Jonathan Lee

Worldly Images

India November/December 2014 (Northern India including Bihar)

With bits of what I wanted to do written down on scraps of paper it took some sorting out to fit it all in and inevitably some bits had to be left out as there just wasn’t time to cram it all in. The trip ultimately became a trek across northern India, all the way from Delhi to Kolkata and return. The key points being to spend time on the IZN MG network, spend some time in Darbhanga, do Shaktinagar, cover the weekly 11046 Dhanbad – Kolhapur and cover the Lalgola line; and while I was at it I couldn’t resist another look at the Konch branch to see if it was still WDS6 hauled since electrification.

I was joined on this trip by Aidy & Speedo, unfortunately the fourth member of our group had to cancel last minute as he’d misplaced his passport! Our best laid plans were already in a state of flux before we even set off, mainly in the Kolkata area as the loco links for the BWN WDM3A turn that worked throughout from Sealdah to Lalgola had changed at the July timetable change and rather than it work sociable trains with 1st class accommodation the turn now involved the rancid 0330 Sealdah – Lalgola; which was 2nd unreserved throughout! Other things would result in plan changes as we went along but mostly, things went according to plan……..

Flights

Booked through Austrian Airlines direct – £459.75
OS452 0905 Heathrow – Vienna, OS33 1300 Vienna – Delhi IGI
OS34 0220 Delhi IGI – Vienna, OS451 0640 Vienna – Heathrow

Hotels

BareillyHotel K Bareilly (RS900 for a double room without AC) – is just beyond the Swarn Towers, on the right hand side of the road as you walk away from the station, and having stayed there a few times there wasn’t a reason not to use it again. We had to wait to fill out the foreigner “C” forms as there were none left and some had to be copied before we could fill them out! The room was on the second floor and wasn’t particularly clean but a sheet put on the bed soon cured that issue. We opted for no AC as it was quite cold at night anyway but the water at the K Bareilly was piping hot so that made up for some of its shortfalls.

LucknowHotel Shelter (RS3672 for a double room with extra bed and AC) – a 5 minute walk from Lucknow Jct station and visible from the train as you arrive. We checked in at the start of the day and returned that night. There were issues when we returned though, firstly the extra bed hadn’t been put in the room like we’d asked, then there was no hot water. This resulting in no less than three trips downstairs to the front desk. Eventually the extra bed arrived and hot water had to be delivered in buckets. While the hotel room may have been decent by Indian standards I was less than impressed with the lack of services in a hotel that charged RS3672 for a double room and told the front desk so; of course this just fell on deaf ears and nobody seemed to care.

DarbhangaHotel AP Palace (RS3000 for a Super Deluxe twin room with extra bed) – RS35 in a cycle riskshaw from Darbhanga station, or a 15 minute walk if you have a map. I’d rang ahead and booked a few days prior but we were still given a choice of rooms and having looked at three different ones we opted for the Super Deluxe as it had twin beds instead of a double and had a lot more space to accommodate both us and the extra bed/mattress we needed on the floor. Food was via room service, the young lad looking after us was very attentive, almost to the point he was trying too hard to impress; but he meant well and even sprayed the room with air freshener and mosquito spray. The food took about 30 minutes to arrive but did so in dribs and drabs as opposed to all at once. After some running repairs to the shower tap and resetting the hot water system, so it actually heated, piping hot bucket showers followed. All in all we were well looked after and the staff were very helpful.

SamastipurHotel Swarg (RS1870 for a decent sized double room) – RS20 in a cycle riskshaw from the station or about an 8 minute walk. The hotel room was a decent size and ok, apart from the fact the water was turned off due to a leak under the sink, there was only one towel and the electricity sockets wouldn’t charge anything! Obviously we switched the water on and got a second towel to the room, however the electricity issue took a bit more to resolve and had one of the hotel staff bringing a rather dodgy looking four way adapter that he wired into another socket, stretched over the back of the bed and left by my side of the room. Food in the hotel restaurant was good but if you don’t like sharing the restaurant you eat in with cockroaches then I’d go somewhere else.

Azimganj – Hotel Aas Paas (RS1000 for a large room with two double beds, without AC) – opposite Azimganj City station, the hotel advertises “Dulax” rooms on the hoarding above its entrance. We were soon shown to a room with two large double beds and as the manager wasn’t around we were allowed to check in later. Hot water was provided courtesy of an element plugged into the wall and clipped onto a piece of wood balanced across the top of a bucket which allowed the element to hang in the water and heat it. Food is available at a “green” painted restaurant off the Azimganj Jct end of City platform.

DhanbadCocoon Hotel – (RS7255 for a large double room with two extra beds) – Having booked the hotel over the phone a few days previous all should have been well; but it wasn’t. The hotel were expecting us but it turned out the RS4100 I’d been quoted when making the reservation was for a single room and they’d reserved three single rooms for us and not one double with an extra bed as asked! Having explained the issue we were then given a room with a double bed and an extra bed for RS6455, which rose to RS7255 when tax was added. Having looked at the room I asked for two extra beds, as the room was big enough, which were eventually allowed and made up in the room while we waited and got ourselves sorted. We soon found out that the WiFi didn’t work in our room and that the window didn’t shut properly; the management’s answer to this being to wedge towels in the gap round the edge to form as good a seal as they could! Despite the issues and the costly room it was probably one of the best hotel rooms I’ve stayed in during my travels in India. It was very spacious, clean, had a decent sized bathroom with 24/7 hot water and even the extra beds (mattresses on the floor) were very comfortable.

VaranasiHotel Buddha – (RS3800 for a deluxe double room with extra bed) – The courtesy car for the Hotel Buddha was in the car park and a guy was waiting on the platform holding a piece of paper with my name on it. We were soon whisked round to the hotel, where we arrived just in time to quickly check-in and get some food ordered before the restaurant closed. As we’d used the hotel Buddha before the owner gave us a Deluxe room for the same price as the next one down the chain, it was more spacious and had that bit more room for the extra bed; not that there was much room to move anyway once the extra bed was in! I queried the price with the owner as our room was RS3800 yet for the exact same room only 2 years previous we’d paid only RS1400. His response was simply that the price hike was due to the rising prices in Varanasi.

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

 
Thursday 13th November 2014

Having stayed at Aidy’s overnight, if you could actually call it overnight, we were up and out for the 0536 train ex Ladywell into Charing Cross for the District Line to Hammersmith and the Piccadilly Line forward to Heathrow T123; we were at the airport for 0715, for a 0905 flight.

We absolutely breezed through security at terminal 2, there were no queues anywhere, and had time to spend a small fortune on breakfast at the Fullers restaurant air side before boarding. The Austrian Airlines flight was straightforward to Vienna, where we parked away from the main stands and had to be bussed to the main airport; this wasn’t so good if you only have a 45 minute connection like we had. Still, one guy only had 30 minutes for his plane but the on board staff told us we’d be fine as we’d landed on time.

Vienna airport is one of those where you have to go through a secondary security check, despite having already gone through one at your departure airport. This only adds frustration to tight connections, which you could see on everyone’s faces as they unpacked their hand luggage, again! Our frustration was added to when we found our plane delayed by an hour as we found the stand it was going from; yet it was already in and parked up at the gate.

All boarded, and almost ready to go, we backed off stand 45 minutes late; with a good half a dozen Indians still standing and walking about as we began our taxi to the runway. The staff on board seemed to be too busy to realise but thankfully all was well as we entered the runway half way down and then just did one!

The Moves

466025 Ladywell Charing Cross 0512 Hayes – Charing Cross
465162
465016
OE-LMB Heathrow Terminal 2 Vienna 0905 Heathrow – Vienna OS452 Austrian Airlines
OE-LAY Vienna Delhi IGI Terminal 3 1300 Vienna – Delhi OS33 Austrian Airlines

 

Friday 14th November 2014 (The SIM card registration; or not as the case was!)

The flight wasn’t so bad, but for the kids in the middle, opposite our row; which unfortunately earplugs didn’t drown out. Despite the late start though we arrived into Delhi only 30 late but then had to wait on the tarmac for another plane to vacate our allocated stand; at which point half the plane was up and getting their bags down. Needless to say the cabin crew had a job getting everyone to sit back down!

Immigration was simple but unfortunately the monetary exchange rate wasn’t the best at only 90 Rupees to the Pound; we could have actually got 92 to the Pound in the UK! We changed some though and once through customs I used some to buy a Vodafone sim card from the outlet in the foyer. This cost RS622 and the pack included RS311 credit and 1GB of data valid for 1 month from date of activation. A word of warning here is that I was charged RS1200 for the same deal the previous year; which I thought was a bit excessive at the time! The sim card isn’t activated immediately and once the sim registers itself with the network, in this case at about 1500 that afternoon, you then have to ring the customer services to verify your sim. This only involves confirming your name, phone number and local address in Delhi; the latter being a necessity for actually being able to get the sim in the first place.

There were two pre-pay taxi places next to the Vodafone place, both wanted RS1200 to take us to Delhi Cantt station, one backed down to RS900 as we walked away but both got dismissed completely on favour of the pre-pay stand outside the main doors, which only charged RS350 to Delhi Cantt. Our old Ambassador delivered us to a virtually deserted station in 20 minutes, just in time to watch ABR WDM3A 14029 run through with 19609 Ajmer – Haridwar.

In the station was newly built WDM3D 11562, the highest numbered one I’d seen, shunting some vans about the place; even when only shunting it really did sound good. The next engine we saw was TKD WDP3A 15537 as it arrived with our 54413 0320 Delhi Jct – Rewari passenger. It was an empty train, which we only did to Gurgaon. The thrash from the WDP3A was like music to the ears as it hammered through the morning darkness.

We barely had time for chai at Gurgaon as shortly after we arrived so did ABR WDM3A 16607 with 12982 Udaipur City – Delhi Sarai Rohilla Chetak Express; which was minus 1 off our passenger. There was plenty of room in sleeper class (SL) to stand back to Delhi Sarai Rohilla where we watched ABR WDM3A 16563 arrive with 12464 Jodhpur – Delhi Sarai Rohilla with IZN WDP4D 40136 dead inside. Following that was ABR WDM3A 18695 with 12458 Bikaner – Delhi Sarai Rohilla and going the other way was TKD WDP1 15035 with 54309 0520 Delhi Jct – Rewari passenger. We ultimately departed for Delhi Junction on 51916 0420 Farukh Nagar – Delhi Jct with TKD WDP1 15017.

The run into Delhi Jct wasn’t too bad, we were only held for a short while as a train crossed our path just outside, heading round the corner to New Delhi. A McDonald’s breakfast was scuppered by the fact that it was closed overnight for maintenance work and so didn’t open until approx. 0830. This resulted in Comesum providing us with a bag of samosas for breakfast which were consumed in the 2nd unreserved at the front of 14044 0720 Delhi Jct – Kotdwara; amidst a sea of stares from the locals that surrounded us. I think they were more interested in the way I was dipping my samosas in the tomato sauce than us in general.

Pioneer TKD WDP1 15001 was late away with 14044 and the usual stagger out of Delhi Jct, past the Red Fort and over the Jamuna Bridge, didn’t help but we still covered the 6km in the 16 minutes allowed and even still made the minus 16 onto 14042 Dehradun – Delhi Sarai Rohilla; which was just being announced as we stepped onto the platform. TKD WDM3A 16535 had the honour of whisking us straight back into Delhi Jct, where we had no choice but to wait for our planned train, 54021 0530 Bulandshahar – Hazrat Nizamuddin. This train covered the curve from Delhi Jct to New Delhi and then continued via the direct main line to Hazrat Nizamuddin. Only commuter trains covered the Old Delhi to New Delhi curve and with them now being extended to terminate at Hazrat Nizamuddin instead of Tilak Nagar it was a sensible move to get the track in with an Alco.

As the main screen on the concourse showed 54021 being 30 late we had a bit of time to watch Delhi Junction go by while we waited patiently on platform 5. There wasn’t much to watch other than a raft of military guys moving all their belongings about the station by flat barrow. Of course every barrow was well overloaded and each also seemed to have a gas canister balanced precariously on top. Luckily the barrow that did collapse only had baggage that sprawled everywhere; those guiding the barrow through the station apparently not doing a good enough job of preventing stuff from falling off. Thankfully the barrow loaded with the guns made it by us without an issue! All the army staff seemed to be about to police a rally/seminar as there were people scattered around the statin guiding people in a certain directions with banners that had some guy’s picture on it; the same had also been occurring at Sarai Rohilla.

While 54021 was being announced as arriving it looked like the plan might be down the plan as the loco looked like a WDP4 in the distance. Thankfully though it revealed itself to be a WDP3A as it got closed, so all was well, and 15506 and train didn’t hang around Delhi Jct for long, or New Delhi for that matter. As we departed New Delhi so did YKD WDP3A 15520 with 54012 0605 Rewari – Hazrat Nizamuddin which then ran parallel with us, stopping in the adjacent platforms to us, until it got priority over us into Hazrat Nizamuddin.

After an almost right time arrival into Hazrat Nizamuddin we wasted no time in seeking out the pre-pay auto stand outside the station and sorted out an auto to take us back to Delhi Cantt for RS185. The journey was about 17km and took 50 minutes, 5 of which were taken up refueling and another 5 when the auto shut down at some traffic lights, which required a stick and a spanner to resolve the issue!

As we arrived after 54412 0655 Meerut – Rewari should have gone we’d resigned ourselves to a short fester anyway but as we approached the station the crossing barriers were down and sure enough TKD WDM3A 16272 was just arriving with 54412, about 20 late. As it was dud though we flagged it anyway in favour of waiting to view 14546 Saharanpur – Farukh Nagar instead. While minding our own business drinking chai though a train could be heard in the distance and sure enough TKD WDP3A 15513 rolled in with a southbound passenger train. There’d been no announcement for it but the boards on the side confirmed it was 54085 0715 Delhi Jct – Rewari, which departed Delhi Cantt 3h20m late. The rake share boards on it showed 54075/6 which made sense as while we’d been at Delhi Jct waiting for 54021 an announcement had advised that a Shahjahanpur – Delhi Jct was running 5h30m late, which is exactly what 54075 is!

As we rolled into Palam BGKT WDP4D 40098 was doing so in the opposite platform with 14662 Barmer – Delhi Jct and whilst it might have been a GM it gave a quick opportunity to get back to Delhi Cantt for 14546, instead of having to wait at Palam for it. A quick ballast leap later and we were heading straight back to Delhi Cantt within minutes, having clambered into the 2AC before the train set off. From this point on the bash took a downward turn.

If only my Vodafone sim had activated itself before 1500 that afternoon, I’d have been able to work the move out around the late trains and with some degree of confidence that we wouldn’t end up watching 19407 Ahmedabad – Varanasi go through some shack as we watched on; this being the train we were booked on from Delhi to Bareilly. As it turned out TKD WDP1 15046 arrived with 14546 so that got flagged in favour of viewing 14311 Bareilly – Bhuj behind, which was instantly announced late after 14546 departed. What then happened was TKD WDP3A 15543 went in front of 14311 with 54421 1220 Delhi Jct – Rewari passenger and when IZN WDM3D 11345 rolled in behind the risk factor of doing it to Gurgaon, with a passenger to overtake in the meantime, was too high with only 15 minutes leeway. The other risk being that if the opposing working of 14312 Bhuj – Bareilly was took late we could end up watching 19407 hammering through Palam in front of it. As 11345 was departing ABR WDM3A 16842, which we couldn’t identify until it was too late to do 11345, was just approaching the platform end with 09705 Jaipur – Delhi Sarai Rohilla; which also got flagged. This ultimately resigning me to festering at Delhi Cantt from arriving in our auto to departing on 19407 as IZN WDM3D 11301 on 14312 wasn’t required either. Ironically VTA WDM3A 14070 on 19580 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Rajkot was but couldn’t be touched at that point.

Had the sim been activated the hindsight move would have likely been TKD WDP1 15035 to Delhi Sarai Rohilla on a Rewari – Delhi Passenger, which would have then allow us to have one of 11345 or 14070 and gone to Palam for 14322 as we’d have known how late everything was. It’s amazing how a little simple technology could have helped out with such a simple move; then again had the screens at Delhi Cantt actually displayed how late each train was then this would have also helped immensely. It also amazes me that in this day and age Indian Railways can provide an up to date online station listing for train running but can’t do the same on their stations. It was how it was though and Aidy did 11301 to Delhi Jct on 14312 in front of our booked 19407 while I waited for it, following very shortly behind. I’d half expected us to overtake 14312 at Delhi Sarai Rohilla but thankfully that didn’t happen and Aidy had just enough time to get off his train at Delhi Jct and walk over to the correct platform as VTA WDM3D 11125 rolled in with 19407.

At only 30 late away from Delhi Jct and with all 4 berths in our compo free we looked set to have a decent journey to Bareilly and a much needed nap took place after the TTE had checked our tickets. Unfortunately though the karma was soon spoilt at Moradabad when the TTE gave the spare berths to some commuter types who just chatted amongst themselves for the rest of the journey; which can only be described as a stagger.

We were 70 late into Bareilly and wasted no time getting our asses off the station and through the car park towards the group of hotels on statin road. If we’d had 100 Rupees for every offer of a rickshaw as we crossed the car park we’d have been able to pay for our next two nights of hotel! The Hotel K Bareilly is just beyond the Swarn Towers, on the right hand side of the road as you walk away from the station, and having stayed there a few times there wasn’t a reason not to use it again. A double room cost RS900 per night and we were soon checked in, although we had to wait to fill out the foreigner “C” forms as there were none left and some had to be copied before we could fill them out! The room was on the second floor, wasn’t particularly clean but a sheet put on the bed soon cured that issue. We opted for no AC as it was quite cold at night anyway but the water at the K Bareilly was piping hot so that made up for some of its shortfalls.

We used the Hotel Swarn Towers for food. It was god, freshly prepared and everything arrived at once, unlike on previous visits. The bill came to RS2100 though which was more than our hotel would cost for two nights! At approx. £22 it was quite steep for India but the food was worth it and we’d return the following night.

After our lengthy day there was definitely no persuasion needed to get to sleep that night; and after a piping hot bucket shower a much needed rest was very welcome indeed, after being on the go for so long.

The Moves

15537 Delhi Cantt Gurgaon 0320 Delhi Jct – Rewari Jct 54413 TKD WDP3A
16607 Gurgaon Delhi Sarai Rohilla 1715 (13/11) Udaipur City – Delhi Sarai Rohilla 12982 ABR WDM3A
15017 Delhi Sarai Rohilla Delhi Jct 0420 Farukh Nagar – Delhi Jct 51916 TKD WDP1
15001 Delhi Jct Delhi Shahdara Jct 0720 Delhi Jct – Kotdwara 14044 TKD WDP1
16535 Delhi Shahdara Jct Delhi Jct 2120 (13/11) Dehradun – Delhi Sarai Rohilla 14042 TKD WDM3A
15506 Delhi Jct Hazrat Nizamuddin 0530 Bulandshahar – Hazrat Nizamuddin 54021 TKD WDP3A – via New Delhi
Auto Hazrat Nizamuddin Delhi Cantt Pre-pay RS185, 17km, 45 minutes Autorickshaw
15513 Delhi Cantt Palam 0715 Delhi Jct – Rewari Jct 54085 TKD WDP3A
40098 Palam Delhi Cantt 1830 (13/11) Barmer – Delhi Jct 14662 BGKT WDP4D
11125 Delhi Cantt Bareilly Jct 2100 (13/11) Ahmedabad Jct – Varanasi Jct 19407 VTA WDM3D

 

Gen for Friday 14th November 2014
(Other than in the moves above)

14029 ABR WDM3A 19609 1950 (P) Ajmer – Haridwar
16563 ABR WDM3A 12464 1900 (P) Jodhpur – Delhi Sarai Rohilla (40136 IZN WDP4D dit)
15035 TKD WDP1 54309 0520 Delhi Jct – Rewari, 54310 0930 Rewari – Delhi Jct
30218 GZB WAP7 14095 0535 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Kalka
18695 ABR WDM3A 12458 2220 (P) Bikaner – Delhi Sarai Rohilla
15006 TKD WDP1 54641 0710 Delhi Jct – Firozpur
15520 TKD WDP3A 54012 0605 Rewari – Hazrat Nizamuddin
16374 TKD WDM3A 14007 2345 (P) Raxaul – Delhi Jct
40088 BGKT WDP4D 12462 2000 Jodhpur – Delhi Jct
16272 TKD WDM3A 54412 0655 Meerut Cantt – Rewari
15046 TKD WDP1 14546 0605 Saharanpur – Farukh Nagar
16798 ABR WDM2 12065 0545 Ajmer – Hazrat Nizamuddin
16662 LDH WDM3A 22451 1205 (P) Bandra Terminus – Chandigarh
15543 TKD WDP3A 54421 1220 Delhi Jct – Rewari
16842 ABR WDM3A 09705 0755 Jaipur – Delhi Sarai Rohilla
11345 IZN WDM3D 14311 0605 Bareilly Jct – Bhuj
11301 IZN WDM3D 14312 1225 (P) Bhuj – Bareilly Jct
14070 VTA WDM3A 19580 1310 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Rajkot
15537 TKD WDP3A 54415 1350 Delhi Jct – Rewari

The Photos


Saturday 15th November 2014 (In and out of the Bhojipura dustbowl)

An 0650 alarm call wasn’t exactly what we wanted but it did wake us up so at least we’d slept properly. We were straight up and out and managed to instantly flag n auto-rickshaw down outside the hotel; we didn’t argue when he told us it would be RS150 for the 5km journey to Izatnagar station and the cold morning journey took about 15 minutes as we pottered through the streets of rural Bareilly.

Outside the entrance to Izatnagar station there are plenty of vendors and omelettes were the breakfast item of choice, albeit only just cooked; the problem with bread omelettes in India being that the vendors don’t always cook them on both sides before adding the bread into the mix! Still, we survived and after investigating the station area we found YDM4’s 6761 & 6520 languishing around, both shut down, and 6451 at the head of 15309 0810 Izatnagar – Aishbagh “Ruhelkhand Express”. The train was a shadow of its former self with only 12 coaches; and having once upon a time had a 1st class coach as well. The new BG platforms at Izatnagar occupy the old MG yard space and there were only a couple of roads for MG stock to stable so it was with military precision when stock was shunted about the place.

6451 departed about 10 late with 15309 and while it wasn’t wedged it was quite full but we had seats at the front. As we rolled by Izatnagar loco shed we spotted newly delivered WDG4D’s 70308 & 70309 parked outside, along with some stock that had been out-shopped with dates of 13/11/14 & 14/11/14 on them. The GM’s didn’t seem to have moved at all recently as the wheels were rusty and their windows were covered in dust. Once by the shed 6451 was opened up properly and it was nice to hear the growl of a YDM4 again; the growl cut short as we were put inside at Dohna for a very late running 15315 Gonda – Izatnagar “Gokul Express” to run through with 6612 hammering away as the assistant loco pilot collected the token.

Bhojipura was quite busy and very, very dusty. There was a new road being built alongside the railway which involved a lot of cement, this also included what appeared to be the start of a new flyover to cross the railway which began its elevation just outside the station. Dust literally covered everything and the air looked like it was misty in the distance; you could taste the dust!

The new BG alignment at Bhojipura, onto the Lalkua line, crosses over the MG alignment to run into platform 3 at the far side of the station. Both the semaphore signal gantries, one off the Pilibhit line and one off the Lalkua line, have been replaced by colour light signals and the signal box has been half demolished; maybe to get the frame out as the box was devoid of everything!

6451 was held at Bhojipura and shortly after we arrived SSB WDM2 “jumbo” 17885 arrived with 55348 Lalkua – Bareilly City passenger; which was a dud SSB machine at that. We still did it the 4km to Dohna anyway and ended up in the ladies only coach behind the engine; only after a discussion with those that tried to prevent us from getting in, during which we pointed out the amount of men already sat in it! Once on board and moving we were also subject to a random grip by a female TTE who appeared to have never seen an Indrail Pass as she took mine and handed it to one of her colleagues to make sure it was ok.

After the short run to Dohna we didn’t have to wait long before IZN YDM4 6686 was in the distance with 52208 0715 Pilibhit – Izatnagar passenger. Our newly acquired college friends were used as a prop for the photo of it coming in; which they all seemed to enjoy before heading off the end of the platform to their college. 6686 was a monster and sounded very rough, a little like a Greek A9101, meaty from the turbos and loud.

Back at Izatnagar we had no time to do anything as 6686 was held outside Izatnagar heading in and didn’t arrive until after 0945; thus making 52203 0945 Izatnagar – Aishbagh a late start, this seemingly a theme at Izatnagar. IZN YDM4 6520 was at the head of the train, a YDM4 I’d only had once before but all the way from Mathura to Gonda when the Gokul Express had 2AC; unfortunately I missed doing Agra fort with MG.

As we were late we opted to get off at Bhojipura again and eat some more dust during the fester. We didn’t get much hassle at all from the locals, unlike on previous visits, and stood around drinking chai for a while before making ourselves scarce. As we’d suspected BG train 55352 0950 Lalkua – Bareilly City turned up before MG train 52204 0645 Tanakpur – Izatnagar and did so with SSB WDM2 18528; another dud one. It was still done to Dohna again though, where we looked to have a potential dilemma as 52204 was looking a bit dodgy for getting into Izatnagar by 1210 to allow 52215 1210 Izatnagar – Pilibhit to depart on time. We had the get-out option of doing 17885 back to Bhojipura if need be but the station master confirmed that 52204 was “coming” and no sooner did we walk out of his office did the horn sound in the distance.

IZN YDM4 6625 didn’t make it to Izatnagar by 1210 and as a result we didn’t even have time to get to the front of the train before 6681 departed with the 1210 Pilibhit, so ended up sitting at the rear; where there were plenty of seats anyway. The journey to Shahi wasn’t too bad and at least the group of youths that wanted to talk to us weren’t too in our faces. Having got off at Shahi to return to Izatnagar we withered the youths we’d been talking to and even more so when dud 6479 arrived with 52216 1300 Pilibhit – Izatnagar and we got back on again to go through to Pilibhit after photographing it arrive.

Unlike Bhojipura and Izatnagar, Pilibhit hadn’t changed at all and as we arrived the signal came off for something to arrive from the Mailani end of the station, which turned out to be IZN YDM4 6552 with 52232 1115 Shahjahanpur – Pilibhit, making for an excellent photograph as it arrived, with the semaphores as a backdrop. No sooner had it arrived did 6503 depart with 52230 1025 Tanakpur – Shahjahanpur and that was then our cue to get food before our train back towards Izatnagar arrived.

Aloo tikki is the staple food stuff at Pilibhit, which is basically hash browns with chickpeas on top, along with a sprinkling of spices to taste. One didn’t fill the hole so a second followed and for RS10 each why the hell not anyway eh?! After which we watched IZN YDM4 6444 arrive into Pilibhit’s bay platform with 52220 1210 Tanakpur – Pilibhit before figuring out that 6681 had shunted two coaches off the front of the train we’d arrived on and 6552 had replaced it on the stock to work 52221 1510 Pilibhit – Mailani forward, with the same stock, having left the stock it had arrived with from Shahjahanpur in the middle of the station.

IZN YDM4 6603 arrived 30 late with 15310 0720 Aishbagh – Izatnagar “Ruhelkhand Express” and after a nice hour at Pilibhit it did a good job of getting a move on back to Izatnagar. As the BG platforms at Bhojipura had been full of people when we departed we suspected that 55350 1400 Lalkua – Bareilly City hadn’t gone and sure enough it crept into Izatnagar as we scurried about to check the engine on the 1610 Izatnagar – Tanakpur and we only just made it over the footbridge in time to do it 17885 to Bareilly City; having discovered YDM4 6686 on the Tanakpur train.

The MG tracks towards Bareilly City remain intact and used but only for a short distance, for shunting stock out of the platforms and into the yard, about half way to Bareilly City the tracks have been dismantled and lay on their sides waiting to be collected. The old Bareilly City MG station is still used as a booking office and there’s now a new footbridge over to the newly built single platform that is what appears to be a temporary platform on the spur that leads onto the main line just outside Bareilly Junction. The MG statin was devoid of tracks and the track bed at the Bareilly Junction end of the station had piles of earth, maybe for earthworks for the BG tracks to be laid? There was a new BG platform right in the middle of what used to be Bareilly City’s carriage yard but nothing seemed to be underway to get tracks down and trains running through to Bareilly Junction again.

Our SSB jumbo was run round its stock quite quickly and the stock was then cleaned by a small army of young lads armed with brushes, water hoses and buckets. They just about managed to get all the vestibules hosed down before the booked departure time and then had to get the pipes off the stock to prevent us pulling way while they were still attached; we did manage to leave with some of their equipment still on board and it was quite comical watching them shouting into every vestibule until a set of dustpans and brushes were thrown out onto the tracks as we departed.

Back at Izatnagar again IZN YDM4 6603 had been turned straight round, after arriving at 1615 with 15310, to work 52207 1810 Izatnagar – Pilibhit, which we did back out to Bhojipura for an hour’s fester thanks to 52255 0630 Gonda – Izatnagar being over 3 hours late. After dark the air temperature cooled but hot chai warmed us up a bit while we tried not to inhale too much of the dust cloud that constantly covered Bhojipura station. Thankfully 6515, with 15313 1050 Aishbagh – Izatnagar, wasn’t too late at all and back at Izatnagar we soon found out how all the locals got back into Bareilly as the army of auto’s and share auto’s basically blocked the road up outside the station while they all tried to attract the same people for the journey back into town. Some auto owners even tried to man-handle people into their autos, just to get the fare. It turns out that its RS20 for one person from Izatnagar to Bareilly Junction, we negotiated for our own auto for RS100, which was a bargain compared to the RS150 we’d paid in the morning to get there.

We walked straight to the Hotel Swarn Towers for food and didn’t make the same mistake as the previous night when we really ordered too much. The food was prompt, piping hot and tasted very good; and was devoured as quickly as it was made.

The early-ish finish allowed us to use the Hotel K Bareilly’s best feature before calling it a day, its piping hot water to get a nice hot bucket shower and get rid of the day’s dust we’d accumulated in the Bhojipura area; it had been like riding around on MG trains in Rajasthan!

The Moves

6451 Izatnagar Bhojipura Jct 0810 Izatnagar – Aishbagh 15309 IZN YDM4
17885 Bhojipura Jct Dohna 0725 Lalkua Jct – Bareilly City 55348 SSB WDM2 (Jumbo)
6686 Dohna Izatnagar 0715 Pilibhit Jct – Izatnagar 52208 IZN YDM4
6520 Izatnagar Bhojipura Jct 0945 Izatnagar – Aishbagh 52243 IZN YDM4
18528 Bhojipura Jct Dohna 0950 Lalkua Jct – Bareilly City 55352 SSB WDM2
6625 Dohna Izatnagar 0645 Tanakpur – Izatnagar 52204 IZN YDM4
6681 Izatnagar Pilibhit Jct 1210 Izatnagar – Pilibhit Jct 52215 IZN YDM4
6603 Pilibhit Jct Izatnagar 0720 Aishbagh – Izatnagar 15310 IZN YDM4
17885 Izatnagar Bareilly City 1400 Lalkua Jct – Bareilly City 55350 SSB WDM2 (Jumbo) – new BG platform on curve to main line
17885 Bareilly City Izatnagar 1715 Bareilly City – Lalkua Jct 55349 SSB WDM2 (Jumbo) – new BG platform on curve to main line
6603 Izatnagar Bhojipura Jct 1810 Izatnagar – Pilibhit Jct 52207 IZN YDM4
6515 Bhojipura Jct Izatnagar 1050 Aishbagh – Izatnagar 15313 IZN YDM4

 

Gen for Saturday 15th November 2014
(Other than in the moves above)

IZN YDM4s
6440 52220 1240 Tanakpur – Pilibhit
6479 52216 1300 Pilibhit – Izatnagar
6503 52230 1025 Tanakpur – Shahjahanpur
6511 15314 2030 Izatnagar – Gonda
6552 52232 1115 Shahjahanpur – Pilibhit, 52221 1510 Pilibhit – Mailani
6612 15315 1955 (P) Gonda – Izatnagar
6686 52203 1610 Izatnagar – Tanakpur
6761 IZN station pilot

The Photos


Sunday 16th November 2014 (Omelette revelations at Izatnagar)

We were up and out by 0700 again and ended up paying RS150 again for the auto to Izatnagar, despite having managed to pay only RS10 the previous night. It was a cool morning and the journey through the waking suburbs only made us colder as we rumbled through the streets. A warm, half cooked, omelette and chai at Izatnagar started the day off again but unfortunately there aren’t any cloak room facilities there so we had to cart our big bags around all day with us.

