India Nov/Dec 2019 – Hyderabad, Goa & Mumbai to Kolkata by Alco
India is becoming increasingly difficult to plan a trip around if you want to avoid GM’s, and not even the “sacred” trains that are usually pairs of Alco’s, are sacred anymore, as I rather unpleasantly found out! With there being only very limited bits of new track on offer these days, this trip was mainly about enjoying myself and trying not to get bowled by GM’s. Covering some of the longs runs around Hyderabad with KZJ Alco’s, along with some runs on the Konkan Railway with ERS twins were on the cards, along with a bit of time on the Gujarat MG; staying at Junagadh.
One of the highlights of the trip would be a few days around Sengottai on the Punalur line, which was somewhere I’d first been to on my very first trip to India in 2004. The other would be a ride along the newly built line from Mahesamunda Jn to Koderma Jn, which is about the only 100km+ section of track left that I can do with Alco now; other than a few bits that are DMU only or in the middle of electrified sections. The other highlight, assuming it worked, would be getting from the west coast at Mumbai, to the east coast at Kolkata by solid Alco-hauled trains.
Originally, I planned to head to NE India at the end of the trip but instead, chose to head to Bangladesh for 5 days to cover the Western side of the country before the recently ordered Progress Rail GMs arrive and change the dynamic of Bangladesh’s BG system for good. I didn’t plan anything too ambitious and would only cover part of the BG system as a result but as Bangladesh Railways only publish times for their Express, IC & Mail trains, almost a full week was spent at the computer downloading station departure board photos from Google Maps and then translating them from Bengali to English. The good thing about which, was that I could read Bengali numbers fluently by the time I’d finished and putting the hard work in before the trip always pays off.
Booked through Emirates
EK066 1350 Stansted – Dubai
EK526 0330 Dubai – Hyderabad
EK585 0100 Dhaka – Dubai
EK001 0745 Dubai – Heathrow
Booked through Indigo
6E-1858 1610 Kolkata – Dhaka
Secunderabad – Treebo Tryst Metropolis – it had previously been called the United 21 and I’d stayed there before. It’s a 10-minute walk from Secunderabad station, straight up the main road where the elevated metro line has been built. Nothing seems to have changed from its United 21 days and there isn’t a single mention of the brand name “Treebo” anywhere that I could see in the hotel. Luckily, I was able to check in early and was given a room on the 5th floor away from the main road, which was quiet, clean, mosquito free and had powerful AC and piping hot water. There was a kettle with tea/coffee making facilities and a decent fridge to keep the complimentary Bisleri cool.
Bellary – Hotel Nakshatra LR – despite having a reservation my plans changed and I didn’t stay here but they were happy to let me use the room I’d paid for from 6am until checkout time at 11am. I was even given the morning paper and a breakfast voucher! My room was quite spacious but a little rough around the edges and not as clean as I’d have expected. The AC worked well and there was a decent fan. The flat-screen TV had plenty to watch and the fridge cooled my water down before I headed back out. The only toiletries provided were a bar of soap and a small shampoo sachet and I had to ask for a toilet roll.
Junagadh – Lotus Hotel – another hotel I was late arriving at thanks to a change of plan. It’s a couple of minutes’ walk from Junagadh station, out of the main entrance, turn right and its up the road on the left. The room itself was clean, well presented and had great air-con and two fans. WiFi was strong and there was hot water, although the taps had to be left running for 10 minutes in a morning to get the hot water through the pipes! Anyone would think it was being piped from Ahmedabad! Toiletries were provided, most of which were used on my washing and the large double bed was very comfy. The food, which was freshly delivered from the adjacent Petals Restaurant, was very good.
Shoranur – Hotel Maps Residency – which is about a 10-minute walk from Shoranur Jn station and tucked down a side street, I was expected when I walked through the door. Check in was quick, thankfully, although there were three sets of paperwork to fill out! With not many options in Shoranur, Maps Residency stood out on Booking.com and was a prominent building in the area it stood. My room wasn’t big but was adequate. The AC unit was a farce and kept turning itself on and off and beeping every time it did either! The fan more than made up for it though and was a menace when turned up to full; it was a wonder the ceiling didn’t get dragged to the floor it was that powerful!
Tenkasi – Hotel Kings Palace – about a 5-minute walk from Tenkasi Jn, off the end of the platforms and not out through the main entrance, it has a big but overpriced restaurant attached and the rooms are so, so; nothing to write home about. Still, it was comfortable, had decent AC and a good fan. Hot water was only available in a morning and the only toiletry provided was a bar of soap. There was no WiFi but all in all the £15 price tag matched what I got, and they moved me from the front of the building to the rear when I asked, to get away from the noisy main road.
Dadar (Mumbai) – City Guest House – is a 2-minute walk from Dadar station and is somewhere I’ve used before. I was given the same room I’d had on my previous visit as well; room 103, which is only just around the corner from the reception. The night receptionist was expecting me arriving late, after I’d confirmed my arrival time through the Booking.com app and I was checked in as quickly as possible, with the receptionist filling out most of the details on the required forms while I was in my room. The room wasn’t big and there was barely enough room for the double bed, but it sufficed and with good AC, a decent fan and strong WiFi what more could one want; other than hot water. I found out when I complained about having to have cold showers that I should have asked at reception for the hot water to be turned on when I required it, which I wasn’t advised about on check-in. Other than the fact I had to get money from a cash machine to pay, as the hotel were having connection problems with their card payment machine, the stay was satisfactory, apart from the occasional bit of noise from the reception area.
Balasore – Banjara Barjorjis Hotel – less than a 10-minute walk from Balasore station and is set back from a main road. The hotel staff were expecting me when I arrived and I was soon shown to my room, which had a comfy double bed, good AC, a fan, hot water, a fridge, toiletries provided and there was even a freebie basket with packets of crisps on the desk. Room service was quick and efficient but I was able to do a bit of washing in the shower before the knock at the door came; and everything was hanging in front of the blasting AC drying by the time I sat down to eat. By the time I’d finished and had a shower all my washing was dry, and I was able to pack my crap up before hitting the sack for the night!
India – Booked through IRCTC website or bought at stations
Saturday 16th November 2019 (The start of a month-long trip)
Things at least got off to a good start when my taxi turned up on time, the only problem with that being that I’d booked it with a view to doing the 0747 from Doncaster to Kings Cross but as luck didn’t have it, a hired EMR HST was covering for the recently crash-damaged Satsuma and the Mk4 set that should have done the 0715 Leeds – Kings Cross had been swapped onto 1A13 0655 Skipton – Kings Cross; which was a preferred train anyway. Unfortunately though it ended up being 40’ late after a door fault delayed it at Leeds and due to the fact it was electric and the train was booked HST and via Hambleton on a Saturday, it had to follow late running trains on the Leeds – Doncaster corridor to get to Doncaster under the wires. The result being, I only had 2 hours to kill by the time I got to Stansted Airport!
I used Emirates from Stansted as it was loads cheaper than their Gatwick or Heathrow equivalents and this was the first time in many years that I’d not used British Airways and flown direct to India; again, down to cost. My bag was stopped at security, seemingly pulled up for a dense object inside, which turned out to be my malt loaf! Once on my way again, the flight to Dubai was ok but the walk from one end of the airport to the connecting gate took 27 minutes from security; not something I’ve experienced at Dubai before. The onward flight was harmless enough, if not full, but I was delivered to Hyderabad safely and promptly; despite originally booking to go to Chennai!
Moves for Saturday 16th November 2019
|91105||Doncaster||Kings Cross||0655 Skipton – Kings Cross||1A13|
|379018||Tottenham Hale||Stansted Airport||1040 Liverpool Street – Stansted Airport||1B48|
|A6-EQM||Stansted||Dubai||1350 Stansted – Dubai||EK066|
Sunday 17th November 2019 (Day 1 of 4 in Secunderabad)
There was no queue at immigration when we landed and thankfully, I had my own immigration form already filled out, as Emirates didn’t have any on board their flight! As we were early, a swift shuffle through the airport had me walking down the stairs outside arrivals, to the taxi rank; where metered taxis take people to where they want to go. I didn’t choose wisely and after we left the rank in taxi number one, we pulled over by the exit gate and some guy outside tried negotiating a fare of RS1850 to Secunderabad, despite me asking to be taken to Umdanagar station! After a few seconds of wibbling he dropped his price to “best price” RS1550; while clearing ignoring the fact that I didn’t want to go to Secunderabad, well not by taxi anyway! The result was me grabbing my bags, exiting the taxi and walking back to try the “other” taxi company. Which took me directly to Umdanagar station, chung me exactly what it said on the meter and the driver was very pleasant during the short trip too.
I had to make a swift exit when MLY WDM3A 16447 blew up t leave as we rolled to a stand, which resulted in some ticketless travel to Kacheguda on board 57306 1730 (P) Guntur Jn – Kacheguda, which I initially thought had been 17028 0530 Kurnool City – Secunderabad Jn. Thankfully that was showing on the screens at Kacheguda, where I discovered that foreign sim cards now had access to the Railwire WiFi that Indian Railways operate at most stations; which allowed me to check what was going off on the excellent Where’s My Train App. Hen MLY WDG3A 14580 departed with the lengthy 17028 Hundry Express in tow, this time I had a ticket.
At Secunderabad, three things happened in quick succession. Firstly, I dropped my big bag at the cloak room on platform 1, secondly GTL WDG3A’s 13007/13468 dropped onto 20811 2045 (P) Visakhapatnam – Nanded and thirdly I bought a ticket from one of the guys manning the auto-vending machines to Nanded and boarded 20811 right behind the locos! With not having as much sleep as I’d have liked on the planes, I wasn’t in the mood for the usual nedding around Secunderabad/Hyderabad and was pleasantly surprised at how much room there was in the unreserved at the front of 20811.
There’s nothing like being at the front of a 23-coach train with a pair of Shakti’s hammering away to awaken the senses and despite the racket, I did manage quite a bit of sleep along the way. It was quite possibly the best RS105 I’ve ever spent in India and I had no choice but to rush to the booking office while the locos ran-round their set, to do it all again on the way back; which was even emptier in unreserved! By the time 20810 got back to Secunderabad, I’d recovered quite a lot of lost sleep, had more thrash than I could have wished for that day and spent a massive RS210 for the privilege (about £2.20!) of riding 542km behind a fine pair of GTL Shakti’s.
There was no time for messing about at Secunderabad as I had to make my way to Kacheguda for part one of my planned overnight on board 16003 0850 Chennai Central – Nagarsol; which I’d originally planned on being on from Chennai until Emirates changed my flights, which then only gave me 25 minutes from landing to having to be on board at Chennai Central! Which is way I flew to Hyderabad instead. As I was heading towards the station exit, I heard an announcement for 57659 1025 Solapur Jn – Falaknuma passenger, and sure enough it was sat on platform 3, waiting for departure; with PA WDM3D 11360 at its helm. That saved either an auto ride, or a ride on an MMTS local EMU round to Kacheguda; and I even managed to get a ticket for it too.
Unfortunately, there was no time to indulge in a KFC, so the refreshment sellers at Kacheguda had to provide me with an Egg Biriyani to refuel the empty belly when I got there. Despite the sleep I’d managed on my way to Nanded and back, I didn’t need persuading to nod off at all when TNP WDG3A’s 13229/13223 got 16003 0855 Chennai Central – Nagarsol underway from Kacheguda. I did have to kick the sleeping India out of my lower side berth and completely make up the berth from scratch first though, but I dozed off having had a thoroughly enjoyable day, and looked forward to what the following day would bring.
Gen for Sunday 17th November 2019
16447 MLY 57306 1730 (P) Guntur Jn – Kacheguda
14580 MLY 17028 0530 Kurnool City – Secunderabad
13007/13468 GTL 20811 2045 (P) Visakhapatnam – Nanded (from SC), 20812 1635 Nanded – Visakhapatnam (to SC)
11360 PA 57659 1025 Solapur Jn – Falaknuma (start Wadi)
13229/13223 TNP 16003 0850 Chennai Cen – Nagarsol
Moves for Sunday 17th November 2019
|A6-EBO||Dubai||Hyderabad||0350 Dubai – Hyderabad||EK526|
|Taxi||Hyderabad Airport||Umdanagar||5km, 5 minutes, on the meter|
|16447||Umdanagar||Kacheguda||1730 (16/11) Guntur Jn – Kacheguda||57306|
|14580||Kacheguda||Secunderabad Jn||0530 Kurnool City – Secunderabad Jn||17028|
|13007||Secunderabad Jn||Nanded||2045 (16/11) Visakhapatnam Jn – Nanded||20811|
|13468||Nanded||Secunderabad Jn||1635 Nanded – Visakhapatnam Jn||20812|
|11360||Secunderabad Jn||Kacheguda||1025 Solapur Jn – Falaknuma||57659|
|13229||Kacheguda||Basar||0850 Chennai Central – Nagarsol||16003|
Photos for Sunday 17th November 2019
Monday 18th November 2019 (Day 2 of 4 in Secunderabad)
Everything went as smoothly as could have been expected overnight and 16003 made 17063 2050 (P) Manmad Jn – Secunderabad Jn Ajanta Express as Basar as booked. Pleasingly, GTL WDG3A’s 13467/14656 were in charge and this time I didn’t have to kick anyone out of my lower side berth and was able to assume the horizontal position almost immediately after boarding. At Secunderabad I was pressed straight into action, although I wasn’t prepared for it, and had other things I needed to do. Still, I wasn’t going to turn down GTL WDG3A 13224 with the late running 57605 0740 Secunderabad Jn – Vikarabad Jn, which dropped me straight into GTL WDG3A’s 13225/13255 at Begumpet, with 17205 1710 (P) Sainagar Shirdi – Kakinada Port. It was at this stage that I realised that KZJ DLS had taken a bit of a hammering in the recent cull of locos and it seemed evident that all the KZJ twin Also turns had been handed over to GTL instead, along with a raft of their Shakti’s in the process. GTL WDG3A’s 14999/13248 having arrived with 17015 0830 (P) Bhubaneswar – Secunderabad Vishaka Express all but confirmed it!
As I was in need of a shower and a bit of a relax, I wasted no time in heading to collect my bag from the cloak room, to allow me to head to my hotel and check in. As I walked away from the cloak room, almost 24 hours after dropping my bag, GY WDP4D 40355 was just dropping onto 20809 1110 (P) Sambalpur Jn – Nanded; which had been worked in by LGD WAP7 30582. A stark contrast to what I’d enjoyed on the previous day’s train!
The Treebo Tryst Metropolis had previously been called the United 21 and I’d stayed there before. It’s a 10-minute walk from Secunderabad station, straight up the main road where the elevated metro line has been built. Nothing seems to have changed from its United 21 days and there isn’t a single mention of the brand name “Treebo” anywhere that I could see in the hotel. Luckily, I was able to check in early and was given a room on the 5th floor away from the main road, which was quiet, clean, mosquito free and had powerful AC and piping hot water. There was a kettle with tea/coffee making facilities and a decent fridge to keep the complimentary Bisleri cool. I used the facilities to the max and while everything was on charge and the kettle was boiling, I had a shower and washed some clothes, using the provided toiletries. By the time I’d sorted myself out, unpacked, readjusted and charged everything, it was time to nip downstairs to get a sim card from the Vodafone store in the same complex as the hotel, which was anything but relaxing!
The Vodafone store had only just opened so I got straight in with someone to serve me. Initially, the process of getting a sim card seemed very efficient and straight forward, with everything being done on a shop mobile and uploaded straight to a profile created when the QR code was scanned on the sim card packaging. Unfortunately, the young lad dealing with me couldn’t get the scans of my passport to upload to the profile and his answer was to basically tell me he couldn’t give me the sim. When questioned, he said there was no way of doing it over the phone and if the scans wouldn’t upload there was nothing he could do. When I started to make a noise, he eventually went to get his supervisor, who strolled over, scanned my passport and uploaded the scan straight away; that was stressor number one over!
All was going swimmingly, albeit with a fair bit of filling out of online forms, until the system needs an alternate Indian number to allow the account to be activated. Which obviously, I don’t have. Nobody in the shop was willing to use their number to allow the activation to take place and neither was anyone at the hotel I was staying at. A brainwave had me using the shop WiFi to contact Jools via WhatsApp, who was thankfully still in the country and had an Indian sim. Thanks to him being in a place with decent reception and having a bit of downtime, he was able to act as my alternate number and send me the required codes to activate the account; which thankfully the young lad rang through to get the sim activated; and that was stressor number two over!
What I’d not realised during the whole transaction was that I was never asked for any money. It turns out that the sim card is free, and I just needed to activate a pack. Under normal circumstances that would be easy but as it happened the shop’s system was down, but they’d do the recharge as soon as they could. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in India, its to wait it out until what ever you’re doing is done properly; so, wait I did, and it took 10 minutes. That was stressor number three over!
I was now plumbed into the Vodafone 4G system for the next 28 days and was glad I’d got a sim. I’d almost walked away from the whole deal at one point but now I had it, it would be worth its weight in gold; but I’m not sure I can deal with the Indian fiasco’s that come with doing anything that involves foreigners for many more years. Its tedious, completely unnecessary and pretty much discriminatory. I get why hoops sometimes have to be jumped through but if I’d been on my own in India, without anyone to have the set-up sms to be sent to, it would have been game over, and for what reason? Nothing more than India bureaucracy!
Moving on, I was soon station bound again, and this time KFC did get a look-in. Immediately after I bought a ticket to Hyderabad, via Begumpet, to keep my options open. Quite why the tickets have to differ is anyone’s guess as it’s the same price direct as it is via Begumpet! I was going to do the Konark Express to Begumpet for the late running 57155 Gulbarga – Hyderabad passenger into Hyderabad but when ED WAG7 28028 turned up with 07686 0500 (P) Rameswaram – Hyderabad special, it dropped me nicely into TKD WAG9 31195, which was waiting to depart Hyderabad with 57517 1215 Hyderabad – Tandur; which is a train that gets any old junk and it provided an alternative way of getting to CLA WDG3A 14678 at Begumpet, which was working 57155 Gulbarga – Hyderabad passenger; which had started at Wadi due to planned works.
I found a list up in the booking office of a load of trains that were terminating short up to 27/11, which included 17031/17032, 12701/12702 CST – Hyderabad – CST’s not running between Pune & Mumbai, 57129, 57130, 57131 passengers being cancelled completely, 57155 starting at Wadi and a few others that I can’t remember. My first attempt at trying to get a ticket failed miserably when the old guy behind the counter point blank refused to sell me what I asked for and insisted I go to the next counter, after I’d been queuing for a few minutes at his! Needless to say, I wasn’t happy and let him know it. As Indian Railways have taken away any flexibility that the Indrail pass offered, I like to try and make things simple, especially as ticket fares are distance based. So for example, buying a ticket Hyderabad to Begumpet costs exactly the same as buying one from Hyderabad to Secunderabad via Begumpet, which also costs exactly the same as buying one from Hyderabad to Falaknuma via Begumpet, which isn’t an issue if you want to travel by MMTS local EMU. The issue the guy at the counter was having was getting his head around the fact that I wanted a direct ticket from Hyderabad to Falaknuma via Begumpet on Superfast trains, which while there actually isn’t a Superfast train from Secunderabad to Falaknuma, the fact I needed a Superfast ticket to do 12702 1450 Hyderabad – Mumbai CST to Begumpet, and would then use 12748 Vikarabad Jn – Guntur Jn Palnadu Superfast to get to Secunderabad, necessitates that I need a Superfast ticket. And at the end of the day, all a Superfast ticket is, is an express ticket with a RS15 Superfast surcharge added. Thankfully the lady at the other counter understood exactly w wanted and sold me the ticket. Had she not, I’d have just bought an MMTS ticket for the same journey and IR would have lost out on a few Rupees. If they allowed foreigners to use their ATVM’s at stations then life would be a lot simpler, as would having an app that allowed tickets to be purchased when required And not one that requires the purchaser to be outside station premises to buy tickets, which can only be done “if” your phone allows the app to download, and once you’ve set up an account and topped it up at a ticket office; as foreigners aren’t allowed a Paytm account in India!
Back on the platform, CLA WDG3A 14676 had shunted the stock in for 12702 1450 Hyderabad – (Mumbai CST) Pune Jn and Gandhi liveried KYN WDM3D 11365 was waiting to drop onto it. MLY WDG3A 14782 was the other station pilot loco at Hyderabad, which had shunted the rake out off 12701 Pune Jn (Mumbai CST) – Hyderabad; worked in by KYN WDM3D 11363. There’s nothing quite like a ‘3D on full chat and I was all ears out of the front door as 11365 got to grips with its train as it dragged it up the hill towards Begumpet. There were plenty of hands over ears when the rear of the train cleared Hyderabad platforms and the LP opened 11365 up to full power on the approach to Lakdikapull station. Mine weren’t over my ears though….
While waiting patiently for the Palnadu Express to take me back into Secunderabad, something horrifying happened. While I’d seen a post online recently with a SGUJ WDP4 heading 17018 Secunderabad – Rajkot, I never actually expected that I’d be in India a few weeks later and see the damn train with a GM, with my own eyes! Sure enough though, KJM WDP4D 40534 hummed its way into Begumpet; like nothing was out of the ordinary! What I did deduce from seeing said GM with said train, was that it would be back from Rajkot the day before I was booked on 17018 throughout from Secunderabad to Rajkot. I had a word with myself later that evening and booked myself an alternative move to get from Secunderabad to Gujarat, just in case!
Unfortunately, thanks to the recent electrification works being completed between Secunderabad & Guntur, things were quite the same when 12748 Vikarabad – Guntur Palnadu Express rolled in with BZA WAP4 22512, as opposed to the customary KZJ Alco twins it had been beforehand! It turned out to be a train of necessity though and waiting for me at Secunderabad, after BZA WAP4 22642 had been removed, were GTL WDM3D’s 11436/11438, heading 17206 0600 Kakinada Port – Sainagar Shirdi; so a quick trip out to Begumpet for an MMTS EMU back followed. KZJ WDG3A 13660 had been on Hussain Sagar Curve, when I came by, with the empties from Hyderabad to form 17027 1645 Secunderabad – Kurnool City Hundry Express, and thankfully it was still sat in platform 3 at Secunderabad when I got back, and saved me doing the EMU through to Kacheguda.
The Hundry Express just missed GY WDM3D 11411 at Falaknuma with 57426 0545 Guntakal Jn – Kacheguda, but made GY WDM3D 11372 right behind it with 57456 1410 Mahbubnagar – Kacheguda (starting Shadnagar), which in turn made 57473 1610 Kacheguda – Bodhan at Kacheguda; with the waiting GY WDM3D 11411 on the same set I’d just missed at Falaknuma. A successful evening on Kacheguda locals then ensued with MLY WDM3A 14043 bringing me back into Kacheguda on 57687 1425 Nizamabad – Kacheguda and MLY WDG3A 13334 dropped straight onto the opposite end of the stock to take me back out to Sitafalmandi and MLY WDG3A 13654 finished off the evening by getting me back to Kacheguda in time for my overnight, while working 57659 1025 Solapur Jn – Falaknuma (starting Wadi).
KJM WDM3A’s 14025/16586 had departed with 12785 1905 Kacheguda – Mysore Jn and GTL WDM3D/A twins 11339/16716 were now sat waiting with 12797 2005 Kacheguda – Chittoor; my conveyance to Dhone Jn. With it only being a plus 10’ at Dhone from 12797 to the opposing working of 12798, I was up in plenty of time to make sure I could leap at Kurnool City if need be. As it happened though, 12797 was pot on time and after we crossed KJM WDM3A’s 16862/16294 at the shack outside Dhone, with 12786 1445 Mysore Jn – Kacheguda, we hammered our way through the night and arrived into Done Jn just as what I believed was 12798 coming into the other end of the station.
As it happened, what I’d believed to be 12798 was in fact the late running 17604 1520 Yesvantpur Jn – Kacheguda, with GTL WDG3A’s 13466/13583 vice the regular WDP4. I wasn’t going to smack the gift horse in the mouth, so when I found the TTE I chanced getting a berth; and when he confirmed he had room, I was on board in a flash, of course I had to part with some cash, but it was worth it, and I dossed solidly to Shadnagar where I got off and boarded my booked 12798 only 10 minutes behind with GTL WDM3A’s 16389/16603.
Gen for Monday 18th November 2019
13467/14656 GTL 17063 2050 (P) Manmad Jn – Secunderabad
14999/13248 GTL 17015 0830 (P) Bhubaneswar – Secunderabad
12946 PA 2105 (PP) Jaipur – Secunderabad
13224 GTL 57605 0740 Secunderabad – Vikarabad Jn
13225/13255 GTL 17205 1710 (P) Sainagar Shirdi – Kakinada Port (to SC)
30582 LGD 20809 1110 (P) Sambalpur Jn – Nanded (to SC)
40355 GY 20809 1110 (P) Sambalpur Jn – Nanded (from SC)
28028 ED 07686 0500 (P) Rameswaram – Hyderabad DN
31195 TKD 57517 1215 Hyderabad DN – Tandur
11363 KYN 12701 2150 (P) Mumbai CST – Hyderabad DN (start Pune Jn 0125 vice CST)
14678 CLA 57155 0450 Wadi Jn – Hyderabad DN (start Wadi vice Gulbarga)
11365 KYN 12702 1450 Hyderabad DN – Pune Jn (Term Pune Jn vice CST)
22572 ED 17229 0700 (P) Trivandrum Cen – Hyderabad DN
14782 MLY 14676 CLA HYB Station pilots
13244 KZJ 14580 MLY SC Station pilots
14657 MLY 16551 MLY KCG Station pilots
40534 KJM 17018 1515 Secunderabad – Rajkot
22512 BZA 12748 1440 Vikarabad Jn – Guntur Jn
40554 KJM 17057 2115 (P) Mumbai CST – Secunderabad
22642 BZA 17206 0600 Kakinada Port – Sainagar Shirdi (to SC)
11436/11438 GTL 17206 0600 Kakinada Port – Sainagar Shirdi (from SC)
40520 KJM 17016 1650 Secunderabad – Bhubaneswar
13660 KZJ 17027 1645 Secunderabad – Kurnool City
11411 GY 57426 0545 Guntakal Jn – Kacheguda, 57473 1610 Kacheguda – Bodhan
11372 GY 57456 1410 Mahbubnagar – Kacheguda (start Shadnagar at 1521), 57435 1735 Kacheguda – Kurnool City
14043 MLY 57687 1425 Nizamabad – Kacheguda
13334 MLY 57688 1850 Kacheguda – Nizamabad
16500 MLY 57448 1610 Mahbubnagar – Mirzapalli
13654 MLY 57659 1025 Solapur Jn – Falaknuma (start Wadi)
14025/16586 KJM 12785 1905 Kacheguda – Mysore Jn
11339/16716 GTL 12797 2005 Kacheguda – Chittoor
Moves for Monday 18th November 2019
|13467||Basar||Secunderabad Jn||2050 (17/11) Manmad Jn – Secunderabad Jn||17063|
|13224||Secunderabad Jn||Begumpet||0740 Secunderabad Jn – Vikarabad Jn||57605|
|13225||Begumpet||Secunderabad Jn||1710 (17/11) Sainagar Shirdi – Kakinada Port||17205|
|28028||Secunderabad Jn||Hyderabad DN||0500 (17/11) Rameswaram – Hyderabad DN||07686|
|31195||Hyderabad DN||Begumpet||1215 Hyderabad DN – Tandur||57517|
|14678||Begumpet||Hyderabad DN||0345 Gulbarga Jn – Hyderabad DN||57155|
|11365||Hyderabad DN||Begumpet||1450 Hyderabad DN – Mumbai CST||12702|
|22512||Begumpet||Secunderabad Jn||1440 Vikarabad Jn – Guntur Jn||12748|
|11436||Secunderabad Jn||Begumpet||0600 Kakinada Port – Sainagar Shirdi||17206|
|EMU||Begumpet||Secunderabad Jn||1625 Lingampalli – Falaknuma||47186|
|13660||Secunderabad Jn||Falaknuma||1645 Secunderabad Jn – Kurnool City||17027|
|11372||Falaknuma||Kacheguda||1410 Mahubnagar – Kacheguda||57456|
|11411||Kacheguda||Cavalry Barracks||1610 Kacheguda – Bodhan||57473|
|14043||Cavalry Barracks||Kacheguda||1425 Nizamabad Jn – Kacheguda||57687|
|13334||Kacheguda||Sitafalmandi||1850 Kacheguda – Nizamabad Jn||57688|
|13654||Sitafalmandi||Kacheguda||1025 Solapur Jn – Falaknuma||57659|
|11339||Kacheguda||Dhone Jn||2005 Kacheguda – Chittoor||12797|
Photos for Monday 18th November 2019
Tuesday 19th November 2019 (Day 3 of 4 in Secunderabad)
With MLY WDM3A 14042 sat waiting to go at Kacheguda when I arrived, with the late running 57601 0600 Kacheguda – Karimnagar, a morning of doing something I’d never really done before ensued, when I had a bit of a bash on the Kacheguda locals. GTL WDM3D 11393 had been waiting to depart with 17641 0710 Kacheguda – Narkher, so I only did 14042 to Sitafalmandi for 11393 forward to Bolarum and then headed back to Kacheguda with GY WDM3D 11350 on 57486 0550 Mirzapalli – Kacheguda and when we passed MLY WDG3A 14629 with 57307 1005 Kacheguda – Medchal, it was then I realised that 57486’s set didn’t form 57307! At Kacheguda I was also quick to realise that the inbound 57689 0500 Nizamabad – Kacheguda also didn’t form 57690 0950 Kacheguda – Nizamabad; when I found MLY WDG3A 14630 waiting to depart with the latter, which made the former with a few minutes to spare at Sitafalmandi, with MLY WDM3A 16500 topping off a decent morning’s bash.
I was delivered back to Secunderabad by KZJ WDG3A 13660 on 17028 0530 Kurnool City – Secunderabad Hundry Express, where a bit of respite followed allowing for a spot of breakfast from the station refreshment centre and then a shower back at the hotel; before round two commenced. It wasn’t a very productive afternoon for my red pen but I did get around a bit between Secunderabad, Hyderabad & Kacheguda and both trains I had electrics on had been diesel until the Secunderabad – Guntur electrification works had been completed very recently. Granted 17229 Trivandrum – Hyderabad Sabari Express had usually been a WDP4 but 12748 Vikarabad – Guntur Palnadu Express had been twin Alco’s!
With 12701/12702 Mumbai CST – Hyderabad – Mumbai CST Hussain Sagar Express terminating short at Pune Jn, I wondered at what point the two locos in the link would get out of sync, and seemingly this day was it; with GY WDM3A 11377 working 12702 1450 Hyderabad – Pune Jn. The idea being that I’d do it to Begumpet for the Palnadu Express back into Secunderabad and then head around to Kacheguda for my next overnight move. I managed a return trip to Secunderabad in the time I would have waited for the Palnadu Express, with MLY WDG3A 14628 in on the late running 57606 1055 Vikarabad Jn – Kacheguda passenger for GTL WDG3A’s 14898/13240 back out with 17018 1515 Secunderabad – Rajkot Jn; which was more promising than the traction that train had on it the previous day!
It seemed that Secunderabad train controllers had it around their neck of an afternoon and when I headed back into Secunderabad with ED WAP4 22572 on 12748 1440 Vikarabad Jn – Guntur Jn Palnadu Express, KZJ WDG3A 14974 had gone off the staging area on Hussain Sagar curve, with the ecs to form the now late running 17027 1645 Secunderabad – Kurnool City Hundry Express. It was just announced as “ready to leave” as the Palnadu pulled into platform 1 and I just made it over to platform 3 in time, no thanks to the slow-moving foot traffic on the footbridge. As 14974 eased away from Secunderabad I noticed GTL WDM3A/D twins 16702/11150 waiting with the weekly 12770 1740 Secunderabad – Tirupati Seven Hills Express; and a conveniently timed MMTS EMU and even more conveniently placed member of staff manning a ticket machine with nobody gathered around, meant I made it straight back into Secunderabad to do the GTL twins back to Kacheguda!
