was very early in the Indian Winter as well; quite unexpected from my point of view.

Arrival into Katihar Was somewhat of a relief yet the platforms were engulfed in a thick band of fog when we did so. So much so that I had to walk right up to the loco to make sure it was still BWN WDM3A 14142; which of course it was. This thick band of fog cleared a little then often reduced visibility to feet again in a matter of minutes. This resulted in quite a bit of walking round the station to find out what was about; it was like someone had taken away the power of sight until you were upon whatever it was you wanted to look at. I could hear Alco’s chugging in the station but I didn’t know where they were. When I came across MLDT WDM2 18662 just being attached to the stock to work 55735 0715 Katihar – Jogbani I found it hard to refuse; and having been told at the information window in the booking hall what platform my 55774 0930 Katihar – Teznarayanpur would depart from I worked out I could get to Purnia Jn and back in time for it. I was grateful of the hot chai being served while I waited for 18662 to get its train moving but it did no good in keeping me warm as soon as the 55734 eased out of the station; I definitely wasn’t grateful for the standing room only space I had by the door, on a cold, wet and downright miserable morning!

Chai was on hand to inject a bit of warmth back into the body at Purnia Jn as was MLDT WDM3A 16634 with 55734 0615 Jogbani – Katihar. The respite from the cold was short-lived and I was glad to be back at Katihar when I got there. The fog had lifted a little and I could see more of the station area. While hunting around for chai I came across several stalls that sold IR timetables and some had that many that their whole stall was literally covered with them; they had English & Hindi versions of the Northern, Eastern & Trains at a glance. It was unreal, you see none for weeks and then everything you wanted a couple of weeks previous is laid out on a plate; in abundance!

While I was waiting for the stock to arrive to form my late running 55774 0930 Katihar – Teznarayanpur I had a brief walk outside the station and came across plinthed WDM2 17219 on the station approach. I’d not been able to see it earlier through the fog. While it had KIR markings on the loco it had previously been a MLDT loco and one I’d come across at Guwahati 10 years earlier; while working a Haibargaon passenger. My explorations were cut short though when MLDT WDM3D 11501 arrived to form 55774 0930 Katihar – Teznarayanpur; which was a train introduced relatively recently. I was quite surprised to find the stock quite empty when I’d got over to it and even more so when it departed; there couldn’t have been more than 6 people in the front coach on departure from Katihar!

While the thickness level of fog varied en-route to Teznarayanpur, unfortunately it was thick enough to not be able to see anything when we got there. I was grateful for the small mercy that was hot chai and while 11501 ran round I ambled to the opposite end of the train, where I didn’t struggle for a seat again! Thankfully we had a better run back to Katihar and by the time we got there it looked like a different place. It was clear, dry and almost sunny; yet not warm at all! At this point I had a decision to make but it was really made for me!

I’d originally planned to spend the day in Katihar, after arriving back from Teznarayanpur, and was booked on 12487 Jogbani – Anand Vihar from Katihar to Danapur; the idea being I could get the new Digha Bridge in for Alco. IR soon saw to it that I wouldn’t be doing that when they electrified both Digha Bridge and the route through to Samastipur & Barauni; which then meant the loco change on 12487/8 could change from diesel to electric at Barauni instead of Mughalsarai. Plan B had been to give up and head straight to Samastipur, as I was Darbhanga bound anyway, but then I discovered plan C. This involved heading to Patna, staying the night and doing 13206 Danapur – Saharsa over Digha bridge instead. I’d resigned myself to the fact that I’d be doing 22411 Naharlagun – New Delhi to Barauni for 13225 Jaynagar – Rajendranagar to Patna but a stroke of luck had me making the late running weekly unreserved 12407 New Jalpaiguri – Amritsar at Katihar. I even managed to wangle my way into a coach that was occupied by Indian Armed forces, travelling to Delhi, and had a nice comfortable journey to Khagaria Jn with MLDT WDM3A 16681 leading the way.

At Khagaria SPJ WDM3A 16038 / NGC WDM3A 16069 arrived with 28181 Tatanagar – Katihar and NTES became my guide yet again as I set off with them to Mansi Jn and had the pleasure of making the late running 23225 Saharsa – Barauni portion that joined with 13225 Jaynagar – Rajendranagar there! SPJ WDM3D 11280 led the way to Barauni and I had no issues getting a seat in the AC chair car. Between Mansi & Khagaria Jn I passed SPJ WDG3A 14922 with 13206 Danapur – Saharsa; which was a good sign for the following morning hopefully?