IZN YDM4 6612 was provided for 15309 0800 Izatnagar – Aishbagh “Ruhelkhand Express”; we’d passed it at Dohna the previous morning as it hammered through Dohna with the late Gokul Express from Gonda. On this occasion however the late Gokul Express was already sat in at Dohna and 6612 hammered through in the opposite direction; unfortunately the IZN YDM4 heading the Gokul Express was new 6753. The previous day 6612 hadn’t been turned back out of Izatnagar at all so it wasn’t looking likely that 6753 would either; still there was hope……

We weren’t long at Bhojipura, thankfully. The dust situation seemed to have worsened if anything. SSB WDM2 18528 appeared with 55348 0725 Lalkua – Bareilly City, having swapped turns from the previous day, and was duly flagged in favour of the MG train, 52208 0750 Pilibhit – Izatnagar, behind which turned up with a bit of a surprise in IZN YDM4 6533, which was new!

It was a straight run back into Izatnagar where 6479 was sat waiting with 52243 0945 Izatnagar – Aishbagh passenger; another loco, like 6612, that had been turned back out from IZN the day after arriving in. Back at Bhojipura we didn’t have long to wait for the second time that morning and had the advantage of both BG 55352 0950 Lalkua – Bareilly City and MG 52204 0645 Tanakpur – Izatnagar in the station at the same time. IZN YDM4 6686 departed first with the later and SSB WDM2 17779 shortly afterwards with the former; we did the BG to get the track in from Dohna to Izatnagar and overtook 6686 waiting at Dohna in the process.

Snacks were accumulated at Izatnagar before the afternoon jaunt to Pilibhit, or Shahi, on board 52215 1210 Izatnagar – Pilibhit. The train was fuller than the previous day and unfortunately 52216 1300 Pilibhit – Izatnagar was already sat in at Shahi with 6451 so there was no bonus photo opportunity of it arriving. We continued on to Pilibhit to find IZN YDM4 6466 waiting to go with 52230 1025 Tanakpur – Shahjahanpur and the signal already off for 52232 1115 Shahjahanpur – Pilibhit to arrive. It made for a good photo again as 6571 arrived with the train, bizarrely via a different line to that which it had the previous day.

Having seen how things had happened the previous day we opted to walk up to the signal box and asked how long it would be before 52220 1240 Tanakpur – Pilibhit arrived; the answer being 10 minutes. The same person also confirmed that 15310 0720 Aishbagh – Izatnagar “Ruhelkhand Express” would be 30 minutes so we hung around in the shade of the box waiting for the signal to come off on the Tanakpur branch; videoing 6466 depart with 52230 in the meantime, on my phone, the horn unfortunately making it a bit rubbish.

When the signal came off for 52220 to arrive we started to head down the tracks to photograph the train on the curve by the semaphores but were caught out as the horn we heard was actually coming from the main line behind us; neither of us having heard or seen the signal being pulled off for the Ruhelkhand Express to arrive! IZN YDM4 6591 was already past us and into the station before we could get anywhere near the platform and we had to get a bit of a shift on; all of which turned out to be needless as the train was held for 15 minutes to await the arrival of what turned out to be IZN YDM4 6444 with 52220 from Tanakpur! At least we ended up with time to get some piping hot samosas and cold pop for the journey; which we needed to recover from our mad dash down the tracks, thankfully the train was empty at the rear.

It was evident at Bhojipura that we were heading back into Izatnagar in front of 55350 1400 Lalkua – Bareilly City and NTES confirmed we’d be into Izatnagar before it so we stayed on 6591 to its destination where we found 6686 on 52203 1610 Izatnagar – Tanakpur with Speedo stood in a vestibule waiting to depart with it. It turned out to be a brief chat as we had to get over the footbridge to do 55350 to Bareilly City with SSB WDM2 18528; to pass the time before the next MG departure from Izatnagar.

As it had been the previous day the loco off 15310 from Aishbagh was used to work 52207 1810 Izatnagar – Pilibhit, which we did out to Bhojipura. Shortly before departure IZN YDM4’s 6700 & 6755 turned up from the shed, we assumed these would be for 15314 2030 Izatnagar – Gonda “Gokul Express” and 15307 2210 Izatnagar – Aishbagh “Nainital Express”; the latter being new for me so we departed with fingers crossed for 6755 to be on the Nainital Express, which we’d be doing to Aishbagh later that night.

At Bhojipura we checked outside to see if there was any transport available back towards Izatnagar just in case 6755 did the Gokul Express out; however there was nothing at all but lorries passing by, churning up the dust on the road as they did so. As 52255 0630 Gonda – Izatnagar was showing 3h20m late there was no option to get back into Izatnagar for the Gokul Express anyway so we happily festered in the dark at Bhojipura for 15313 1050 Aishbagh – Izatnagar to arrive with IZN YDM4 6552 with Speedo wedged into a vestibule looking a bit worse for wear after his long journey from the UK.

6700 was at Izatnagar waiting to go with 15314 2030 Izatnagar – Gonda “Gokul Express” which could surely only mean good news on the 6755 front, which was nowhere to be seen? What we did find on the Gokul’s set was two 2nd unreserved coaches with Sleeper chalked on their sides and no Sleeper coach at all in the set! I’m betting that would have been an interesting night with a reservation in SL class? Thankfully we worked out that the set should be heading in the opposite direction to us in 3 nights time when we’d be doing the Gokul Express from Gonda to Izatnagar!

We let the chaos that the auto’s for Bareilly caused outside the station die down before heading out to get some food before our overnight and even tried a different omelette wallah; these being far better than the ones we’d had in the morning so we all had two each! At least they were fully cooked through before being served.

There appeared to be a reason why we couldn’t find 6755 when we arrived back into Izatnagar as it was literally nowhere to be seen and 6552 had been turned straight round off 15313 and was being bolted to 15307 2210 Izatnagar – Aishbagh as we got back onto the station. The Nainital Express seemed to now be a shadow of its former self with just load 12 and only one 2AC coach; when it used to run to Lalkua it could be anything up to load 20 with sometimes two 2AC coaches in the consist. While the 2AC wasn’t fully loaded there was someone else getting in our compartment at Pilibhit, after midnight, as is always the way. To prevent the faff factor we took the liberty of making his bed up for him! Even if said person hadn’t been getting in at Pilibhit we’d still have been woken by the very idiot that managed to get the wrong compartment and hammered on the door to get in. Between Izatnagar and Pilibhit the temperature in the compartment had gone from nicely warm to absolutely freezing so once our new entrant had clambered into his berth it was under the covers and lights out for some sleep in what turned out to be a very rickety 2AC coach indeed!

The Moves

6612 Izatnagar Bhojipura Jct 0810 Izatnagar – Aishbagh 15309 IZN YDM4
6533 Bhojipura Jct Izatnagar 0715 Pilibhit Jct – Izatnagar 52208 IZN YDM4
6479 Izatnagar Bhojipura Jct 0945 Izatnagar – Aishbagh 52243 IZN YDM4
17779 Bhojipura Jct Izatnagar 0950 Lalkua Jct – Bareilly City 55352 SSB WDM2
6721 Izatnagar Pilibhit Jct 1210 Izatnagar – Pilibhit Jct 52215 IZN YDM4
6591 Pilibhit Jct Izatnagar 0720 Aishbagh – Izatnagar 15310 IZN YDM4
18528 Izatnagar Bareilly City 1400 Lalkua Jct – Bareilly City 55350 SSB WDM2 – new BG platform on curve to main line
18528 Bareilly City Izatnagar 1715 Bareilly City – Lalkua Jct 55349 SSB WDM2 – new BG platform on curve to main line
6591 Izatnagar Bhojipura Jct 1810 Izatnagar – Pilibhit Jct 52207 IZN YDM4
6552 Bhojipura Jct Izatnagar 1050 Aishbagh – Izatnagar 15313 IZN YDM4
6552 Izatnagar Lucknow City 2210 Izatnagar – Aishbagh 15307 IZN YDM4

 

Gen for Sunday 16th November 2014
(Other than in the moves above)

IZN YDM4s
6444 52220 1240 Tanakpur – Pilibhit
6451 52216 1300 Pilibhit – Izatnagar
6466 52230 1025 Tanakpur – Shahjahanpur
6686 52204 0645 Tanakpur – Izatnagar, 52203 1610 Izatnagar – Tanakpur
6700 15314 2030 Izatnagar – Gonda
6753 15315 1955 (P) Gonda – Izatnagar
6761 IZN station pilot

Other
18528 SSB WDM2 55347 1100 Bareilly City – Lalkua

The Photos


Monday 17th November 2014 (The Unnao fiasco)

The alarm calls at 0610 woke everyone up in the compartment; eventually! A quick scan out of the window revealed we were sat in the platform at Daliganj, bang on time. As we were on time we had the planned option to get off at Lucknow City and do 18191 Chhapra – Farrukhabad into Lucknow Junction; which would save on having to do a cycle rickshaw from Aishbagh to Lucknow Charbagh instead. NTES showed 18191 being over an hour late but also showed 15007 Mandaudhi – Lucknow Jct as being 90 late, which would be a bit of a bonus train to do as it should have departed Lucknow City at 0518 and would now be in front of 18191 into Lucknow.

The first thing we needed as we alighted at Lucknow was a good cup of chai to start the day off, unfortunately there are no longer any chai stalls, or food stalls of any description, on the station at Lucknow City, either MG or BG platforms, so we had to wait for chai. Having seen IZN YDM4 6449 pass us at Daliganj with 52250 0550 Aishbagh – Sitapur we also saw a few other trains heading out of Lucknow while we waited for 15007 to arrive; IZN WDP4D 40140 ran through with 13020 Kathgodam – Howrah (Bagh Express), unfortunately a recent train to start getting WDP4s vice Alco’s, LKO WDM3D 11147 arrived and departed with 55050 0515 Lucknow Jct – Gonda Jct passenger, over an hour late, and GD WDM3A 14133 arrived and departed with 19039 Bandra Terminus – Muzaffarpur, which we could have probably made had we gone into Aishbagh and done a rickshaw to Lucknow Jct!

GD WDM3D 11327, recently transferred from IZN, arrived into Lucknow City approx. 2h30m late and as a result of 18191 being well down the pan behind it we opted, upon arrival, to get a hotel sorted in Lucknow for that night, as opposed to legging it across to Lucknow Charbagh to view 14123 and 14221 towards Kanpur Central. We spotted the Hotel Shelter from the train as we rolled into Lucknow Junction and it took us about 7 minutes to negotiate the traffic en-route and get to the front door. We explained to the staff behind the front desk that we were in a rush and just wanted to drop our bags and get on with our day, which would have us returning to the hotel round about 2300 that night. Unfortunately this didn’t prevent the farce with paperwork when checking in to a hotel in India and once we’d done that, paid for the room and dumped the bags in the room we’d probably lost about 20 minutes.

Despite our longer than anticipated check-in and bag dump we were on the platform at Lucknow Charbagh before 14123 Pratapgarh – Kanpur Central had arrived; so all in all everything worked out and had we decided not to sort the hotel we’d have been kicking ourselves when we’d actually realized we’d had time to do what we’d just done and not carry the big bags around with us all day.

While drinking the first chai of the day, on a wedged platform 5 at Lucknow Charbagh, we watched CNB WAG7 27998 arrive dragging an EMU on what we could only assume was 64202 0500 Kanpur Central – Lucknow Charbagh, running about 90 late. This was based on the fact that 64203 0720 Lucknow Charbagh – Kanpur Central was being announced when it arrived. I’d never seen an EMU drag in India before and was quite surprised, however the WAG7 didn’t return to Kanpur as we saw the EMU working 64203 later in the morning; it seems that local EMU’s on the Lucknow – Kanpur circuit are anything but right time!

With there being two express trains towards Kanpur within 20 minutes there were a lot of folk jostling on the platform as LKO WDM3A 16322 brought 14123 Pratapgarh – Kanpur Central in; it being an Intercity Express and fully unreserved. Thankfully we found space in the vestibule of the disabled coach at the rear of the train and just as we were departing a LKO WDM3D was just arriving with 14221 Faizabad – Kanpur Anwarganj; but we couldn’t spot it through all the stock in between us and it as we departed.

We were off at Unnao Jct amidst a mass boarding operation, luckily of us our coach was off the back of the platform and we got off onto the ballast away from the mad rush. We soon thought we might be Lucknow bound again when GD WDG3A 14719 rolled in dragging a DMU but it turned out that it was an empty stock and 14719 just kept on rolling right through without stopping. Our plan for the afternoon needed us to be on 54212 1420 Kanpur Central – Rae Bareli Jct so we could do the elusive bit of track between Dalmau Jct & Daryapur Jct, something that I’d attempted twice before and failed miserably on, and as such we didn’t really have much of a plan just a time to be at Kanpur Central by.

The first train to arrive Kanpur bound was ironically 54211 Rae Bareli Jct – Kanpur Central, the inbound working for our train to Rae Bareli that afternoon, but the loco on the front soon has us a little worried about our afternoon plans when BGKT WDP4 12279 came to a stand with its load five rake. The Kanpur to Rae Bareli and Balamau passengers share rakes and are almost exclusively worked by LKO Alco’s so a GM of any kind, let alone a BGKT one, is quite a rare working indeed. We were hoping though that said BGKT GM wasn’t turned back round for 54212 that afternoon and while pondering the potential issues that the afternoon could bring LKO WDM3D 11173, the one we hadn’t been able to see at Charbagh, arrived with 14221 Faizabad – Kanpur – Anwarganj. As it wasn’t a required one we flagged it in favour of doing 18191 behind, which would hopefully produce something interesting; everything was that late going into Kanpur that we had no chance of making 15037 1045 Kanpur Central – Farrukhabad anyway so there was no rush to get there anymore.

12279 departed for Kanpur with 54211 after 11173 had departed with 14221 and then GD WDM3A 16594 arrived with another load five rake on 57335 Balamau – Kanpur Central passenger; this was ultimately held for 18191 Chhapra – Farrukhabad “Utsarg Express” to overtake it and when UDL WDG3A 13187 arrived with the latter there was no persuading needed for us to be in the luggage van right behind the engine as 18191 departed Unnao. As 18191 wasn’t far behind 54211 we ended up being stopped at Magarwara to await the section ahead being cleared. Of course we took this opportunity to get off and wait for 16594 behind with 54335.

NTES had showed 54335 as having departed Unnao yet CNB WAG7 27443 still got the road first and was Kanpur bound before 16594 was even in sight. When it did turn up the train was wedged, with people on the engine and hanging out of the doors. People on the engine we gesturing to us to wait for the local EMU behind but that wasn’t what we’d be doing at all and we managed to get into the train at the front. The 11km journey to Kanpur then took an hour as we hung around at signals, by the time we got there, there wasn’t anything we could do before our 1420 departure to Rae Bareli anyway so we headed out to the Hotel Raja Seth for lunch; the opportunity was also taken to book two rooms for three days’ time while we waited for the food to be cooked and after a decent meal we were back on the station with just over an hour to kill before our 1420 departure to Kanpur set sail.

As we’d half expected GD WDM3A 16594 was dropped onto the load 5 set in platform 6 to work 54212 1420 Kanpur Central – Rae Bareli; at least it wasn’t 12279, which was shut down in the station area. The shunt driver who’d dropped 16594 onto the set had initially told me the train was for Balamau and had to confirm it was the Rae Bareli set over the radio, then away he went to drop LKO WDG3A 13658 onto the Balamau set which would form 54336 1520 Kanpur Central – Balamau.

Seats claimed for the 4h40m journey to Rae Bareli, snacks, water & pop was gathered before the journey commenced, a journey that initially tried to commence at 1435, with the train only 15 minutes late, but didn’t do so due to brake issues on the train. This little issue cost us 30 minutes and we were Rae Bareli bound eventually 45 minutes late. Worst case scenario we had a plus 2h01m at Rae Bareli for 14511 Allahabad – Saharanpur back to Lucknow so the 45 late start wasn’t a cause for concern but a cause for concern soon mounted as time went by at Unnao Jct and we sat and sat and sat. When we reached 2 hours late we had no real choice but to abandon the move and with it the track between Dalmau & Daryapur, for a third time! The saying 3rd time lucky clearly wasn’t applying on this day! Having attempted to find out from the station master what the problems were, I wasn’t really much wiser as all he could tell me was that there was a problem with a train. Eventually a WDG4 came off the Dalmau line with a lengthy freight and 54212 left shortly afterwards. The sound of the horn, when the driver blew up to indicate he had the road, brought about cheers from the locals on the platform and mass panic ensued as everyone dashed about to find their seats, or standing space; the train having been absolutely wedged when we got off.

Move down the pan we’d managed to spend from 1100 to 1800 going Unnao – Kanpur Central and back and mainly with the same engine! We’d also watched LKO WDG3A 13658 arrive and depart with 54336 for Balamau and now had to rely on NTES to salvage some of the day. We had options of a very late 12875 Puri – New Delhi or slightly late 11110 Lucknow Jct – Jhansi to Kanpur Central for a choice of trains back to Lucknow but that move soon went down the pan when 11110 arrived with CNB WAP4 22583 and 12875 just got later and later and didn’t show up before we eventually departed on 12143 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Sultanpur with JHS WDM3D 11292; which had stopped out of course at Unnao, probably waiting for the section to be cleared by KTE WDG3A 14950 which had unfortunately passed through non-stop with 15269 Muzaffarpur – Ahmedabad shortly before.

We had a decent run to Lucknow and upon arrival at Charbagh used the Comesum on platform 1 for food before heading to the Hotel Shelter; where things just continued to go wrong. Firstly the extra bed hadn’t been put in the room like we’d asked, then there was no hot water. This resulting in no less than three trips downstairs to the front desk. Eventually the extra bed arrived and hot water had to be delivered in buckets. While the hotel room may have been decent by Indian standards I was less than impressed with the lack of services in a hotel that charged RS3672 for a double room with extra bed and told the front desk so; of course this just fell on deaf ears and nobody seemed to care. Why should they of course, they already had our money and knew we didn’t really have an option to go elsewhere at that stage. Having drawn straws for the extra bed and all thankful of a hot shower bed couldn’t have come soon enough that night; and we were all glad that our beds weren’t swaying from side to side as if we’d been on a ship, like they had been the previous night!

The Moves

11327 Lucknow City Lucknow Jct 1640 (16/11) Mandaudih – Lucknow Jct 15007 GD WDM3D
16322 Lucknow Charbagh Unnao Jct 0435 Pratapgarh Jct – Kanpur Central 14123 LKO WDM3A
13187 Unnao Jct Magarwara 1905 (16/11) Chhapra Jct – Farrukhabad Jct 18191 UDL WDG3A
16594 Magarwara Kanpur Central 0700 Balamau Jct – Kanpur Central 57335 GD WDM3A
16594 Kanpur Central Unnao Jct 1420 Kanpur Central – Rae Bareli Jct 54212 GD WDM3A – 2h42m late dep Unnao; had to get off as a result
11292 Unnao Jct Lucknow Charbagh 1640 (16/11) Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Sultanpur Jct 12143 JHS WDM3D

 

Gen for Monday 17th November 2014
(Other than in the moves above)

IZN YDM4’s
6449 52250 0550 Aishbagh – Sitapur
6531 15310 0720 Aishbagh – Izatnagar

Other
40140 IZN WDP4D 13020 2155 (P) Howrah – Kathgodam
11147 LKO WDM3D 55050 0550 Lucknow Jct – Gonda Jct
14133 GD WDM3A 19039 2240 (P) Bandra Terminus – Muzaffarpur
27998 CNB WAG7 64202 0500 Kanpur Central – Lucknow Charbagh (dragging EMU)
11173 LKO WDM3D 14221 0505 Faizabad – Kanpur Anwarganj
12279 BGKT WDG4 54211 0510 Rae Bareli – Kanpur Central (vice LKO WDMx)
18746 JHS WDM3A 51813 0250 Jhansi – Lucknow Charbagh (DUW throughout)
11270 JHS WDM3D 15015 0635 Gorakhpur – Yesvantpur
13658 LKO WDG3A 54336 1520 Kanpur Central – Balamau
22029 GZB WAP1 12179 1555 Lucknow Jct – Agra
14950 KTE WDG3A 15269 2115 Muzaffarpur – Ahmedabad
22003 AJJ WAP1 16094 1620 Lucknow Jct – Chennai Central
22583 CNB WAP4 11110 1640 Lucknow Jct – Jhansi
16024 GD WDM3A 12587 1405 Gorakhpur – Jammu Tawi

The Photos


Tuesday 18th November 2014 (A pleasant surprise on the Gonda MG)

As we were only a few minutes’ walk from Lucknow Junction we had the luxury of leaving a small amount of time to get from pillow to platform and an 0650 alarm call gave enough time to both check on NTES that 15108 Mathura – Chhapra was on time and get to the station with plenty of time to get supplies before the booked 0745 departure. GD WDM3D 11330, recently transferred from IZN, was just arriving onto the blocks at platform 1 as we got onto the station so we had the time it would take to run the loco round to gather supplies and find our 3AC coach.

The run to Gonda Jct was quite a good one and we were only 25 late upon arrival. In an attempt to get rid of our big bags for the day we went in search of a cloak room. At the station masters office we were told there wasn’t one at Gonda Jct yet at the information window on platform 1 we were directed to the Gorakhpur end of platform 1, where sure enough there was a parcels office that also acted as a cloak room. Bags dumped we were able to roam about a bit more freely and headed over to the MG platforms to start the day’s moves.

IZN YDM4 6603 was already sat with the stock for 52257 1120 Gonda – Mailani and when it departed right time not only were we surprised at that but also at how empty the train was and once into the journey at just how fast the line was; all of this being a very pleasant surprise as we’d been expecting everything to be late, the trains to be heaving and the line to be a stagger! I was left to my own devices after we crossed IZN YDM4 6503 heading into Gonda with 52254 0250 Mailani – Gonda and the others got off for it. I only went out as far as Bangain, where 52257 crossed 52268 0825 Nepalganj Road – Gonda, for 6503 back in on 52268; which was surprisingly empty itself.

Back at Gonda Aidy & Speedo were already camped out in the front coach of 52263 1330 Gonda – Nepalganj Road, headed by IZN YDM4 6756. As Speedo was doing the train throughout and couldn’t get back into Gonda for the Gokul Express that night he had to trek over to the cloak room and retrieve his bag. In doing so he caused a bit of consternation as when redeeming a receipt all of the bags listed on it should be collected so in the end he had to pay for all the bags and then put Aidy’s and mine back in on another ticket for us to collect later.

6756’s train wasn’t wedged either and had just as good a run out of Gonda as the previous train we’d done with 6603. At Payagpur Aidy & I bode farewell to Speedo for the day as we got off to head back into Gonda. NTES was showing 52258 0620 Mailani – Gonda as being about 60 late so we weren’t surprised when 6756 departed without crossing 52258 at Payagpur.

It was evident at all the MG stations in the Gonda area that BG works had commenced quite a long while ago as BG platforms already existed at most places and looked to have been built some time ago judging by the grass and weeds growing on them. There didn’t seem to be any evidence of trackworks anywhere though, with no sleepers being dumped alongside the tracks and no other earthworks taking place; this could only be a good thing for the old MG.

During our time at Payagpur we were left to our own devices and were allowed to roam around the station without being followed. It was a pleasant station with plenty of tree cover giving respite from the afternoon sunshine. At least there were “facilities” provided at Payagpur even if their signs were wrongly spelt and the women’s were as exposed, if not more so, than the men’s to the outside world watching you go about your business; not that it put either sex off using said facilities! Also roaming about in the station area was a guy who appeared to be walking a bird. He had a cage with him and allowed the small bird to walk around the greenery surrounding the tracks to feed and when it looked to be distressed by its surroundings he simply put the cage down, opened the door and the bird made its own way into the cage and away from any danger it might have faced. I couldn’t quite figure out what the bird was being kept for but as with most things in India it must have served a purpose as there are very few animals kept as pets.

IZN YDM4 6444 arrived with 52258 about an hour late and had us back into Gonda with plenty of time to figure out our next move. Our plan had been to do 52259 1620 Gonda – Mailani back out and had things gone as they should do we could have done four more moves on the MG before our planned 15315 Gonda – Izatnagar “Gokul Express” at 1950. However one of the inbound trains came from Izatnagar and a check of the previous days 52256 0500 Izatnagar – Gonda had shown it to have arrived into Gonda 2h40m late the previous day at 2105, and it was already showing as over 2 hours late on this day, and the 1925 arrival of 52264 1530 Nepalganj Road – Gonda was cutting things a bit fine and would leave us without food time so we hatched a plan on the BG instead.

Our planned BG move was soon down the pan as well. We figured out we could do 19040 Muzaffarpur – Bandra to Colonelganj for 15204 Lucknow Jct – Barauni back but as 19040 was so late 15204 arrived into Gonda first and 19040 actually ended up missing the Gokul Express completely as it was over 3 hours late in the end. To try and claw something back for the evening we attempted to have a go at doing GD WDM2 “jumbo” 17830 (works plate showing POH July 1997) to Gonda Kacheri on 55031 1725 Gonda – Lucknow Jct passenger for a cycle rickshaw back. Having confirmed with locals on the platform that there would be cycle rickshaws at Kacheri and also figuring out on Google maps how far it actually was by road we were all set to do the move. India Railways put pay to that though as it departed too late for us to do it, get back, collect our bags and find something to eat so we watched it leave, probably never to have it again, went to collect our bags and found whatever food we could from the platform vendors. As Gonda is quite a busy station the food vendors are constantly on the go and you don’t have to wait long for fresh stuff to be produced. Unfortunately there is nothing around Gonda station in the form of a restaurant so vendor food had to do.

As it turned out we had 4 hours of festering at Gonda that afternoon/evening during which we had at least 3 different move plans taken away from us. IZN YDM4 6444 was turned round to work 52265 1835 Gonda – Nepalganj Road, leaving 6503 as the only YDM4 in the station area for our Gokul Express that night. SGUJ WDP4 20052 passed through with 15651 Guwahati – Jammu Tawi “Lohit Express” and closely on its heels was special 04975 Muzaffarpur – Katra with a surprise in the form of KGP WDM3A 16231.

The stock for 15315 1950 Gonda – Izatnagar “Gokul Express” was shunted in by IZN YDM4 6503, which then ran round and was bolted to the stock. Thankfully the train’s consist did have a sleeper class coach in it, unlike the set we’d seen a couple of nights ago at Izatnagar. The SL coach TTE was accompanied on board by no less than 4 armed RPF and he was very good at making sure all the doors were closed and locked after station stops. As there seemed to be no light switch to turn out the light in the adjacent corridor I had to undo the housing and twist the bulb out to get it to turn out but nobody seemed to mind. With a bed made up on an upper berth using a sheet from a 2AC train and a nice new blanket bought at a stall outside Lucknow Junction station the previous night everything was well before our booked departure and no sooner had IZN YDM4 6552 arrived with 52264 1530 Nepalganj Road – Gonda did we get the road and depart, right time. We told the TTE that Speedo would be getting on at Bahraich so as he would actually be able to gain access to the train and were actually asleep when he did get on. As with the morning’s moves I’d been expecting the SL class on the Gokul to possibly be a free for all but it was pleasant, not wedged and the TTE did his best to give everyone the opportunity to get a decent night’s sleep.

The Moves

11330 Lucknow Jct Gonda Jct 2315 (17/11) Mathura Jct – Chhapra Jct 15108 GD WDM3D
6603 Gonda Jct Bangain 1120 Gonda Jct – Mailani Jct 52257 IZN YDM4
6507 Bangain Gonda Jct 0825 Nepalganj Road – Gonda Jct 52268 IZN YDM4
6756 Gonda Jct Payagpur 1330 Gonda Jct – Nepalganj Road 52263 IZN YDM4
6444 Payagpur Gonda Jct 0620 Mailani Jct – Gonda Jct 52258 IZN YDM4
6503 Gonda Jct Shahi 1950 Gonda Jct – Izatnagar 15315 IZN YDM4

 

Gen for Tuesday 18th November 2014
(Other than in the moves above)

IZN YDM4
6503 52254 0250 Mailani – Gonda
6507 52259 1620 Gonda – Mailani
6444 52265 1835 Gonda – Nepalganj Road
6552 52264 1530 Nepalganj Road – Gonda

Other
17830 GD WDM2 55031 1725 Gonda Jct – Lucknow Jct
20052 SGUJ WDP4 15651 1315 (P) Guwahati – Jammu Tawi
16231 KGP WDM3A 04975 0725 Muzaffarpur – Katra special

The Photos


Wednesday 19th November 2014 (Why is the Gokul Express always so late?)

Thankfully it hadn’t been cold on board the Gokul Express overnight and looking outside when we did it should have been as it was a very foggy morning, with visibility not being too good at all. I thought we’d been at Pilibhit the first time I’d tried to pay attention to where we were and was solely judging it by the noise coming from the platform; I’d obviously been wrong as when I peered out of the door for the first time we were actually at Pilibhit and a nice hot chai went down a treat in the morning fog. We were 3h50m late departing Pilibhit and I was struggling to figure out where trains going to/from Gonda managed to lose all their time as the station I’d previously thought was Pilibhit must have been Mailani and we’d lost most of it by then as well as there must be somewhere east of Mailani that is a very poor section indeed for that amount of time to be lost?

We’d been working our morning’s plan out based around the Gokul Express being 3 hours late, as it had been every other time we’d seen it, but at almost 4 hours late we had to make it up as we went along, with a little help from NTES of course. A bit of good fortune came our way when we were platformed in the loop at Shahi to wait for something coming the other way. Neither our train or the train we were waiting to cross, 15314 0630 Izatnagar – Aishbagh Express, should have stopped at Shahi but I was very thankful when 15314 was put down the opposing loop at Shahi and came to a stand; with new IZN YDM4 6753 emerging from the fog. I was soon gathering my bags and telling the others where I was going and they soon followed, as did the TTE! While we were sat on 15314 figuring out what to do the TTE from the Gokul Express came across to tell us that we hadn’t yet reached Izatnagar and that we’d left our blankets on his train. He went away looking a little confused but seemed to understand our explanations; the blankets had been left intentionally as we didn’t have any further sleeper class overnights to contend with.