GY WDM3D 11411 arrived into Kacheguda with 57456 1410 Mahbubnagar – Kacheguda (which was starting at Shadnagar all week) and ran straight round the same set to work back out with the late running 57435 1735 Kacheguda – Kurnool City. GTL WDM3A’s 16603/16389 were poised to work 12797 2005 Kacheguda – Chittoor but my night would be spent riding around on KJM WDM3A’s instead with 16862/16294 doing the honours on the way out to Dhone with 12785 1905 Kacheguda – Mysore Jn and 16586/14035 doing the honours on the return with 12786 1445 Mysore Jn – Kacheguda; which were followed close behind by GTL WDM3D/A twins 11339/16716 with 12798 1730 Chittoor – Kacheguda.
Gen for Tuesday 19th November 2019
16862/16294 KJM 12786 1445 (P) Mysore Jn – Kacheguda
13466/13583 GTL 17604 1520 (P) Yesvantpur – Kacheguda
16389/16603 GTL 12798 1730 (P) Chittoor – Kacheguda
14042 MLY 57601 0600 Kacheguda – Karimnagar
11393 GTL 17641 0710 Kacheguda – Narkher
40272 GY 17023 0730 Secunderabad – Kurnool City
11350 GY 57486 0550 Mirzapalli – Kacheguda, 57425 0940 Kacheguda – Guntakal
14630 MLY 57690 0950 Kacheguda – Nizamabad (fresh set ex sidings)
16500 MLY 57689 0500 Nizamabad – Kacheguda
14629 MLY 57307 1005 Kacheguda – Medchal (fresh set ex sidings – term Bolarum)
13660 KZJ 17028 0530 Kurnool City – Secunderabad
22354 BZA 17229 0700 (P) Trivandrum Cen – Hyderabad DN
11365 KYN 12701 0125 Pune Jn – Hyderabad DN (start Pune vice CST)
11377 GY 12702 1450 Hyderabad DN – Pune Jn (Term Pune vice CST)
14628 MLY 57606 1055 Vikarabad Jn – Kacheguda
14898/13240 GTL 17018 1515 Secunderabad – Rajkot
22572 ED 12748 1440 Vikarabad Jn – Guntur Jn
16566/11439 GTL 15015 0635 (P) Gorakhpur – Yesvantpur (from SC)
14580 MLY 13238 KZJ 13224 GTL SC Station pilots
14782 MLY 14676 CLA HYB Station pilots
14657 MLY 14629 MLY KCG Station pilots
30667 LGD 12714 1625 Secunderabad – Vijayawada
14974 KZJ 17027 1645 Secunderabad – Kurnool City
40117 GY 17016 1650 Secunderabad – Bhubaneswar
16702/11150 GTL 12770 1740 Secunderabad – Tirupati
11411 GY 57456 1410 Mahbubnagar – Kacheguda (start Shadnagar at 1521), 57435 1735 Kacheguda – Kurnool City
16862/16294 KJM 12785 1905 Kacheguda – Mysore Jn
16603/16389 GTL 12797 2005 Kacheguda – Chittoor
Moves for Tuesday 19th November 2019
|13466||Dhone Jn||Shadnagar||1520 (18/11) Yesvantpur Jn – Kacheguda||17604|
|16389||Shadnagar||Kacheguda||1730 (18/11) Chittoor – Kacheguda||17298|
|14042||Kacheguda||Sitafalmandi||0600 Kacheguda – Karimnagar||57601|
|11393||Sitafalmandi||Bolarum||0710 Kacheguda – Narkher||17641|
|11350||Bolarum||Kacheguda||0550 Mirzapalli – Kacheguda||57486|
|14630||Kacheguda||Sitafalmandi||0950 Kacheguda – Nizamabad Jn||57690|
|16500||Sitafalmandi||Kacheguda||0500 Nizamabad Jn – Kacheguda||57689|
|13660||Kacheguda||Secunderabad Jn||0530 Kurnool City – Secunderabad Jn||17028|
|22354||Secunderabad Jn||Hyderabad DN||0700 (18/11) Trivandrum Central – Hyderabad DN||17229|
|11377||Hyderabad DN||Begumpet||1450 Hyderabad DN – Mumbai CST||12702|
|14628||Begumpet||Secunderabad Jn||1055 Vikarabad Jn – Kacheguda||57606|
|14898||Secunderabad Jn||Begumpet||1515 Secunderabad Jn – Rajkot Jn||17018|
|22572||Begumpet||Secunderabad Jn||1440 Vikarabad Jn – Guntur Jn||12748|
|14974||Secunderabad Jn||Kacheguda||1645 Secunderabad Jn – Kurnool City||17027|
|EMU||Kacheguda||Secunderabad Jn||1620 Falaknuma – Lingampalli||47162|
|16702||Secunderabad Jn||Kacheguda||1740 Secunderabad Jn – Tirupati||12770|
|16862||Kacheguda||Dhone Jn||1905 Kachegda – Mysore Jn||12785|
Photos for Tuesday 19th November 2019
Wednesday 20th November 2019 (Day 4 of 4 in Secunderabad)
For the second morning in a row I made a decent minus at Kacheguda but this time off 12786 onto 57660 0500 Falaknuma – Gulbarga passenger, with GTL WDM3D 11257, which arrived into Secunderabad giving me enough time to seek out some breakfast and to get a ticket; from my now regular ticket selling guy at one of the ATVM’s in the ticket hall. As we departed Kacheguda, the extent of the damage caused during a recent head-on collision between an Alco and an MMTS EMU can be seen, as the EMU car is parked in full view of passing trains, with its front end completely stoved in, and not an effort has been made to cover up the damage from the full view of the passing public. Unfortunately, I can’t see how the poor loco pilot would have survived without jumping ship and having seen the video footage of the accident occurring, he didn’t jump from the side I was watching from…..
MLY WDG3A 14779 was this morning’s 17626 Repalle – Secunderabad, which then forms 57605 0740 Secunderabad – Vikarabad passenger; which arrived into Begumpet giving me just enough time to get a photo then buy a ticket and a chai before GTL WDM3D’s were chugging up the platform with 17205 1710 (P) Sainagar Shirdi – Kakinada Port.
With it looking like it was going to be a slow day, I took the opportunity when KZJ WDG3A’s 14939/13417 dropped on to 20811 2045 Visakhapatnam – Nanded, and decided I was Nizamabad bound. Having had such a decent run on the same train the day I’d arrived in India, I was surprised at just how empty the unreserved at the front of the train was and the 161km to Nizamabad flew by, with the KZJ twins doing the business in the noise stakes on the way.
I wasn’t quite prepared at Nizamabad when we arrived to find PA WDG3A’s 13558/13556 sat in the adjacent platform dragging GY WDP4D 40111 on 1705 2110 (P) Mumbai CST – Secunderabad. I did manage to get a ticket for it though, mainly as there was no queue in the ticket hall and I had to run by it to get to the front of the train anyway. While not as empty as the train I’d done out to Nizamabad, I didn’t struggle to get a seat at the front of the train and reveled in the fact I was having a pair of Alco’s on a train booked for a WDP4; and on a train that actually had one on it too. Randomly, 40111 appeared light from Secunderabad while I was waiting at Kacheguda later that night, so there can’t have been anything wrong with it and maybe the PA twins were just hitching a ride to Secunderabad?
I thought I’d seen it all for off links for the day, until I caught a glimpse of Gooty’s Kingfisher livery though another train as we arrived. Had I not seen the GY livery, I’d not even have considered checking what loco was on 12026 1445 Secunderabad – Pune Jn Shatabdi; least of all because it is booked a WDP4. To find not one but two GY Kingfisher’s at the head of the train was a massive bonus and I reveled in 18782/18792 , all the way to Begumpet, where I played the correct move in doing the Palnadu Express back into Secunderabad with AJJ WAP4 22618.
The late afternoon got a bit hectic and with two fresh pairs of GTL Shakti’s sitting in the Secunderabad station area I couldn’t afford to be complacent with the walking. GTL WDG3A’s 13100/13144 were first to attach themselves to stock, when they replaced a WAP7 at the head of 17206 0600 Kakinada Port – Sainagar Shirdi. Fortunately, the first train back from Begumpet, 12734 1730 Lingampalli – Tirupati, another train recently taken over by electric traction vice twin Alco’s, made the Ajanta Express at Secunderabad and GTL WDG3A’s 14940/14951 led 17064 1810 Secunderabad – Manmad Jn; which I could only do to Malkajgiri so as to get to Kacheguda for my overnight to Dhone; again!
Surprisingly, an Alco was just departing Malkajgiri with 16734 0730 (P) Okha – Rameswaram, which had seemingly now gone back to an Alco link after a short-lived WDP4 link of less than a year. Behind it, in the back platform was MLY WDG3A 13395 with 57687 1425 Nizamabad – Kacheguda, which followed close on its tail and was routed into the back platform at Sitafalmandi, where the back of 16734 Okha – Rameswaram was still in the main platform. I could only assume, after experiencing the same scenario that trains were being stacked up in section with permissive working, which was why 16734 was standing foul of the next signal section, yet well ahead of the starter? I wasn’t a beggar, but I was a chooser, and I chose correctly when hopping aboard 16734 as ED WDG3A 14893 was discovered at the front when I walked down at Kacheguda; where the limitations of the small station really were causing havoc with the evening train movements. What with 3 big express departures between 1905 and 2105, along with numerous local passenger trains coming and going and all the while they have to keep two through roads available for the MMTS service, which effectively limits everything else to just three platforms. There’s no wonder some of the local passenger services are well down the pan on occasion. And on this occasion GY WDM3D 11371 was just running round the set it had brought in on 57456 1410 Mahbubnagar – Kacheguda (which was starting at Shadnagar all week) and ran straight round the same set to work back out with the late running 57435 1735 Kacheguda – Kurnool City; every day the departure of 57435 got later and later as the week had gone on.
GTL WDG3A’s 14656/13467 headed 12797 2005 Kacheguda – Chittoor and this time it wasn’t an out and back overnight, move of an out and then onwards to somewhere else kind of affair. At least I had time to enjoy Dhone Jn station at stupid o’clock, which really isn’t a place to fester at night as there’s nothing doing, I found. Having passed KJM WDM3A’s 16862/16294 at the shack outside Dhone, which seems a regular passing place for the two trains, GTL WDM3A’s 16603/16389 were already in waiting to depart with 12798 1730 Chittoor – Kacheguda when 12797 came off the single line. MLY WDM3A 14042 was also waiting to go with a 3-hours late running 57305 1440 Kacheguda – Guntur Jn.
During the short wait I had at Dhone Jn, LGD WAP7 30407 arrived, and departed, with 17211 1535 Machilipatnam – Yesvantpur and GY WDP4D 40111 proved there was nothing wrong with it earlier when it did the same with 17603 2105 Kacheguda – Yesvantpur. Close behind it were GY WDG3A’s 14579/14627 with 18047 2330 (PP) Howrah – Vasco Da Gama, which I’d be hopefully doing through to Dharwad at this point; being as the train was surprisingly almost right time, and not the usual 3-4 hours late! 17603, which had gone in front of us, would have a slip-rake detached at Guntakal, which is attached to 18047 through to Vasco Da Gama, which would have been a better option for doss but with 17603 being booked a WDP4, I’d done the better move. The TTE was waiting for me at the door and I managed to open a coach attendant’s cupboard at the end of the coach and get my own bedding, without him even stirring; while he was sock on, inside the cupboard! I was soon horizontal myself…
Gen for Wednesday 20th November 2019
16586/14025 KJM 12786 1445 (P) Mysore Jn – Kacheguda
11339/16716 GTL 12798 1730 (P) Chittoor – Kacheguda
11257 GTL 57660 0500 Falaknuma – Gulbarga Jn
40520 KJM 17015 0830 (P) Bhubaneswar – Secunderabad
14779 MLY 57605 0740 Secunderabad – Vikarabad
11438/11436 GTL 17205 1710 (P) Sainagar Shirdi – Kakinada Port (to SC)
23989 BZA 17205 1710 (P) Sainagar Shirdi – Kakinada Port (from SC)
13468/13007 GTL 17063 2050 (P) Manmad Jn – Secunderabad
14939/13417 KZJ 20811 2045 (P) Visakhapatnam – Nanded (from SC)
13558/13556 PA (40111 GY dit) 17057 2110 (P) Mumbai CST – Secunderabad
14070 VTA 19202 0040 (P) Porbandar – Secunderabad, 19201 1515 Secunderabad – Porbandar
28707 BZA 08501 2300 (P) Visakhapatnam – Secunderabad, 08502 1630 Secunderabad – Visakhapatnam
28531 KZJ 02784 1240 Secunderabad – Bhubaneswar
28028 ED 17233 1535 Secunderabad – Balharshah
40135 GY 12025 0550 Pune Jn – Secunderabad
18792/18782 GY 12026 1445 Secunderabad – Pune Jn
22618 AJJ 12748 1440 Vikarabad Jn – Guntur Jn
40272 GY 17016 1650 Secunderabad – Bhubaneswar
14941 KZJ 17027 1645 Secunderabad – Kurnool City
13100/13144 GTL 17206 0600 Kakinada Port – Sainagar Shirdi (from SC)
30669 LGD 12734 1730 Lingampalli – Tirupati
14940/14951 GTL 17064 1810 Secunderabad – Manmad Jn
13395 MLY 57687 1425 Nizamabad – Kacheguda
14628 MLY 57688 1850 Kacheguda – Nizamabad
14893 ED 16734 0730 (P) Okha – Rameswaram
11371 GY 57456 1410 Mahbubnagar – Kacheguda (start Shadnagar at 1521), 57435 1735 Kacheguda – Kurnool City
14025/16586 KJM 12785 1905 Kacheguda – Mysore Jn
14656/13467 GTL 12797 2005 Kacheguda – Chittoor
Moves for Wednesday 20th November 2019
|16586||Dhone Jn||Kacheguda||1445 (19/11) Mysore Jn – Kacheguda||12786|
|11257||Kacheguda||Secunderabad Jn||0500 Falaknuma – Gulbarga Jn||57660|
|14779||Secunderabad Jn||Begumpet||0740 Secunderabad Jn – Vikarabad Jn||57605|
|11438||Begumpet||Secunderabad Jn||1710 (19/11) Sainagar Shirdi – Kakinada Port||17205|
|14939||Secunderabad Jn||Nizamabad Jn||2045 (19/11) Visakhapatnam Jn – Nanded||20811|
|13558||Nizamabad Jn||Secunderabad Jn||2110 (19/11) Mumbai CST – Secunderabad Jn||17057|
|18792||Secunderabad Jn||Begumpet||1445 Secunderabad Jn – Pune Jn||12026|
|22618||Begumpet||Secunderabad Jn||1440 Vikarabad Jn – Guntur Jn||12748|
|13100||Secunderabad Jn||Begumpet||0600 Kakinada Port – Sainagar Shirdi||17206|
|30669||Begumpet||Secunderabad Jn||1730 Lingampalli – Tirupati||12734|
|14940||Secunderabad Jn||Malkajgiri||1810 Secunderabad Jn – Manmad Jn||17064|
|13395||Malkajgiri||Sitafalmandi||1425 Nizamabad Jn – Kacheguda||57687|
|14893||Sitafalmandi||Kacheguda||0730 (19/11) Okha – Rameswaram||16734|
|14656||Kacheguda||Dhone Jn||2005 Kacheguda – Chittoor||12797|
Photos for Wednesday 20th November 2019
Thursday 21st November 2019 (An Amravati Express bash with a twist of Hospet – Harihar new line)
Arrival into Dharwad was prompt, and unlike any other Amravati Express experience I’ve had! I half expected to find a load-3 rake sat around waiting to work the late morning train to Ambewadi, 56923 1130 Dharwad – Ambewadi, which had started running down the branch on 30/11/19. There was nothing there though, only a freight that departed the moment the Amravati Express arrived and a station building that was in the throes of being completely rebuilt, with the old building in tatters and the new one just a half-built concrete monstrosity. At least there were a couple of stores open to sell me chai & biscuits, and during my wait there I was subjected to my first ever platform grip since the abolition of Indrail Passes. Unfortunately for the guy trying to skulk by at the time, his curiosity resulted in him being carted away by the TTE, for having no ticket at all; despite him only being on the platform to see his family off on 11021 2130 (P) Dadar – Tirunelveli Jn; which had KJM WDP4 20039 at its helm. Having to buy a platform ticket, on a station as open as Dharwad, seems a bit of a pointless affair, but clearly not to the TTE that was now carting the poor guy off down the platform.
UBL WDG4 12087, freshly painted in WDG4D livery, gave me something to point my camera at as it passed through heading towards Hubli with a lengthy freight. It was closely followed by PA WDM3D 11370 with 17318 1845 (P) Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Hubli Jn, which had started at Pune Jn at 2305 due to planned engineering works. I’d had every intention of doing the train to Hubli Jn but as I didn’t need the PA ‘3D I sat tight to await the arrival of the eastbound Amravati Express.
I eventually figured out that the newly started Ambewadi passenger, 56923 1130 Dharwad – Ambewadi, was formed off the inbound 56903 0040 Solapur Jn – Dharwad passenger; and when UBL WDP4D 40054 arrived with the rake to form it, I wasn’t disappointed as I’d expected nothing less than a WDP4 on the train; and it did save me getting to my hotel in Bellary very late, and from having to do a WDP4 to get there had I ended up going to Ambewadi. Little did I realise……
18048 0710 Vasco Da Gama – Howrah was a little late when it arrived into Dharwad and it was immediately evident what the leading loco of the GY twins was as soon as it came around the corner; for two reasons. One being the fact it’s the only GY Kingfisher “baldie” left in traffic (that’s still a “baldie” anyway) and two being the fact its one of the claggiest Alco’s on the IR network! GY 14009 never disappoints and it led classmate 14032 as it blackened the platform area while trundling in with its train. Unfortunately, the AC coaches on the eastbound Amravati Express are at the rear of the train.
I had the pleasure of travelling with a group of English tourists who were on their way to Hospet, for Hampi. It was nice chewing the cud in a familiar accept and the journey was less boring as a result. I chanced an egg biriyani from one of the vendors at Hubli while the group got to grips with a good old bit of IR catering fiasco. They believed they’d ordered two biriyani’s and a thali, but they were given 3 thalis. There was clearly a language issue and one of the guys was quite rightly protesting that he didn’t want to pay for something he’d not asked for. In the end they paid for the three thalis’ but left one completely untouched. I’d seen the boxes of stuff being delivered to the train at Dharwad and knew there were thali’s and biriyani’s as I’d looked at the biriyani’s while I was on the platform; so for them to be told there was no biriyani was a blatant lie.
When the group got up to get off at Hospet, I started to pay attention to the outside world and noticed a rake of stock standing alongside in the adjacent platform, with people on it and what looked like a KJM liveried Alco on the east end of the rake. Initially I didn’t think much of it, until I noticed Harihar on the train boards! The Hospet – Kotturu – Harihar line had only recently fully opened to passenger traffic on the northern section from Kotturu; on 17th October 2019 after a 25-year absence! It was like the Ambewadi branch, and again I’d expected nothing less than a WDP4 to be working the train. My eyes hadn’t deceived me and while the Amravati Express was being serviced by the army of cleaners I found KJM WDG3A 13256 at the front of the rake and confirmed with the loco pilot that it was indeed 56530 1300 Hospet – Harihar, which should have departed 2 hours previous! Decisions, decisions…..
I guess there wasn’t much of a decision to make, it was my birthday and Indian Railways had just thrown a big present my way, so it was going to be one of those go with the flow evenings as a result. The decision that was taken out of my hands was that on whether to run to the ticket office and get a ticket or not, when the loco pilot blew for departure I was still scrolling through my phone to find out what the consequence of doing the train was! That was something I’d have to figure out en-route and I boarded the relatively empty train for the 6h45m, 158km run to Harihar; which wasn’t how I’d expected to be spending the afternoon of my 44th birthday!
It took me a while to confirm the inevitable and my hotel reservation in Bellary was non-cancellable at this late stage; having been booked at the Nakshatra LR through Goibibo. Resigned to an overnight move to get me back on track, I accepted that the night was going to be a bit crap in unreserved while I headed back north to Bellary Jn, and what’s more I was expecting nothing less than WDP4s all the way. Which in this case, was an acceptable compromise? Still, I had a plan and could still get back on track to cover the Kadiridevarapalli branch the following day. As the train was 2-hours late the majority of the journey was in darkness and I spent a fair bit of it dozing as a result. While the loco was running around at Davanagere I did buy a ticket for the short journey north to Harihar.
Quite pleased with proceedings, I bought myself a ticket from Harihar to Birur Jn to head south and cut-off the northbound 56909 2015 Bangalore City – Hospet Jn via Bellary, and was quite confused when 56912 1730 Hubli Jn – Bangalore City was announced as “arriving shortly” and the headlight configuration on the approach wasn’t GM! The upper headlight had bulbs side-by-side, meaning it was an Alco, and it wasn’t just one, it was KJM WDG3A’s 14660/14639; another nice birthday bonus that I’d be reveling in for the 128km south to Birur Jn. This made the 254km I had to suffer off KJM WDP4D 40388, from Birur Jn to Bellary Jn, perfectly acceptable under the circumstances, and when I managed to blag myself an upper-side berth in one of the sleeper coaches I managed a decent night’s sleep along the way, even if it was a short night! All-in-all it had been a good 44th birthday, and unlike on my 43rd birthday, where I managed to shit the bed in Secunderabad, I’d managed to control my bowel movements this far….. So, I’d say a bit more successful this year than last?
Gen for Thursday 21st November 2019
16862/16294 KJM 12786 1445 (P) Mysore Jn – Kacheguda
16603/16389 GTL 12798 1730 (P) Chittoor – Kacheguda
14042 MLY 57305 1440 (P) Kacheguda – Guntur Jn
30407 LGD 17211 1535 (P) Machilipatnam – Yesvantpur
40111 GY 17603 2105 (P) Kacheguda – Yesvantpur
14579/14627 GY 18047 2330 (PP) Howrah – Vasco Da Gama
40106 ED (11149 ED dit) 56915 0415 Chikjajur Jn – Hubli Jn
11370 PA 17318 1845 (P) Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Hubli Jn (start Pune Jn at 2305)
20039 KJM 11021 2130 (P) Dadar – Tirunelveli Jn
14009/14032 GY 18048 0730 Vasco Da Gama – Howrah
40054 UBL 56903 0040 Solapur Jn – Dharwad, 56923 1130 Dharwad – Ambewadi (assumed)
13256 KJM 56530 1300 Hospet Jn – Harihar
14660/14639 KJM 56912 1730 Hubli Jn – Bangalore City
40388 KJM 56909 2015 Bangalore City – Hospet Jn
12109 demic outside UBL
Moves for Thursday 21st November 2019
|14656||Dhone Jn||Dharwad||2330 (19/11) Howrah – Vasco Da Gama||18047|
|14009||Dharwad||Hospet Jn||0710 Vasco Da Gama – Howrah||18048|
|13256||Hospet Jn||Harihar||1300 Hospet Jn – Harihar||56530|
|14660||Harihar||Birur Jn||1730 Hubli Jn – Bangalore City Jn||56912|
Photos for Thursday 21st November 2019
Friday 22nd November 2019 (A trip down the Kadiridevarapalli branch)
It was 0530 when 56909 rolled into Bellary Jn and with nothing to do for 5 hours, until 57477 Tirupati – Kadiridevarapalli was due to depart, I took a punt and headed to the Nakshatra LR Hotel, where they were happy to let me use the room I’d paid for until checkout time at 11am. I was even given the morning paper and a breakfast voucher! My room was quite spacious but a little rough around the edges and not as clean as I’d have expected. The AC worked well and there was a decent fan. The flat-screen TV had plenty to watch and the fridge cooled my water down before I headed back out. The only toiletries provided were a bar of soap and a small shampoo sachet and I had to ask for a toilet roll.
After a couple of hours in bed, everything I’d plugged in was charged and a nice hot shower washed away any post-birthday blues; and I was soon fit for the road again! Breakfast consisted of a buffet-style selection and I ended up with just chai and toast for mine, which was perfectly acceptable from my perspective.
I walked back to the station, via the train tracks, after the auto driver that had brought me out demanded an extra RS100 on top of the RS100 agreed fare, when we arrived at the hotel. As is usual in these instances, he handed me back the RS100 note and demanded RS200, so I took it back and walked off. Of course, he then wanted the RS100 back and hurled a load of abuse my way when I gave it him and walked off. Auto drivers, and I don’t mean all, but just generally, are the scum of the earth, fact!
The prominent Bellary Fortress is visible from Bellary Jn, on top of it’s rock over the way, and during my short fester I managed to photo nothing but WDG4’s on freights, so wasn’t able to get a shot of an Alco with the fortress, unfortunately. Stabled in the back platform at Bellary Jn was BZA WAG5 23866, which I assumed worked forward to Tirupati with 57273 0600 Hubli Jn – Tirupati passenger. Electric locos to Bellary Jn were a new thing and had only recently started working there.
Something I hadn’t realised while walking to the station, was that 57452 0705 Guntakal Jn – Chikjajur Jn passenger had dropped a load of time since departing Guntakal, late, and it was knocking on the door at Bellary Jn not long before 57477 2255 (P) Tirupati – Kadiridevarapalli was due to grace the place with it’s presence. So, having bought my ticket to Kadiridevarapalli, I gratefully accepted GT WDM3A 16364 when it arrived with 57452 0705 Guntakal Jn – Chikjajur Jn and did it to Rayadurg Jn; where there was a whole lot of nothing to keep me occupied until GTL WDG3A 14655 arrived about 45 minutes later with 57477 2255 (P) Tirupati – Kadiridevarapalli.
I’d been expecting a totter down the Kadiridevarapalli branch, but it was far from it and GTL’s 14655 was un-rebuilt and sounded very good to boot. There are quite a few climbs along the branch and its pretty much in the middle of nowhere from the point it branches off at Rayadurg. Kadiridevarapalli station itself is surrounded by wilderness and the station building isn’t even finished. There were a couple of autos to take people to the nearest civilization and tickets were sold through the front door to the ticket office by a guy with a bag of Edmundson style tickets. None of the passing loops en-route are connected up at stations on the branch and in a lot of cases the fish plates aren’t even attached to the rails, so it seems like the bare minimum was done to get the line open, but at least the line speed it decent. Obviously, I attracted the attention of the local youth during the loco running round, but they were harmless and after they’d taken all the selfies they needed, I was left to my own devices. The train was almost empty on arrival into Kadiridevarapalli, with no more than 30 people getting off, and there can’t have been many more on the return journey to Bellary Jn either. Which made for a pleasant journey for me in both directions, with the front SLR having only a handful of people in it, in each direction.
It was a nice early afternoon blast down the branch and back but I was pressed straight back into flap mode at Bellary Jn, and any relaxing I may have had in mind was straight out of the window when PA WDG3A’s 14817/14815 arrived into Bellary Jn, with 11303 1530 (P) Manuguru – Kolhapur running 8 hours late, at the same time as 57478 1325 Kadiridevarapalli – Tirupati did. With the ticket office being outside Bellary station, in the car park, I decided against trying to get on and just leapt across the ballast from one train to the other; and with how quickly it departed, there was no way I’d have had time to get one, and get back to the train before it departed.
I’d been expecting to fester around at Toranagallu Jn for my booked 17420 0730 Vasco Da Gama – Tirupati, which has a portion on for Hyderabad that splits off at Guntakal and runs forward as 17022 2100 Guntakal Jn – Hyderabad, but as GY had turned out WDM3D’s 11119/11117 on 17226 1330 Hubli Jn – Vijayawada Jn Amravati Express I did those through to Guntakal Jn to grab something to eat before my booked overnight. Which I had to fit in, in-between nedding in GTL WDS6 36342 when it shunted the SLR back onto the rear of 18048 0710 Vasco Da Gama – Howrah Amravati Express, and then doing the late running “original” Amravati Express (18048) through to Dhone Jn with GY WDG3A’s 14627/14579.
As I’d always planned on doing a pair for a pair, for a pair, for a pair on this particular evening, the three other sets of Alco twins I’d had already were a bit of a bonus and at Dhone I watch GY WDM3D’s 11119/11117 arrive and depart with 17226 1330 Hubli Jn – Vijayawada Jn Amravati Express and the train I was booked on, 17022 2100 Guntakal Jn – Hyderabad DN arrive and depart with GTL WDM3A’s 16752/16600; which I’d catch up with the following morning again at Kacheguda as both KJM WDM3A’s with 12786 1445 Mysore Jn – Kacheguda and GTL WDM3A’s 16603/16389 with 12798 1730 Chittoor – Kacheguda would overtake 17022 in the night; and I did the KJM twins to Kurnool for the GTL twins forward to Kacheguda to top off a very good two-day outing in the Guntakal/Bellary area.
Gen for Friday 22nd November 2019
40328 17225 1945 (P) Vijayawada – Hubli Jn
16364 GTL 57452 0705 Guntakal Jn – Chikjajur Jn
40046 UBL 57273 0600 Hubli Jn – Tirupati (to Bellary)
23866 BZA 57273 0600 Hubli Jn – Tirupati (ex Bellary)
14655 GTL 57477 2255 (P) Tirupati – Kadiridevarapalli, 57478 1325 Kadiridevarapalli – Tirupati
40388 KJM 56910 1400 Hospet Jn – Bangalore City
14817/14815 PA 11303 1530 (P) Manuguru – Kolhapur (8 hours late)
11119/11117 GY 17226 1330 Hubli Jn – Vijayawada Jn
28331 BZA 57274 0610 Tirupati – Hubli Jn (to Bellary)
20027 UBL 57274 0610 Tirupati – Hubli Jn (ex Bellary)
14627/14579 GY 18048 0730 Vasco Da Gama – Howrah
36342 GTL shunt thro Vasco – Kacheguda portion
16752/16600 GTL 17420 0730 Vasco Da Gama – Tirupati (to GTL), 17022 2100 Guntakal Jn – Hyderabad DN (portions divide at GTL)
Moves for Friday 22nd November 2019
|40388||Birur Jn||Bellary Jn||2015 (21/11) Bangalore City Jn – Hospet Jn||56909|
|16364||Bellary Jn||Rayadurg Jn||0705 Guntakal Jn – Chikjajur Jn||57452|
|14655||Rayadurg Jn||Kadiridevarapalli||2255 (21/11) Tirupati – Kadiridevarapalli||57477|
|14655||Kadiridevarapalli||Bellary Jn||1325 Kadiridevarapalli – Tirupati||57478|
|14817||Bellary Jn||Toranagallu Jn||1530 (21/11) Manuguru – Kolhapur||11303|
|11119||Toranagallu Jn||Guntakal Jn||1330 Hubli Jn – Vijayawada Jn||17226|
|36342||Guntakal Jn Bay Platform||Guntakal Jn Platform?||Shunt SLR back onto rear of 18048 VSG – HWH|
|14627||Guntakal Jn||Dhone Jn||0710 Vasco Da Gama – Howrah||18048|
Photos for Friday 22nd November 2019
Saturday 23rd November 2019 (The calm before the bowl-out!)
I only had to wait 20 minutes at Kacheguda for GTL WDM3A’s 16752/16600 to arrive with 17022 2100 (P) Guntakal Jn – Hyderabad and when these dropped me at Secunderabad Jn they finished off a consecutive move that had involved six different sets of Alco twins, from four different loco sheds.
