Jonathan Lee

Worldly Images

India November/December 2015 (Ranchi to Delhi via Katni, Sambalpur & Bihar MG)

With a hand written piece of paper showing everything I want to do in India, I found myself not planning just this trip but also my early 2016 trip at the same time as it became easier to cut and paste between two separate three week trips than it did to try and make what I wanted to do fit into one trip! It wasn’t too confusing, honest!

The hardest part was actually fitting in the bloody Deekshabhoomi Express from Dhanbad, which I needed to have another appointment with after the ill-fated attempt to get the line from Dhanbad to Gaya in with Alco on my last try. Other things to fit into the equation were some time in Katni, before electrification took over to Jabalpur, some time in the Sambalpur area to cover the new line to Junagarh Road and to trip down to the SE coast to cover the old NG branch to Gunupur and the new line from Khurda Road to Begunia and then Jagdalpur; followed by what would probably be a final trip to both the Saharsa & Sakri MG systems before they disappear into the history books.

My route back to Delhi to get home would be via Lucknow and the MG Nainital Express to Izatnagar, which at the time of my trip commencing was under threat of being shortened back from Izatnagar to Pilibhit and in the not too distant future it was likely that the whole route from Izatnagar to Aishbagh would be closed for conversion to BG; which really would reduce what was once a mighty MG system to basically ruins and truly destroy the last bastion of semaphore signaling at Pilibhit, which is a truly amazing sight.

Unfortunately, the fact that Indian Railways had decided not issue the new timetables until 1st October 2015, instead of in July as they usually do, it was going to prove an interesting trip without them but with electronic timetables available on the Railtime app and through IR’s National Train Enquiry System (NTES) hopefully things wouldn’t be too bad….

 

Flights

Booked through British Airways

BA143 1120 Heathrow – Delhi

BA142 0340 Delhi – Heathrow

 

Internal flight booked direct with Go Air

G8-147 1755 Delhi Terminal D1 – Ranchi

 

Hotels

Ranchi – Hotel Accord – thankfully tucked away from the hustle and bustle on the main road but as I’d half expected the hotel staff had nothing of my reservation on their list; as seems to happen way too often in India with Booking.com reservations. There wasn’t a problem though and I was checked in straight away and shown to a rather large, clean room on the 4th floor. Toiletries were provided, as was a mini-bar and the water in the shower was piping hot. Room service took about 20 minutes to come and was very good when it did so.

Katni – Hotel Pankaj Palace – out of the station, right through the car park, turn right out of it and its about 200m up the road on the right. Thankfully there was no being turned away and my third time was the lucky one! I was checked in straight away and chose a deluxe room which for single occupancy cost RS1400 and yet is only RS1600 for double occupancy! The room was quite big, had a large double bed, the sheets of which weren’t the greatest and that’s why I always have my own sheet with me. The bathroom was quite large but as I found out later had no hot water either in the morning or the evening. The air-con worked quite well, until I put it on that night and it never worked again after that; it was just as well it was quite cool at night eh!? Despite its issues it was probably the best hotel in Katni and was better than quite a lot I’d stayed in

Ambikapur – Hotel Grand Basant – Grand VIP room which usually costs RS2500 plus tax but with a discount I got it for RS2368. I managed to get the guy at the front desk to understand that I needed to be taken back to the station at 0530 in the morning but wasn’t at all sure the return drop-off would be arranged in advance and would make sure I was downstairs in time to sort it out the following morning. Meanwhile I was very impressed with the large room, with air conditioning and piping hot water. The large bed was probably to comfiest I’d come across in India as well. Al sorts of bits and bobs were included in the room, like a comb, toiletries, shoes shining stuff ad a free bottle of Bisleri mineral water.

Bhubaneswar – Hotel Eden Roc – a two-minute walk out of the platform 6 exit, not the main one of platform 1. The staff at the hotel had no knowledge of my Booking.com reservation; which isn’t surprising in India. The hotel manager was very helpful though and sorted me out straight away and even sent the hotel “boy” up to my rook to turn the geyser on as I’d mentioned that all I wanted to do was get a hot shower and go to bed! The room was only on the first floor and was in a relatively quiet location, it was huge too; with AC, fan, toiletries, large flat screen TV and a large double bed. The water in the shower was piping hot by the time I got to the room

Sambalpur – Hotel Sheela Towers – Closer to Sambalpur Road than Junction but still an auto ride from either. I was basically allowed to pick the room I wanted. The air-con was quite powerful in it and the fan soon had the cool air circulating around the room. There was initially no hot water but thankfully that was rectified after I’d been to the restaurant and a piping hot bucket wash was had as the shower was a bit crap and more like a fine sprinkler than anything resembling a shower!

Prantik – Vasundhara Inn Guest House – about 50m from the station boundary but you can’t get to it directly; as I found out. It’s only a short walk though, out of the station, turn right, follow the mud path to the end, then turn left and left again and you can see the front entrance. That’s assuming it’s not dark of course! The young lad at the front desk seemed a little surprised to see me when I walked in and had no knowledge of my reservation through Booking.com; which is becoming a theme in India. Still, the hotel was completely empty and I was the only one wanting a room so there were no issues and the room I was given on the 3rd floor had a balcony that overlooked the station. The room itself was quite clean by Indian standards, hot water was provided by a geyser and was almost instant, there was no AC but two fans and the only problem I could find was the fact that there were a couple of tiny ants on the bed by the pillows! Other than that there was nothing to complain about at all.

Darbhanga – Hotel Grand SM Regency – about a 10-minute walk from the station. It’s accessed through the front doors of the SM Plaza shopping mall and up a few flights of stairs to the reception. The staff on the front desk couldn’t have been more accommodating and they were prepared for my arrival, having received my Booking.com reservation; which was just as well as the hotel was fully booked with a wedding party that night! My room was only a standard room but it was very clean, spacious and well presented. It was even sprayed with air freshener before I was allowed in.

Saharsa – Hotel Vijieya – a 10-minute walk from the station, the hotel had been expecting me when I arrived and my name was clearly written on their list of arriving guests for that day. There had been a little more English spoken at the hotel than on my last visit, with the hotel manager being fluent. After filling in all the relevant forms and books I was shown to my room, which was a rather large room on the first floor, which had a reception room with sofa and table and a large bedroom with double bed, air conditioning and a portable heater! Let’s just say it was rough round the edges and far from clean with stained towels, bedding and pillows; but it was the “only business class hotel in Saharsa” so it claimed, so must have been better than the competition? Which of course I’d never stayed at. Piping hot water was only the click of a switch away though, which was at least something, and the state of the sheets was why I always carry around my own sheet for the duration of a trip.

 

Train Tickets

Booked in the UK through SD Enterprises Limited

Indrail Pass 21 Days – £144

 

Saturday 21st November 2015 (What a way to spend your 40th birthday…)

It wasn’t even 5 hours into my 40th birthday when my alarm woke me. I had to be on the 0536 train to London; which until the start of the week would have been the 0639 from Peterborough, having done a full night shift at work! Common sense prevailed…..

It was purely my own fault for having to fly out on my birthday as when I’d put my plan together I’d started my trip off a day earlier than I should have with not taking into account the fact that I landed after midnight on my day of arrival! Unfortunately, the only option if I wanted to do what I’d planed was to fly out a day earlier; so that’s what happened.

It was a cold start to proceedings and with the country having been battered by the storm they named Barney, I had been a little concerned that wind might be a cause for concern as I headed to the airport; it wasn’t but the snow that was falling heavily as my HST passed through Stevenage certainly was! A frantic check of the weather showed that there should only be rain and thankfully, when my tube came out of the underground at Hammersmith, there wasn’t any sign of snow at all and by the time I’d passed through security at Heathrow’s terminal 5 the sun was starting to make a break through the clouds.

There was nothing out of the ordinary to say about my wedged flight, other than we were delayed taking off due to one person not being present, so their bags had to be removed from the hold. Despite the 40-minute delay in taking off we were only 5 minutes late touching down in Delhi; where my 40th birthday was over; although there were still technically 4 hours of it left in the country I’d started my day out in!

 

Sunday 22nd November 2015 (Tired, tired, tired……!)

I didn’t feel too bad after I got off the plane and was very, very, glad I hadn’t opted for the new E-tourist visa that India had introduced as the queues were massive to get through immigration. Speedo had travelled out the week before me and told me it took him 2 hours to get through; and it was all really just to get your thumbprint taken! The fact that the E-tourist counters were very clearly signposted didn’t stop plenty from queuing in the normal immigration queues and being sorely disappointed when they then had to join the ridiculous queue, that they should have been in from the start, when it had increased probably 10 fold since they’d been in the wrong queue! It took me 35 minutes to get through immigration and I was half way inside the queuing area when I started; all the queues had at least the same amount of people again queuing outside the normal queuing areas by the time I got through; not much of a farce going on there at all, welcome to India!

Money changing done at RS94 to the £1 I was soon outside the airport and heading straight to the Vodafone counter. I already had a sim card thanks to Vic getting one on his trip and then handing it on to me for mine; assuming it lasted the course he would be getting it back for his trip in January and then it would come back to me again for my trip at the end of February. The very unhelpful man behind the counter might as well have been in a pig cage for all the grunting he did at me when asked questions. The simple RS500 top-up was simple though but then came the problem. I needed to use the credit I’d just put on the phone to activate a new data package but for some reason the phone was having none of it and just kept coming up with error messages. I actually thought the guy behind the counter had done something to deactivate the sim when putting in some codes while he was topping it up; such is my distrust for certain people in the Indian world that it retail! I managed to send an sms to his phone though and eventually he agreed to figure out what the issue was and eventually handed my phone back telling me I’d receive an sms within 15 minutes to confirm the data package was active. I figured out 30 minutes later that his comments were basically to get rid of me!

The two counters for pre-paid taxi’s inside the airport doors are for more luxury types and cost over RS1000, the Delhi Police pre-paid stand outside the main doors is where “normal” pre-paid taxi’s can be booked and mine to Delhi Cantt was RS360 and the journey took about 20 minutes on the empty, early morning roads. And then the bash began….. But not before I eventually managed to get my phone to activate a new data package; which then meant we were fully in business!

As is virtually always the case when flying to Delhi the bash was planned to begin with 54413 0320 Delhi Jn – Rewari passenger and I had about 45 minutes to sort my crap out while waiting for it. When it arrived about 10 minutes early I didn’t think much of it, only that it was strange for 54413 to ever be on time, let alone early. When some guy asked where I was going and then had a fit at my answer of Rewari I soon figured out, from the driver of TKD WDP3A 15540, that the train I was sat on wasn’t 54413 at all and was in fact 51915 0010 Delhi Jn – Farukh Nagar, running a little over 3 hours late! The best of it being was that 54413 was on the list of cancelled trains for the day when I managed to check, along with the return working and 54085/54086 Delhi – Rewari – Delhi! It wasn’t often passenger trains to Rewari were cancelled but to have two in a day meant there was obviously something amiss somewhere.

I was glad of my small mercy in having made 51915 and the driver seemed to be wanting to get his train to Farukh Nagar quickly; noticeable by the fact he wasn’t shutting off for the transition, which I was very thankful for as 15540, as with most WDP3A’s, was a cracking engine and you hardly ever get to hear a transition come in on full power these days since microprocessors were introduced. The fact that it was only on a short rake probably had a lot to do with him not shutting off as there wouldn’t be as much strain on the couplings when it came back it on full power.

At Gurgaon there was just enough time for two of the finest chai’s India has to offer, the shack under the stairs on platform 1 selling the best chai in India; in my opinion! I hadn’t even finished the first when 12982 Udaipur – Delhi Sarai Rohilla “Chetak Express” was being announced and in it rolled with a very scruffy looking ABR WDM3A 14029, which was still a “baldie”. It wasn’t until I got off at Delhi Cantt that I even realised that 12464 Jodhpur – Delhi Sarai Rohilla, behind it, was booked Alco as well; and with 12458 Bikaner – Delhi Sarai Rohilla behind that I could have potentially dropped a bollock with doing the Chetak Express when I didn’t need 14029.

12414 Jammu Tawi – Ajmer, sat in platform 1 at Delhi Cantt with IZN WDP4D 40149, was blocking my view of 12464 when it rolled in. As it was early I had time to finish my chai and get to the front of the train before it departed; I was pleased to find ABD WDM3A 16675 at the front of it and was soon Sarai Rohilla bound.

Another IZN WDP4D soon appeared at Sarai Rohilla, this one being 40140 with 15014 Kathgodam – Jaisalmer; a train that had only gone to Bhagat Ki Kothi until recently and also only run a few days a week; it was now daily. TKD WAP7 30219 was in platform 4 with 14095 0535 Sarai Rohilla – Kalka and I eventually watched ABR WDM3A 14122 arrive with 12458 Bikaner – Delhi Sarai Rohilla; which then ran round to form 14705 0705 Sarai Rohilla – Bhagat Ki Kothi. BL WAP4 22204 then arrived with 14623 Chhindwara – Delhi Sarai Rohilla, bang on time at 0615, and LDH WDM3A 16124, which had been sat waiting at the Rewari end of the station, soon backed onto the stock to work 14625 0645 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Firozpur. Last time I’d done 14625 the stock had been 4 hours late in from Chhindwara due to fog and screwed my morning up good and proper!

I opted to do 16124 out onto the Rohtak line and with both 14723 Kanpur – Bhiwani “Kalindi Express” and 12555 Gorakhpur – Bhiwani “Gorakhdam Express” showing late on NTES there was a step-off available at Shakur Basti. Unfortunately, a LKO WDM3D passed through Vivekanand Puri with the Kalindi Express shortly before 16124 departed with 14625 so my step-off at Shakur Basti dropped me nicely into IZN WDP4D 40154, which I didn’t even need; and if things couldn’t get any worse brand new TKD WDP4D 40273 turned up on 54002 0615 Rohtak – Tilak Bridge passenger, which I didn’t actually need to do but it did allow me to cover 54641 0710 Delhi Jn – Firozpur at Shakur Basti if I did.

Just as 40273 rolled into Shakur Basti, TKD WDP1 15051 was doing so from the opposite end of the station with 54641 and was looped in platform 3 for TKD WDP3A 15521 to hammer through with a late running 12037 0700 New Delhi – Ludhiana Shatabdi. As 15051 wasn’t new I opted to hang around at Shakur Basti and wait for 54502 0500 Bhiwani – Delhi Jn instead. The whole station was having a massive facelift with actually what appeared to be new platforms being built, and really what would probably be a whole new station eventually at the Rohtak end of the station.

The orange front of the long hood that appeared in the distance, as 54502 approached Shakur Basti, was a giveaway that the loco was a SSB WDM2 and I wasn’t disappointed when WDM2 17947 arrived with the train. It was a complete stagger towards Vivekanand Puri and the fact that we were held outside Dayabasti was probably to allow 54012 Rewari – Tilak Bridge to go through Vivekanand Puri before us so I stayed on 54502 through to Delhi Kishanganj instead of getting off for it. The reward for sacrificing a lengthy breakfast stop at Delhi Sarai Rohilla turned out to be TKD WDP3A 15526 with 54412 0655 Meerut – Rewari; which dropped me at Sarai Rohilla with just enough time to leg it over the road to the hotel restaurant and grab a couple of very nice aloo parathas to take back to the station with me.

I’d been toying with the idea of doing 54036 0445 Jakhal – Delhi Jn to Kishanganj for 14036 Pathankot – Delhi Jn into Delhi Jn where I’d then have a choice of trains to do back out but my fear of being bowled in the straight outside Delhi Jn got the better of me and ultimately turned my move into a better one anyway. TKD WDM3A rebuild 14010 dropped me at Kishanganj on 54036 and an auto had me back at Vivekanand Puri minutes later; where I photographed a rather good looking TKD WDP3A 15525, in a red and blue livery, run through with 14036 Pathankot – Delhi Jn. LDH WDG3A 14743 was almost right behind with 54032 0720 Jind – Delhi Jn, which I did back to Kishanganj, where I found LDH WDM3A 16320, still in its old KGP livery, just arriving with 14323 1035 New Delhi – Rohtak; a turn that was usually an IZN WDM3D.

Despite the fact that 14323 stopped at Vivekanand Puri, when it’s not booked to, I’d figured out that 14626 Firozpur – Delhi Sarai Rohilla was late enough coming in for 14323 to make it at Shakur Basti, where after only a few minutes of waiting LDH WDG3A 14830 rolled in with 14625 to top the morning’s move off quite nicely.

ET WAM4 21335 was waiting outside Delhi Sarai Rohilla to drop onto our stock and work 14624 1220 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Chhindwara. SSB WDS6AD 36269 was shunting in the carriage sidings, TKD WDP3A 15511 had arrived with the late running 14042 Dehradun – Delhi Sarai Rohilla, TKD WDM3A 16002 had arrived with 12985 Jaipur – Delhi Sarai Rohilla “double decker” and BGKT WDP4 20097 was just about to depart with 12915 Ahmedabad – Delhi Jn “Ashram Express”. LDH WDM3A 16340 was sat in the middle road between platforms 1 & 2 with the rake for 54421 1150 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Rewari passenger, which was only allowed to shunt out when TKD WDP1 15032 had arrived with 14546 Saharanpur – Farukh Nagar Express. Meanwhile another brand new WDP4D, this time homed to BGKT, 40275 dropped in with 14660/2 Jaisalmer/Barmer – Delhi Jn.

With a couple of options on the table, which could involve both southbound and northbound Ala Hazrat Expresses and was hopefully going to involve the late running 54310 0930 Rewari – Delhi Jn, which NTES had shown as 1h27m late departing Rewari, it ultimately involved only one of the aforementioned; which was partially my own fault!