Barauni Jn was alive and kicking when 23225 arrived and every stall on the platform seemed to be rapidly turning out omelettes as fast as they could be made; unfortunately, they were being prepared too quickly for my liking and bread was being put in too soon, which prevents the egg cooking properly. I did manage to get one of them to leave the bread out and flip the omelette to make sure it was cooked, so I survived! Meanwhile SPJ WDM3A 16444 shunted the Jaynagar portion onto the Saharsa portion; and everything was eventually ready to go, just late! I’d got a reservation in the AC chair car of the Jaynagar portion but didn’t need it, there was plenty of room. It was a pain in the arse that 123325 staggered its way into Patna and it was almost 2130 be the time I was rushing out of the station to get an auto to my hotel, near Patna Jn, as I’d missed everything that would take me the short distance by train and it wasn’t worth waiting an hour for the next train.

The Hotel Archie Inn, which I’d booked on Booking.com while in India, wasn’t the easiest place to find and it was easier in the end to get the auto driver to drop me at a larger hotel on the opposite side of the carriageway to it. It’s only a 5-minute walk up the main drag from the station anyway and the front desk were expecting me. The hotel room wasn’t the biggest and I did spend a few minutes killing mosquitoes before bed but all I needed was a place to sleep and it sufficed for that.

 

Gen for Wednesday 7th December 2016

Alco

16519 MLDT 13248 Danapur – Kamakhya

16548 MLDT 55755 Teznarayanpur – Jogbani

11464 SPJ 55222 Barauni – Katihar, 55223 1220 Katihar – Darbhanga

14922 SPJ 13206 Danapur – Saharsa

11320 ET 15232 Gondia – Barauni

 

Moves for Wednesday 7th December 2016

18662 Katihar Jn Purnia Jn 0715 Katihar Jn – Jogbani 55735 MLDT WDM2
16634 Purnia Jn Katihar Jn 0615 Jogbani – Katihar Jn 55734 MLDT WDM3A
11501 Katihar Jn Teznarayanpur 0930 Katihar Jn – Teznarayanpur 55774 MLDT WDM3D
11501 Teznarayanpur Katihar Jn 1130 Teznarayanpur – Katihar Jn 55773 MLDT WDM3D
16681 Katihar Jn Khagaria Jn 0815 New Jalpaiguri Jn – Amritsar Jn 12407 MLDT WDM3A
16038 Khagaria Jn Mansi Jn 2135 (06/12) Tatanagar -Katihar Jn 28181 SPJ WDM3A 16038 in tandem with NGC WDM3A 16069
16069
11280 Mansi Jn Barauni Jn 1240 Saharsa Jn – Barauni Jn 23225 SPJ WDM3D
16444 Barauni Jn Rajendranagar 1105 Jaynagar – Rajendranagar 13225 SPJ WDM3A

 

Photos for Wednesday 7th December 2016

 

Thursday 8th December 2016 (Patna to Darbhanga via the new Digha Bridge)

I couldn’t sleep once I’d heard the road noise in the morning and once I’d looked at NTES, and figured out how many late trains were in the area, it would have been rude not to indulge myself in a bit of a morning spin-fest. A once solid DUW train throughout, 18184 Danapur – Tatanagar, produced TATA WAG5 23641 and I was soon back where I’d started at Patna Jn courtesy of MLDT WDM3A 16544 on 13415 Malda Town – Patna Jn; then came the late running trains.

SPJ WDM3A 16206 rocked up at Patna Jn with 12402 New Delhi – Islampur 19 hours late and dropped me into 12309 Rajendranagar – New Delhi, which was only a means to get back to Patna Jn and should have gone the previous night. It departed Rajendranagar 11h30m late with GZB WAP7 30222. At this stage I should have been thinking about getting to Danapur for 13206 Danapur – Saharsa but when I found SPJ WDG3A 13388 sat in with a late 18696 Patna Jn – Islampur I did it back to Rajendranagar and thankfully made 13049 Howrah – Amritsar with ASN WAM4 21379; which dropped me nicely into the waiting SPJ WDG3A 14922 with 13206 Danapur – Saharsa.

I had a reservation in AC chair car, which again wasn’t really needed but there were quite a few in it without reservations; as always seems to be the case in Bihar. Once over the Digha Bridge I was in the lap of the gods and was relying on late running trains to get me out of what would otherwise turn out to be a crap move; and the late running 15232 Gondia – Barauni turned out to be the obliging train! This meant I could get off 13206 at Hajipur instead of having to go through to Barauni and endure passenger train moves to get me to Darbhanga. Instead SPJ WDG3A 14682 did the honours to Samastipur Jn where the surprise of the day was waiting to whisk me to Darbhanga; KGP WDG3A’s 13663/13358 with a late running 17007 Secunderabad – Darbhanga. I was in Darbhanga by just after 1600, instead of the wrong side of 1900 had I gone through to Barauni on 13206.