With needing to be back in Secunderabad by 1515 for my long run to Rajkot on board 17018 1515 Secunderabad Jn – Rajkot Jn, I couldn’t venture too far, so it was a toss-up between MLY WDG3A 13250 with 57564 2330 (P) Nanded – Hyderabad passenger or MLY WDM3A 14038 with 57605 0740 Secunderabad Jn – Vikarabad Jn passenger. The latter being the sensible option and I had time to get a ticket from “my guy” before getting a breakfast parcel on the way back to the train.
KYN WDM3D 11409 was the bonus of the morning at Begumpet, while I was waiting for 57547 0755 Hyderabad DN – Purna Jn, when it arrived with the late running 17031 1245 (P) Mumbai CST – Hyderabad DN, which had been diverted overnight. What I also realised at this point was that 12701/12702 Mumbai CST – Hyderabad – Mumbai CST Hussain Sagar Express were both cancelled outright on this particular day.
Luckily, and as is usually the case with this train, 57547 0755 Hyderabad DN – Purna Jn was late departing Hyderabad and 17031 made it there. KZJ WDG3A 14967 did the honours and I did the train through to Lingampalli neither 17205 Sainagar Shirdi – Kakinada Port or 17017 Rajkot – Secunderabad arrive into Secunderabad on a Saturday morning so there is nothing to view at Begumpet of a morning. 14967 was a scabby beast and sounded the part too.
Just as I’d bought a ticket for the Gulbarga Jn – Hyderabad passenger, at Lingampalli, KZJ WDG3A 14888 came bowling in with 17009 0650 Bidar – Hyderabad Intercity; so I did that to Begumpet for GTL WDM3D 11394 behind it into Hyderabad on 57155 0345 Gulbarga Jn – Hyderabad DN; which had started at Wadi at 0450 due to planned engineering work. A leisurely morning was finished off with KZJ WAG7 27854 on 57517 1215 Hyderabad DN – Tandur passenger to Begumpet for MLY WDM3A 14038 back into Secunderabad with the returning 57606 1055 Vikarabad Jn – Kacheguda passenger. Where some lunch was sought from KFC, I collected my big bag from the cloak room, and I sat and watched the world go by until the stock for 17018 1515 Secunderabad Jn – Rajkot was backed in at around 1445; then all the bonuses of the previous two days were put into context with a massive bowl-out when KJM WDP4D 40452 revealed itself as the train engine for 17018! I was booked on the train throughout from Secunderabad to Rajkot…..
A bowl-out of this magnitude had to happen at some point to one of us, and having had five days’ notice of my previous big bowl-out last year when BGKT WDP4D 40580 stood in for ERS twins on 16311/16312 Kochuveli – Sri Ganganagar – Kochuveli, I took notice of the fact I’d spotted KJM WDP4D 40534 with 17018 on Monday 18th November and the fact it could work out and back and then be in place for a second return trip to Rajkot had me airing on the side of caution well ahead of the game. Thankfully, my wait-listed ticket on 17020 1510 Hyderabad DN – Jaipur Jn had been confirmed when the train had been charted a couple of hours beforehand and as I walked away from 17018, with it’s KJM bag of spanners up front, I hoped that my back-up plan didn’t blow up in my face, otherwise it would have been a very costly afternoon; to get bowled out twice!
Unlike a few days previous, when there’d been 5 sets of Alco twins in Secunderabad station in the afternoon, on this particular afternoon there’d only been 3. GTL WDM3A’s 16388/16705 were buried in behind a WDP4, which was shut down and going nowhere, and GTL WDG3A’s 13466/13583 were shut down over near the carriage sidings, having arrived earlier on 17015 0830 (P) Bhubaneswar – Secunderabad Visakha Express. That left GTL WDM3D’s 11436/11438, which had been stabled in the middle berthing roads in the station, and when a WDP4D was moved to allow them to shunt out, I assumed, or more like hoped, that they were for 17018; but when 40452 dropped in with the stock the GTL twins were nowhere to be seen. Thankfully, they reappeared at the head of 17020 1510 Hyderabad DN – Jaipur Jn and kept my sanity intact when they did….!
As with 17018, the AC coaches on 17020 are at the rear of the rake on departure from Secunderabad; although at least the locos on 17020 ran-round, at Ratlam, so I’d be at the front from 1900 the following night, to when I planned to get off at Ajmer Jn at 0300ish the morning after, which wasn’t really much use. What’s more, this “alternate” move would cost me a day on the MG in Gujarat as I would be a day behind myself by the time I got to Ahmedabad, albeit a few hundred Alco kilometers better off for taking the scenic route. I’d looked at flying from S Hyderabad to Ahmedabad, which would have put me into Gujarat a day early had I departed Hyderabad on an evening flight but I was quite content with my GTL twins and I settled in to my lower berth on departure, only to end up swapping with a 70-year old guy who had an upper berth; and he could barely walk, let alone climb into a upper berth.
I blame my misfortune on the fact that I’d ordered my first Domino’s Pizza on the IRCTC Food on Track app, to be delivered at Begumpet. While it was too late to cancel the order in the app, a chance call from Domino’s to confirm my order allowed me to cancel the order direct and save myself from being blacklisted when they turned up and there was nobody to pay for the pizza at Begumpet. Food was sought later at Nanded and the snacks I’d bought last minute at Secunderabad kept me going until then. I’m not usually a fan of upper berths but on this occasion it wasn’t freezing cold, like it had been the previous night on one of my trains, and I could lounge to my heart’s content and leave the olds to their own down below; who had their family regularly visiting from sleeper class and cluttering the compartment area up. My music and computer were turned off on departure from Purna Jn, where it was as though someone had told the coach to go to sleep en-masse, with light after light being turned out; it was almost like a Mexican wave going through the coach as everyone bedded down for the night.
Gen for Saturday 23rd November 2019
16294/16862 KJM 12786 1445 (P) Mysore Jn – Kacheguda
16603/16389 GTL 12798 1730 (P) Chittoor – Kacheguda
13466/13583 GTL 17015 0830 (P) Bhubaneswar – Secunderabad
14038 MLY 17626 2230 (P) Repalle – Secunderabad, 57605 0740 Secunderabad – Vikarabad Jn, 57606 1055 Vikarabad Jn – Kacheguda
13250 MLY 57564 2330 (P) Nanded – Hyderabad DN
11409 KYN 17031 1245 (P) Mumbai CST – Hyderabad DN
16363 GTL, 13202 KZJ SC station pilots
14967 KZJ 57547 0755 Hyderabad DN – Purna Jn
14888 KZJ 17009 0650 Bidar – Hyderabad DN
11394 GTL 57155 0450 Wadi Jn – Hyderabad DN (start Wadi vice Gulbarga)
13426 KYN 12701 0125 Pune Jn – Hyderabad DN (start Pune vice CST)
27854 KZJ 57517 1215 Hyderabad DN – Tandur
28028 KZJ 02784 1240 Secunderabad – Bhubaneswar (31442 ecs into SC)
40121 GY 17058 1325 Secunderabad – Mumbai CST
40452 KJM 17018 1515 Secunderabad – Rajkot Jn
11438/11436 GTL 17020 1510 Hyderabad DN – Jaipur Jn
Moves for Saturday 23rd November 2019
|16294||Dhone Jn||Kurnool City||1445 (22/11) Mysore Jn – Kacheguda||12786|
|16603||Kurnool City||Kacheguda||1730 (22/11) Chittoor – Kacheguda||12798|
|16752||Kacheguda||Secunderabad Jn||2100 (22/11) Guntakal Jn – Hyderabad DN||17022|
|14038||Secunderabad Jn||Begumpet||0740 Secunderabad Jn – Vikarabad Jn||57605|
|11409||Begumpet||Hyderabad DN||1245 (22/11) Mumbai CST – Hyderabad DN||17031|
|14967||Hyderabad DN||Limgampalli||0755 Hyderabad DN – Purna Jn||57547|
|14888||Lingampalli||Begumpet||0650 Bidar – Hyderabad DN||17009|
|11394||Begumpet||Hyderabad DN||0345 Gulbarga Jn – Hyderabad DN||57155|
|27854||Hyderabad DN||Begumpet||1215 Hyderabad DN – Tandur||57517|
|14038||Begumpet||Secunderabad Jn||1055 Vikarabad Jn – Kacheguda||57606|
|11438||Secunderabad Jn||Ajmer Jn||1510 Hyderabad DN – Jaipur Jn||17020|
Photos for Saturday 23rd November 2019
Sunday 24th November 2019 (On board 17020 Hyderabad – Jaipur all day)
I was up by the time we reached Khandwa at 0942 and managed to get a spot of breakfast from one of the platform vendors before plotting my food strategy for the rest of the day, on the Food on Track app. As Domino’s delivered to train at Ratlam Jn, I chose Bhopal as the place to get something delivered in the early afternoon and both meals were booked through the app, with pay on delivery; which I only do, just in case the food isn’t delivered.
Of course, being in an upper berth isn’t convenient for seeing out of windows so my spottings for the day were limited to sweet FA but I was content with having my own space to use my laptop when I wanted and listen to music until the battery died on my Ipod. Both my food deliveries turned up as ordered and as expected, neither delivery boy had change, so I was prepared with the correct money, just in case. The day flew by really, but it was good to get myself out of the door to listen to the GTL ‘3D’s doing their stuff, after I’d devoured my tasty pizza. But with being off the train in the middle of the night at Ajmer Jn, my bellowing was short-lived, and I retired to bed early enough to manage a decent bit of kip before getting off. Other than the brief bellowing from Ratlam, it had been a very uneventful day, during which I’d really done next to nothing; but was grateful for the relaxing time, as I always am on long distance journeys.
Gen for Sunday 24th November 2019
On board 17020 1510 (P) Hyderabad DN – Jaipur Jn all day
Moves for Sunday 24th November 2019
|ON BOARD 17020 ALL DAY|
Monday 25th November 2019 (Ajmer to Ahmedabad then overnight towards Veraval)
17020 arrived into Ajmer Jn at 0225 40’ early. My alarm was set for 0230 and we were already stationary with people shuffling about the corridor getting off. Thankfully I was fully aware of my surroundings, and the time the train was booked to depart Ajmer Jn, so there was no need to flap. Flapping only started when I got onto the platform, got my phone into action and checked to see what was going on at Ajmer at stupid o’clock. It revealed that the train I was planning to do to Ahmedabad, 19412 0625 Ajmer Jn – Ahmedabad Jn Intercity was in fact cancelled throughout, and what’s more IRI & Where’s My Train show the train terminating and originating at Sabarmati now and not running through to Ahmedabad, yet NTES still shows the train going through to Ahmedabad when the train number is requested on Spot Your Train. Either way, it was irrelevant at this point as I wouldn’t be doing it anyway; so, it was back to the drawing board and there was nothing like a few chai’s to get the brain working of a morning.
To be fair, it wasn’t my brain that came up with an answer to my getting to Ahmedabad conundrum, but an announcement while I was downing my first chai informing passengers of the fact that 19410 Gorakhpur Jn – Ahmedabad Jn was running 1 hour late and “inconvenience to passengers was deeply regretted”! It wasn’t that regretted to me, and was more of a get out of jail free card as with 19412 being cancelled the next train south from Ajmer that should be Alco-hauled wasn’t until 0855 and 19414 Kolkata Chitpur – Ahmedabad was already 2 hours late at this point and might not make my overnight south at Ahmedabad! Having heard the previous Alco leave as I woke on board 17020, 12958 New Delhi – Ahmedabad Rajdhani would have been a cracking solution to my current predicament; had I realised 17020 was going to arrive 40’ early! As it was 19410 Gorakhpur Jn – Ahmedabad Jn was going to get me out of a hole, and I bought a ticket to Ahmedabad in unreserved; hoping that I might be able to get into one of the AC classes when the train arrived.
When off-link LDH WDG3A 14744 rolled in with 19410 I didn’t like the look of the unreserved at the front of the train, it was a bit too wedged for this time of a morning to be able to relax at all, so I headed straight for the rear of the train and the AC TTE. Unfortunately, I was out of luck and by taking the punt I’d lost any chance of getting a seat in the unreserved at the front of the train. I ended up standing in the vestibule in one of the sleeper class coaches, quite prepared to pay the excess when a TTE came around but pity was taken on me when a TTE did question me and maybe the fact I offered money for the upgrade straight away had a bearing on the situation?
As is always the case, someone was willing to budge up when they came around of a morning and created me a bit of space on their side-lower berth to allow me to take the weight off my feet for a bit. Not wanting to impede for too long, or outstay my welcome in sleeper class, I figured out that if I got off at Abu Road, I’d only have 90-minutes to wait for 19224 Jammu Tawi – Ahmedabad behind, coming off the Bikaner line and during the wait both 22547 2005 (P) Gwalior Jn – Ahmedabad SF Express and 16531 0530 Ajmer Jn – Bangalore City Garib Nawaz Express arrived and departed with WDP4’s.
19224 0750 (P) Jammu Tawi – Ahmedabad Jn turned up with another off-link Shakti, this time RTM WDG3A 13269 and the unreserved at the front of the train thankfully had a seat or two free on arrival. In the end I made like a local and clambered onto an empty luggage rack for the journey south, as my eyes were starting to get heavy after being up from 0230. Where’s My Train was showing 19224 as being diverted between Mahesana and Ahmedabad, and NTES confirmed that it wasn’t calling at Sabarmati Jn but going via Sabarmati Town instead. It was just like old times, when all BG trains off the Mahesana line ran from Khodiyar via Sabarmati Town, as Sabarmati Jn had once been MG only, and the bonus being it saved me a walk across the yard from Sabarmati Jn to Town when 19224 stopped at Town to await a slot into Ahmedabad. 19120 0625 Somnath – Ahmedabad was that close behind it that I barely had time to get chai before needing to be back over the footbridge to do VTA WDG3A 13454 into Ahmedabad; where I was glad to be arriving after a long day in unreserved. The things we do to avoid other things, eh……
With a couple of hours to kill before any moves were on offer, and 6 hours to kill before heading south overnight, I dropped my big bag at the cloak room in the booking hall area off platform 1, and was back on the platform in time to spy VTA WDS6 36074 about to shunt the stock out of platform 2, off recently arrived 59441 2240 (P) Mumbai Central – Ahmedabad Jn and in quick succession VTA WDM3S 018658 filled the gap on platform 2 with the stock for 22138 1740 Ahmedabad Jn – Nagpur Jn, VTA WDS6 36274 took the stock out of platform 1 off the train I’d arrived on, 19120 0625 Somnath – Ahmedabad and VTA WDM3S 018669 brought the stock into platform 5 for 12844 1840 Ahmedabad Jn – Puri. VTA WDM3A 16807 & VTA WDM3A 18863 were also on shunting duties in Ahmedabad station area.
The old MG platforms, or should I say the last two that were in existence, were looking in a sorry state. The tracks have now been completely removed and the whole section from one end of the station to the other is overgrown by trees that are 10ft high in places. No attempt has been made to start re-gauging the platforms to allow extra capacity and for now platform 10 remains the highest in use and platforms 11 & 12 aren’t in use anymore. The old MG station building is still used as a parcel building though.
Seemingly in Gonda livery, VTA WDM3D 11563 was provided for 12957 1740 Ahmedabad Jn – New Delhi Rajdhani and VAT WDM3D 11132 gave way to BRC WAP4 22848 on 22937 1330 Rajkot Jn – Rewa. Likewise, BRC WAP5 30087 gave way to VTA WDM3D 11421 on 22959 1330 Surat – Jamnagar, which sent me across to do BRC WAP5 30114 to Maninagar on 19034 1810 Ahmedabad Jn – Valsad for BRC WAP5 30076 back in on 59049 0605 Valsad – Viramgam Jn passenger; which was replaced by VTA WDG3A 13516, which I’m sure is usually the ABR loco off 19224, which of course wasn’t an ABR loco on this occasion. The Superfast ticket I’d bought to cover 22959 sufficed for the run out to Sabarmati Town on 59049 and I didn’t have to wait long for 19309 1820 Gandhinagar Capital – Indore Jn Shanti Express to turn up with BRC WAP4 22701. As VTA WDM3A 16156 was poised to work forward with 19015 0820 Mumbai Central – Porbandar, I hung around and sure enough it replaced BRC WAP7 30719 for the run into the Gujarat peninsula and I headed to Sabarmati Town for a second time. Had it not been for the fact that 54803 0830 Jodhpur Jn – Ahmedabad Jn passenger was spot on time; I’d have headed straight back to Ahmedabad in an auto, but I was glad I waited when VTA WDG3A 13530 rolled in.
The downside of my extended evening nedding session was that I didn’t manage to get to the Ritz Hotel for a decent meal but with so many refreshment places at Ahmedabad Jn, I managed to get something to eat before collecting my big bag and hiking over to platform 10 for 22957 2210 Ahmedabad Jn – Veraval Somnath Express; which was headed by VTA WDG3A 13289. Thankfully I’d managed to cancel my ticket for 22957 that I’d originally booked before the 17018 debacle and I’d managed to get a berth for the following night; and a side-lower at that! I was grateful to see the inside of an AC coach and even more so, a berth that I could hole up in for the night. It was all very civilized and the TTE came around as soon as the train started moving, at which point I was able to close the curtains and relax in my already made up berth. I’m sure I was asleep before we went through Sabarmati Town!
Gen for Monday 25th November 2019
14744 LDH 19410 0445 (P) Gorakhpur Jn – Ahmedabad Jn
13269 RTM 19224 0750 (P) Jammu Tawi – Ahmedabad Jn (via Viramgam Jn)
Auto to SBT
13454 VTA 19120 0625 Somnath – Ahmedabad Jn
11563 VTA 12957 1740 Ahmedabad Jn – New Delhi Jn
11132 VTA 22937 1330 Rajkot Jn – Rewa (to Ahmedabad)
22848 BRC 22937 1330 Rajkot Jn – Rewa (from Ahmedabad)
30087 BRC 22959 1330 Surat – Jamnagar (to Ahmedabad)
11421 VTA 22959 1330 Surat – Jamnagar (from Ahmedabad)
30114 BRC 19034 1810 Ahmedabad Jn – Valsad
30076 BRC 59049 0605 Valsad – Viramgam Jn (to Ahmedabad)
13516 VTA 59049 0605 Valsad – Viramgam Jn (from Ahmedabad)
22701 BRC 19309 1820 Gandhinagar Capital – Indore Jn
40255 SBI 11465 0930 Somnath – Jabalpur Jn (to Ahmedabad)
30719 BRC 19015 0820 Mumbai Cen – Porbandar (to Ahmedabad)
16156 VTA 19015 0820 Mumbai Cen – Porbandar (from Ahmedabad)
13530 VTA 54803 0830 Jodhpur Jn – Ahmedabad Jn
13289 VTA 22957 2210 Ahmedabad Jn – Somnath
Moves for Monday 25th November 2019
|14744||Ajmer Jn||Abu Road||0445 (24/11) Gorakhpur Jn – Ahmedabad Jn||19410|
|13269||Abu Road||Sabarmati Town||0750 (24/11) Jammu Tawi – Ahmedabad Jn||19224|
|13454||Sabarmati Town||Ahmedabad Jn||0625 Somnath – Ahmedabad Jn||19120|
|36074||Ahmedabad Jn Platform 2 South||Ahmedabad Jn Platform 2 North||ECS ex 59441 2240 (24/11) Mumbai Central – Ahmedabad Jn|
|018658||Ahmedabad Jn Platform 2 South||Ahmedabad Jn Platform 2 North||ECS for 22138 1740 Ahmedabad Jn – Nagpur Jn|
|36274||Ahmedabad Jn Platform 1 South||Ahmedabad Jn Platform 1 North||ECS ex 19120 0625 Somnath – Ahmedabad Jn|
|018669||Ahmedabad Jn Platform 5 South||Ahmedabad Jn Platform 5 North||ECS for 12844 1840 Ahmedabad Jn – Puri|
|30114||Ahmedabad Jn||Maninagar||1810 Ahmedabad Jn – Valsad||19034|
|30076||Maninagar||Ahmedabad Jn||0605 Valsad – Viramgam Jn||59049|
|13516||Ahmedabad Jn||Sabarmati Town|
|22701||Sabarmati Town||Ahmedabad Jn||1820 Gandhinagar Capital – Indore Jn||19309|
|16156||Ahmedabad Jn||Sabarmati Town||0820 Mumbai Central – Porbandar||19015|
|13530||Sabarmati Town||Ahmedabad Jn||0830 Jodhpur Jn – Ahmedabad Jn||54803|
|13289||Ahmedabad Jn||Keshod||2210 Ahmedabad Jn – Veraval Jn||22957|
Photos for Monday 25th November 2019
Tuesday 26th November 2019 (Day 1 of 2 on the Gujarat MG system)
I decided against going through to Veraval to allow me to dump my big bag at the Lotus Hotel before heading out on the MG for the day, so I was off 22957 at Keshod for VTA WDM3A 16830 back north to Junagadh Jn on 59422 0420 Somnath – Rajkot Jn. As my reservation at the Lotus Hotel, already pre-paid when booked through Goibibo, was for three nights originally, starting the previous night, the hotel staff let me straight into my room as I’d already paid for it! I had rung to tell them that I would be arriving a day later than planned and they confirmed they’d keep my booking open. I didn’t have long to hang around and it was a quick bag-dump before heading straight back over the road to the station to do 52952 0715 Junagadh Jn – Delvada through the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary; and hopefully spot some lions!
There was no queue at the ticket office and a ticket to Talala, via Visavadar Jn, was only RS25. Station staff were just opening the stock up that would form 52952 0715 Junagadh Jn – Delvada as I ambled down the platform balancing a chai in each hand; it was a load-5 rake with freshly outshopped from IZN, JLR outbased YDM4 6560, in the standard Blue livery that IZN now outshopped their overhauled YDM4s in.
At departure time, which was bang on 0715, I still had the front bay in the front coach to myself and as we left 59507 0510 Rajkot Jn – Veraval Jn was just arriving into the BG platforms; which is now a dead connection since the MG timetable had been recast from 19/10/19; and its clearly not a held connection! The run through the city limits is quite enclosed and might prove hard to re-gauge, if BG ever infiltrates the area, although I’m sure IR will just chop corners off buildings that are in the way; I’ve seen similar happen during the doubling works on the Bangalore – Mysore line.
It was a spirited run through to Visavadar, which sort of delivers the desert before the main course, as far as thrash and speed is concerned as the run through the Gir Forest is a totter in comparison and there’s little to no thrash at all from the loco through to Talala Jn. 52952 was into Visavadar Jn first and the crew went for chai while YDM4 6306, which is now possibly the oldest YDM4 left in service, rived with 52955 0630 Amreli – Junagadh Jn; which was detached within 30-seconds and run straight round to head to whence we’d just come from. Connects were made in both directions and 6560 was soon on its way towards Talala Jn.
My eyes were peeled all the way through the forest section but alas, I didn’t spot any lions! During the day though, I managed to spot lots of spotted deer, two sizeable snakes, one of which was swimming in water, an alligator swimming in open water and a buffalo bathing in a pool, with two turtles taking a breather on its back; no lions all day though….
Little did I realise at the start of the day that it would be a day that yielded no food options, other than train-food snacks from the stalls at Talala Jn, and I’d not have much time on a platform at all; anywhere! And so it began at Talala Jn, where YDM4 6666 was sat waiting with 52950 0745 Delvada – Veraval Jn, which should have already departed but it was waiting for YDM4 6338 to come off the Veraval line, which was just approaching with 52929 0945 Veraval Jn – Amreli. Had I realised it before, making the minus onto 52950 would have been a better move but that brainwave only came later, and was something for the following day.
I had enough time to quickly grab a few photos before rushing to the ticket office for a ticket to Visavadar, which covered bases beyond Kansiya Nes, just in case the train coming the other way was late. As the token had already gone through the machine for the Visavadar line, off my arriving 52952, 6338 was straight in and out with 52929 and I only just got to the front of the train as it set off on its totter through the forest area.
YDM4 6720 was already sat waiting at Kansiya Nes with 52956 0835 Amreli – Veraval Jn and I had to hustle a ticket out of the station master while he was busy multi-tasking, trying to get the token out of the ancient machine to give to the crew on 6720; which at least meant I had time to buy said ticket! This was another lost opportunity as well, as I could have gone through to Veraval on 52956, which would have offered up some food opportunities. As it happened, I had to make do with crisps, biscuits and overpriced chai at Talala. All while rushing around buying tickets and trying to get photos as well. The guy in the ticket office just smiled and issued the ticket when I asked for my second ticket to Visavadar of the day, and he clearly understood what I was doing. Maybe I have Dan to thank for that, who’d already been and done the Gujarat MG to death recently?
YDM4 6394 was at the head of 52933 1225 Veraval Jn – Amreli and it made YDM4 6654 at Satadhar, which was sat waiting with 52930 1210 Amreli – Veraval Jn. Again I had to hustle the station master at Satadhar into issuing me a ticket while he was going through the motions of dispatching the train I wanted to be on but he got his boy to issue the ticket in the end, before dispatching him down the platform with the token he’d put in the pouch while he was issuing it.
At Talala I had time to think, while not on a moving train, and once 6654 just so happened to be late enough to allow connections off the Delvada line, and I wondered down and photographed YDM4 6563 arriving with 52951 1400 Delvada – Junagadh Jn. The moment it arrived though, 6654 departed for Veraval before 6563 was detached and run-round to head north to Visavadar Jn. The back of the train was quite busy, but the front was relatively quiet, and I had plenty of time to reflect on the day during the 3-hour, 89km journey back to Junagadh Jn.
It had been a long day but an enjoyable one. I’d spent RS105 on tickets (about £1.15) for over 300km on YDM4s, some of which had been very gone and some had been decidedly average, with the monster that is 6654 stealing the show for the day and 6338 coming in second. 6560 had been the nail of the day, which while it was average, it wasn’t particularly crap, so to speak, and 6563 didn’t do a bad job on the way back to Junagadh Jn; with the loco pilot clearly in a going home mood when he wided it from a standing start on departure from Visavadar and I ended up standing at the front door all the way back to Junagadh as he was a bit of a beast with the power handle; and he dropped us into Junagadh Jn spot on time at 1950, finishing off the 12h35m day just as it started; right time!
Back at the Lotus Hotel I had time to unwind while waiting for food to be delivered to my room. I even had time to get some washing done in the shower, all of which was dry by the following morning after being hung on a chair right below one of the two fans in the room. The room itself was clean, well presented and had great air-con and two fans. WiFi was strong and there was hot water, although the taps had to be left running for 10 minutes in a morning to get the hot water through the pipes! Anyone would think it was being piped from Ahmedabad! Toiletries were provided, most of which were used on my washing and the large double bed was very comfy. The food, which was freshly delivered from the adjacent Petals Restaurant, was very good and the Aloo Jeera, rice and Cheese Naan barely touched the sides when it came; and the cheese naan was something else, well worth the effort eating! The was no complaining when my body stretched out into the nice soft bed that night, and the early night was welcome!
Gen for Tuesday 26th November 2019
16830 VTA 59422 0420 Somnath – Rajkot Jn
6560 52952 0715 Junagadh Jn – Delvada
6306 52955 0630 Amreli – Junagadh Jn, 52956 1720 Junagadh Jn – Amreli
6666 52950 0745 Delvada – Veraval Jn
6338 52949 0945 Veraval Jn – Amreli
6720 52946 0835 Amreli – Veraval Jn
6394 52933 1225 Veraval Jn – Amreli
6654 52930 1210 Amreli – Veraval Jn
6563 52951 1400 Delvada – Junagadh Jn
Cape 52954 1155 Veraval Jn – Kodinar & 52953 1455 Kodinar – Veraval Jn (line closed)
Moves for Tuesday 26th November 2019
|16830||Keshod||Junagadh Jn||0420 Somnath – Rajkot Jn||59422|
|6560||Junagadh Jn||Talala Jn||0715 Junagadh Jn – Delvada||52952|
|6338||Talala Jn||Kansiya Kes||0945 Veraval Jn – Amreli||52929|
|6720||Kansiya Kes||Talala Jn||0835 Amreli – Veraval Jn||52946|
|6394||Talala Jn||Satadhar||1225 Veraval Jn – Amreli||52933|
|6654||Satadhar||Talala Jn||1210 Amreli – Veraval Jn||52930|
|6563||Talala Jn||Junagadh Jn||1400 Delvada – Junagadh Jn||52951|
Photos for Tuesday 26th November 2019
Wednesday 27th November 2019 (Day 2 of 2 on the Gujarat MG system)
The early night resulted in me being awake quite early and a check of all things online revealed some late running on the BG that would offer up some bonus moves of a morning, so after a quick shower I headed over to the station and reveled in an early morning bonus spin that revealed VTA WDG3A 13526 on the late running 22957 2210 (P) Ahmedabad Jn – Veraval Jn which I did to Keshod, SBI WDP4D 40183 on 59422 0420 Somnath – Rajkot Jn which I did through to Vadal to risk the dead off 59507 0510 Rajkot Jn – Veraval Jn, which was headed by VTA WDG3A 13473.
Having already bought a ticket from Junagadh Jn to Veraval Jn, which was valid direct just in case I needed it, I had no time to get one via the MG when 13473 rolled down the platform at Junagadh Jn. I heard YDM4 6563 blow up to depart when we were halfway down the platform and technically I missed the train as I got off one moving train, which hadn’t stopped yet, and onto another moving train, which had already started to depart! I wasn’t the only one to do the move either, so people still seemed to rely on the dead connection, which doesn’t make sense to have changed in the first place.
I moved down the train, to the front, at Bilkha, and at Visavadar it was like de ja vu when YDM4 6394 arrived with 52955 0630 Amreli – Junagadh Jn, albeit with 6563 being in a different livery to 6560 the previous morning. Everything went like clockwork and 6394 was run-round before 6563 departed. The only difference to the previous day was the fact I discovered the old MG turntable n the undergrowth and went for a gander while waiting for 6394 to come off the Amreli line. The two tracks onto the turntable at each side were still there and the rest of the tracks were probably buried under the 3ft of undergrowth that swamped the area.
At Talala Jn, after an uneventful run through the Gir Forest, I feared we might have missed the minus onto 52950 0745 Delvada – Veraval Jn when we got held around the corner from the station for a few minutes, but it was still in the platform when 52952 rolled in. YDM4 6402 was sat waiting to head to whence we came from with 52929 0945 Veraval Jn – Amreli and as I’d suspected might be the case, YDM4 6560 was sat waiting to depart with the late running 550 0745 Delvada – Veraval Jn; which I’d decided was the better move for the day, even if it wasn’t necessarily on a desired engine.
There was no rest for my little legs when we arrived into Veraval Jn, and looking around the place would have to wait momentarily, as I legged it over the station to do VTA WDG3A 13473 out to Adari Road on 59508 1110 Somnath – Rajkot Jn for VTA WDM3A 16808 back in on 59297 0600 Porbandar – Somnath; where I was told I couldn’t take photos by the enjoyment prevention officer, masquerading as an RPF officer! I politely told him I could, as I put my camera away and then walked out to the ticket office to get a ticket to Talala Jn, before wondering over the road to get a rather nice Aloo Paratha from the Somnath Restaurant directly opposite the car park entrance.
In the station area were YDM4’s 6317, which looked in a very poor state, and 6666, which eventually shunted the rake in for 52933 1225 Veraval Jn – Amreli, and 6560 ran-round to work back out with it. On VRL DLS, which has taken over maintenance since JLR DLS closed with the MG up that way, were YDM4’s 6654, on the servicing road, 6692, inside the shed, and recently delivered from IZN 6565 and 6557; the latter looking in a poor state, which might have something to do with it spending a year on a BG flat wagon in the yard at Sabarmati Town?