LDH WDM3A 16340 got all the way to Patel Nagar with 54421 before I realised it should sit there to allow 14311 Bareilly – Bhuj to overtake it; which is exactly what happened as IZN WDM3D 11301 went storming by. As it was late it meant I wasn’t going to make 54310 at Patel Nagar off 54421 was the former had picked up almost 30 minutes while being on the run from Rewari. While sat at Patel Nagar though I spotted VTA WDM3D 11126 with the stock for 12957/8 Ahmedabad – New Delhi Rajdhani running empties towards Delhi as well as ABR WDM2 16781 which was running round 12065 Ajmer – Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin Shatabdi to work it forward via Safdarjang; this being the only diesel hauled train to cover the route and one I’d done earlier in the year. 16781 ultimately got the better of me and when 11301 had hammered by it was a simple walk across the tracks to board the virtually empty 12065, which I’d decided to do to Hazrat Nizamuddin for a taxi to Delhi Domestic airport for my flight to Ranchi; a bonus stop at Safdarjang had me off for an auto to Palam to cover 14322 Bhuj – Bareilly “Ala Hazrat Express”.

The auto only took 30 minutes to get me to Palam where I had plenty of time to wait before IZN WDM3D 11140 rolled in with 14322 Bhuj – Bareilly; my auto move being a complete waste of time in the end and having been so close to the airport when at Safdarjang I was soon heading back in a taxi from Delhi Cantt that cost a staggeringly respectable RS300.

Surprisingly there was no hassle factor when getting through the security at Delhi’s Domestic Terminal 1D and it was a rather pleasant experience that took no time at all. Some much needed food was sought from KFC while I waited and I then spent much of the next 2 hours making like a nodding dog while I waited in the seating area for my flight to begin boarding; I was absolutely shattered with the fact that I’d not gone straight off a night shift to the airport at Heathrow probably having gone against me in the sleep stakes as I hadn’t slept much at all on the flight out to Delhi.

Boarding was thankfully simple with every departure from Terminal 1D involving a bus to the plane out on the tarmac. From the moment I got on my Go Air flight G8-147 to Ranchi I was sleep bound and the whole flight was nothing but a blur until we landed in Ranchi, just a few minutes late at 1935; which was a shame as the Go Air plane had appeared new and would probably have been a pleasure to travel on even if I’d been awake!

As Ranchi doesn’t see many flights a day I’d been a bit skeptical when I came to getting out of the airport but while everyone else collected their bags I breezed straight out, only to find a pre-paid counter right outside the exit, just before you exit airside proper; the fares for which did seem a little high but I was actually glad of the fact there’d been any transport at all, let alone a pre-paid taxi kiosk. My driver met me after I’d walked out of the airport and marched me to his taxi. Outside the airport there were plenty of taxi’s and auto’s waiting for the plane so it wouldn’t have been an issue anyway. The fact that my driver seemed to have a death wish though was an issue; it was only thanks to the fact that we were in a decent car and not a clapped out Maruti van that we narrowly avoided at least 4 collisions on the way to Ranchi Junction station; it was another of those journeys in India I was glad to put behind me as I got out at Ranchi Junction station. I was just in time to watch TATA WAM4 21298 arrive into platform 1 with 18311 1305 Sambalpur – Varanasi, which I could probably have made at Hatia had I got the taxi to there instead, which is a lot nearer to the airport than Ranchi Jn station.

My hotel for the night, or not quite as it turned out, was booked through Booking.com and was about a 10-minute walk from Ranchi Jn station, a walk that took me by two wedding precessions, causing havoc on the narrow roads by the station, and frighteningly close to a load of fireworks that were being set off in the street for said weddings; the choice there was brave it and hurry by or wait a while and stay put! I was hungry so option 1 sufficed; needless to say while I was a little worried for my safety I watched adults and children alike literally dance around the fireworks while they were being set off; no common sense some people!

The Hotel Accord was thankfully tucked away from the hustle and bustle on the main road but as I’d half expected the hotel staff had nothing of my reservation on their list; as seems to happen way too often in India with Booking.com reservations. There wasn’t a problem though and I was checked in straight away and shown to a rather large, clean room on the 4th floor. Toiletries were provided, as was a mini-bar and the water in the shower was piping hot. Room service took about 20 minutes to come and was very good when it did so. All in all I was very pleased with my hotel choice but was probably not going to get the best out of the room as I was toying with the idea of doing 18619 Ranchi – Dumka to Bokaro Steel City for the return working 18620 back; and the only reason was to get the BKSC Alco’s in as this train had only recently been introduced and its regular loco link looked to be BKSC WDM3A’s; which as far as I was aware was actually the first booked BKSC passenger turn, certainly in the 10 years I’d been visiting India. I was going to let the availability in the 3AC on board 18619 determine what I actually did so when I set off from the hotel I only had my little bag with me and left the big back ready packed for a quick getaway in the morning if needed.

Thankfully the fireworks had stopped when I walked back to the station so I wasn’t risking my life in doing so! Ranchi Jn station was busy but not busy like somewhere like Lucknow would be of a night time; still despite everyone being told that 18619 2125 Ranchi – Dumka would be departing from platform 2, just after TATA WAG5 23311 arrived with 18614 0900 Chopan – Ranchi BKSC WDM3A 16621 rolled into platform 1 with 18619! It took some a while to realise but soon the mass movement of people from platform 1 to 2 was well under way.

Half of me was hoping there wasn’t going to be any room in the 3AC and that would be the move over, although there was an option to only do it an hour out to Muri and head back on an electric, but there was surprisingly quite a bit of room and I even managed to pick my upper side berth with the TTE! I wasted no time in occupying it either and was horizontal before the train departed Ranchi; earplugs in and with two alarms set to wake me before Bokaro Steel City, which was just over 3 hours away. The move did actually make at Chandrapura Jn, where it was a plus 32 bu7t for some reason my data wouldn’t work in Ranchi and with no clue what was going on time-wise I opted for the safer bet and the fact I wanted to write Bokaro Steel City in my book seemed like a good idea to get off there!

The first alarm did its job and BKSC’s 16621 did its job of getting to Bokaro on time. I’d expected a little more from its station though but with only a few platforms it catered for what it needed to I guess and despite not being a big station it certainly made up for it with the amount of vending stalls it had. The 1h40m fester seemed to fly by and I was so glad to see 18620 arrive only a few minutes late with BKSC WDM3A 16746; and even more glad of the fact that the TTE could accommodate me in 3AC!

After a pretty good night considering, I was back at the Hotel Accord by 0400, where I had to wake the security guard to let me in through the big iron gates that were locked. There was even time for sleep in a real bed when I got into my room; paying for the hotel hadn’t been wasted at all!

Moves for Sunday 22nd November 2015

15540 Delhi Cantt Gurgaon 0010 Delhi Jn – Farukh Nagar 51915 TKD WDP3A
14029 Gurgaon Delhi Cantt 1715 (21/11) Udaipur City – Delhi Sarai Rohilla 12982 ABR WDM3A
16675 Delhi Cantt Delhi Sarai Rohilla 1900 (21/11) Jodhpur Jn – Delhi Sarai Rohilla 12464 ABR WDM3A
16124 Delhi Sarai Rohilla Shakur Basti 0645 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Firozpur Cantt 14625 LDH WDM3A
40154 Shakur Basti Nangloi 1635 (21/11) Gorakhpur Jn – Hisar Jn 12555 IZN WDP4D
40273 Nangloi Shakur Basti 0615 Rohtak Jn – Tilak Bridge 54002 TKD WDP4D
17947 Shakur Basti Delhi Kishanganj 0500 Bhiwani Jn – Delhi Jn 54502 SSB WDM2
15526 Delhi Kishanganj Vivekanand Puri Halt 0655 Meerut Cantt – Rewari Jn 54412 TKD WDP3A
14010 Vivekanand Puri Halt Delhi Kishanganj 0445 Jakhal Jn – Delhi Jn 54036 TKD WDM3A
Auto Delhi Kishanganj Delhi Sarai Rohilla 2km, 5 mins, RS50
14743 Delhi Sarai Rohilla Delhi Kishanganj 0720 Jind Jn – Delhi Jn 54032 LDH WDG3A
16320 Delhi Kishanganj Shakur Basti 1035 New Delhi Jn – Rohtak Jn 14323 LDH WDM3A
14830 Shakur Basti Delhi Sarai Rohilla 0420 Firozpur Cantt – Delhi Sarai Rohilla 14626 LDH WDG3A
16340 Delhi Sarai Rohilla Patel Nagar 1150 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Rewari Jn 54421 LDH WDM3A
16781 Patel Nagar Safdarjung 0545 Ajmer Jn – Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin 12065 ABR WDM2
Auto Safdarjung Palam 30 mins, RS100
11140 Palam Delhi Cantt 1615 (21/11) Bhuj – Bareilly Jn 14322 IZN WDM3D
Taxi Delhi Cantt Delhi Terminal 1D 20 mins, RS300
VT-GOQ Delhi Terminal 1D Ranchi 1755 Delhi – Ranchi G8-147 GO Air domestic flight
Taxi Ranchi Airport Ranchi Jn Pre-pay, 15 mins, RS500
16614 Ranchi Jn Bokaro Steel City 2125 Ranchi Jn – Dumka 18619 BKSC WDM3A

 

Gen for Sunday 22nd November 2015

40149 IZN WDP4D 12414 1810 (P) Jammu Tawi – Ajmer

40140 IZN WDP4D 15014 2040 (P) Kathgodam – Jaisalmer

30219 GZB WAP7 14095 0535 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Kalka

14122 ABR WDM3A 12458 2220 (P) Bikaner – Delhi Sarai Rohilla, 14705 0705 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Bhagat Ki Kothi

22204 BL WAP4 1015 (P) Chhindwara – Delhi Sarai Rohilla

15521 TKD WDP3A 12037 0700 New Delhi – Ludhiana

15051 TKD WDP1 54641 0710 Delhi Jn – Firozpur

40069 TKD WDP4 14086 0330 Sirsa – Tilak Bridge

20097 12915 1830 (P) Ahmedabad – Delhi Jn

15511 TKD WDP3A 14042 2120 (P) Dehradun – Delhi Sarai Rohilla

16002 TKD WDM3A 12985 0600 Jaipur Jn – Delhi Sarai Rohilla

40275 BGKT WDP4D 14660/2 1700/1800 Jaisalmer/Barmer – Delhi Jn

15032 TKD WDP1 14546 0605 Saharanpur Jn – Farukh Nagar

21335 ET WAM4 14624 1220 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Chhindwara

17881 SSB WDM2 at Vivekanand Puri dragging an empty DMU at 1150

11126 VTA WDM3D through Patel Nagar towards Delhi with set for 12957/8 NDLS – ADI Rajdhani

11301 IZN WDM3D 14311 0605 Bareilly Jn – Bhuj

21298 TATA WAM4 18311 1305 Sambalpur Jn – Varanasi Jn

23311 TATA WAG5 18614 0900 Chopan – Ranchi Jn

Photos for Sunday 22nd November 2015 

 

Monday 23rd November 2015 (2nd time lucky with the Deekshabhoomi Express!)

After 2 hours in a proper bed I was surprisingly quite wide awake by the time I got out of a very hot shower. While breakfast was included in the room rate, allegedly, I’d left it too late to consider it anyway and was at reception checking out at 0630; I eventually made it out of the door 15 minutes later, such is the fun of checking out of an Indian hotel in the early morning! First someone had to check the room, then my card wouldn’t work, which was more like operator error than my card being at fault, and then because of the fact there wasn’t enough change in the drawer the guy checking me out thought it was ok to short change me by RS25; he was very wrong!

Ranchi station wasn’t anywhere near as busy as it had been the previous night. Just as I arrived 18615 Howrah – Hatia was being announced, which duly arrived into platform 2 with SRC WAP4 22645. Shortly after it had departed my 12832 Bhubaneswar – Dhanbad Garib Rath was announced and despite what India Rail Info shows I wasn’t surprised when VSKP WDM3A 16244 arrived with the train and not a BNDM example. The train was relatively empty and served as nothing more than a sleeper service to Dhanbad; I woke just a we pulled into Bokaro Steel City to watch MGSBWAP4 22738 pull into the opposite platform with 12874 New Delhi – Howrah and then as we were leaving TATA WAM4 212xx arrived with 58013 2305 (P) Howrah – Bokaro Steel City passenger.

With over 3 hours to kill at Dhanbad the first 3 minutes were taken to get a photo of the VSKP machine on the front of 12832, which arrived some 10 minutes early. Thankfully my data had started working again after we’d left Ranchi but bizarrely stopped again in Dhanbad! I’d had it for enough time though to figure out I could do either 13351 1050 Dhanbad – Alappuzha to Katrasgarh or 53339 1135 Dhanbad – Chandrapura Jn passenger behind it, for 13352 Alappuzha – Dhanbad back; all were of course electrics but with WAM4’s being a dying breed it would have been rude not to.

The van of 13351 was still being loaded when I got to the front of the train a few minutes before departure. Both TATA WAM4 21244 and MGS WAM4 23312 were sat in adjacent platforms with 13351 & 53339 respectively; there was nothing to choose between them so I just did the first one and then hatched a plan to do the second one en-route, which I’d figured out I could do with a short walk back from Katrasgarh to Angarpartha Halt; which was shown as 2km in the timetable but actually seemed less when I walked it straight back up the tracks. With an hour to do it in It was actually quite a pleasant walk and 21312 turned up not a minute late, covering the distance back to Katrasgarh in only a few minutes!

TATA WAM4 21397 rolled up with 13352 Alappuzha – Dhanbad and while a little late it was only a few minutes late into Dhanbad which allowed me plenty of time to rush and get a decent meal at the Comesum on platform 1. Then came the moment of truth with regards to 11046 1355 Dhanbad – Kolhapur “Deekshabhoomi Express” as the previous attempt to do it with Alco ended in tears when a BZA WAG7 backed onto the train! I was hoping that BKSC WDG3A 13642 might well be the train engine but while I was stood waiting on platform 3 PA WDG3A 13664 ran through and positioned itself at the platform end, moments late the stock was backed into the same platform by VSKP WDM3A 16244 off my Garib Rath earlier; I was so pleased to see 13664 called straight onto the stock the moment it stopped and with the 3AC only being three from the front it was looking like a decent journey lay ahead; and I wasn’t wrong. The loco pilot knew where the power handle was and did a very good job of keeping to time on the electrified main line to Gaya, where my 3 hours of respite from the outside world came to an end as my compartment was invaded by locals; who unfortunately had two young children with them making even less room in an already cramped compartment area!

The only way to get away from the noise, cramped space and general crapness that was my compartment, was to get my berth made up and relax horizontally for a while; with ACDC to drown out any noise coming from below. By Mughalsarai I was in need of some food and had to settle for a stone cold egg biriyani from one of the stalls; at least the chai was hot though! The sight that greeted me as I boarded, after the train set off from Mughalsarai, was one of utter carnage inside the coach. It looked like one kid was being rushed to the bog after throwing up all over the floor and a second was in the middle of doing the same as I walked through the door; probably having been set off by the first? Thankfully said mess duly cleaned up and order was eventually restored. My berth was the best place to be and that was where I stayed for virtually the rest of the journey.

Moves for Monday 23rd November 2015 

16746 Bokaro Steel City Ranchi Jn 1845 (22/11) Dumka – Ranchi Jn 18620 BKSC WDM3A
16244 Ranchi Jn Dhanbad Jn 2010 (22/11) Bhubaneswar – Dhanbad Jn 12832 VSKP WDM3A
21244 Dhanbad Jn Katrasgarh 1050 Dhanbad Jn – Alappuzha 13351 TATA WAM4
Walk Katrasgarh Angarpathra Halt 2km, 25 mins
21312 Angarpathra Halt Katrasgarh 1135 Dhanbad Jn – Chandrapura Jn 53339 MGS WAM4
21397 Katrasgarh Dhanbad Jn 0600 (21/11) Alappuzha – Dhanbad Jn 13352 TATA WAM4
13664 Dhanbad Jn Katni Jn 1355 Dhanbad Jn – Kolhapur 11046 PA WDG3A – via Koderma, Gaya, Mughalsarai, Varanasi, Allahabad City

 

Gen for Monday 23rd November 2015

22645 SRC WAP4 18615 2210 (P) Howrah – Hatia

22738 MGS WAP4 12874 0625 (P) New Delhi – Puri

212xx TATA WAM4 58013 2305 (P) Howrah – Bokaro Steel City

22860 MGS WAP4 53334 1205 Dhanbad Jn – Sindri Town

 

Photos for Monday 23rd November 2015

 

Tuesday 24th November 2015 (What a cracking day; cranking its best!)

I didn’t need the help of an alarm to get me up for Katni Junction, where 11046 was due at 0500, I’d had a decent sleep and was ready for whatever the day could throw at me. We were about 30’ late into Katni Jn though and as I hadn’t planned anything before doing 12182 Ajmer – Jabalpur at 0715 there was plenty of time to find a hotel and get the big bag dumped for the day; which proved a little harder than I’d expect it to be.

Having stayed in Katni once before I knew there were hotels in the vicinity of the station, on the road that led straight out of the station. I initially didn’t bother with the Hotel Samrat, right outside the station, due to the noise factor from the station itself and headed further up the road to the Hotel Vatsal; after 3 minutes of waiting patiently for the guy behind the counter to finish his morning prayers he basically didn’t want to know and waved me away! I then tried the Samrat and got told to try the Hotel Pankaj Palace, which is basically out of the station, right through the car park, turn right out of it and its about 200m up the road on the right. Thankfully there was no being turned away and my third time was the lucky one! I was checked in straight away and chose a deluxe room which for single occupancy cost RS1400 and yet is only RS1600 for double occupancy! The room was quite big, had a large double bed, the sheets of which weren’t the greatest and that’s why I always have my own sheet with me. The bathroom was quite large but as I found out later had no hot water either in the morning or the evening. The air-con worked quite well, until I put it on that night and it never worked again after that; it was just as well it was quite cool at night eh!? Despite its issues it was probably the best hotel in Katni and was better than quite a lot I’d stayed in so I wasn’t particularly bothered when I left for the day, 15 minutes after checking in.