As HWH WDM3A 16040 had just been arriving at Samastipur with 53041 Howrah – Jaynagar passenger, running 7 hours late, when 17007 departed I hung around at Darbhanga for it and was Sakri Jn bound before I knew it and there wasn’t any time to think at Sakri when I found SPJ WDM3A 16643 heading to Darbhanga with 55518 Jaynagar – Darbhanga passenger; which in turned crossed SPJ WDM3D 11464 at Tar Sarai with 55577 Darbhanga – Biraul passenger.

Back at Sakri I found NKE YDM4 6597 with 52519 1730 Sakri – Laukaha Bazar passenger. My whole reason for returning to Sakri in the first place was to seek out YDM4 6514, which I’d seen at Sakri the previous year after it had been recently delivered to the area; after spending a period working the Bihariganj branch before it was closed. As it wasn’t doing 52519 that night I opted for the early night and headed back to Darbhanga with KTE WDM3A 16778 on 13186 Jaynagar – Sealdah Gangasagar Express.

It was as interesting as every walking down the darkened main road around the corner from Darbhanga station, where the fruit & veg sellers were still going strong at the side of the road; hindering traffic in the process. Glaring headlights are half the issue when walking down roads at night, as is trying to avoid the many cows walking down the road, which were constantly being ushered away from the goods the sellers had laid out on the floor. Once off the main road though the walk to the Hotel Grand SM Regency is quite straightforward and despite the darkened streets and their quiet nature at night I’ve never felt threatened or had any issues whatsoever while doing the walk.

The staff at the front desk of the Grand SM Regency, which is situated directly above a shopping centre, seemed confused by my arrival. This surprised me a little as the last time I’d made a booking through Booking.com they’d been expecting me and all the paperwork was in their folder behind the desk. This time though a call to the manager then had them scurrying about. Ultimately though there was no sign of my paperwork but I was soon shown to my room, which was as good as the one I’d had during my previous stay. It had a large double bed, was clean, offered free bottled water every day, had a decent quality TV, AC and free toiletries. Rather than opt for room service that night I chose to eat in the hotel restaurant; the food in which was good quality and piping hot when it arrived.

While it hadn’t been a particularly strenuous day I got the feeling that the trip was starting to take its toll and I could feel a cold coming on. It hadn’t been a particularly warm day at all and the fog had brought with it a cooler front of weather; which had basically prevented me from taking my jacket off all afternoon. The late running trains earlier in the day had done me a massive favour and I was retiring to my room, fed and watered, before I’d have probably got to the hotel had I ended up resorting to plan A and going via Barauni on 13206. So, it’s not always bad news when things go wrong and I hoped I’d be greeted with some good news on the Sakri MG section the following morning/afternoon as well.

 

Moves for Thursday 8th December 2016

23641 Patna Jn Rajendranagar 0600 Danapur – Tatanagar 18184 TATA WAG5
16544 Rajendranagar Patna Jn 2030 (07/12) Malda Town – Patna Jn 13415 MLDT WDM3A
16206 Patna Jn Rajendranagar 2000 (06/12) New Delhi Jn – Islampur 12402 SPJ WDM3A – 19 hours late due fog
30222 Rajendranagar Patna Jn 1900 (07/12) Rajendranagar – New Delhi Jn 12309 GZB WAP7 – 11h30m late due fog
13388 Patna Jn Rajendranagar 0745 Patna Jn – Islampur 18696 SPJ WDG3A
21379 Rajendranagar Danapur 1350 (07/12) Howrah – Amritsar Jn 13049 ASN WAM4
14922 Danapur Hajipur Jn 0920 Danapur – Saharsa Jn 13206 SPJ WDG3A – via Digha Bridge
14682 Hajipur Jn Samastipur Jn 2100 (06/12) Gondia Jn – Barauni Jn 15232 SPJ WDG3A
13663 Samastipur Jn Darbhanga Jn 2200 (06/12) Secunderabad Jn – Darbhanga Jn 17007 KGP WDG3A’s 13663/13358 in multi – 3 hours late
13358
16040 Darbhanga Jn Sakri Jn 0715 (07/12) Howrah – Jaynagar 53041 HWH WDM3A – 6 hours late
16643 Sakri Jn Tar Sarai 1420 Jaynagar – Darbhanga Jn 55518 SPJ WDM3A
11464 Tar Sarai Sakri Jn 1600 Darbhanga Jn – Biraul 55577 SPJ WDM3D
16778 Sakri Jn Darbhanga Jn 1635 Jaynagar – Sealdah 13186 KTE WDM3A

 

Photos for Thursday 8th December 2016

 

Friday 9th December 2016 (Hunting for YDM4 6514 on the Sakri MG section)

I was up and out quite early, with the early night making a difference; it hadn’t made a difference to the weather though and it was still pretty cool. A few piping hot chai’s from one of the many stalls on platform 1 at Darbhanga station helped and I was glad to see SPJ WDM3D 11488 roll in with 13185 Sealdah – Jaynagar, which was surprisingly late; it’s always a good runner and usually early at Darbhanga. I opted for the empty 2AC towards Sakri, which to be honest wasn’t any warmer than it was outside.