6503 departed Shahi first with the Gokul Express and 6753’s train was then held for 6591 to arrive with 52208 0715 Pilibhit – Izatnagar to arrive before continuing on; which we’d been hoping to make back at Pilibhit. As it was we ended up with an hour at Pilibhit where breakfast came in the form of Aloo Tikki, twice! Despite the fester there was plenty to watch as Pilibhit was very much alive that morning. IZN YDM4 6528 arrived 35 late with our 52204 0645 Tanakpur – Izatnagar but as the train was booked to stand at Pilibhit for 55 minutes it didn’t really matter and we were Bhojipura bound right time and made the plus 11 onto the BG 55352 0950 Lalkua – Bareilly City as a result.

No sooner had 6528 set off did 55352 appear in the distance. It took a while for it to sink in, and we’d hoped that what we were seeing would be a WDP3, but unfortunately IZN WDP4D 40154 rolled in with the train dragging SSB WDM2 18528 dead inside; this obviously being a positioning move to get the WDP4 back to home shed after finishing up at Kathgodam off one of the booked IZN WDP4D turns. We did have a choice but the other choice would have resulted in us waiting at Bhojipura for the same train we’d end up making at Izatnagar so we did the train anyway, hoping to overtake 6528 with 52204 before Dohna but we didn’t. Instead we overtook it on the approach to Izatnagar and were treated to a cracking bit of parallel running, just as 6528 was opened up to full power, which I took the opportunity to video from the luggage van where we were stood.

TKD WDM3A 18854 was sat in the adjacent platform at Izatnagar when we arrived so rather than walk over to the MG platforms we did that back to Bhojipura instead, where we waited for 52215 1210 Izatnagar – Pilibhit. The dust from the road construction at Bhojipura seemed to be far worse than it had been on other days but thankfully we found someone cooking fresh onion pakoras so managed to get some without the added crunchiness of a dust covered coating.

I was quite pleased when the second new IZN YDM4 of the day arrived with 52215 1210 Izatnagar – Pilibhit, 6626, which we did forward to Pilibhit, after crossing 6524 at Shahi with 52216 1300 Pilibhit – Izatnagar, where the temptation of Aloo Tikki was too great an opportunity to pass up on again and two more helpings soon became history! We ate our Tikki while watching the afternoon precession at Pilibhit; 6678 departed first with 52230 1025 Tanakpur – Shahjahanpur, after 6606 had arrived with 52232 1115 Shahjahanpur – Pilibhit, this then shunted off and replaced 6626 on the set we’d just got off to work 52221 1530 Pilibhit – Mailani.

15310 0720 Aishbagh – Izatnagar “Ruhelkhand Express” was an hour late and while we were waiting for it to arrive we got chatting to a college lad who did the outbound Ruhelkhand Express Izatnagar to Pilibhit for the inbound back in the afternoon 6 days a week; he actually travelled from Bareilly so since the closure of the MG from Izatnagar to Bareilly City his journey had become a little more time consuming and probably more expensive with having to use auto’s to get to Izatnagar. As with most folk in India that use the railways to get about regularly though he just accepted that the lateness was just something that happened and didn’t let it bother him.

IZN YDM4 6515 eventually arrived with the Ruhelkhand Express and as it was late missed 55350 1400 Lalkua – Bareilly City BG train at Bhojipura which meant we had a fester at Izatnagar having passed 6503 at Dohna with 52203 1610 Izatnagar – Tanakpur. As we passed IZN shed on the way in we spotted a GD liveried WDMx on the reception lines outside, which had no number on it at all, and also WDM2S 017689 shunting stock at the BG end shed gates, followed by YDM4 6761 shunting at the MG end shed gates; I was wondering at this stage if 6761 had replaced IZN’s previous shunt loco, 6218, as the local shunt loco as we’d seen it at Izatnagar every day we’d been there and it had only been used for shunting and never used on a passenger train?

With nothing else to do until 52207 1810 Izatnagar – Pilibhit departed we hung around on the station drinking chai and blending in to the background in the darkness. As had happened on most occasions we’d seen the train the loco off 15310 was turned round for 52207 so we ended up having 6515 in and back out of Izatnagar to Bhojipura for our last stint in the dust ridden hole that it had become where we were thankful that IZN YDM4 6721 was only a few minutes late with 15313 1050 Aishbagh – Izatnagar and back at Izatnagar we had plenty of time to devour two omelettes each over the road from the station while we waited for the Nainital Express to Aishbagh.

When back at the station we found 6721 at the head of 15307 2210 Izatnagar – Aishbagh “Nainital Express”; the second time we’d had a loco run round on us at Izatnagar in a row. While we found our loco for the night there was one thing we didn’t find at Izatnagar that night and that was Pelham; he’d supposed to have been flying out the previous morning from England and joining us at Izatnagar for the Nainital Express but unfortunately he’d managed to misplace his passport and had never left the UK so wouldn’t be joining us at all on the trip. What this did mean though was that we had spare berths reserved throughout the trip and the empty one in our compartment on the Nainital Express became a bag shelf and the TTE told us he wouldn’t disturb us throughout the night and the spare berth would remain vacant for us to use as we pleased; which was nice of him.

The Moves

6753 Shahi Pilibhit Jct 0630 Izatnagar – Aishbagh 15314 IZN YDM4
6528 Pilibhit Jct Bhojipura Jct 0645 Tanakpur – Izatnagar 52204 IZN YDM4
40154 Bhojipura Jct Izatnagar 0950 Lalkua Jct – Bareilly City 55352 IZN WDP4D – SSB WDM2 18528 dit
18854 Izatnagar Bhojipura Jct 1100 Bareilly City – Lalkua Jct 55347 TKD WDM3A
6626 Bhojipura Jct Pilibhit Jct 1210 Izatnagar – Pilibhit Jct 52215 IZN YDM4
6515 Pilibhit Jct Izatnagar 0720 Aishbagh – Izatnagar 15310 IZN YDM4
6515 Izatnagar Bhojipura Jct 1810 Izatnagar – Pilibhit Jct 52207 IZN YDM4
6721 Bhojipura Jct Izatnagar 1050 Aishbagh – Izatnagar 15313 IZN YDM4
6721 Izatnagar Aishbagh 2210 Izatnagar – Aishbagh 15307 IZN YDM4

 

Gen for Wednesday 19th November 2014
(Other than in the moves above)

IZN YDM4
6591 52208 0715 Pilibhit – Izatnagar
6606 52231 0720 Pilibhit – Shahjahanpur, 52232 1115 Shahjahanpur – Pilibhit, 52221 1510 Pilibhit – Mailani
6531 52229 0630 Shahjahanpur – Pilibhit
6700 52256 0500 Izatnagar – Gonda
6751 52224 0405 Lakhimpur – Pilibhit
6464 52243 0945 Izatnagar – Aishbagh
6678 52230 1025 Tanakpur – Shahjahanpur
6524 52216 1300 Pilibhit – Izatnagar
6503 52203 1610 Izatnagar – Tanakpur
6528 15316 2030 Izatnagar – Gonda
6511 52255 0630 Gonda – Izatnagar

Other
18854 TKD WDM3A 55350 1400 Lalkua – Bareilly City, 55349 1715 Bareilly City – Lalkua
18528 SSB WDM2 05310 1710 Lalkua – Bareilly City, 05309 1935 Bareilly City – Lalkua
17895 SSB WDM2 55336 1915 Lalkua – Bareilly City

The Photos


Thursday 20th November 2014 (To Konch or not to Konch?)

As per our previous trip on the Nainital Express alarms were set for 0610 but this time we weren’t sat at Daliganj waiting time we were 25 late. NTES also confirmed that 18191 Chhapra – Farrukhabad was over 2 hours late and that there was no bonus of 15007 Mandaudih – Lucknow Jct being available either; so it was into Aishbagh on the Nainital Express where we were surprised to find auto’s waiting outside the station. Every other time I’d arrived into Aishbagh there’d only been cycle riskshaws available so being able to get an auto was a bonus as we could all get in the same one which we commandeered for us only at a cost of RS100; it appears that all the autos are share autos for a flat fee to Lucknow Junction.

At Lucknow Charbagh our big bags were left in the cloak room on platform 1, where they’d remain for two days. We then headed over to Kanpur Central, initially via 14123 Pratapgarh – Kanpur Central with GD WDM2B 16692 to Unnao, which was a lot emptier than it had been three days previous, and then into Kanpur Central on 14221 Faizabad – Kanpur Anwarganj with LKO WDM3A 16192. Unfortunately there wasn’t an additional stopping on this occasion to allow us to get off for LKO WDM3D 11177 behind, which had been held at Unnao with 54211 0510 Rae Bareli – Kanpur Central passenger, this time not with a BGKT WDG4!

Unlike three days previous we made 15037 1045 Kanpur Central – Kasganj Express but as it was GD WDM3A 16207 I chose breakfast in the refreshment room over doing it to Anwarganj for an auto back; which is what Aidy & Speedo did. The refreshment room food was ok and fresh and the large posters on its walls provided me with some entertainment while I was sat waiting as each wall had completely different English spellings for the same items; while the translation might well be lost sometimes it’s inexcusable to get it right on one wall but completely wrong on another, a shining example being “beard omelette” instead of “bread omelette”…

All fuelled and ready for what the day could throw at us we had a bit of good news courtesy of NTES that morning, which showed 11123 Barauni – Gwalior Mail as being right time. This was a train that was notoriously 2 hours late by Kanpur but at right time it meant our plans to do the Konch branch actually worked as we’d originally planned. We did have a back-up plan though which involved doing 12511 Gorakhpur – Trivandrum “Rapti Sagar Express”, which was only 23 minutes in front of 11123, to Orai for a taxi to Ait Jct instead. This would guarantee that we made the 1705 departure from Ait down the Konch branch and whichever train that had been using the same path as 12511 from Kanpur seemed to be within 30 minutes of time every day.

In the meantime there was an appointment to keep with 18191 Chhapra – Farrukhabad, or 15004 Gorakhpur – Kanpur Anwarganj if it turned up first. While waiting for the former to arrive we noticed LKO WDM3D 11447 arrive with 54335 Balamau – Kanpur Central passenger, which had obviously overtaken LKO WDM3D 11177 at Unnao with its 54211 Rae Bareli – Kanpur Central passenger; which seemed a little strange. UDL WDG3A 13074 arrived first with 18191 giving the impression that the whole link of 18181/2 & 18191/2 Tata – Chhapra – Farrukhabad were now booked for UDL WDG3A’s; this being the second time we’d seen a UDL Shakti with the train. We only did it out to Kanpur Anwarganj where 18191 crossed 14724 Bhiwani – Kanpur Central “Kalindi Express”, which was itself 90 late and just being announced as we arrived. It did however arrive with an unexpected IZN WDM3D 11302 as opposed to the expected LKO link.

Back at Kanpur Central the afternoons plans were in the balance as 11123 Barauni – Gwalior arrived only 5 minutes late with JHS WDG3A 13433. What concerned us a little at that point was the fact that 12511 Gorakhpur – Trivandrum was behind it and an hour late! Deliberating what to do we ended up stood on the footbridge waiting for one of the trains to get the road when JHS WDM3A 18869 arrived with 12511. The result was 11123 getting the road first and us scrambling down onto the platform to clamber into our reserved 2AC seats before it departed.

Was it the right move? Was it hell as like! We staggered out of Kanpur Central and crossed JHS WDM3A 16708 at Govindpuri Jct with 54157 0755 Jhansi – Kanpur Central passenger, which is now diesel under the wires throughout since the wires were energised between the two points, and were then held at Bhimsen for 12511 to overtake us; which of course didn’t stop so we could bail from one to the other! From that point on our plans were basically in the bin and the whole afternoon’s move doomed; the prospect of missing the 1705 Ait – Konch could well result in us not getting back to Kanpur until 0400 the following morning if we chose to do the 1905 Ait – Konch instead. Of course at this point we also didn’t know what was working the Konch branch since electrification had taken place but the chance of a WDS6 was too much of a draw to refuse; nobody had been able to confirm what had been working the branch in the last two years and the only snippet of information available had been a newspaper article showing that the locals had campaigned for their conventional train back when IR had tried to put an EMU on the branch. Of course whether the conventional set was now electric hauled instead of WDS6 hauled remained to be confirmed so our whole afternoon of stress could well be for nothing.

The resulting crap run for 11123 from Bhimsen had us arriving into Ait Jct 2h08m late at 1825; we’d originally been on a plus 48 for the 1705 down the branch. It was almost pitch black at Ait Jct when we arrived but we could hear a train arrive into the far platform as we walked down the platform after alighting from 11123. The fact that we could hear a diesel loco was a good sign and sure enough once 11123 had cleared our line of sight we could see the Konch branch train sat in. The headlights on the loco were turned off and with very little light it was hard to work out what type of loco was on the set; it did however look suspiciously like a “proper” low nosed WDS6, long hood leading, and as we got closed the outline became more defined and confirmed our suspicions. We had to get almost on top of the loco to confirm that it was in fact JHS WDS6 36200 due to the poor light.

Now, despite the potential for things to go horribly wrong and us maybe having to do a crap move to get back to Kanpur, there was no way we were flagging 36200 to Konch and after taking a few hand held shots, with flash, in the dark we loaded up onto the load three set, which had all its toilets sealed shut. 36200 got the train away right time and unlike the last time I’d done the train with JHS WDS6AD 36272 the driver actually used the power handle properly; unfortunately any thrash was short lived as the line was a stagger anyway and the load three set hardly taxed even the little WDS6. Arrival at Konch was a few minutes early and thankfully there was some light in the station area to get photos, with the help of leaning on whatever items were available to steady the camera.

The train was fuller on the return than it had been on the outward and for the whole of the return journey we were constantly looking at our watches and praying for Ait station to come into view. NTES was showing 19165 Ahmedabad – Darbhanga “Sabarmati Express” as just under 2 hours late which meant that if we were on time we should make it by 2 minutes; ironically this was the train we had reserved berths on back to Kanpur off our originally planned 1705 Ait- Konch & return move. We rounded the curve on the approach to Ait Jct with about 5 minutes to spare but the signal to allow us into the station was red and remained so while a freight arrived into the middle road from the Kanpur direction. Thankfully we were then allowed into the station, just as a headlight could be seen in the distance, coming from Jhansi; we made 19165 by about 3 minutes and even had to leg it down the platform, as RTM WDM3A 16822 stormed past us, to the very front of the lengthy train to the 2AC. The 2AC berths that evening were very welcome, especially with what we’d have potentially faced if we’d missed the Sabarmati Express. Despite the train being 2 hours late the TTE told us we’d be into Kanpur right time and NTES projected us to be 2 minutes late at Bhimsen and 25 minutes late at Kanpur Central; it wasn’t far wrong either.

Even though we had a hotel at Kanpur for the night we’d decided that we weren’t going to use it and attempt, for a fourth time, to get the track in from Dalmau Jct to Daryapur Jct. The only way to do it, and virtually guarantee not getting withered for it, was to do 54102 0300 Kanpur Central – Prayag to Dalmau, where there were options before making sure we were on 54222 0825 Raghuraj Singh – Rae Bareli over the track that mattered. Worst case scenario we had 2h52m to play with at Dalmau. So with our plan, an overnight ensued and not for the first time Indian Railways had forced me to do a rubbish overnight move to get the track I wanted to do.

The Moves

16692 Lucknow Charbagh Unnao Jct 0435 Pratapgarh Jct – Kanpur Central 14123 GD WDM2
16192 Unnao Jct Kanpur Central 0505 Faizabad Jct – Kanpur Anwarganj 14221 LKO WDM3A
13074 Kanpur Central Kanpur Anwarganj 1905 (19/11) Chhapra Jct – Farrukhabad Jct 18191 UDL WDG3A
11302 Kanpur Anwarganj Kanpur Central 1835 (19/11) Bhiwani Jct – Kanpur Central 14724 IZN WDM3D
13433 Kanpur Central Ait Jct 1845 (19/11) Barauni Jct – Gwalior Jct 11123 JHS WDG3A
36200 Ait Jct Konch 1905 Ait Jct – Konch 51867 JHS WDS6
36200 Konch Ait Jct 2000 Konch – Ait Jct 51868 JHS WDS6
16822 Ait Jct Kanpur Central 2050 (19/11) Ahmedabad Jct – Darbhanga Jct 19165 RTM WDM3A

 

Gen for Thursday 20th November 2014
(Other than in the moves above)

22339 HWH WAP4 12369 1300 (P) Howrah – Haridwar
11259 JHS WDM3D 12511 0635 Gorakhpur – Trivandrum Central
11177 LKO WDM3D 54211 0510 Rae Bareli – Kanpur Central
18746 JHS WDM3A 51813 0250 Jhansi – Lucknow Charbagh (DUW throughout)
30315 AJNI WAP7 12542 1110 (P) Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Gorakhpur
22601 SRC WAP4 12817 1440 (P) Hatia – Anand Vihar Terminus
11447 JHS WDM3D 54335 0700 Balamau – Kanpur Central, 54212 1430 Kanpur Central – Rae Bareli
18869 12512 0615 (PP) Trivandrum Central – Gorakhpur
16192 LKO WDM3A 14222 1255 Kanpur Anwarganj – Faizabad
16205 GD WDM3A 15004 2245 (P) Gorakhpur – Chhapra
16708 JHS WDM3A 54157 0755 Jhansi – Kanpur Central (DUW throughout)
18718 JHS WDM3A 11124 1145 Gwalior – Barauni
40140 IZN WDP4D 12555 1635 Gorakhpur – Hisar
18883 JHS WDM3A 11015 2245 (P) Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Gorakhpur (18979 JHS WDM3a dead)
14162 JHS WDM3B 11016 1900 Gorakhpur – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus
14159 LKO WDM3D 54826 2055 Farrukhabad – Kanpur Central
36200 JHS WDS6 51865 1705 Ait Jct – Konch, 51866 1835 Konch – Ait Jct

The Photos


Friday 21st November 2014 (Fourth time lucky?)

As we had time to play with we had the luxury or being able to do a move out to Unnao and return while we waited for our 0300 departure towards Dalmau. Unfortunately 11015 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Gorakhpur was too late to make the plus 51 at Unnao for its opposing working 11016 Gorakhpur – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus so we watched both trains arrive and depart Kanpur Central while we hung around drinking chai; the former being JHS WDM3A 18883 with 18979 dead in train and the latter JHS WDM3B 14162. 11015 had actually been a booked minus 6 at Ait off the Konch branch train we’d done in so we hadn’t needed to worry about making the Sabarmati Express in the end and could have even got off 19165 at Bhimsen to do 11015 in behind us.

By about 0100 and with no sign of the stock to form our 0300 Prayag train I went for an amble out of the Cantt side of Kanpur Central station and was surprised to find it still being a hive of activity with plenty of small restaurants still cooking fresh food and there were even a few hotels within a few minutes’ walk of the station front. The result of my walk was us having a very good, piping hot and freshly prepared meal at one of the roadside restaurants 10 minutes later.

The stock to form 54102 was nowhere to be seen, at its booked platform, by 0300 and then at 0315 LKO WDM3D 14159 arrived with 51826 2055 Farrukhabad – Kanpur Central, 2 hours late, the board on the side confirming the rake share with 54102 to Prayag. The platform came alive and despite the mad scramble to get aboard there was plenty of room for everyone, with space left over. I confirmed with the loco pilot on 14159 that the train was indeed 54102; just as 14159 was removed from the train. JHS WDM3A 16212 was soon backing down to replace it and after confirming with its loco pilot that the train was 54102 I was back on board the train waiting for the off.

54102 departed Kanpur Central at 0354, 54 minutes late. The train never got wedged while we were on it and despite it being stupid o’clock in the morning it wasn’t cold on board and we even managed a bit of sleep on and off, arriving Lalganj 90 minutes late where LKO WDG3A 13416 was already in the opposite platform, of a very long loop indeed, waiting to go with 54211 0510 Rae Bareli – Kanpur Central. As it was only on a load 5 set and our train was a longer rake we ended up legging it down the ballast and up onto the platform and chasing the train as it had already started rolling before we got to it and with no choice we got into the first coach we came to; it took a moment for the smell to hit!

While the smell hit quite quickly it took a while to add everything up and figure out why the coach was almost empty. The smell of shit isn’t uncommon throughout India in a morning but to find it smeared all over the inside of a coach is! It being on the floor in coaches is quite a common sight but spread around seats, seat backs, window frames and luggage racks is just plain ridiculous and obviously a deliberate act. Even the locals couldn’t quite get their heads round the state of the coach, yet while some moved coach at the first opportunity others positioned themselves on clean seats, still surrounded by shit everywhere and the smell of course; we stuck it out in the vestibule until Raghuraj Singh, more because we had the space really, the nostrils got used to the smell eventually…

Most of the trains that covered the Dalmau – Daryapur bit of track were local passengers that went to/from Raghuraj Singh and quite why they started or finished there I don’t know as there is nothing at all in the station vicinity, in fact the station is literally in the middle of nowhere but does have a chai vendor on the platform though. We didn’t have to wait long for LKO WDM3A 16307 to arrive with 54221 0600 Rae Bareli – Raghuraj Singh, which was promptly run round to form 54222 0825 return to Rae Bareli. The train turned out to be a wedge out with college kids, most of whom turned their attention to us. This all became a little too much for Aidy, who had to get away from it all after an overnight and not much sleep, and he went to the vestibule to prevent himself blowing up at the locals. Speedo & I braved it but we still glad that the attention had gone when we got to Rae Bareli. That was it, track done at the fourth attempt, yet we’d all failed to realise, until we’d set off from Daryapur Jct, that we could have got off there for 54225 0955 Unchahar – Rae Bareli passenger, which was only about 10 minutes behind at that point! What was even more of a bummer was the fact that 54293 Pratapgarh – Lucknow Charbagh passenger, which had been over 2h30m late, had picked up time and departed Rae Bareli about 5 minutes before we arrived. The result of that was that the next train towards Lucknow was 2h45m later, according to NTES, as a result of lateness; unfortunately that would also be 13005 Howrah – Amritsar, which was also booked a GM!

There were a couple of hotels outside Rae Bareli station, one of which had a separate restaurant downstairs, underneath the building, and provided omelettes and coffee for breakfast. Back at the station LDH WDG3A 14831 turned up with 54254 0450 Lucknow Charbagh – Prayag passenger, dragging LKO WDM3A 16308 dead inside; and just the 5h06m late! It would have been rude not to do it and especially as the train was empty. NTES showed we’d be safe in doing it to Jais anyway and as we’d watched 13006 Amritsar – Howrah head south with TKD WDP4 40087 we weren’t concerned if we missed opposing working 13005, which turned out to be TKD WDP4 40076 anyway.

During our fester at Jais we watched a bert and ada walking round the opposite platform with a monkey on a rope, they’d been on our train from Rae Bareli and had been begging for money on the way down, they now seemed to be getting to monkey to do tricks to extract money from folk instead of just plain old begging; it appeared that all wasn’t well by the time they’d finished though as an almighty shouting match ensued and ended with ada storming off. The poor old monkey had to keep holding on to the rope to prevent it from breaking his neck every time bert yanked on it.

Quite what was going on with trains on the Varanasi/Allahabad – Rae Bareli – Lucknow route on this day wasn’t evident but lots of trains were late and not just regularly late I mean over 4 hours late and 14219 0510 Varanasi – Lucknow Charbagh was no exception at 5h40m late. It turned up at Jais with LKO WDM3A 18774 and a very empty set of coaches. The latter is normally a bonus but our unfortunate choice of coach, right behind the engine, resulted in us having a drunk pestering us. At one point Speedo almost manhandled him off the train while we stood at a station and after a lot of tellings the idiot eventually got the message and kept quiet, leaving us to our own devices; sleep on the luggage rack was even available when he’d shut up!

14219 picked up time to Lucknow and at Utraitia, just 11km from Lucknow, we had 60 minutes to get into Charbagh and across to Lucknow Junction for 55031 1650 Lucknow Jct – Gonda passenger; we arrived into Charbagh at 1655 after a complete and utter stagger all the way from Utraitia. 55031 was nowhere to be seen at Lucknow Jct so we got an auto round to Aishbagh, where we arrived at 1707 and according to NTES had missed 55031 there by only 6 minutes so had we gone straight from Charbagh to Aishbagh we’d have probably made it there!

Aishbagh looked to be a farce in the making as we’d made 15320 1710 Aishbagh – Palia Kalan Express but the only set in the station was empty and there were loads of people waiting on a vacant platform. It turned out that IZN YDM4 6520 was sat with the stock for 52246 1755 Aishbagh – Mailani and the stock for the 1710 to Palia Kalan hadn’t arrived at that point. When 6678 arrived with 52239 0505 Tikunia – Aishbagh passenger, over 2h30m late, common sense would have had 6678 running round to work 15320 but no 6678 went off into the yard to do some shunting and when 6601 arrived with 15314 0630 Izatnagar – Aishbagh shortly afterwards, itself over 90 late, it was run round to work 15320; a job that took 40 minutes to do and also saw 6678 adding three extra coaches to the front of the train before 6601 could be attached. Once the loco was on the train the new crew had to prepare it before departure and 6601 eventually rolled out of Aishbagh with 15320 at 1821, 1h11m late, and before 6520 had departed with the 1755 to Mailani; despite the latter having been sat waiting for over an hour! I wasn’t complaining too much though as 6601 was a new YDM4 for me; it having joined the IZN club when the Chhapra allocation was swallowed up by IZN some years previous. I remember seeing it at Chhapra the first time I went with CPR on its nose end.

Despite it being a short run up to Lucknow City from Aishbagh 6601 gave a spirited run up the hill with a decent load 12 plus and sat in the opposite platform, waiting our arrival, was 6564 with 15309 0810 Izatnagar – Aishbagh “Ruhelkhand Express” running 2h10m late and it departed shortly after 6601’s train had cleared the overlap track circuit. Unfortunately the Ruhelkhand Express arrived into Aishbagh leaving us only 5 minutes to get to Lucknow Junction for 18192 Farrukhabad – Chhapra, which was surprisingly on time. As a result we leapt off at the Lucknow City end of the station and across the tracks to board 52246 1755 Aishbagh – Mailani, which was still waiting to depart with 6520; which didn’t seem to be getting ready to go anytime soon.

As time went by and 6520 sat curiosity got the better of Aidy & I so we went over to the BG platforms and speculated that 18192 may well stop as it hadn’t yet got the road and NTES had confirmed it had departed Lucknow Jct. Sure enough the train was soon rounding the corner and 6520 was still sat in the platform without the road, which was when we put ourselves in a position of weakness on the BG platform as if 6520 got the road while 18192 was passing through and didn’t stop we’d be withered for both trains; while 18192 didn’t stop at all it was going slow enough to board as it passed through, unfortunately it was UDL WDG3A 13187; which we’d had on the circuit four days earlier from Unnao.

At Lucknow City we had options back to Aishbagh or Lucknow Jct, the MG option soon turned out to be not an option when NTES confirmed it to be 3 hours late so the BG option had to suffice in GD WDM3A 16031 with 19038 Gorakhpur – Bandra Terminus “Avadh Express” running 70 minutes late. 6520 with 52246 hadn’t been far behind 18192 in the end and only 1h20m late at Lucknow City.

Having walked over from Lucknow Junction to Charbagh we collected our bags from the cloak room, which cost RS15 per bag for the first 24 hours and then RS20 for each consecutive 24 hours after that. After that we used the Comesum on platform 1 for food before festering about to watch Charbagh at night, while waiting for 12566 New Delhi – Darbhanga “Bihar Sampark Kranti Express” to take us onwards to Bihar.

Lucknow Charbagh was awash with people, dossing on the platforms, milling about, pissing off the platform edges and bustling about as trains arrived and departed. Joining the human race were rats scurrying about the platforms from the drains and wondering around the tracks mopping up crap; literally! Further to that were the sacred cows just doing as they pleased on the platforms, which included wondering through areas where people slept under their blankets, startling quite a few, and also poking their noses through the bars of train windows while sniffing out food where they could. There was a constant flow of trains and no platform was empty for long; it seems that Charbagh is busier at night than it is during the day? By the time our Bihar Sampark Kranti turned up with GZB WAP7 30244 we were all ready for some sleep but our 2AC coach was two from the rear of a load 23 train and someone had to go and find out what would be taking over from 30244; that task became mine! SPJ WDM3A 16721 was sat at the side of the train when I got to the front, with 30244 not having been removed at that point. The shunting staff confirmed that 16721 would be working the train forward, which was good enough for me, and with that I ambled back down the train, cleared all the crap that had been left in my berth and was asleep moments later; the previous overnight having taken its toll.

The Moves

16212 Kanpur Central Lalganj 0300 Kanpur Central – Prayag Jct 54102 JHS WDM3A
13416 Lalganj Raghuraj Singh 0510 Rae Bareli Jct – Kanpur Central 54211 LKO WDG3A
16307 Raghuraj Singh Rae Bareli Jct 0825 Raghuraj Singh – Rae Bareli Jct 54222 LKO WDM3A
14831 Rae Bareli Jct Jais 0450 Lucknow Charbagh – Prayag Jct 54254 LDH WDG3A – LKO WDM3A 16308 dit; 5h06m late
18774 Jais Lucknow Charbagh 0510 Varanasi Jct – Lucknow Charbagh 14219 LKO WDM3A
Auto Lucknow Charbagh Aishbagh RS100, 2km, 6 minutes Autorickshaw
6601 Aishbagh Lucknow City 1710 Aishbagh – Palia Kalan 15320 IZN YDM4 – 1h11m late start
6564 Lucknow City Aishbagh 0810 Izatnagar – Aishbagh 15309 IZN YDM4 – 2h10m late
13187 Aishbagh Lucknow City 1335 Farrukhabad Jct – Chhapra Jct 18192 UDL WDG3A
16031 Lucknow City Lucknow Jct 1320 Gorakhpur Jct – Bandra Terminus 19038 GD WDM3A
16721 Lucknow Charbagh Muzaffarpur Jct 1420 New Delhi Jct – Darbhanga Jct 12566 SPJ WDM3A – via Gonda, Gorakhpur, Sonpur

 

Gen for Friday 21st November 2014
(Other than in the moves above)

IZN YDM4
6601 15314 0630 Izatnagar – Aishbagh
6678 52239 0505 Tikunia – Aishbagh
6520 52246 1755 Aishbagh – Mailani

Other
16307 LKO WDM3A 54221 0600 Rae Bareli – Kanpur Central
40087 TKD WDP4D 13006 1845 (P) Howrah – Amritsar
40076 TKD WDP4B 13005 1910 (P) Amritsar – Howrah
30244 GZB WAP4 12566 1420 New Delhi – Darbhanga (to LKO, SPJ WDM3A 16721 fwd)

The Photos


Saturday 22nd November 2014 (The joys of traversing new track)

Our overnight had us arriving into Muzaffarpur at the sociable time of 0905, only 20 minutes late on the booked time of 0845. As our planned train for the morning didn’t leave until 1145 we had time for a fill in move but unfortunately both moves we could have done went by the wayside due to late trains so we ended up festering at Muzaffarpur; out of the way down by platform 5/6 bays.

We didn’t see much during our fester due to late trains but did watch SPJ WDM3A 16248 arrive into platform 6 bay platform and run round 55210 0300 Narkatiaganj – Sonpur passenger and shortly afterwards SPJ WDG3A 14922 arrived with 15202 0530 Raxaul – Hajipur and promptly ran round itself, before continuing on its way. It wasn’t until SPJ WDM3D 11279 arrived with 55523 0740 Samastipur – Raxaul that some entertainment was provided for the morning.