With NTES fired up and working ok, for the time being anyway, I was armed with the knowledge that 22182 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur was running about 30’ late and as I got onto the station it was just being announced to arrive into platform 2. In the stabling bays adjacent to platform 1 bay a crew were just shunting ET WDM3D 11340 out, which dropped onto the opposite end of 22182 after TKD WAP7 30377 had brought the train in. Also in the bay was KTE WDM3A 16275, which was running and had a crew in so I was guessing might be for 12182 Ajmer – Jabalpur “Dayodaya Express”, and the stranger of the bunch PTRU WDM3A 18758, which I had no clue as to why it was there and what it would do next.

When I got down to the front of the train to make sure 11340 had actually dropped onto the stock 16784, with NKJ vice KTE on its cab-side, rolled in with 12546 LTT – Raxaul and over the back of the station WDG4 70342 rolled in, with SPJ WDM3A 16584 dead in train, with an on time 15231 Muzaffarpur – Gondia; both were removed and replaced by a WAP4 for the run to Gondia. There was loads of room in one of the 3AC coaches and I relaxed in there for the run out to Sihora Road; where things started to have to b old school as NTES began to play up! Just as 11340 drew out of Katni Jn a bizarre off-link of BGKT WDG4 12433 arrived in with a late 22103 LTT – Faizabad.

En-route to Sihora Road it became evident that I was going to have problems with NTES, which kept dropping out and not reconnecting; what I didn’t realise at the time was that it appeared the problems were network related and not NTES related as everything was back to almost normal the following morning. Still it was a right pain in the arse not having the gen at my fingertips and I managed to almost flatten my battery by 1000 with constantly fiddling with the phone to get it to work!

As 22182 was effectively in the path of 12182 to Sihora Road my move didn’t need to change, that was until 18233 Indore – Bilaspur rolled in 60’ late with ET twins 18825/18581. I’d basically dismissed 18233/18234 from my move plans as they’d been reported on IRI recently with ET WDP4’s; I didn’t need any persuading to head down to the front as the twins departed Sihora Road; which passed KTE WDM3A 16275 with 12182 Dayodaya Express as suspected. It turned out a bit of a bonus when the train I’d planned to do to Sleemnabad Road, 51701 Jabalpur – Rewa passenger, rolled in with KTE WDM3A 16732, just as KTE WDM3A 16718 was departing right time with 11452 Rewa – Jabalpur Intercity.

With intermittent, limited, and very slow when it was playing ball, access to NTES I knew the plus 7 was going to make at Gosalpur onto 51673 0400 Itarsi – Satna passenger and was greeted with ET WDM3A 18686 when it arrived about 20’ late; just after ET WDM3D 11314 had set off with 12670 Chhapra – Chennai Central after being brought to a stand in the middle road. En-route back to Sihora Road ET twins 16528/14109 passed with a late running 11062 Muzaffarpur – LTT; which I’d expected to be a GM! Breakfast was served at Sihora Road in the form of fried battered potato balls, which were very nice and would become my staple breakfast for the next few days.

The plan was to do 11652 Singrauli – Jabalpur to Jabalpur, which I ultimately still did, but as JHS WDM3A 18877 arrived with 12190 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur over an hour late, it would have been rude not to! Just as we rolled into Jabalpur ET WDM3D 11426 was rolling in, going the other way with a late 51671 0545 Itarsi – Katni passenger; and I found myself briskly walking back up the length of the platform to do it back towards Sihora Road. I had to take a second glance as I noticed ET WDP4B 40048 sat in with 11464 1200 Jabalpur – Somnath Express; anther one bites the dust!

51671 didn’t hang around at Jabalpur and I was only there 5 minutes, which was more than enough to assess the lateness factor of things through NTES, which showed 11652 Singrauli – Jabalpur as currently departing Sihora Road only a few minutes before 51671 was shown to arrive; not that it really mattered if it missed, which it didn’t, as I could just do 51671 back into Katni and be back on track with the move anyway. As is always the case with NTES it’s best guess arrival for trains was wrong but the “spot your train” feature gave confidence that the move was going to make at Sihora Road and both trains were actually on the approach at the same time. KTE WDM3A 16338, which I’d had on the Dayodaya Express once upon a time when it was through Alco under the wires from Katni to Sawai Madhopur, headed 11652 through to Jabalpur; where a quick egg curry in the non-veg refreshment room on platform 1 saw me right for the afternoon’s bash.

With the move I was doing being only available on a Tuesday I was quite pleased with the weekly 19049 Bandra Terminus – Rajendranagar when it produced VTA WDM3D 11542, which randomly I had written down in my book as 11452 until I spotted it heading in the opposite direction with 19050 two days later! The train was wedged, there was no room in AC and the TTE told me I should wait for the next train; which of course wasn’t going to happen, so I braved it in sleeper class where there was plenty of standing room to Katni.

On the approach to Katni Jn another train I’d technically dismissed from my plans, due to it allegedly being a GM, 13201 Rajendranagar – LTT departed with twin ET Alco’s; the numbers of which I couldn’t see due to the door at that side of the train being closed. Upon arrival I soon found ET WDM3A 14102 sat with the stock to form 51672 1445 Katni – Itarsi, which had WDG4D 70410 dead inside which had plastic covers still over the seats in the cabs and a November 2015 works plate! Whether being delivered to Itarsi or not time will soon tell; my attention to the works plate was soon interrupted when SPJ WDM3D 11298 was sat in with 15547 Jaynagar – LTT; over 2 hours late. It wasn’t an easy decision but it was one that set the tone for the afternoon; revealing something en-route that would work massively to my benefit.

15547 was cautioned down to a red at Sleemnabad, I could only assume that it was to protect the group of workers that were doing something around the points, so I got off for 14102 on 51672 behind; it wasn’t until 11298 was hammering away in the distance that I looked at the timetable and realised that 51672 was right away Katni to Sihora Road but sure enough I was saved from my own stupidity by the workers as 51672 was brought to a stand in the middle road for presumably the same reason 15547 had been and bugger me if ET WDM3D 11134, which had been shunting at Jabalpur earlier, wasn’t just arriving with a slightly late 22181 Jabalpur – Hazrat Nizamuddin when we got to Sihora Road. I’d been thinking I could do 11651 Jabalpur – Singrauli back to Katni South for 11448 Howrah – Jabalpur, which was over 4 hours late; 11134 back to Katni Jn for an auto to Katni South would suffice though but when 22181 got stopped at Sleemnabad Road it made sense to get off and play the game. Either 11651 Jabalpur – Singrauli was going to stop behind or I could do 51674 Satna – Itarsi passenger back to Sihora Road if not and do the Shaktipunj Express forward to Jabalpur from there.

Sure enough 11651 Jabalpur – Singrauli stopped at Sleemnabad so maybe whatever work was going on had the points disconnected at either end as a result? What I hadn’t banked on as KTE WDM3A 16275 approached Katni South was the fact that a freight was occupying platform 1 and we crossed to platform 2; 11448 was sat on the curve outside the station waiting to arrive as a result! And speaking of results it was definitely one when KTE WDG3A’s 14753/14734 arrived with what I’d expected to be a PTRU link and I’d half expected to find a pair of PTRU Shakti’s on the train, or one of the new PTRU WDP4D’s!

As the dirty KTE Shakti’s got to grips with the Shaktipunj Express, which was just over 4 hours late from Katni South, ET WDM3A twins 17940/18856 hammered by with 13202 LTT – Rajendranagar; this at least put some meat on the bones of the fact that ET twins now seemed to be the regular link for 13201/13202 and something I’d definitely be checking out the following day. For now though I was still in amazement at what a cracking day I’d had, the only issue during which had been the fact that Vodafone seemed to want to stick a spanner in the works and ruin it; without NTES the day would have been nowhere near as good as it was and as I sat on 11451 1705 Jabalpur – Rewa Intercity with KTE WDM3A 16338, I began plotting my moves for the following day, based on what I’d seen during this one. Part of which was already out of the window due to the fact I’d seen an ET WDP4D with 11464 Jabalpur – Somnath, which I’d planned to do out to Narsingpur for its counterpart back!

With the bash being over a lot earlier than I’d planned, thanks to covering the Shaktipunj Express, I had an early night in my mind; I had been up since 0430 after all! First things first though, food! Last time I’d been in Katni the food at the Naman Food Centre, just outside the station on the left of the main road, set back and up a small set of steps, had been cracking. I have to say it still is and the Aloo Dopyaza they served up was probably the best I’ve had anywhere in India; it was well worth the RS150 (£1.50) it cost and would become my staple evening meal while in Katni. If you’re in Katni, don’t eat anywhere else!

Back at the Pankaj Palace I was asked for an advance for the first night’s stay before I headed up to my room, where I failed miserably to get any hot water out of any of the taps in the bathroom so left the showering until the morning. I was in bed, wrapped in my own sheet, earplugs in and lights out before 8 o’clock; clearly in need of a decent night’s sleep!

Moves for Tuesday 24th November 2015

11340 Katni Jn Sihora Road 1750 (23/11) Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur Jn 22182 ET WDM3D
18825 Sihora Road Sleemnabad Road 1715 (23/11) Indore Jn – Bilaspur Jn 18233 ET WDM3A’s 18825/18581 in multi
18581
16718 Sleemnabad Road Gosalpur 0600 Rewa – Jabalpur Jn 11452 KTE WDM3A
18686 Gosalpur Sihora Road 0400 Itarsi Jn – Satna Jn 51673 ET WDM3A
18877 Sihora Road Jabalpur Jn 1610 (23/11) Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur Jn 12190 JHS WDM3A
11426 Jabalpur Jn Sihora Road 0545 Itarsi Jn – Katni Jn 51671 ET WDM3A
16338 Sihora Road Jabalpur Jn 0500 Singrauli Jn – Jabalpur Jn 11652 KTE WDM3A
11542 Jabalpur Jn Katni Jn 1545 (23/11) Bandra Terminus – Rajendranagar 19049 VTA WDM3A
11298 Katni Jn Sleemnabad Road 1825 (23/11) Jaynagar – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus 15547 SPJ WDM3D
14102 Sleemnabad Road Sihora Road 1445 Katni Jn – Itarsi Jn 51672 ET WDM3A – Nov 2015 built WDG4D 70410 dit
11134 Sihora Road Sleemnabad Road 1500 Jabalpur Jn – Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin 22181 ET WDM3D
16275 Sleemnabad Road Katni South 1515 Jabalpur Jn – Singrauli Jn 11651 KTE WDM3A
14753 Katni South Sihora Road 1310 (23/11) Howrah – Jabalpur Jn 11448 KTE WDG3A’s 14753/14734 in multi
14734

 

Gen for Tuesday 24th November 2015

16784 NKJ WDM3A 12546 1120 (P) LTT – Raxaul

70342 ??? WDG4D (16584 SPJ WDM3A dit) 15231 1500 (P) Muzaffarpur – Gondia (to Katni)

30377 TKD WAP7 22182 1750 (P) Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur (to Katni)

40196 ET WDP4D 11061 1215 (P) LTT – Muzaffarpur

12433 BGKT WDG4 22103 1430 (P) LTT – Faizabad

16275 KTE WDM3A 12182 1530 (P) Ajmer – Jabalpur (ex Katni), 11651 1615 Jabalpur – Singrauli

16528/14109 ET WDM3A’s 11062 1550 (P) Muzaffarpur – LTT

16732 KTE WDM3A 51701 0730 Jabalpur – Rewa

40048 ET WDM4B 11464 1200 Jabalpur – Somnath

11314 ET WDM3D 12170 2100 (P) Chhapra – Chennai Central

40194 ET WDP4D 19052 1935 (P) Muzaffarpur – Valsad

11298 SPJ WDM3D 15547 1825 (P) Jaynagar – LTT

?????/????? ET WDM3A’s 13201 2330 (P) Rajendranagar – LTT

16786 KTE WDM3A 11265 1415 Jabalpur – Ambikapur

40207 ET WDP4D 12141 2325 (P) LTT – Patna Jn

18686 ET WDM3A 51674 1330 Satna – Itarsi

40245 ET WDP4D 12321 2200 (P) LTT – Rajendranagar

17940/18856 ET WDM3A’s 13202 2215 (P) LTT – Rajendranagar

 

Photos for Tuesday 24th November 2015 

 

Wednesday 25th November 2015 (More cranking at its best!)

Feeling rather refreshed after my 10 hours in bed I was more than happy to get out of it at 0530 when I woke up. What I wasn’t happy with was the cold bucket shower I had to get as not only was there no hot water, I couldn’t get any water out of the shower head either; there is a big benefit to carrying a travel kettle around India, which I haven’t done for a few years now!

NTES was fired up with three sessions open, for Katni Jn, Sihora Road and Jabalpur. I’d intended to be up and out to cover 22182 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur again but was pressed into action the moment I got to the station as KTE WDM3A 16755 was just arriving with 51190 Allahabad – Itarsi passenger; that should have departed at 0400 and was over 2 hours late. Not only was that late though, 51187 Bhusaval – Katni passenger was nearly 4 hours late coming the other way and I was dropped nicely into KTE WDM3A 16731 at Madhavnagar Road, 5km out of town, and was back in Katni 20 minutes later; where TKD WAP7 30262 had only just arrived with a late 22182 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur and ET WDM3A 16737 was poised to drop onto the other end.

In the sidings adjacent to platform 1 were plenty of electrics and ET WDM3D 11576, which again I assumed would work 12182 Ajmer – Jabalpur “Dayodaya Express” forward. ET WDM3D 11427 was just departing with 22683 Yesvantpur – Lucknow as I walked over the footbridge to get chai and SPJ WDM3D 11586 was just being removed from 15231 Muzaffarpur – Gondia. 22182 was about 15 minutes late departing and there was virtually no room at all in the AC coaches but I managed to find a side berth to sit in for the journey to Sihora Road; where I was greeted by one of the selling Walla’s as the train rolled in.

18233 Indore – Bilaspur had been showing on NTES as 10’ late itself and I was caught a little off guard as it stealthed its way into the station without me even realising; as I was blindsided by the train I’d got off and more interested in getting NTES to refresh than to pay attention to my surroundings. I did manage to spot ET WDM3A twins 14094/16708 as they rumbled down the platform and then scrambled through one train, onto the ballast, and then through the other to get to the opposite platform. I managed to make it to the AC coaches as the locos blew up for departure and was accosted by the TTE as I walked through who insisted I stand right at the front of the leading AC coach to Sleemnabad; like I was going to do anything else!

14094/16708 didn’t sound as good as 18825/18581 had done the previous day, on the same train but the loco pilot was definitely better and had them to full power before he’d even got to the turnout departing Sihora Road. A good run was had to Dundi, where my trip on 22182 looked set to come to be interrupted as ET WDM3D 11576 had indeed worked 12182 Dayodaya Express forward from Katni and was sat in the middle road at Dundi waiting for the starter signal; which came off as 18233 was half way down the platform loop. The Dayodaya was moving by the time it was safe enough to decamp from the still moving 18233 and thankfully the loco pilot of 11576 wasn’t initially as happy with the power handle as the one in 14094 had been! The irony was I was going to get off 18233 at Dundi anyway for 55701 0730 Jabalpur – Rewa passenger forward to Sleemnabad Road but I made it back at Sihora Road instead!

ET WDM3D 11314 was a little late with 51701 but it didn’t matter as back at Sleemnabad Road 11452 0600 Rewa – Jabalpur Intercity was a little late itself as it was following a high capacity parcels train, which hammered through Sleemnabad with PA WDG3A’s 14680/14818 just as 51701 approached. I was still having difficulty with NTES at this stage of the morning, this time it was IR server problems and not a network issue as Spoturtrain or erail couldn’t get the required info either and both worked perfectly well internet wise. What I had noticed on the Sihora Road station departures that I’d managed to get before the servers went down was that 51671 0545 Itarsi – Satna wasn’t listed as arriving in the next 4 hours; which was a little cause for concern if I got off at Gosalpur for the plus 7 onto it and it was well down the pan.

When KTE WDM3A 16338 arrived with 11452 Rewa – Jabalpur Intercity the only room to stand was in the AC chair car coach towards the rear; it seems that this train bore the brunt of the fact that 12190 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur as always at least 90’ late and ended up rammed as a result. At Sihora Road the van train was sat in the middle road waiting a path towards Jabalpur and in the passenger coach at the rear some guy caught me looking through my photos on my camera and beckoned me over so he could see them; I wasn’t so keen at first but was glad I did in the end.

I initially assumed the guy was the guard for the vans train as I couldn’t see him in his hut at the rear of the train, I as wrong but he was definitely staff and unfortunately he spoke little to no English but was impressed with the photos all the same. When the horn sounded, from what I thought was 16338, to depart I got up to shoot back over to the Intercity Express; it was only when the train jolted that I realised it was actually the vans train that was departing, and right in the path of 11452! I didn’t know whether to be concerned with the fact that I was now on a train that I didn’t know where it was going to stop, or pleased with the fact that I needed one of the PA Shakti’s on the front! I seemed to get the impression from the guy in the coach that he was going to Jabalpur; my flapping became academic in the end as we rolled to a grinding halt in the middle road at Gosalpur, where I made my exit!

There was no sign of 51673 Itarsi – Satna passenger but with NTES bursting to life at last it revealed why; it was just the 3h30m late! Not surprisingly 16338 soon rolled into Gosalpur with 11452 and bizarrely got the road straight away; even more bizarrely this wouldn’t be the only time I got off a train on this particular day, to then get back on it after doing another train in between! There was clearly something going on between me and Jabalpur as 11452 was stopped at every station en-route yet with all its make-up time at the back end of its schedule it was only about 10 minutes late into Jabalpur.

The first thing I noticed on arrival was BNDM WDG3A 13132 shunting stock I the station area, the engine doing that the previous day had worked 22181 Jabalpur – Hazrat Nizamuddin that afternoon; having never had a BNDM Shakti I was hoping this would be the case. The next thing I noticed was ET WDM3D 11306 at the head of 11464 1200 Jabalpur – Somnath; and not a GM as it had been the previous day. While I was figuring out that I could do the Somnath Express to Madan Mahal for the late running Itarsi – Satna passenger back, I was distracted by 51671 0545 Itarsi – Katni passenger which arrived with ET WDM3A 18692 leading KTE WDG3A 13518; the latter running and with a crew in the cab. As they say you have to speculate to accumulate and I was soon hot-footing it back to the Katni end of the station and leaving ET WDM3D 11306 alone; for the time being.