While Sakri wasn’t quite as miserable as Katihar had been two days earlier, it was still cold but just without the thick fog making things a whole lot more miserable than they needed to be. Regardless of how miserable it was I was soon grinning from ear to ear when NKE YDM4 6514 arrived into Sakri with 52516 0330 Laukaha Bazar – Sakri Jn; the hunt for it was no longer necessary and I was quite pleased it had presented itself to me, especially with the state of affairs I found at Jhanjhapur Jn.

6514 was quickly run round its load 7 set and I had a quick scan round it when it got to the other end of the train. To say it had only been at Sakri 12 months, it’s condition externally had deteriorated quite quickly. It now looked like a veteran of the JJP fleet, yet had been in an ex works condition when I’d spotted it at Sakri last time! On board 52517 0830 Sakri Jn – Laukaha Bazar things had also changed; the train was virtually empty throughout and I had the run of the front coach to myself.

I was glad I hadn’t decided to have a lay-in and wait for 55519 0605 Samastipur – Jaynagar at Darbhanga, as it was late and technically missed 52517 0830 Sakri – Laukaha Bazar; when SPJ WDG3A 13389 rolled into Sakri at 0840. I think this connection is always held though but I wouldn’t bank on it, not that it would matter for much longer of course though, as the MG was now on borrowed time and there would eventually be a through train from Samastipur to Laukaha Bazar on the BG.

52517 set off moments after 55519 had arrived but everyone who looked to be making the connection made it. Despite waiting until the last minute to get on, and claim my own personal compartment in the empty front coach, everyone in it decided to sit with me; which amounted to about half a dozen folk. Three of which were school kids going to Jhanjharpur. While they spoke some English, they wanted to hear English read to them and I was soon reading passages to them from a text book they presented me with, which was basically about life. I was very surprised though at the content in some of the passages, one of which described how Gandhi had wanted Indian’s to brush aside Western ways and live as their forefathers had, living in the traditional Indian way. To me this was just ridiculous as society benefits from advancements in technology and denying yourself these advancements, which India has been in some ways for many years, is preventing your own personal growth. There’s nothing wrong with local traditions and customs but if this is what is being taught in schools in rural areas then there really is no hope for those areas to progress in society until they embrace more advanced ways of doing things and encompass advances in technology in their lives. All-in-all I was quite astounded at what I read and it certainly opened my eyes to the sort of propaganda, if that is the right word, that is written to get the younger generations to tow the line……

As eye-opening as it was, the journey to Jhanjharpur was soon nearing its end. Surprisingly, or not so much I guess, the new BG rail bridge between Lohna Road & Jhanjharpur hadn’t been touched since my visit 12 months previous and was still missing spans in the middle. There hadn’t been any other BG preparation works going on either and all the sleepers and rails that had been dumped in situ were now gathering dust, being overgrown where they stood and being used as a toilet area by the local population. Jhanjharpur station area itself was something else though; a YDM4 graveyard!

As 6514 drew its train into Jhanjharpur I was so fixated on the usual demic line of YDM4’s over the back of the station area that I almost completely missed the line in the middle of the station, almost adjacent to the train as we arrived! The whole station area was like a bog and it was hard to get around the place due to the amount of surface water around. There were a couple of guys digging out weeds from the tracks, in a vain attempt to allow the water to drain away. What it really needed though, was a complete dig out and renewal of the base formation, which I’m guessing would only come when the new BG tracks were laid. In the meantime, wooden sleepers would rot in situ and it wouldn’t surprise me if there wasn’t the odd track spread incident due to sleepers just disintegrating!

It wasn’t hard to figure out what was in service at Jhanjharpur and what wasn’t and after 6514 had departed for Laukaha Bazar I walked round the whole station area and photographed everything there; but for one YDM4 that was right up the top end of the carriage sidings shunting stock. The following were in the station area:

6494 on the pit road being serviced at the Sakri end of the station

6465, 6703 by the fuel point – they were being serviced one at a time and moved down to the pit when required

6512, 6495, 6592, 6590 on the demic road by the C&W buildings over the back of the station

6510, 6682, 6532, 6458, 6551 lined up in the road adjacent to the platform

From a conversation with a guy on the shed, who had no issues with me walking round and taking photos, the following are serviceable YDM4’s at JJP:

6465, 6494, 6514, 6530, 6597 & 6703 – of which 6514 & 6597 were out working and 6530 (the one I didn’t see) was shunting the carriage sidings; with the other three on shed being serviced.