Doing the Veraval move was definitely a better option for thrash and food and the section from Veraval Jn to Talala Jn is quite fast too. I didn’t have time to do anything at Talala, other than walk from one end of the station to the other and board the waiting 52946 0835 Amreli – Veraval Jn with YDM4 6338 at its helm. 52933 and 52946 should cross at Savni, halfway between Veraval and Talala but as they’d crossed at Talala the previous day, I’d been banking on the same happening again; and I wasn’t disappointed.
During my second pitstop at Veraval I returned for round two at the Somnath Restaurant and returned to the station to find 6338 having been turned straight round to work back out with 52949 1435 Veraval Jn – Delvada; which I did Prachi Road, where it crossed the late running 52951 1400 Delvada – Junagadh Jn with what I’d figured would be 6720, as it was the only one missing from the pack. At Talala Jn, as 52951 was in first, I was able to wonder up to the north end of the station again and this time photograph 6306 arriving with the late running 52930 1210 Amreli – Veraval Jn; before loading up on chai and vegetating in the front coach all the way back to Junagadh Jn.
It wasn’t a great run back and the loco pilot was very poor in comparison to the previous night’s LP. He never even got 6720 onto full power on the racetrack section from Visavadar Jn to Junagadh Jn; and we were late in! I had less than an hour to get over to the hotel, have a shower and checkout before needing to be back at the station. Food was ordered as a parcel before I got in the shower and the staff at the front desk were asked to prepare my bill the moment I walked in. It was like a military exercise and one that was executed very well. Food was delivered just as I’d finished getting dressed and I was out of the door moments later. My bill was waiting, and it took 30 seconds to pay it and walk out of the door with a receipt; it was very un-Indian…..
Unfortunately, SBI WDP4D 40331 was my conveyance to Veraval Jn on 59421 1815 Rajkot Jn – Somnath but it was a necessity to allow me to do 16333 0425 Veraval Jn – Trivandrum Central from its source the following day; so I could do the ERS Alco twins throughout from Veraval Jn to Shoranur Jn, a journey of 2077km! Thankfully it was a pleasant night and I only had 5 hours to kill before departure at Veraval. There was plenty of chai on offer, initially, and at least I could fully charge my phone on the platform and abuse the station WiFi to update my apps and download the photos from my phone to my OneDrive; which kept me occupied for a while, along with getting my typing up to date.
Gen for Wednesday 27th November 2019
13526 VTA 22957 2210 (P) Ahmedabad Jn – Somnath
40183 SBI 59422 0420 Somnath – Rajkot Jn
13473 VTA 59507 0510 Rajkot Jn – Somnath, 59508 1100 Somnath – Rajkot Jn
16808 VTA 59297 0600 Porbandar – Somnath
40331 SBI 59423 0750 Rajkot Jn – Veraval Jn
6563 52952 0715 Junagadh Jn – Delvada
6394 52955 0630 Amreli – Junagadh Jn, 52956 1720 Junagadh Jn – Amreli
6560 52950 0745 Delvada – Veraval Jn, 52933 1225 Veraval Jn – Amreli
6402 52949 0945 Veraval Jn – Amreli
6338 52946 0835 Amreli – Veraval Jn, 52949 1435 Veraval Jn – Delvada
6306 52930 1210 Amreli – Veraval Jn
6720 52951 1400 Delvada – Junagadh Jn
Cape 52954 1155 Veraval Jn – Kodinar & 52953 1455 Kodinar – Veraval Jn (line closed)
6565, 6557, 6654, 6692 VRL Shed
6317, 6666 VRL stabled
Moves for Wednesday 27th November 2019
|13526||Junagadh Jn||Keshod||2210 (26/11) Ahmedabad Jn – Veraval Jn||22957|
|40183||Keshod||Vadal||0420 Somnath – Rajkot Jn||59422|
|13473||Vadal||Junagadh Jn||0510 Rajkot Jn – Somnath||59507|
|6563||Junagadh Jn||Talala Jn||0715 Junagadh Jn – Delvada||52952|
|6560||Talala Jn||Veraval Jn||0745 Delvada – Veraval Jn||52950|
|13473||Veraval Jn||Adari Road||1110 Somnath – Rajkot Jn||59508|
|16808||Adari Road||Veraval Jn||0600 Porbandar – Somnath||59297|
|6560||Veraval Jn||Talala Jn||1225 Veraval Jn – Amreli||52933|
|6338||Talala Jn||Veraval Jn||0835 Amreli – Veraval Jn||52946|
|6338||Veraval Jn||Prachi Road||1435 Veraval Jn – Delvada||52949|
|6720||Prachi Road||Junagadh Jn||1400 Delvada – Junagadh Jn||52951|
|40331||Junagadh Jn||Veraval Jn||1815 Rajkot Jn – Somnath||59421|
Photos for Wednesday 27th November 2019
Thursday 28th November 2019 (On board 16333 0425 Veraval – Trivandrum Central, all day!)
ERS WDM3A’s 14127/16295 were welcome at the head of 16333 0425 Veraval Jn – Trivandrum Central, which would work the train through to Shoranur Jn, arriving at 1935 the following night. The doors to the AC were open quite early and I was one of two people in coach A1 on departure from Veraval Jn, allowing for a bit of sleep as the ERS twins began their long journey towards home; although, I did have to find the rattling piece of metal and put a stop to it before I could relax.
Sleep eventually came to an end when the pantry car vendors began their rounds, but the chai was most welcome, and eventually so was the omelette, even if the robbing vendor did charge me over the odds for it. Which then got me onto the IRCTC Food on Track app to order food for the rest of the day; fuck the pantry car and their robbing vendors, some things never change! So, with dinner ordered for Viramgam Jn around midday and Domino’ pizza for Surat at around 1700, I was set for the day and with not having to worry about food delivery at Ahmedabad I could stock up on supplies for the train during the stop. I’d even gone the whole hog and paid for my food in the app.
With only being in the 3rd of 23 coaches, I could head the ERS twins hacking away at the front of the train, through my berth window, and from the front door of the coach it was well worth taking the time to have a bellow every now an again. It was a good run to Ahmedabad, where we arrived 15’ early. My dinner was served at my berth at Viramgam Jn and everything was fresh and hot; and more importantly, tasty. I had plenty of time to grab a few photos at Ahmedabad Jn before using an empty stock being shunted into the adjacent platform 5 to venture down the platform to one of the more prominent stalls to get some supplies for the train. RTM WDM2S 018640 doing the honours, which was a bit of a turn up for the books at Ahmedabad.
The thrash at the front of the train on departure from Ahmedabad was short-lived, and after departing spot on time we only made it to just the other side of Vatva before everything came to a grinding halt and having spent an hour at Geratpur, we then trickled forward every now and again, reaching about 90’ late at one point. When we got to Anand Jn, after a bit of fast running, I assumed we were by whatever was causing the slow running but then we staggered from Anand to Vadod, the first station south of Anand Jn and eventually crossed a fleet of yellow plant on the adjacent line; all of which was heading back north. A line-up for Vadodara Jn didn’t look good and some trains were around 3-hours late due to the farce. 59049 Valsad – Viramgam passenger looks like it had been sat at Vadodara for almost 4 hours and 09028 Palitana – Bandra Terminus special had been standing at Ahmedabad for over 2 hours waiting it’s turn! It was slow going once we got “on the move” but we got going, nonetheless. As could be expected though, there was no shortage of train wanting to use Vadodara Jn and 16333 being over 90’ late on arrival, it was held to allow an almost right time 12010 1445 Ahmedabad Jn – Mumbai Central Shatabdi to overtake it; with BRC WAP7 30533 leading the charge. Thankfully 16333 allowed out of Vadodara Jn right on its heels; and we soon got motoring along.
I’m not usually a veg man but with the Domino’s at Surat Jn only having veg pizzas on the menu selection in the Food on Track app, I was resigned to having a veg pizza; and what a cracking pizza it was. Despite the late running, my pizza was fresh, nice and hot, very tasty and delivered right to my berth; and it had gone before we departed Surat! After departure from which, it seemed like a sensible idea to bed down for the night, more because the AC had been turned up in the coach and it was bloody freezing; which resulted in the inevitable crap on my chest the following morning and a smokers cough! I heard people get on at Vasai Road, although to be fair to them they did try and be quiet and turned the compartment light straight back off once they’d woken everyone up. It was a relatively peaceful night otherwise.
Gen for Thursday 28th November 2019
6720 52952 0715 Junagadh Jn – Delvada
14127/16295 ERS 16333 0425 Veraval Jn – Trivandrum Cen (to Shoranur)
13473 VTA 19571 0715 Rajkot Jn – Porbandar
40183 SBI 59423 0750 Rajkot Jn – Veraval Jn
40345 SBI 11464 1140 (P) Jabalpur Jn – Somnath
018640 (WDM2) RTM stock into plat 5 at ADI
25043 BRC 12843 1730 (PP) Puri – Ahmedabad Jn
30533 BRC 12010 1445 Ahmedabad Jn – Mumbai Central
Moves for Thursday 28th November 2019
|14127||Veraval Jn||Shoranur Jn||0425 Veraval Jn – Trivandrum Central||16333|
|018640||Ahmedabad Jn Platform 5 South||Ahmedabad Jn Platform 5 North||ECS shunt in & out of platform 5|
Photos for Thursday 28th November 2019
Friday 29th November 2019 (On board 16333 all day to Shoranur Jn)
Having ordered breakfast through the app, to be delivered at Madgaon, the fact we were over 2 hours late meant that it was delivered at a more sociable time, as opposed to 0650. Despite its late status, 16333 didn’t get a good run to Madgaon up the Konkan at all. It was held at Pernem for 30 minutes for ERS WDG3A 13110 to arrive with 50108 0615 Madgaon Jn – Sawantwadi Road passenger and then at Karmali for the DMU forming 70102 0600 Karwar – Pernem passenger. Just outside Madgaon Jn we passed PA WDP4D 40424 with 10104 0915 Madgaon Jn – Mumbai CST Mandovi Express.
On arrival at Madgaon Jn I was almost convinced that my breakfast delivery wasn’t going to turn up, after the train had been in the station for 5 minutes, but while I was photographing KJM WDG3A’s 13030/13054 arriving with dead WDG4 70326 in tow on a northbound RoRo train, I spotted a young lad wonder by with a bag in his hand; and sure enough, it was my breakfast! They’d obviously waited until the train was rolling in to make my aloo parathas, as they were nice and hot.
Just as 16333 departed Madgaon, 17420 0900 Vasco Da Gama – Tirupati rolled to a stand in the adjacent platform. I could only get the front loco number and had to use the zoom lens on my camera to do so. Freshly outshopped MLY WDG3A 14700 was the leading loco. Despite a good run south, all the way to Canacona, everything comes to a stand for the Rajdhani’s and an already 2h30m late running 16333 Veraval – Trivandrum was no exception. In a far cry from it’s glory days when GOC WDP3A’s ruled the king of the Konkan, 12431 1915 (P) Trivandrum Central – Hazrat Nizamuddin, it went yinging by with GOC WDP4D 40571 and we then continued our journey south, storming past SBI WDP4D 40483 while it waited for us to go by with its 19259 1545 (P) Kochuveli – Bhavnagar Terminus.
We then made god progress with everything working in our favour, for a while, with ERS WDG3A 13498 waiting at Ankona with 56640 0530 Mangalore Central – Madgaon Jn and then GOC WDG3A 13536 coming off the single line at Gokarna Road almost the moment we came to a stand, with 16513 1915 (P) Bangalore City – Karwar. ERS WDM3A 14076 was next with 22149 0515 Ernakulam Jn – Pune Jn and ERS WDG3A 13514 & GOC WDG4 12829 were the locos working the Surathkal based RoRo services.
Contrary to popular belief, it seems that the electrification of the Mangalore Jn to Udupi section isn’t quite finished with a bit still left to do at Kulashakara, which I only noticed when I pointed my camera at GOC WDP4D 40103 as it passed with 12620 1425 Mangalore Central – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus; and I only took the photo as I though it was the late running 12134 1350 Mangalore Jn – Mumbai CST Superfast; which was still sitting at Mangalore Jn with KYN WDG4 12xx9 at its helm. I couldn’t get all the numbers through the set of stock that was in the way; and it eventually departed Mangalore Jn 1h35m late!
Meanwhile, despite recovering a lot of time from Madgaon, from being on the verge of 3 hours late at one point, to arriving Mangalore Jn only 1h15m late, it then took 45 minutes to service 16333 at Mangalore Jn; which is pretty poor for a station stop that should only be 10 minute in the first place; and we were almost 2 hours late again by the time we departed. At which point KJM WDM3A’s 14026/14077 had just rolled up alongside with 56646 1325 Subramanya Road – Mangalore Central passenger.
A storming run south had us rolling into Kozhikode only 60’ late and my Domino’s pizza was waiting on the platform. Initially the two delivery boys thought there was a mix-up with the pizzas they were delivering; both to the same coach. Both had non-veg stickers on them and the girl taking delivery of the other pizza had ordered a veg. Of course, opening the box to check what was inside never crossed anyone’s mind, which is something I always do with pizza delivery; and inside my box was exactly what I’d ordered, and I got straight to devouring it!
At Shoranur Jn, 2077km after they’d set off from Veraval Jn and 4 days after they’d left Shoranur on the outward leg of their journey, ERS WDM3A’s 14127/16295 had completed a 4177km return journey from Shoranur to Veraval Jn and had performed faultlessly on the leg I’d had the pleasure of their company on. Later, on Sunday morning they’d head light from Shoranur to Ernakulam DLS, with ERS WDM3A’s 14051/16857 off 16335 0720 (29/11) Gandhidam Jn – Nagercoil Jn, and not work back north the following night (Sat) with 16312 1545 Kochuveli – Sri Ganganagar; which I suspected they might do. With no other ERS twins laying around at Shoranur, I’m not sure what did work 16312 on Saturday, which is of course, a train I have previous experience of being royally bowled by a BGKT WDP4D on!
ED WAP4 22602 replaced the twins on 16333 for the run south to Trivandrum Central and I did it forward to Thrissur for ERS WDM3A’s 14030/16878 back on 16338 2025 Ernakulam Jn – Okha. It was a later than planned arrival into Shoranur Jn, second time around, and I was straight out of the station and walking the deserted roadway around to my hotel and following which, late at night, was a bit perilous to say the least! Trees lined either side of the road and the roadway was covered in bird shit. I could hear their noisy tweeting as I walked precariously, but hastily by, and quite how I didn’t get shit on was anyone’s guess. Safely at the Maps Residency, which is about a 10-minute walk from Shoranur Jn station and tucked down a side street, I was expected when I walked through the door. Check in was quick, thankfully, although there were three sets of paperwork to fill out! With not many options in Shoranur, Maps Residency stood out on Booking.com and was a prominent building in the area it stood. My room wasn’t big but was adequate. The AC unit was a farce and kept turning itself on and off and beeping every time it did either! The fan more than made up for it though and was a menace when turned up to full; it was a wonder the ceiling didn’t get dragged to the floor it was that powerful! Unfortunately, on Saturday’s the Maps Residency didn’t do laundry so I had to get all my washing done in the lukewarm water late at night, using the provided shampoo as my detergent! As booked, the water ran hot by the time I’d finished, but I wasn’t redoing it all, it was way too late anyway let alone for a spot of rewashing!
It was nice to be off 16333 and in an atmosphere that wasn’t freezing cold. I could feel in my throat that the AC had got on my chest during the 40-hour journey, and I suffered overnight as a result, coughing up crap off it early the following morning! Sleep wasn’t great as a result….
Gen for Friday 29th November 2019
13110 ERS 50108 0615 Madgaon Jn – Sawantwadi Road
40424 PA 10104 0915 Madgaon Jn – Mumbai CST
14700/????? MLY 17420 0900 Vasco Da Gama – Tirupati
13030/13054 KJM (70326 KYN dit) RoRo at Madgaon Jn
40571 GOC 12431 1915 (P) Trivandrum Central – Hazrat Nizamuddin
40483 SBI 19259 1545 (P) Kochuveli – Bhavnagar Terminus
13498 ERS 56640 0530 Mangalore Central – Madgaon Jn
13536 GOC 16513 1915 (P) Bangalore City – Karwar
14076 ERS 22149 0515 Ernakulam Jn – Pune Jn
13514 ERS & 12829 GOC Surathkal RoRo’s
40103 GOC 12620 1425 Mangalore Central – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus
12xx9 KYN 12134 1350 Mangalore Jn – Mumbai CST
37211 RPM 16356 2000 Mangalore Jn – Kochuveli
14026/14077 KJM 56646 1325 Subramanya Road – Mangalore Central
22602 ED 16333 0425 Veraval Jn – Trivandrum Cen (from Shoranur)
14030/16878 ERS 16338 2025 Ernakulam Jn – Okha
Moves for Friday 29th November 2019
|22602||Shoranur Jn||Thrissur||0425 (28/11) Veraval Jn – Trivandrum Central||16333|
|14030||Thrissur||Shoranur Jn||2025 Ernakulam Jn – Okha||16338|
Photos for Friday 29th November 2019
Saturday 30th November 2019 (Day 1 of 2 in Shoranur)
Despite the late night, I was up with the rest of India, at first light. It looked like it was going to be a bit of a washout at Shoranur, based on the locos that were stood around the station area, or already on the Nilambur Road branch so when ED WDM3D 11105 arrived with 16527 2000 (P) Yesvantpur Jn – Kannur I did that north to Kuttipuram on the main line, instead of ED WDG3A 13513 towards Nilambur Road on 16349 2050 (P) Kochuveli – Nilambur Road.
While I’d suspected would be the case, BZA WAG5 23201 confirmed my suspicions when it rolled into Kuttipuram with 56600 0500 Kozhikode – Shoranur Jn passenger. Quite a lot of the locals north of Shoranur, and towards Coimbatore Jn, had remained diesel under the wires throughout since electrification had taken a hold in Kerala but alas, they’d very recently been taken over by electric traction; and a post I saw on IRFCA a few days later confirmed that the transformation of links from diesel to electric had been completed. IR couldn’t have waited a few more weeks, could they!?
The rake off 56600 forms 56604 0800 Shoranur Jn – Coimbatore Jn on arrival into Shoranur Jn but the loco off 56600 doesn’t do the same; and I only know this as BZA WAG5 23201 was still at Shoranur Jn when I got back off my second return trip to Kuttipuram of a morning. I almost didn’t even see GOC WDG3A’s 14667/14692 was over the back of the station as I arrived, waiting to depart with 22653 0030 Trivandrum Central – Hazrat Nizamuddin and I had very little time to scurry across the station to get on the train before it departed and Sleeper Class had to suffice as I didn’t have time to get to the front before it departed. Likewise, at Kuttipuram, a cross-ballast leap had to suffice to allow me to make 19262 1830 (PP) Porbandar – Kochuveli, with VTA WDM3D 11414, which blew up to depart before 22653 had come to a stand. Thankfully there was no TTE to explain myself to in sleeper class on either train, especially on 19262 as I only had the passenger ticket from Kuttipuram to Shoranur from my previous move to show him; not even an Express ticket!
Back at Shoranur Jn the pace slowed a little and not only did I managed to get some validity, I managed to gulp down a second freezing cold strawberry milkshake of the morning, which helped soothe the throat. ERS WDM3A 16565 was just being attached to the late running 56611 0555 Palakkad Jn – Nilambur Road, which was the train I’d originally planned to be up for anyway; so, it made sense at this point to head towards Nilambur Road with it. Unfortunately, it was an absolute nail. The Nilambur Road branch itself, a branch I’ve only ever done once previously, is non-stop thrash excitement all the way there and back though, it was just a shame about the quality of noise coming from 16565, which to disappoint even further, ran-round at Nilambur Road to return with 56614 0910 Nilambur Road – Shoranur Jn, leaving ED WDG3A 13513 firmly bolted to the stock for that evening’s 16350 2050 Nilambur Road – Kochuveli, which it worked to Shoranur Jn.
Once the branch is down the pan with one train, everything else suffers as there are only two passing loops, at Angadipuram and Vaniyambalam. Things can recover between the morning and afternoon sessions on the branch but for now, the morning trains were all buggered, just because Palakkad couldn’t be arsed to kick 56611 out on time!
ED WDM3D 14144 was just being prepared for departure with 56362 0520 Kottayam – Nilambur Road, so a second trip down the branch beckoned, once I’d got another ticket, and this time both ED WDM3D 14144 and ERS WDG3A 13451 returning with 56616 1125 Nilambur Road – Shoranur Jn, provided just what the ears needed to hear; loud, unadulterated Alco thrash, that sounded the part. They both put ERS WDM3A 16565 to shame and in true style, there was no time to think when I got back to Shoranur, just time to act.
ERS WDG3A 14668 had rolled by us, on the 3km section of main line that runs adjacent to the Nilambur Road branch before it veers off, with 12201 1655 (P) Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Kochuveli Garib Rath; which became a new train for not having a ticket at all for when it pulled out! That I’d have been able to buy one at the booking office for it anyway, so I have to play the stupid foreigner card if needed; which thankfully it wasn’t. I spent the journey holed up in a side berth, looking inconspicuous; or as inconspicuous as I could with being the only white person on the train! And I couldn’t believe my luck when KTE WDG3A’s 13022/13028 were pulling into Thrissur with 12217 0915 Kochuveli – Chandigarh Jn when 12201 arrived; the rear most unreserved coach had to suffice though. It was very warm day, I was already sweating it out and I’m not getting any younger; so, fuck trying to make it to the front of the train….
I even gave up walking to the front of 12217 at Shoranur and took a Biriyani vendor up on his offer and sat scoffing down an egg biriyani in the shade instead, while I melted away in the afternoon heat. It was tempting to head back to the hotel for an afternoon shower and recoup but ED WDM3D 11102 dropping onto the stock to work 56617 1500 Shoranur Jn – Nilambur Road put pay to that idea, and what a cracking run to Angadipuram it was. Unfortunately, it dropped me into the nail that was ERS WDM3A 16565 for the run back to Shoranur Jn on 56363 1445 Nilambur Road – Kottayam. The fast running, with seats in either direction, in relatively empty coaches, made for a nice afternoon treat though and I was ready to go again by the time I got back to Shoranur.
The aim of the late afternoon and early evening was to cover 16306 1435 Kannur – Ernakulam Jn Intercity, one of the few trains left in the area that runs diesel under the wires throughout, and then 16335 Gandhidam – Nagercoil, which an educated guess said ERS WDM3A 14051 was its lead engine. RPM WAP7 37203 got the late afternoon proceedings underway with 12617 1315 Ernakulam Jn – Hazrat Nizamuddin and I got off at Pattambi for AJJ WAP4 22794 behind, on 56651 1415 Coimbatore Jn – Kannur. The devil’s own Shakti, GOC WDG3A 14666 turned up at Kuttipuram with 16306 1435 Kannur – Ernakulam Jn; which was being announced at Kuttipuram as terminating at Thrissur, yet the opposing working started at Ernakulam Jn the following morning! It was a bloody good non-stop run back to Shoranur Jn and hanging out of the front door all the way had its consequences when I had to jog down the platform to make 56601 1800 Shoranur Jn – Kozhikode passenger, with ED WAP4 22627 at its helm. The bonus of making it was making ERS WDM3A’s 14051/16857 at Kuttipuram with the slightly late running 16335 0720 (P) Gandhidam Jn – Nagercoil Jn and stepping back at Pattambi for incoming ERS WDG3A 13498 on 56602 1445 Kannur – Shoranur Jn; which topped the day off nicely.
I was ready for a proper meal when I got back to the hotel, and even more ready for a cold shower; which had I not headed back to the hotel when I had, I’d have got on the walk back when the heavens opened and it hammered it down with rain. Very pleased with how the day had gone, I quickly scoffed down a decent veg noodles but left the frisbees that were allegedly chapattis, then packed away my dry clothes that had been hung over a chair all day, stood on the bed, with the fan on full, drying them off all day. Roll on tomorrow…..
Gen for Saturday 30th November 2019
13513 ED 16349 2050 (P) Kochuveli – Nilambur Road (from Shoranur), 16350 2100 Nilambur Road – Kochuveli (to Shoranur)
13451 ERS 56612 0645 Nilambur Road – Shoranur Jn, 56613 0915 Shoranur Jn – Nilambur Road, 56616 1125 Nilambur Road – Shoranur Road, 56619 1710 Shoranur Jn – Nilambur Road, 56620 1915 Nilambur Road – Shoranur Jn
16565 ERS 56611 0555 Palakkad Jn – Nilambur Road, 56614 0910 Nilambur Road – Shoranur Jn
14144 (3D) ED 56362 0520 Kottayam – Nilambur Road (from Shoranur), 56363 1445 Nilambur Road – Kottayam (to Shoranur)
11102 ED 56617 1500 Shoranur Jn – Nilambur Road, 56610 1705 Nilambur Road – Palakkad Jn
11105 ED 16527 2000 (P) Yesvantpur Jn – Kannur
23201 BZA 56600 0500 Kozhikode – Shoranur Jn
14667/14692 GOC 22653 0030 Trivandrum Central – Hazrat Nizamuddin
11414 VTA 19262 1830 (PP) Porbandar – Kochuveli
22341 ED 12081 0450 Kannur – Trivandrum Central
14668 ERS 12201 1655 (P) Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Kochuveli
30540 LGD 16302 0505 Trivandrum Central – Shoranur Jn
13022/13028 KTE 12217 0915 Kochuveli – Chandigarh Jn
30275 LGD (40067 GOC dit) 56324 0740 Mangalore Central – Coimbatore Jn
30727 LGD 16346 0930 Trivandrum Central – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus
37203 RPM 12617 1315 Ernakulam Jn – Hazrat Nizamuddin
22794 AJJ 56651 1415 Coimbatore Jn – Kannur
14666 ERS 16306 1435 Kannur – Ernakulam Jn (Terminated Thrissur – planned)
22627 ED 56601 1800 Shoranur Jn – Kozhikode
14051/16857 ERS 16335 0720 (P) Gandhidam Jn – Nagercoil Jn
13498 ERS 56602 1445 Kannur – Shoranur Jn
Moves for Saturday 30th November 2019
|11105||Shoranur Jn||Kuttipuram||2000 (29/11) Yesvantpur Jn – Kannur||16527|
|23201||Kuttipuram||Shoranur Jn||0500 Kozhikode – Shoranur Jn||56600|
|14667||Shoranur Jn||Kuttipuram||0030 Trivandrum Central – Hazrat Nizamuddin||22653|
|11414||Kuttipuram||Shoranur Jn||1830 (28/11) Porbandar – Kochuveli||19262|
|16565||Shoranur Jn||Nilambur Road||0555 Palakkad Jn – Nilambur Road||56611|
|16565||Nilambur Road||Shoranur Jn||0910 Nilambur Road – Shoranur Jn||56614|
|14144||Shoranur Jn||Angadippuram||0520 Kottayam – Nilambur Road||56362|
|13451||Angadippuram||Shoranur Jn||1125 Nilambur Road – Shoranur Jn||56616|
|14668||Shoranur Jn||Thrissur||1655 (29/11) Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Kochuveli||12201|
|13022||Thrissur||Shoranur Jn||0915 Kochuveli – Chandigarh Jn||12217|
|11102||Shoranur Jn||Angadippuram||1500 Shoranur Jn – Nilambur Road||56617|
|16565||Angadippuram||Shoranur Jn||1445 Nilambur Road – Kottayam||56363|
|37203||Shoranur Jn||Pattambi||1315 Ernakulam Jn – Hazrat Nizamuddin||12617|
|22794||Pattambi||Kuttipuram||1415 Coimbatore Jn – Kannur||56651|
|14666||Kuttipuram||Shoranur Jn||1435 Kannur – Ernakulam Jn||16306|
|22627||Shoranur Jn||Kuttipuram||1800 Shoranur Jn – Kozhikode||56601|
|14051||Kuttipuram||Pattambi||0720 (29/11) Gandhidam Jn – Nagercoil Jn||16335|
|13498||Pattambi||Shoranur Jn||1445 Kannur – Shoranur Jn||56602|
Photos for Saturday 30th November 2019
Sunday 1st December 2019 (Day 2 of 2 in Shoranur)
It looked and felt like it had been persisting it down all night but the nice cool atmosphere I walked out of the hotel to was most welcome. If there was one thing rain was good at, it was keeping pollen at bay and it let up, of a morning, just long enough for me to walk to the station and savour the cool feeling, before it bounced down again; just as ED WDM3D 11184 rolled into Shoranur Jn with 16527 2000 (P) Yesvantpur Jn – Kannur. So, the morning started in the same vein as the previous one had, with an ED ‘3D getting proceedings under way. Unfortunately, I was a standard WAP4 back on 56600 0500 Kozhikode – Shoranur Jn passenger; AJJ WAP4 22713.
I wouldn’t need to be bothering with anything on the Nilambur Road branch, of a morning at least, and ERS WDM3A 16881 looked the likely candidate for 16305 0645 Ernakulam Jn – Kannur Intercity, with VTA WDM3D 11131 being the prime candidate for 19578 2100 (PP) Jamnagar – Tirunelveli Jn. ED WDG3A 14902 on 56611 0555 Palakkad Jn – Nilambur Road was a necessity; and a very good choice it was too. Unfortunately, the cross-ballast leap at Angadipuram put me straight into “the nail”; yep, ERS WDM3A 16565. I didn’t waste my time trying to walk to the front before departure as a result.
While not as good as the devil-shakti the previous night on the opposing working, ERS WDM3A 16881 gave a spirited performance on the 30km non-stop run to Kuttipuram on 16305 0645 Ernakulam Jn – Kannur. Then a couple of electric moves sufficed to fill the early afternoon, with RPM WAP7 30561 on 16649 0500 Mangalore Central – Nagercoil Jn to Pattambi and AJJ WAP1 22041 dragging dead GOC WDP4D 40476 on 56323 0730 Coimbatore Jn – Mangalore Central passenger; and thanks to the pair of WDG4s that we passed shortly before arrival into Kuttipuram, VTA WDM3D 11131 came to a stand in the middle road with 19578 2100 (PP) Jamnagar – Tirunelveli Jn. Under previous circumstances, when Indrail Passes allowed anything, it wouldn’t have been a problem leaping onto the train, and into any class for that matter. Now with the farce of buying tickets, no ticket I could buy at Kuttipuram would technically allow me to travel on a train that wasn’t booked to stop there. Of course, I wasn’t going to let technicalities like that prevent me from doing what I would always do, given this situation, but I did get into unreserved and not sleeper class, like I would have done had I had an Indrail Pass. And 11131 was duly caned in to Shoranur Jn.
With nothing else on the horizon an afternoon bashing the Nilambur Road line ensued, with ED WDG3A 13513 starting the afternoon off on 56362 0520 Kottayam – Nilambur Road, which it had re-engined at Shoranur Jn. Rather than going to Angadipuram and doing the cross-ballast leap, I got off at Cherukara Halt to get a couple of atmospheric photos of either train in the dense forest; that had made the stations part of its world along the route. It’s a shame it hadn’t claimed ERS WDM3A 16565 as part of it’s habitat though, as I had to suffer it again back into Shoranur Jn on 56616 1125 Nilambur Road – Shoranur Jn, where I decided it was time for some food and headed off to the hotel to kill two birds with one stone, in fact three! Chill in an AC restaurant, as despite the cooler climate, all the rain had made it a very sticky day, eventually. The veg noodles I waited 30 minutes for were at least worth waiting for, and on the way out I collected my big bag, which I’d left behind the reception desk when I’d decided that checking out early was the sensible thing.
On the way back to the station I spotted a commotion in amongst a load of parked auto’s, and found a crow that seemingly took offence to his own reflection in the auto wing-mirrors and it was kicking off with itself in every mirror it looked in and giving the mirrors a right hammering with its beak, and more randomly its feet every now and again! While watching this episode of Dumb Crow Weekly, ERS WDG3A 14638 was backing onto the stock for 56617 1500 Shoranur Jn – Nilambur Road, behind the wall, which became the more pressing even be aware of and despite the large queues, that were almost out of the ticket office, I managed to get a ticket and find a seat at the front of the train with a few minutes to spare.