Whether it was my beckoning to the loco pilot in the Katni Shakti to power or whether he was just bored, he powered anyway; 1358 was well and truly outdone by 18692 though, which basically immersed it in a cloud of blackness when it was opened up. It was the dirtiest WDM3A I’d seen for a long time and pour the clag out like a good YDM4 would when setting off. While I was impressed with making 12190 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur at Sihora Road I was a little disappointed that it was on the approach when 51671 arrived so I couldn’t get a photograph of the dirty beast that was 18692 as it departed. I could see the skies turn black in the distance as I looked back from 12190 as it departed Sihora Road; VTA WDM3D 11541 at the head of my train wasn’t anywhere near as dirty but was definitely a lot better sounding. I was quite surprised to find a VTA Alco with 12190 as the link was usually a solid JHS Alco.

Whatever had been causing the issues into Jabalpur on the previous run in had gone away as 11541 flew all the way there without so much as a hint of stopping anywhere and the PA Shakti’s and their vans train were in the middle road between platforms 1 & 2 when I arrived back; having been at Adhartal when I’d been on my way out. NTES had been working fine since the server issues earlier in the morning and confirmed that the waiting Somnath Express would still make the very late running 51673 Itarsi – Satna passenger which was almost 4 hours late by this stage and even if it missed it wouldn’t be the end of the world as 12390 Chennai Egmore – Gaya was over 3 hours late and I’d been considering doing it to Katni anyway to get an auto to Katni South and have a go at the Shaktipunj Express again, which was currently showing just over 2 hours late. ET WDM3D 11306 with the Somnath Express made ET WDM3A 14102 with 51673 Itarsi – Satna passenger; which had managed to end up 3h50m late by the time I boarded at Madan Mahal.

It was a bit of a GM fest as Jabalpur and not just with Itarsi ones either; ET WDP4D 40163 headed a very late 12577 Darbhanga – Mysore, PA WDP4D 40158 headed 12150 Patna Jn – Pune, ET WDP4D 40123 headed 11066 Darbhanga – LTT, ET WDP4D 40195 headed 12322 Mumbai CST – Howrah and PA WDP4D 40213 headed 22132 Mandaudih – Pune. Fortunately, there were some Alco’s thrown in for good measure but it was a definite sign of what the unfortunate future holds! ET WDM3A 18686 had arrived with 22187 Habibganj – Jabalpur Intercity while I’d been away and the only other Alco I saw while at Jabalpur was ET WDM3D 11428 with 22104 Faizabad – LTT. Quite what the outlook was going to be like for ET Alco’s, once the section from Itarsi to Katni was electrified, didn’t really bare thinking about but surely it couldn’t be good!

After a nice egg curry in the non-veg refreshment room, for the second day running, I was quite pleased when KTE WDG3A 14646 arrived with 12390 Chennai Egmore – Gaya but not with the fact that it was looking a little tight to make the Shaktipunj Express at Katni; and to think I’d actually initially been hoping I’d make 13201 Rajendranagar – LTT at Katni and be able to do it back to Sihora Road for the Shaktipunj forward. When 12390 came to an abrupt stand at Adhartal I thought something was wrong. When I checked out of the door though it seemed the loco pilot had just misjudged the red signal he had and sat in the platform beside us was ET WDM3A 14102 with 51673 Itarsi – Satna passenger; which had been there for at least 45 minutes, based on the time it had departed Jabalpur. When 12390 got the road, only a minute or so after stopping, my conscience got the better of me and I swapped my wedged doorway for the empty front coach of the Itarsi – Satna passenger, cut my losses and relaxed to Sihora Road instead of attempting to get to Katni!

Once 12390 had cleared the section 14102 did its stuff but was unfortunately held at Gosalpur for ET WDP4D 40196 to hammer by with 12141 LTT – Patna Jn. Thankfully that was the only delay and by the time I got off at Sihora Road 51673 was 4h55m late and only just made 13201 Rajendranagar – LTT, which was headed by ET WDM3A twins 18856/17940; which had headed the opposing working the previous day. ET WDM3D 11305 was soon arriving too, heading towards Katni, with 22181 1500 Jabalpur – Hazrat Nizamuddin; and not BNDM WDG3A 13132 like I’d hoped as I would have flagged the Shaktipunj Express move for that but I was going to speculate that something better than an ET WDM3D would turn up with the Shaktipunj Express and let 11305 go.

The horn I heard in the distance as 11448 Howrah – Jabalpur Shaktipunj Express had me thinking I might have played the wrong move as 11305 accelerated 22181 away from Sihora Road but the orange front of a Shakti soon came into view and I was grateful it wasn’t a GM! It turned out to be WDG3A 13505, in what looked like BNDM colours but with the smiley face painted over on the front of the loco; there were no depot markings at all at either end or on either cab side of the loco to denote which shed it belonged to so maybe it could have been a recent transfer to PTRU? Either way the lack of depot markings didn’t take away the fact that 13505 was a machine and loco pilot gave it a right caning to Jabalpur; unfortunately, just not enough to make 13202 LTT – Rajendranagar, which the Shaktipunj Express was held outside by the carriage sidings to allow it to depart, headed by ET WDM3D/WDM3A combo 11277/14100.

While dithering about what to do next, with the only one real option being KTE WDM3A 16275 with 11451 1705 Jabalpur – Rewa Intercity, I caught a glimpse of a train approaching in the distance and had to rush to the Itarsi end of the platform to figure out that it was 11093 Mumbai CST – Varanasi with ET WDM3A twins 18939/17992; which was very unexpected indeed. I then had a very long walk to the Katni end of the station where my attempts to blag my way into AC turned out to be useless. Again I was told to wait for the next train but when I told the TTE I was going to travel on his train anyway he blocked my way as I set off down the platform and seemed to have a bit of an issue with the fact I was going to travel anyway after he’d told me there was no room in AC. What he’d failed to understand when I told him I’d be travelling anyway was that I had another 18 coaches to choose from, other than the AC, then he let me be and I found a bit of standing room only in the middle of sleeper class, which was rammed!

At Katni I figured out what the PTRU engines did in the Katni area, when I found PTRU WDM3A 18686 sat in platform 6 with the stock to form 51675 2115 Katni – Chopan passenger. I’d also had a bit of a brainwave on the way across on 11093 and figured out that I could go forward to Maihar for the opposing working of 11094 back but rather than do the twins through I got off for 12167 LTT – Varanasi behind, which was both a mistake and yet did me a massive favour at the same time!

I thought nothing of it as ET WDM3D 11315 departed Katni with 12167 yet as we approached Maihar I had a feeling something wasn’t quite right and that feeling was confirmed as we passed straight through without stopping! Doh! Sure enough it was clear enough to see in the timetable that it didn’t stop but my misfortune was soon turned on its head when we passed 11094 Varanasi – Mumbai CST with ET WDP4D 40159! I did re-learn a valuable lesson that evening in just how important it is to check the timetable when planning a move. Thankfully I was saved at Satna by the fact that 15159 Chhapra – Durg was down the pan and I had the bonus of having KTE WDM3A 16550 back to Katni and not ET WDP4D 40048 with 15018 Gorakhpur – LTT.

While playing around with NTES on the way back to Katni I had a look if I could do PTRU’s 18686 anywhere on its 2115 departure to Chopan; the answer under normal circumstances is no but as 51680 Chopan – Katni passenger was over 6 hours late it was actually a comfortable plus at the first shack out, Katangi Khurd. Making a minus 6 hours was something that occurred every day, although with trains on the Chopan line maybe it actually was? I have to say I was quite surprised when 51675 2115 Katni – Chopan got the road at 2115 and departed bang on time; there was still some guy chasing it down the platform as it departed though, who only just made it before he ran out of platform to run down.

There was no sign of 51680 when we arrived into Katangi Khurd but thankfully it was along only about 10 minutes after we arrived; I’d been hoping for a PTRU Shakti but was just as pleased really when PTRU WDM3A 18849 rolled in. It wasn’t the fastest journey back to Katni Jn and a bit of festering was done at New Katni Jn, still the day started with a bonus move on passenger trains and ended in exactly the same way, topping off a day that had turned out to be better than the previous one, which I hadn’t thought was possible; it seems there are still days that amaze in the crank world and quite frankly I’d had two cracking days in Katni! To celebrate I headed over to the Naman Food Centre for another excellent Aloo Dopyaza and was tucked up in bed by 2300, having paid the balance of my bill before heading upstairs to avoid any farces in the morning when checking out early.

Moves for Wednesday 25th November 2015

16755 Katni Jn Madhavnagar Road 1900 (24/11) Allahabad Jn – Itarsi Jn 51190 KTE WDM3A
16731 Madhavnagar Road Katni Jn 0930 (24/11) Bhusaval Jn – Katni Jn 51187 KTE WDM3A
16737 Katni Jn Sihora Road 1715 (24/11) Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur Jn 22182 ET WDM3A
14094 Sihora Road Dundi 1715 (24/11) Indore Jn – Bilaspur Jn 18233 ET WDM3A’s 14094/16708 in multi
16708
11576 Dundi Sihora Road 1530 (24/11) Ajmer Jn – Jabalpur Jn 12182 ET WDM3D
11314 Sihora Road Sleemnabad Road 0730 Jabalpur Jn – Rewa 51701 ET WDM3D
16338 Sleemnabad Road Sihora Road 0600 Rewa – Jabalpur Jn 11452 KTE WDM3A
14680 Sihora Road Gosalpur High Capacity Parcels Train PA WDG3A’s 14680/14818 in multi – Vans train wth a coach at the rear
14818
16338 Gosalpur Jabalpur Jn 0600 Rewa – Jabalpur Jn 11452 KTE WDM3A
18692 Jabalpur Jn Sihora Road 0545 Itarsi Jn – Katni Jn 51671 ET WDM3A 18692 / KTE WDG3A 13518 in tandem
13518
11541 Sihora Road Jabalpur Jn 1610 (24/11) Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur Jn 12190 VTA WDM3D – 2h30m late
11306 Jabalpur Jn Madan Mahal 1200 Jabalpur Jn – Somnath 11464 ET WDM3D
14102 Madan Mahal Jabalpur Jn 0400 Itarsi Jn – Satna Jn 51673 ET WDM3A – 3h50m late
14646 Jabalpur Jn Adhartal 0730 (24/11) Chennai Egmore – Gaya Jn 12390 KTE WDG3A
14102 Adhartal Sihora Road 0400 Itarsi Jn – Satna Jn 51673 ET WDM3A – 3h50m late
13505 Sihora Road Jabalpur Jn 1310 (24/11) Howrah – Jabalpur Jn 11448 KGP WDG3A – 2h00m late
18939 Jabalpur Jn Katni Jn 0010 Mumbai CST – Varanasi Jn 11093 ET WDM3A’s 18939/17992 in multi (vice WDP4)
17992
11315 Katni Jn Satna Jn 0035 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Varanasi Jn 12167 ET WDM3D
16550 Satna Jn Katni Jn 0500 Chhapra Jn – Durg Jn 15159 KTE WDM3A
18696 Katni Jn Katangi Khurd 2115 Katni Jn – Chopan 51675 PTRU WDM3A
18849 Katangi Khurd Katni Jn 0650 Chopan – Katni Jn 51680 PTRU WDM3A – 6h35m late

 

Gen for Wednesday 25th November 2015

11427 ET WDM3D 22683 2240 (P) Yesvantpur – Lucknow

11586 SPJ WDM3D 15231 1540 (P) Muzaffarpur – Gondia (to Katni)

30262 TKD WAP7 22182 1750 (P) Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur (to Katni)

11304 ET WDM3D 15268 1550 (P) LTT – Raxaul

16275 KTE WDM3A 11652 0500 Singrauli – Jabalpur, 11451 1705 Jabalpur – Rewa

40163 ET WDP4D 12577 2005 (P) Darbhanga – Mysore

18686 ET WDM3A 22187 0530 Habibganj – Jabalpur

40158 PA WDP4D 12150 2155 (P) Pune – Patna Jn

40123 ET WDP4D 11066 1310 (P) Darbhanga – LTT

40195 ET WDP4D 12322 2125 (P) Mumbai CST – Howrah

11428 ET WDM3D 22104 2355 (P) Faizabad – LTT

40213 PA WDP4D 22132 0435 Mandaudih – Pune

40196 ET WDP4D 12141 2325 (P) LTT – Patna

11305 ET WDM3D 22181 1500 Jabalpur – Hazrat Nizamuddin

16732 ET WDM3A 11463 0930 (P) Somnath – Jabalpur

16786 ET WDM3A 11266 0615 Ambikapur – Jabalpur

18856/17940 ET WDM3A’s 13201 2330 (P) Rajendranagar – LTT

11277/14100 ET WDM3D/WDM3A 13202 2215 (P) LTT – Rajendranagar

20696 ET WAM4 (16067 KTE WDM3A dit) 51xxx 2000 Katni – Bina

40159 ET WDP4D 11094 1120 Varanasi – Mumbai CST

40048 ET WDP4D 15018 0530 Gorakhpur – LTT

 

Photos for Wednesday 25th November 2015

 

Thursday 26th November 2015 (Why go to Ambikapur?)

I was a little more reluctant to get up at 0545, when the alarm went off, than I had been the previous morning but even so 10 minutes later there would have been no choice when one of the hotel staff went trundling down the corridor outside my room, with what sounded like a gas canister being rolled along in front of him; and if that wasn’t enough he was shouting down the corridor as he did so. There was just no need for that kind of needless noise at that time in the morning and I told the guy at the front desk so when I checked out.

Initially I was handed a bill with “Jonathan Lee +1 as the title but he called me back as I was about to walk out and handed me another, then proceeded to stick the other one back in his book. Quite what it was all about I don’t really know but I’ve a feeling the hotel were on a tax fiddle as they told me I wouldn’t pay any tax on the room when I’d initially checked in.

As I had my big bag with me I wasn’t going to rush around the station to spot what was what and enjoyed a couple of morning coffees instead, safe in the knowledge that ET WDM3D 11380 would be 22182 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur as it shunted out of the bay as I walked onto the platform. When TKD WAP7 30348 trundled in with aid 22182 I handed the guy at the tea stall a hundred for two coffees and a packet of biscuits, expecting RS60 back but was only presented with a 50 Rupee note; when questioned he basically stood there, grinned and shook his head. That grin was soon wiped off when I basically bullied him into handing over the RS10 he owed me and was seconds from pointing out the RPF that were only 100 yards up the platform, who I would have gladly pointed in his direction!

I was relegated to Sleeper Class on board 22182 and as 11380 eased the train out of the station SPJwdm3A 16577 was just shunting off 15231 Muzaffarpur – Gondia. At Sihora Road I was greeted like one of the locals by the same vendor who’d greeted me the previous morning and the morning seemed set to be a routine one looking at NTES; which was performing better than it had don the previous two days. 18233 Indore – Bilaspur was almost on time when ET WDM3D/WDM3A combo 11462/18593 brought the train in.  didn’t manage to see the number on the dirty WDM3A that led 12182 Ajmer – Jabalpur “Dayodaya Express” as it passed by but did notice the KTE shed code on the front of what was previously an ET loco; which was still carrying ET’s dark red livery.

As 51701 0730 Jabalpur – Rewa was showing on time behind us I opted to get off at Dundi to do it forward to Sleemnabad and was deposited there bang on time; the only issue being it was by ET WDP4B 40042 and not an Alco! It seems that ET’s loco links are merely a guide to what should happen and when the need arises then both Alco & GM can substitute for each other as needed, which of course isn’t the greatest from a cranking perspective if you want to avoid GM’s!

While waiting at Sleemnabad Road SPJ WDM3D 11273 ran through with a special, 02577 2020 (P) Patna Jn – Krishnarajapuram and KTE WDM3A 16275 was hot on its heels with 11452 Rewa – Jabalpur Intercity. The TTE in the AC chair car of which wanted to know what there was in Sihora Road for foreigners to see? When I asked why he said he’d had a few foreigners recently doing his train to Sihora Road, for no apparent reason; little did he realise it’s been on it for three days in a row now! Sihora’s delicacy, of deep fried battered potato balls, was duly purchased during the stop at Sihora and when we departed we actually left people behind as both the chair car and unreserved were rammed with people hanging out of the doors all the way down the train. Again this was likely due to the fact that 12190 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur was 90 late; for a change!

I went through to Gosalpur with the Rewa – Jabalpur Intercity for ET WDM3D 11428 back on 51673 0400 Itarsi – Satna passenger while everyone waited at Sihora Road for the late 12190, which I then did with them through to Jabalpur when ET WDM3D 11274 arrived with it; this being the third different shed’s loco in as many days to work this train, it having been JHS Tuesday, VTA Wednesday and now ET on Thursday.

51671 0545 Itarsi – Katni passenger had managed to get hammered for an hour when I refreshed my NTES, making it almost 90’ late; it was sat in the platform at Jabalpur when I arrived with ET WDM3A 18693 leading the way. Had I missed it, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world, it would have been dinner in Jabalpur instead of Katni and then 11265 Jabalpur – Ambikapur throughout! As it turned out I had just enough time at Katni to get myself to the Naman Food Centre for another Aloo Dopyaza before hoping 13201 Rajendranagar – LTT was on time so I could do it to Sihora road for the Ambikapur Intercity from there. It was usually a good time-keeper and didn’t disappoint on this occasion either with ET WDM3A/WDM3D combo 14100/11277 getting the road at bang on 1350. When the train got chained just short of the home signal for Katni South, with the rear coach probably only just out of the platform, I did the sensible thing, got off and walked to
Katni South for fear of missing the Ambikapur Intercity at Sihora Road. The very fact that I beat the train to Katni South proved I did the right thing and I sat and admired the marvel that is Katni South station while waiting for my train.