The whole of Jhanjhapur station area is like a land that time forgot and you could be forgiven for thinking it had been abandoned in the past. There are random station signs in amongst the locos and stock, in areas that don’t even look like they used to be platforms. It’s all quite a sight really and of course will soon be gone. With a bit of time to kill before heading back to Sakri I wondered outside the station, just in time to watch some clown run his motorbike straight into one of the stalls that lined the road; because he couldn’t take his eyes off me and had no clue of the stalls’ impending doom! Luckily nobody was injured but there was quite a mess to clean up. The whole road outside Sakri is lined with stalls, all selling the same, chai, crisps, water, pop, etc. While there is no chance of starving there I did find that the dates on some of the stuff on the stalls was over 6 months in the past and some of it had probably been languishing around for a while, so be careful.

It was quite a relaxing visit to Jhanjharpur and when 6597 arrived with 52518 0815 Laukaha Bazar – Sakri Jn, the return journey to Sakri was just as empty as the outward had been. The loco pilot on 6597 was a lot better than the one on 6514 and it actually got to full power on a couple of occasions; and sounded quite good when it did. Not being driven in anger surely can’t be good for the power units on the NKE YDM4’s?

Back at Sakri the sun was trying to get out and SPJ WDG3A 13389 was sat waiting to go with 13225 1105 Jaynagar – Rajendranagar but as it was waiting for 53041 Howrah – Jaynagar passenger to arrive there was time to get some photos of 6597 running round before I needed to dash off. While doing so I was tapped on the shoulder by a guy, who I instantly recognized. He was a driving instructor and lived at Sakri, he’d been at Sakri a couple of years ago, when I’d visited and had travelled with me in the guard’s van on a wedged train. At this point in time he was going to Darbhanga and told me he’d be in Jhanjharpur the following day. I rode with him to Darbhanga on board 13225 Jaynagar – Rajendranagar. I’d last had 13389 as a MGS loco to Islampur and it had been good then, the trip towards Darbhanga though was cracking, with the loco pilot giving it what for as it was late.

I found myself back at Sakri in no time at all, thanks to a late running 18419 Puri – Jaynagar, which was sat in at Darbhanga waiting to go; with GD WDM3A 14065 doing the honours. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to get to the front of the train before it set off but 14065 sounded good from half way down the train and I was in for a treat on the way back to Darbhanga when NGC WDM3D 11483 rolled into Sakri with 12569 Jaynagar – Anand Vihar Terminus Garib Rath. I did manage to get to the front on this train and 11483 turned out to be one of the best WDM3D’s I’d had on the whole trip; which I enjoyed from the second coach back, behind the generator van.

With a bit of time to spare in the early afternoon I wondered back to the hotel and had a quick, very good, veg noodles in my room; before wondering straight back to the station to view a couple of trains. Since I’d left GD WDM3A 18836 had arrived with a 12 hour late running 15212 Amritsar – Darbhanga and SPJ WDM3A 16045 was sat in platform 1 waiting to depart with 15236 1545 Darbhanga – Howrah. UDL WDM3A 16178 was soon pulling up alongside with a late running 13156 Sitamarhi – Kolkata Chitpur; both would take the same route to Kolkata but arrive into different stations there. Luckily for me I needed UDL’s 16178 on 13156, which stopped at Laheria Sarai and there was even the possibility that I’d make a train back there and not have to do an auto; so, when it departed before 15236 I was quite hopeful.

I needn’t have been concerned as the very late running 12566 1415 (PP) New Delhi – Darbhanga was nowhere in sight when 13156 arrived. What’s more 13156 departed first and when 12566 did eventually arrive, it did so with SPJ WDM3D 11509 and not the now booked SPJ WDP4. The train was just the 29h25m late and should have been into Darbhanga the previous afternoon! When it did arrive into Darbhanga SPJ WDM3A 16262 arrived soon afterwards, with 55518 1420 Jaynagar – Darbhanga and was run straight round to work back with 55517 1730 Darbhanga – Jaynagar. This was my cue to head back to the hotel and have a bit of a relax and an early evening meal in the hotel restaurant. The cold weather had taken its toll and I was feeling the start of a cold coming on; which was just what I wanted when I’d be starting my long journey home the following day!

After a bit of a relax and a good meal in the hotel restaurant I had an amble back to the station to view 55513 1815 Samastipur – Jaynagar and when it arrived with an oil soaked SPJ WDG3A 13277 I was Sakri bound with it and returned with GD WDM3A 14062 on 18606 Jaynagar – Ranchi Jn. This move finished the day off nicely and essentially was the end of my trip; which had certainly had its ups and downs along the way but there was one last hurdle to overcome and that was getting back to Delhi to make my flight home to London, what with all the fog delays! I tried to put that thought out of me head as I went to sleep that night but it was always on the back of my mind from that point on.