I had every intention of doing the Angadipuram leap for ED WDG3A 13513 coming the other way on 56363 1445 Nilambur Road – Kottayam but 14638 was such a cracking example of what all WDG3A’s should sound like, so I went through to Nilambur Road with it and bellowed out of the door most of the way. 14638 was the loudest, crispest and cleanest sounding WDG3A I’d had in a long time and it was a pleasure experiencing it; even when the heavens opened again! With the line being swamped by trees all the way, the railhead conditions in places are shocking and a bit of rain brings the reality of “leaves on the line” crashing down on the Nilambur Road branch and despite the loco pilot’s best efforts, even with the machine he had control of, we almost slipped to a stand at one point and I’m not sure if wheel-slip protection had anything to do with it but it was a very entertaining run beyond Angadipuram; with the loco pilot certainly earning his wage of an afternoon as he tried his best to keep the 15-coach rake rolling.
At Nilambur Road everyone was huddled under the few shelters on the platform as 14638 eased its train in. ED WDM3D 14144 was sat in the middle road with the stock for 16350 2050 Nilambur Road – Kochuveli and during the run-round I watched a local store owner deal with a local nutter, who he old me had turned up of a morning and been a nuisance ever since. Despite begging for money, and getting food and drink off locals, even during my stay I watched him feed crisps to birds and pour a hot tea on his foot rather than drink it; all while wondering around in the pouring rain.
The run back to Shoranur Jn was equally as entertaining and it seemed like the rain was playing havoc with trains on the main line as well, as 56601 1800 Shoranur Jn – Kozhikode passenger hadn’t departed when we got back to Shoranur Jn and despite being well down the pan itself, it made the late running 16306 1435 Kannur – Ernakulam Jn Intercity with ERS WDG3A 14694; which wasn’t quite the same as the previous evening, hammering along in the rain instead, with all the windows and doors shut. Still, despite the rain, it had been an enjoyable afternoon and the evening was topped off by ERS WDM3A’s 16293/14048 turning up with 16337 0405 (P) Okha – Ernakulam, ahead of 22634 2340 (PP) Hazrat Nizamuddin – Trivandrum Central, otherwise I might have had some explaining to do to a TTE on one or the other! I was booked on 16337 to Ernakulam and 22634 forward from there to Quillon. Thankfully everything worked out and ED WDM3D 11200 turned up at Ernakulam Jn with 22634 and the second bed of the night was welcome, despite it being a short, 3-hour journey to Quillon, where the 4am arrival wasn’t as unwelcome as it might sound.
Gen for Sunday 1st December 2019
14144 (3D) ED 16349 2050 (P) Kochuveli – Nilambur Road (from Shoranur), 16350 2100 Nilambur Road – Kochuveli (to Shoranur)
16565 ERS 56612 0645 Nilambur Road – Shoranur Jn, 56613 0915 Shoranur Jn – Nilambur Road, 56616 1125 Nilambur Road – Shoranur Road, 56619 1710 Shoranur Jn – Nilambur Road, 56620 1915 Nilambur Road – Shoranur Jn
14902 ED 56611 0555 Palakkad Jn – Nilambur Road, 56614 0910 Nilambur Road – Shoranur Jn
13513 ED 56362 0520 Kottayam – Nilambur Road (from Shoranur), 56363 1445 Nilambur Road – Kottayam (to Shoranur)
14638 ERS 56617 1500 Shoranur Jn – Nilambur Road, 56610 1705 Nilambur Road – Palakkad Jn
11184 ED 16527 2000 (P) Yesvantpur Jn – Kannur
22713 AJJ 56600 0500 Kozhikode – Shoranur Jn
16881 ERS 16305 0645 Ernakulam Jn – Kannur
22627 ED 56664 0720 Kozhikode – Thrissur
22359 ED 56650 0600 Kannur – Coimbatore Jn
30727 LGD 16345 1140 (P) Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Trivandrum Central
30561 RPM 16649 0500 Mangalore Central – Nagercoil Jn
22041 AJJ (40476 GOC dit) 56323 0730 Coimbatore Jn – Mangalore Central
11131 VTA 19578 2100 (PP) Jamnagar – Tirunelveli Jn
22219 ED 12076 0555 Trivandrum Central – Kozhikode
40347 KYN 22113 1655 (P) Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Kochuveli
30690 RPM 16302 0505 Trivandrum Central – Shoranur Jn
22959 AJJ 56601 1800 Shoranur Jn – Kozhikode
14694 ERS 16306 1435 Kannur – Ernakulam Jn
16293/14076 ERS 16337 0405 (P) Okha – Ernakulam Jn
11200 ED 22634 2340 (PP) Hazrat Nizamuddin – Trivandrum Central
Moves for Sunday 1st December 2019
|11184||Shoranur Jn||Kuttipuram||2000 (30/11) Yesvantpur Jn – Kannur||16527|
|22713||Kuttipuram||Shoranur Jn||0500 Kozhikode – Shoranur Jn||56600|
|14902||Shoranur Jn||Angadippuram||0555 Palakkad Jn – Nilambur Road||56611|
|16565||Angadippuram||Shoranur Jn||0645 Nilambur Road – Shoranur Jn||56612|
|16881||Shoranur Jn||Kuttipuram||0645 Ernakulam Jn – Kannur||16305|
|30561||Kuttipuram||Pattambi||0500 Mangalore Central – Nagercoil Jn||16649|
|22041||Pattambi||Kuttipuram||0730 Coimbatore Jn – Mangalore Central||56323|
|11131||Kuttipuram||Shoranur Jn||2100 (29/11) Jamnagar – Tirunelveli Jn||19578|
|13513||Shoranur Jn||Cherukara Halt||0520 Kottayam – Nilambur Road||56362|
|16565||Cherukara Halt||Shoranur Jn||1125 Nilambur Road – Shoranur Jn||56616|
|14638||Shoranur Jn||Nilambur Road||1500 Shoranur Jn – Nilambur Road||56617|
|14638||Nilambur Road||Shoranur Jn||1705 Nilambur Road – Palakkad Jn||56610|
|22959||Shoranur Jn||Karakad||1800 Shoranur Jn – Kozhikode||56601|
|14694||Karakad||Shoranur Jn||1435 Kannur – Ernakulam Jn||16306|
|16293||Shoranur Jn||Ernakulam Jn||0405 (30/11) Okha – Ernakulam Jn||16337|
Photos for Sunday 1st December 2019
Monday 2nd December 2019 (Day 1 of 2 on the Sengottai – Quillon line)
On arrival at Quillon Jn the first objective was to dump my big bag in the cloak room, which I found at the extreme south end of platform 1, after asking the station master on the way. There is a big sign on the platform advertising the cloak room but as nobody ventures that far down the platform, it doesn’t seem well used and there were only a couple of bags in it when I dumped mine. Breakfast had to consist of samosas and chai was on tap during the 2-hour fester I had in the morning tranquil period.
ERS WDG3A 14640 was stabled in the sidings over the way from the station with a long-welded rail train, which it later headed north with, ERS WDG3A 13330 was stabled on the run-round road adjacent to the stock for 56332 0615 Quillon Jn – Punalur, which had GOC WDG3A 13194 bolted to it; which gave a cracking run up to Kottarakara where I quickly had to scoot over the ballast to make GOC WDM3A 16499 with the waiting 56715 0630 Punalur – Kanniyakumari; which is a through loco to destination.
Back at Quillon I was almost ready to scratch my eyes out and my nose was giving out a constant stream of snot. It seems that the pollen count in Quillon is a lot higher than that in Shoranur and I had to nip back to the cloak room to get my nasal spray as the antihistamines alone weren’t doing the trick; clearly! Still, the bash went on and by the time I’d rinsed my eyes out, washed my face loads and almost stopped sniveling, ERS WDG3A 13330 had dropped onto the opposite end of the stock I’d arrived on, in the bay platform 1A to work 56334 0855 Quillon Jn – Punalur. It had to wait for GOC WDG3A 13539 to come off the single line with 16101 1700 (P) Chennai Egmore – Quillon Jn Express before heading off into the hills itself.
At Kilikollur 56334 had to wait for the returning GOC WDG3A 13194 with 56331 0755 Punalur – Quillon Jn before then crossing the weekly 06016 1815 (P) Velankanni – Quillon Jn at Kundara with ERS WDG3A 13207 at its helm; which then crossed 56700 2315 (P) Madurai Jn – Punalur at Kilikollur with GOC WDG3A 13286 at its helm; and that was me Punalur bound, where ERS WDG3A 13330 was already run-round and ready to return to Quillon Jn with 56333 1110 Punalur – Quillon Jn. GOC WDG3A 13564 and ERS WDG3A 14835 were stabled in the bay and my assumption that they were banking locos was soon confirmed.
I did 13330 back down to Auvaneeswaram, to pass the time more than anything else and GOC WDG3A 13539 soon arrived to take me through the ghat section towards Sengottai. GOC WDG3A 13564 was added as the banker/breaker at Punalur and it was slow speed ahead through the ghats, a section of line I’d not done since 2004 when it was Metre Gauge. There’d been no bankers then mind, although the trains weren’t 15 coaches either. One of the best runs I’d ever had on the metre gauge was with GOC YDM4 6200 on this very section on a train from Tirunelveli Jn to Quillon Jn, where it almost slipped to a stand on dry rails and the loco pilot assistant had to get out and hang off the front of the loco sanding the rails by hand, to allow the loco pilot to keep the train moving; at walking pace! A video of which is somewhere on the internet filmed by Andrew Jones, I’m sure a search for YDM4 6200 slipping will find it, it is well worth 5 minutes of your time if you do search for it!
Meanwhile, back in the present, there wasn’t a great deal of noise from either loco as 56738 1015 Quillon Jn – Sengottai eased through the hills, which do offer some spectacular scenery along the way. I was being careful in the hanging out of the door stakes, with my eyes only just about returning to not needing to be scratched out status! Tenmalai was my destination on 56738, where it crossed the opposing working of 56737 1140 Sengottai – Quillon Jn with GOC WDM3A 16632 leading and ERS WDG3A 13284 bringing up the rear. They then crossed 16102 1155 Quillon Jn – Chennai Egmore at Edamann with GOC WDG3A 13194 leading and ERS WDG3A 14835 brining up the rear. Both passenger trains had been almost empty in their front coaches, but the express had been quite full, but with some seats at least. I rested my eyes through to Sengottai and was grateful that they’d not started to play up during the ghat section run.
At Sengottai, a whole new Shakti-heaven opened up with GOC WDG3A 13563 stood off the stock it had arrived with on 56733 1115 Madurai Jn – Sengottai and GOC WDG3A 13536 already attached to the opposite end to work out with 56736 1550 Sengottai – Madurai Jn. The banker, ERS WDG3A 14835, off my arriving 16102 was immediately detached on arrival and stabled over the back of the station with GOC WDG3A 13564, the banker off 56738 1015 Quillon Jn – Sengottai. GOC WDG3A 13539 that had worked in with 56738 can only have gone forward with 56728 1440 Sengottai – Tirunelveli Jn.
So, GOC WDG3A 13536 it was on 56736 to Tenkasi Jn, where I had to get a spirt on when he loco pilot of 56803 1350 Tirunelveli Jn – Sengottai blew up to depart the moment my feet touched the platform; which wasn’t quite what I needed, but I made the train and was grateful of the sit down after running across the tracks and down the platform; it was to make GOC WDG3A’s 13436/13457 though, so worth the effort. And I would be getting a shower later! On arrival into Sengottai, it was at this point I realised my hotel was walkable from Tenkasi Jn station and nowhere near Sengottai! Doh! Although I wouldn’t have flagged the Shakti’s, so the auto I used to get back to Tenkasi was also worth the effort and I had plenty of time to check in, have a wash and get myself another auto back to Sengottai in time for the 1750 departure.
The Hotel Kings Palace is about a 5-minute walk from Tenkasi Jn, off the end of the platforms and not out through the main entrance, it has a big but overpriced restaurant attached and the rooms are so, so; nothing to write home about. Still, it was comfortable, had decent AC and a good fan. Hot water was only available in a morning and the only toiletry provided was a bar of soap. There was no WiFi but all in all the £15 price tag matched what I got, and they moved me from the front of the building to the rear when I asked, to get away from the noisy main road.
Meanwhile, back in Sengottai and drinking chai, GOC WDG3A 13563 was being prepared to work 56802 1750 Sengottai – Tirunelveli Jn, while GOC WDG3A’s 13457/13436 were sat in platform 1 with the stock for 12662 1810 Sengottai – Chennai Egmore Pothgai Express. I did 13563 to Tenkasi to wait for the pair behind, which I then did forward to Sankarankovil. At which point I came across the first GOC WDP3A of my trip in 15515 with 56735 1700 Madurai Jn – Sengottai and was soon coming across the second of the trip at Tenkasi where GOC WDP3A 15503 was sat with 56728 1825 Tirunelveli Jn – Sengottai. I had originally planned on doing 56728 through to Sengottai, when I thought my hotel was near Sengottai station but had dismissed the idea when I realised it wasn’t. It was a plan that now required reinstating and I had to get an auto back from Sengottai to Tenkasi for the second time that day. I do like WDP3A’s and both 15515 & 15503 sounded the part so the late evening bash was worth the effort and I celebrated a thoroughly enjoyable day in the Kings Palace restaurant with a chicken tikka and cheese naan; which weren’t a patch on cheese naans served at the Lotus in Junagadh!
It seemed like I’d brought the rain with me from Shoranur as by the time I’d finished my food it was bouncing down outside and I got drenched just getting from the restaurant back to the main bit of the hotel; where staff were hurriedly brushing water out from the foyer, through the front door, as rapidly as it was seeping in under the doors! I could hear the rain pounding down when I went to bed but thankfully my earplugs kept the noise out.
Gen for Monday 2nd December 2019
13194 GOC 56332 0615 Quillon Jn – Punalur, 56331 0755 Punalur – Quillon Jn, 16102 1155 Quillon Jn – Chennai Egmore (14835 ERS banker Punalur – Sengottai)
16499 GOC 56715 0630 Punalur – Kanniyakumari
13539 GOC 16101 1700 (P) Chennai Egmore – Quillon Jn, 56738 1015 Quillon Jn – Sengottai (13564 GOC banker Punalur – Sengottai), 56728 1440 Sengottai – Tirunelveli Jn
13207 ERS 06016 1815 (P) Velankanni – Ernakulam Jn
13330 ERS 56334 0855 Quillon Jn – Punalur, 56333 1110 Punalur – Quillon Jn
13286 GOC 56700 2315 (P) Madurai Jn – Punalur
16632 GOC 56737 1140 Sengottai – Quillon Jn (13284 ERS banker Sengottai – Punalur)
13563 GOC 56733 1115 Madurai Jn – Sengottai, 56802 1750 Sengottai – Tirunelveli Jn
13536 GOC 56736 1550 Sengottai – Madurai Jn
13436/13457 GOC 56803 1350 Tirunelveli Jn – Sengottai, 12662 1810 Sengottai – Chennai Egmore
15515 GOC 56735 1700 Madurai Jn – Sengottai
15503 GOC 56728 1825 Tirunelveli Jn – Sengottai
30622 KJM 16303 0500 Ernakulam Jn – Trivandrum Central
Moves for Monday 2nd December 2019
|11200||Ernakulam Jn||Quillon Jn||2340 (29/11) Hazrat Nizamuddin – Trivandrum Central||22634|
|13194||Quillon Jn||Kottarakara||0615 Quillon Jn – Punalur||56332|
|16499||Kottarakara||Quillon Jn||0630 Punalur – Kanniyakumari||56715|
|13330||Quillon Jn||Kundara||0855 Quillon Jn – Punalur||56334|
|13207||Kundara||Kilikollur||1815 (01/12) Velankanni – Quillon Jn||06016|
|13286||Kilikollur||Punalur||2315 (01/12) Madurai Jn – Punalur||56700|
|13330||Punalur||Auvaneeswaram||1110 Punalur – Quillon Jn||56333|
|13539||Auvaneeswaram||Tenmalai||1015 Quillon Jn – Sengottai||56738|
|16632||Tenmalai||Edamann||1140 Sengottai – Quillon Jn||56737|
|13194||Edamann||Sengottai||1155 Quillon Jn – Chennai Egmore||16102|
|13536||Sengottai||Tenkasi Jn||1550 Sengottai – Madurai Jn||56736|
|13436||Tenkasi Jn||Sengottai||1350 Tirunelveli Jn – Sengottai||56803|
|13563||Sengottai||Tenkasi Jn||1750 Sengottai – Tirunelveli Jn||56802|
|13457||Tenkasi Jn||Sankarankovil||1810 Sengottai – Chennai Egmore||12662|
|15515||Sankarankovil||Tenkasi Jn||1700 Madurai Jn – Sengottai||56735|
|15503||Tenkasi Jn||Sengottai||1825 Tirunelveli Jn – Sengottai||56728|
Photos for Monday 2nd December 2019
Tuesday 3rd December 2019 (Day 2 of 2 on the Sengottai – Quillon line)
I slept soundly enough, until my hacking cough started at around 3am, which lasted for a couple of hours. I’d still not been able to shake whatever I’d contracted after the very cold Veraval – Shoranur journey and it was starting to cost me sleep now! Sooner or later, I was going to be forced to do something about it if it persisted. Just as the rain looked like it was going to do for the day! Thankfully I was able to get to Tenkasi station before it got too heavy again.
A later than planned start saw GOC WDG3A 13566 take me down the line to Sankarankovil again, where I made the Pothgai Express so did GOC WDG3A’s 13436/13457 back to Tenkasi on 12661 2100 (P) Chennai Egmore – Sengottai, ahead of what turned out to be GOC WDG3A 14669 with 16181 2040 (P) Chennai Egmore – Sengottai. At Sengottai the GOC twins were turned straight round to work 56800 1015 Sengottai – Tirunelveli Jn; which I assumed was their booked link after having them on the return working the previous day?
Doing the GOC twins back to Tenkasi to kill time, revealed GOC WDG3A 13164 working 56731 0720 Madurai Jn – Sengottai, which was run-round to work back out with 5673r4 1150 Sengottai – Madurai Jn. At this point, I decided to head through the ghat section to Tenmalai again with GOC WDG3A 13114 arriving with 56797 0920 Tirunelveli Jn – Sengottai and working forward as 56737 1140 Sengottai – Quillon Jn, now with GOC WDG3A 13449 attached to the rear as banker/breaker. I sat at the back to make the quick leap at Tenmalai less painful, as the foot crossing is at the Sengottai end of the station, and was able to confirm that 13449 did do quite a lot of work on the rear of the train. The early afternoon rain gave a nice atmosphere to the trundle through the hills and the weather didn’t put off photographers at the 13-arch bridge near Arayankavu, where there were even more than there had been the previous day.
GOC WDG3A 13283 was already waiting for the off at Tenmalai and I discovered ERS WDG3A 13330 bringing up the rear when it was detached from 56738 1015 Quillon Jn – Sengottai on arrival at destination. The loco pilot of 13283 gave me a polite wave as I rushed by and he waited for me to board before blowing up to set off. At Tenkasi, once ERS WDG3A 13330 was detached, GOC WDG3A 13283 then went forward with 56728 1440 Sengottai – Tirunelveli Jn, which I was able to do to Tenkasi to head off GOC WDG3A 14797 coming the other way with 56733 1115 Madurai Jn – Sengottai.
I had just enough time to walk down to the platform end at Sengottai to photograph GOC WDM3A 16632 arriving with 16102 1155 Quillon Jn – Chennai Egmore, which had GOC WDG3A 13499 on the rear; which was detached on arrival into Sengottai to allow 16632 to work forward on its own. I went back to Tenkasi to head off the returning GOC twins 13436/13457 on 56803 1350 Tirunelveli Jn – Sengottai and despite knowing in my mind that I didn’t need to leg it from platform 1 to platform 4, where they were already sat, I got a shift on anyway; only to sit on the train and wait the arrival of GOC WDG3A 13563 with 56736 1550 Sengottai – Madurai Jn. Which on this occasion was a definite candidate for missing the twins, which set off from platform 4 moments after 56736 had come to a stand in platform 1.
And there endeth a rather pleasant couple of days in the Sengottai area. With there being no places to get decent food near to Sengottai station I made an executive decision to load up on samosas and book a Domino’s Pizza delivery for Madurai Jn during the loco change. Randomly the woman at the kiosk I got my samosas from believed that I owed her RS7 from an earlier transaction, which I remembered clearly as she didn’t have enough change to give so I had a chai to top the order up and gave her some more money, so she could give me less change! When I explained said dealings to her, she seemed content, although I’m not at all sure she even understood the math’s I’d explained to her; but I was right, and I owed her nothing, nothing at all…..
When entrusted with the big load of the Pothgai Express, the GOC Shakti twins performed quite well as they hammered along the Madurai line towards Virudnagar Jn. With coach A1 being the third from front, I wasn’t short of noise on tap and enjoyed the evening run towards Madurai while I could, then retired to my lower berth when the train started to get a bit busy down the line. At Madurai my pizza wasn’t delivered until after the GOC Shakti twins had been removed and AJJ WAP4 25023 had been bolted to the front to work forward to Chennai Egmore. They were cutting it a bit fine, but it all worked out in the end and I devoured my pizza as if it was my last ever meal; it was bloody good!
At Dindigul Jn, with no other choice during the 90-minute fester I had, to head back to whence I’d come from, and beyond to Quillon Jn, I sat drinking chai and watching trains arrive and depart, until ERS WDG3A 13222 arrived early with 16101 1700 Chennai Egmore – Quillon Jn. I’d done this move instead of a second night in a hotel as I’d have to be up very early for a 5am departure from Sengottai, and even earlier for an 0423 departure from Tenkasi; so it made sense, even if it was in 3AC and I’d ended up with a middle berth! The TTE was waiting for me at the door and having checked my ticket there and then I was allowed to get on with making my berth up, in a very quiet coach, which already had all the lights turned out. I had to wake an attendant in a cupboard at the end of the coach to get some bedding, but it didn’t take me long to get horizontal and I was soon relaxing with the rest of the coach.
Gen for Tuesday 3rd December 2019
13566 GOC 56732 0635 Sengottai – Madurai Jn
13436/13457 GOC 12661 2100 (P) Chennai Egmore – Sengottai (from Madurai), 56800 1015 Sengottai – Tirunelveli Jn, 56803 1350 Tirunelveli Jn – Sengottai, 12662 1810 Sengottai – Chennai Egmore (to Madurai)
13563 GOC 56801 0700 Tirunelveli Jn – Sengottai, 56736 1550 Sengottai – Madurai Jn
14669 GOC 16181 2040 (P) Chennai Egmore – Sengottai, 16182 1625 Sengottai – Chennai Egmore
13164 GOC 56731 0720 Madurai Jn – Sengottai, 56734 1150 Sengottai – Madurai Jn
13114 GOC 56797 0920 Tirunelveli Jn – Sengottai, 56737 1140 Sengottai – Quillon Jn (13449 GOC banker Sengottai – Punalur)
13283 GOC 56738 1015 Quillon Jn – Sengottai (13330 ERS banker Punalur – Sengottai), 56728 1440 Sengottai – Tirunelveli Jn
16632 GOC 16102 1155 Quillon Jn – Chennai Egmore (13499 GOC banker Punalur – Sengottai)
14797 GOC 56733 1115 Madurai Jn – Sengottai, 56802 1750 Sengottai – Tirunelveli Jn
25023 AJJ 12662 1810 Sengottai – Chennai Egmore (from Madurai)
30426 RPM 12634 1720 Kanniyakumari – Chennai Egmore
39004 RPM 12633 1715 Chennai Egmore – Kanniyakumari
37203 RPM 22206 2245 Madurai Jn – Chennai Central
13222 ERS 16101 1700 Chennai Egmore – Quillon Jn (from Trichy – 13330 banker Sengottai – Punalur)
30275 LGD 22668 1920 Coimbatore Jn – Nagercoil Jn
Moves for Tuesday 3rd December 2019
|13566||Tenkasi Jn||Sankarankovil||0635 Sengottai – Madurai Jn||56732|
|13436||Sankarankovil||Tenkasi Jn||2100 (02/12) Chennai Egmore – Sengottai||12661|
|14669||Tenkasi Jn||Sengottai||2040 (02/12) Chennai Egmore – Sengottai||16181|
|13457||Sengottai||Tenkasi Jn||1015 Sengottai – Tirunelveli Jn||12661|
|13164||Tenkasi Jn||Sengottai||0720 Madurai Jn – Sengottai||56731|
|13114||Sengottai||Tenmalai||1140 Sengottai – Quillon Jn||56737|
|13283||Tenmalai||Sengottai||1015 Quillon Jn – Sengottai||56738|
|13283||Sengottai||Tenkasi Jn||1440 Sengottai – Tirunelveli Jn||56728|
|14797||Tenkasi Jn||Sengottai||1115 Madurai Jn – Sengottai||56733|
|16632||Sengottai||Tenkasi Jn||1155 Quillon Jn – Chennai Egmore||16102|
|13436||Tenkasi Jn||Sengottai||1350 Tirunelveli Jn – Sengottai||56803|
|13457||Sengottai||Madurai Jn||1810 Sengottai – Chennai Egmore||12662|
|25023||Madurai Jn||Dindigul Jn|
Photos for Tuesday 3rd December 2019
Wednesday 4th December 2019 (The start of a long journey north to Mumbai)
The advantage of being at the rear of a train, as I was on 16101, was that I could quickly nip off at Punalur and find out that ERS WDG3A 13330 had been the banking loco from Sengottai. On the way down the fast section to Quillon Jn GOC WDG3A 13114 was first to pass with 56332 0615 Quillon Jn – Punalur and it later returned with 56331 0755 Punalur – Quillon Jn, before being sat attached to the stock to work 16102 1155 Quillon Jn – Chennai Egmore when I eventually left Quillon Jn. GOC WDG3A 13283 was sat in the bay platform when we arrived into Quilon with 56334 0855 Quillon Jn – Punalur and left not long after ERS WDG3A 13222 completed its journey; which was then dropped on to the stock that 13114 arrived with on 56331, to work 56738 1015 Quillon Jn – Sengottai. The two turns that pass through Quillon Jn with through Alcos of a morning produced GOC WDG3A 13499 on 56715 0630 Punalur – Kanniyakumari and GOC WDG3A 13539 on 56700 2315 (P) Madurai Jn – Punalur, via Nagercoil Jn.
Having collected my big bag from the cloak room on platform 1, I was ready to head north, unfortunately, after all the Alco action of a morning, my booked 12483 0915 Kochuveli – Amritsar turned up with SBI WDP4D 40179; which wasn’t exactly what I’d been hoping for, and a rethink on the days proceedings was in order. Which resulted in a premature evacuation at Ernakulam Jn for lunch, as opposed to heading to Shoranur for 16306 Kannur – Ernakulam Intercity back to Aluva for my booked overnight that night.
I dropped my big bag at the cloak room at the south end of platform 1 and went about finding somewhere to get a spot of lunch. Google offered several places up, and I chose the nearest, which was just outside the station premises in a decent restaurant under a hotel. The staff were very attentive, the food was fresh and hot and more importantly, tasty and cheap.
Back to the afternoon of what to do, I managed to hatch a plan to do a few electrics, locally, and I was soon realising why 15 years ago we’d decided to just veg on the station in the shade; because Ernakulam was too fucking hot, that’s why! And it was too fucking hot at this point too, it was way too close for my liking and wat I really should have done was get a hotel to relax in for the afternoon, instead of messing about doing electrics; but electrics it was and there wasn’t a single freight one on passenger service all evening. The most interesting one I saw was ED WAP4 22222, which worked 16307 1435 Alappuzha – Kannur.
There were plenty of orange Alco’s on ERS DLS, which is just to the north of the station on the right and ERS WDM3A 14126 was station pilot of an afternoon, joined of an evening by ERS WDG3A 14662 which brought the stock into platform 1 for my 16338 2025 Ernakulam Jn – Okha. After an afternoon of sweating it out, even when stood still, and having only been to Aluva, Ernakulam Town and Thrippunithura, I couldn’t help thinking what the same move would have revealed 15 years ago; when we couldn’t be arsed because of the heat!
Despite the stock for 16338 being in platform 1 60 minutes before departure, Domino’s left it until 60 seconds before departure to deliver my pizza, which became the closest call yet! I enjoyed it though, as ERS WDM3A’s 16293/16405 eased out of the station with 16338 2025 Ernakulam Jn – Okha. Unfortunately, on the northbound runs along the Konkan on the 1633x trains the AC coaches are at the rear, and I was 21 coaches from the noise; until the following afternoon anyway!
I didn’t stay up long and was sock on when we arrived into Shoranur at just after 2200. It was a pity that Bert & Ada the compo invaders didn’t understand nighttime etiquette when the bumbled into my compo with their bags, fucked around ramming everything under the seats and insisted that the light and fan stay on, while one of them continued a rather loud conversation on their phone. Not content with waking me, they then continued to faff and talk, while one of them sat in the lower side berth opposite, which made the conversation rather loud! It was a typical inconsiderate Indian moment, which are still all too common. While I can generally brush such instances aside, when I’m tired and need my sleep, I start to become less tolerant. I think turning the fan off and pulling the curtains off did the trick, although I woke in the night again and the fan was on and the curtains tied back, which obviously got rectified. I hope they enjoyed me coughing and spluttering during the night anyway, despite me having made a trip to a medicine shop at Ernakulam to get some 75 Rupee cough medicine, which I hoped would cure my ailment! Newsflash, I didn’t work on night one……
Gen for Wednesday 4th December 2019
13114 GOC 56332 0615 Quillon Jn – Punalur, 56331 0755 Punalur – Quillon Jn, 16102 1155 Quillon Jn – Chennai Egmore
13499 GOC 56715 0630 Punalur – Kanniyakumari
13283 GOC 56334 0855 Quillon Jn – Punalur
13539 GOC 56700 2315 (P) Madurai Jn – Punalur
13222 ERS 56738 1015 Quillon Jn – Sengottai
22774 ED 17229 0700 Trivandrum Central – Hyderabad DN
30409 RPM 16841 0315 Guruvayur – Trivandrum Central
22718 BZA 16381 1535 (PP) Mumbai CST – Kanniyakumari
37114 RPM 12623 1945 (P) Chennai Central – Trivandrum Central
40179 SBI 12483 0915 Kochuveli – Amritsar Jn
30436 RPM 16346 0930 Trivandrum Central – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus
30333 RPM 56375 1305 Guruvayur – Ernakulam Jn
22222 ED 16307 1435 Alappuzha – Kannur
40540 ED 12677 0615 Bangalore City – Ernakulam Jn
30727 LGD 16301 1430 Shoranur Jn – Trivandrum Central
37018 RPM 22640 1605 Alappuzha – Chennai Central
22016 AJJ (14076 ERS dit) 56364 1735 Ernakulam Jn – Shoranur Jn
30390 RPM 56391 1830 Ernakulam Jn – Quillon Jn
22766 ED 56390 1720 Kottayam – Ernakulam Jn
22889 ED 56383 1800 Ernakulam Jn – Kayankulam
11365/11254 KYN 12223 2050 (P) Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Ernakulam Jn
14126 ERS Ernakulam Jn station pilot loco
14662 ERS Ernakulam Jn station pilot loco – ecs for 16338
16293/16405 ERS 16338 2025 Ernakulam Jn – Okha
Moves for Wednesday 4th December 2019
|13222||Dindigul Jn||Quillon Jn||1700 (03/12) Chennai Egmore – Quillon Jn||16101|
|40179||Quillon Jn||Ernakulam Jn||0915 Kochuveli – Amritsar Jn||12483|
|30436||Ernakulam Jn||Aluva||0930 Trivandrum Central – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus||16346|
|30333||Aluva||Ernakulam Jn||1305 Guruvayur – Ernakulam Jn||56375|
|22222||Ernakulam Jn||Ernakulam Town||1435 Alappuzha – Kannur||16307|
|30727||Ernakulam Town||Ernakulam Jn||1430 Shoranur Jn – Trivandrum Central||16301|
|30390||Ernakulam Jn||Thrippunithura||1830 Ernakulam Jn – Quillon Jn||56391|
|22766||Thrippunithura||Ernakulam Jn||1720 Kottayam – Ernakulam Jn||56390|
|14662||Ernakulam Jn Platform 1 N||Ernakulam Jn Platform 1 S||ECS for 16338 2025 Ernakulam Jn – Okha|
|16293||Ernakulam Jn||Panvel||2025 Ernakulam Jn – Okha||16338|
Photos for Wednesday 4th December 2019
Thursday 5th December 2019 (Still heading north to Mumbai on 16338 Ernakulam – Okha)
Needless to say, the faffing olds in the compo woke me well before I wanted to get woken up and I was glad to see the back of them when they got off. By which time I was too awake, and annoyed, to get back to sleep so an omelet from a pantry car wallah sufficed for breakfast, followed by copious amounts of chai to wash it down.