There are two platforms at Katni South, with no means of getting from one to the other without crossing the tracks and platform 1 was occupied by a freight, with a pair of Shakti’s on the front that were shut down. The one good thing the station had done was introduce Alco’s to some previously unexplored track on passenger trains as without the need for a loco change at Katni Jn trains heading down the main line towards Bilaspur can use the curve from Katni South to New Katni Jn. As a result diesels now go through on trains that would have previously had an engine change at Katni Jn with 18233/18234 Indore – Bilaspur locos now going through to Bilaspur and more importantly, and the main reason for me spending time in Katni in the first place, 11265/11266 Jabalpur – Ambikapur Intercity is through diesel with 22909 Valsad – Puri having to be diesel as well; which is the only train to my knowledge to be diesel under the wires between Champa Jn & Jharsaguda Jn, certainly while I’ve been doing trains in India so advancement sometimes does have its benefits.

While enjoying my fester I photted ET WDM3A hammering through with 51672 1445 Katni – Itarsi, unfortunately the black clag fest it had displayed the previous day was all over and done with by the time it got out of Katni Jn station limits! I also spotted VTA WDG3A 13272 with 11053 LTT – Azamgarh and VTA WDM3D 11542 with 19050 Rajendranagar – Bandra Terminus; which was when I questioned what I’d written down when I’d done the outward working, 19049, two days previous. Sure enough 11452 was written in my book and sure enough the photo I’d taken at Jabalpur clearly showed 11542! Dumb ass eh?!

As booked 11448 Howrah – Jabalpur “Shaktipunj Express” was down the pan and yet almost right time, for it, when it rolled in only 2 hours late with the same KTE Shakti’s I’d had on it two days previous, 14753/14734; this time though PTRU WDM3A 18821 was dead inside so I’m wondering if the KTE Shakti’s had deputised for a failed PTRU engine at some point and 18821 would right the balance that night when it headed back to Patratu land?

The same engine that had been to Ambikapur two days previous brought 11265 1415 Jabalpur – Ambikapur into Katni South; KTE WDM3A 16786, which topped the day off nicely as I’d been a bit annoyed I’d missed it coming back from Ambikapur the day before. Unfortunately, the Ambikapur Intercity doesn’t have any AC at all but thankfully does have reserved chair car; which I was so glad to find half empty when I boarded. For some reason I’d been allocated the corner seat of one of the bays by the centre doors of the coach but was soon actually glad of this when the other occupants, who should have boarded at Katni South according to the TTE, didn’t take their seats so at least there was some room to spread out and this allowed me to catch up on some much needed bureaucracy during the 7h30m journey.

I spent pretty much 6 hours of the journey with my Ipod on to drown out the noise within the coach and no sooner had I taken them off did I get surrounded by a group of folks, who actually turned out to be very friendly. They were all travelling to a wedding in Ambikapur, taking place the following day, and then heading back to whence they’d come from on Saturday morning; with some having come from as far as Jaipur. In the end I was very glad of their company and help as it seemed the Hotel I’d booked in Ambikapur hadn’t told their driver that he needed to collect me from the station; despite the hotel texting me Mr Hari’s number and asking that I arrange pick-up through him. If he’d actually spoken a word of English, I may well have been able to do so of course. Thankfully my new friends rang the hotel direct when Mr Hari told them he nothing about the pick-up and sure enough when we arrived into Ambikapur some 15 minutes early he rang me to ask where I was. The phone was immediately handed to one of the wedding goers who confirmed he was waiting in a van right outside the station entrance; having thanked them very much for their help I was whisked out of the station car park while the part of 28 were still loading their van up, which would then take then all to stay at their relative’s house in town!

Quite bizarrely there was total gridlock on the main road from the station to Ambikapur itself; which is a good 7km away according to the sign as you exit the station approach. After an about turn we were soon heading via some back roads to the Hotel Grand Basant which took almost 20 minutes and we weren’t hanging about at all. Unfortunately, when we arrived a wedding precession was parked up right outside the doors of the hotel and there were people all over the hotel reception still dressed in their wedding clobber! I have to say it was quite noisy! It took seconds to check in and the wedding party explained why there’s only been higher priced rooms left; mine turned out to be a Grand VIP room which usually costs RS2500 plus tax but with a discount I got it for RS2368. This actually worked out at RS400 per hour as I’d only be in the hotel for a maximum of 6 hours as the damn train departed again at 0615 the following morning.

I managed to get the guy at the front desk to understand that I needed to be taken back to the station at 0530 in the morning but wasn’t at all sure the return drop-off would be arranged in advance and would make sure I was downstairs in time to sort it out the following morning. Meanwhile I was very impressed with the large room, with air conditioning and piping hot water. The large bed was probably to comfiest I’d come across in India as well. Al sorts of bits and bobs were included in the room, like a comb, toiletries, shoes shining stuff ad a free bottle of Bisleri mineral water. Overall I was well pleased and it was just a shame that I had to rush around to get a shower and then into bed as soon as possible to maximize on my sleep; assuming I got any with the amount of people making noise about the place. When I got into bed the alarm said it would be going off in 4h52m!

Moves for Thursday 26th November 2015

11380 Katni Jn Sihora Road 1715 (25/11) Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur Jn 22182 ET WDM3A
11462 Sihora Road Dundi 1715 (25/11) Indore Jn – Bilaspur Jn 18233 ET WDM3D/WDM3A twins 11462/18593 in multi
18593
40042 Dundi Sleemnabad Road 0730 Jabalpur Jn – Rewa 51701 ET WDP4B
16275 Sleemnabad Road Gosalpur 0600 Rewa – Jabalpur Jn 11452 KTE WDM3A
11428 Gosalpur Sihora Road 0400 Itarsi Jn – Satna Jn 51673 ET WDM3D
11274 Sihora Road Jabalpur Jn 1610 (25/11) Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur Jn 12190 ET WDM3D
18693 Jabalpur Jn Katni Jn 0545 Itarsi Jn – Katni Jn 51671
14100 Katni Jn Katni South 2330 (25/11) Rajendranagar – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus 13201 ET WDM3A/WDM3D twins 14100/11277 in multi
11277
16786 Katni South Ambikapur 1415 Jabalpur Jn – Ambikapur 11265 KTE WDM3A

 

Gen for Thursday 26th November 2015

30348 TKD WAP7 22182 1750 (P) Hazrat Nizamuddin – Jabalpur (to Katni)

16577 SPJ WDM3A 15231 1540 (P) Muzaffarpur – Gondia (to Katni)

11273 SPJ WDM3D 02577 2020 (P) Patna Jn – Krishnarajapuram

13272 VTA WDG3A 11053 1540 (P) LTT – Azamgarh

40214 ET WDP4D 11062 1550 (P) Muzaffarpur – LTT

18693 ET WDM3A 51767 1400 Katni – Satna

18692 ET WDM3A 51768 1120 Satna – Katni, 51672 1445 Katni – Itarsi

40207 ET WDP4D 12322 2125 (P) Mumbai CST – Howrah

11542 VTA WDM3D 19050 2310 (P) Rajendranagar – Bandra Terminus (5 hours late)

40149 ET WDP4D 12149 2055 (P) Pune – Patna

14753/14734 KTE WDG3A’s (18821 PTRU WDM3A dit) 11448 1310 (P) Howrah – Jabalpur

 

Photos for Thursday 26th November 2015

 

Friday 25th November 2015 (Two birds, one stone!)

I was amazed when I took my earplugs out that people were still making noise in the hotel reception and when I got downstairs even more surprised at just how many were still up at just after 0500; the morning after. Bert at reception was straight on the phone when he saw me to get Hari out of bed, which took three goes by the look of things and when he did get through there was some laughing and joking; which was probably something along the lines of “that English idiot has only just arrived and now he wants to go back, and he’s well and truly spoiling my sleep”!

While I waited for Hari to get his arse out of bed I had a chat with a few kids in reception who wanted to take selfies with me, one of which was blind but told me the make and model of my phone just by feeling it! Bless him, Hari turned up bang on time and took me the direct route to the station this time, which still took a good 10 minutes even on the deserted roads.

At the station 16786 had already been run round but was shut down at the front of the train. There were a lot of people turning up for the train and when I went to get into my seat in coach D1 I was horrified to find the coach already wedged out with yet another wedding party, judging by the presents and baggage on the luggage racks; they were a lively bunch as well. Coach D5 was completely empty at that point and when the reservation sheets were glued on I feared the worst when it was 4 pages worth! However, there were a good 20 vacant seats in the coach but all the others were fully reserved so I found a set of three in D5 that had no reservations and camped out there for the whole 7h30m journey back to Katni. I managed to catch up on more bureaucracy and almost flattened the batteries of my Ipod on the way back. It was a cold morning too but once the sun came out things started to warm up.

It turned out to be a malt loaf breakfast but things became available from sellers as the morning went on and the train progressed through its journey. A journey that was pretty uneventful but for the fact that the coaches got steadily more wedged as the journey progressed and there was no sign of the TTE at all until after Umaria, the last stop before Katni; who then ruthlessly griped all 5 reserved coaches and made quite a killing on chinging people up who only had unreserved tickets.

It was evident when we got to Jhalwara, 11km from Katni, with 45 minutes to get to Katni South that we were going to be early. However, when we drew up at New Katni Junction alongside a passenger train I saw an opportunity and had just enough time to get my crap together and get across and onto it; unfortunately, despite people on board telling me it was going to Katni, I should have been a bit clearer when I’d asked them and said Katni Junction as the train turned out to be 51605 0310 Chirimiri – Katni Murwara with. My attempt to save time on an auto from Katni South to Katni junction had only ended up saving me half the journey but I was grateful of the fact that I was picked up by a passing share-auto and only charged the local fare of RS20 to Katni Junction.

The guy at the Naman Food Centre was withered when I walked in for the fourth day in a row and only asked “same order” before shouting upstairs to have my final Aloo Dopyaza prepared. While fiddling with NTES I figured out that I’d only just missed 51676 Chopan – Katni Jn passenger at New Katni Jn; which had departed moments before we arrived if the time on NTES was to be believed? After lunch I found PTRU WDM3A 18696 sat with the stock in platform 3 and then KTE WDM3A 16338 shunted it across to platform 6. With nothing else better to do I decided to head out to Katni South and wait in relative tranquility as opposed to the hustle and bustle of Katni Junction. It turns out that an auto is RS100 for single occupancy between Katni Junction and South and in true Indian style the route between the two is a right farce and is way from straightforward, Katni Murwara being the halfway point of an approx. 15-minute journey; which is quite a detour for two stations that are only about 2km apart!

As we headed under the bridge near Katni South station ET WDM3A twins 14091/16352 headed over the top as they got to grips with 13201 Rajendranagar – LTT; which, regardless of the fact it was running about 20’ late, I couldn’t do to Sihora Road for 22909 Valsad – Puri as despite it running in the same path as 11265 Jabalpur – Ambikapur it doesn’t stop at Sihora Road, or some of the other stations on the main line towards Bilaspur.

As the sun is all wrong at Katni South for photos from platform 2 I didn’t even bother to get the camera out and just sat in the shade drinking my cold pop! ET WDP4B 40048 was first to pass through with 12322 Mumbai CST – Howrah. KTE WDM3A 16784 was soon heading towards Jabalpur with 12545 Raxaul – LTT unreserved express and then there was nothing for an hour until ET WDM3A 18693 made a spirited run through with a late running 51672 1445 Katni – Itarsi and last but not least PA WDP4D 40158 passed through with 12149 Pune – Patna Jn; having seemingly been turned straight round in Pune after working 12150 Patna Jn – Pune two days previous.

NTES showed both my 22909 Valsad – Puri and 11448 Howrah – Jabalpur “Shaktipunj Express” to arrive at the same time. With only the one platform in use thankfully 22909 got priority and as ET WDM3A 16485 led the train out of Katni we passed WDG3A 13505 waiting at New Katni Jn with 11448 Howrah – Jabalpur.

With my lack of sleep the previous night and the fact that I would be getting off 22909 in the middle of the night at Sambalpur, I was obviously keen to maximize my sleep but I couldn’t get a side berth at all and was well impressed when a family got on with four children at Shahdol and was just hoping they didn’t stay awake for ages to allow me to at least get some sleep! With food ordered for 2000 I settled down to relax for a bit before it arrived.

Thankfully the family were quite well behaved and the children not as boisterous as some; they were also in the side berths opposite and not in my compo area. However, a railway employee from the operating department was and he just wouldn’t stop talking and I found him a bit ignorant too. He started to conversation about railways and when he discovered that my knowledge of the operating department was far inferior to his he basically dismissed me and started doing that ignorant hand waving things Indians do when they’re not interested and then proceeded to tell me when I was trying to answer one of his questions that I didn’t know a thing about track quality or ultrasonic testing; he was literally a few more words away from being told just how ignorant I thought he was but my food turned up and save him from my lashing of words, and what a waste of RS130 that turned out to be as well. It was cold, pretty average tasting and basically pretty much what I should expect from a Thali ordered on a train; nothing changes in those stakes and most of it got launched out of the door.

I was pleased when my earplugs, aided by my general tiredness, had me to sleep almost straight away; and well before Mr Ignorant got off at Bilaspur with his mate, who was a lot politer than him!

Moves for Friday 27th November 2015

16786 Ambikapur New Katni Jn 0615 Ambikapur – Jabalpur Jn 11266 KTE WDM3A
23448 New Katni Jn Katni Murwara 0310 Chirimiri – Katni Murwara 51606 ET WAG5
Auto Katni Murwara Katni Jn Share auto, RS20
Auto Katni Jn Katni South RS100, 5km, 15 minutes
16485 Katni South Jharsuguda Jn 1940 (26/11) Valsad – Puri 22909 ET WDM3A

 

Gen for Friday 27th November 2015

18696 PRTU WDM3A 51676 2125 (P) Chopan – Katni Jn

14091/16352 ET WDM3A’s 13201 2330 (P) Rajendranagar – LTT

40048 ET WDP4B 12322 2125 (P) Mumbai CST – Howrah

16784 KTE WDM3A 12545 1645 (P) Raxaul – LTT

18693 ET WDM3A 51672 1445 Katni – Itarsi

40158 PA WDP4D 12149 2055 (P) Pune – Patna Jn

 

Photos for Friday 27th November 2015

 

Saturday 28th November 2015 (Pair after pair, after pair, after pair……)

I didn’t need the alarm to get me up at stupid o’clock to get off at Sambalpur City; where we should have arrived at 0235. I woke while the train was still in the station at Jharsaguda, where it departed 45’ late. The run to Sambalpur wasn’t the best and we were held at Sasson for another 20 minutes to await a pair of Shakti’s to arrive with a freight; and even then it took another 5 minutes to get the road, which gave me time to nip to the front of the train to check if ET WDM3A 16485 had stayed with 22909 after the run round at Jharsaguda. I wasn’t that surprised to find it hadn’t but was surprised when a single ET WDM3A had been replaced by a pair of BNDM WDM3A’s in 16439/16132; and they started what turned out to be yet another cracking day off.

Thankfully NTES was working so I knew upon arrival into Sambalpur City that I needed to be at Sambalpur Jn and not Sambalpur Road as I’d originally planned. As Sambalpur Road is on the way to Junction I was going to save on the auto ching and do 18452 Puri – Hatia into Sambalpur Junction but as 13352 Alappuzha – Dhanbad was late it meant I could do that from Junction to Sambalpur Road for 18452 back in; pair for a pair. I was pleased to find an army of auto’s outside Sambalpur City station when 22909 arrived and I was taken on my own to Sambalpur Junction for RS200, the journey being about 6km and taking a good 15 minutes; passing right through Sambalpur City itself and by the hotel I’d be staying at when I returned to Sambalpur almost a week later.

As I walked onto the platform at Sambalpur Junction 13352 was being announced as arriving shortly on platform 1; shortly turned out to be 20 minutes later! In the meantime, I found BNDM WDG4D 70357 in the bay and a triple set of VSKP WDG3A’s 14514/14754/14537, all multi’d up, turned up and shunted onto a freight in the back of the station, when BNDM WDM3D 11221 and VSKP WDM3D 11568 were also stabled.

Unfortunately, VSKP WDM3A’s 16380/14044 were a dud pair when they arrived with 13352 Alappuzha – Dhanbad but they did drop me into BNDM WDM3A’s 16299/16251 at Sambalpur Road with a late running 18452 Puri – Hatia. When NTES showed it as being 60’ late I was getting a little concerned until I realised the train I was doing forward from Sambalpur Junction came from Puri as well and would be behind it anyway! I was very surprised though when 18407 Puri – Sainagar Shirdi turned up with VSKP twins as well; with WDM3A’s 18800/18932 leading the way. When I boarded though the only thing leading the way was my pillow!

By Titlagarh Jn I was feeling quite refreshed and had even managed to get some hot breakfast off a wallah on the train. What I hadn’t expected when I got off at Titlagarh was for it to be already in the 20’s and it wasn’t even 9 o’clock yet; and I found myself buying cold pop to cool down after I’d taken some photos before the VSKP twins ran round to head towards Raipur.

NTES showed everything arriving in the next 4 hours as being late and as usual the lateness fluctuated as time went by but when 18301 Sambalpur – Rayagada Express eventually turned up it was evident that it was still going to make the minus as Kesinga onto 12836 Yesvantpur – Hatia so off I went with BNDM WDM3D 11221 on a train that I was surprised to find the highest class as being chair car.

I was so glad I did the move when VSKP WDG3A’s 14715/14603 arrived into Kesinga with 12836 Yesvantpur – Hatia and I had just enough time to get a photo of them at Titlagarh when VSKP WDM3D 11569 could be heard approaching in the distance with 58527 0530 Sambalpur Junction – Visakhapatnam passenger. I was a little unsure of what to do for the best, based on what NTES was telling me, but whatever happened I needed to end up on 58301 Sambalpur Jn – Koraput passenger so to try and maximize on the late running I opted to do 11569 straight through to Rupra Road instead of getting off at Kesinga and the gamble paid off when VSKP WDM3A’s 16468/16238 arrived with a late running 12807 Visakhapatnam – Hazrat Nizamuddin, when rolled into Kesinga just as the opposing working was arriving with VSKP WDM3A’s 16009/16054; while the latter pair were both dud I did them anyway as it was absolutely outrageous that they were my 7th pair of Alco’s for the day and I’d never had that many before in a day, not even in the heyday of ET twins working around Katni.