There was building work going on, on platform 6, which required piped water for whatever reason. This water was being piped from a tap that was below platform level on platform 2 so the pipe ran all the way over the platform top and off the platform edge to be plugged in; it wasn’t over any rails though. When 11279 ran through platform 2 it caught the hosepipe and dragged it until it split apart at its weakest link; until that time though it dragged the pipe along the platform edge, whipping everyone and everything in its path out of the way. This included people that were both stood and sat on the platform, parcels and even loco pilot’s big metal lodging boxes. It turned out to be quite lucky that nobody was close enough to the train to end up being dragged under; some poor guy had to walk all the way to the top end of platform 1 to retrieve the remainder of the hosepipe which the loco had dragged all the way down with it. Platform 1 & 2 at Muzaffarpur share the same tracks and are staggered so effectively 11279 stopped two train lengths from where it had stolen the pipe from!

NTES showed 55505 0430 Samastipur – Muzaffarpur as getting later and later, this was the inbound train to form our 55506 1145 Muzaffarpur – Samastipur; both trains ran via the newly built section from Muzaffarpur to Sitamarhi to reach Samastipur and not direct down the main line, which was the very reason for doing the train. This lateness allowed us to view BGKT WDP4 40027 arrive into Muzaffarpur with 12553 Barauni – New Delhi, which rather than being run round was replaced by SGUJ WDP4 40089.

Eventually things started to happen in the bay platforms at Muzaffarpur but I couldn’t quite make out the announcements in Hindi as the guy doing them was speaking quite fast. In the end a local confirmed that our Samastipur train would depart from platform 6 and the announcements for platform 5 were for the Raxaul passenger; the latter arriving first as GD WDM3A 16689 arrived with 55024 0615 Raxaul – Muzaffarpur. Before it got chance to run round though SPJ WDM3A 16260 was arriving with 55505 0430 Samastipur- Muzaffarpur. Then a little bit of a scramble occurred while everyone got themselves on board. There actually hadn’t really been a need to bother scrambling with everyone else as when we walked up to the front of the train there was hardly anyone in the front coach at all but as we had seats we stayed where we were anyway.

16260 eventually departed Muzaffarpur with 55506 1145 Muzaffarpur – Samastipur at 1306, 1h21m late. The line to Sitamarhi was very rural and yet most, if not all, stations on the route had two loops and a through road. We didn’t make great progress and were held for a while at Dumra, which is the station before where the line joins with the Sitamarhi – Darbhanga line, for what looked to be a train heading into Sitamarhi; this move was needless as we discovered that the two lines were exempt of each other when they came together at Bhisa Halt and didn’t actually merge until just before Sitamarhi Jct itself. SPJ WDM3A 16208 ran into Sitamarhi Jct before us and ran round to form 55281 1410 Sitamarhi – Muzaffarpur and our SPJ WDM3A 16260 had to wait to run round as there weren’t any free roads to do so while 16208 was running round, all the rest were occupied by mostly freights!

During the fester at Muzaffarpur, which turned out to be an hour in the end, the area outside our window was chock-a-block with locals all wanting to either get a glimpse of us or ask us the same question that the previous person had asked, it all getting a bit much in the end and we were very thankful when we actually set off for Darbhanga; at 1650, 2h52m late, and just as 55510 1455 Sitamarhi – Darbhanga was being announced, which should have actually gone almost 3 hours before we departed. Regardless of what was being announced we chose to stay on 55506 to Darbhanga and have done with it.

Once on the move the glare factor calmed down a bit and we ended up chatting to a local on board who commuted Darbhanga to Sitamarhi 6 days a week and relied upon either 55510 or 55506 being late so he had a train home in an afternoon. He finished work at 1600 and had to rely on one train being over 2 hours late or the other over 3 hours late to get home by train. If he missed both, which apparently occurred about twice a week during the summer months, then he had a 60km bike ride home, which would take about 90 minutes. He told me that he’d been doing the commute for ages and I got the impression that he’d been doing it for a good ten years so I quizzed him about the MG years and if the service was any better then. It turned out he’d only been doing the commute for three years and all he could tell me about the MG years was that the steam locos were dirty with all the smoke they poured out; I was guessing he might actually have been talking about YDM4’s pouring out smoke if he’d only been doing the commute for three years?

Our conversation passed the time nicely and we arrived into Darbhanga at 1857, 2h42m late and called it a day. We attempted to get an auto to take us to the Hotel A P Palace from outside the station but none of them seemed to know where it was, either that or they were playing with us to extract more money? We soon managed to get two cycle rickshaws to take the three of us for RS50 each. The hotel had been expecting us as I’d rang ahead and booked a few days prior but we were still given a choice of rooms and having looked at three different ones we opted for the Super Deluxe as it twin beds instead of a double and had a lot more space to accommodate both us and the extra bed/mattress we needed on the floor.

We got settled in and ordered food via room service, the young lad looking after us was very attentive, almost to the point he was trying too hard to impress; but he meant well and even sprayed the room with air freshener and mosquito spray, which unfortunately had be in a fit of sneezing as I suffer from hay fever. The food took about 30 minutes to arrive but did so in dribs and drabs as opposed to all at once. After some running repairs to the shower tap and resetting the hot water system, so it actually heated, piping hot bucket showers followed and we managed to make it to bed by 2315.

The Moves

16260 Muzaffarpur Jct Darbhanga Jct 1145 Muzaffarpur Jct – Samastipur Jct 55506 SPJ WDM3A – via Sitamarhi Jct (RR)

 

Gen for Saturday 22nd November 2014
(Other than in the moves above)

14922 SPJ WDG3A 15202 0530 Raxaul – Hajipur
16248 SPJ WDM3A 55210 0300 Narkatiaganj – Sonpur
40132 TKD WDP4D 13019 2145 (P) Howrah – Kathgodam
11279 SPJ WDM3D 55523 0740 Samastipur – Raxaul
11464 SPJ WDM3D 12565 0835 Darbhanga – New Delhi
16693 GD WDM2A 55022 0415 Siwan – Samastipur
40027 BGKT WDP4B 12553 0930 Barauni – New Delhi (to Muzaffarpur)
40089 SGUJ WDP4D 12553 0930 Barauni – New Delhi (from Muzaffarpur)
16689 GD WDM3A 55024 0615 Raxaul – Muzaffarpur
16628 TKD WDM3A 14673 0630 Jaynagar – Amritsar
16260 SPJ WDM3A 55505 0430 Samastipur – Muzaffarpur (via Sitamarhi)
16262 SPJ WDM3A 17005 2130 (PP) Hyderabad – Darbhanga
16208 SPJ WDM3A 55281 1410 Sitamarhi – Darbhanga

The Photos


Sunday 23rd November 2014 (The best day of the week to be cranking in Darbhanga)

An 0630 alarm call wasn’t exactly what we needed but it was necessary to start the day of early and we were up and straight out to find two cycle rickshaws on the street outside the hotel; which cost us RS35 each to take us to the station, this seemed to be the going rate not the RS50 we’d paid the previous night.

With a good 20 minutes before the departure of our first train we had time to wake up and figure out what the score was at Darbhanga. All was done over a hot chai, the second of which was poured in Indian style (from a great height into a small glass) and Speedo was the unfortunate one that inevitably got burnt by the hot chai in the process; I don’t think he really cared that he’d chucked the chai that was in the glass all over bert’s biscuits as his hand was being scalded!

Refreshed and all hands present, just with one a little worse for wear, we found SPJ WDG3A 14747 at the Sakri end of platform 2 with the load five set that formed 55575 0800 Darbhanga – Biraul, which would definitely feature in our move plans that day. It was just a case of whether the Biraul would end up departing before 55519 0605 Samastipur – Jaynagar, which was running about 30 late. Ultimately we’d end up doing 14747 from Darbhanga but definitely hadn’t expected to when KGP WDG3A 13309 arrived with 55519 and got the road first. Kharagpur had only recently got an allocation of WDG3A’s and this was the first I’d seen on a passenger train and in fact at all!

13309 arrived into Kakarghatti, the first station towards Sakri, just as SPJ WDM3A 16204 was arriving with 55280 0515 Biraul – Darbhanga, itself about 30 minutes late. This nice little bonus meant that we were straight back to Darbhanga, where we jumped off at the Sakri end of the station, as the train was arriving, to make sure we didn’t miss 14747 on the 0800 to Biraul; and it got the road as soon as the track circuit had been cleared, departing a few minutes late in the process.

At Kakarghatti the Biraul was held for quite a while to wait for the late running 14649 Jaynagar – Amritsar “Saryu Yamuna Express”. We got off to take some photos and hung around on the platform where it was evident we’d got a growing fan club, initially at a distance but edging ever closer as time passed by. To counteract the encroaching crowd we casually moved further away as time passed and were ultimately saved when the barriers went down to allow 14649 to arrive; that was our cue to cross the tracks and leave the crowd wondering what we were up to.

TKD WDM3A 14069 was the engine on the lengthy Saryu Yamuna Express and we had a virtually empty SL coach almost to ourselves back to Darbhanga, however we did manage to bring one of the crowd with us from Kakarghatti; he’d basically seen us at Darbhanga and followed us onto the Biraul train and back again when we’d changed train at Kakarghatti. He was quite content with what we were doing once he’d spoken to us and left us be at Darbhanga, his curiosities clearly answered.

At this point we split up with Speedo opting to do UDL WDM3A 16107 to Jaynagar on 13135 Kolkata – Jaynagar, as he wanted to do the branch, while Aidy & I waited for 18605 Ranchi – Jaynagar behind; having figured out we could get 16107 in on its return later in the day, before we turned our attention to the Sakri MG later in the afternoon. GD WDM3A 14060 was in charge of 18605 and yet another bonus came our way at Kakarghatti when not only did we come to a stand, out of course, on 18605, but SPJ WDM3D 11510 was sat in wait us to clear the section, to head towards Darbhanga with a slightly late 55518 0800 Jaynagar – Darbhanga passenger.

The journey back to Darbhanga brought with it a bit of hassle in the form a drunk guy who just persistently begged us for money and was very touchy feely with it. Our raised voices, which were basically telling his to do one before his efforts ended in him being manhandled away, got the attention of everyone else in the coach and a group of guys soon had the situation under control and forced the guy hassling us to the opposite end of the coach while telling him to give a little respect where it was due.

As 11510 arrived into what were the old MG platforms to terminate it reminded me of a photo I got on my first trip to Darbhanga in 2006 when the MG was still in operation there; so I took a similar shot to compare when I returned home. Thankfully this photo taking exercise hadn’t ended like the one back in 2006 when we were manhandled by an RPF guy who wanted to take our cameras off us and went to get help to do so; hiding within the crowded confines of a station is usually ok but when you stand out in the crowd like we did it didn’t help the nerves at all, until we departed!

At Darbhanga our options had become a little limited but NTES now showed another train up that hadn’t been displayed in the morning. No matter how late trains are, if they’re not due at the station you’ve searched for in the four hour window from when you’re looking then they won’t show up; so we hadn’t known that morning that the 2335 departure from Darbhanga, the previous night, hadn’t gone when we arrived at the station at 0730. Within moments of our photo taking SPJ WDM3D 11534 was arriving with a rather empty 55528 1545 (P) Patna Jct – Jaynagar “Kamla Ganga Intercity Fast Passenger”.

We managed to snap the rubber band on this journey and make it beyond Kakarghatti and thankfully didn’t have to listen to the constant, very loud, music that was playing outside the station. Quite how the locals put up with it was beyond me and even earplugs wouldn’t have kept the racket out that was going on. At Tarsarai it became evident why trains had sat at Kakarghatti for periods of time as the loops there were full of freight box wagons with only one platform available. This making only one section between Kakarghatti and Sakri as opposed to two, hence the delays. Of course this had actually worked to our advantage so we couldn’t complain.

Sakri Junction was devoid of trains, other than ours, when we arrived but fresh food was being made up all over the station and it didn’t take long to get hold of some onion pakoras, fresh out of the fryer, which turned into lunch. Our next move would be to do 12570 Anand Vihar – Jaynagar out to the first stop at Madhubani for UDL WDM3A 16107 returning with 13136 Jaynagar – Kolkata. It was a plus 46 on paper and the NTES station line-up for Sakri showed it only 37 late; however a check of the train itself showed it to be last reported as 53 late. We’d figured out that 12570 was slackly timed to Madhubani and given 31 minutes vice the usual 18 minutes in the opposite direction so as long as we’d departed by 1300, which would be 1h15m late, we’d risk the move.

The next train to arrive at Sakri was an unexpected one, it was KGP WDG3A 13309 returning with what would usually be 13225 Jaynagar – Danapur any other day of the week but this one as the train was Sunday’s excepted. It was being announced as a Jaynagar – Samastipur Intercity but wasn’t shown on NTES at all so whether it was a one-off or trial thing with the set on a Sunday I can’t confirm, all I was concerned about was it not departing straight away as if it had our move to Madhubani would have been out of the window completely, especially with the section towards Darbhanga being longer than usual on this occasion.

When NKE YDM4 6495 arrived, soon after 13309, with 52520 0815 Laukaha Bazar – Sakri even more became at stake if we didn’t make at Madhubani as we’d end up missing 52529 1415 Sakri – Nirmali; which is what 6495 would do back and it was a required one for me so something I wasn’t go to risk missing. Thankfully whatever train 13309 was working was held at Sakri for SPJ WDM3B 14167 to arrive with 12570 Anand Vihar – Jaynagar “Garib Rath”; which departed 1 minute after our cut-off time at 1301, 1h16m late, with us on board.

We tried to find a quick exit strategy on our way to Madhubani but as everyone was preparing to get off most doorways on the train were wedged with luggage so we picked the path of least resistance but didn’t have to be concerned at all in the end as a good run had us into Madhubani before 13136 arrived. We didn’t have to wait long though and had yet another virtually empty SL coach back to Sakri. In which we were gripped by two TTE’s but the two kids sat opposite us we left to their own devices; even I could tell they were very sheepish when the TTE’s had done their random ticket checks on their way through and when challenged they produced their 2nd unreserved tickets. They’d only come to sit opposite us to watch us during their journey; they were lucky it wasn’t a costly one, their antics had provided me with a little entertainment for a change though.

At Sakri we met up with Speedo again, who’d been in the front coach of 13136. 52529 1415 Sakri – Nirmali was quite empty and departed only 5 minutes late; both of those previous statements being something I wouldn’t usually associate with the MG round these parts. Last time I’d been here the trains were wedged and on the roof as well as basically all around 3 hours late! We hadn’t waited for the 1315 arrival from Nirmali to arrive before we’d departed and it was sat waiting for us at Manigachi, over two hours late! The bonus was that NKE YDM4 6494 was sat waiting to depart with 52526 1030 Nirmali – Sakri, which was another required one for me, so there was absolutely no hesitation when it came to getting off and returning to straight to Sakri. Another empty train on the Sakri MG, what was going on?

Very pleased with how the day had gone this far we now only had one more of the 4 Jhanjharpur based YDM4 turns to see as Speedo had seen 6592 with 52527 1000 Sakri – Nirmali that morning; this last turn would arrive with 52522 1240 Laukaha Bazar – Sakri at 1620 and run round to form 52531 1840 Sakri – Nirmali. With a cunning plan in mind we walked off the platform end at the Jaynagar end of the station and photographed HWH WDM2 18572 departing with 53041 Howrah – Jaynagar passenger, 3 hours late, before walking down the tracks to the MG/BG diamond crossing that allows the newly constructed BG line from Sakri to Biraul to cross the existing MG tracks that head to Jhanjharpur. There were plenty of photos of the diamond to be taken while we waited and the sun set.

Speedo had spotted SPJ WDG3A 14775 at Jaynagar, which was poised to work 13186 1605 Jaynagar – Sealdah “Ganga Sagar Express”, not only a train we could do to be on but a loco we could do without flagging; so we were wary of the time as we hung around at the diamond, ideally wanting to be on the Ganga Sagar Express if the YDM4 coming in was a dud one. As time was almost getting to the point where we needed to start walking back to the station if we were going to do the Ganga Sagar Express a YDM4 headlight could be seen in the distance. The train was brought to a stand at the home signal to allow SPJ WDG3A 14747 to make its second trip of the day to Biraul with 55577 1520 Darbhanga – Biraul. Once it was clear of the diamond the catch point was set and the little YDM4 set off, filling the atmosphere with clag as it did so. As what turned out to be a dud NKE YDM4 6551 got closer our cunning plan looked like it might not be so cunning after all but at the last minute the train slowed considerably to cross the diamond and was then going slow enough for us to hop aboard and hitch a ride for the 1km journey back into the station!

Shakti 14775 was a little late with 13186 but we were glad to be on it back to Darbhanga as the next train was over an hour later. Not wanting to give up on the day at that point we scanned NTES for an option at Darbhanga and it showed that the train we’d done the previous day, 55506 Muzaffarpur – Samastipur, was 2h30m late and we didn’t have long to wait at Darbhanga off the Ganga Sagar Express before SPJ WDM3D 11279 arrived with the train. We only did it forward to Laharia Sarai where we’d expected to be doing 19165 Ahmedabad – Darbhanga “Sabarmati Express” back almost straight away as NTES showed it only 7 minutes late but in fact it was over an hour late and 55513 1815 Samastipur – Jaynagar passenger turned up first; which in the end was a bit of a bonus and a cracking way to finish the day as SPJ WDM3D 11480 & WDM3B 14160 rolled in with the train, in multi!

Unlike the previous night, when we’d managed to get a couple of cycle rickshaws to our hotel quite easily, it seemed that nobody knew where the Hotel A P Palace was on this occasion. Eventually one guy came up trumps and told a second cycle rickshaw to follow him as he knew where he was going. The truth was we probably knew the way if we paid attention and it was very evident from the moment that we got out of the station confines that the guy who said he knew the way, actually didn’t at all. He stopped twice before he’d even got down the station approach and just ignored me when I tried to direct him. After stopping at least five times, despite me directing him, and almost losing the other rickshaw that had Aidy & Speedo in it, we managed to make it to the A P Palace ok; then came the riot about the RS30 fare we handed over. A riot that ended up being taken to the hotel reception and sorted out by the hotel staff. They confirmed that we were probably paying more than we should at RS30 anyway and yet the guy, who allegedly knew where he’d been going, was having none of it and basically threw the money back in our faces and walked off. The other guy soon came back for it though and seemed grateful of it. The hotel staff told us that the guy had told them that we hadn’t known where we were going and he’d been all over with us to get us to our destination; which of course was utter rubbish and we’d actually taken the most direct route to the hotel, the only delay en-route being caused by him not listening to me!

We’d handed in some laundry before we’d headed out that morning, which was ready and waiting for us on our return. Food was ordered while we got ourselves sorted and no mosquito spray was used that evening; I couldn’t face another night of sneezing and a running nose. All mosquitos in the room had to be dealt with the conventional way; something that towels come in handy for! It had been a cracking day and one that had far exceeded my initial expectations. Sunday’s have extra trains running through Darbhanga so it was inadvertently the best day to be cranking in town and late trains do have their advantages; even more so if you have access to NTES to plan around them.

The Moves

13309 Darbhanga Jct Kakarghatti 0605 Samastipur Jct – Jaynagar 55519 KGP WDG3A
16204 Kakarghatti Darbhanga Jct 0515 Biraul – Darbhanga Jct 55280 SPJ WDM3A
14747 Darbhanga Jct Kakarghatti 0800 Darbhanga Jct – Biraul 55575 SPJ WDG3A
14069 Kakarghatti Darbhanga Jct 0630 Jaynagar – Amritsar Jct 14649 TKD WDM3A
14060 Darbhanga Jct Kakarghatti 2040 (22/11) Ranchi Jct – Jaynagar 18605 GD WDM3A
11510 Kakarghatti Darbhanga Jct 0800 Jaynagar – Darbhanga Jct 55518 SPJ WDM3D
11534 Darbhanga Jct Sakri Jct 1545 (22/11) Patna Jct – Jaynagar 55528 SPJ WDM3D – 11h51m late
14167 Sakri Jct Madhubani 1655 (22/11) Anand Vihar Terminus – Jaynagar 12570 SPJ WDM3B
16107 Madhubani Sakri Jct 1240 Jaynagar – Kolkata Chitpur 13136 UDL WDM3A
6495 Sakri Jct Manigachi 1415 Sakri Jct – Nirmali 52529 NKE YDM4
6494 Manigachi Sakri Jct 0945 Nirmali – Sakri Jct 52527 NKE YDM4
6551 Sakri Jct Km1 Sakri Jct 1240 Laukaha Bazar – Sakri Jct 52522 NKE YDM4
14775 Sakri Jct Darbhanga Jct 1605 Jaynagar – Sealdah 13186 SPJ WDG3A
11279 Darbhanga Jct Laharia Sarai 1145 Muzaffarpur Jct – Samastipur Jct 55506 SPJ WDM3D
11480 Laharia Sarai Darbhanga Jct 1815 Samastipur Jct – Jaynagar 55513 SPJ WDM3D 11480 / SPJ WDM3B 14160 in multi
14160

 

Gen for Sunday 23rd November 2014
(Other than in the moves above)

16577 SPJ WDM3A 12565 0835 Darbhanga – New Delhi
16107 UDL WDM3A 13135 2055 (P) Kolkata Chitpur – Jaynagar
11431 SPJ WDM3D 55509 1015 Darbhanga – Sitamarhi
6592 NKE YDM4 52524 0530 Nirmali – Sakri, 52527 1000 Sakri – Nirmali
6495 NKE YDM4 52520 0815 Laukaha Bazar – Sakri
13309 KGP WDG3A ????? 1105 Jaynagar – Samastipur (additional train in path of 13225)
11534 SPJ WDM3D 55514 0700 Jaynagar – Samastipur (7h15m late)
18572 HWH WDM2 53041 0715 Howrah – Jaynagar (3h50m late)
14747 SPJ WDG3A 55577 1520 Darbhanga – Biraul
11510 SPJ WDM3D 55517 1800 Darbhanga – Jaynagar
16444 SPJ WDM3A 55510 1455 Sitamarhi – Darbhanga

The Photos


Monday 24th November 2014 (Live dance tunes on board the Biraul passenger)

Up at 0630 again we decided to walk to the station to see how long it took; the answer was only 12 minutes, so rather than run the rickshaw gauntlet that night we’d be walking back as well, although running the dark Indian narrow street gauntlet instead no doubt. The roads were relatively quiet of a morning but the market was still in full flow in the roadway right outside Darbhanga station, turning the entry to the station area into a bigger bottle neck than it already was.

We opted for chai at a different stall on this morning and everyone walked away unscathed; tea being poured sensibly by the stall’s owner. As KGP WDG3A 13309 worked 55519 0605 Samastipur – Jaynagar passenger for a second day running, as it should do with not returning to Danapur on a Sunday, we all got seats on 55575 0800 Darbhanga – Biraul; Aidy & I in it for the long haul but Speedo was going to do the Nirmali branch so would leave us at Sakri. SPJ WDM3A 16176 was in charge of the Biraul diagram and as soon as SPJ WDM3D 11534 had arrived with 55280 0515 Biraul – Darbhanga we were given the road and departed right time; something that was very short lived on the journey.

At Kakarghatti we were subjected to a 40 minute wait to allow 14673 Jaynagar – Amritsar “Shaheed Express” to arrive, 30 late, with TKD WDM3A 16356. It having to wait at Sakri for 13309 to arrive with its 55519 Samastipur – Jaynagar as the loops were again blocked at Tarsarai by freight wagons. The racket that had been going on at Kakarghatti the previous day seemed to have increased in intensity and volume and we were all glad to be departing when we eventually did.

En-route to Sakri we watched as a young lad, probably no more that 11 or 12, was being shown the ropes of his father’s business; which happened to be samosa selling. On this particular day it looked like the lad was in charge of the money and unfortunately for him you could see the frustration in his father’s stance when he took a little longer than he liked to sort out each transaction; of course time is money when there’s so much competition for selling street food on board trains. He looked like a bright kid though but just needed to get over the pressure put upon him and he’d no doubt be fine.

At Sakri we bode farewell to Speedo for the day as he alighted to do his Nirmali move; which would take all day! We were held a while for SPJ WDM3D 11435 to arrive with 55514 0700 Jaynagar – Samastipur, before being allowed to cross the main lines and enter the Biraul branch. The whole journey turned into a totter from that point on with speeds of not much more than 30kmph. For a newly built line the line speed was shocking and yet it also looked like it had been built some time ago with how well established the greenery was around the station areas. Strangely every station had a loop round the back of the platform, yet not one was connected up at either end, to the main line. Perhaps when construction of the alignment was completed and Biraul extended to Khagaria Junction then all the loops would be connected up when capacity on the line would likely increase and include freight?

Biraul itself was a bigger station with a station building, which was basically all there was at Biraul. An army of autos had been waiting just off the station end to take people to nearby populated areas. By the time we’d got some photos and made our way to the platform ends they’d started drifting off as they filled. Biraul station also looked like it had been built some time ago, as did the station building; there was absolutely nothing that gave the impression that the line had been open less than 5 years at all. Visible beyond the buffer stops at the Khagaria end of the station was a big curve that clearly indicated that construction works had continued towards Khagaria; just how far though maybe only google earth might be able to tells us? Of course the extension to Khagaria would mean a trip back to cover the rest of the line when it opened; not that I was concerned as I’d already had a cracking time at Darbhanga and was thinking about when to return in the future.

Our WDM3A, 16176, was run round via a very long loop and while it did so we found vendors on the platform and managed to spot some fresh samosas coming out of the fryer and found ourselves a rather empty coach to devour them in. The train never did fill up en-route back to Sakri and the stagger factor seemed to be even worse of the return journey, with no noise from the engine whatsoever. The early afternoon heat soon took its toll on everyone on board and had most of the train sleeping at some point during the journey; my sleep was through nothing but boredom! There was one entertaining moment on board which was supplied by a blind man begging. Now as most will know the blind in Bihar generally sing a song when begging for their money but this guy did more than sing, he belted out a tune. His tune was constant and actually in tune, and quite a foot tapping tune at that, which had me humming it for quite a few days afterwards. He was relentless with his singing and I was struggling to figure out where he’d taken breath to just keep singing and singing, basically without stopping from one end of the coach to the other. I was so astounded by his performance that I even videoed him on my phone; and of course handed over some money.

Glad to be back at Sakri we ended up sitting at one of the stalls, by the MG side of the station, drinking chai while we waited for the 1415 MG departure to Nirmali and watched pigs and children do what they do in the grassy area by the station. The set for 52529 1415 Sakri – Nirmali was already in the station with NKE YDM4 6592 ready to work it. I’d originally planned to walk down the tracks and photograph the 1310 MG arrival from Nirmali somewhere by the diamond crossing but on my way down NTES was updated from showing the train 7 minutes late to 53 minutes late so didn’t bother. In the end we managed to get a decent photo of SPJ WDM3B 14167 returning to Delhi with 12569 Jaynagar – Anand Vihar “Garib Rath Express”; we also watched SPJ WDM3A 16045 head to Jaynagar with 13225 Danapur – Jaynagar “Intercity” vice the usual KGP engine; which was something to factor in to later moves.

NKE YDM4 6551 arrived with 52526 1030 Nirmali – Sakri while the crew were preparing 6592 for departure with 52529 to Nirmali. An old hand loco pilot was clearly showing his young assistant loco pilot the ropes as his regular checks of 6592 went into rather more detail than usual as he showed the young guy quite a lot of things inside the engine room and around the bogie area as he went round. As 6551 had arrived at our booked departure time 52529 was 15 late away from Sakri as a result and a lot fuller than it had been the previous day.

BG works along the section to Jhanjharpur are evident with bridge works still ongoing but nothing finished, which includes the road/rail bridge at Jhanjharpur. There were BG sleepers dumped along the track and also alongside nearby roads, which were obviously the closest access points. Lohna Road seemed to be the hub of the materials distribution though with piles and piles of BG sleepers, all of which would play their part in putting the MG network in Bihar into the history books in the near future. Speedo later confirmed that BG works were ongoing all the way to Nirmali.

We unfortunately only had 10 minutes at Jhanjharpur but had enough time to quickly rush round the yard and get some photos; present were YDM4’s 6752, 6458, 6590, 6532 & 6512, all in a line by the maintenance buildings, of which only 6752 was serviceable. 6495 was also present at the Nirmali end of the station area, Speedo later told us it had worked 52527 1000 Sakri – Nirmali to Jhanjharpur that morning and been replaced by 6494 for the run to Nirmali. So when NKE YDM4 6682 arrived with 52522 1240 Laukaha Bazar – Sakri and we compared notes the following morning it meant we’d seen every YDM4 that was on the Sakri system, with only 6 of the 10 present, 6494, 6495, 6551, 6592, 6682 & 6752 in working order. Since my last visit it appeared that 6590 & 6682 had replaced 6534 & 6683; 6682 had been on the Saharsa system at that same time during my last visit.

The run back to Sakri was on board a nice empty train and when we got there 13185 Jaynagar – Sealdah “Ganga Sagar Express” wasn’t far away. As it was offlink GD WDM3A 14060, which we’d had the previous day, we chose to do SPJ WDM3D 11283 to Pandaul on 55515 1425 Samastipur – Jaynagar and wait for 16045 returning with 55520 1645 Jaynagar – Samastipur passenger instead.

Pandaul is just another town in rural Bihar but outside the station there were at least quite a few places to get fresh food and chai and we opted for the latter while we waited in the dark for our train. We were joined for the duration of our wait by a young college lad who couldn’t believe we were actually standing in his town. He spoke fluent English but his use of the word absolutely became a bit annoying after a while when it became almost every other word. Still he was a pleasant guy to chew the cud with and our time at Pandaul was a little less boring than it could have been.
The journey back to Darbhanga on 55520 was harmless but we didn’t collect a Speedo at Sakri as 52528 1400 Nirmali – Sakri was 90 late as confirmed on NTES. We were later told that a 30 late start on the outward and the engine change at Jhanjharpur were just too much to recover from.

As we’d already decided that morning, we did walk back from the station to the hotel, which was rather more interesting than it had been in the morning. It was pitch black, with no street lighting to speak of at all, and motorbikes seemed to be the main hazard as even when walking at the side of the road they seemed to head straight for you and only move at the last minute. Of course there was no telling what you were walking on but there did seem to be a concerted effort in Darbhanga to clean the streets at the end of the day! The only dodgy bit of the whole walk was when crossing a roundabout, which was a free for all traffic wise anyway, which required quite a bit of paying attention, in all directions. We made it unscathed and I’d even attempted to by a new battery for my old Nokia phone on the way but it seemed that they were a dying breed, even in India where Nokia once ruled the roost.

At the hotel that evening the hot water needed resetting again and our attentive hotel wallah wasn’t around so food was brought by a different chap on this occasion, who was in and out with no dithering or faffing. Once food was over we were just about to get into bed as Speedo knocked at the door; neither Aidy nor I were awake by the time Speedo had finished his food…..