 

Gen for Friday 9th December 2016

Alco

16778 KTE 13186 1635 Jaynagar – Sealdah

13389 SPJ 55519 0605 Samastipur – Jaynagar, 13225 1105 Jaynagar – Rajendranagar

16262 SPJ 55518 1420 Jaynagar – Darbhanga, 55517 1730 Darbhanga – Jaynagar

18836 GD 15212 1905 (PP) Amritsar – Darbhanga (12 hours late)

11464 SPJ 55575 0800 Darbhanga – Biraul, 55578 1200 Biraul – Darbhanga, 55577 1600 Darbhanga – Biraul, 55576 1845 Biraul – Darbhanga

11320 ET 11061 1215 (PP) Lokmanya Tilak – Darbhanga (6 hours late), 11062 1310 Darbhanga – Lokmanya Tilak (6 hours late)

GM

40368 SPJ 12561 1400 Jaynagar – New Delhi

40213 PA 11034 1700 Darbhanga – Pune

 

Moves for Friday 9th December 2016

11488 Darbhanga Jn Sakri Jn 1745 (08/12) Sealdah – Jaynagar 13185 SPJ WDM3D
6514 Sakri Jn Jhanjharpur Jn 0830 Sakri Jn – Laukaha Bazar 52517 NKE YDM4
6597 Jhanjharpur Jn Sakri Jn 0815 Laukaha Bazar – Sakri Jn 52518 NKE YDM4
13389 Sakri Jn Darbhanga Jn 1105 Jaynagar – Rajendranagar 13225 SPJ WDG3A
14065 Darbhanga Jn Sakri Jn 1425 (07/12) Puri – Jaynagar 18419 GD WDM3A
11483 Sakri Jn Darbhanga Jn 1200 Jaynagar – Anand Vihar Terminus 12569 NGC WDM3D
16178 Darbhanga Jn Laheria Sarai 1255 Sitarmarhi – Kolkata 13156 UDL WDM3A
11509 Laheria Sarai Darbhanga Jn 1415 (07/12) New Delhi Jn – Darbhanga Jn 12566 SPJ WDM3D – 29h25m late!
13277 Darbhanga Jn Sakri Jn 1815 Samastipur Jn – Jaynagar 55513 SPJ WDG3A
14062 Sakri Jn Darbhanga Jn 1950 Jaynagar – Ranchi Jn 18606 GD WDM3A

 

Photos for Friday 9th December 2016

 

Saturday 10th December 2016 (Darbhanga to Delhi; with a bit of fog on the way!)

I’d paid my bill at the Grand SM Regency the previous night to save any hassles when leaving the hotel and after a bit of breakfast I was heading to Darbhanga station for the last time. It was a better morning, weather-wise, than it had been the previous day and it looked like it would be a clear day ahead. The downside of that was that I was now in full sniveling mode with my cold starting to come out. It’s never good having a cold when travelling around in hot weather and all I could do was top-up on the paracetamol to try and keep it at bay.

I was quite surprised to find GD WDM3A 18836 waiting to leave with 15211 1725 (P) Darbhanga – Amritsar when I got to the station. It wasn’t showing on NTES but I wasn’t complaining and when it departed 14 hours late at 0725 I was even more surprised to make the late running Ganga Sagar Express, 13185 Sealdah – Jaynagar, at Laheria Sarai; and was back in Darbhanga in no time thanks to KTE WDM3a 16778. As TKD WDP4 40066 was in waiting to go with a 23h23m late running 14649 Jaynagar – Amritsar I did this straight back to Laheria Sarai and was a little disappointed when SPJ WDG3A 14683 arrived with 55519 0605 Samastipur – Jaynagar, but did it back to Darbhanga anyway; where copious amounts of chai were consumed in a bid to curb the snivels I had!

The next Alco bound for Samastipur turned out to be SPJ WDM3A 16401 with 55514 0735 Jaynagar – Samastipur and it was the only train I could do to Samastipur for my booked train to Delhi, as the next one was a few hours later and didn’t leave any room for lateness. 16401 was a good engine but the journey was a little stop start and there was plenty of festering around en-route to Samastipur. The biggest fester being at Muktapur, the last stop before Samastipur. Some people got off at this point and got an auto into Samastipur as there were plenty running up and down the main road by the station. Just as I was considering doing the same, out of boredom, SGUJ WDP4 40090 turned up with 13043 Howrah – Raxaul and 16401 was getting 55514 on the move towards Samastipur shortly afterwards. After a forced stop on the junction approaching Samastipur, by chain pullers, 16401 eventually brought its train to a stand in the platform 60’ late.