I was off at Rupra Road, where I only just missed VSKP WDM3D 11538 with 58302 0230 Koraput – Sambalpur Junction, which ran combined with 58304 Junagarh Road – Sambalpur link from Lanjigarh Road yet the timetable showed both trains as running separately to Titlagarh yet departing Lanjigarh Road nearly two hours apart but with the same arrival time into Titlagarh; hence the reason 58302 was showing as nearly 2 hours late on NTES as the Junagarh Road portion is shown to terminate at Lanjigarh Road on NTES! What a farce!

As VSKP WDM3D 11568 had been the only other engine at Sambalpur Jn I wasn’t surprised when it turned up with 58301 0715 Sambalpur Jn – Koraput at Rupra Road; the rear 5 coaches of the train being the Junagarh Road portion that formed 58303 1350 Lanjigarh Road – Junagarh Road. The train was immediately split at Lanjigarh Road and while that was being done a loco pilot, who’d travelled down with the train, walked down to the shunt neck at the Titlagarh end of the station to start VSKP WDM3D 11537; which was dropped onto the opposite end of the whole train to head down the Junagarh Road branch. Once BNDM WDM3D 11146 had hammered through with 18005 Howrah – Koraput, 58301 was let go behind it and 58303 departed minutes later and was only 11 minutes late from Lanjigarh Road.

I’d noticed that south of Titlagarh electrification masts were only up in the direction towards Rayagada, with wires already in situ, yet there wasn’t a sign of a single post on the opposite road. At Kesinga VSKP WDG3A was sat in the sidings with a short engineer’s train loaded with electrification masts and at Rupra Road there was some construction of masts going on in the station area; at Lanjigarh Road though everything was up and ready, the copper wires gleaming with newness! It won’t be long before another great Indian Railways travesty is completed and one of the best areas for cranking in the country will be gone forever! I have to say that the wires at Lanjigarh Road looked very uneasy on the eyes and spoiled the whole complexion of the place; making it look “noisy” if that makes sense?

While VSKP’s 11537 might have sounded like a bit of an animal it wasn’t put through its paces down the 55km branch to Junagarh Road; the bit from Bhawanipatna having only been open for about 2 years now. My journey wasn’t boring though as I had the pleasure of a family travelling back to Junagarh Road, who should have actually been on their way to Vadodara at that point but the plus 28 from 58208 Junagarh – Raipur passenger, at Kesinga, onto 12843 Puri – Ahmedabad had missed so they’d spent 7 hours at Kesinga to then return to Junagarh Road on the next train; and had aborted their journey! They seemed in high spirits though, despite their misfortune, and would figure out how to get their sister home to Vadodara another day!

As is always the case with newly constructed lines in Inia nowadays, the station at Junagarh Road is a way out of town and town isn’t even visible from the station at all; plenty of greenery, fields, hills and a whole lot of nothing else is visible and that’s it. Outside the station were at least a dozen auto’s all trying to entice the same people into theirs and within 5 minutes all were nowhere to be seen; just like those that had arrived on the train, which had quite frankly been virtually empty! I’d say about 30 people may have got off at Junagarh Road and that was probably an over-estimate.

11537 had arrived into the only platform, where the stock to form 18438 1815 Junagarh Road – Bhubaneswar link was siting waiting, which meant the VSKP machine had to shunt back out of the platform and draw into the adjacent sidings, where the loco was shut down and left for the crew working 18438 to deal with. As I hadn’t had much to eat all day and was probably in need of some water I was very glad to find two stalls outside the station entrance, one was frying up fresh onion bits and the other was brewing fresh chai and had bottles of water available; that was everything catered for and I only had just over 2 hours to wait until my train departed. The time was passed talking to the locals and even the station police officer; who found his night shift boring once the train of the evening had departed. One local, who was returning to Bhubaneswar for a doctor’s exam, was enlightening me on the areas wildlife and even showed me a photo he’d taken only a month beforehand of a tiger that had been only 60m in front of him; also in the area were Cheetah’s and elephants; all roaming free in the hills surrounding the towns. All of which must actually be a pleasure to live in if the tranquility that bestowed Junagarh Road station area was anything to go by; there wasn’t a single peep of a horn and no traffic noise whatsoever. My time there had been an absolute pleasure and the 1815 departure time came round all too soon.

VSKP WDM3D 11537 was the only loco at Junagarh Road and was bolted to the front of the 10 coach 18438 about 45 minutes before departure time and the AC coaches were opened up about 30 minutes before departure time. On departure from Junagarh Road I was one of only two passengers in the 2AC half of the AB1 coach; which filled up completely at Bhawanipatna, where I swapped my upper berth for an upper side berth to allow two people to be together and it actually suited me better anyway.

I was asleep when we arrived into Rayagada and we’d clearly been there for some time when I got out of bed to find out what was going on; and it was 10 minutes before we should have arrived! As I walked down the platform, towards the front of the train, I noticed the stock move a little; I assumed that it would be 11537 buffering put to be removed from the train but I found that stabled in the adjacent platform already shut down. What I did find when I got to the front was a triple set of VSKP Shakti’s buffered to the stock, 14933/14652/13264; I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing as they were coupled to the stock and I was struggling to understand why they would be used to shunt my portion onto 18448 Jagdalpur – Bhubaneswar when 11537 had been coupled right where they had only a short while ago. All soon became very evident when the locos blew up to move the train, which I of course boarded, when they started to propel it backwards instead of drawing it out of the platform; and it also explained the banter that seemed to be going on between the loco pilot that had worked 18438 into Rayagada and the crew on the Shakti’s. After only moving the train about 4 coach lengths up the platform the movement was stopped, the Shakti’s uncoupled and then fueled on the fueling point; it seems that the banter between crews had been about 18438 being stopped too far up the platform to allow the Shakti’s to fuel and it soon made sense why they didn’t use platform 1 or 3 as 18448 Jagdalpur – Bhubaneswar arrived into platform 1, with BNDM WDM3D 11220 heading it, while the Shakti’s were still being fuelled; it too then took fuel in platform 1. 11537 was sitting foul of the fuel point in platform 3, with a set of stock behind it as well. The dilemma I had, as I’m sure many have had before, were the Shakti’s countable? I’d had the discussion with myself once before in India and ultimately hadn’t counted 17850 when it had shunted two coach lengths off a train in the north east, some years ago; yet I had written it down in my notes. This time I asked myself two questions, was I on the train and did the locos move the train while I was on it; with the answer to both being yes I found myself struggling to justify how I couldn’t count them, no matter how crap the movement of the train was, etc, etc, etc!

When the Shakti’s had been fuelled they were moved into the yard area and BNDM WDM3D 11220 was then shunted over to platform 2 to then shunt the 18438 link portion onto its train. Even with all the excitement I was still asleep again before 18448 departed Rayagada; with my alarm set for 0230, less than 4 hours after the booked departure time from Rayagada of 2245.

 

Moves for Saturday 28th November 2015

16439 Jharsuguda Jn Sambalpur City 1940 (26/11) Valsad – Puri 22909 BNDM WDM3A’s 16439/16132 in multi
16132
Auto Sambalpur City Sambalpur Jn RS200, 7km, 15 minutes
16380 Sambalpur Jn Sambalpur Road 0600 (26/11) Alappuzha – Dhanbad Jn 13352 VSKP WDM3A’s 16380/14044 in multi
14044
16299 Sambalpur Road Sambalpur Jn 2035 (27/11) Puri – Hatia 18452 BNDM WDM3A’s 16299/16251 in multi
16251
18800 Sambalpur Jn Titlagarh Jn 2215 (27/11) Puri – Sainagar Shirdi 18407 VSKP WDM3A’s 18800/18932 in multi
18932
11221 Titlagarh Jn Kesinga 0605 Sambalpur Jn – Rayagada Jn 18301 BNDM WDM3D
14715 Kesinga Titlagarh Jn 0830 (27/11) Yesvantpur Jn – Hatia 12836 VSKP WDG3A’s 14715/14603 in multi
14603
11569 Titlagarh Jn Rupra Road 0530 Raipur Jn – Visakhapatnam Jn 58527 VSKP WDM3D
16468 Rupra Road Kesinga 0625 Visakhapatnam Jn – Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin 12807 VSKP WDM3A’s 16468/16238 in multi
16238
16009 Kesinga Rupra Road 0835 (27/11) Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin – Visakhapatnam Jn 12808 VSKP WDM3A’s 16009/16054 in multi
16054
11568 Rupra Road Lanjigarh Road 0715 Sambalpur Jn – Koraput 58301 VSKP WDM3D – 58301/58303 run coupled to Lanjigarh Road
11537 Lanjigarh Road Junagarh Road 1350 Lanjigarh Road – Junagarh Road 58303 VSKP WDM3D
11537 Junagarh Road Rayagada Jn 1815 Junagarh Road – Rayagada Jn 18438 VSKP WDM3D – coupled to 18448 at Rayagada
14933 Rayagada Platform 2 Shunt back approx 4 coach lengths 1815 Junagarh Road – Rayagada Jn 18438 Locos needed access to fuel point in platform 2 but stock was foul of it
14652
13264

 

Gen for Saturday 28th November 2015

14514/14754/14537 VSKP WDG3A’s in multi on a freight at Sambalpur Jn (approx. 0400)

16144 BNDM WDM3A 18108 1630 (P) Koraput – Rourkela

11538 VSKP WDM3D 58302 0230 Koraput – Sambalpur Jn

13140 VSKP WDG3A at Kesinga with a short freight loaded with electrification masts

11513 VSKP WDM3D 58528 0300 Visakhapatnam – Raipur

11146 BNDM WDM3D 18005 2135 (P) Howrah – Jagdalpur

 

Photos for Saturday 28th November 2015

 

Sunday 29th November 2015 (Too close for comfort)

Needless to say I was in the land of nod when my alarm went off but was straight in to NTES to find out where we were, with only having a plus 39 at Naupada Jn for 58419 0300 Palasa – Gunupur passenger; which I might add had been a plus 54 when I’d planed the trip but 58419 had been retimed earlier in the timetable change in October! NTES told me that 18448 had arrived at Srikakulam Road at 0225, 27’ late yet when I went to the door, bearing in mind my alarm didn’t go off until 0230, we were just rolling into the platform and another train was just leaving in front of us from an adjacent platform. NTES lied and when we eventually departed Srikakulam Road at 0254, 54’ late, with 41 minutes to cover the 49km to Naupada Jn I was already working out the alternative way to do the Gunupur branch later in the day as we made our way through the darkness!

Amazingly at 0332 we were on the approach to Naupada Jn but the red signal outside the station was helping my blood pressure much, especially when I could see the headlight of the loco on 58419 Gunupur passenger and realised it was sat over the back of the station with access to the branch without effecting 18448’s arrival. The red signal came off just as we were almost at a stand and we hit the platform end at 0334; with just 1 minute before the Gunupur passenger should depart. I gestured to the assistant loco pilot as we hurriedly arrived, at a pace that I was never going to attempt to get off at, and thankfully he saw me and acknowledged the fact I wanted to be on his train. It was 0335 as I stepped onto the platform and as I did the signal came off for 58419 to depart; I thanked the assistant loco pilot from a distance, boarded the relatively empty train and clambered straight onto a luggage rack, to get some more sleep, while VSKP WDG3A 14602 trundled out of the station, bang on time.

It wasn’t a screaming run down the 90km branch to Gunupur but it wasn’t a complete totter like the Junagarh Road branch had been the previous day. The Gunupur branch had originally been narrow gauge; the only remnants of which, I found on the way back, in the form of old bridge spans just rotting away in ditches and rivers. We were a few minutes early into Gunupur, where I was very grateful of the fact someone was selling chai.

It had still been almost dark when we arrived but by the time 14602 had run round it was almost daylight. What appeared to be an old building from the NG days lay in ruins amongst the undergrowth and yet the main station building there now seemed multi-functional with a train crew mess facility and lodging area; yet tickets were still issued as the old style Edmundson type with Gunupur yet to get a computerized system! Other than the old station building there was no other evidence of Gunupur’s NG past and after chai and photographs I got into a rather empty front coach and stayed awake for the return journey to Naupada Jn.

There wasn’t any thrash of note from 14602 en-route back to Naupada but it definitely had potential. The whole length of the Gunupur branch is pretty rural and people seem to use the train to get between places on the line, not just to get to either end; as is the case with most branches I find. It was a sociable journey back and 58419 Gunupur – Puri passenger was into Naupada Jn 15 minutes early; where it is booked to sit for 30 minutes anyway. The next train down the branch should have been sitting in waiting to go but 58506 0545 Visakhapatnam – Gunupur only arrived 60 seconds before 58419 departed for Puri; with VSKP WDM3D 11569 leading it. While at Naupada Jn I’d watched WAP4 22948 arrive and depart with 17480 Tirupati – Puri, which was about 60’ late. I had every intention of trying to see if there was any room in the 3AC to Khurda Road but didn’t get the chance as I hadn’t even made it to the AC coaches, which were at the rear of the train, when it departed after just a 60 second station stop! And of course, looking through the windows of the AC coaches as the train departed there looked to have been plenty of room!

Plan A it was then with 14602 leading the way to Palasa, where breakfast was sought while the VSKP Shakti was removed from the train. VSKP WAG5 23517 eventually shunted some more coaches onto the front of the train and departed 5’ late; after 58419’s second lengthy station stop that morning. It hadn’t actually occurred to me to consider doing 58419 forward, until 23517 revealed itself; sure enough I could do it Sompeta and have 23 minutes there to wait for my booked 17016 Secunderabad – Bhubaneswar behind; which actually turned into almost an hour at 17016 was late when it rolled in with VSKP WAP4 22989 and not a WAM4 s I’d been hoping for.

While I caught up on a bit of sleep I hoped that 17016 would pick up some time as I only had a plus 15 at Khurda Road onto 12993 Gandhidam – Puri weekly express, which was showing right time on NTES. When I woke though it seemed like the afternoon move was going to hinge on another nail-biting run from the last station to where I was getting off; in this case Balugaon, where 17016 departed at 1418, 50’ late with 57 minutes to cover the 71km to Khurda Road if I was going to make 12993 Gandhidam – Puri, which according to NTES at the time was only 45km from Khurda Road itself!

I needn’t have flapped really as 17016 was into Khurda Road at 1510, with a clear 5 minutes to spare, and 12993 Gandhidam – Puri eventually turned up 25 minutes late; while I’d been expecting that it might be a pair of Alco’s, I hadn’t been expecting a pair of Raipur ones when WDM3A’s 16150/16164 arrived! The unreserved at the front of the train was empty and the loco pilot put in a good performance to Puri, even if it was a bit of a stagger from the last shack.

As 12993 rolled by the loco stabling point, on the left as you arrive into Puri, two twin sets of Alco’s were visible; BNDM WDM3A’s 16251/16299 and VSKP WDM33A’s 16249/16454. Once the carriage sidings came into view two more Alco’s could be seen, these turned out to be VSKP WDM2S’s 017692 and 017765 for shunting the carriage sidings only; which would give me a bit of a challenge over the next couple of days, or so I thought.

My original plan to get back out of Puri had been to do 18425 1715 Puri – Durg but as I was walking down the platform to find out what was going to do it my suspicions grew as Raipur WDP4D 40222 was being moved off the stabling point and other than the Raipur twins I’d arrived with there were no other Raipur engines to be seen. Just as I got the top end of the platform VSKP WDM2S 017692 blew up in the carriage sidings, it was only one road off the side of platform 8 and the horn triggered a mass movement of people towards the set, which turned out to be that for 18425 Puri – Durg; so I went with the crowd, which even the RPF policing the platform didn’t seem bothered about controlling!

No sooner had 017692 successfully dropped 18425’s stock into platform 8 did 017765 blew up to move off the carriage sidings and for the second time in 5 minutes people migrated towards the stock it was attached to. His time though some of the RPF got on the set too as there seemed to be a bit of a motion going on; I thought they were going to throw everyone off but when they didn’t, as the old saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em then join ‘em! So join them I did as 017765 shunted only 2 coaches out of the carriage sidings, that turned out to be added to the front of 22859 1730 Puri – Chennai which was sat at the side of 18425 in platform 7. The challenge of getting in the Puri WDM2S’s had come to an end before it had even started….

When R WDP4D 40222 dropped onto 18425, as I suspected it would, I was soon looking for an alternative move; and was soon presented with one when ED WAG7 27555 dropped onto 22859 1730 Puri – Chennai, with SRC WAP4 22865 inside it; and so started an evening of doing freight electrics on the Puri branch!

An out of course stop had me off at Malatipatpur for very off region JHS WAG7 28772 back into Puri with a very late running 58001 2350 (P) Howrah – Puri passenger. This then dropped me nicely into 58408 1745 Puri – Khurda Road, which showed no signs of departing anytime soon as LGD WAG9 31146 was only just dropping onto the set when 58001 arrived. Yet another electric well off region and a type that was rarely used on passenger trains as well; this being only the second one I’d had the chance of having. It eventually departed with 58408 45’ late and yet still made 58415 1645 Cuttack – Puri passenger at Malatipatpur, which presented me with the fourth WAG7 of the evening, from the fourth different shed, all equally as off region as the next. This one was CNB WAG7 28429!

The Puri WDM2S’s were still shunting about when I got back for the third time and as I didn’t need to worry about getting them in I could just go and get some food before doing 22827 1945 Puri – Surat straight to Bhubaneswar; safe in the knowledge that DNDM WDM3A’s 16251/16299 would work 18452 2035 Puri – Hatia behind it, these of course being a pair I’d had the previous morning.