The only trains I spotted before Madgaon were PA WDM3D 11370 at Ankola with 12133 2202 (P) Mumbai CST – Mangalore Junction and ERS WDM3A’s 16860/14048 with 16311 1530 (PP) Sri Ganganagar Jn – Kochuveli. At Madgaon Jn I explained to the guys in my compo that I’d be back at Ratnagiri and not to be concerned that I’d missed the train, as my bag was still locked under the seat. I then walked to the front of the train when Flossy had already boarded and had pop, chai and omelet waiting for me when I joined him. 5 hours of non-stop thrash in the empty SLR of the 23-coach train that was 16338 2025 Ernakulam – Okha then ensued; and what a good way it was to spend the early afternoon.
Along the way it was a bit bleak, with the only Alco we passed being KYN WDM3D 11356 with 11085 0533 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Madgaon Jn Double Decker. Rest were all yinging dross with GOC WDP4D 40444 on 12432 1055 (P) Hazrat Nizamuddin – Trivandrum Central Rajdhani, KYN WDP4D 40346 on 22115 0110 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Karmali, which had already run-round in readiness to work back with 22116 1400 Karmali – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, GOC WDP4D 40467 on 12051 0525 Dadar – Madgaon Jn Shatabdi, which would be my conveyance from Panvel to Dara later on, and GOC WDP4D 40463 with 50105 0625 Diva Jn – Sawantwadi Road passenger; which was a bit of a surprise! And would have been even more of a surprise had Flossy got off where he’d planned to and waited 2 hours for a GM on a stopper back to Madgaon, when he could have gone through to Ratnagiri, wait an hour and have a GM back to Madgaon on an express and get back earlier. It was a good job I talked him into the latter…..
16338 was almost back to right time by Ratnagiri and I luckily spotted my waiting vendor with my food order as we pulled in, which of course was arranged to be delivered to my berth in 2AC at the rear of the train. Thankfully he understood my gestures as we rolled down the platform and was standing waiting for me when I got to the back of the train; having left Flossy to his own devices at the opposite end of the station. Jeera Aloo was a lot better than last time I’d ordered it for delivery at Ratnagiri, to the same train, and after sinking two portions, I chilled in my berth for the evening, catching up on a bit of typing in the meantime.
It was a start-stop journey to Panvel, mostly in darkness, yet 16338 still arrived 20’ early, despite the festering around en-route from Ratnagiri. I had about an hour to wait for GOC WDP4D 40467 to arrive with 12051 1440 Madgaon Jn – Dadar Shatabdi; which was no surprise at it’s both booked a GM and we saw it heading south while in board 16338 earlier in the day. Quite a lot got off at Panvel and Thane, which allowed me to sit at the front of the train to avoid the lengthy walk down Dadar’s bay platforms to get out of the station; and thankfully, 12051 arrived Dadar within a few minutes of right time and I was in my hotel room less than 10 minutes later!
The City Guest House is a 2-minute walk from Dadar station and is somewhere I’ve used before. I was given the same room I’d had on my previous visit as well; room 103, which is only just around the corner from the reception. The night receptionist was expecting me arriving late, after I’d confirmed my arrival time through the Booking.com app and I was checked in as quickly as possible, with the receptionist filling out most of the details on the required forms while I was in my room. The room wasn’t big and there was barely enough room for the double bed, but it sufficed and with good AC, a decent fan and strong WiFi what more could one want, other than hot water. I found out when I complained about having to have cold showers that I should have asked at reception for the hot water to be turned on when I required it, which I wasn’t advised about on check-in. Other than the fact I had to get money from a cash machine to pay, as the hotel were having connection problems with their card payment machine, the stay was satisfactory, apart from the occasional bit of noise from the reception area.
I couldn’t wait to get out of my hanging clothes when I arrived and given a chance they’d have probably walked off on their own! With no hot water though, there was no way I was going to attempt to wash them and I just hung them out to air overnight, while I got to grips with being horizontal in a decent bed, which didn’t move. It didn’t stop my cough though….
Gen for Thursday 5th December 2019
11370 PA 12133 2002 (P) Mumbai CST – Mangalore Jn
14048/16860 ERS 16311 1530 (PP) Sri Ganganagar – Kochuveli
40444 GOC 12432 1055 (P) Hazrat Nizamuddin – Trivandrum Central
40346 KYN 22115 0110 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Karmali, 22116 1400 Karmali – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus
40467 GOC 12051 0525 Dadar – Madgaon Jn, 12052 1440 Madgaon Jn – Dadar
11356 KYN 11085 0533 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Madgaon Jn
40463 GOC 50105 0625 Diva Jn – Sawantwadi Road
40134 GOC 22629 2040 Dadar – Tirunelveli Jn
40357 KJM 11013 2235 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Coimbatore Jn
Moves for Thursday 5th December 2019
|40467||Panvel||Dadar||1440 Madgaon Jn – Dadar||12052|
Photos for Thursday 5th December 2019
Friday 6th December 2019 (Day 1 of 2 in Mumbai)
I wasn’t planning on getting up early after the late arrival the previous night, and with my cough keeping me up in the 2am to 4am period, I ended up calling it a night on sleep around 0730 and had my first cold shower of the stay; which was still welcome! Getting rid of the facial growth I’d accumulated over the previous week was another satisfying experience and I was all clean and ready to go by just after 8am. The plan for the morning being to head into Mumbai CST and see what WDS6’s were on empty stock workings.
What I didn’t realise until a couple of days later, was that the abundance of people around d Mumbai on this day were all there in connection with commemorating the death of Dr Ambika Nagar, who died on 6th December, which explained all the additional people arriving with little badges pinned to their clothing; which I assumed had Dr Ambika Nagar on them? This abundance of people did result in a change of plan later in the day due to the sheer volume of people boarding trains heading out of Mumbai.
Due to the fact there’s a distance restriction on express train tickets in Mumbai I was unable to buy an express ticket to get into Mumbai CST, so just bought a local ticket with every intention of travelling in on an express train anyway. I was planning on doing one of the inbound Pune – Mumbai trains but when UBL WDG4’s 12035/12062 turned up with 01319 1825 (P) Gulbarga Jn – Mumbai CST special, with a big banner stretched across the front of the leading loco, I chose those instead of the electric on one of the inbound Pune trains and as a result of the fast run into Mumbai CST I was able to do PA WDM3A 16522 straight back out on 11029 0840 Mumbai CST – Kolhapur, to then do one of the trains I’d planned to do back into Mumbai CST. This being 11010 0605 Pune Jn – Mumbai CST with KYN WCAM2 21879; and there commenced my morning of rushing around Mumbai CST like an idiot!
I’d spotted a few WDS6 at Byculla in the carriage sidings and there were plenty more knocking around Mumbai CST, along with recently restricted CLA WDM3S 016042. The full list of WDS6’s shunting Mumbai CST on this particular day is as follows, and in no particular order: All CLA examples, 36514, 36153, 36138, 36505, 36310, 36106, 36298, 36304, 36290, 36291, 36306, 36351 & WDM3S 016042. 13 locos in total, and they were just the ones I saw. After I’d finished marching up and down the station, over footbridges and across the tracks at the top end of the station, I’d managed to ned in 9 different shunt engines for my troubles, which made the fact that I was a sweaty mess again more acceptable; and let’s face it, I had to work off all the Domino’s pizzas somehow!
As a bit of respite, I did KYN WCAM3 21957 out to Dadar on 16339 1210 Mumbai CST – Nagercoil Jn and just as we were leaving KYN WDG3A 14982 was backing the rake into platform 8 to form 17031 1245 Mumbai CST – Hyderabad DN. KYN WCAM2 21880 had me straight back into Mumbai CST on 51196 1715 (P) Balharshah Jn – Mumbai CST and I even had time for Vada Pav before hanging out of the front door on 17031 back to Dadar; with a very good KYN WDG3A 14982.
As 11042 Chennai Central – Mumbai CST was late I did KYN WDM3D 11455 straight back into Mumbai CST on the late running opposing working of the train I’d just arrived Dadar on; 17032 2040 (P) Hyderabad DN – Mumbai CST. Although 11042 did make it’s opposing working, 11041 1400 Mumbai CST – Chennai Central, just, I was glad I’d made 17032 when PA WDP4D 40591 arrived with 11042! Thankfully KYN WDM3D 11243, which had been stabled in platform 9 earlier, was the nag for 11041 and at this point I was planning on being Lonavala bound, to do 11030 Kolhapur – Mumbai CST back down the ghats to Dadar. This is where I drew the line at enduring the wedge factor when the world descended on the train at Dadar and the comfort factor went out the window; and I went out of the offside door at the same time and clambered up onto platform 6 right in front of the watching RPF. Who thankfully understood my predicament, as there was no getting off onto the platform side and allowed me to walk away without even a talking to.
I soon found something to keep me occupied when the stock for 12071 1400 Dadar – Jalna Shatabdi was deposited into platform 7. CLA WDS6 36307 then dropped onto the Shatabdi set in platform 8 which KYN WDG3A 13303 had brought in on 12072 0445 Jalna – Dadar and shunting the set into the carriage sidings; thus releasing 13303 at the same time, to sit outside the station and drop onto the other end of the rake that KYN WCM3D 11373 arrived with on 50104 0530 Ratnagiri – Dadar passenger, and 13303 would work back out as 50103 1540 Dadar – Ratnagiri passenger. Meanwhile, KYN WDP4D 40312 had come light from Mumbai CST, having been stabled with 11243 earlier, to work 12071 1400 Dadar – Jalna Shatabdi; which was nice of it!
So, a new plan for the afternoon was needed, and I decided on heading to Mumbai Central to see what was on offer there of an afternoon. Of course, the distance restriction on express trains in the area should prevent me from doing an express train from Dadar (Western) into Mumbai Central; but it didn’t. Armed with my local ticket to Churchgate, because it’s the same price at Mumbai Central, I boarded 22954 0700 Ahmedabad Jn – Mumbai Central, with BRC WAP5 30075, and relaxed on the nice empty train for the short journey into Mumbai Central. However, this wasn’t before I came across BAMY WDS6 36347 in one of the Dadar (Western) bay platforms, waiting to take the ecs out off 12960 1830 (P) Bhuj – Dadar. The patrolling RPF told me not to take photos, after I’d taken what I wanted, so it was a good job he probably didn’t see me riding down the platform on the empty stock when it departed, or getting onto an express train bound for Mumbai Central with my local ticket.
On arrival at Mumbai Central I thought it was going to be a wasted journey when there were no WDS6s in sight but BAMY WDS6 36186 soon turned up to save the afternoon when it was used to shunt the stock out of platform 2 off 12240 1910 (P) Jaipur Jn – Mumbai Central. By the time I got to the top end of the platform off it, BAMY WDS6 36348 had also turned up from out of the blue and had attached to the set I’d just arrived on. When I noticed a couple of guys in the front SLR, who were clearly hitching ride to somewhere, I wondered where the set was going as 36346 had been in the carriage sidings just outside Dadar (Western) with a rake of stock, and there was plenty of room there. The green signals and the route set for the main line gave a clue that the rake wasn’t going into the carriage sidings at Mumbai Central, so I took a punt when it set off and joined the two guys in the SLR; conveniently at the point of no return, as far as getting back off was concerned!
Of course, they were bemused by this foreigner that had just invaded their space but equally, they were intrigued and the fact that I was a railwayman as well, broke the ice a little; if not the language barrier. I could at least confirm that the rake was going to Dadar, if not anything else and I enjoyed the 6-cylinder growl as 36348 got to grips with the train and plugged along the main line before going straight into the carriage sidings just short of Dadar (Western) station, where the crew in 36346 looked to be waiting for the road out with the ecs for 59023 1810 Mumbai Central – Valsad passenger; which was due out of Central at 1810 and formed mainly of those rancid double-deck non-AC coaches.
When they spotted me clambering into the rake in the adjacent road, the two railwaymen I’d ridden out to Dadar with looked even more confused, thankfully 36346 was on the move with its rake quite quickly, and there was only one place it could be going; and lets face it, it didn’t really matter where any of the empty rakes went as there’d be an auto somewhere nearby, if not a local station, to enable me to get back to where I needed to be. On this occasion though, I was delivered back to Mumbai Central, where BRC WAP4 22383 was dropped onto the opposite end of the stock and it soon filled up for departure. I did 59023 back out to Dadar and had to be careful when getting off, for the hoards of people on the platform wanting to get on before the train stopped!
Back on the Central Railway, an opportunity arose to do a couple of WCAM2/3’s of an evening, so I took it and did KYN WCAM2 21863 into Mumbai CST on 11008 1515 Pune Jn – Mumbai CST for KYN WCAM3 21940 back out to Dadar on 12111 1955 Mumbai CST – Amravati; the return working of a train that had been terminated short at Dadar going in, of a morning. Speculation would mean assuming that JHS WDM3A’s 16226/16361 were at Bandra Terminus likely to work 04182 2115 Bandra Terminus – Jhansi, which IRI showed as Alco throughout. So, instead of doing ABR WDG4 70189 into Mumbai CST on 11302 2030 (P) Bangalore City – Mumbai CST Udyan Express, I speculated and hot-footed it over to Dadar’s Western Railway side and did an EMU to Bandra and walked the 10-minutes or so to Bandra Terminus. Where, sure enough, the JHS twins were sat with 04182! I reveled in the late night run out to Borivali, where there were plenty of EMUs back to Dadar.
While waiting for my food to be delivered to my table at the very good restaurant over the road from the City Guest House, I noticed on Where’s My Train that 11029 Kolhapur – Mumbai CST had been terminated short at Pune Jn, so my move out to Lonavala was doomed right from the start and the wedged 11041 1400 Mumbai CST – Chennai Central had saved me from a lengthy fester at Lonavala for 22106 1835 Pune Jn – Mumbai CST back; which would only just be getting me back to Dadar at this point! So, the correct move had been played, thanks to Dr Ambika Nagar!
The hotel was full of people waiting for train’s home, after their visit to Dadar, and in true Indian style I had to ask those over the way from me to close their room door, twice, rather than play their TV very loudly to everyone in the hotel. Furthermore, I had to ask three hotel staff in the reception area to keep it down at around 2330 as well!
Gen for Friday 6th December 2019
12035/12062 UBL 01319 1825 (P) Gulbarga Jn – Mumbai CST
16522 PA 11029 0840 Mumbai CST – Kolhapur
21870 KYN 12112 1905 (P) Amravati – Mumbai CST (Pine Dadar)
30265 AJNI 12106 1440 (P) Gondia Jn – Mumbai CST
21879 KYN 11010 0605 Pune Jn – Mumbai CST
22682 BSL 82356 1105 Mumbai CST – Patna Jn
30301 AJNI 12124 0715 Pune Jn – Mumbai CST
30537 AJNI 12110 0602 Manmad Jn – Mumbai CST
21868 KYN 12126 0750 Pune Jn – Mumbai CST
21946 KYN 12140 2050 (P) Nagpur Jn – Mumbai CST
30371 HWH 12321 2155 (PP) Howrah – Mumbai CST
21957 KYN 16339 1210 Mumbai CST – Nagercoil Jn
21880 KYN 51196 1715 (P) Balharshah Jn – Mumbai CST
30579 KYN 22222 1715 (P) Hazrat Nizamuddin – Mumbai CST
14982 KYN 17031 1245 Mumbai CST – Hyderabad DN
11455 KYN 17032 2040 (P) Hyderabad DN – Mumbai CST
13303 KYN 12072 0445 Jalna – Dadar, 50103 1540 Dadar – Ratnagiri
36307 CLA ECS for 12071 1400 Dadar – Jalna
40312 KYN (light from CST) 12071 1400 Dadar – Jalna
40591 PA 11042 1220 (P) Chennai Central – Mumbai CST
11243 KYN 11041 1400 Mumbai CST – Chennai Central
11373 KYN 50104 0530 Ratnagiri – Dadar
21938 KYN 11009 1425 Mumbai CST – Pune Jn
30075 BRC 22954 0700 Ahmedabad Jn – Mumbai Central
30094/30058 BRC (T&T) 12951 1700 Mumbai Central – New Delhi Rajdhani
30470 BRC 12953 1740 Mumbai Central – Hazrat Nizamuddin
30061 BRC 12921 1755 Mumbai Central – Surat
22383 BRC 59023 1810 Mumbai Central – Valsad
21863 KYN 11108 1515 Pune Jn – Mumbai CST
21940 KYN 21111 1955 Mumbai CST – Amravati
30663 GZB 12137 1935 Mumbai CST – Firozpur
70189 ABR 11302 2030 (P) Bangalore City – Mumbai CST
16361/16226 JHS 04182 2115 Bandra Terminus – Jhansi Jn
Moves for Friday 6th December 2019
|12035||Dadar||Mumbai CST||1825 (05/12) Gulbarga Jn – Mumbai CST||01319|
|16522||Mumbai CST||Dadar||0840 Mumbai CST – Kolhapur||11029|
|21879||Dadar||Mumbai CST||0605 Pune Jn – Mumbai CST||11010|
|36514||Mumbai CST Platform 14 South||Mumbai CST Platform 14 North||ECS ex 17412 2030 (0/12) Kolhapur – Mumbai CST|
|36153||Mumbai CST Platform 14 North||Mumbai CST Platform 14 South||ECS for 82536 1105 Mumbai CST – Patna Jn|
|36138||Mumbai CST Platform 16 South||Mumbai CST Platform 16 North||ECS ex 12137 2140 (04/12) Firozpur Cantt – Mumbai CST|
|36505||Mumbai CST Platform 15 South||Mumbai CST Platform 15 North||ECS ex 01319 1825 (05/12) Gulbarga Jn – Mumbai CST|
|36310||Mumbai CST Platform 18 South||Mumbai CST Platform 18 North||ECS ex 12106 1440 (05/12) Gondia Jn – Mumbai CST|
|016042||Mumbai CST Platform 16 North||Mumbai CST Platform 16 South||ECS for 16339 1210 Mumbai CST – Nagercoil Jn|
|36106||Mumbai CST Platform 13 South||Mumbai CST Platform 13 North||ECS ex 12124 0715 Pune Jn – Mumbai CST|
|36298||Mumbai CST Platform 17 South||Mumbai CST Platform 17 North||ECS ex 12110 0602 Manmad Jn – Mumbai CST|
|36304||Mumbai CST Platform 15 South||Mumbai CST Platform 15 North||ECS ex 12321 2155 (04/12) Howrah – Mumbai CST|
|21957||Mumbai CST||Dadar||1210 Mumbai CST – Nagercoil Jn||16339|
|21880||Dadar||Mumbai CST||1715 (05/12) Balharshah Jn – Mumbai CST||51196|
|14982||Mumbai CST||Dadar||1245 Mumbai CST – Hyderabad Deccan Nampaly||17031|
|11455||Dadar||Mumbai CST||2040 (05/12) Hyderabad DN – Mumbai CST||17032|
|11243||Mumbai CST||Dadar||1400 Mumbai CST – Chennai Central||11041|
|36307||Dadar Platform 8 South||Dadar Platform 8 North||ECS ex 12072 0445 Jalna – Dadar|
|36305||Dadar||Mumbai CST Carriage Sidings||ECS through Dadar slowed enough for me to board|
|21938||Mumbai CST||Dadar||1425 Mumbai CST – Pune Jn||11009|
|36347||Dadar (Western) Platform 6 Shunt||Dadar (Western) Platform 6 Shunt||ECS ex 12960 1830 (05/12) Bhuj – Dadar (Western)|
|30075||Dadar||Mumbai Central||0700 Ahmedabad Jn – Mumbai Central||22954|
|36186||Mumbai Central Platform 2 South||Mumbai Central Platform 2 North||ECS ex 12240 1910 (05/12) Jaipur Jn – Mumbai Central|
|36348||Mumbai Central||Dadar (Western) Carriage Sidings||ECS ex 22954 0700 Ahmedabad Jn – Mumbai Central|
|36346||Dadar (Western) Carriage Sidings||Mumbai Central||ECS for 59023 1810 Mumbai Central – Valsad|
|22383||Mumbai Central||Dadar||1810 Mumbai Central – Valsad||59023|
|21863||Dadar||Mumbai CST||1515 Pune Jn – Mumbai CST||11108|
|21940||Mumbai CST||Dadar||1955 Mumbai CST – Amravati||21111|
|16361||Bandra Terminus||Borivali||2115 Bandra Terminus – Jhansi Jn||04182|
Photos for Friday 6th December 2019
Saturday 7th December 2019 (Day 2 of 2 in Mumbai)
The hotel staff at the front desk weren’t keen on stretching out their 11am check-out time, by even an hour, so I checked, without paying, and left my big bah them while I went out for the morning. While they wanted me to pay the bill, I quite simply didn’t have enough cash to do so, so as their card machine still wasn’t working, they’d have to wait until I got back from my morning sojourn, as I wasn’t rushing around trying to find them money and returning with it before I headed out for the morning. They were quite content that I’d return with my big bag being in their custody though.
Having been there the previous night, I decided that Bandra Terminus was worth a visit of a morning, and I used 19015 0820 Mumbai Central – Porbandar to Borivali for 14707 0930 (P) Bikaner Jn – Bandra Terminus to get there; with BRC WAP7 30719 on the former and BRC WAP5 30065 on the latter; and was pressed into action as soon as I got there.
BAMY WDS6 36288 was just coming in from the carriage sidings with the stock for 19021 1255 Bandra Terminus – Lucknow Jn. I was able to get off one moving train, breeze over the footbridge and onto the moving empty stock without incident and then I wondered the length of the platform to find what looked to be a demic RTM WDM3S 18627, with all its hood doors open, on the loco shed along with VTA WDM3A 16833 shunting the breakdown train, and RTM WDM3S 18608 dropping onto the stock off 19708 0840 (P) Jaipur Jn – Bandra Terminus.
As I didn’t need to bother with 18608, I wandered down the track to photograph it departing, which was when I got spotted! The shunter on the front of 18608 insisted that I jump aboard, and the loco pilot brought the train down to walking pace so I could clamber into the open SLR at the front. No just wasn’t an option. When we’d trickled down the sidings and I was directed to get into the cab of 18608, it turned out that the assistant loco pilot had seen me photographing the previous evening at Mumbai Central and everyone was intrigued to know what I was doing. Of course the railway worker card answered most of their curiosity and once we’d trundled back down the adjacent sidings to get in line for the next shunt, the shunter took me to his cabin, introduced me to his boss then insisted I get into the cab of waiting WDS6 36540; where the loco pilot and assistant loco pilot were quite happy to have me while they carried out the next shunt move. This being the stock off the train I’d arrived on, 14707 0930 (P) Bikaner Jn – Bandra Terminus, which they took onto the road adjacent to when I’d gone previously and then trundled back to get in line again; behind 18608.
Meanwhile, both BAMY’s 36332 & 36283 had come out of the main carriage sidings during the second move and once I’d figured out where they’d gone in the station, it was a case of waiting to see which set moved first. 36332 shunted out the rake off 12972 1830 (P) Bhavnagar Terminus – Bandra Terminus and 36283 followed a few minutes later with the rake off 19044 1630 (P) Bhagat Ki Kothi – Bandra Terminus; and after jumping off the latter at the end of the platform, it seemed my work at Bandra of a morning had reached its climax; and off I set back to get some money and make some hotel staff happy!
Getting the money certainly didn’t make me happy, as the first bank I tried wouldn’t give anyone any cash and the second didn’t want to know me yet gave locals some money. Thankfully the third gave me some cash; maybe it had been the amount I’d been asking for that had prevented the previous place from dispensing as I managed to get the amount I needed after I withdrew it in two lots at the last place!? The hotel staff were happy with their cash, I was happy with how the morning had gone and I even managed a quick bit over the road before heading to the station and doing KYN WCAM2 21868 into Mumbai CST on 12126 0750 Pune Jn – Mumbai CST, for KYN WCAM3 21946 back out on 16351 1210 Mumbai CST – Nagercoil Jn. KYN WCAM3 21888 finished off a trio of WCAM’s on 51196 1715 (P) Balharshah Jn – Mumbai CST, the KYN WDG3A 13302 finished off two return trips Dadar – Mumbai CST as it got me back to Dadar on 17031 1245 Mumbai CST – Hyderabad DN.
The minus onto 17032 2040 (P) Hyderabad DN – Mumbai CST didn’t make on this occasion at Dadar and I passed KYN WDG3A 13307 with 17032 near Parel while on board 17031. This did allow me to view the Shatabdi shunt at Dadar though and with CLA WDS6 36320 doing the honours, I partook, before doing PA WDP4D 40473 into Mumbai CST on 11042 1220 (P) Chennai Central – Mumbai CST. From this point I had a long journey ahead of me, which would hopefully see me do Mumbai – Kolkata by Also throughout, via Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Raipur, Bhubaneswar, possibly Baripada if I could be bothered, and Kharagpur. And 5 days later I’d end up in Kolkata, almost at the end of this trip to India. Luckily, KYN WDM3D 11374 was provided for the short journey out to Kalyan, and get the ball rolling with the correct class, on 11041 1400 Mumbai CST – Chennai Central.
Unfortunately, there is no cloak room at Kalyan so I had to do my afternoon nedding on electrics with two bags, which wasn’t as bad as I thought it might have been. It was only two trips to Thane and back with a familiar numbered loco starting proceedings, which was a far cry from the UK’s 37229 I was familiar with, and newly built ET WAP7 37229 got proceedings underway with 11056 0620 (P) Gorakhpur Jn – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus. KYN WCAM3 21895 took me back to Kalyan on 12117 1455 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Manmad Jn and ET WAP4 22990 then took me to Thane for a second time with the full-AC rake of 12520 2100 (PP) Kamakhya Jn – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus; I was going to play the stupid tourist card and ask where the unreserved was if anyone asked, but they didn’t! KYN WCAM3 21960 took me back to Kalyan for the last time, where I sat amongst the many waiting people as train after train arrived to empty the platforms out a bit.
Watching the evening commuter locals arrive and depart is always fun at a big station, and if you get in the way of one arriving it can be quite dangerous. Quite what is going through some people’s heads when they’re barging their way onto moving trains that people haven’t yet got off, is something I’d like to understand. There’s a blatant disregard for safety, the safety of others and nobody pays attention to people boarding with children and luggage; it really is a complete free for all. And then the trains leave with people hanging off the door hinges, often with 90% of their body outside the train, which brings with it a whole new set of safety issues, and you have to be careful not to get hit by people hanging out of EMU’s when they arrive into stations. Everything I saw did arrive and depart without incident though but the RPF were dishing out slaps here and there, to people who were boarding express trains with their family then trying to get off as they were leaving; which was stopping others getting through the door in the process.
My home for the next 21 hours was on the outskirts of Kalyan well before time and 17203 0425 Bhavnagar – Kakinada Port had been on time all day. My Domino’s pizza order turned up a few minutes before the train did and the delivery boy was more than happy to hand it over once I’d produced the relevant OTP for the order; and when GTL WDG3A’s 13070/13067 arrived with 17203 the evening was complete. The pizza didn’t touch the sides and was well gone by Karjat where KYN WCAM3’s 21962/21940 were waiting in the shunt spur to drop onto the rear and bank 17203 to Lonavala. KYN WAG7’s 27101/27111/27125 were waiting in the middle road to drop into the shunt spur after our departure, to bank the next train up the Bhor Ghats.
Unfortunately for me, I was in a compartment with three people who were getting off a Pune Jn at 2235, so I didn’t get much sleep until after the fresh set of people had got on and made their berths up. To be fair to them, they didn’t mess around and the lights were soon turned out for sleep to commence.