It had turned into a warm morning and my cold was coming out more than ever. Still I braved the warmth and took a steady walk to the Hotel Swarg, which is about a 10-minute walk, where I’d both stayed and eaten before. In the hotel restaurant, the staff were all gathered round the TV watching India beating England in live cricket; needless to say, none of them wanted to pull themselves away from the screen and serve me but I was eventually served. While the food is quite good in the Swarg’s restaurant I noticed they’d still got their cockroach problem and they were pretty much everywhere in the restaurant, which can be a bit off-putting. It didn’t stop me devouring everything that was put in front of me, although I did make sure my bags were on a chair and kept free of the roaming roaches!

On my way back to the station I stocked up on goodies for the long train journey that lay ahead, which I was worried would be a lot longer than it should be due to fog delays. The weather on my phone looked promising though and when I got back to the station I discovered SPJ WDM3D 11588 sat waiting to depart with a late running 55554 1345 Samastipur – Saharsa. With NTES showing my booked 12523 NJP – New Delhi as being 60’ late and 55567 Saharsa – Samastipur as being right time I did 11588 out to Angar Ghat for what turned out to be SPJ WDG3A 13534 back into Samastipur with 55567 and then, while waiting around for my booked train, spotted NKJ WAG7 28029 stabled up at the top end of the station; alongside GD WDM3A 16700R.

As Barauni – Samastipur – Chhapra – Lucknow – Delhi was now electrified throughout I had my reservations about 12523 New Jalpaiguri – New Delhi being a through MLDT Alco and had considered 15715 Kishanganj – Ajmer as a backup as it had to be diesel running via Ballia & Faizabad. However, at this point all me eggs were in one basket, at least to Lucknow anyway; where 12523 would then be in front of 15715 and I could get off for it if need be. What I didn’t expect, when 12523 NJP – New Delhi arrived into Samastipur 75’ late, was GD WDM3A 16530 to be in charge of the train and not the usual MLDT Alco. Still, it was the right traction and my mind was at rest as 16530 drew 12523 away from Samastipur. I’d been in touch with my wife, back home in England, who’d checked the more detailed weather forecast and found that there’d be thick fog in the Lucknow area overnight, which concerned me greatly as I had 12h40m from arriving in New Delhi to my plane departing Delhi IGI. When 12523 had run 4 days previous it had lost rafts of time overnight on its journey and it had arrived into Delhi 12h42m late; not really what I needed but I was still concerned enough to send my boss a message at work telling him I may not make it to work on Wednesday night!

Despite the issues that could lay ahead, the weather was crystal clear as we left Samastipur. My head wasn’t though and the haven of my lower side berth soon had me suffering in my own little world as my nose streamed and I sweated the cold out. I basically spent the whole afternoon curled up resting, got up for a bit to eat that evening then got my head down for the night; hoping for the best.

 

Gen for Saturday 10th December 2016

Alco

14683 SPJ 55519 0605 Samastipur – Jaynagar

16401 SPJ 55514 0735 Jaynagar – Samastipur

11298 SPJ 15283 Katihar – Jaynagar

11509 SPJ 12566 1415 (PP) New Delhi – Darbhanga (24h10m late)

18786 HWH 53041 0715 (P) Howrah – Jaynagar

11306 ET 11066 Darbhanga – Lokmanya Tilak (8 hours late)

GM

40090 SGUJ 13043 Howrah –Raxaul

 

Moves for Saturday 10th December 2016

18836 Darbhanga Jn Laheria Sarai 1725 (09/12) Darbhanga Jn – Amritsar Jn 15211 GD WDM3A – 14 hours late start due fog
16778 Laheria Sarai Darbhanga Jn 1745 (09/12) Sealdah – Jaynagar 13185 KTE WDM3A
40066 Darbhanga Jn Laheria Sarai 0715 (09/12) Jaynagar – Amritsar Jn 14649 TKD WDP4D – 23h25m late due fog
14683 Laheria Sarai Darbhanga Jn 0605 Samastipur Jn – Jaynagar 55519 SPJ WDG3A
16401 Darbhanga Jn Samastipur Jn 0735 Jaynagar – Samastipur Jn 55514 SPJ WDM3A
11588 Samastipur Jn Angar Ghat 1345 Samastipur Jn – Saharsa Jn 55554 SPJ WDM3D
13534 Angar Ghat Samastipur Jn 1025 Saharsa Jn – Samastipur Jn 55567 SPJ WDG3A
16530 Samastipur Jn New Delhi Jn 0815 New Jalpaiguri Jn – New Delhi Jn 12523 GD WDM3A – via Muzaffarpur, Chapra, Gorakhpur, Gonda, Lucknow, Moradabad – 75′ late ex Samastipur, 9h45m late New Delhi, fog

 

Photos for Saturday 10th December 2016

 

Sunday 11th December 2016 (Like platting fog into Delhi)

My cold took some of the late running issues away from my mind and I slept surprisingly well, considering. My cold seemed to have all but vanished as I surfaced but unfortunately my concerns about making my plane became more of a reality as we approached Lucknow over 5 hours late, in thick fog! Just to get from one side of Lucknow took over 2 hours in the fog and we were over 7 hours late by the time we popped out of the other side of Lucknow. Thankfully GD WDM3A 16530 was still with me!