Food was provided at the 24/7 refreshment place on the station, at the ends of platforms 3 & 4. It was quick, efficient and quite tasty too, not to mention piping hot. It certainly filled a hole before I walked all the way down the platforms again to watch 017765 drop the set in to form 22827 1945 Puri – Surat, which then allowed VSKP WDM3A’s 16249/16454 to drop on to work the train. There was plenty of room in AC to Bhubaneswar so there I sat, in relative comfort, for my last move of the day; looking forward to a bit of relaxing in a hotel bed.

I couldn’t find the Hotel Eden Roc on Google maps but knew whereabouts it was in the grand scheme of things; I needn’t have worried though as it had the biggest and highest of all the neon signs adjacent to the railway station and was a two-minute walk out of the platform 6 exit, not the main one of platform 1. The staff at the hotel had no knowledge of my Booking.com reservation; which isn’t surprising in India. The hotel manager was very helpful though and sorted me out straight away and even sent the hotel “boy” up to my rook to turn the geyser on as I’d mentioned that all I wanted to do was get a hot shower and go to bed!

The room was only on the first floor and was in a relatively quiet location, it was huge too; with AC, fan, toiletries, large flat screen TV and a large double bed. The water in the shower was piping hot by the time I got to the room and I was in bed 10 minutes afterwards; in much need of some decent sleep, with another early start beckoning the following morning.

 

Moves for Sunday 29th November 2015

14602 Naupada Jn Gunupur 0300 Palasa – Gunupur 58419 VSKP WDG3A
14602 Gunpur Palasa 0625 Gunupur – Puri 58418 VSKP WDG3A 14602 to Palasa for VSKP WAG5 23517 forward
23517 Palasa Sompeta
22989 Sompeta Khurda Road 1700 (28/11) Secunderabad – Bhubaneswar 17016 VSKP WAP4
16150 Khurda Road Puri 2245 (27/11) Gandhidam – Puri 12993 R WDM3A’s 16150/16164 in multi
16164
017692 Puri Cariage Sidings Puri Platform 7 Shunt stock in for 18425 Puri – Durg VSKP WDM2S
017765 Puri Cariage Sidings Puri Platform 8 Shunt 2 coaches onto 22859 Puri – Chennai VSKP WDM2S
27555 Puri Malatipatapur 1730 Puri – Chennai Central 22859 ED WAG7 with SRC WAP4 22865 dead inside
28772 Malatipatapur Puri 2350 (28/11) Howrah – Puri 58001 JHS WAG7
31146 Puri Malatipatapur 1745 Puri – Khurda Road 58408 LGD WAG9
28429 Malatipatapur Puri 1645 Cuttack – Puri 58415 CNB WAG7
16249 Puri Bhubaneswar 1945 Puri – Surat 22827 VSKP WDM3A’s 16249/16454 in multi
16454

 

Gen for Sunday 29th November 2015

22948 VSKP WAP4 17480 1035 (P) Tirupati – Puri

11569 VSKP WDM3D 58506 0545 Visakhapatnam – Gunupur

22892 SRC WAP4 12703 0725 Howrah – Secunderabad

22581 LGD 11020 1525 Bhubaneswar – Mumbai CST

40222 R WDP4D 18425 1715 Puri – Durg

16235/16053 VSKP 18422 1600 (PP) Ajmer – Puri

22742 SRC 12838 2000 Puri – Howrah

16251/16299 18541 2035 Puri – Hatia

 

Photos for Sunday 29th November 2015

 

Monday 30th November 2015 (New line to Begunia)

My original plans had me doing an overnight the previous night to Bangriposi to get the last bit of the old NG branch in from Baripada onwards. It wasn’t the best of overnights and involved doing non-AC chair car all the way there and back and having 5 hours at Bangriposi in basically the middle of the night. When I discovered the new line from Khurda Road to Begunia had opened, which was the start of a new line that would link Khurda Road directly to Balangir, I decided that a hotel in Bhubanewsar would be a better move; although I wasn’t thinking that when the alarm went off at 0500!

As the Hotel Eden Roc is so close to Bhubaneswar station I almost fell onto the platforms from the hotel doors. I made sure I was there in time to do 18463 0530 Bhubaneswar – Bangalore “Prashanti Express”, just in case 18451 Hatia – Puri was late, which departed at 0540, 10 minutes behind it. Thankfully the latter was bang on time and BNDM WDM3A’s 16114/16118 brought 18451 in 10 minutes early, just as the Prashanti Express was blowing up to start its journey to Bangalore.

At Khurda Road the place was like a ghost town, with hardly anyone about at all. Of course this also meant there wasn’t really much need to be selling anything for breakfast either so coffee had to suffice; which at Khurda Road seems to be RS10 to foreigners and RS7 to locals, which of course I made a stand about and eventually got my change back! RS7 for coffee is clearly displayed on all the stalls yet they insist on trying to get away with saying it’s an old sign and that it now costs RS10. I won the morning battle, the question remained to see if I would win the war on coffee sellers at Khurda Road during the day.

I couldn’t find 58429 0625 Khurda Road – Begunia advertised anywhere but knew the morning inbound arrived into Khurda road at 0615 so assumed that the set of stock on platform 1, that VSKP WDM3D 11511 was running round, would be the train. On investigation I then discovered something a little unexpected. While the train boards had the train number 58429 on them the destination was to a place called Rajsunakhala, so I got into NTES and sure enough it showed 58429 0625 Khurda – Road – Rajsunakhala, which was a further 11km beyond Begunia and could only have opened recently.

The set was a rake share with all sorts of local trains around Khurda Road and was load 12; it probably only had 12 people on it all the way to Rajsunakhala and a good few of those had come in with the train. It turns out I wasn’t the only one riding the new line to Rajsunakhala as the three other occupants in the front coach were also only riding the train to ride over the new line; all having come in with the train that morning and were now going back with it! For once I didn’t seem like the odd one out when I told them I was travelling to a random place just to cover the track!

The branch comes off on the west side of the main line towards the south, just south of Khurda Road station, where it then runs parallel to the main line for about a kilometer before turning inland and climbing uphill through a cutting that looked like it had been well dug out and had a lot of earth removed. The line certainly wasn’t built for a totter and 11511 was hammering along at a good speed with its 12 coaches. The station buildings at all the stations, Khurda Town, Begunia and Rajsunakhala, where all manned and all quite sizeable buildings with the one at Rajsunakhala being the biggest and most extravagant; being built on 3 levels to get it up to the track height, which was elevated all the way through Rajsunakhala. Hanging from the station canopy were all sorts of flowers and other decorations that gave the impression that the station had only recently opened, which according to a guy I asked had been two months previous; he too, along with his wife, had only come out to the station to look at the train, which I guess if you’ve never had one through your village was quite a novelty, and they weren’t the only ones! While I didn’t attract too much attention one guy wanted to shake my hand for visiting his village by train; I was guessing that I was quite possibly the first westerner to have visited Rajsunakhala ever?

Loadings on the return journey were a lot better, there were a good 30 people on the train by the time it arrived into Khurda Road, most of whom got on at Khurda Town and two of whom nearly missed it at Rajsunakhala as they came scrambling up the embankment outside the station as the train departed! Still there was only me and one other person in the front coach on arrival; where round 2 of the war on coffee sellers at Khurda road commenced and at this stall you even got two ants thrown in at the bottom of your cup for good measure; maybe that was why he charged RS10, for the crunchy bits in the bottom? Of course he got RS7 and no more and lost the sale of crisps and biscuits I would have otherwise bought!

My plan to head into Puri on 18474 Jodhpur – Puri Weekly Express was altered a little when I decided to do VSKP WAM4 21350 to Delang on 58421 0520 Angul – Puri, knowing that 58413 0515 Talcher – Puri wasn’t far behind; which I could do forward to Sakhigopal for 18474 into Puri from there. Everything went like clockwork as VSKP WAG5 23880 arrived with 58413 and BNDM WDM3A’s 16132/16439 followed them into Sakhigopal. I’d been expecting to overtake 58413 on the way in to Puri, as it was booked to arrive after 18474, but it was on the blocks when we arrived, having been allowed to run in early.

The Puri WDM2’s 017692 & 017765 were busy in the carriage sidings and also on the blocks were VSKP WDM3A’s 16245/16441, having arrived with 12844 Ahmedabad – Puri; which had run through Khurda road while I’d been on the Rajsunakhala branch. Upon my arrival into Puri there were no less than 5 pairs of Alco’s there, 2 VSKP pairs 16245/16441 & 16053/16235, 2 BNDM pairs 16132/16439 & 16114/16118 and the Raipur pair I’d had in the previous day 16150/16164. Not all would depart on this particular day though.

With no move until 18304 1535 Puri – Sambalpur departed I was enticed by BZA WAG5 23742 working 17479 1230 Puri – Tirupati; which made for a nice afternoon jaunt out to Sakhigopal to wait for what turned out to be LGD WAG9 31146 working 58409 1230 Khurda Road – Puri passenger, which had been sat over the back of the station at Khurda Road when 11511 had arrived in from Rajsunakhala; the stock was the same set I’d had down the branch earlier. While waiting at Sakhigopal I tried for a coffee and was soon put off by the fact the guy serving had used his finger to clean out the cup in the first place and then when he eventually found a clean one his coffee machine wasn’t performing so he was attempting to pour some of the mix in from a bag; it was at that point I told him not to bother……

With time to kill in Puri a large portion of veg noodles was consumed in the food plaza before doing VSKP WDM3A 16051 back out of Puri on 18304 1535 Puri – Sambalpur; which I’d seen arrive as I departed on 17479 with 23742. The next dilemma was whether to go through to Bhubaneswar and hope that 18508 Amritsar – Visakhapatnam was late heading south as it was a minus 35 at Bhubaneswar. Despite the fact it was showing to arrive into Khurda road only 15 minutes late I went with the fact that spotting it on NTES showed it 55 minutes late and I was confident it wasn’t going to pick it up. The fact was it was 1h15m late at Bhubaneswar meant it was going to be tight back at Khurda Road to do 18425 1715 Puri – Durg back with what I suspected would be R WDP4D 40223; there was method behind the madness!

Despite VSKP WDM3A’s 14005/16436 putting in a good performance being held outside Khurda Road did nothing to help my cause and it was only the fact that 18508 arrived alongside 18425 that I made the train as a quick lead onto the tracks and back up again had me boarding as the train was departing. As I was right at the back of 18508 it meant I was right at the front of 18425 and couldn’t resist trying to figure out what the GM’s were all about. With 18425 being about load 20 the acceleration, once onto full power, was about as rapid as I’ve seen for a heavy load with a single loco in India; and I should be expecting so anyway with 4500 horse power to do it. Once the power handle is back the customary GM yinging noise is taken away and the customary GM rasping begins; for a brand new engine though they actually do make a bit of noise and in comparison I’d say they are louder than a Croatian 2044 but obviously things like the Eastern European 661’s and Slovenian 664’s put them to shame. It seems like dynamic braking is the thing of the moment in India at the moment and I have to say I was well impressed that one application brought us down from a decent speed to zero in no time at all and I even think the loco pilot was impressed with it as he had to power back up to draw forward.

GM bashing over for the day I had an hour to use the restaurant at the Hotel Eden Roc, where I was surprised to be served an average meal really, before returning to the station to do what turned out to be BNDM WDM3D 11146 back to Khurda Road with 18447 1935 Bhubaneswar – Jagdalpur; which gave me chance to compare its performance to that of Raipur’s WDP4D 40223! With 1200 horse power less the acceleration was definitely noticeably slower and both had been on similar length trains. That aside though the noise coming from the engine was very pleasing and nothing on the BG in India beats a WDM3D hammering away at the front of a decent length train and the newer ones sound the better of the bunch as well. So you can keep your performance and whatever else comes with GM’s; I’m in for the noise and what Alco’s have to offer is what it’s all about, the full package, the noise, the look and the clag!

I couldn’t resist one last coffee at Khurda Road before I departed for the last time on this trip and this one genuinely did cost RS10 as it came with an electronic receipt; what it also came with was nice finger print round the rim of the cup where the vendor had picked it out of the pile! Having shopped around at Khurda Road for coffee I can honestly say don’t bother wasting your money as all the stalls are crap, generally at cleanliness.

While waiting for 18452 2035 Puri – Hatia to arrive I watched Raipur WDM3A’s 16150/16164 head back north with 12994 1945 Puri – Gandhidam and when BNDM WDM3A’s 16118/16114 arrived with 18542 they wouldn’t be the last set of twins to depart Puri that night as VSKP WDM3A’s 16053/16235 would depart at 2245 with 18421 Puri – Ajmer; leaving only BNDM’s 16132/16439 and VSKP’s 16245/16441 in Puri overnight.

The AC is only a couple back from the locos on 18452 so a good bellow was had to Bhubaneswar, where the acceleration was way better than that of WDM3D 11146 on 18447 coming in the other direction but I couldn’t quite say if it was better than that of WDP4D 40223 on 18425; it was hard to tell. Once the brakes went in for Bhubaneswar though I was in bed making mode and was tucked up in my lower side berth, giving those, trying badly to get their luggage under the seats in the compartment area opposite, a helping push when their backpacks ended up almost in my berth and ragged my curtains all over the place while they were doing so! While the ay hadn’t yielded quite as much in the way of locos as the previous few it had been a nice relaxing day at a steady pace but whatever speed I went at the heat in these parts still took it out of me and I was more than ready for my sleep as my head hit the pillow.

 

Moves for Monday 30th November 2015

16114 Bhubaneswar Khurda Road 1555 (29/11) Hatia – Puri 18451 BNDM WDM3A’s 16114/16118 in multi
16118
11511 Khurda Road Rajsunakhala 0645 Khurda Road – Rajsunakhala 58429 VSKP WDM3D
11511 Rajsunakhala Khurda Road 0825 Rajsunakhala – Khurda Road 58430 VSKP WDM3D
21350 Khurda Road Delang 0520 Angul – Puri 58421 VSKP WAM4
23880 Delang Sakhigopal 0515 Talcher – Puri 58413 VSKP WAG5
16132 Sakhigopal Puri 1410 (28/11) Jodhpur Jn – Puri 18474 BNDM WDM3A’s 16132/16439 in multi
16439
23742 Puri Sakhigopal 1230 Puri – Tirupati 17479 BZA WAG5
31146 Sakhigopal Puri 1230 Khurda Road – Puri 58409 LGD WAG9
16051 Puri Bhubaneswar 1535 Puri – Sambalpur Jn 18304 VSKP WDM3A
14005 Bhubaneswar Khurda Road 2345 (28/11) Amritsar Jn – Visakhapatnam 18508 VSKP WDM3A’s 14005/16436 in multi
16436
40223 Khurda Road Bhubaneswar 1715 Puri – Durg Jn 18425 R WDP4D
11146 Bhubaneswar Khurda Road 1935 Bhubaneswar – Jagdalpur 18447 BNDM WDM3D
16118 Khurda Road Rengali 2035 Puri – Hatia 18452 BNDM WDM3A’s 16118/16114 in multi – via Talcher RR, Sambalpur Jn
16114

 

Gen for Monday 30th November 2015

16656 BNDM WDM3A 58132 0330 Puri – Rourkela

21265 VSKP WAM4 22810 230 (P) Visakhapatnam – Paradeep

21222 VSKP WAM4 58417 0800 Puri – Gunupur

21322 BZA WAM4 58434 0735 Brahmapur – Cuttack

22892 SRC WAP4 12704 1555 (P) Secunderabad – Howrah

28772 JHS WAG7 58002 0940 Puri – Howrah

22600 SRC WAP4 12822 1140 Puri – Howrah

16245/16441 VSKP WDM3A’s 12844 1800 (PP) Ahmedabad – Puri

16051 VSKP WDM3A 18303 0605 Sambalpur – Puri

21381 ASN WAM4 18449 1400 Puri – Patna Jn

22586 SRC 12821 0600 Howrah – Puri, 12838 2000 Puri – Howrah

25000 VSKP WAP4 58001 2350 (P) Howrah – Puri

21350 VSKP WAM4 58422 1540 Puri – Angul

21307 VSKP WAM4 (14602 VSKP WDG3A dit) 58418 0625 Gunupur – Puri (14602 left at Khurda Rd)

23846 BZA WAG7 18495 0800 (P) Rameswaram – Bhubaneswar

25045 VSKP WAP4 78419 1940 Bhubaneswar – Palasa

16164/16150 R WDM3A’s 12994 1945 Puri – Gandhidam

22718 LGD WAP4 18464 1400 (P) Bangalore City – Bhubaneswar

 

Photos for Monday 30th November 2015

 

Tuesday 1st December 2015 (What a day in Sambalpur!)

It was a particularly noisy morning on board 18452 from about 0430 onwards and when I’d checked NTES I decided to get off at Rengali, instead of Jharsuguda; NTES was showing 18418 Bhubaneswar – Rourkela as being 30’ late, which would have it behind 18452 at Rengali and not 10 minutes in front as it was timetabled. It was a good move and the day started as it meant to go on when VSKP WDM3A’s 18928/18801 arrived with 18418; which ultimately arrived into Jharsuguda only a few minutes late with the slack time in its schedule.

BNDM WDS6 36054 was just shunting off a set of stock as 18418 arrived into Jharsuguda and BIA WAG5 23351 was poised to drop on and work 58117 0715 Jharsuguda – Gondia passenger. When 36054 went round the corner onto the Sambalpur line it got me thinking and I went to investigate. NTES was showing 58162 0730 Jharsuguda – Hatia passenger and it was being announced constantly with 58117; sure enough I found a set of stock in the bay platform with 36054 just being coupled when I got to the front. All I needed to see on the train boards was 58162 and I was into the front coach when the crew weren’t looking. It was actually the only coach with an open door, on the platform side anyway! Thankfully there was no messing about with the move and it was straight out, reverse and then push back into platform 2. There was even time for chai before the late running 18105 0510 Rourkela – Bhubaneswar turned up with BNDM WDM3D 11165.