The Moves

16176 Darbhanga Jct Biraul 0800 Darbhanga Jct – Biraul 55575 SPJ WDM3A
16176 Biraul Sakri Jct 1130 Biraul – Darbhanga Jct 55578 SPJ WDM3A
6592 Sakri Jct Jhanjharpur Jct 1415 Sakri Jct – Nirmali 52529 NKE YDM4
6683 Jhanjharpur Jct Sakri Jct 1240 Laukaha Bazar – Sakri Jct 52522 NKE YDM4
11283 Sakri Jct Pandaul 1425 Samastipur Jct – Jaynagar 55515 SPJ WDM3D
16045 Pandaul Darbhanga Jct 1645 Jaynagar – Samastipur Jct 55520 SPJ WDM3A

 

Gen for Monday 24th November 2014
(Other than in the moves above)

11487 SPJ WDM3D 12565 0835 Darbhanga – New Delhi
11534 SPJ WDM3D 55280 0515 Biraul – Darbhanga
13309 KGP WDG3A 55519 0605 Samastipur – Jaynagar, 13225 1105 Jaynagar – Danapur
14167 SPJ WDM3B 12569 1200 Jaynagar – Anand Vihar Terminus
11435 SPJ WDM3D 55514 0700 Jaynagar – Samastipur
16356 TKD WDM3A 14673 0630 Jaynagar – Amritsar
16045 SPJ WDM3A 13226 0645 Danapur – Jaynagar (vice KGP regular link)
14060 GD WDM3A 13186 1605 Jaynagar – Sealdah (vice SPJ regular link)

NKE YDM4’s
6494 52527 1000 Sakri – Nirmali (to Jhanjharpur)
6495 52527 1000 Sakri – Nirmali (from Jhanjharpur), 52528 1400 Nirmali – Sakri
6551 52527 0945 Nirmali – Sakri, 52519 1645 Sakri – Laukaha Bazar
6592 52520 0815 Laukaha Bazar – Sakri, 52529 1415 Sakri – Nirmali

The Photos


Tuesday 25th November 2014 (A day saved by out of course stops at Kishanpur)

Our time over in Darbhanga we were up at 0600 to make sure we were all packed and ready for the off. Our bill came to RS11722 for the three nights, including tax and food, laundry was on a separate bill. We walked to the station again, even though we had our big bags with us. When we arrived things didn’t seem that they would be as straightforward as they ought to be. The station was busy, with almost all platforms occupied. GD WDM3A was in with the stock off 15212 Amritsar – Darbhanga, as was SPJ WDM3A 16444 with 55575 0800 Darbhanga – Biraul. Our planned train of the morning was 12565 0835 Darbhanga – New Delhi “Bihar Sampak Kranti Express” to Samastipur but we’d hoping we might get a move in before it and when SPJ WDM3A 16560 rolled in with 55280 0515 Biraul – Darbhanga, which we’d hoped might be late so we could go out to Kakarghatti for it, it seemed to put pay to any move. It wasn’t until almost departure time that I realized we could do 16560 forward, as it formed 55256 0745 Darbhanga – Samastipur. The bonus being that we could of course do an auto back to Darbhanga, which shouldn’t take long to cover the 5km. Another bonus was that 55527 0300 Jaynagar – Patna Jct “Kamla Ganga Intercity Fast Passenger” hadn’t gone yet either and was showing over 3 hours late on NTES. So on we got as 16560 was being flagged off.

Laharia Sarai had quite a lot of share autos in the station car park and we were soon commandeering one to take us straight back to Darbhanga Jct; which cost us RS200. The journey back to Darbhanga wasn’t as straight as the railway journey and was probably at least 7km judging by the road signs we passed. There were lots of college students on bikes clogging the streets up as well, which didn’t help. The result was a 21 minute journey and us missing 55527 Jaynagar – Patna in the process; which we could have actually waited at Laharia Sarai for! The lure of the bird in the hand that was SPJ WDM3A 16615, which we’d watch bring the ecs into Darbhanga for 12565 earlier, was enough to be content with though and at least we made that! Little did we realise that missing 55527, or not waiting for it at Laharia Sarai, would be a bit of a bummer.

At Haya Ghat we hammered through on the Bihar Sampark Kranti and had the unfortunate experience of overtaking NGC WDG3A 14931, which was waiting with 55527. The error of our ways had the timetables out and a crap move was hatched to get the Shakti in beyond Samastipur; which was far from ideal and did make a mess of things for the day, but it had to be done. Or not as the case turned out! A stroke of luck at Kishanpur had us slowing for a red signal, which resulted in us all being half way down the steps at the door, ready to get off at the first opportunity. As we were in the middle road there was no platform to leap onto so we were all eventually thankful that the train came to a complete stand to allow us to get down to the ballast safely. The train was only at a stand for 30 seconds and then away again.

Kishanpur was as rural as they came and looked and smelled like it was used as the local shithouse! The ballast was covered in shit and the smell carried everywhere; there was no being upwind to get away from it here and we had to be careful where we walked as we found ourselves a place to await 14931 arriving. We thought we might have another bonus for the morning when SPJ WDM3D 11507 arrived with 55523 0830 Samastipur – Darbhanga, although quite how we were going to get on the train if we’d had the chance to do it was a good question. It arrived with people sat on the front of the engine and hanging out of the doors and I guess, thankfully waited for 14931 to arrive with 55527 before heading forward.

55527 was a very empty train but the coach we were in had its floor covered in straw so had been quite well used at some point. Unfortunately 14931’s driver was a complete gnome and took an age to get it to full power; the whole journey to Samastipur being a big letdown as a result. It certainly sounded well but was just driven very poorly from a crank’s point of view. By the time we arrived into Samastipur, as a result of our step-back, we only had 27 minutes before 12566 New Delhi – Darbhanga “Bihar Sampark Kranti Express” was due going the opposite way to the one we’d done earlier. This time wasn’t quite enough to allow Aidy & I to risk rushing off to the Hotel Swarg and dropping our bags and with 53041 Howrah – Jaynagar having just arrived we chose to have a look at that instead and keep the bags with us.

One look at the state of 53041 was all we needed and with people hanging out of the doors before the train had departed we quickly decided that we didn’t want our big bags with us and made the decision to make a bid for the Hotel Swarg anyway; if we missed the Bihar Sampark Kranti as a result then we’d have time for lunch instead. A cycle rickshaw. Which cost RS20, only took a few minutes to get us to the Hotel Swarg, where rooms were available. The staff there understood we were in a rush but as usual the paperwork got in the way and just as we thought we were done they decided they wanted a copy of both our passports so had to take Aidy’s to copy it; meanwhile I dumped the bags in the room and had a rickshaw ready and waiting outside the door for when he’d finished.

NTES showed 12566 as having been at Samastipur for 20 minutes by the time we left the hotel but the loco had to run round so we were hoping it would take long enough for us to get back to the station and find it. As with all journeys when you’re in a rush we got stuck behind some old guy on his empty cycle riskshaw who was eventually berated by our rider when he got himself out of the way for us to pass. We were paying the rider his RS20 4 minutes after 12566 should have departed but thankfully it was sitting waiting to go in platform 1 so we didn’t have to clamber over any stairs to find it. Our saving grace turned out to be 14649 Jaynagar – Amritsar “Saryu Yamuna Express”, which arrived about 30 minutes late behind TKD WDM3A 18866. No sooner had it done so did the road come off on platform 1 for 12566 to depart and having found Speedo we all boarded once the road came off; SPJ WDM3D 11487 being at the helm.

It wasn’t long before we were slowing out of course at Kishanpur, for the second time of the morning and when 12566 eventually stopped, just like its opposing working had that morning, we were off and waiting for 53041 Howrah – Jaynagar behind with HWH WDM3D 11333. The passenger was wedged when it arrived but thanks to quite a few getting off we were able to get into the train, where there would have been a lot more room if people had stood, instead of squatting on the floor, or moved into the aisles. Eventually we managed to get through to the aisle and had more than foot space when we did. We decided to get off at Laharia Sarai for 13226 Danapur – Jaynagar into Darbhanga to then do 11066 Darbhanga – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus back to Samastipur.

Laharia Sarai was busy, the most amusing part of which was a young girl who seemed quite bemused by a goat that was taking refuge beneath the bench she was sat on, unfortunately later she was seen beating the same goat with a plastic bottle and not a word came from the parents while she did so! When KGP WDG3A 13309 arrived into the loop with 13226 Danapur – Jaynagar it was evident that it was going to be help to await 11066 to arrive from Darbhanga, despite there being 12 minutes for it to get there before 11066 should even have departed. Thankfully there was no decision to be made as we’d had 13309 two days previous and when JHS WDM3D 11159, vice the usual ET twins or at least WDM3D, rolled in with 11066 we got ourselves to the front of the train for what turned out to be a cracking show of power as 11159 got to grips with its 24 coaches.

A third out of course stop at Kishanpur for the day wasn’t one that was signaled and whoever had pulled the emergency chord had obviously done it before as the train stopped almost perfectly in the station! There was nothing for us to get off for this time but the aggressive standing start that resulted was well worth being chained for. Even though it was a good run to Samastipur it was evident that ET twins were required on trains such as 11066 for the acceleration.

We had a choice of moves available at Samastipur and the favoured one of 12523 NJP – New Delhi to Muzaffarpur for either 13022 Raxaul – Kolkata or 18182 Chhapra – Tatanagar back went by the wayside when we found LDH WDM3A 18564 at the head of 55515 1425 Samastipur – Jaynagar; the enticing part being SPJ WDG3A 14868 that was inside it but running and with a second loco pilot. As they say you have to speculate to accumulate and that’s exactly what Aidy & I did. Meanwhile Speedo had his own moves planned as he headed over to Chhapra to do the MG to Thawe and what a night he had ahead!

The lengthy train that was 55515 was quite wedged, with more standing space being available at the rear of the train so that’s where we resided. It did give a decent view when the train was going round curves though and it was evident by the smoke pouring out from 14868 that it was indeed being used during the journey, quite how much though I can’t confirm. During the journey we stood talking to a college lad from Kishanpur, his monthly season ticket for the 10km journey cost RS100 (£1) and he couldn’t believe that the equivalent season for Ladywell to London would cost approx. £150 (RS15000), for probably a smaller distance as well.

Quite pleased with our afternoon discovery at Samastipur we were also pleased to be getting off at Darbhanga and even more pleased to make the weekly 12577 1610 Darbhanga – Mysore with ET WDM3D 11191. Sleeper class on board was wedged with commuters travelling home but there was space for us to load up with our bag of red hot samosas, which had gone from fryer to bag to train! Despite being a similar length train to that of 11066 we didn’t get chance to listen to ET’s 11191 at the front of the train due to the location of the SL class in the rake, which would have probably been as good at JHS’s 11159 had been.

Back at Samastipur for the third time moves were available to Dalsingh Sarai, thanks to late trains. Both actually being the two we would have come back from Muzaffarpur on had we gone earlier, 13022 Raxaul – Kolkata & 18182 Chhapra – Tatanagar. The former arrived with SPJ WDG3A 14775, which we’d had a few days previous on the Ganga Sagar Express from Sakri so we flagged it. There had been an intermediate option of 55526 1815 Samastipur – Barauni passenger out to Dalsingh Sarai as well but that was shunted in and worked by SPJ WDM3B 14160, which we’d had two nights previous so didn’t need to bother with that either. This left us relying on 18182 Chhapra – Tatanagar but as it got later and later we opted for the bird in the hand of SPJ WDM3A 16593 which was at the opposite end of the same platform that 14160 was stood on, their stock back to back, being prepared to work 55513 1815 Samastipur – Jaynagar with SPJ WDM3D 11283 dead inside, shut down.

As 16593 veered off the main line and onto the Jaynagar branch with 55515, 18182 Chhapra – Tatanagar appeared from the Muzaffarpur direction, clearly being worked by a Shakti but as it was dark it was impossible to get the number. We were off at Kishanpur for the third time and content with waiting there for 55506 1145 Muzaffarpur – Samastipur; the move not actually being possible without that train being down the pan, as it was on this occasion at 2h45m late.

The wait at Kishanpur wasn’t too long. We were hoping that 13185 Jaynagar – Sealdah “Ganga Sagar Express” might stop but had no such luck this time as SPJ WDM3D 11299 powered up as it hit the platform end. The day had to end on a dud engine, fortunately 55506 was a very empty train and SPJ WDG3A 14747 was a monster, giving a very spirited run back towards Samastipur indeed, but for the fester at Muktapur to allow 19165 Ahmedabad – Darbhanga “Sabarmati Express” to hammer past.

We walked back to the Hotel Swarg, which only took 10 minutes. The hotel room was a decent size and ok, apart from the fact the water was turned off due to a leak under the sink, there was only one towel and the electricity sockets wouldn’t charge anything! Obviously we switched the water on and got a second towel to the room, however the electricity issue took a bit more to resolve and had one of the hotel staff bringing a rather dodgy looking four way adapter that he wired into another socket, stretched over the back of the bed and left by my side of the room. Dodgy as it looked though, it worked!

Food in the hotel restaurant was good but if you don’t like sharing the restaurant you eat in with cockroaches then I’d go somewhere else. They were on the floors and walls and there was even one staring at me from the table frame, through the glass table top, while I ate. Even though the food was good this was probably one the worst restaurants I’ve ever eaten in; and I’ve eaten in some questionable establishments during my time in India. All that remained after food was a quick shower then bed as we had another early start the following morning.

The Moves

16560 Darbhanga Jct Laharia Sarai 0745 Darbhanga Jct – Samastipur Jct 55256 SPJ WDM3A
Auto Laharia Sarai Darbhanga Jct RS200, 8km by road, 21 mins Autorickshaw
16615 Darbhanga Jct Kishanpur 0835 Darbhnaga Jcy – New Delhi  Jct 12565 SPJ WDM3A
14931 Kishanpur Samastipur Jct 0300 Jaynagar – Patna Jct 55527 NGC WDG3A – 3h late
11487 Samastipur Jct Kishanpur 1415 (24/11) New Delhi Jct – Darbhanga Jct 12566 SPJ WDM3D
11333 Kishanpur Laharia Sarai 0715 (24/11) Howrah – Jaynagar 53041 HWH WDM3D
11159 Laharia Sarai Samastipur Jct 1310 Darbhanga Jct – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus 11066 JHS WDM3D
18564 Samastipur Jct Darbhanga Jct 1425 Samastipur Jct – Jaynagar 55515 LDH WDM3A 18564 / SPJ WDG3A in tandem
14868
11191 Darbhanga Jct Samastipur Jct 1610 Darbhanga Jct – Mysore Jct 12577 ET WDM3D
16593 Samastipur Jct Kishanpur 1815 Samastipur Jct – Jaynagar 55513 SPJ WDM3A – SPJ WDM3D 11283 dit
14747 Kishanpur Samastipur Jct 1145 Muzaffarpur Jct – Samastipur Jct 55506 SPJ WDG3A

 

Gen for Tuesday 25th November 2014
(Other than in the moves above)

16624 GD WDM3A 15212 1905 (PP) Amritsar – Darbhanga, 15211 1720 Darbhanga – Amritsar
16560 SPJ WDM3A 55280 0515 Biraul – Darbhanga
16444 SPJ WDM3A 55575 0800 Darbhanga – Biraul
16045 SPJ WDM3A 55519 0605 Samastipur – Jaynagar, 13225 1105 Jaynagar – Danapur
18866 TKD WDM3A 14649 0630 Jaynagar – Amritsar
16593 SPJ WDM3A 55514 0700 Jaynagar – Samastipur (SPJ WDM3B 14160 dead)
11509 SPJ WDM3D 55253 0830 Samastipur – Darbhanga
13309 KGP WDG3A 13226 0645 Danapur – Jaynagar
11273 SPJ WDM3A 55554 1415 Samastipur – Barabankhi
16577 SPJ WDM3A 12561 1525 Darbhanga – New Delhi
14775 SPJ WDG3A 13022 1000 Raxaul – Kolkata Chitpur
14160 SPJ WDM3B 55526 1835 Samastipur – Barauni
11299 SPJ WDM3D 13186 1605 Jaynagar – Sealdah

The Photos


Wednesday 26th November 2014 (Meanwhile, back in Chhapra….)

Little did we realise as we got up that morning at 0600 that Speedo would still be stood on the station footbridge at Chhapra Junction awaiting the arrival of the stock to form 52280 0015 Chhapra – Thawe MG train! And there were we complaining that our sleep had been interrupted from 0500 onwards by Lorries blowing their horns as they rounded the corner outside the hotel.

We checked out of the hotel, paying our room bill that came to RS1870, including tax, before we made a bid for the station. We had to wait for the person in charge of checking people out to be woken by one of the lesser members of staff, which is usual in hotels during the early morning in India. Our walk to the station was along empty streets and was quite pleasant. I’d checked NTES and our train to Duraundha Jct, 15027 Hatia – Gorakhpur, was showing right time; and indeed it was as GD WDM2B 16726 arrived with it. The AC on the train was relatively empty yet we still had to kick someone out of our berths. The emptiness and tranquility allowed for a bit of relaxing and some catching up of sleep. The AC was even cleaned en-route and when it was invaded by commuters at Hajipur they were quiet; quite possibly the quietest and most commuters bunch of commuters I’ve travelled with in AC!

As we arrived into Muzaffarpur I was at the door on the lookout for breakfast, which I didn’t find on the platform. What I did find though was a short freight in the middle roads between platforms 1-2 & 3-4, headed by SPJ WDM3D 11432, and it took me until we were almost passing the train to realise that the train only consisted of two wagons, one had the body of NKE YDM4 6410 mounted onto it while the other had the bogies and fuel tank from the YDM4. It was in the old sand livery and did look a bit worse for wear and quite faded. I’d seen 6410 at IZN about 5 years previous on test after being out shopped after overhaul; so as YDM4s go 6410 technically had time on its side. 6410 had also been one of the two locos we’d missed on the Narkatiaganj – Raxaul circuit a few years previous when our overnight train had missed the early Bhikhana Thori train, which had forced us to make a choice and do the next train down the branch instead. The irony of that story being I’ve done Bhikhana Thori since but never seen either 6410 or 6439 on passenger trains since; and never had either of them at all.

As we approached Chhapra Kacheri we looked like we’d be about 10 early but we were held at the signal outside the station, blocking level crossings as we stood, until we were 5 late and were then run into the station; arriving at the same time as the opposing working, 15028 Gorakhpur – Hatia, was doing so going in the opposite direction with GD WDM3A 16650 doing the honours. As we were only on a plus 24 at Duraundha Jct we kept a keen eye on the time. Arrival into Chhapra was only 5 late and with the 20 minutes standing time we were confident we’d not be too late away; departing only 7 minutes, the standing time allowing for snacks to be found on the platform.

The booked 39 minute run to Duraundha Jct was slower than planned, mainly due to waiting the road at every stop and by Ekma, with only 15km to go, we were 17 late; unfortunately an unscheduled stop at Chainwa had us just late enough to turn our plus 24 into a minus 2. As we approached Duraundha Jct though we could see that nothing had got the road down the Maharajganj branch and saw a GD engine over in the back platform with a load 5 set, not looking like it was going to depart imminently. If it was though our immediate problem was JHS WDM3D 11447 just departing with 14006 Anand Vihar – Sitamarhi, which blocked the direct route from our train door, across the ballast and up the platform edge, to our train. Luckily the rear coach of the Lichchavi Express was clear by the time we came to a stand and there was no need to panic. As we got up onto the platform and took some photos some guy walked towards GD WDM2 16727 with a token in his hand; he turned out to be the travelling level crossing attendant who had to manually operate the crossing outside Maharajganj. Of note is the fact that the Duraundha branch trains had been worked solidly by DMU’s until sometime in 2014 when IR changed the link to conventional stock instead; which was awfully nice of them.

As GD WDM2 16727 set off we realized that we’d just had GD WDM2 16726 from Samastipur for GD WDM2 16727 forward; never before had I had consecutive moves in India with consecutively numbered engines; and it turns out that it wouldn’t be the only time on this trip either! The branch to Maharajganj is only 6km and the train was relatively empty. Due to the crossing scenario outside Maharajganj the loco run round took longer than the actual run down the branch, despite the run taking 25 minutes to cover the 6km.

The station only has one platform and has a wide open space adjacent to it, at the other side of which a village starts. It’s all very rural down the whole length of the branch and there are no signals at Maharajganj at all so it must be one train working on the branch. The extension works from Maharajganj towards the Thawe – Kaptanganj line are evident as the line continues beyond the station and curves away right and out of sight. Quite how long it will be before trains can run from Duraundha to Thawe or Kaptanganj is anyone’s guess, although now gauge conversion is complete on the Thawe – Kaptanganj section perhaps it won’t be long?

During our time at Maharajganj we were followed round the station by a group of youths, while this may not be uncommon what was uncommon was the fact that they followed us on a motorbike and did a bit of showing off in the process; all of which ultimately ended up with them posing by the engine for their photograph.

As the only potential fill-in move available to us upon arrival back at Duraundha involved 13019 for 13020, which had recently gone over to WDP4’s, we opted to wonder outside the station in search of food before doing a second trip to Maharajganj. There were omelette Walla’s galore and lunch consisted of omelette and crisp fajitas as were returned to Maharajganj on our second empty train of the day. We were late away on this trip though as the loco wasn’t run round until the last minute and then had to wait for LDH offlink 16629 to hammer through with 14673 Jaynagar – Amritsar; usually worked by TKD Alco’s.

I found that walking around the grassy area at Maharajganj was very much like doing so at Kishanpur, the place was used as the local shithole and I had to be careful where I put my feet. Thankfully it didn’t smell like Kishanpur had. The second journey out and back was uneventful, probably as we stayed where we’d been sat on the way out and didn’t wonder round the station area. Back at Duraundha 16727 formed 55169 1630 Duraundha – Siwan, as booked, but we let it go in favour of 15209 Saharsa – Amritsar; which we knew courtesy of NTES was only 20 minutes late behind it. GD WDM3A 14111 then took us forward to Siwan where we were reunited with Speedo while getting chai at a stall.

Speedo’s move the previous night was nothing short of crap but fair play to him for doing what he did to get the MG track in between Chhapra and Thawe, while it still existed. He’d planned to do the 0015 Chhapra – Thawe, which was ultimately worked by IZN YDM4 6581, one I needed, but it hadn’t departed until 0548; just 5h33m late! When Speedo had got to Chhapra the white board at the information desk had showed it 2 hours late and just as he was about to walk away and find something to do to kill the time the 2 hours was rubbed out and replaced by 5 hours! This resulted in him spending most of his night on the footbridge at Chhapra, watching trains go by and waiting for the stock to arrive to form his train! Story told, Speedo soon rushed off to do 16727 to Maharajganj. He should have met up with us a lot earlier in the day but his lateness had obviously put that plan in the bin. We on the other hand made our way over to the bay platforms to do 55113 1855 Siwan – Thawe which turned out to be GD WDM3A 18966; which Speedo had also had in from Thawe earlier in the afternoon.

We discovered, when having some language difficulties when asking if the set 18966 had arrived with was the Thawe train, that Thawe is pronounced Tarway. Once confirmation was received we made ourselves comfortable in the front coach but our karma was soon interrupted by some locals who wanted to sit and just watch us go about our business. One of the youths spoke decent English though but spent more time on transmit than receive but was harmless enough. He seemed concerned for our safety on the return journey and spoke to the travelling GRP as he passed through to get him to make sure we were looked after en-route back to Siwan.

There wasn’t a great deal of light at Thawe but we could see enough to confirm that there wasn’t anything in the MG platforms. We didn’t waste much time on the platform and found a relatively well frequented coach in the middle of the train for the return journey. The GRP guy soon came round to make sure we were ok and moved some kid on who’s taken up refuge in our bay. Despite the loco run round being quite efficient we ended up departing 30 late after waiting connections from 55074 1600 Kaptanganj – Thawe passenger, which arrived 1h45m late with GD WDM3D 11253.

During the journey back to Siwan the kid that had been moved by the GRP soon migrated back to our bay and it turned out he spoke excellent English and acted as a translator for a more well to do guy who didn’t speak a great deal; who was allegedly the Chairman of Kushinagar, whether true or not I couldn’t confirm from Google but he wanted our photos on his phone and wanted our names so he could put us in his local paper! Despite the attention the journey was harmless and passed what would have otherwise been a boring journey.

Our planned overnight had been one that had been of concern to me for months before the trip and when NTES showed 15098 Jammu Tawi – Bhagalpur only 3h01m late at Gorakhpur I was quite pleased. Every time I’d checked the once a week train from home before we set off it had been over 4 hours late and sometimes up to 6 hours late. As NTES takes into account the slack time in the schedule it was showing 15098 to be at Siwan only 1h21m late so we set up camp on the platform for a while before heading outside for a change of scenery.

I’d never seen so many omelette Walla’s in one place, they literally lined the roads, and these were roads that were a bit of a state mind and not the best place for eating at by the looks of things. In fact Siwan looked to be a bit of a toilet and people even treated it so as rather than use either the toilet in the waiting room or actually use the one on the train sat in platform 1, they would just piss between the coaches while standing on the platform to do so. While I appreciate there are sanitary issues in India this was just bordering on the ridiculous and a complete disregard for other people.

There wasn’t much going on at Siwan during our fester yet the station area was quite busy by the time we left. GD WDM3D 11330 departed with 15204 Lucknow Jct – Barauni and was closely followed by GD WDM3A 16064 with 15098 Jammu Tawi – Bhagalpur, which at 2h30m late was quite pleasing but had still turned our planned 2 hour waiting into a 4 and a half hour wait instead. The TTE had checked our tickets the moment the train had set off and our beds were made up immediately. I was vaguely aware that Speedo had got on at Chhapra; after yet more time festering there in the night, for the second night in a row…

The Moves

16726 Samastipur Jct Duraundha Jct 1705 (25/11) Hatia – Gorakhpur Jct 15027 GD WDM2
16727 Duraundha Jct Maharajganj 1315 Duraundha Jct – Maharajganj 55175 GD WDM2
16727 Maharajganj Duraundha Jct 1410 Maharajganj – Duraundha Jct 55176 GD WDM2
16727 Duraundha Jct Maharajganj 1505 Duraundha Jct – Maharajganj 55177 GD WDM2
16727 Maharajganj Duraundha Jct 1600 Maharajganj – Duraundha Jct 55178 GD WDM2
14111 Duraundha Jct Siwan Jct 0845 Saharsa Jct – Amritsar Jct 15209 GD WDM3A
18966 Siwan Jct Thawe Jct 1855 Siwan Jct – Thawe Jct 55113 GD WDM3A
18966 Thawe Jct Siwan Jct 2030 Thawe Jct – Siwan Jct 55114 GD WDM3A

 

Gen for Wednesday 26th November 2014
(Other than in the moves above)

16650 GD WDM3A 15028 0725 Gorakhpur – Hatia
13187 UDL WDG3A 18182 1245 Chhapra – Tatanagar
16729 GD WDM2 55020 0835 Gorakhpur – Chhapra
11447 JHS WDM3D 14006 1510 (P) Anand Vihar Terminus – Sitamarhi
16629 LDH WDM3A 14673 0630 Jaynagar – Amritsar (vice TKD usual link)
16727 GD WDM2 55169 1630 Duraundha – Siwan, 55170 1720 Siwan – Duraundha
40136 IZN WDP4D 13020 2155 (P) Kathgodam – Howrah
16855 GD WDM3A 55009 1725 Chhapra – Bhatni
11253 GD WDM3D 55074 1600 Kaptanganj – Thawe
16065 SPJ WDM3A 55541 1615 Hajipur – Bathua Bazar
20061 SGUJ WDP4 15909 1040 (P) New Tinsukia – Lalgarh
16063 GD WDM3A 55012 1825 Gorakhpur – Siwan
11330 GD WDM3D 15204 1500 Lucknow Jct – Barauni

The Photos


Thursday 27th November 2014 (Enter the Jamalpur timewarp where everything is 4 hours late!)

Contrary to my title for the day our 15098 arrived into Jamalpur 2h28m late. Our plan to go through to Sultanganj for 19048 Bhagalpur – Surat back with its ET twins was well and truly out of the window. We actually passed ET WDM3A 14099 just outside Jamalpur, as we were waiting to enter the station, with 19048, working it single handedly vice the usual twins. NTES showed plenty of trains late at Jamalpur and our planned moves found themselves very quickly about as much of a guide as the paper they were printed on!

JMP WDM3A 16608 (with JMP WDM3A 16538 dead in train) was sat waiting to go with 53430 1038 Jamalpur – Bhagalpur but as 16608 was probably recoverable later in the day we opted to do 13241 Banka – Rajendranagar towards Abhaipur; which arrived with JMP WDM3A 16570 and delayed 16608’s departure onto the single line towards Bhagalpur in the process, despite being almost right time! Our plan of heading out towards Abhaipur was cut short at Dasharathpur when we made the late running 53422 0915 Kiul – Jamalpur passenger; this being a train I hadn’t been able to see at Kiul when we passed through that morning. We didn’t have to wait long and were soon back at Jamalpur.

Not wanting to carry the big bags around all day we went in search of a cloak room and were directed to the Abhaipur end of platform 1 and then round the back of the station building; sure enough there was the parcels office and the staff inside were more than happy to take our bags for the day. They wouldn’t even let us carry the bags to the cage as that was their job, we were told!

We missed a trick while sorting our bags and rushing about to get some food, before heading back towards Abhaipur, as JMP WDM3A 16324 backed onto the same stock we’d arrived on to form 53423 1130 Jamalpur – Kiul return working. We’d expected to not have to bother with the train as we’d assumed 16542 would run round and work back but were caught off guard as 16324 departed with the train while we were still on platform 1. There was a freight train between us and it and unlike most passenger train departures in India this one didn’t come to a stand after setting off to allow stragglers to board.

Knowing 12367 Bhagalpur – Anand Vihar “Vikramshila Express” was late behind the passenger we attempted to get some food from the refreshment room. We asked for three portions of noodles to take away but were offered rice instead. We confirmed we wanted noodles as the guy went to the kitchen to make them and sure enough rice turned up instead, and cold rice at that, so breakfast/lunch turned into train food; crisps, pop and biscuits!

For the second time on the trip we ended up having consecutively numbered Alco’s on consecutive moves. JMP WDM3A 16543 arrived with the Vikramshila Express and when the pantry car stopped next to us on the platform I had a brainwave and it paid off; before we’d even departed we were all feasting on omelettes or veg cutlets, or both, courtesy of one of the vendors who was just setting off on his way down the lengthy train.

NTES showed both 22406 and 12368 Anand Vihar – Bhagalpur trains as being over 4 hours late by this point in the morning and as we pulled in at Abhaipur JMP WDM2 18590 was doing so in the opposite platform with 22406 and after a quick scurry across the ballast we were on the move shortly afterwards, 4h26m late. Despite the late running moves seemed to put themselves together and this one was no different as we’d have plenty of time at Jamalpur to make both 13423 Bhagalpur – Ajmer or 13410 Jamalpur – Malda Town; the latter we already knew was HWH WDM3A 14129. A 30 minute out of course stop at Dasharathpur soon had than plan in the bin too. When we realized we were going to miss 13423 we got off to wait for 53404 Gaya – Jamalpur passenger behind, which would still make 13410 at Jamalpur; or so we thought.

Dasharathpur was a pleasant enough place to fester around, with no hassle at all, just no shelter from the sun! 22406 eventually departed after standing for 30 minutes awaiting a tamper coming off the single line section from Jamalpur. JMP WDM3A 18958 passed through shortly afterwards with 13423 Bhagalpur – Ajmer. Then after another hour 53404 Gaya – Jamalpur passenger turned up with JMP WDM3A 16359. It had lost an hour from Kiul but as long as it had a decent run to Jamalpur we’d still be ok for 13410 Jamalpur – Malda Town forward. When 53404 didn’t depart after 5 minutes of waiting it became evident what was going on. NTES confirmed that 12368 Anand Vihar – Bhagalpur “Vikramshila Express” had departed Abhaipur and it was soon coming round the corner to overtake 53404. Fortunately for us though the road wasn’t off in the middle road and 12368 came to a stand just long enough for a bit of a migration to occur from 53404 to 13268 and then JMP WDM3A 16622 was off; after only standing for about 60 seconds. Unfortunately though we were just late enough at Jamalpur to miss 13410 1510 Jamalpur – Malda Town by 5 minutes so we stayed on 12368 through to Bariarpur to wait for 13235 Sahibganj – Danapur “Intercity”.