The run towards Moradabad wasn’t the best and my plans of possibly getting off at Ghaziabad soon went out of the window. I’d even had a load of gen from Speedo, who’d been in Delhi the day before, which would have aided my afternoon moves; but that was all fruitless now. Thankfully the weather cleared up as the morning progressed and the fog cleared but the sheer number of trains occupying the main line from Moradabad to Delhi made any form of progress nothing more than slow at best. At Ghaziabad, I had every intention of getting off to do 12039 1535 Kathgodam – New Delhi into New Delhi but when a WDP4 drew in with it, moments after 12523 had arrived, my 1115 km journey behind GD’s 16530 was seen through to destination; and the WDP4 arrived into New Delhi while I was walking over the footbridge. 12523 NJP – New Delhi had been 75’ late when I’d boarded at Samastipur and was a whopping 9h45m late when I’d stepped off in New Delhi. The platform it arrived into was full of people camped out waiting to head back east with 12524; which should have departed over 4 hours ago, by that point.

While I’d been robbed of my whole afternoon/evening in Delhi I was grateful I’d got there with enough time to make my flight home; and there was still enough time to get SSB WDS6 36260 in as it shunted the stock out off 12435 Dibrugarh – New Delhi; which I spotted from the footbridge as I attempted to get myself to the Delhi Metro and head to the airport.

The Metro at New Delhi isn’t as well signposted as it should be and I found myself going down the wrong entry gate and having to come back out of another to enter through gate No.4 for the airport line. The cost of a ticket is RS60 and as it was getting late in the day there weren’t many people about.

As I’d checked in for my flight on my phone, somewhere in the Lucknow area earlier, I was straight to the Business Class queue to get a boarding card printed and was through immigration and security pretty quickly. As I’d not eaten much on my journey from Samastipur I opted for a Domino’s Pizza at the airport and was absolutely disgusted with what I got. The quality was no better than something you’d expect to get from a frozen food shop; and I told Domino’s this after I got back to the UK. They in turn told me that their operation in India is contracted out and that they’d forwarded my comments on to their contractor. They were missing my point, which was the fact that I’d be ashamed at what was being produced in India if I were Domino’s as the food quality was shocking and nothing like the usual standard experienced at Domino’s elsewhere in the world! What a let-down it was……

My flight home boarded in plenty of time and was off the tarmac within a couple of minutes of time. I was well asleep before the first round off food was served and only noticed it had been when I woke to recline my seat.

 

Moves for Sunday 11th December 2016

36260 New Delhi Jn Platform 16 North End New Delhi Jn Platform 16 South End Shunt stock out ex 12435 Dibrugarh – New Delhi Rajdhani SSB WDS6AD

 

Monday 12th December 2016 (Home at last…..)

When the lights came on for breakfast I thought I’d better stir a little bit and got my arse into gear for landing. The flight had been one of the better BA ones I’d done in recent years, no kids screaming, no general background noise; it was pretty calm and peaceful, just like the landing. Immigration was far from calm and peaceful though and as usual, my passport didn’t work the electronic gates so I had to go to a desk to get through.

It was a breeze from immigration to Kings Cross and a nice breakfast got me back into the routine of things, at the café opposite Kings Cross Thameslink station. While hurtling down the ECML at 125mph I pondered over what had been a bit of a challenging trip in some ways; and asked myself if I’d have done anything different, knowing what I did now. The answer was of course yes, and I’d have to do something different to get the track to Etawah in next time and would most likely stay the night in Khajuraho next time too. Having written this too, I vowed not to fall out with myself, no matter how hard the trip was, and make sure I was on top of my scribblings as I started this from scratch after I got home; which is why it took so long to compile and it’s not the easiest thing to do from memory! The falling down point was the very hard first week, which had me deflated, tired and not in the right frame of mind to get my crap in order!

Note to self; sort your shit out real-time!

One Comment

  1. Yogesh
    Posted 11/03/2017 at 1:27 am. Reply to this comment

    Excellent Report! Great Photos! Thanks a lot for sharing the same!
    Thanks & Regards, Yogesh

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