Gen for Saturday 7th December 2019
30719 BRC 19015 0820 Mumbai Central – Porbandar
30065 BRC 14707 0930 (P) Bikaner Jn – Bandra Terminus
21868 KYN 12126 0750 Pune Jn – Mumbai CST
30303 AJNI 12140 2050 (P) Nagpur Jn – Mumbai CST
30233 HWH 12321 2155 (PP) Howrah – Mumbai CST
21946 KYN 16351 1200 Mumbai CST – Nagercoil Jn
21888 KYN 51196 1715 (P) Balharshah Jn – Mumbai CST
13302 KYN 17031 1245 Mumbai CST – Hyderabad DN
13307 KYN 17032 2040 (P) Hyderabad DN – Mumbai CST
21899 KYN (30465 AJNI dit) 01255 1235 Mumbai CST – Nagpur Jn (Special – Not advertised)
40312 KYN 12072 0445 Jalna – Dadar, 50103 1540 Dadar – Ratnagiri
36320 CLA ECS for 12071 1400 Dadar – Jalna
13551 KYN (light from CST) 12071 1400 Dadar – Jalna
40423 PA 11042 1220 (P) Chennai Central – Mumbai CST
11374 KYN 11041 1400 Mumbai CST – Chennai Central
11xxx KYN 50104 0530 Ratnagiri – Dadar
40542 KJM 11013/4 Coimbatore Jn – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus
37229 ET 11056 0620 (P) Gorakhpur Jn – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus
21942 KYN 11009 1425 Mumbai CST – Pune Jn
21895 KYN 12117 1455 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Manmad Jn
22691 LDH 12142 1045 (P) Patliputra Jn – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus
40156 PA 11019 1505 Mumbai CST – Bhubaneswar
25021 ET 18610 1550 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Ranchi Jn
21864 KYN 16381 1535 Mumbai CST – Kanniyakumari
30580/30579 KYN (T&T) 22221 1610 Mumbai CST – Hazrat Nizamuddin
22203 BSL 12107 1625 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Lucknow Jn
12669 KYN 11205 1640 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Karimnagar
22990 ET 12520 2100 (PP) Kamakhya Jn – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus
21960 KYN 11401 1635 Mumbai CST – Nagpur Jn
39050 AJNI 12533 1945 (P) Lucknow Jn – Mumbai CST
21863 KYN 11008 1515 Pune Jn – Mumbai CST
37033 TKD 15066 1750 Panvel Jn – Gorakhpur Jn
22561 BL 22943 1530 Pune Jn – Indore Jn
21870 KYN 11023 1750 Mumbai CST – Kolhapur
37052 KYN 12109 1815 Mumbai CST – Manmad Jn
40580 PA 11302 2030 (P) Bangalore City – Mumbai CST
30399 GZB 12335 0900 (P) Bhagalpur Jn – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus
13070/13067 GTL 17203 0425 Bhavnagar Terminus – Kakinada Port (to Secunderabad)
21962/21941 KYN bank 17203 Karjat – Lonavala
Moves for Saturday 7th December 2019
|30719||Dadar||Borivali||0820 Mumbai Central – Porbandar||19015|
|30065||Borivali||Bandra Terminus||0930 (06/12) Bikaner Jn – Bandra Terminus||14707|
|36288||Bandra Terminus Platform ? North||Bandra Terminus Platform ? South||ECS for 19021 1255 Bandra Terminus – Lucknow Jn|
|18608||Bandra Terminus||Bandra Loco Holding Sidings||ECS ex 19708 0840 (06/12) Jaipur Jn – Bandra Terminus|
|36540||Bandra Loco Holding Sidings||Bandra Loco Holding Sidings||ECS ex 14707 0930 (06/12) Bikaner Jn – Bandra Terminus|
|36332||Bandra Terminus Platform ? South||Bandra Terminus Platform ? North||ECS ex 12972 1830 (06/12) Bhavnagar Terminus – Bandra Terminus|
|36283||Bandra Terminus Platform ? South||Bandra Terminus Platform ? North||ECS ex 19044 1630 (06/12) Bhagat Ki Kothi – Bandra Terminus|
|21868||Dadar||Mumbai CST||0750 Pune Jn – Mumbai CST||12126|
|21946||Mumbai CST||Dadar||1200 Mumbai CST – Nagercoil Jn||16351|
|21888||Dadar||Mumbai CST||1715 (06/12) Balharshah Jn – Mumbai CST||51196|
|13302||Mumbai CST||Dadar||1245 Mumbai CST – Hyderabad Deccan Nampaly||17031|
|36320||Dadar Platform 8 South||Dadar Platform 8 North||ECS ex 12072 0445 Jalna – Dadar|
|40423||Dadar||Mumbai CST||1220 (06/12) Chennai Central – Mumbai CST||11042|
|11374||Mumbai CST||Kalyan||1400 Mumbai CST – Chennai Central||11041|
|37229||Kalyan||Thane||0620 (06/12) Gorakhpur Jn – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus||11056|
|21895||Thane||Kalyan||1455 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Manmad Jn||21117|
|22990||Kalyan||Thane||2100 (05/12) Kamakhya Jn – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus||12520|
|21960||Thane||Kalyan||1635 Mumbai CST – Nagpur Jn||11401|
|13070||Kalyan||Secunderabad Jn||0425 Bhavnagar Terminus – Kakinada Port||17203|
Photos for Saturday 7th December 2019
Sunday 8th December 2019 (En-route on 17203 Bhavnagar – Kakinada to Vijayawada)
It wasn’t a great night’s sleep, thanks to my cough, and I was up by Vikarabad Jn just after 7am, where PA WDM3D 11348 was just arriving with 57660 0500 Falaknuma – Gulbarga Jn passenger when I looked out of the window. The only other thing I managed to spot on the way to Secunderabad was 57605 0740 Secunderabad Jn – Vikarabad Jn passenger, which arrived into the station we were stood at with a WDG4! This is the first time I’ve ever seen a GM on that train, but I couldn’t confirm the shed or number because of the empty rake between me and it!
At Secunderabad food was top priority and I went in search of whatever I could find, and I initially thought I was going to end up empty handed when the locos blew up, for what I thought was departure. When they moved off and the train didn’t though, I feared the worst and got back onto the train to get my big bag. With the line from Secunderabad to Guntur now electrified there is no reason why 17203 can’t be electric forward to Kakinada, yet by the time I’d sorted my shit and walked to the front of the train, KZJ WDM3A’s 16501/16375 were just dropping down to work the train forward; so now I had to put my crap back where I’d got it from and still had to find some food before departure. Which ended up being samosas in the end! A very poor show indeed….
Assuming 17203 was still through diesel to Kakinada Port, it was the only train I knew of that is diesel under the wires from Vijayawada via Eluru to Rajahmundry, so I’d see what happened when I got to Vijayawada. A lunch order for biriyani was taken after Secunderabad and delivered after Sattenpalle at 1425 and then we were festering outside Guntur Jn waiting time, where I discovered what the sudden brake application had been not far out of Guntur. Initially I thought the locos were going to be removed from the train with all the fuss around the front end but once I got talking to the Assistant Loco Pilot, he informed me that the leading loco had run into a herd of buffalo, killed a couple and in the process the coupling release bar had been dislodged and they’d had to take it off after a bolt had sheared off with the impact; which was at speed. After all the photo taking, while the Loco Pilot was reporting the incident to control, the coupling release bar was safely in the cab and after a short stay at Guntur 17203 was on the move again, and at Vijayawada a posse of railway fitters were on hand with spanners and a hammer and the coupling release bar was refitted before the GTL twins set sail for Kakinada Port; via the electrified Eluru route!
I had no time to waste as I spotted what I hoped would be the loco for 57381 1635 Guntur Jn – Narasapur while departing Guntur on 17203, so with my big bag dumped in the cloak room on platform 6, I just had time to nip and get a ticket to Gudivada Jn before what I’d hoped would arrive, did arrive with 57381; BZA WDP1M 15028. Thankfully it wasn’t a wedged train, and thankfully I didn’t end up having to wait for 17482 1035 Tirupati – Bilaspur, which was worked forward from Vijayawada Jn by GY WDP4D 40225. It was a minus onto the legendary Circar Express at Gudivada but with 17644 1430 Kakinada Port – Chengalpattu Jn being late it was almost a cross station leap from one train to the other when I arrived, and pleasingly, BZA WDP1/1M twins 15049/15061 led the way back to Vijayawada where they were replaced by an electric; that I didn’t have time to watch as I’d spotted something more pressing on arrival!
It turns out that all three of KZJ’s WDS6 allocation, 36322, 36323 & 36329 have been reallocated to BZA recently, and all three were in action during the evening I was there. There were other shunts available but the ones I hitched a ride with were as follows: BZA WDS6 36329 shunting the stock in and out of platform 1 that would form 17215 Vijayawada Jn – Dharmavaram later that night, BZA WDS6 36323 shunting the stock out of platform 4 off 57226 0910 Visakhapatnam – Vijayawada and BZA WDS6 36322 shunting the stock out of platform 5 off 12712 1405 Chennai Central – Vijayawada.
Had I missed the Circar Express at Gudivada I had the back-up of 07258 1800 Narasapur – Hyderabad, which arrived into Vijayawada, and departed with, KZJ WDM3A’s 16683/14022, so I wouldn’t have been bowled out at Gudivada. GY WDP4D 40354 ended up working 17215 2310 Vijayawada Jn – Dharmavaram and it was no surprise when GTL WDG3A’s 13225/13255 turned up with my 17016 1650 Secunderabad Jn – Bhubanewsar Visakha Express. There was no messing about when I boarded, the coach was in darkness and I needed my torch to find my berth. I had to relieve a coach attendant of some bedding but I was soon sorted, and now on my second bottle of cough medicine for my troubles as the cough still persisted after over a week!
Gen for Sunday 8th December 2019
11348 PA 57660 0500 Falaknuma – Gulbarga
12xxx ?? 57605 0740 Secunderabad – Vikarabad Jn
16501/16375 KZJ 17203 0425 Bhavnagar Terminus – Kakinada Port (from Secunderabad)
15028 BZA 57381 1635 Guntur Jn – Narasapur
15061/15049 BZA 17644 1430 Kakinada Port – Chengalpattu Jn (to Vijayawada)
40225 GY 17482 1035 Tirupati – Bilaspur Jn (from Vijayawada)
16683/14022 KZJ 07258 1800 Narasapur – Hyderabad DN
40354 GY 17215 2310 Vijayawada – Dharmavaram
13225/13255 GTL 17016 1650 Secunderabad – Bhubaneswar
Moves for Sunday 8th December 2019
|16501||Secunderabad Jn||Vijayawada Jn||0425 (07/12) Bhavnagar Terminus – Kakinada Port||17203|
|15028||Vijayawada Jn||Gudivada Jn||1635 Guntur Jn – Narasapur||57381|
|15061||Gudivada Jn||Vijayawada Jn||1430 Kakinada Port – Chengalpattu Jn||17644|
|36329||Vijayawada Jn Platform 1 Shunt||Vijayawada Jn Platform 1 Shunt||Shunt stock for 17215 Vijayawada – Dharmavaram in/out of platform|
|36323||Vijayawada Jn Platform 4 Shunt||Vijayawada Jn Platform 4 Shunt||ECS ex 57226 0910 Visakhapatnam Jn – Vijayawada Jn|
|36322||Vijayawada Jn Platform 5 Shunt||Vijayawada Jn Platform 5 Shunt||ECS ex 12712 1405 Chennai Central – Vijayawada Jn|
|13225||Vijayawada Jn||Visakhapatnam Jn||1650 Secunderabad Jn – Bhubaneswar||17016|
Photos for Sunday 8th December 2019
Monday 9th December 2019 (A day in Visakhapatnam before heading to Raipur overnight)
With an early arrival into Visakhapatnam, after a crap night’s sleep, I was thankful that we made 58538 0705 Visakhapatnam – Koraput when VSKP WDG3A 13570 was sat in the adjacent platform waiting to depart with it. There was no time for formalities that would legally allow me to travel on the train though and barely enough time for a quick chai before I had to board, for the short journey out to Simhachalam, where VSKP WDG3A’s 14521/14613 were soon trickling through the platform with 18574 1400 (P) Bhagat Ki Kothi – Visakhapatnam; and providing me with a quick and pleasing exit from Simhachalam. There were some people deliberating whether to get off at the door I ended up getting on and I think my boarding resulted in them continuing through to Visakhapatnam as I ended up in their way. At Marripalem there was a lot of honking of the horn and a harsh brake application, from which we came to a stand just Visakhapatnam side of the station. Ii didn’t realise it at the time, and I’m not sure the crew did either, but we’d hit someone on the way through. It was the fact we set off again almost immediately that led me to believe the crew didn’t realise, and it was only when I got back to Marripalem later that I did!
In the interests of personal hygiene, I’d already decided that I would get myself a hotel for the day in Visakhapatnam and having had a look on Google, the Hotel Rajasthan Palace seemed to fit the bill, which was a 7-8 minute walk from Visakhapatnam station. A day-rate (for 12 hours) cost me RS1800 and I was given a decent sized room and the rear of the hotel away from the main road. There was no hot water, but a cold shower did the trick and the AC and fan worked well. There was no time to dwell though and I was soon back at the station to find VSKP WDS6’s 36193 and 36185 in action. The former shunting the stock out off 12740 2030 (P) Secunderabad – Visakhapatnam and the latter the stock off the train I’d arrived on, 18574 1400 (P) Bhagat Ki Kothi – Visakhapatnam.
I had my first GTL based electric when GTL WAG7 28417 dropped down to work 57226 0910 Visakhapatnam – Vijayawada passenger and when BZA WAG5 23927 followed it out with 17243 2215 (P) Guntur Jn – Rayagada I don’t know if it was slowing for the red signal ahead, or the gang working just beyond the level crossing but it slowed to almost a stand and another bonus leap to Simhachalam followed as a result. TATA WAP7 37060 dropped me back into Marripalem and it was at that point that I realised that the ambulance that had been trundling up the platform when I’d got off 57226 had been for the poor guy we’d probably hit on 18574 earlier; who was splayed out on the platform edge with his head surrounded by a pool of blood, and a big hole in it! The sad thing about the situation is that despite people being open able to see the consequences of whatever the guy’s actions had been, it wouldn’t prevent them from taking the same risks in the future and it was becoming an all too common sight throughout the railways of India. Perhaps the saddest thing about the moment was that when the ambulance crew put the body onto a stretcher the poor guy’s phone fell out of his pocket and it was ringing….
Despite the incident occurring almost 2 hours previous, the RPF were still taking statements off people when I departed with VSKP WAG5 23006 on 58531 0525 Palasa – Visakhapatnam and when I got back for a brief stay later in the morning the only sign of the incident having occurred was the pool of dried blood on the platform edge, which nobody had had the decency to even wash away!
VSKP WAG5 23885 had worked out with 58526 1140 Visakhapatnam – Brahmapur and thanks to 58529 1830 (P) Durg Jn – Visakhapatnam being late, I was able to hitch a ride straight back in with VSKP WDM3D 11514 and head to the hotel for a bit of respite from the hot day and get a spot of lunch at the hotel’s restaurant; which was worth taking the time to do on both accounts, with the food being very good.
After shower number two of the day, there was another early afternoon move out to Simhachalam on offer with produced VSKP WAG5 23023 on 18512 1350 Visakhapatnam – Koraput, BZA WAG7 28071 on 58525 0700 Brahmapur – Visakhapatnam and VSKP WDM3D 11513 on 58537 0555 Koraput – Visakhapatnam. Quite why the passengers to/from Koraput were still Alco and the Intercity was electric, I’m not sure, but I wasn’t complaining!
There was another electric move on offer in the late afternoon but when o realised, thanks to some late running on 57225’s behalf, that I could do the Visakha Express out instead, I chose to have a blast with GTL WDG3A’s 13255/13225 as they headed back to whence they came from the previous day, with 17015 0830 Bhubaneswar – Secunderabad. I had a couple of appointments with shunt moves beforehand though with VSKP WDS6 36038 taking the stock out of platform 1 off 12862 0240 Kazipet Jn – Visakhapatnam and VSKP WDM3A 16053 taking the stock out of platform 2 off one of the trains I’d done earlier, 58525 0700 Brahmapur – Visakhapatnam.
I was able to do the GTL twins to Anakapalle for ED WAG7 24601 back in on the late running 57225 0825 Vijayawada – Visakhapatnam and after another good meal at the Rajasthan Palace I had a third shower of the day, not wanting to waste the opportunity while I had it, gathered my crap and headed to the station one last time to await my ride north to Raipur. I could hear the growl of a WDS6 in the distance as the empty stock for 18518 2005 Visakhapatnam – Korba approached the platforms and got my phone out to video its arrival; not expecting to have to cut the video short when fresh VSKP WDS6 36242 hit the platform end with the stock. At which point I joined the masses and clambered into the leading coach as the little WDS6 was opened up to get the rake moving down the platform. What a waste of time that last shower had been by the time I’d walked back down the platform with both my bags, to spot R WDM3A’s 16234/16288 as they dropped onto the opposite end of the stock, which was pleasing at least.
I’d been RAC4 on 18518 from the moment I’d booked it and had only been confirmed the previous day. A PNR enquiry after charting confirmed my berth allocation to be A1 – 28, an upper berth in a compartment. I was quite grateful when I was asked to swap for a side-upper as soon as I got on and was able to get it made up straight away, leaving the two guys who were RAC sat in the lower berth to hope they got confirmed through the TTE.
Gen for Monday 9th December 2019
13570 VSKP 58538 0705 Visakhapatnam – Koraput
14521/14613 VSKP 18574 1400 (P) Bhagat Ki Kothi – Visakhapatnam
40315 GY 57229 2105 (P) Machilipatnam – Visakhapatnam
22747 BZA 18048 0705 (P) Vasco Da Gama – Howrah (to VSKP)
22347 SRC 18048 0705 (P) Vasco Da Gama – Howrah (from VSKP)
36193 VSKP ECS ex 12740 2030 (P) Secunderabad – Visakhapatnam plat 1
36185 VSKP ECS ex 18574 1400 (P) Bhagat Ki Kothi – Visakhapatnam plat 3
28417 GTL 57226 0910 Visakhapatnam – Vijayawada
30281 GZB 17243 2215 (P) Guntur Jn – Rayagada (to VSKP)
23927 BZA 17243 2215 (P) Guntur Jn – Rayagada (from VSKP)
30697 VSKP 13351 1045 (P) Dhanbad Jn – Alappuzha (to VSKP)
22010 AJJ 13351 1045 (P) Dhanbad Jn – Alappuzha (from VSKP)
30534 BNDM 12835 1825 (P) Hatia – Yesvantpur Jn (to VSKP)
22559 ED 12835 1825 (P) Hatia – Yesvantpur Jn (from VSKP)
37060 TATA 58503 0515 Rayagada – Visakhapatnam
23006 VSKP 58531 0525 Palasa – Visakhapatnam
23885 VSKP 58526 1140 Visakhapatnam – Brahmapur
11514 VSKP 58529 1830 (P) Durg Jn – Visakhapatnam
23023 VSKP 18512 1350 Visakhapatnam – Koraput
28071 BZA 58525 0700 Brahmapur – Visakhapatnam
11513 VSKP 58537 0555 Koraput – Visakhapatnam
30697 VSKP 22820 1525 Visakhapatnam – Bhubaneswar
36038 VSKP ECS ex 12862 0240 Kazipet Jn – Visakhapatnam plat 1
16053 VSKP ECS ex 58525 0700 Brahmapur – Visakhapatnam plat 2
22943 VSKP 17015 0830 Bhubaneswar – Secunderabad (to VSKP)
13255/13225 GTL 17015 0830 Bhubaneswar – Secunderabad (from VSKP)
24601 ED 57225 0825 Vijayawada – Visakhapatnam
22795 AJJ 12525 1240 (P) Trivandrum Central – Silchar (to VSKP)
22379 HWH 12525 1240 (P) Trivandrum Central – Silchar (from VSKP)
36242 VSKP ECS for 18518 2005 Visakhapatnam – Korba plat 5
16234/16288 R 18518 2005 Visakhapatnam – Korba
Moves for Monday 9th December 2019
|13570||Visakhapatnam Jn||Simhachalam||0705 Visakhapatnam Jn – Koraput||58538|
|14521||Simhachalam||Visakhapatnam Jn||1400 (08/12) Bhagat Ki Kothi – Visakhapatnam||18574|
|36193||Visakhapatnam Jn Platform 1 North||Visakhapatnam Jn Platform 1 South||ECS ex 12740 2030 (08/12) Secunderabad Jn – Visakhapatnam Jn|
|36185||Visakhapatnam Jn Platform 3 South||Visakhapatnam Jn Platform 3 North||ECS ex 18574 1400 (08/12) Bhagat Ki Kothi – Visakhapatnam Jn|
|28417||Visakhapatnam Jn||Marripalem||0910 Visakhapatnam Jn – Vijayawada Jn||57226|
|23927||Marripalem||Simhachalam||2215 (08/12) Guntur Jn – Rayagada||17243|
|37060||Simhachalam||Marripalem||0515 Rayagada – Visakhapatnam Jn||58503|
|23006||Marripalem||Visakhapatnam Jn||0525 Palasa – Visakhapatnam Jn||58531|
|23885||Visakhapatnam Jn||Marripalem||1140 Visakhapatnam – Brahmapur||58526|
|11514||Marripalem||Visakhapatnam Jn||1830 (08/12) Durg Jn – Visakhapatnam||58529|
|23023||Visakhapatnam Jn||Simhachalam||1350 Visakhapatnam Jn – Koraput||18512|
|28071||Simhachalam||Marripalem||0700 Brahmapur – Visakhapatnam Jn||58525|
|11513||Marripalem||Visakhapatnam Jn||0555 Koraput – Visakhapatnam Jn||58537|
|36038||Visakhapatnam Jn Platform 1 North||Visakhapatnam Jn Platform 1 South||ECS ex 12862 0240 Kazipet Jn – Visakhapatnam Jn|
|16053||Visakhapatnam Jn Platform 2 South||Visakhapatnam Jn Platform 2 North||ECS ex 58525 0700 Brahmapur – Visakhapatnam Jn|
|13255||Visakhapatnam Jn||Anakapalle||0830 Bhubaneswar – Secunderabad Jn||17015|
|24601||Anakapalle||Visakhapatnam Jn||0825 Vijayawada Jn – Visakhapatnam Jn||57225|
|36242||Visakhapatnam Jn Platform 5 North||Visakhapatnam Jn Platform 5 South||ECS for 18518 2005 Visakhapatnam Jn – Korba|
|16234||Visakhapatnam Jn||Raipur Jn||2005 Visakhapatnam Jn – Korba||18518|
Photos for Monday 9th December 2019
Tuesday 10th December 2019 (A day in Raipur before heading towards Bhubaneswar overnight)
After another pitiful night’s sleep, thanks to my cough, I had to wake the cloak room attendant up who was asleep behind his locked door at the end of platform 1; which was surprising as his little cubby hole was as infested with mosquitoes as a little cubby hole could get and I was lucky to escape unscathed. Still, my bag was gone for the day, but I then had to fight my way through the booking office queues to get a ticket for my first train of the day. As if the queues weren’t long enough at both the ticket windows and the ATVM’s, just as I was approaching the front of my queue the ATVM adjacent ran out of paper to print tickets and it descended into a farce at that point. I’ll give the guy at my ATVM his due though, he wasn’t jut allowing the two queues to merge into one and was pushing people away that tried to jump from one to the other. It was still a little fraught by the time I got served but at least he understood what I wanted first time and I was barging my way out of there a lot quicker than I’d ambled into the queue in the first place.
I’d assumed that waiting VSKP WDG3A’s 14536/14544 had been to re-engine the Samta Express 12808 0835 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Visakhapatnam, and they were already on the train when I got over to find out. Although there was room in the front unreserved coach, the Divyang part at the very front was completely empty when the locos blew up for departure and I initially had it to myself for the storming run south. Others caught on to the fact and when 12808 stood on the outskirts of Raipur waiting for a freight to cross its path and head round the avoiding curve, a few clambered from one section to the other and made themselves at home in the Divyang part of the coach. Three guys insisted on smoking all the while but thankfully they took no for an answer and did move to the door when I asked them for RS200 each; and got that I was joking too.
Once clear of the Raipur suburbs it was a good run south and there was plenty of freight about to spot too. Despite the whole section from Titlagarh to Raipur being fully electrified on the main line sections, almost all of the stations still had to be completed with most not having an overhead wire anywhere in the station limits; it was quite strange that IR’s contractor had chosen to do things this way but with the OHL gang and inspection train being stabled at Mahasamund must be working on completing the section soon?
Having bought a ticket to Khariar Road I was planning to do 12808 to there for 18421 Puri – Ajmer back towards Raipur. After passing the waiting 58208 0130 Junagarh Road – Raipur at Mahasamund with R WDM3A 16074 it was a pleasant surprise when we stopped adjacent to the waiting 12994 1945 (P) Puri – Gandhidam with VSKP WDG3A’s 14535/14637; and I scooted across from one train to the other at Bagbahra and an unadvertised stop in the middle road at Mahasamund offered up a step back at Mahasamund, with three trains all approaching from the south.
It turned out to be a pleasant morning fester at Mahasamund and it seemed that I exerted more energy while walking around the station than the OHL gang did while lounging in the shade on their OHL inspection DMU. For me though, they could lounge around till the cows came home and do fuck all every day, if it meant the Titlagarh – Raipur section remained diesel for the foreseeable future!
During my wait, VSKP WDG3A’s 14654/13140 hammered south with a lengthy cement train and ET WDM3A/D twins 14101/11381 hammered through going north with a general freight; the crew of which I would see again later in the afternoon. Unfortunately, the first train to head north turned up with ET WDP4B 40052 on 18425 1830 (P) Puri – Durg Jn, followed by VSKP WDM3D 11514 with 58530 2155 (P) Visakhapatnam – Durg Jn passenger, which I’d had the previous afternoon into Visakhapatnam. So, with all my eggs now in one basket, when consecutively numbered VSKP WDG3A’s 14650/14651 turned up with 18421 2245 (P) Puri – Ajmer Jn it was a win, win situation and we had such a good run north that 18421 was allowed into Raipur Jn before 17482 1005 Bilaspur – Tirupati as allowed to depart. With VSKP WDM3D 11535 in charge, it would have been rude not to scramble from 18421 to 17482, especially as they were in adjacent platforms. Equally, it would have been rude not to alight at Mandir Hasaud when 17482 was brought to a stand there, which is where the afternoon became interesting.
At this stage I had no clue that 18211 1300 Durg Jn – Jagdalpur was cancelled and had been indefinitely since June! So, my attempts to get back to Raipur Jn for it were a complete waste of time he fact that I missed it royally, or should I say its booked departure time anyway, was irrelevant in the end. Still, I enjoyed how I got back to Raipur, nonetheless. As I wondered down to the north end of the station, in the hope of finding some form of transport to get me back to Raipur, I was greeted by a crew walking down the tracks who beckoned me towards them. It turned out they were the crew of ET twins 14101/11381 and had seen me photographing them passing through Mahasamund earlier. Needless to say, I was soon in the cab drinking chai with them and when they reaslised I was heading to Raipur they insisted that I ride with them; which of course I accepted and I did see them at Raipur but didn’t actually ride there with them in the end! As it happened, their train was waiting a slot through Raipur Jn and when VSKP WDG3A’s 13139/13242 rolled up alongside and got the road to go first, I queried why and they confirmed that it was because that train wasn’t going through Raipur Jn and was using the avoiding East Junction curve. When I pointed out I needed to be back in Raipur as soon as possible, the crew I was with shouted across to their colleagues, who m pleased to say were more than willing to give the foreigner a lift; albeit only to the east curve, where I was thrown out to make my own way back to the station; which was when I realised I’d not missed 18211 and that it had been cancelled, so all was not lost and to be fair, I’d have taken the cab ride over 18211 any day!
With a bit of time to kill before the next departure to cover Domino’s pizza provided a nice AC environment to while away a few minutes with a piping hot pizza to boot and when ET WDP4B 40052, having come back light from Durg Jn ex 18425 Puri – Durg Jn, dropped down onto the stock for 58205 1330 Raipur Jn – Itwari Jn I thought it was most unsporting of IR; until R WDM3A 16074 dropped on top and the GM was shut down, which was much more how things ought to be.
At the opposite end of the same platform R WDG3A 13587, which seemed to be Raipur station pilot, dropped the stock in for 58207 1515 Raipur Jn – Junagarh Road passenger, which R WDM3A 16241 eventually dropped down to work and while I was photographing that I heard a horn blasting away behind me, which initially I thought was a bit annoying, especially as I was well clear of the platform edge. However, when I realised it was ET twins 14101/11381, I knew why there was so much racket and I photographed them running through Raipur Jn and then waved to the friendly crew I’d been with at Mandir Hasaud as they hammered through with their locos.
After collecting my big bag from the cloak room, I headed south on 58207, which was a move that wouldn’t allow me to get back to Raipur for my booked overnight towards Khurda Road/Puri. I did it to Arand for VSKP WDM3D 11515 back to Mahasamund on 58528 0255 Visakhapatnam – Raipur Jn passenger, where I thought that would be it for the day; but no, as my 12844 Ahmedabad – Puri was late, VSKP WDG3A’s 13247/14502 turned up first with the on-time 18426 1610 Durg Jn – Puri; and I had to do it to Bagbahra as a result. Luckily, when VSKP WDG3A’s 14532/14506 turned up with the late running 12844 1840 (P) Ahmedabad – Puri, there was no issue with my berth.
My side-lower berth in a new LHB rake was unlike any side-lower berth I’d come across before and had a foldaway seat-topper that tucked down the side of the berth when not needed, which took away the issue of the partition of the seats in side-lower berths being an inconvenience in the night. The coach wasn’t full and with a pantry car there was no shortage of food and drink and a decent egg biriyani was sourced for tea, before I got my head down and attempted to get some sleep, let along catch up on what I’d been losing recently; I was shattered.
Gen for Tuesday 10th December 2019
13587 R Raipur station pilot loco
14536/14544 VSKP 12808 0835 (P) Hazrat Nizamuddin – Visakhapatnam
22239 HWH 13426 1250 (P) Surat – Malda Town
16074 R 58208 0130 Junagarh Road – Raipur Jn, 58205 1330 Raipur Jn – Itwari Jn (40052 ET dit on 58205 only)
14535/14637 VSKP 12994 1945 (P) Puri – Gandhidam Jn
40052 ET 18425 1830 (P) Puri – Durg Jn, then dit on 58205 1330 Raipur Jn – Itwari Jn
11514 VSKP 58530 2155 (P) Visakhapatnam – Raipur Jn
14650/14651 VSKP 18421 2245 (P) Puri – Ajmer Jn
11535 VSKP 17481 1005 Bilaspur – Tirupati
Cape 18211 1300 Durg Jn – Jagdalpur
16241 R 58207 1515 Raipur Jn – Junagarh Road
11515 VSKP 58528 0255 Visakhapatnam – Raipur Jn
16722/16744 VSKP 12807 0625 Visakhapatnam – Hazrat Nizamuddin
13247/14502 VSKP 18426 1610 Durg Jn – Puri
14532/14506 VSKP 12844 1840 (P) Ahmedabad Jn – Puri
Moves for Tuesday 10th December 2019
|14536||Raipur Jn||Bagbahra||0835 (09/12) Hazrat Nizamuddin – Visakhapatnam Jn||12808|
|14535||Bagbahra||Mahasamund||1945 (09/12) Puri – Gandhidam Jn||12994|
|14650||Mahasamund||Raipur Jn||2245 (09/12) Puri – Ajmer Jn||18421|
|11535||Raipur Jn||Mandir Hasaud||1005 Bilaspur – Tirupati||17481|
|13139||Mandir Hasaud||Raipur East Jn||Freight Train – Cab Ride|
|Auto||Raipur East Jn||Raipur Jn||RS100, 2km, 10 minutes|
|16241||Raipur Jn||Arand||1515 Raipur Jn – Junagarh Road||58207|
|11515||Arand||Mahasamund||0255 Visakhapatnam – Raipur Jn||58528|
|13247||Mahasamund||Bagbahra||1610 Durg Jn – Puri||18426|
|14532||Bagbahra||Khurda Road Jn||12844 1840 (09/12) Ahmedabad Jn – Puri||12844|
Photos for Tuesday 10th December 2019
Wednesday 11th December 2019 (A trip to Nayagarh Town before heading towards Kolkata)
If any part of the journey from Mumbai to Kolkata by Alco was likely to be an issue, it was going to be the bit between Khurda Road and Bhubaneswar and in true fashion, VSKP WDM3D 11538 was just departing with 18424 0630 Nayagarh Town – Bhubaneswar when 12844 arrived. And as if feeling shit of a morning wasn’t bad enough, I had to scurry across the station for nothing to board the waiting 58431 0820 Khurda Road – Nayagarh Town, with VSKP WDM3D 11570 at its helm. Against my better judgement, I headed up the branch to Nayagarh Town when I should probably have headed to Bhubaneswar and got myself a hotel for the day; with the lack of sleep thanks to my cough now seemingly taking its toll! The result of which was me feeling a little run down and I had very little energy of a morning. A morning of lounging around on a luggage rack, away from the outside world, well as away from it as you can get on a luggage rack, ensued and I didn’t even bother to get off while the loco ran-round at Nayagarh Town as it was too hot, I was too knackered and I really couldn’t be bothered to lug two bags down the platform to change ends; let alone be arsed to buy a ticket for the return journey!
While I wasn’t feeling too great back at Bhubaneswar, I was able to drag my ass onto the footbridge and get a few photos, before sipping a few coffees at a stall on an empty platform. During which a young lad came up to the vendor to show him some photos on WhatsApp, which I caught a glimpse of over his shoulder. After a short discussion he showed me the full set of photos, which he’d taken less than 10 minutes before I’d arrived, which unfortunately showed a railway worker who’d been cut in two after slipping off the side of a passenger coach that he’d boarded while the train was arriving; after losing his balance and grip. The sad thing was the poor guy looked at peace in the photos, despite his body having been sliced in two when the train had run over him!