Unlike our previous visit to Bariarpur there was absolutely no bother at all and everyone just left us to drink our chai without having to answer questions from a gathered crowd. The only intrigue actually came from the RPF when I videoed NGC WDG3A 14764 hammering through on my phone; thankfully they only wanted to look at the live picture while I was videoing. MGS WDM3A 18847 was the closest to time train we’d done all day when it arrived with 13235 Sahibganj – Danapur only a few minutes late and deposited us into Jamalpur almost to time! That move signified the end of an interesting day’s move and having collected our bags from the cloak room we headed out of the station and over the road to a place where Speedo & I had eaten last time we’d been to Jamalpur. It wasn’t a place that enticed you in, with its dingy look, wooden bench seats and army of mosquitoes but the food was cooked fresh, including the rice, and the egg curry served was very good. The guy at the door also spoke fluent English so the whole experience was made a lot easier by this.

We did have the option of doing 53498 1855 Jamalpur – Bhagalpur passenger to Bhagalpur and boarding 13072 1930 Jamalpur – Howrah there, which was where our reservations were from anyway, but as there was no engine on 53498 at 1900 we waited around at Jamalpur instead. SPJ WDM3D 11323 didn’t back the stock for 13072 in until a few minutes before departure time. JMP WDM3A 16481 was sat at the signal, Bhagalpur end of the station, waiting to be attached and the whole process only took about 20 minutes; with 13072 departing 17 late. A couple had sat in our reserved berths before we could get on the train but we asked them politely to move, explaining that we had them reserved from Bhagalpur and there was no problem. By Bhagalpur we were all actually dossed out but the inconsiderate pair that got into the side berths adjacent at Bhagalpur soon changed that as they got on noisily, opened our curtains, turned our lights on and generally faffed about. When they realized their berths were the side ones did they turn out our light and put the curtains back how they’d found them? No, did they hell as like, which is just the kind of inconsideration we’d come to expect on overnight trains in India, and told them so as we rearranged our compartment ourselves and told them un-politely to keep their noise down!

The Moves

16064 Siwan Jct Jamalpur Jct 2245 (25/11) Jammu Tawi – Bhagalpur Jct 15098 GD WDM3A – via Muzaffarpur, Samastipur, Barauni, Rampurdurma & Kiul
16570 Jamalpur Jct Dasharatpur 0735 Banka – Rajendranagar 13241 JMP WDM3A
16542 Dasharatpur Jamalpur Jct 0915 Liul Jct – Jamalpur Jct 53422 JMP WDM3A
16543 Jamalpur Jct Abhaipur 1115 Bhagalpur Jct – Anand Vihar Terminus 12367 JMP WDM3A
18590 Abhaipur Dasharatpur 1655 (26/11) Anand Vihar Terminus – Bhagalpur Jct 22406 JMP WDM2 – 4h26m late
16622 Dasharatpur Bariarpur 1440 (26/11) Anand Vihar Terminus – Bhagalpur Jct 12368 JMP WDM3A – 4h36m late
18847 Bariarpur Jamalpur Jct 1425 Sahibganj Jct – Danapur 13235 MGS WDM3A
16481 Jamalpur Jct Howrah 1930 Jamalpur Jct – Howrah 13072 JMP WDM3A – via Bhagalpur, Rampurhat & Bandel

 

Gen for Thursday 27th November 2014
(Other than in the moves above)

14099 ET WDM3A 19048 0915 Bhagalpur – Surat
16608 JMP WDM3A 53430 1038 Jamalpur – Bhagalpur (JMP WDM3A 16538 dead)
16324 JMP WDM3A 53423 1140 Jamalpur – Kiul
18958 JMP WDM3A 13423 1305 Bhagalpur – Ajmer
16359 JMP WDM3A 53404 0620 Gaya – Jamalpur
16538 JMP WDM3A 53429 1225 Bhagalpur – Jamalpur
16542 JMP WDM3A 53432 1530 Jamalpur – Sahibganj
14129 HWH WDM3A 13410 1515 Jamalpur – Malda Town

The Photos


Friday 28th November 2014 (Hotels outside Sealdah don’t take foreigners!)

Having spent the previous few days getting used to late trains, just when you don’t want them to be early they always are. 13072 rolled to a stand at the buffers in Howrah at 0527, 3 minutes early! We planned to meet good friend Samit Roychoudhury for breakfast but had time to kill before our meeting time so wasted no time in getting a pre-paid taxi to Sealdah. The queue at the pre-pay was nonexistent and we were away in seconds. The journey cost RS100 and only took 15 minutes.

We hoped to get checked into a hotel and dump our big bags, to then use the hotel as a resting place before our 0330 Sealdah – Lalgola train the following morning. Having roam the streets outside Sealdah and tried three different hotels the result was the same; none accepted foreigners. Finding a hotel in town would defeat the object of the exercise in needing somewhere close to the station at stupid o’clock in the morning so we ended up dropping our bags at Sealdah’s cloak room, where there weren’t any retiring rooms available either. While sorting my bag out I noticed that I had a hole in the bottom compartment, at the front. It turned out that for the second time I’d been subject to mice or rats eating through my bag to get at my malt loaf inside. Thankfully the hole wasn’t too big and at least they’d made the hole worth their while on this occasion and actually eaten more than a thimble of malt loaf; the remainder of which went to some woman that was begging on the station concourse. I couldn’t bring myself to put it in the bin when she was clearly hungry!

After a quick chai we got another pre-paid taxi, this time to Park Street Metro station. This one coast RS75 and only took 10 minutes. The receipt slip actually had the route of our journey on it, albeit very faded. From Park Street Metro it was only a two minute walk to Flurys on Park Street itself. The issue with being dropped outside the front door is the detour to get round the morning one-way system that is geared up for traffic heading into the city on a morning. So the Metro station was the easiest option. Breakfast with Samit made a change from breakfast in the bustle of a station’s confines and despite the RS528 price tag for a full English it turned out to be quite a decent one too. Our time with Samit was limited by the fact we had to be back at Howrah for our planned 1010 departure and we had to make sure we didn’t get caught up in the morning rush as well. A taxi direct from Flurys to Howrah cost RS52 on the meter and only took 15 minutes.

The stock to form 12337 1010 Howrah – Bolpur was already on the blocks but there was no loco on it when we got to the front. The station was awash with WDS6’s shunting; 36110, 160, 179, 216 & 218 all seen in the station confines while we were there. The reason for doing 12337 was as it was routed via Dankuni to Barddhaman and it was booked a JMP WDM3A. We should have actually realized before the loco backed down that it was likely to be JMP WDM3A 16481 off our 13072 overnight; and the penny dropped as it dropped on. The loco link obviously being 13072 JMP – HWH, 12337 HWH Bolpur, 12338 Bolpur – HWH, 13071 HWH – JMP.

The front coach of 12337 was empty and we made ourselves at home, spreading out in the process. My bag was left on the floor and when I caught a glimpse of something moving it caused me to investigate. As I turned my head the mouse scurrying towards my bag stopped dead, contemplated for a split second and then returned to where it had come from. My little bag also had malt load in it, which didn’t last for much longer after that and the morning’s discovery!

The journey to Barddhaman was nice and relaxing, us having the run of the front coach. JMP’s 16481 turned out to be a bit of a machine as well and it was a pleasure to have it on the front while chilling in our own space; for a change. En-route we overtook CNB WAG7 28471 with 04181 Howrah – Jhansi special, which we’d watch depart Howrah and then watched arrive at Barddhaman shortly after we’d arrived. This was followed by MGS WAP4 22610 with 13307 0935 Howrah – Sri Ganganagar, which we’d also watched leave Howrah but as it ran via Bandel it took longer to reach Barddhaman.

As we’d arrived at Barddhaman HWH WDM3D 11312 was just about to depart with 13028 Azimganj – Howrah, that was the only Alco we saw until HWH WDM3A 16360 arrived with 53068 0935 Rampurhat – Barddhaman passenger; shortly before we’d be leaving. The fester wasn’t so bad and Burdwan is certainly a place where you won’t starve with there being vendors all over the station selling from snacks to omelettes and samosas. Some of the vendors were a little intrigued by us and when I’d squirted some cordial into my water, which turned it purple (it was blackcurrant) the vendors became even more intrigued by what it was. I’d even been asked by one young lad if it was alcohol earlier in the trip. Having got the empty Robinsons Squashed container out of the bin I’d put it in the two vendors went about squeezing the bottle in each other’s faces and smelling the scent as it came out; this then has us intrigued. When finished though, rather than put the bottle back in the bin it was just left on the platform and when one just threw a banana skin onto the platform, rather than use the bin at arm’s length away from him, he got the hint as we started at him shaking our heads. Needless to say the banana skin ended up in the bin.

HWH WDM3D 11405 turned up with 13015 1040 Howrah – Bolpur, this train running via Bandel, about 30 late and as it was late it resulted in us having to get off at Guskara to do 12347 1155 Howrah – Rampurhat behind as NTES also showed 12347 as being late and it would likely miss 13188 Rampurhat – Sealdah at Prantik so we cut our losses. HWH WDM3D 14142 wasn’t too far behind with 12347 Howrah – Rampurhat and we passed 13188 at Bolpur with BWN WDM3A 18538.

Bolpur was a building site with the current electrification works taking its toll on passengers wanting to cross from one platform to the other; well those that wanted to cross safely, and I use the word safely loosely in this statement! The old footbridge was closed and a new one was in the process of being completed, this one being built high enough to clear the overhead wires when they were strung up; currently only the masts were up at Bolpur. The bridge had no steps up to it and used a zig-zag ram instead, the result being a 2m30s stroll to get from one side to the other; or of course at 15 second scramble across the ballast was the alternative. You can guess which option was the more favoured? Even while we were crossing the bridge, which didn’t have sides on the ramps in some places, there was spot welding taking place. Those doing the welding didn’t seem to care for where the waste metal went, or for their own eyes it seemed! Basically there was literally no reason for the old footbridge to be closed at this stage, which if open would allow for the new one to be completed without the hindrance of people using it while work was ongoing.

Our afternoon move should have hit a dead end at Bolpur but thanks to NTES and late running passenger trains we were able to do HWH WDM3A 18874 forward to Prantik on the late running 53043 1110 Howrah – Rajgir passenger. Once on the opposite platform at Prantik we didn’t have long to wait but in the meantime we got swamped by school girls who wanted to have their photos taken with us. Unlike the young males that want to do the same there was a lot of giggling and girly posing going on as they took their photos. BWN WDM2 17971 soon stopped the photo session though and my camera came out quickly to snap the heritage BWN machine as it arrived. 17xxx WDM2’s had been lacking on this trip, this being only the second one we’d had on the whole trip and a definite sign of the times as their numbers dwindle.

At Bolpur we had the option to get off for the train we planned to be on from Bolpur back to Howrah, 15658 Guwahati – Sealdah, or, thanks to a bit more late running, go through to Bhedia on 53066 to risk making 53135 Sealdah – Rampurhat passenger and returning to Bolpur for 12364 Haldibari – Kolkata instead. We opted for the latter, knowing that if we missed 53135 at Bhedia we could go through to Barddhaman on 53066 anyway. As it happened we made BWN WDM3A 16162 with 53135 at Bhedia with a bit of time to spare and watched BWN WDM3A 18997 hammer through with 15658 Guwahati – Sealdah while we waited; the correct move having been adopted. We didn’t have long to wait back at Bolpur for BWN WDM3A 16508 to turn up with a bang on time 12364 Haldibari – Kolkata. We managed to get ourselves some seats in the AC Chair Car thanks to the TTE, who was insistent we all sat together in a row of three seats despite there being plenty of space around; we just waited for him to disappear before suiting ourselves for the journey to Barddhaman.

Time was on our side at Barddhaman where we had a couple of hours to kill before doing 13018 Azimganj – Howrah through to its destination. Had we actually managed to get a hotel near to Sealdah we’d have done 15658 “Kanchanjunga Express” back to Sealdah and retired to the hotel to get some rest before our 0330 departure the following morning but now we didn’t have that option there was no point so we planned to kill time by doing trains instead.

We didn’t find anywhere that looked too promising outside Barddhaman station for food so spent most of the time on the station just watching the rush hour go by. Within a 30 minute spell we saw three HWH WDM3A 14xxx series passing through; 14129 with 53045 1625 Howrah – Rampurhat, 14142 with 12348 1635 Rampurhat – Howrah and 14132 with 53047 1640 Howrah – Rampurhat. And then, out of the blue, while we weren’t expecting anything NGC WDM3A 16006 rolled to a stand on the far side of the station. We legged it over the footbridge, confirmed it was Howrah bound with passengers on board and before we’d even figured out what the train was we were on the move. It took us a while but we figured out we were on board 15644 Kamakhya – Puri which wasn’t booked to stop at Barddhaman and it wasn’t until we were at Azimganj the following day, where we found a posted on the wall, that we realized that some trains were being diverted via Barddhaman vice running direct via Katwa and 15644 was one of them; which actually had a timed stop at Barddhaman on the days it was diverted. Had we figured out what 16006 was on before it departed we may not have boarded it as we ultimately played the wrong move as we got held a few shacks outside Bandel to wait time, where 13018 Azimganj – Howrah went screaming by in the darkness. Both trains were booked to stop at Bandel with 13018 being timed in front of 15644 and we could have watched 16006 leave, done 13018 to Bandel and then done 16006 forward instead. As it happened we at least managed to get a bit of relaxing time in on board 15644 in vacant sleeper berths; the whole relaxation thing spoiled by a family, all of whom sounded drunk as they made enough noise between them for the rest of the train combined! At one point, while Speedo & I were conversing in the vestibule end, one woman came up to us, started ranting in her local tongue, and then disappeared as quickly as she’d appeared; it was all very strange but thankfully that was the end of whatever matter she had and we were into Howrah at 2225, 5 minutes early, without any further event.

A pre-paid taxi straight to Sealdah cost RS110, with RS10 night tax added, not the RS100 we paid that morning. The traffic en-route was completely different to how it had been in the morning and in places was literally totally gridlocked, no thanks to Lorries trying to gain access to places with very little room and taking an age in the process. Of course everyone tried to use the opposite side of the road to get by the obstruction but just stopped oncoming traffic in the process, making life hard for everyone instead of just having a little patience. Things seemed to get a little too much for Aidy as we weaved in and out of the traffic and as we sat at a set of traffic lights the back door casually opened and he threw up as we stood there, closing the door, as casually as he had done when he’d opened it, afterwards. This happened twice en-route and unfortunately we’d all felt like this at some point during our India travels and all hoped we wouldn’t be the one to end up with “Delhi Belly”….

Getting a taxi straight to Sealdah turned out to be the wrong thing to do as Howrah had loads of food places on its concourse and Sealdah had virtually nothing, most of which were closed or closing anyway. The only place open was Comesum, where we I had the worst egg curry I’d ever been handed; most of which I just left and I was wishing I still had the malt loaf, that the mice had eaten through my bag the previous night, at that point.

As we made our way across the empty station concourse it became evident that the station was closed up at night as RPF staff were evicting people and cleaning staff were washing down the concourse. The RPF staff did however point us towards an upstairs waiting room so once we’d collected our bags from the cloak room we made our way up. When we arrived there was plenty of space but people were still dossed all over the floor and tables. The waiting room wasn’t a free for all and we had to show our tickets to get in and while Aidy & Speedo made themselves at home in the plastic seats I decided to join the masses and get some shut-eye on the floor.

The Moves

16481 Howrah Barddhaman Jct 1010 Howrah – Bolpur 12337 JMP WDM3A – via Dankuni
11405 Barddhaman Jct Guskara 1040 Howrah – Bolpur 13015 HWH WDM3D
14142 Guskara Bolpur 1155 Howrah – Rampurhat 12347 HWH WDM3A
18874 Bolpur Prantik 1110 Howrah – Rajgir 53043 HWH WDM3A
17971 Prantik Bhedia 1425 Rampurhat Jct – Barddhaman Jct 53066 BWN WDM2
16162 Bhedia Bolpur 1135 Sealdah – Rampurhat Jct 53135 BWN WDM3A
16508 Bolpur Barddhaman Jct 0830 Haldibari – Kolkata Chitpur 12364 BWN WDM3A
16006 Barddhaman Jct Howrah 2345 (27/11) Kamakhya Jct – Puri 15644 NGC WDM3A – via Bandel; diverted via Rampurhat vice Katwa due to doubling works

 

Gen for Friday 28th November 2014
(Other than in the moves above)

22610 HWH WAP4 13007 0940 Howrah – Sri Ganganagar
22803 MGS WAP4 13010 2030 (P) Dehradun – Howrah
22818 MGS WAP4 12334 1540 Allahabad City – Howrah
11297 HWH WDM3D 53048 0510 Rampurhat – Howrah, 15227 2355 (P) Yesvantpur – Muzaffarpur
28471 CNB WAG7 04181 0750 Howrah – Jhansi
11312 HWH WDM3D 13028 0750 Azimganj – Howrah
20017 SGUJ WDP4 12042 0535 New Jalpaiguri – Howrah
16360 HWH WDM3A 53068 0935 Rampurhat – Barddhaman
18772 BWN WDM3A 13162 0535 Balurghat – Kolkata Chitpur
21382 MGS WAM4 13050 1810 (P) Amritsar – Howrah
22408 HWH WAP4 12260 1940 (P) New Delhi – Sealdah Duronto
28128 LDH WAG7 12320 1700 (P) Agra Cantt – Kolkata Chitpur
18955 HWH WDM3A 12509 2330 (PP) Bangalore City – Guwahati
21385 MGS WAM4 13132 1530 (P) Anand Vihar Terminus – Howrah
14020 BWN WDM3A 53136 1305 Rampurhat – Sealdah (BWN WDM3A 18851 dead)
18538 BWN WDM3A 13188 1405 Rampurhat – Sealdah
16413 BWN WDM3A 13161 1255 Kolkata Chitpur – Balurghat
14129 HWH WDM3A 53045 1625 Howrah – Rampurhat
14142 HWH WDM3A 12348 1635 Rampurhat – Howrah
14132 HWH WDM3A 53047 1640 Howrah – Rampurhat
18997 BWN WDM3A 15658 2230 (P) Guwahati – Sealdah
28684 ANGL WAG7 53181 2330 Sealdah – Lalgola

The Photos


Saturday 29th November 2014 (The ferry from Jiaganj to Azimganj is only 1 Rupee!)

Concerned that we needed to get seats on our 0330 Sealdah – Lalgola passenger train we had our alarms set for 0200 to make sure we were on the platform when the stock arrived to form the train. When we got downstairs there was nothing open and the station entrance was cordoned off with people being held outside the barriers by RPF staff. The information window was open though and we were told the 0330 Lalgola would depart from platform 9a and so hung around the buffer stops there. Most platforms, throughout the whole station, were full of EMU’s and platform 9a was one of them. At 0235 however HWH WDS6 36219 brought a load 9 set into platform 9c, the name boards on the side confirming it was indeed the set for 53171 0330 Sealdah – Lalgola passenger. There was hardly anyone about and we got seats at the front of the train no problem. The moment of truth soon arrived as thankfully BWN WDM3A 16010 dropped onto the stock to work the train; it was a massive relief when it did so!

Originally we had a very different move planned to get Lalgola in with Alco’s, and a far more sociable move it was too. Thanks to a bit of advance information from Vic Lines and some visual confirmation from Anamitra Ghatak we were saved from a rather embarrassing moment at Sealdah the previous day. Originally we’d booked first class berths on 53175 1220 Sealdah – Lalgola and back the same night on 53172 2150 Lalgola – Sealdah as up until the July timetable change, it turns out, these were the regular Alco hauled trains to Lalgola; and had been for years. For some reason since July 2014 the 0330 Sealdah – Lalgola & 53180 1410 Lalgola – Kolkata Chitpur have been the regular Alco hauled trains to Lalgola instead. These of course feed into the Lalgola – Ranaghat Jct passengers which require 3 Alco links to cover all the relevant trains. All of these trains are diesel under the wires throughout, quite why this remains so is anyone’s guess but as it’s taken me years to get round to doing Lalgola I definitely wasn’t complaining when 16010 dropped onto our train; and what a treat we were in for too!

When 16010 got 53171 rolling right time, with the train still relatively empty Aidy & I took the opportunity to get onto the luggage rack, in an attempt to catch up on some sleep. Sleep didn’t come immediately and I found myself concentrating on the noise coming from 16010 for quite a while. It was probably one of the best Alco’s we had on the trip and was driven very well too, which definitely helped. As we were hammering down double track main line station dwell time was minimal, in some cases as little as 25 seconds, and the loco pilot had to drive 16010 very hard to keep time. I don’t think I’ve had this kind of run or driving anywhere else in India; where the train was literally treated like an EMU train. It was fantastic to the ears let me tell you!

I managed a little sleep but was eventually woken by someone trying to wedge their stuff onto the luggage rack by my feet. Obviously I had a few words and maneuvered their stuff so as I could remain comfortable but when I spied my original side seat about to be vacated I took the opportunity while it was there and was down off the rack by 0700. Not only was the train being driven like an EMU, it was being frequented like one with more vendors on board than I’d ever seen on a conventional train; selling socks, toothbrushes, jigsaws, brushes and a whole host of other tat. Strangely though there was a distinct lack of people selling food.

We passed ASN WAG5 23221 with 13104 0540 Lalgola – Sealdah at Debagram, which cost us a bit of time. From that point on the train was quite full but nothing out of the ordinary. There was one guy on board who clearly thought he was the dog’s bollocks, with his holier than thou attitude trying to give off the vibe that he was above everyone else and generally imposing himself across everyone else on the train. It’s quite hard to explain but this kind of attitude is common throughout India and is behavior we’d probably associate with teens in the western world, not young adults as it generally tends to be. I was glad when the said individual got off and left us to our own.

Despite the odd holdup on the single line section beyond Krishnagar City we were only 9 minutes late into a sunny Lalgola. 16010 was immediately detached but not run round, it went off somewhere else, in the Krishnapur direction, eventually returning shortly before departure time to reattach to the stock and work back with 53154 1135 Lalgola – Ranaghat Jct. In the meantime a search outside the station revealed plenty of shops but none selling food, just train food, so we drank chai on the station and just waited until it was time to head out of Lalgola.

53154 departed a few minutes late and was held a few minutes at Krishnapur to await the arrival of BWN WDM3A 18845 with 53151 0655 Ranaghat Jct – Lalgola but was then held for 30 minutes at Bagwangola for ASN WAG5 23524 to arrive with 13133 0650 Kolkata Chitpur – Lalgola; eventually dropping us at Jiaganj about 45 minutes late, which was where a new kind of journey would begin!

Immediately outside the station exit were plenty of cycle rickshaws and two were more than willing to take us to the ghat where the ferry to Azimganj departed; their fare being RS50 for each rickshaw and the 3-4km journey taking 10 minutes through the streets of Jiaganj. What we hadn’t realized was that just round the corner from the station were a fleet of shared battery powered rickshaws that obviously did the trip to/from the ghats, probably cheaper and quicker. Still it was a pleasant ride and when we got to the ghat there were people waiting for the next ferry to arrive. Azimganj is clearly visible at the other side of the Hooghly River and we could see the next ferry just departing from Azimganj. The ghat at Jiaganj was nothing more than a spot at the side of the river which had a makeshift bamboo walkway to allow people on/off the ferries and when the ferry arrived we soon worked out that it was just as simple an affair; it was just a hollow boat with a flat top, made of bamboo, laid on top to allow people to stand on and share the space with motorbikes, cycles and even rickshaws. Of course you’d expect something to hold on to during the short 5 minute journey but there aren’t even any railings round the outside of the boat; so your safety is in your own hands! During the journey we snapped away at the novelty value of the contraption we were travelling on, meanwhile the locals on the boat snapped away at us with their phone cameras. Paying for the journey across is done once you get to your destination, the fare being just 1 rupee, yes that’s just 1 rupee; a while 1 penny in pound sterling!

When we walked away from the ghat we were expecting to walk to Azimganj City railway station but instead we found Azimganj Junction station; it was then that it dawned on us that the other ferry we could see, a little further down the river from where we crossed, was actually the one we’d wanted to be on and that there were two ghats in Jiaganj, one for Azimganj Junction and one for Azimganj City. Lesson learnt we now had to get to Azimganj City and with no public transport of any kind seemingly available we asked a shopkeeper how to get there; just as the answer turned up, a flatbed cycle rickshaw pulled up behind us. It was an interesting journey sitting on the back, looking at where we’d come from and not where we were going but we were delivered to the Hotel Aas Pass; which advertised “Dulax” rooms on the hoarding above its entrance. We were soon shown to a room with two large double beds and as the manager wasn’t around we were allowed to check in later.

A “green” painted restaurant had been recommended by Vic & Flossy, who’d been to Azimganj a few weeks before us, it was just off the platform end of City station so we used it for some much needed food. While the food that turned up was actually decent food, the rigmarole to get what we’d actually ordered was a bit much. It was a classic case of the guy taking the order hearing what he wanted and then bringing out what he thought we wanted and not in the correct quantities either. Still, the food was good and rather plentiful in the end, although with Aidy still a little broken he didn’t eat much at all.

Azimganj City station is basically the town market, the platform of which is barely identifiable as such; and there’s not a great deal of room to maneuver round either. Thanks to 53030 0445 Bhagalpur – Azimganj Jct being 2h30m late we were able to do BWN WDM2 17861 to Azimganj Jct instead of either walking or getting a flatbed cycle rickshaw there. Azimganj Jct is a much bigger station than City, with 5 platforms, some of which look recently built. We had three options out of there and with HWH WDM3A 18882 on 13018 1540 Azimganj Jct – Howrah, BWN WDM2 17925 on 53027 1605 Azimganj Jct – Malda Town and BWN WDM3A 16473 on 53029 1625 Azimganj Jct – Bhagalpur we all opted for the WDM2. Speedo and I did it through to Poradanga Halt while Aidy got off at Azimganj City to do 16473 forward to Poradanga to meet up with us; something that never happened…

NTES had showed 53434 1420 Barharwa – Azimganj Jct as being right time on a station lineup for Poradanga but as we got off at Poradanga I was a little skeptical as everything else coming from that direction had been at least 2 hours late; so I checked the train itself and learnt a valuable lesson! 53434 was showing as not having departed origin, which was almost 3 hours away from us, the default on NTES was to show the train as right time until it had an initial report; lesson learnt!

Other than 53029, behind us, there was only one other train to stop at Poradanga that day after 53434, which was 53022 Bhagalpur – Azimganj at 1847, which we assumed wouldn’t be on time. While pondering what to do the crossing barriers went down and a late running DMU passed through, non-stop, towards Azimganj City. Once that had gone we soon realized that our only option was to walk back to Azimganj City as there were no forms of transport at Poradanga at all, other than personally owned bikes! The big issue we had with walking back to Azimganj City was that Aidy would be oblivious to what he was getting into if he did 16473 out to Poradanga; bizarrely he just happened to be checking his phone for text messages when I rang, on the off chance he had it in earshot, and was waiting for stuff to be loaded into the vans on 53029 before getting on; something he was now not going to do thanks to my perfectly timed phone call.

Our walk towards Azimganj City was made easier by the fact that doubling works were taking place and the formation made for a straight walk down the trackside and not directly down the ballast; as the alternative would have been. There was also a new curve off the Barharwa line to the Rampurhat line which formed the third side of what had now become a triangle between Azimganj City and Poradanga. The 5km walk took us 42 minutes at quite a fast pace. We were hoping to make 53034 1510 Rampurhat – Azimganj Jct but it was touch and go with the time we had to get back to Azimganj City. What probably secured the deal was that 16473 was still sat in at Azimganj City, 35 minutes late, when we walked onto the platform and was still being loaded with goods; nothing else could arrive until it had departed as the platform was a single line platform. We hadn’t seen anything in the distance on the Rampurhat line during our walk so went over to the hotel to find Aidy preparing some hot water with an element plugged into the wall and clipped onto a piece of wood balanced across the top of a bucket which allowed the element to hang in the water and heat it; this was a first for me in India but I was guessing this was how hot buckets of water were provided in quite a lot of hotels across the country?

As Aidy wasn’t feeling too good Speedo and I did a return trip to Azimganj Jct by ourselves. It turned out to be a wasted trip too as BWN WDM2 “jumbo” 17850 was run straight round off 53034 1510 Rampurhat – Azimganj Jct to work 53031 1815 Azimganj Jct – Rampurhat straight back. Despite our wasted trip all of us were showered and in bed by 1930! The previous night having took its toll on us all.

The Moves

16010 Sealdah Lalgola 0330 Sealdah – Lalgola 53171 BWN WDM3A
16010 Lalgola Jiaganj 1135 Lalgola – Ranaghat Jct 53154 BWN WDM3A
Ferry Jiaganj Ghat Azimganj Jct Ghat RS1, 5 mins – 10 min cycle rickshaw Jiaganj to Ghat Two ghats at Jiaganj, one for City, one for Jct
17861 Azimganj City Azimganj Jct 0445 Bhagalpur Jct – Azimganj Jct 53030 BWN WDM2
17925 Azimganj Jct Poradanga 1605 Azimganj Jct – Malda Town 53027 BWN WDM2
Walk Poradanga Azimganj City 5km, took 42 minutes down track 53434 over 3 hours late and not departed origin at time of arriving Poradanga!
17850 Azimganj City Azimganj Jct 1510 Rampurhat Jct – Azimganj Jct 53034 BWN WDM2 (Jumbo)
17850 Azimganj Jct Azimganj City 1815 Azimganj Jct – Rampurhat Jct 53031 BWN WDM2 (Jumbo)

 

Gen for Saturday 29th November 2014
(Other than in the moves above)

23221 ASN WAG5 13104 0540 Lalgola – Sealdah
28684 ANGL WAG7 53178 0830 Lalgola – Sealdah
18845 BWN WDM3A 53151 0655 Ranaghat – Lalgola
23524 ASN WAG5 13133 0650 Kolkata Chitpur – Lalgola
17861 BWN WDM2 1520 Azimganj Jct – Katwa
16473 BWN WDM3A 53029 1625 Azimganj Jct – Bhagalpur
16060 HWH WDM3A 13422 1550 Malda Town – Nawabdipdham
18882 HWH WDM3A 13018 1540 Azimganj Jct – Howrah
16162 BWN WDM3A 53013 1445 Katwa – Azimganj Jct

The Photos


Sunday 30th November 2014 (It started with a DMU and ended with a WAP4!)

Having had a good night’s sleep we were all up and about by 0615, without the planned 0630 alarm call. A quick check of NTES showed there to be two late running trains, that should have already gone to Azimganj Jct, and although we were quickly up and out, having paid the bill the previous night, we didn’t flag the DMU on 73034 0510 Nalhati Jct – Azimganj Jct when it turned up first. It was better than doing the journey by flatbed cycle rickshaw and as it turned out 53036 Barharwa – Azimganj Jct passenger didn’t get to Azimganj Jct before 13028 0750 Azimganj Jct – Howrah departed anyway.

On the main platform at Azimganj Jct were a line of about half a dozen omelette Walla all doing exactly the same thing, needless to say breakfast wasn’t hard to come by but if you were Aidy it was hard to put down; he still hadn’t quite recovered. Sat on board 13028 0750 Azimganj – Howrah, while finishing off Aidy’s breakfast for him, I noticed something that just wasn’t quite right. It was only a goat wondering about the platform but it was wearing a goatskin coat; wrong on so many levels.

HWH WDM3D 11441 did the honours with 13028, the train being a fully unreserved Express which filled up quite well en-route to Bolpur, where we just made BWN WDM3A 18679 with 53065 0910 Barddhaman – Rampurhat. As I didn’t need it I waved Aidy & Speedo off as they did it to Prantik and I followed immediately behind with BWN WDM3A 16652 on 13187 0725 Sealdah – Rampurhat. We didn’t have to wait long for BWN WDM3A 16360 to turn up with 53068 0935 Rampurhat – Barddhaman; we’d overtaken it at Nalhati working 53074 0445 Sahibganj – Rampurhat, while on board 13028, so expected it on the train.

NTES yet again proved itself very useful in making the right choices as we returned to Prantik with BWN WDM3A 16409 on 12373 0905 Sealdah – Rampurhat and then after having options we watched HWH WDM3A 16210 depart with 53041 0715 Howrah – Jaynagar and did HWH WDM3A 18882 forward to Sainthia Jct instead with 13053 0835 Howrah – Siuri. The platform at Siuri was being policed by two TTE’s, near the exit. While they didn’t bother us they were clearly very good at doing their job as the usual finger point at those trying their best not to be noticed often revealed who had and hadn’t got a ticket. The TTE’s were also clearly waiting for everyone to leave the platform but they’d noticed a group of youths hanging around at the top end; rather than saunter down to check their tickets they went back into their office, clearing the way to the exit, and when said youths thought the coast was clear the peeking TTE’s were straight back out of the office to pounce as the group walked past! Very calculating indeed and clearly very effective.

A strange liveried BWN WDM3A 18780 turned up with 53136 1305 Rampurhat – Sealdah; with BWN WDM3A 16574 dead inside. Again NTES played its part in shaping our afternoon and we were off at Prantik for late 12347 1155 Howrah – Rampurhat with HWH WDM3A 18861; back to Ahmadpur Jct. Having seen how TTE’s operated at Sainthia we were shown a completely different tactic on board 12347 where an army of TTE’s, about half a dozen of them, were going through the whole train. The leading pack were picking out those either without tickets or with a ticket for the incorrect class and those at the rear were responsible for collecting them up and dealing with them in the vestibule at the end of the respective coach. It was quite ruthless and there was certainly nowhere to hide….

Ahmadpur Jct currently wasn’t operating as a junction. Evidence of the old NG platform, which served the line to Katwa, was still visible; it now being closed for gauge conversion to BG, some of the station buildings were now used for the gauge conversion project towards Katwa, as advised by a sign painted on one of them.

BWN WDM3A 18679 returned from Rampurhat with 53066 1425 Rampurhat – Barddhaman so we waited for 15658 Guwahati – Sealdah behind, which turned up with BWN WDM3A 16414, and did it forward to Bolpur to wait for 12364 Haldibari – Kolkata Chitpur behind. During the short journey, and thankfully it was only a short journey, we were subjected to some nutter on board who claimed to be a brain doctor. I initially thought he was a shrink so humoured him for a bit and soon clocked that he really was some kind of nutter. He claimed to have been to university in the USA but when question on which state it was in all he could do was tell us in the USA. A group of youths behind the guy began gesturing to us, by twisting their finger by the side of their heads that the guy we were talking to was a nutter, and it turned out that his attention had been turned away from them to us when we’d boarded. Thankfully we were off at Bolpur and they probably had his full attention again once we’d got off!

As per two days previous BWN WDM3A 16508 turned up with 12364 Haldibari – Kolkata Chitpur, it was also almost to time like it had been the previous time we’d done it. This time when we got to Barddhaman we ended up trying one of the restaurants in the street outside the station. The first we sat in didn’t really understand what we wanted so we ended up next door, where at least they spoke English. We didn’t quite get what we wanted and some of the veg side dishes were cold but all in all we got some food; which was better than nothing at all.

During our time on the platform, waiting for 12175 Howrah – Gwalior, we had the company of some bearded homeless guy who was clearly withered by us as he just couldn’t stop staring. When HWH WAP4 22372 arrived with 12175 we didn’t know it at the time but it would be the start of a very crappy 24 hour period for us and our next Alco wouldn’t be until after 2100 the following night! On board 12175 we had the pleasure of two business type guys in our compartment, both of which made a rancid noise when eating with their mouths open and then snored lots when they went to sleep afterwards; my IPod had to be put to good use to drown their racket out.

It became immediately evident that Dhanbad wasn’t the easiest place to get around when we arrived, there being no solo auto’s outside the station with all the ones there being shared types. There were however plenty of taxi’s and having tried to get one of the share auto’s to take us to our hotel of choice we ultimately ended up in a taxi on the main road outside the station. In fact I’m convinced it wasn’t a licensed taxi at all but the driver told us he knew where the Hotel Cocoon was, after I’d pointed the name out on my Google printout. Speedo was the first to point out that the journey seemed to be taking a little longer than we’d expected and sure enough we ended up at a different hotel on the other side of town; the driver clearly having looked at different hotel name to that which I’d been pointing out to him on my printout!

Eventually we got to the Hotel Cocoon, after the driver had asked for directions, there actually being no sign outside to indicate it was there and access being under the hotel through a small parking garage. Having booked the hotel over the phone while we were waiting at Bariarpur a few days previous all should have been well; but it wasn’t. The hotel were expecting us but it turned out the RS4100 I’d been quoted when making the reservation was for a single room and they’d reserved three single rooms for us and not one double with an extra bed as asked! RS4100 is quite a lot for a hotel in India as it was but to then be facing a bill for RS12300 (£123) was just ridiculous. Having explained the issue we were then given a room with a double bed and an extra bed for RS6455, which rose to RS7255 when tax was added. Having looked at the room I asked for two extra beds, as the room was big enough, which were eventually allowed and made up in the room while we waited and got ourselves sorted. We soon found out that the WiFi didn’t work in our room and that the window didn’t shut properly; the management’s answer to this being to wedge towels in the gap round the edge to form as good a seal as they could!

We didn’t make it to bed until after 2300 as a result of the fiasco but despite the issues and the costly room it was probably one of the best hotel rooms I’ve stayed in during my travels in India. It was very spacious, clean, had a decent sized bathroom with 24/7 hot water and even the extra beds (mattresses on the floor) were very comfortable.

The Moves

17019 Azimganj City Azimganj Jct 0510 Nalhati Jct – Azimganj Jct 73034 DMU 17019/17018 power cars
17018
11441 Azimganj Jct Bolpur 0750 Azimganj Jct – Howrah 13028 HWH WDM3D
16652 Bolpur Prantik 0725 Sealdah – Rampurhat Jct 13187 BWN WDM3A
16360 Prantik Bolpur 0935 Rampurhat Jct – Barddhaman Jct 53068 BWN WDM3A
16409 Bolpur Prantik 0905 Sealdah – Rampurhat Jct 12373 BWN WDM3A
18882 Prantik Sainthia Jct 0835 Howrah – Siuri 13053 HWH WDM3A
18780 Sainthia Jct Prantik 1305 Rampurhat Jct – Sealdah 53136 BWN WDM3A – BWN WDM3A 16574 dit
18861 Prantik Ahmadpur Jct 1155 Howrah – Rampurhat Jct 12347 HWH WDM3A
16414 Ahmadpur Jct Bolpur 2230 (29/11) Guwahati Jct – Sealdah 15658 BWN WDM3A
16508 Bolpur Barddhaman Jct 0830 Haldibari – Kolkata Chitpur 12364 BWN WDM3A
22372 Barddhaman Jct Dhanbad Jct 1745 Howrah – Gwalior Jct 12175 HWH WAP4

 

Gen for Sunday 30th November 2014
(Other than in the moves above)

17845 BWN WDM2 53012 0720 Azimganj Jct – Katwa
14020 BWN WDM3A 53063 0630 Barddhaman – Barharwa
16360 BWN WDM3A 53074 0445 Sahibganj – Rampurhat, 53135 1135 Sealdah – Rampurhat (from Barddhaman)
11442 HWH WDM3A 22512 1800 (P) Kamakhya – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus
18779 BWN WDM2 53008 0850 Rampurhat – Katwa
18819 HWH WDM3A 13017 0605 Howrah – Amritsar
18997 HWH WDM3A 15657 0635 Sealdah – Guwahati
18679 BWN WDM3A 53065 0910 Barddhaman – Rampurhat, 53066 1425 Rampurhat – Barddhaman
16210 HWH WDM3A 53041 0715 Howrah – Jaynagar
16652 BWN WDM3A 13188 1405 Rampurhat – Sealdah
11405 HWH WDM3D 53047 1640 Howrah – Rampurhat

The Photos


Monday 1st December 2014 (Disaster strikes…)

There had been a simple plan to do an out and back electric move to Gomoh but as we were late to bed it kind of went out of the window the previous night and we didn’t get up until after 0900. At least while we were paying the most money for a hotel room we would be able to get the best use out of it in the meantime. Breakfast at the hotel was good with eggs freshly cooked to order and served in nice surroundings. After utilizing the room to its fullest we checked out at 1200 and had a free lift to Dhandad Jct station in the hotel’s courtesy vehicle.

With nothing much to do we just sat on the platform watching Dhanbad go by until our booked departure time of 1355. Dhanbad was definitely a lively place. TTE’s were gripping on the platform when 12937 Gandhidham – Howrah arrived; at least one person was seen handing over some money, one was arrested and one was even assaulted by a TTE for giving him some back chat, nothing that a swift slap round the head didn’t cure! We also managed to witness a fight between a youth and a beggar on the station concourse and also witnessed some guy being beaten up for stealing something off a stall on the platform. Having watched the soap opera that Dhanbad had thrown in front of us we chose food at the Comesum on the station concourse before our train and while we were eating the stock for 11046 1355 Dhanbad – Kolhapur was backed in by VSKP WDM3A 16723; a good sign. The AC coaches on the set were only a couple back from the front of the train so it should have been a good run but the fact that BZA WAG7 28254 was the only loco at the north end of the station, having come from the opposite end and stopped, as though poised to back down, soon changed the mood and when the headlights were put on we feared the worst; still hoping it would be going down a different road but it didn’t! The once a week train that was 11046 Dhanbad – Kolhapur, which was the only train booked for an Alco over the Dhanbad – Manpur Jct route, had let us down well and truly! Disgusted with what we’d been presented with, the mood in our compartment could have been cut with a knife. We had no choice but to do the train and had effectively wasted 24 hours in trying to do it in the first place.

The run to Mughalsarai wasn’t anything exciting at all, most of it was in darkness anyway. We did see KTE WDG3A 13518 at Koderma though, waiting to depart with 53370 1645 Koderma – Narwadih passenger, over the newly opened line (25/06/13) that would ultimately connect Koderma with Giridih; it had a load 5 scratch rake of passenger coaches with it.

To add insult to injury we were delayed at Mughalsarai when 28254 was removed and replaced by NGC WDM3A 16580. We were already late enough and a further 30 minute delay wasn’t what we needed but at least the NGC machine was a bit of a beast and gave a spirited journey to Varanasi, where we arrived 90 minutes late at 2225! Bless the little guy that was waiting on the platform for us, he had an A4 piece of paper with “Jun Lee” written on it, obviously I wasn’t Japanese and the name should have said “Jon Lee”. The courtesy car for the Hotel Buddha was in the car park and soon whisked us round to the hotel, where we arrived just in time to quickly check-in and get some food ordered before the restaurant closed. As we’d used the hotel Buddha before the owner gave us a Deluxe room for the same price as the next one down the chain, it was more spacious and had that bit more room for the extra bed; not that there was much room to move anyway once the extra bed was in! I queried the price with the owner as our room was RS3800 yet for the exact same room only 2 years previous we’d paid only RS1400. His response was simply that the price hike was due to the rising prices in Varanasi.

While our meal that night was good, it seemed that it was Speedo’s turn to begin suffering with a bit of Delhi Belly. Unfortunately we didn’t get to bed until gone 2300 again but this time we had an early start the following morning!

The Moves

28254 Dhanbad Jct Mughalsarai Jct 1355 Dhanbad Jct – Kolhapur 11046 BZA WAG7 – vice booked ET WDM3A!
16580 Mughalsarai Jct Varanasi Jct 1355 Dhanbad Jct – Kolhapur 11046 NGC WDM3A

 

Gen for Monday 1st December 2014
(Other than in the moves above)

22752 HWH WAP4 12937 1700 (P) Gandhidham – Howrah
22379 HWH WAP4 12250 1940 (P) New Delhi – Howrah
13518 KTE WDG3A 53370 1645 Koderma – Narwadih
18884 LDH WDM3A 13050 1810 (P) Amritsar – Howrah
40167 ET WDP4D 15646 1645 (P) Guwahati – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus

The Photos


Tuesday 2nd December 2014 (A not so coordinated start to proceedings)

We were up and out by 0615, paying the bill by visa very quickly on our way out. An auto to Varanasi station cost RS100 and the stock to form 53362 0700 Varanasi – Barkakana passenger was in the platform by 0635; with MGS WAM4 21248. This would be our train to Bhabua Road, where we’d then do 13250 1055 Bhabua Road – Patna Jct Intercity throughout, and having got ourselves seats we were all set for the journey; until KTE WDM3A 18962 rolled in with a late running 16359 Ernakulam – Patna Jct. As Aidy was the only one that needed it he leapt over the tracks to do it and left his bag with us so we could keep the seats and he wouldn’t have to cart it about.

Once 16359 had gone I went in search of something to eat and while doing so figured out I clearly hadn’t paid much attention to NTES when I’d looked en-route to the station as 12382 New Delhi – Gaya was just being announced, which ran via Gaya and stopped at Bhabua Road; it was 3h30m late! I was soon back to Speedo and gathering both mine and Aidy’s bags while Speedo just about managed to carry his own; he wasn’t feeling well at all. In all the confusion I later realized I’d dropped my hat on board 53362 while trying to get off with two bags. 12382 was already in when we got back to platform 5 and I couldn’t even tell if the engine on the front was diesel or electric; either way though doing 12382 would be a far better move and we got side seats from the TTE in 2AC just as the train was departing, before 53362 passenger.

We had a few problems to contend with at Mughalsarai, one was getting the loco number, which I’d at least confirmed was Alco as the train curved round on departure from Varanasi, another was to find Aidy, who of course would expect to be getting back on 53362 and finally I needed to keep Speedo away from the hustle and bustle at Mughalsarai as he was broken; leaving me to both get the engine number and find Aidy. Having tried to ring him but to no avail, I sent Aidy a text and hoped for the best. When we rolled into the platform at Mughalsarai both Speedo and I were looking out on different sides of the train to see if we could spot him but we had no luck. I then ran off down to the front of the train to spot MGS WDM3A 16057, before it came off, then headed into the main area at the centre of the station, only to find Aidy walking towards me having spotted me at the door as we arrived and also having got my text message anyway! All was well and normal pace could be resumed, well for some anyway. Speedo spent some of the journey forward to Bhabua Road being sick in the toilet while I had breakfast courtesy of the onboard staff as HWHW WAP7 30329 took us forward.

Bhabua Road was a larger station than I’d expected and had a lot of works going on to add additional lines over the back of it. These lines being constructed virtually all the way from Mughalsarai; possibly for freight only? From the moment we stepped off 12382 at Bhabua Road Speedo managed to drag himself all the way to the nearest bench and basically die on it, quietly! Some local youths did pay a bit of interest but thankfully moved on when we explained he wasn’t well. When MGS WDM3A 16255 arrived 3 minutes early with 13249 Patna Jct – Bhabua Road we migrated over to the stock and got ourselves seats for the journey. Snacks for the journey were gathered from the various stalls outside the station entrance and even by departure time 12350 wasn’t full, our coach got a bit moor foot traffic than others due to it being right outside the booking office but there was still plenty of room as we left. As it turned out 53362 Varanasi – Barkakana passenger only made 13250 by 2 minutes and was 1h41m late by Bhabua Road; yet on the previous two days it had been less than an hour late!

MGS’s 16255 was a good engine but had lost the high pitched turbo noise it had since I’d last had it a couple of years previous. The line speed was good, even on the old NG alignment after Sasaram Jct. We’d been expecting a bit of a totter and a complete wedge out, based on our previous two attempts to do the line from the Ara end, but it was rather sociable and pleasant; until we overtook LKO WDM3A 16660 at Bikramganj with 54274 0740 Sasaram – Ara passenger, which was 4h15 minutes late when we left it behind, having collected quite a lot of its passengers! Surprisingly, being in Bihar, there was no chaining of the train all the way to Ara, where we arrived only 10 minutes late, having been as much as 60 minutes late en-route.

While sat minding our own at Ara, waiting to go, SPJ WDM3D 11508 arrived into platform 1 with 12546 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Raxaul. We figured out it was just waiting the section ahead to become clear, as it was supposed to be right away Mughalsarai to Patna Jct, but decided to make a bid for it anyway, hoping it didn’t go before we got to it as we’d have lost our seats in the meantime. Even Speedo managed to drag himself down from the rack and scurry across the tracks at Ara with Aidy & I. The front coach of 12546 was virtually empty but the door was locked and nobody would open it so I ended up kicking it in, in anger at the ignorant guy that refused to open it for us. The same guy then told us it was a ladies only coach; of course the conversation went on and we questioned exactly why he was exempt from the ladies only rule if we weren’t allowed in it. A heated argument ensued which ended up with us getting out of the coach and walking down to the second coach, having a word with some RPF on the way, who just so happened to be looking our way from the confines of their barracks. I politely told them that they may want to sort out the male population in the ladies coach at the front and off two of them went; quite what they did though I don’t know but they did get in and have a word.

Unfortunately we sent the journey on board 12546 wedged into the vestibule of 2nd unreserved as we didn’t have time to get to any of the reserved class coaches before the road came off for the train to depart. We’d hoped that the train would get stopped at Danapur en-route to Patna Jct, so we could get off for 13402 1615 Danapur – Bhagalpur forward to Patna Jct, despite giving the impression that the train had been chained going through Danapur the loco pilot had just slowed down to crawling pace and given the usual three horns to indicate the brakes had gone in, when in actual fact they hadn’t. Unfortunately for us there wasn’t a platform at either side to make getting off a moving train safer than trying to do it on ballast so we remained on board. There hadn’t been an engine attached to 13402 as we’d passed through anyway so maybe it had been the right decision anyway? The train was worked by JMP WDM3A 18881 with JMP WDM3A 16570 dead in train, as spotted by Speedo later.

As Speedo wasn’t feeling well, he didn’t feel like food, so stayed on the station while Aidy & I went to the Hotel City Center for a decent meal. Aidy now seeming to be firing on all cylinders again. Back on the station it was very busy, with literally train after train heading to Delhi. Our Delhi bound train, 14003 Malda Town – New Delhi, turned up 60 minutes late with TKD WDM3A 18954. 2AC on board was busy and appeared to be a free for all. We were split up in the coach and as we still had the fourth reservation, in Pelham’s absence, I had the choice of either the lower berth 5 or upper berth 6. The lower berth had no less than 4 people sat in it so I kicked the guy dossed in the upper berth out and then had a bit of a set to with the 10 or so folk that had crammed themselves into the four berths opposite mine. The TTE was less than interested when I went and had words with him so I got myself upstairs, put my earplugs in and tried to block it all out; thankfully it wasn’t too bad in the end and I managed to get to sleep.

The Moves

16057 Varanasi Jct Mughalsarai Jct 1615 (01/12) New Delhi Jct – Howrah 12382 MGS WDM3A – 3h30m late
30329 Mughalsarai Jct Bhabua Road 1615 (01/12) New Delhi Jct – Howrah 12382 HWH WAP7
16255 Bhabua Road Ara Jct 1055 Bhabua Road – Patna Jct 13250 MGS WDM3A
11508 Ara Jct Patna Jct 1120 (01/12) Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Raxaul Jct 12546 SPJ WDM3D
18954 Patna Jct Lucknow Charbagh 0905 Malda Town – New Delhi Jct 14003 TKD WDM3A – via Mughalsarai, Varanasi & Rae Bareli

 

Gen for Tuesday 2nd December 2014
(Other than in the moves above)

18962 KTE WDM3A 16359 2300 (PPP) Ernakulam Jct – Patna Jct
16194 LDH WDM3A 15109 2330 (P) Rajgir – Varanasi
21248 MGS WAM4 53362 0700 Varanasi – Barkakana (throughout)
16255 MGS WDM3A 13249 0500 Patna Jct – Bhabua Road
22332 HWH WAP4 12988 1250 (P) Ajmer – Sealdah
30256 GZB WAP7 12801 2145 (P) Puri – New Delhi
16660 LKO WDM3A 54274 0740 Sasaram – Ara (4h15m late)
22284 CNB WAP4 12402 2000 (P) New Delhi – Islampur (4 hours late)
18881 JMP WDM3A 13402 1615 Danapur – Bhagalpur (JMP WDM3A 16570 dead)

The Photos


Wednesday 3rd December 2014 (Lucknow can be hard to string a bash together sometimes….)

When I woke I used NTES to check how late we were and at 1h29m I didn’t think it was too bad; we were just departing a foggy Rae Bareli. The run into Lucknow Charbagh was the best we’d had on the line and we were only 50m late as we rolled in at 0630. We were aiming for 19039 Bandra – Muzaffarpur, which was showing on time and was due away from Lucknow Jct at 0650, so we had plenty of time and as we walked onto the station I heard what I thought was an announcement for the Avadh Express, the train having just arrived with IZN WDM3D 11396; it turned out that it was in fact the Bagh Express, 13020 Kathgodam – Howrah, and my brain hadn’t quite got into working mode that morning. The Avadh Express was in an adjacent platform and after a lot of walking around we discovered GD WDM3A 14112 at the head of the Avadh Express and GD WDM3A 16712 at the head of a late 55050 0515 Lucknow Jct – Gonda passenger. I opted for the Bagh Express with IZN WDM3D 11396 vice the now usual IZN WDP4D!

I was later joined by Aidy for the short run out of town, but only because he’d misheard Speedo when he’d told us the Avadh Express had been headed by 14112; Aidy had heard 11112. It seems like none of us were functioning that well on this morning? Still, while Speedo waited for 14112 on 19039, Aidy and I were already at Badshahnagar drinking chai, and as everything heading into Lucknow just seemed to be losing time we then did 14112 forward to Gomtinagar, and actually could have probably gone to Barabanki Jct, while Speedo got off at Badshahnagar and then did GD WDM3A 16712 behind to meet up with us on the footbridge at Gomtinagar, where we festered in peace.

There was a brand new set of double deck stock at the back of the station, which had clearly been used for testing as inside there were sandbags all over the seats to weight the set down. It was obviously a safe enough place to leave the set as it wasn’t damaged in any way. Our fester on the footbridge turned out to be a 2 hour one and there was nothing about at Gomtinagar at all so we were thankful when GD WDM3A 16025 arrived with 15007 Mandaudih – Lucknow Jct, just 5h08m late! As there was a precession of trains heading into Lucknow behind it we got off at Badshahnagar again and were thankful for more chai.

First up was GD WDM3A 16031 with 15101 Chhapra Jct – Mumbai CST, which didn’t stop at Badshahnagar, which was 4h30m late. Followed by two trains that did stop, 05065 1930 Chhapra Jct – Lucknow Jct Special with GD WDM3A 18966, which we’d had to Thawe earlier in the trip, 3h28m late, then, for a change, UDL WDG3A 13187 with 18191 Chhapra Jct – Farrukhabad Jct, 4h02m late. We ended up on the last of the bunch, 55049 Gonda Jct – Lucknow Jct passenger with GD WDM3A 16689, 3 hours late. It seemed that the fog overnight had played a part in basically screwing up the Lucknow – Gonda mainline!?

Off at Lucknow City we watched what we thought was 52244 1140 Aishbagh – Izatnagar passenger depart with IZN YDM4 6528 but when IZN YDM4 6466 followed close behind we realized that 6528 had just left with 15313 1050 Aishbagh – Izatnagar Express, running 60 minutes late, and that 6466 was with 52244 only 20 minutes late and hot on its heels.

We’d been hoping that one of either 12531 Gorakhpur – Lucknow Jct or 12589 Gorakhpur – Secunderabad would get stopped at Lucknow City on their way into Lucknow and one did. 12531 stopped in the platform, with GD WDM3A 16605, and was help for over 30 minutes for 12589 to go round it via the loop line with JHS WDM3D 11158. Unfortunately for me I wanted 11158 and not 16605 so I waited at Lucknow City, while Aidy and Speedo headed into town on 16605; when it eventually departed, after being held a little bit longer to cross GD WDM3A 16689, which had been turned straight round at Lucknow Jct to work 12541 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Gorakhpur.

My ride back into Lucknow turned out to be IZN YDM4 6626 with a slightly late 52237 0430 Pilibhit – Aishbagh. Speedo was on the platform at Aishbagh, apparently hoping that 6681 would head back out with 52240 1450 Aishbagh – Tikunia but he didn’t want to hang around and risk missing our 14370 Bareilly – Singrauli at 1610 from Charbagh so ended up in a cycle rickshaw with me to Charbagh, which cost RS60 and took considerably longer than an auto would have if there’d been any available.

Our big bags were left in the cloak room at Lucknow Charbagh and we had a decent sized meal in the Comesum on platform 1, where even Speedo now seemed to be firing on all cylinders again. One thing that we did find Charbagh to be completely devoid of afterwards was chocolate; not one stall on any platform sold chocolate of any form!

LKO WDM3A 16308 arrived only 20 minutes late with 14370 Bareilly – Singrauli “Triveni Express”. 2AC on board was full and freezing cold. We had berths scattered either side of the aisle and as with a lot of travelers on daytime trains in 2AC the woman on our 4 berth area wanted to go to sleep on the lower berth at 1700! She wasn’t happen when I declined her request and went to fetch the TTE, who was told exactly the same. Once I’d finished everything I needed to do I was more than happy to allow the woman to stretch out on her lower berth and retired to my upper side berth early to allow her to do so. As it was so cold on board the air vents in the ceiling were blocked up with the paper bags, which the bed linin had been delivered in, before getting off to sleep.

The Moves

11396 Lucknow Jct Badshahnagar 2155 (02/12) Kathgodam – Howrah 13020 IZN WDM3D vice IZN WDP4D
14112 Badshahnagar Gomtinagar 2240 (01/12) Bandra Terminus – Muzaffarpur 19039 GD WDM3A
16025 Gomtinagar Badshahnagar 1640 (02/12) Mandaudih – Lucknow Jct 15007 GD WDM3A – 5h08m late
16689 Badshahnagar Lucknow City 0535 Gonda Jct – Lucknow Jct 55049 GD WDM3A – 3h00m late
6626 Lucknow City Aishbagh 0430 Pilibhit Jct – Aishbagh 52237 IZN YDM4
Rickshaw Aishbagh Luchnow Charbagh RS60, 3km, 12 mins Cycle Rickshaw
16308 Lucknow Charbagh Allahabad Jct 1205 Bareilly Jct – Singrauli Jct 14370 LKO WDM3A
11486 Allahabad Jct Obra Dam 1205 Bareilly Jct – Singrauli Jct 14370 SPJ WDM3D

 

Gen for Wednesday 3rd December 2014
(Other than in the moves above)

IZN YDM4’s
6686 15310 0720 Aishbagh – Izatnagar
6528 15313 1050 Aishbagh – Izatnagar
6466 52244 1140 Aishbagh – Izatnagar

Other
16569 MLDT WDM3A 15715 0605 (P) Kishanganj – Ajmer
16712 GD WDM3A 55050 0515 Lucknow Jct – Gonda (2 hours late start)
16031 GD WDM3A 15101 2115 (P) Chhapra – Mumbai CST (4h30m late)
18966 GD WDM3A 05065 1930 (P) Chhapra – Lucknow Jct special (3h28m late)
13187 UDL WDG3A 18191 1905 (P) Chhapra – Farrukhabad (4h02m late)
16605 LKO WDM3A 12531 0605 Gorakhpur – Lucknow Jct
11158 JHS WDM3A 12589 0635 Gorakhpur – Secunderabad
16689 GD WDM3A 12542 1110 (P) Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Gorakhpur
16350 JHS WDM3A 12592 1720 (PP) Yesvantpur – Gorakhpur

The Photos


Thursday 4th December 2014 (Shafted at Shaktinagar!)

NTES showed us being only 30 minutes late when the alarm woke me for Chopan. While I’d been aware that 11448 Howrah – Jabalpur “Shaktipunj Express” had been late, I assumed it would have departed before we arrived into Chopan so didn’t get out of my pit immediately upon arrival; which was a big mistake at PTRU WDM3A 18690 blew up to go as I got onto the platform and was off before I realized what it was and where it was going! The second thing I discovered on the platform was that SPJ WDM3D 11486 was now heading out 14370, we assumed that the loco change had taken place at Allahabad vice 16308 running round.

At Obra Dam we were quite surprised at just how industrial the area was, which would eventually be put to shame when we headed out towards Shaktinagar later. We were thankful of the sole chai wallah on the platform as there was nothing else at all; outside the station building being completely desolate. While waiting on the station, which was a single line platform with yard space at the side of it, we could hear shunting taking place in the adjacent area. The 16 cylinder loco we could hear turned out to be an industrial one while the 6 cylinder noise was coming from an IR WDS6 shunting in the yard.

We had an idea that things wouldn’t quite go to plan in the area, just by the sheer nature of the industrial surroundings, which usually meant too much freight and resulted in delays to passenger trains; we weren’t wrong and the day went pretty much tits up before we departed Obra Dam. The Varanasi Intercity is formed of two portions 23346 from Shaktinagar and the main train, 13346, from Singrauli. The latter follows the former from Karalia Road Junction, the two trains only being 27 minutes apart departing Obra Dam. Very battered PTRU WDM2 16761 was late with 23346 and as a result ended up running through Billi Jct while both the trains we’d hoped to make at Chopan sat to await us clearing the single line. PTRU WDM3A 18959 with 51680 0650 Chopan – Katni and PTRU WDM3A 16263 with 23348 Patna Jct – Singrauli; the latter being a portion off 13348 Patna – Barkakana. We thought we might stop at Billi when the brakes went in but the road was off at the end of the platform and we trickled through, just not slow enough to get off while it was moving!

Upon arrival at Chopan PTRU WDM2 16761 was removed from its set and went straight to shed. This gave us the impression that the loco on 13346 Singrauli portion behind would do the shunt to put the two portions together; and that’s exactly what happened. PTRU WDG3A 13531 arrived into the adjacent platform with 13346, picked folk up and then shunted out and backed onto the Shaktinagar set before continuing to Varanasi with both rakes. Of course we rode with the shunt move; not that it turned out to be a great consolation as shortly afterwards PTRU WDG3A 13092 arrived with 53351 0300 Barwadih – Chunar, which we could have had in from Billi if we’d stopped. We did however soon work out that we had a plus 2 hours at Billi Jct when we returned from Shaktinagar to do 13092 forward to Renukut, on the Garhwa Road line, for 24369 back, which was the Garhwa Road portion to connect with our 14369 Singrauli – Bareilly.

We had quite a fester at Chopan in the end, no thanks to 51675 Katni – Chopan passenger being 5 hours late! Luckily there were a couple of stalls on the station to get food at and the omelette wallah got put to good use. While his stand stood vacant afterwards though it was a free for all for the local avian community, who were every now and then shooed off by anyone that was paying attention. Thanks to the late arrival of 51675 our 51677 1020 Chopan –Shaktinagar was 1h51m late starting. Delayed a bit further by the fact that our PTRU WDM3A 18674 had to wait to run round while 11447 Jabalpur – Howrah was re-engined in the adjacent platform; another insult to our already shocking day really, as PTRU WDG3A’s 13185/13165 replaced PTRU WDM3A 18636 and we watched them leave shortly before we set sail for Shaktinagar! PTRU Shakti’s on passenger trains had been rare to me before this day, having only ever seen one before, and yet we’d watched four different ones depart with trains before midday!