On a different note, when VSKP WDG3A 14604 rolling into Khurda Road Jn with 08429 1200 Puri – Sainagar Shirdi I was quite impressed as it meant my Alco from Mumbai to Kolkata quest was back on the cards after I’d missed 18424 Nayagarh Town – Bhubaneswar Intercity earlier. The fact the front coach was in transit seemed to keep most of the locals out too and other than a bit of a wipe down, it was perfectly habitable and I was one of three people in the front coach when the VSKP Shakti got the train underway; and what a good run it was to Bhubaneswar too. Where upon arrival I was planning to head for some food but R WDG3A 13587 arriving with 22828 0830 (P) Surat – Puri prevented that, and I was soon heading back to whence I’d come from with the loco that had been station pilot at Raipur when I’d been there the previous day. I’d figured out from NTES, before doing the move, that I could get back to Bhubaneswar, and thankfully VSKP WAP7 37122 was along almost instantly with 17016 1650 (P) Secunderabad Jn – Bhubaneswar Visakha Express.
As I arrived back into Bhubaneswar VSKP WDM3A 16313 was just bringing the stock into platform 1 for my 12892 1710 Bhubaneswar – Bangriposi, and on the business end was VSKP WDM3A 14005. There was plenty of scope for food and stocking up before departure and I was glad I’d booked into the reserved chair car on 12892 as the unreserved was a bit of a free-for-all. Despite having very little room for feet in the bay I’d been reserved in, there was a constant flow of chai walla’s and the train really was a Superfast too, with the loco pilot giving 14005 a bit of a pasting along the way; which I measured at 109kmph on the Where’s My Train App. It was just a shame that 14005 wasn’t a very good loco!
Originally, I’d planned to head to Bangriposi on 12892 and sleep on the stock, before heading back to Baripada to do 18008 Bhanjpur – Kolkata Shalimar forward to Santragachi, where it currently terminates. Common sense had forced me to look at hotels in Bhanjpur or Baripada as an alternative and since I’d not been feeling that great the mind had decided it would be a good idea to try and spend more than 6 hours in a hotel and get properly cleaned and rested; so Booking.com had provided a decent hotel in Balasore. To keep the cross-country by Alco journey alive though I had to rely on 12892 being right time and 58003 1520 Howrah – Bhadrak being late. Which let’s face it was always a good bet, but I was grateful of the fact that one made the other at Rupsa Jn as there weren’t many alternatives to get me back to Balasore, other than by road. SRC WAP7 37108 only turned up 5 minutes after 12892 arrived into Rupsa Jn though, so it was close, but I was soon walking from Balasore station to my hotel of choice.
The Banjara Barjorjis Hotel was less than a 10-minute walk from Balasore station and is set back from a main road. The hotel staff were expecting me when I arrived and I was soon shown to my room, which had a comfy double bed, good AC, a fan, hot water, a fridge, toiletries provided and there was even a freebie basket with packets of crisps on the desk. Room service was quick and efficient but I was able to do a bit of washing in the shower before the knock at the door came; and everything was hanging in front of the blasting AC drying by the time I sat down to eat. By the time I’d finished and had a shower all my washing was dry, and I was able to pack my crap up before hitting the sack for the night!
Gen for Wednesday 11th December 2019
11570 VSKP 58431 0820 Khurda Road – Nayagarh Town, 58432 1000 Nayagarh Town – Khurda Road
27636 BL 07439 2250 (P) Tatanagar – Kacheguda
30633 SRC 12822 1135 Puri – Howrah
28633 ED 58409 1230 Khurda Road – Puri
22840 SRC 58005 0440 Kharagpur Jn – Khurda Road
14604 VSKP 08429 1200 Puri – Sainagar Shirdi
30600 SRC 22604 1140 (P) Villupuram Jn – Kharagpur Jn
13587 R 22828 0830 (P) Surat – Puri
37122 VSKP 17016 1650 (P) Secunderabad – Bhubaneswar
23575 VSKP 58426 1600 Bhubaneswar – Kendujhargarh
14005 VSKP 12892 1710 Bhubaneswar – Bangriposi (16313 VSKP ECS)
22519 HWH 12876 0630 (P) Anand Vihar Terminus – Puri
37108 SRC 58003 1520 Howrah – Bhadrak
Moves for Wednesday 11th December 2019
|11570||Khurda Road Jn||Nayagarh Town||0820 Khurda Road – Nayagarh Town||58431|
|11570||Nayagarh Town||Khurda Road Jn||1000 Nayagarh Town – Khurda Road||58432|
|14604||Khurda Road Jn||Bhubaneswar||1200 Puri – Sainagar Shirdi||08429|
|13587||Bhubaneswar||Khurda Road Jn||0830 (10/12) Surat – Puri||22828|
|37122||Khurda Road Jn||Bhubaneswar||1650 (10/12) Secunderabad Jn – Bhubaneswar||17016|
|14005||Bhubaneswar||Rupsa Jn||1710 Bhubaneswar – Bangriposi||12892|
|37108||Rupsa Jn||Balasore||1520 Howrah – Bhadrak||58003|
Photos for Wednesday 11th December 2019
Thursday 12th December 2019 (An afternoon in Kolkata before heading to Giridih overnight)
Getting out of a comfy bed at 0630 was way better than spending a few hours in a mosquito infested unreserved coach at Bangriposi and I was grateful of the decent night’s sleep. With the only train that would connect with 18008 0615 Bhanjpur – Shalimar at Rupsa Jn being the opposing working of the train I’d done to Balasore the night before, there was no way I was getting up for a 0553 departure which would then give me a 2-hour fester at Rupsa Jn; so, a taxi it was. By the time I’d checked out and paid for my food from the previous night, my taxi was already waiting outside having been arranged the previous night by the hotel staff. It only took about 35-minutes to get to Rupsa Jn and by the time I’d had a few chai’s and bought a ticket to Howrah, KGP WDM3A 16406 was arriving with 18008 0615 Bhanjpur – Kolkata Shalimar.
While the loco ran-round I clambered into the rear coach to make myself at home, managing to find a seat in a wedged bay after eventually moving someone up to create some space. KGP’s 16406 was far better than VSKP’s 14005 had been the previous evening and at least after Kharagpur there was a bit of room on board. By Santragachi I was ready for getting off, and a bit of a leg stretch. Despite having a through ticket to Howrah, which was technically used, by the time 16406 took the empty rake of 18008 forward to Padmapukur Carriage Sidings I was heading across the way to the carriage sidings; taking a punt on how I might get into Kolkata on the very last part of my Mumbai to Kolkata by Alco quest!
I would have gone through to Shalimar with 18008 had it run through but since 01/12/16 it had been terminating at Santragachi, which was only a few days after I’d first attempted to Shalimar and had ended up in the carriage sidings at Padmapukur as a result. On that occasion I’d ended up back at Santragachi and had been put on an empty stock into Howrah by a friendly railway worker who’d been in my auto with me. On this occasion I thought I’d chance my arm, and nobody batted an eyelid as I walked over to the carriage sidings, which seemed to be more like a make-shift stabling point for KGP Alcos!
An educated guess told me that the rake for 22897 1415 Howrah – Digha might be the next set to head into Howrah and the fact it was headed by KGP WDS6 36251 was enough to entice me into the front coach while nobody was really paying attention. I was grateful that the WDS6 blew up to depart the carriage sidings shortly after I’d boarded and the run into Howrah was worth making the effort for with the little 6-cylinder machine growling away nicely with the 18-coach rake.
Upon arrival at Howrah I quickly dumped my big bag at the cloak room on the South Eastern side of the station, which is in the building on the right at the buffer stops end of the station, before wandering back down the platforms to assess what was going off empty stock wise. KGP WDM3A 16316 was soon arriving with the rake for 22894 1435 Howrah – Sainagar Shirdi and KGP WDS6 36030 wasn’t far behind that with the rake for 12841 1450 Howrah – Chennai Central and in between the two KGP WDM3A 16140 departed with the rake off 12858 1025 Digha – Howrah.
After walking across the tracks from the South Eastern platforms to the Eastern platforms, HWH WDS6 36110 provided the first bit of entertainment after I’d been to grab something to eat, when it took the rake out off 12322 2130 (PP) Mumbai CST – Howrah. I then spotted a bit of an oddity and went to investigate, only to find that HWH WDS6 36226 had split off five coaches from the rake of 12041 1415 Howrah – New Jalpaiguri Jn Shatabdi and was waiting the road out of the platform. I’d not quite worked out what was going on at this point but as there were people on the 5 coaches I boarded when it set off, and when the coaches were shunted into platform 7 it soon became evident when HWH WDS6 36109 dropped onto 12041’s remaining coaches and shunted a coach off, which was almost immediately replaced by another coach that was shunted onto the rake by waiting HWH WDS6 37078; and finally 36226 then shunted its five coaches back out onto the rake to reform it fully, before 12041 eventually departed well over 2 hours late with SGUJ WDP4 20014.
Things started to happen thick and fast by the late afternoon and both the Eastern & South Eastern sides of the station were quite busy and it was soon understandable why each railway uses as many empty stock locos as they do to cope with the demand. I did have a little afternoon jaunt to Bandel planned but when HWH WDP4D 40504 arrived with 13466 0610 Malda Town – Howrah and classmate HWH WDP4D 40499 dropped down to work out with 13465 1515 Howrah – Malda Town that went in the bin and after finishing up on the buffest stops of the SE side of Howrah station it seemed like a sensible time to collect my bag from the cloak room and I sought a decent meal at KFC outside the station before using the Uber App to book some transport to take me to Kolkata Chitpur. With all the Kolkata stations having designated Uber Apps it was easy to find the pick-up location and it took about 35 minutes to get through the busy Kolkata traffic to Chitpur.
While there is a cloak room at Kolkata Chitpur on platform 1, when I found it with the shutters down I went to the station master who told me to go to the parcels office, where I was told to go back to the cloak room and someone would be there soon. The fact of the matter was the man manning the fort had disappeared to the toilet for a bit and that resulted in me having to walk up and down the platform trying to figure out where I could leave my bag. Eventually he returned though, and I was able to drop the big bag again. For reference though the cloak room is only open from 8am to 10pm at Kolkata Chitpur and while it’s a big room, my bag was the only one there when I collected it a couple of days later!
Meanwhile, BGA WDS6’s 36068, 36223 & 36229 were all shunting in Kolkata Chitpur station during the time I was there and BWN WDM3A 16652 arrived with 13130 1330 Khulna – Kolkata Chitpur, which gave an answer as to why there were a lot of military staff knocking about the place. NGC WDM3D 11483 was waiting to be attached to the rake of 12517 2140 Kolkata Chitpur – Guwahati Jn and BWN WDM3A 16430 was already waiting to depart with 13145 1930 Kolkata – Radhikapur. As it was stabled in the adjacent platform to that which BGA WDS6 36068 shunted the rake into for my 13131 1950 Kolkata Chitpur – Patna Jn I was able to confirm to the TTE of 13131 that I’d be boarding at Bandel, before doing 13145 out to Bandel in front of it. The bonus being that I’d already made my lower side berth up before the train left Kolkata and kicked some woman out of my berth that assumed I’d swap with her as I had a lower and she had an upper; which seemed to have been a theme throughout during this trip. The fact of the matter being I’d been online the moment tickets had gone on sale to ensure I got a lower berth and was now fed up with swapping people. I had a lower berth, which just so happened to be exactly the same berth I’d have back the following night, and I was sleeping in my lower berth, end of. And that’s exactly what I did when I got on at Bandel, where quite a few people looked a little confused having seen me make the berth up at Kolkata earlier. MGS WAP4 22797 was at the head of the train when I went to sleep, and I managed to sleep though all the shunting at Madhupur Jn where the Giridih portion is removed from 13131 and shunted to 53511 0320 Madhupur Jn – Giridih passenger.
Gen for Thursday 12th December 2019
16406 KGP 18008 0615 Bhanjpur – Kolkata Shalimar (pine SRC indefinitely)
37004 SRC 12821 0600 Howrah – Puri
22379 HWH 12507 1655 (PP) Trivandrum Central – Silchar (to HWH)
40429 HWH 12507 1655 (PP) Trivandrum Central – Silchar (from HWH)
40504 HWH 13466 0610 Malda Town – Howrah
40499 HWH 13465 1515 Howrah – Malda Town
30371 HWH 12322 2130 (PP) Mumbai CST – Howrah
36110 HWH ECS ex 12322 2130 (PP) Mumbai CST – Howrah plat 14
36226 HWH shunt 5 coaches of 12041 1415 HWH – NJP plat 11 to 7 for 36109 to then shunt a coach out and 36078 shunt another in before shunting back plat 7 to 11 to reform the train
20014 SGUJ 12041 1415 Howrah – New Jalpaiguri Jn
36145 HWH ECS for 12345 1550 Howrah – Guwahati plat 9
40035 SGUJ 12345 1550 Howrah – Guwahati
36216 HWH ECS for 13021 1545 Howrah – Raxaul Jn plat 8
22310 HWH 13021 1545 Howrah – Raxaul Jn
Howrah ER Empty Stock Locos (All HWH)
36078, 36109, 36110, 36145, 36169, 36171, 36216, 36226
Howrah SER Empty Stock Locos (All KGP)
16140, 16180, 16231, 16233, 16312, 16316, 16317, 16347, 16381, 16407, 16421, 16616, 16617, 16646
36030, 36036, 36183, 36248, 36251
Kolkata Empty Stock Locos
36223 BGA ECS ex 13152 1855 (PP) Jammu Tawi – Kolkata plat 3
36068 BGA ECS for 13131 1950 Kolkata – Patna Jn plat 3
16652 BWN 13130 1330 Khulna – Kolkata
16430 BWN 13145 1930 Kolkata – Radhikapur
11483 NGC 12517 2140 Kolkata – Guwahati
22797 MGS 13131 1950 Kolkata – Patna Jn
Moves for Thursday 12th December 2019
|Taxi||Balasore||Rupsa Jn||RS600, 21km, 35 minutes|
|16406||Rupsa Jn||Santragachi Jn||0615 Bhanjpur – Kolkata Shalimar||18008|
|36251||Santragachiu Carriage Sidings||Howrah||ECS for 22897 1415 Howrah – Digha|
|16316||Howrah Platform 20 Shunt||Howrah Platform 20 Shunt||ECS for 22849 22894 1435 Howrah – Sainagar Shirdi|
|16140||Howrah Platform 19 Shunt||Howrah Platform 19 Shunt||ECS ex 12858 1025 Digha – Howrah|
|36030||Howrah Platform 22 Shunt||Howrah Platform 22 Shunt||ECS for 12841 1450 Howrah – Chennai Central|
|36110||Howrah Platform 14 Shunt||Howrah Platform 14 Shunt||ECS ex 12322 2130 (10/12) Mumbai CST – Howrah|
|36226||Howrah Platform 11||Howrah Platform 11||Shunt 5 coaches of 12041 1415 Howrah – New Jalpaiguri Jn|
|36145||Howrah Platform 9 Shunt||Howrah Platform 9 Shunt||ECS for 12345 1550 Howrah – Guwahati Jn|
|36216||Howrah Platform 8 Shunt||Howrah Platform 8 Shunt||ECS for 13021 1545 Howrah – Raxaul Jn|
|16180||Howrah Platform 18 Shunt||Howrah Platform 18 Shunt||ECS ex 12859 0600 (11/12) Mumbai CST – Howrah|
|36036||Howrah Platform 19 Shunt||Howrah Platform 19 Shunt||ECS for 12814 1730 Howrah – Tatanagar|
|Uber||Howrah||Kolkata Chitpur||RS254, 35 minutes|
|36223||Kolkata Chitpur Platform 3 Shunt||Kolkata Chitpur Platform 3 Shunt||ECS ex 13152 1855 (10/12) Jammu Tawi – Kolkata Chitpur|
|36068||Kolkata Chitpur Platform 3 Shunt||Kolkata Chitpur Platform 3 Shunt||ECS for 13131 1950 Kolkata Chitpur – Patna Jn|
|16430||Kolkata Chitpur||Bandel||1930 Kolkata Chitpur – Radhikapur||13145|
|22797||Bandel||Madhupur Jn||1950 Kolkata Chitpur – Patna Jn||13131|
Photos for Thursday 12th December 2019
Friday 13th December 2019 (A day covering the new line from Mahesmunda Jn to Koderma Jn)
For a 3AC overnight, with a pretty crappy kick-out time, before 5am, it wasn’t too bad and sleeping through the shunt at Madhupur Jn definitely helped. It was a cold morning and while UDL WDM3A 16106 ran-round at Giridih, I went to get a through ticket to Koderma Jn; which, surprisingly, was issued without question. Unfortunately, the only chai walla around only had lemon chai, so I had to wait for the first chai of the day, but thankfully, not for too long; and having watched 16106 disappear into the gloom at Mahesmunda Jn I discovered a stall on the road outside the station with a big vat of freshly brewed chai.
It was unfortunate that the two choices of a morning were both the wrong choice but the safest choice was the 3-hour fester at Mahesmunda Jn while the Giridih rake went to Madhupur and back; which was always going to make the new local passenger over the recently opened line via Kawar to Koderma Jn, but it wasn’t worth risking. Needless to say, despite it being late, the next Giridih passenger did make the Koderma and plenty of people leapt from one to the other during the brief stop. I on the other hand, used the time wisely and literally roamed around the very interesting station premises after filling up on chai.
Mahesmunda is the only station I’ve come across on Indian Railways with an enamel station sign and had it been a little bit smaller, it might well have found itself in my bag! The sign painted on the wall of the old station building advising people it was prohibited to take photos would lead you to believe that Mahesmunda might have been an important station once upon a time and there was nothing at all in the surrounding area that would lead you to believe there was anything of national importance, let alone nation security; the whole place is very photogenic though and even the station building, despite being derelict, had some occupants. Whom, by daylight, were cooking breakfast in a big vat that was perched over a massive fire just outside the building.
Scattered around the adjacent area were remnants of times gone by, with a big yellow sign gathering dust on the ground, and alongside were a couple of red semaphore arms that were in really good, undamaged, condition still. It was shame they were too big to take home. I even stumbled upon a partially buried, and unfortunately, partially intact, old clay bottle while pottering about, which investigation revealed to be a Vitreous Stone Bottle by C & J Arnold of London and if it was an original was probably dated to the mid-1800’s! Which was a massive shame it was damaged beyond being salvaged if so. I wondered if it had just been tossed out of the old station building when the new monstrosity behind it had been constructed and everything moved from one building to the other?
Surprisingly, the time flew by at Mahesmunda and after a few more chai by the roadside I was prepared when PTRU WDM3A 16520, which had recently been transferred from JMP, rolled into the station with the load-5 rake of 53366 0500 Koderma Jn – Mahesmunda Jn; which was quickly run-round to work back out with 53365 0835 Mahesmunda Jn – Koderma Jn. The fact that overhead wires were up on one line only at Mahesmunda Jn would probably soon result in the service to/from Koderma being an electric loco but as long as the second trip went through to Madhupur Jn, at least the second trip would have to be diesel until there was any sign of electrification works starting on the Giridih branch. For now, I was safe though and reveled in the fact that there were hardly any folk on board when 16520 got the train underway; some 25’ late after waiting for 16106 to arrive, and depart, with 53513 0800 Madhupur Jn – Giridih.
The line wasn’t as much of a stagger as I expected and 16520 was a bit of a beast. The train filled up along the way though and there wasn’t an empty seat by the time we came to a halt outside Koderma Jn station, where we sat waiting a platform. Fortunately, on arrival the queues at the ticket office weren’t, and I was able to buy a ticket back to Madhupur, via Mahesmunda, but only with a bit pf help from local behind me in the queue, who could understand my accent and prompted the guy behind the ticket window when he struggled to understand what I was asking.
As breakfast had been a bit scarce, and there’d been no sellers along the line with anything I fancied, I was grateful of the various food stalls along the main road outside Koderma station and piping hot samosas were just what I needed and while I waited for them to cool enough for me to eat them, I abused a plug socket to charge my phone, when I eventually found one on the platform. Judging by the fact locals were boarding the train over an hour before departure, I made sure I’d claimed a seat well in advance of departure time, which ended up being towards the rear of the train; with the front being right opposite the platform entrance, which filled first as everyone piling onto the platform clambered into the first coach they came across.
PTRU’s 16520 worked back with 53370 1430 Koderma Jn – Madhupur Jn, despite there being another PTRU WDM3A standing spare outside the station. With the train being full from the outset, I spent much of the return journey with my earphones in drowning out the world around me and opted to get off at Mahesmunda to wait for UDL WDM3A 16106 on 53518 1755 Giridih – Madhupur Jn behind. During the short wait I managed another few cups of chai on the main road and the guys at the shop couldn’t believe it when I turned up for a second time that day, and this time one of them spoke English so was able to establish what I was doing.
Despite making 16520 again at Madhupur Jn, which was waiting to go with 53369 1905 Madhupur Jn – Koderma Jn, I opted to ned a couple of electrics in and then did 16106 back to Giridih instead; having managed a bite to eat from outside the station as well, and I was able to stretch out in a sleeper berth at the front of the train after I found a door open before departure. Unfortunately, despite the two Giridih – Kolkata slip coaches being added at Madhupur, the 3AC coach wasn’t opened up so there was no early berth. At Giridih though there was a mad rush, despite everyone having a reservation in the two coaches they were rushing into. My berth was made up before departure from Giridih and I was horizontal soon afterwards. The fact I didn’t wake during the portion shunt at Madhupur was either a testament to the skill of the shunting staff at Madhupur, or I was just really tired…..
Gen for Friday 13th December 2019
16106 UDL 53511 0320 Madhupur Jn – Giridih, 53512 0450 Giridih – Madhupur Jn, 53513 0800 Madhupur Jn – Giridih then Giridih branch all day until finishing with 53519 2055 Madhupur Jn – Giridih, 53520 2210 Giridih – Madhupur Jn
16520 PTRU 53366 0500 Koderma Jn – Mahesmunda Jn, 53365 0835 Mahesmunda Jn – Koderma Jn, 53370 1430 Koderma Jn – Madhupur Jn, 53369 1905 Madhupur Jn – Koderma Jn
39024 TKD 12801 2145 (P) Puri – New Delhi
37178 GMO 12495 0520 (P) Bikaner Jn – Kolkata
22521 HWH 53050 Mokama Jn – Howrah
37071 GMO 13320 Ranchi Jn – Deogarh
Moves for Friday 13th December 2019
|16106||Madhupur Jn||Giridih||0320 Madhupur Jn – Giridih||53511|
|16106||Giridih||Mahesmunda Jn||0450 Giridih – Madhupur Jn||53512|
|16520||Mahesmunda Jn||Koderma Jn||0835 Mahesmunda Jn – Koderma Jn||53365|
|16520||Koderma Jn||Mahesmunda Jn||1430 Koderma Jn – Madhupur Jn||53370|
|16106||Mahesmunda Jn||Madhupur Jn||1755 Giridih – Madhupur Jn||53518|
|22521||Madhupur Jn||Vidyasnagar||1245 Mokama – Howrah||53050|
|37071||Vidyasnagar||Madhupur Jn||1325 Ranchi Jn – Deogarh Jn||13320|
|16106||Madhupur Jn||Giridih||2055 Madhupur Jn – Giridih||53519|
|16106||Giridih||Madhupur Jn||2210 Giridih – Madhupur Jn||53520|
Photos for Friday 13th December 2019
Saturday 14th December 2019 (Morning in Kolkata, afternoon in Dhaka)
Despite the cold 3AC coach, I did manage a decent night’s sleep and when the whole coach came around at about 7am; it was time for everyone to get up. MGS WAP4 22797 had charge of 13232 1645 (P) Patna Jn – Kolkata, and I can only presume UDL WDM3A 16106 had shunted the through Giridih portion off 53520 2210 Giridih – Madhupur Jn onto it at Madhupur? I was sock on when the shunt occurred and didn’t see Madhupur Jn at all the previous night!
A slightly late arrival into Kolkata had 13132 arriving just after the cloakroom opened at 8am but I didn’t need to collect my bag straight away as BGA WDS6 36229 was in the adjacent platform about to shunt the stock out off the arriving 13146 1750 (P) Radhikapur – Kolkata and by the time it had done so, classmate BGA WDS6 36112 was already dropping onto the stock I’d arrived on, to shunt it into the carriage sidings next; so, I was kept occupied at Kolkata for a short while and when I did go and collect my bag from the cloakroom it was the only bag there!
With an afternoon flight to Dhaka, Bangladesh, I decided one vegetating at Sealdah of a morning, having done Howrah two days previous, and Uber provided the transportation between Kolkata and Sealdah for RS140 and the journey took around 25 minutes. There are Uber collection/drop-off points at all the main stations in Kolkata and when using the app to book your ride it even directs you to the collection point to make sure you’re in the right location to be picked up.
On arrival at Sealdah I dropped my big bag at the cloak room, which has relocated to the parcels office, behind where the original cloak room used to be; and I say used to be, as it was in the process of being demolished when I walked by. The guy in the new cloakroom told me that the old building had been sold privately and was no longer owned by Indian Railways, so god only knows what will become of the space, which is limited as it is at Sealdah.
I was pressed straight into action when I got onto the platforms when BGA WDS6 36086 dropped onto the stock off 13150 1525 (P) Alipurduar Jn – Sealdah and eventually drew it out into the carriage sidings. There was then a bit of a lull in both arrivals and departures at Sealdah so I went for a wander off the end of the platforms and towards the carriage sidings, bumping into three other tourists in the process who came bumbling out of a random alleyway; which I wasn’t expecting at all. Despite being allowed to wander around the carriage sidings the guys there eventually started to quiz me about what I was taking photographs off, after the track workers in the carriage sidings became concerned that I was there on official business. With recent memos around the whole of Indian Railways calling for forced retirement of many older hands and an assessment of whether each man’s job is actually required, they probably had a right to be concerned when some random white guy turns up and starts pointing a big camera in their direction without announcement; so I headed back to the station.
After ASN WAP4 22863 arrived with 12384 0645 Asansol Jn – Sealdah, BGA WDS6 36108 dropped straight in behind it to take the stock out. The shunter on it was one of those I’d been chatting with in the carriage sidings and the selfie he’d taken with me was already on Facebook; simply because we were both railway workers! I didn’t have too much time to chat with him though as HWH WAP4 22338 arrived shortly afterwards with 13104 0540 Lalgola – Sealdah (which had started at Plassey) and BGA WDS6 36092 dropped straight in behind it; so now I had a choice and had to wait it out on the blocks until the first one set off; and as usual it was a first-in-last-out scenario and the stock off the Lalgola went out first.
After a leisurely morning, the fact that 13134 0835 (P) Varanasi Jn – Sealdah was down the plan gave me an option to head out to Bidhan Nagar Road on an EMU to do it back in; as while it’s billed as an express, its about as express as a local passenger, stopping at almost every lamppost along the way, even when the train runs through to Delhi; depending on the day of the week! Still, I wasn’t complaining when freshly outshopped BWN WDM3A 16265 arrived into Bidhan Nagar Road and when BGA WDS6 36088 followed us in to take the empties out I was grateful of BGA WDS6 36091 being available for a lift back to the buffer stops as it took the stock in for 53175 1240 Sealdah – Lalgola passenger; which I’d be doing out to Dum Dum Jn on my way to Kolkata airport. And after collecting my bag from the cloakroom I was ultimately Bangladesh bound when ASN WAG5 23075 eased 53175 out of Sealdah.
I was able to get an Uber to pick me up outside the station at Dum Dum Jn and was at Kolkata airport with plenty of time to allow me to spend more money than I wanted on crap food at the airport. As my big bag was going into the hold on my Indigo flight to Dhaka I had to wait for the check-in desks to open before the x-ray security staff would allow my bag through and put their sticker on to confirm the seal of approval. Check-in was simple and security/immigration wasn’t an issue either. The flight departed the gate 2 minutes late but even with holding over Dhaka the short-hop flight was still on the ground well before booked arrival time.
If there’s one thing that the Bangladeshi’s do well it’s bureaucracy and immigration looked like it was going to be a nightmare initially, with every lane being about 15-20 deep. I had a stroke of luck when a couple of desks opened up to deal with the rush though and went from back of the queue to front in seconds, without really realising what had just happened; but trust me, I wasn’t going to complain as I bet some were queuing for ages!
My bag was already on the carousel when I goth immigration and I didn’t waste any time at the airport after I’d collected it, other than to exchange some money; with the rate for GBP being TK110 to the £1. I “should” have taken the time to get a local sim card at the airport but as I’d spent RS995 while in India, to activate my Vodafone sim for international roaming, I didn’t think I’d need one. The fact that the fecking thing didn’t work the whole time I was in Bangladesh meant that I had needed one! That was a conversation I’d be having with Vodafone when I got back to the UK later but for the whole trip my only contact with the outside world would be when using WiFi in hotels. Chapter two of the trip was about to begin the moment I walked out of Dhaka airport…..
Gen for Saturday 14th December 2019
22797 MGS 13132 1645 (P) Patna Jn – Kolkata
16637 BWN 13149 1525 (P) Alipurduar Jn – Sealdah
36086 BGA ECS ex 13149 1525 (P) Alipurduar Jn – Sealdah plat 9B
22338 HWH 13104 0540 Lalgola – Sealdah (start Plassey 0710)
36092 BGA ECS ex 13104 0540 Lalgola – Sealdah plat 8
22863 ASN 12384 0645 Asansol Jn – Sealdah
36108 BGA ECS ex 12384 0645 Asansol Jn – Sealdah plat 9A
16265 BWN 13134 0835 (P) Varanasi Jn – Sealdah
36088 BGA ECS ex 13134 0835 (P) Varanasi Jn – Sealdah plat 9B
36091 BGA ECS for 53175 1240 Sealdah – Lalgola plat 8
23075 ASN 53175 1240 Sealdah – Lalgola
Moves for Saturday 14th December 2019
|22797||Madhupur Jn||Kolkata Chitpur||1645 (13/12) Patna Jn – Kolkata Chitpur||13132|
|36229||Kolkata Chitpur Paltform 3 West||Kolkata Chitpur Paltform 3 East||ECS ex 1750 (13/12) Radhikapur – Kolkata Chitpur|
|36112||Kolkata Chitpur Paltform 2 West||Kolkata Chitpur Paltform 2 East||ECS ex 1645 (13/12) Patna Jn – Kolkata Chitpur|
|Uber||Kolkata Chitpur||Sealdah||RS140, 25 minutes|
|36086||Sealdah Platform 9B South||Sealdah Platform 9B North||ECS ex 1525 (13/12) Alipurduar Jn – Sealdah|
|36092||Sealdah Platform 8 South||Sealdah Platform 8 North||ECS ex 13104 0540 Lalgola – Sealdah|
|36108||Sealdah Platform 9A South||Sealdah Platform 9A North||ECS ex 12384 0645 Asansol Jn – Sealdah|
|EMU||Sealdah||Bidhan Nagar Road||1115 Sealdah – Naihati||31421|
|16265||Bidhan Nagar Road||Sealdah||0835 (13/12) Varanasi Jn – Sealdah||13134|
|36088||Sealdah Platform 9B South||Sealdah Platform 9B North||ECS ex 13134 0835 (13/12) Varanasi Jn – Sealdah|
|36091||Sealdah Platform 8 North||Sealdah Platform 8 South||ECS for 53175 1240 Sealdah – Lalgola|
|23075||Sealdah||Dum Dum Jn||1240 Sealdah – Lalgola||53175|
|Uber||Dum Dum Jn||Kolkata Airport||RS180, 25 minutes|
|VT-IHK||Kolkata||Dhaka||1610 Kolkata – Dhaka||6E-1858|
|6510||Biman Bandar||Dhaka Kamlapur||0840 Khulna – Dhaka Kamlapur||763|
|6512||Dhaka Kamlapur||Biman Bandar||1700 Dhaka Kamlapur – Sirajgonj Bazar||776|
|2318||Biman Bandar||Dhaka Kamlapur||1300 Dewanganj Bazar – Dhaka Kamlapur||48|
|2407||Dhaka Kamlapur||Biman Bandar||2020 Dhaka Kamlapur – Noakhali||12|
Photos for Saturday 14th December 2019