When we’d boarded the train at Chopan the local RPF had come to see what we were up to and initially told us that the train was going into the carriage sidings before accepting my explanation that it would actually be the Shaktinagar passenger. The train was empty from Chopan and stayed that way for the majority of the journey, allowing for quite a relaxing journey, the only frustration being the time spent hanging around at stations, which ultimately doomed our plans. The line is very rural and also stuck in the past with semaphore signals dominating virtually the whole line. Every now and again a massive industry appears in the distance, dominates the skyline when you get close and disappears as quickly as it came into view. This more evident beyond Karaila Road Jct, where we ended up making an executive decision to get off if we hadn’t departed by a certain time as we figured out that there was serious potential to miss our overnight at Karaila Road later that evening. As is always the case, we set off a couple of minutes after our deadline time, so we stayed on board.

After Anpara the line does a complete horseshoe, there being a viaduct visible, directly over the valley from the station, which the line curves round to. Beyond that it drops downhill at quite a gradient, for quite a long way; something that would tax 18674 on the return journey we hoped. Our WDM3A 18674 turned out to be the best loco we had on the trip, with a really deep sounding beat, which was also loud. It was driven properly too, which made a big difference, and despite the short rake it was repeatedly good from a standing start.

Once the line leveled out at Krishnashilla, where there was a massive yard complex and transfer roads from Indian Railways to the relevant industrial tracks that ran alongside the IR main line. The internal/industrial line that ran alongside at Krishnashilla wasn’t just any old line, it was double track, and the two trains we saw running along it, both Alco hauled, weren’t hanging about either. Even the wagons they were hauling looked like internal transfer wagons, all painted a distinct green livery. Shortly before Shaktinagar the two lines split away from each other, the internal line veering left and the IR line right, both going either side of the large hill that appeared in the distance.

Having set off at 1311, 1h51m late, we arrived into Shaktinagar at 1605, 3h05m late, where we managed to get a few photographs before the RPF stopped play! 18674 was run straight round and once bolted to the opposite end of the set, which actually had a flat wagon with water tank mounted on it that we hadn’t noticed, the crew did one to the station master’s office. We sat minding our own business on the stock munching on goodies bought from the shop on the station; the owner of which came wondering down later to demand more money from us as he’s allegedly wrongly charged us by RS30. When we added everything back up he was actually owed just RS3 so went away unhappy in his attempts to get more money out of us.

There was a coal train in the adjacent road to us at Shaktinagar, on top of which were women who’d travelled down on our train, all throwing big lumps of coal off the train onto the ballast below. This coal was then all loaded into the train for the return journey. The RPF knew exactly what was going on and took back handers from those involved, in what was basically theft from Indian Railways.

When there seemed to be no rush to get the train away, despite it being seemingly ready, curiosity, or more like nervousness, got the better of us and I went down to the station master’s office to find out when it would be departing and didn’t like the answer I got at all. I was told it would be 40 minutes before the train could depart, making it an approx. 1730 departure. At that it would put us on a plus 20 at Karaila Road Junction for our 14369 to Lucknow; of course that was relying on the train to not lose any further time en-route, which judging by the outward run wasn’t very likely. When I explained our situation to the staff they obviously couldn’t guarantee our connection to 14369 at Karaila Road Jct and suggested road transport to Singrauli to make it there. It was apparently about a 45 minute run by road to Singrauli, the distance being approx. 22km, and at that point we had about 1h35m to do it. As there were no autos anywhere near the station one of the guys rang for one and it was there within 10 minutes. We agreed a fare of RS300 with our young driver, thanked the staff at Shaktinagar for their help and away we went.

Darkness began to fall as we made our way to Singrauli via a very hilly and windy set of roads, all taxing the auto quite a bit. I give our driver his due, despite his young age he handled his machine very well and got the best out of it throughout the journey. Had we broken down en-route our move would have likely ended in turmoil and there would have been no recovering from it! Due to the sheer amount of industries in the area and the heavy Lorries about the dust in the air was nothing short of ridiculous and on various occasions we had to shield our faces with clothing; we’d though it had been bad at Bhojipura but this made Bhojipura look like a normality when compared!

The journey took 45 minutes, as we’d been told it would, and we made our train with ease. Even around the station at Singrauli the dust was shocking and everything was covered in it. We were glad to get onto the stock and out of the dust, which was backed in after departure time and departed 16 minutes late once SPJ WDM3D 11486 had run round it. At Karaila Road Junction both of the other roads were occupied with freight’s, heading in the opposite direction to us. NTES had showed 51678 1330 Shaktinagar – Chopan as having departed Shaktinagar at 1740, 3h10m late, and then having departed Anpara, the station before Karaila Road Jct, when we were at Karaila Road. After we’d departed it was updated to show it having arrived Karaila Road Jct just 10 minutes later. It had probably been sat at the home signal round the corner on the branch when we’d passed through! How things could have worked out eh? 51678 even missed 14369 at Chopan, which had time there to marry up with the Garhwa Road portion, when it arrived 5 hours late at 2132!

More disappointment was thrown our way back at Chopan when BKSC WDG3A 13582 rolled in with 84369 Barwadih Junction portion, to be combined with our train. Not only did this mean we’d lost out on having PTRU WDG3A 13092 out on 53352 Chunar – Barwadih passenger for it back, when it was immediately detached and sent to shed, dud PTRU WDM3A 18956 was attached to the rear of the set to shunt the Barwadih portion to the rear of the Singrauli portion; we just couldn’t do right for doing wrong! Another trip to this neck of the woods needed to be made to make things right, and was not going to involve Shaktinagar!

Very disappointed with how the day had turned out we weren’t disappointed to see the back of Chopan as we left. The 2AC was no better than it had been the night before and that coupled with the polluted air in the area ultimately gave me a cold, which wasn’t helped at all by a second night in a freezing cold coach! The aftermath of which took me until mid-January to shake off completely, the dust clearly having affected my chest! With yet more linen bags blocking up the AC vents we attempted to get to sleep just after 2100 but the women downstairs in our compartment just wouldn’t be quiet. Aidy had to tell them twice, one of which actually had a seat elsewhere in the coach; the second time he wasn’t so polite but it did the trick! He was on a bit of a role, having snatched a guy’s phone out of his hand that morning at 0400 when he’d decided to attempt to have a full blown conversation where Aidy was sleeping!

The Moves

16761 Obra Dam Chopan 0515 Shaktinagar – Varanasi Jct 23346 PTRU WDM2
13531 Chopan Platform 2 Chopan Platform 1 Stock shunt 13346 to 23346 PTRU WDG3A – 13346 is shunted to 23346 at Chopan by 13346’s loco, which then works the portions forward to Varanasi
18674 Chopan Shaktinagar 1020 Chopan – Shaktinagar 51677 PTRU WDM3A – dep 1h50m late, arr 3h04m late
Auto Shaktinagar Singrauli Jct RS300, 22km, 45 mins 51678 was looking dodgy to make our overnight; and ultimately missed it anyway so correct move
11486 Singrauli Jct Allahabad Jct 1825 Singrauli Jct – Bareilly Jct 14369 SPJ WDM3D

 

Gen for Thursday 4th December 2014
(Other than in the moves above)

18690 PTRU WDM3A 11448 1310 (P) Howrah – Jabalpur
16263 PTRU WDM3A 23348 1930 (P) Patna – Singrauli
18959 PTRU WDM3A 51680 0650 Chopan – Katni
13092 PTRU WDG3A 53351 0300 Barwadih – Chunar
18674 PTRU WDM3A 51675 2045 (P) Katni – Chopan (5 hours late), 51678 1330 Shaktinagar – Chopan (4h10m late)
18636 PTRU WDM3A 11447 2350 (P) Jabalpur – Howrah (to Chopan)
13185/13165 PTRU WDG3A’s 11447 2350 (P) Jabalpur – Howrah (from Chopan)
13582 BKSC WDG3A 84369 1530 Barwadih – Bareilly Jct (portion shunted to 14369 at Chopan by PTRU WDM3A 18956)

The Photos


Friday 5th December 2014 (Lucknow really isn’t a place to string a bash together)

From waking it was a dismal run into Lucknow Charbagh, it was foggy outside and NTES didn’t really give us any options on the Rae Bareli – Lucknow line either so we just had to make do with arriving into Lucknow Charbagh 3h30m late at 1205 in the afternoon. Despite our lateness it seemed that some travelers were having a worse experience than us and as such there was still hope to recover some kind of move in Lucknow and we walked straight over to Lucknow Jct to see what was going on with 12512 Trivandrum – Gorakhpur, which should have departed 2 hours before we arrived!

When JHS WDM3A 16350 eventually left with 12512, only 2h47m late, we hadn’t expected it to stop at Lucknow City out of course, but had hoped it might do to make life a little easier. The train was routed into the platform at Lucknow City, which was a good sign, and I wasn’t taking any chances so leapt off outside the booking office while it was going slow enough to do so. Ultimately the train stopped and Speedo and Aidy got off at the top end of the platform when it did so. This was a bit of a bonus really as 18191 Chhapra – Farrukhabad wasn’t far away and we weren’t confident it would make at Badshahnagar.

We didn’t have to wait long for UDL WDG3A 13189 to round the corner into Lucknow City with 18191. We’d initially thought it to be 13187, again, but were pleasantly surprised when we managed to focus on the whole number properly. The run back into Lucknow Jct was basically all we could salvage from the afternoon and upon arrival we could do nothing else but collect our bags from the cloak room at Charbagh and relax for a while, while chewing the cud over lunch at the Comesum on platform 1; yet again!

There weren’t many options ex Lucknow Jct in the late afternoon, for short distance moves anyway, and we’d hoped that ancient LKO WDM3A 18500, of course now rebuilt, would work 55032 1650 Lucknow Jct – Gonda Jct; having seen it arrive earlier with 12531 Gorakhpur – Lucknow Jct. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be as 18500 brought the stock in for 15009 1730 Lucknow Jct – Jabalpur and looked like it was going to run round and work it. Meanwhile we watched GD WDM3A 16187 depart with 12532 1635 Lucknow Jct – Gorakhpur and did GD WDM3A 18971 to Lucknow City on 55032 instead. We didn’t have to wait long for IZN YDM4 6449 to arrive with 15314 0630 Izatnagar – Aishbagh, which was 2h30m late and behind 15309 0810 Izatnagar – Aishbagh, which we’d flagged with IZN YDM4 6625 shortly beforehand. It was nice to see the Aishbagh MG being in a state, as we’d come to expect of it. There’s never been a time that I’ve done the MG in the Aishbagh area and it not been a complete mess!

With NTES showing the next inbound MG train to be 4 hours late we didn’t even bother going back out to Lucknow City on either of the late commuters; 6625 did 15320 1710 Aishbagh – Palia Kalan while 6552 did 52246 1755 Aishbagh – Mailani. It had been one of those days really and I think we were all about ready for home as we waited patiently for the last overnight of our trip; 15308 2025 Aishbagh – Izatnagar “Nainital Express”. IZN YDM4 6603 did the honours that night, after shunting the stock into the platform in two portions. We were quite glad of an AC coach that wasn’t going to freeze us overnight too and the TTE on board was happy to leave the vacant berth in our compartment vacant and not bother us again once he’d checked our tickets.

The Moves

11261 Allahabad Jct Lucknow Charbagh 1825 (04/12) Singrauli Jct – Bareilly Jct 14369 LKO WDM3D – 3h30m late at LKO
16350 Lucknow Jct Lucknow City 0615 (03/12) Trivandrum Central – Gorakhpur Jct 12512 JHS WDM3A
13189 Lucknow City Lucknow Jct 1905 (04/12) Chhapra Jct – Farrukhabad Jct 18191 UDL WDG3A
18971 Lucknow Jct Lucknow City 1650 Lucknow Jct – Gonda Jct 55032 GD WDM3A
6449 Lucknow City Aishbagh 0630 Izatnagar – Aishbagh 15314 IZN YDM4 – 2h30m late
6603 Aishbagh Izatnagar 2025 Aishbagh – Izatnagar 15308 IZN YDM4

 

Gen for Friday 5th December 2014
(Other than in the moves above)

16278 LKO WDM3A 14210 0730 Lucknow Charbagh – Allahabad
16307 LKO WDM3A 14266 1815 (P) Dehradun – Varanasi
18618 RTM WDM3A 19061 0510 (P) Bandra Terminus – Ramnagar
18500 LKO WDM3A 12531 0605 Gorakhpur – Lucknow Jct
11128 VTA WDM3D 19409 1135 (P) Ahmedabad – Gorakhpur
11158 JHS WDM3D 12511 0635 Gorakhpur – Trivandrum Central
16605 GD WDM3A 22453 1440 Lucknow Jct – Meerut City
22037 CNB WAP1 12179 1555 Lucknow Jct – Agra Cantt
22230 CNB WAP4 11110 1640 Lucknow Jct – Jhansi
16187 GD WDM3A 22454 0455 Meerut City – Lucknow Jct, 12532 1635 Lucknow Jct – Gorakhpur
6625 IZN YDM4 15309 0800 Izatnagar – Aishbagh, 15320 1710 Aishbagh – Palia Kalan
6552 IZN YDM4 52246 1710 Aishbagh – Mailani

The Photos


Saturday 6th December 2014 (Promising start; crap afternoon but good recovery…)

It was a bleak morning when we arrived into Izatnagar, as you’d expect at 0530 in the morning. There were quite a few auto’s blocking the road outside the station entrance and we managed to fight our way into one, the owner of which threw its two occupants out to allow us the personal journey to Bareilly City. To be fair we filled it anyway with the three of us and our luggage and the standard RS100 fare was ok for the journey we were making.

To allow for lateness we’d booked on 15715 Kishanganj – Ajmer from Bareilly Jct to Delhi Jct, which wasn’t until 0825, as we made 14321 0605 Bareilly Jct – Bhuj though it would have been rude not to have a look at it. Despite there being 1x2AC and 2x3AC coaches in the consist they were all fully reserved by Moradabad so instead of having a relaxing morning on board 14321 we watched IZN WDM3D 11336 depart right time with the train instead and waited to see what would happen with trains behind.

NTES was painting a very poor story for Bareilly departures on this particular morning, the next Delhi bound train being 15211 Darbhanga – Amritsar, which we could actually do to Moradabad if we’d wanted. The fact that it was 2nd unreserved throughout didn’t really have us considering the train though and when it turned up with offlink SGUJ WDG4 12503, vice the usual GD WDM3A, we were certain we wouldn’t be doing it; the train had been booked off Bareilly Jct at 1325 the previous afternoon and was 17 hours late when it did depart! It wasn’t the only one to be suffering quite majorly as we watched TKD WDP4 40005 run through non-stop with 13258 Anand Vihar – Rajendranagar; this train should have been at Lucknow at 2150 the previous night and was 16 hours late passing through Bareilly! With 14205 Faizabad – Delhi Jct being over 2 hours late and 15273 Raxaul – Delhi Jct being over 3 hours late we were quite glad to find our booked train, 15715 Kishanganj – Ajmer, only 30 minutes late and waited to watch the precession before relaxing in our booked 3AC berths to Delhi.

When LDH WDG3A 14834 came in, 2h12m late, with 14205 Faizabad – Delhi Jct we couldn’t resist but ended up standing in the vestibule of 3AC for the journey to Rampur Jct, where we didn’t have long to wait for GD WDM3A 16205 to arrive with 15273 Raxaul – Delhi, running 3h35m late, behind it. Our attempts to get berths in AC to Delhi didn’t materialize, the TTE’s were willing to find us some in SL class though but we chose to get off at Moradabad Jct, do breakfast, and wait for our booked train behind and travel to Delhi in a decent class of accommodation instead.

The breakfast part of our plan went well in the refreshment room on platform 1, where omelettes were rustled up quite quickly. Unfortunately the fester part of our plan went on for a lot longer than we both wanted or needed; 15715 kept losing time and was ultimately 3 hours late by Moradabad, leaving us with a 4 hour fester in the end, which of course turned into nothing more than a train spotting fester as we couldn’t actually make a move out of the late trains at all.

We didn’t see anything out of the ordinary during our wait, loco wise anyway, but when SSB WDM2 17779 was arriving into the platform with 15034 Ramnagar – Haridwar it caught a lot of people out with its short rake as it ran right to the Delhi end of the platform before stopping. One guy was hell bent on not being beat by this small issue though and bolted down the platform as the train was arriving, at quite a speed, grabbed hold of the handrails and then completely lost his footing as the train got the better of him; I wasn’t watching at the time and all I heard was “f***ing hell he’s going under” as Speedo watched on in disbelief. I caught sight of the guy as he fell on the platform and went down between the coaches and platform edge, I was half expecting the footsteps of the coaches to kill him but he managed to slip down before they reached him. It seemed like an eternity passed by before the rear two coaches cleared the area where he fell so people could see if he was ok and the moment the rear coach was gone folks were down on the tracks behind the train. Amazingly the guy seemed to have nothing but cuts and bruises and he was lifted back onto the platform by his mates. It amazed me even more that he wasn’t more seriously hurt when I looked over the platform edge to find there to be no refuge under any platform at Moradabad Jct; the platforms simply dropped straight down and were solid brick, leaving very little room from platform edge to tracks! Someone was very lucky indeed on this day; hopefully he’d learnt his lesson?

When it came to it we ended up with a choice to make as 15036 Kathgodam – Delhi Jct arrived into Moradabad with LKO WDM3D 11154 before our 15715 Kishanganj – Ajmer did. 25036 Ramnagar – Delhi Jct portion arrived before that with LDH WDM3A 16534 and for the second time in a few days we were gifted a dud engine for a shunt move as TKD WDM3A 18854 was used to shunt 25036 portion to the rear of 15036. So rather than do the shunt move we walked down the platform to see if there was room on board to Delhi but the AC Chair Car was fully reserved and the non-AC chair car was wedged. While assessing whether to brave it, as we all needed 11154, an announcement was made for our booked 15715 and as we got to platform 1 it was just approaching in the distance; MLDT WDM3A 16518 making up our minds as to which train we did and thankfully our booked berths in 3AC were still vacant so down we sat to relax into Delhi.

Our relaxation was soon in turmoil as some guy came down to our seats and told us he’d been allocated them by the TTE, of course he must have been to ask if there was room when the train arrived and as we’d not been on board from Bareilly the TTE had ours down on the list as vacant. The guy demanding we vacate our seats clearly wasn’t understanding that we had them reserved to Delhi and was less than polite throughout the whole debate and once the TTE had resolved the situation Mr unpleasant went off down the coach without even so much as a small apology for his crap behavior. His wife on the other hand couldn’t be more apologetic and was thanked for being so; but she had nothing to apologise about.

Our afternoon plans were planned to start with 14016 1615 Delhi Jct – Raxaul “Sadbhavna Express” but we realized that plan was out of the window when we’d heard the inbound train, which would form 14016, being announced at 14 hours late at Moradabad; ultimately 14007 Raxaul – Delhi Jct ended up being over 21 hours late and we didn’t even see it at Ghaziabad that evening and 14016 Delhi Jct – Raxaul was being announced as cancelled when we got to Delhi. It could be worse though those travelling towards Delhi on 15483 Alipurduar – Delhi Jct were running just 27h38m late!!! This train is one that’s generally cancelled during the fog season and I can see why…..

For a change we opted not to leave our big bags in the cloak room at Delhi Jct, just in case we had the option to do 19020 Dehradun – Bandra Terminus to Hazrat Nizamuddin later in the evening, which meant we could get a taxi straight from there to the airport instead of having to return to Delhi Jct. Wasting no time, and not with a great deal to spare anyway, we found TKD WDP1 15038 in platform 13 with 14545 1310 Farukhnagar – Saharanpur and TDK WDM3A 14004 in platform 16 with 15274 1715 Delhi Jct – Raxaul. As both trains were only timed 10 minutes apart from Delhi Jct we hung around on the footbridge to wait and see which got the road first and once the points went over on platform 13 we were down onto the platform, the road having come off by the time we got down the steps.

We were only on board 14545 to Delhi Shahdara Jct, as the train veered off down the Shamli line from there, and while on board we were told by some guy, who was sat on the luggage rack, to make sure we were in a safe place when the train arrived at Shahdara as it would get very busy. We were poised at the door to get off and the platform was wedged as we were so. Aidy & I made it off the train before it stopped but Speedo got wedged in the doorway while trying to do so with his big bags; the sheer weight of which allowed him to barge the ascending crowd out of the way as he pushed his way through. When the train departed a few minutes later I videoed it on my phone; there were people hanging out of the doors, stood between the coach ends on the buffers and even clinging to the window rails as the train departed. The latter was a new way of travelling, that I’d not seen before in India, but I was pretty sure all those clinging to the outside of the train would be on the roof the moment the train came to a stand somewhere on the Shamli line as it wasn’t yet electrified. What I didn’t realise until 10th January, when I watched World’s Most Extreme Railways on TV, was that the inbound working of this train was featured in the top 10 on the program. The feature being just how full trains were in India and showing people trying to travel into Delhi from a halt on the Shamli line. It had been filmed quite recently too as the electrification masts were already up.

TKD WDM3A 14004, which had been recently rebuilt and lost its “baldie” status, was hot on the heels of 15038 with 15273 Delhi Jct – Raxaul, which we only did the short journey to Sahibabad, where we had options according to NTES. No sooner had we got there though did LDH WDG3A 14800 roll into the back platform our investigations were fruitless though as it trundled through without stopping, while working 13257 Rajendranagar – Anand Vihar Terminus; this then left us wondering what the booked link for this train was having seen TKD WDP4 40005 with the opposing working that morning at Bareilly.

LDH WDM3A 16153 turned up first at Sahibabad with 54471 1735 Delhi Jct – Rishikesh. We’d seen the set at Delhi Jct when we’d departed behind 15038, SSB WDS6AD 36278 had been attached to the stock at that point; wishful thinking of course…..! Unfortunately as 54471 was late we missed the late running opposing working, 54472 Rishikesh – Delhi Jct at Ghaziabad Jct, but didn’t have to wait long for TKD WDP3A 15521 to roll in with 54411 1505 Rewari – Meerut City passenger. Rather than wait for the late running 54304 Kalka – Delhi Jct passenger at Ghaziabad we risked going forward to Naya Ghaziabad for it instead, knowing there was always 19020 Dehradun – Bandra behind it if we missed it.

Unfortunately we passed 54304 just outside Naya Ghaziabad, with an Alco at its helm, and were subjected to a bit of a fester for 19020 Dehradun – Bandra, which was about 30 minutes late in the end and arrived just after TKD WDP3A 15543 passed through with 12903 Mumbai Central – Amritsar. I’ve never seen 19020 with anything other than a 14xxx TKD WDM3A and this occasion was no different when 14135 was at the head of the train.

Had we made the Kalka – Delhi passenger we have likely made Sahibabad off it for the late running 54473 1815 Delhi Jct – Saharanpur (via New Delhi) passenger, which was just arriving with LDH WDG3A 14801 when we got to Ghaziabad. Unfortunately we couldn’t head back up the Meerut line again as there was nothing back and were restricted to heading into Delhi only. Speedo & Aidy were Delhi bound before me when TKD WDP3A 15536 arrived with 14555 1420 Bareilly Jct – Delhi Jct, which w=they did to Delhi Shahdara to await me arriving on 14043 Kotdwara – Delhi Jct behind. We’d seen TKD WDM3A 16274 go out with 14556 Delhi Jct – Bareilly Jct that morning while we’d been at Moradabad; I’d always thought that both trains were different locos and had now seen it with my own eyes.

After BGKT WDP4D 40097 had headed towards Delhi with 19032 Haridwar – Ahmedabad Mail 14043 Kotdwara – Delhi Jct arrived with TKD WDP1 15006 which finished the day, and trip, off nicely. Aidy & Speedo got on at Shahdara and we were airport bound from Delhi Jct 30 minutes later, having played the Delhi Jct taxi roulette to get a decent fare. Quite why there was no taxi pre-pay booth at Delhi Jct I don’t know; there’s an auto one so there’s no reason why there can’t be. We were offered “good” fares of RS1500, RS1000 and RS900 and we eventually got the fare down to RS600. The journey we were taken on though, while taking the same time to get to the airport, was via a route I’ve never been before but got us there nonetheless.

As my girlfriend had already checked us all in online we went straight to the business class check-in desk and were given boarding cards straight away and since my last exit from the country two things had changed; one is that foreigners no longer need to fill out an immigration card to exit the country and Indian airports will now accept boarding cards printed at home. Both these new rules make life so much easier when going through airports in India and it was a pleasant surprise to almost walk straight through security. I say almost as my bag was subject to further checks after the x-ray and I lost Aidy in the meantime, resulting in my delay causing me to end up eating alone before the flight.

The Moves

14834 Bareilly Jct Rampur Jct 2145 (05/12) Faizabad Jct – Delhi Jct 14205 LDH WDG3A – 2h12m late (1000th BG IR Alco!)
16205 Rampur Jct Moradabad Jct 0905 (05/12) Raxaul Jct – Delhi Jct 15273 GD WDM3A – 3h35m late
16518 Moradabad Jct Delhi Jct 0605 (05/12) Kishanganj – Ajmer Jct 15715 MLDT WDM3A – 3h00m late
15038 Delhi Jct Delhi Shahdara Jct 1310 Farukhabad Jct – Saharanpur Jct 14545 TKD WDP1
14004 Delhi Shahdara Jct Sahibabad 1715 Delhi Jct – Raxaul Jct 15274 TKD WDM3A
16153 Sahibabad Ghaziabad Jct 1735 Delhi Jct – Rishikesh 54471 LDH WDM3A
15521 Ghaziabad Jct Naya Ghaziabad 1505 Rewari Jct – Meerut Cantt 54411 TKD WDP3A
14135 Naya Ghaziabad Ghaziabad Jct 1030 Dehradun – Bandra Terminus 19020 TKD WDM3A
15006 Ghaziabad Jct Delhi Jct 1515 Kotdwara – Delhi Jct 14043 TKD WDP1

 

Gen for Saturday 6th December 2014
(Other than in the moves above)

11336 IZN WDM3D 14321 0605 Bareilly Jct – Bhuj
12503 SGUJ WDG4 15211 1720 (P) Darbhanga – Amritsar (17 hours late)
40005 TKD WDP4B 13258 1330 (P) Anand Vihar Terminus – Rajendranagar (16 hours late)
16764 LDH WDM3A 12491 2010 (P) Jammu Tawi – Muzaffarpur
15536 TKD WDP3A 54076 2350 (P) Delhi Jct – Sitapur City, 14555 1420 Bareilly Jct – Delhi Jct
15052 TKD WDP1 54391 0500 Aligarh – Moradabad
16274 TKD WDM3A 14556 0605 Delhi Jct – Bareilly Jct
30041 GZB WAP7 54316 0345 Saharanpur – Moradabad
16278 LKO WDM3A 14511 1740 (P) Allahabad Jct – Saharanpur
40092 BGKT WDP4D 12557 1235 (P) Muzaffarpur- Anand Vihar Terminus
17779 SSB WDM2 15034 0835 Ramnagar – Haridwar
11141 LKO WDM3D 14113 1745 (P) Allahabad – Dehradun
40096 SGUJ WDP4D 15910 2000 (P) Lalgarh – New Tinsukia
16534 LDH WDM3A 25036 0950 Ramnagar – Delhi Jct
18854 TKD WDM3A shunt 25036 to 15036 at Moradabad
11154 LKO WDM3D 15036 0850 Kathgodam – Delhi Jct
14033 GD WDM3A 15209 0845 (P) Saharsa – Amritsar (to Moradabad)
16662 LDH WDM3A 18477 2055 (PP) Puri – Haridwar
18953 TKD WDM3A 15035 1600 Delhi Jct – Kathgodam
16059 BWN WDM3A 13119 2115 (PP) Sealdah – Delhi Jct, 13120 1755 Delhi Jct – Sealdah
14800 LDH WDG3A 13257 1535 (P) Rajendranagar – Anand Vihar Terminus (8 hours late)
15543 TKD WDP3A 12903 2130 (P) Mumbai Central – Amritsar
14801 LDH WDG3A 54473 1815 Delhi Jct – Saharanpur (via New Delhi)
40097 BGKT WDP4D 19032 1510 Haridwar – Ahmedabad

The Photos


Sunday 7th December 2014 (The road home)

The flight from Delhi boarded right time and I was vaguely aware of us taxiing to take-off but knew nothing about takeoff at all. While I didn’t sleep solidly throughout the journey I was awake in time for breakfast to be served before we landed in Vienna. Unlike the outbound flight we were parked on a stand and able to walk through the airport to get to our connecting flight to London, which delivered us home early. The result of which was me being at Kings Cross for my train with over an hour to spare and getting onto the 0951 Kings Cross – Leeds vice the 1051 was a bonus, especially as everything was running via the Hertford Loop and taking extra time on this particular Sunday.

The Moves

OE-LAZ Delhi IGI Terminal 3 Vienna 0220 Delhi – Vienna OS34 Austrian Airlines
OE-LBT Vienna Heathrow Terminal 2 0640 Vienna – Heathrow OS451 Austrian Airlines
91120 Kings Cross Doncaster 0951 Kings Cross – Leeds Via Hertford Loop

 

Summary

This trip exceeded all my expectations and though it was a lengthy one, during which we all got ill in some way or another, it was a thoroughly enjoyable trip; except for the day on board 11046 Dhanbad – Kolhapur with a BZA WAG7 vice ET WDM3A! On another note, the best day of the trip had to be the Sunday we spent spinning around Darbhanga, definitely something I’ll repeat in the future.

The number of WDM3Ds appearing, in places they’ve not been allocated before, is on the up and depots that haven’t previously used WDG3As on passenger work before, like LDH for example, seem to be using them now; all of this culminates in the number of WDM2’s being reduced drastically, except for those in the high 16xxx series that haven’t got to overhaul stage yet; and it seems that even some of those aren’t exempt from being withdrawn either! The only concentrations of WDM2’s we saw were SSB & BWN machines, with the odd one elsewhere.

On the MG side of things Aishbagh seems to be nothing short of a farce, Gonda was pleasant with fast track but BG works well in motion with loads of BG platforms already in situ and Izatnagar was ok, the only things becoming an issue there really are trains from Gonda being over 3 hours late for some reason. The Sakri system is as always, a complete stagger, but timekeeping on the lines was way better than on any of my other visits to the area; with trains being close to time ex Sakri!

All in all a varied trip, which covered a lot of ground. Our best laid plans went largely to plan but without an Indian sim card we’d not have had anywhere near a successful trip as we did as the National Train Enquiry System (NTES) is invaluable when travelling about and saved us so much time festering about and even allowed us to carve moves out of late running trains that shouldn’t have even been possible.

One Comment

  1. Rajarshi B
    Posted 17/04/2015 at 1:04 pm. Reply to this comment

    I follow your trips closely,as am quite fond of railways.My dad used to work for IR.The account of your trips in India is something out of the world.So vivid,so real.I am in Bristol now but have not been able to give up the habit of going through your exploits.
    Just found out that you are made a trip last December.Are you planning something later this year?The conversion of MG section between LMG-SCL in the Northeast is awaiting completion.This will be a huge achievement as it will connect the interior of NE to mainland India for the first time.

    Cheers

    Raj

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