The morning plan had been to do 18105 to Rengali for 18005 Howrah – Jagdalpur behind it to Sambalpur Road for 18508 Amritsar – Visakhapatnam to Sambalpur Jn. With 18508 already showing 2 hours late on NTES I was so pleased to find BNDM WDM3A’s 16711/16513 waiting the road at Rengali when we arrived, heading 18112 Yesvantpur – Tatanagar; probably waiting for BNDM WDM3A 16138/16381 to clear the section with the freight we’d passed on 18105. Thankfully they didn’t get the road immediately as I had the issue of a long freight being between me and it and it was a decent run over the footbridge.

Knowing that 18508 “Hirakud Express” was down the pan meant that missing 18005 Howrah – Jagdalpur at Jharsuguda wasn’t the end of the world but as it made with ease then things were technically back on track and as I decided to go straight into Sambalpur Jn to attempt breakfast and to drop the big bag in the cloak room, before returning to Sambalpur road by auto, I was given another bonus by doing so.

I’d noticed BNDM WDG3A’s 13142/13123 in the bay platform as we arrived into Sambalpur but what I hadn’t noticed was that the rear portion of 18005 was a portion from Howrah to Sambalpur only and by the time I got to the rear of the train the Shakti’s were just dropping on. I managed to confirm with the loco pilot that the stock would be shunted to the washer road over the back of the station and had I actually been quick enough I could have used this shunt move as a means to get back to Sambalpur Road as the shunt spur was only just off the platform end. Instead I did the shunt out and back to the washer road, walked back over to the station and set about doing what I’d planned to.

The cloak room is on platform 1 and with my big bag safely tucked away under lock & key for the day I could roam around a little easier. Unfortunately, the refreshment room had all its tables and chairs outside on the platform and the floor was being cleaned inside it; so that was breakfast out of the question. I’m pleased to say that the coffee consumed at Sambalpur Jn was in decent cups, at the correct price and came with no extra bits either in the cups or marks on the cups!

Having scoured Sambalpur Jn I found VSKP WDG3A’s 14544/13200, shut down, at the head of a container train and BNDM WDG3A 13422 on the loco holding sidings with a pair of GM’s. Eventually I headed out to Sambalpur Road by auto, which is literally a straight 2km, following the roadway down the side of the railway. It took 5 minutes and cost RS60. Sambalpur Road has a lot more to offer in the vicinity of the station than Junction does and I was able to get some bits and bobs to keep me going; for what turned out to be a late morning of photographing at Sambalpur Road.

Only a few minutes after I arrived Raipur WDG3A’s 13135/13565 headed through towards Sambalpur Jn with a freight. Then it was the turn of VSKP WDG3A’s 14879/13210 to come hammering up the hill from Sambalpur Jn with a heavy freight; very impressive! Eventually 18508 Amritsar – Visakhapatnam turned up over 2 hours late with VSKP WDM3A’s 16048/18866; which had been stabled over the back of Jharsuguda station when I’d been there in the morning. As they were both dud I waited it out for 12893 Bhubaneswar – Balangir instead. BNDM WDG4D’s 70094/12894 ran through light before BNDM WDM3D 11167, which I did need, passed through with 18312 Varanasi – Sambalpur, with WDG4D 70423 dead in train, then VSKP WDM3A 14089 arrived with 12893, which I also didn’t need so all my eggs were put into the basket of 58131 0815 Rourkela – Puri passenger instead. While waiting VSKP WDM3A’s 18866/16048 came hammering back up the hill from Sambalpur Jn with 18508, after running round at Junction to head towards Angul. They were followed by BNDM WDG4D’s 12945/70127 with a loaded coal set, which were nowhere near as good on the ears as the VSKP Alco twins that had preceded them! To top off a decent 90 minutes or so that I’d spent at Sambalpur Road BNDM WDM3A 16556 saved the morning when it arrived with 58131 0815 Rourkela – Puri passenger and was immediately run round at Sambalpur Jn; where things then got a little busy and there was no predicting what would happen next.

Firstly, VSKP WDM3A’s 16009/16054 arrived and departed with 22866 0530 Puri – LTT, then next to arrive was BNDM WDM3A 16121 into platform 3 with a late 58216 0745 Titlagarh – Jharsuguda passenger, then came BNDM WDM3A’s 16510/16419 into platform 2 with an early 12890 Yesvantpur – Tatanagar weekly express and finally VSKP WDM3A’s 18938/18969 into platform 1 with 18507 Visakhapatnam – Amritsar. Something had to give to at least allow the twins on the Hirakud Express to run round and so it was that 12890 was departed bang on time, which I opted to do and was only on it for a few minutes. As it departed via the far right hand road ex Sambalpur it meant that the rear of the train wasn’t clear of the points until the locos were almost at the platform end at Sambalpur Road and just as the loco pilot opened them up, as he hit the platform end, I made my move and was off and heading across the tracks to get an auto back down to Sambalpur Jn in the vain hope that I’d get back before 58216 departed with 16121.

Half way back to Sambalpur Jn I thought I’d missed it but was pleased to find 16556 to be powering up the hill to Sambalpur Road with 58131 and not 16121 with 58216. By the time I was back on the platform and over the footbridge to platform 3 the 18938/18969 hadn’t even run round and sure enough 16121 was given the road first with 58216, which I did back up the hill to Sambalpur Road for 18938/18969 forward to Jharsuguda on 18507; feeling quite pleased with having made the most of a bizarre half an hour at Sambalpur!

I paid a little more attention to my surroundings as I bellowed out of the front coach of the Hirakud Express at what turned out to be a very good pair of VSKP WDM3A’s indeed. From there being no sign of electrification works going on at all at Sambalpur it progressed to masts being up and wiring in progress at Lapanga & Brundamal to fully completed electrification towards Jharsuguda; so I got the impression work was taking place from north to south. In the Lapanga & Brundamal areas staff were out on the overhead gantries fitting them in place while trains ran beneath them; with no safety harnesses at all, only a couple of guys on the ground with ropes attempting to hold the masts in place while they are connected and made as upright as can be! Quite how long the section would take to finish from Jharsuguda to Titlagarh I’m not sure but however long it was too soon for my liking! I’m pretty sure that Indian Railways didn’t have enough electric locos to even consider turning all the freight in the section over to electric traction anyway and even if they did what the hell were they going to do with all the diesels that it released?

Having overtaken 16121 with 58216 Titlagarh – Jharsuguda at Rengali the VSKP twins dropped me into Jharsuguda about 25’ late. In platform 3 was KZJ WAG7 27296 with 58112 2130 (P) Itwari – Tatanagar passenger; which I photographed and didn’t really think about it again until I got NTES fired up and realised the opposing working of 58111 0630 Tatanagar – Itwari was running late and it only took me a few minutes to figure out that if 58112 departed shortly then I could do it out to the first shack for 58111 back in and still have plenty of time to wait for 12871 Howrah – Titlagarh “Ispat Express”. When I got back over to platform 3 the van doors were just being closed and no sooner had SRC WAP4 22878 pottered through the middle road with 12262 Howrah – Mumbai CST Duronto did 58112 get the road.

It was only 8km and 10 minutes to Dhutra and I was only there for 5 minutes before MGS WAG7 28494 dropped by with 58111 Tatanagar – Itwari to whisk me back to whence I had come from and as I arrived so did 16121 with 58216 into the bay platform; BNDM WDM3A 16342 then shunted out from the back of the station and across to the Sambalpur line to drop onto the opposite end of the stock to work back with 58137 1720 Jharsuguda – Sambalpur. Also over the back of the station were VSKP WDM3A’s 16009/16054 off 22866 Puri – LTT, clearly having been replaced by an electric at Jharsuguda.

I’d like to say the Ispat Express was on time but it wasn’t and when it departed 15 late on a plus 20 at Rengali I sensed an afternoon move going down the pan but it was saved by the fact 18929 drew 12871 Howrah – Titlagarh to a stand at a red signal, in the platform at Lapanga so I made my exit to wait there for 58132 Puri – Rourkela to arrive instead. I used the time there to attempt to get clean at one of the water dispensers as the whole area in the Lapanga & Brundamal areas is just one big coal dust bowl and you can’t help but get covered in it and I was positively filthy; to the point that I took my shirt off and had a full top half clean while I had the opportunity. The crap coming out of my hair and off my arms was just ridiculous and that was without soap!

BNDM WDM3A 16285 was soon along with 58132 Puri – Rourkela passenger and it had WDG4D 70423 dead inside for the ride; I wonder if it was Bondamunda bound? At Brundamal I’m pretty sure the station has been completely rebuilt since my last visit with the tracks re-aligned and maybe more roads added? Either way a lot of work had taken place and there were now underpasses to get between the platforms which are virtually non-existent in Indian Railways with footbridges being all the rage; or not of course…..

BNDM WDM3A 16342 hammered in out of the gloom with 58137 1720 Jharsuguda – Sambalpur Jn with an old DMU rake, converted to conventional hauled stock and liveried in the green/white that IR seemed to paint them in; it was even announced as a Jharsuguda – Sambalpur DMU when it was approaching, obviously something from the olden days? With it departing 5’ late it looked a little dodgy or the plus 7 onto 18006 Jagdalpur – Howrah at Sambalpur Road but as both trains arrived at the same time it was an easy make in the end onto BNDM WDM3A 16165 back to Jharsuguda where I only had 15 minutes to wait for BNDM WDM3D 11220 to take me back to Sambalpur Jn where a mad rush ensued in the hour I had to wait for 13351 Dhanbad – Alappuzha.

As I was staying at the Hotel Sheela Towers on Thursday night I thought it sensible to attempt to get there and make sure they’d got my reservation, also made through Booking.com, and to leave my big bag at the same time; and maybe to get a little washing don while I was away! I hastily paid my RS16 to retrieve my bag from the cloak room and was at the Hotel Sheela Towers 10 minutes later having paid RS100 in an auto. Before conducting any business, I ensured food was ordered in the restaurant before then confirming that the hotel had my reservation; which was already written in their book for Thursday night. They were more than happy to keep my bag while I was away and to do some laundry for me at the same time; and by the time all that was sorted my food was on the table in the restaurant. Despite the rush I made it back to Sambalpur Jn 10 minutes before 13351 Dhanbad – Alappuzha arrived, fed, watered, big bag left and washing in; I even managed to have a second top end wash in the restaurant toilet! It’s amazing what comes out with soap!!!!

I was quite pleased to find a new pair of VSKP WDM3A’s turn up with 13351, in the shape of 16722/16682 and once I found my lower berth 33 in A1 I soon realised that the whole compartment was empty with just me in it; so I got myself sort and expected to get a decent night’s sleep; yeah right!

 

Moves for Tuesday 1st December 2015

18928 Rengali Jharsuguda Jn 2305 (30/11) Bhubaneswar – Rourkela Jn 18418 VSKP WDM3A’s 18928/18801 in multi
18801
36054 Jharsuguda Jn Carriage Sidings Bay Jharsuguda Jn Platform 2 Shunt stock in for 58162 0730 to Hatia BNDM WDS6
11165 Jharsuguda Jn Rengali 0510 Rourkela Jn – Bhubaneswar 18105 BNDM WDM3D
16711 Rengali Jharsuguda Jn 1030 (29/11) Yesvantpur Jn – Tatanagar 18112 BNDM WDM3A’s 16711/16513 in multi
16513
16144 Jharsuguda Jn Sambalpur Jn 2130 (30/11) Howrah – Jagdalpur 18005 BNDM WDM3A
13142 Sambalpur Jn Sambalpur Wash Road Shunt Sambalpur Jn portion off 18005 Howrah – Jagdalpur BNDM WDG3A’s 13142/13123 in multi – via Sambalpur Road shunt neck, RM
13123
Auto Sambalpur Jn Sambalpur Road RS60, 2km, 5 mins
16556 Sambalpur Road Sambalpur Jn 0815 Rourkela Jn – Puri 58131 BNDM WDM3A
16510 Sambalpur Jn Sambalpur Road 0830 (30/11) Yesvantpur Jn – Tatanagar 12890 BNDM WDM3A’s 16510/16419 in multi
16419
Auto Sambalpur Road Sambalpur Jn RS60, 2km, 5 mins
16121 Sambalpur Jn Sambalpur Road 0745 Titlagarh Jn – Jharsuguda Jn 58216 BNDM WDM3A
18938 Sambalpur Road Jharsuguda Jn 2350 (30/11) Visakhapatnam – Amritsar Jn 18507 VSKP WDM3A’s 18938/18969 in multi
18969
27296 Jharsuguda Jn Dhutra 2130 (30/11) Itwari Jn – Tatanagar 58112 KZJ WAG7
28494 Dhutra Jharsuguda Jn 0630 Tatanagar – Itwari Jn 58111 MGS WAG7
18929 Jharsuguda Jn Lapanga 0655 Howrah – Titlagarh Jn 12871 BNDM WDM3A
16285 Lapanga Brundamal 0330 Puri – Rourkela Jn 58132 BNDM WDM3A – WDG4D 70423 dead inside
16342 Brundamal Sambalpur Road 1720 Jharsuguda Jn – Sambalpur Jn 58137 BNDM WDM3A
16165 Sambalpur Road Jharsuguda Jn 0415 Jagdalpur – Howrah 18006 BNDM WDM3A
11220 Jharsuguda Jn Sambalpur Jn 1810 Rourkela Jn – Koraput 18107 BNDM WDM3D
16722 Sambalpur Jn Parvatipuram 1050 Dhanbad Jn – Alappuzha 13351 VSKP WDM3A’s 16722/16682 in multi
16682

 

Gen for Tuesday 1st December 2015

23351 BIA WAG5 58117 0715 Jharsuguda – Gondia

16423 BNDM WDM3A (13488 BNDM WDG3A dit) 58136 0735 Sambalpur – Jharsuguda

18929 BNDM WDM3A 12872 0515 Titlagarh – Howrah

11167 BNDM WDM3D (70423 ??? WDG4D dit) 18312 1430 (P) Bhubaneswar – Sambalpur

16048/18866 VSKP WDM3A’s 18508 2345 (PP) Amritsar – Visakhapatnam

14089 VSKP WDM3A 12893 0645 Bhubaneswar – Balangir

DMU BNDM 78103 0725 Rourkela – Sambalpur, 78104 1140 Sambalpur – Rourkela

16009/16054 VSKP WDM3A’s 22866 0530 Puri – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (to Jharsuguda)

22878 SRC 12262 0820 Howrah – Mumbai CST Duronto

30325 LGD WAP7 18478 0600 (P) Haridwar – Puri

28113 ASN WAG7 02221 1030 (P) Pune – Howrah (6 hours late)

16512 VSKP WDM3A 18310 1615 (P) Nanded – Sambalpur

11221 BNDM WDM3D 18302 1430 Rayagada – Sambalpur

 

Photos for Tuesday 1st December 2015

 

Wednesday 2nd December 2015 (How many engines does it take to work a freight?)

The good night’s sleep I thought I’d get was far from it with people coming and going in the night; the icing on the cake being two idiots that thought it was ok to waltz in at Rayagada, turn the lights on and start jibbering between themselves; that got vetoed let me tell you and they soon did one to talk somewhere else but the damage had been done and I couldn’t get back to sleep!

As we passed through Jimidipeta I noticed VSKP WDM3A 16723 in the loop, NTES confirmed it to be the late running 58503 0500 Rayagada – Visakhapatnam passenger which, with nothing better to do now I was awake, I got off for at Parvatipuram and did it forward to Bobbili Jn; where I had ages to wait for 12807 Visakhapatnam – Hazrat Nizamuddin anyway.

Mini samosas and chai was plentiful at Bobbili Jn and I watched from a distance as people went about their morning business and had a bit of a scare when I heard 78512 0650 Salur – Bobbili Jn Railbus approaching in the distance as it had an Alco horn fitted and sounded just like an Alco on approach; then when I came into view my hopes of doing the Salur branch loco hauled were dashed! With at least two other rail buses having been out of service around the country recently it wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility the branch could be hauled; it just wasn’t unfortunately.

While trainspotting at Bobbili I came across some old friends and some that would become my new ones, I just didn’t know it at that point; VSKP WDG3A’s 14933/14652 were first through with a freight heading north, these of course being two of the three that had shunted my stock back at Rayagada four days previous.  Next through, heading south, were VSKP WDG3A’s 14603/14715, which I’d had on 12836 Yesvantpur – Hatia four days previous; then came VSKP triple WDG3A’s 14524/14636/14510, which were held in the middle road for 12807 Visakhapatnam – Hazrat Nizamuddin to go by.

VSKP WDM3A’s 18932/18800 headed 12807 to Rayagada, where my morning move fell to pieces thanks to 58537 Koraput – Visakhapatnam passenger being late enough to make it dodgy at Ladda for 58538 Visakhapatnam – Koraput passenger coming the other way; so I watched VSKP WDM3A 16051 depart with 58537 and then VSKP WDM3D 11569 arrive early with 58538, a move that would almost have certainly missed at Ladda.

The scene at Rayagada was one that wouldn’t be around for much longer and was already one that had changed in recent years with the production of WDG4’s displacing many WDMx’s off freight work and it was now quite rare to see any WDMx’s on freight anyway. In the yard area while I waited at Rayagada were BNDM WDM3D 11146 stood spare, VSKP WDG4’s 70065/12991 stood spare and shut down, VSKP triple WDG3A’s 14514/14754/14537 stood spare, R WDG3A’s 13126/13587 with a freight and R WDG4’s 12357/70034 stood in platform 3 with a fright.

BNDM WDM3D 11146 was shunted out of the yard and to the north end of the station, it worked 18006 0415 Jagdalpur – Howrah forward; replacing BNDM WDM3A 16144 in doing so. Just as 11146 was being prepared for departure with 18006 the VSKP triple set of WDG3A’s, 14524/14636/14510, which we’d left behind at Bobbili Jn came rolling into the yard and the triple set stood spare, 14514/14754/14537, drew up to the south end outlet signal; that was when I had my brainwave and I abandoned my original plan of going through to Therubali for 18301 Sambalpur – Rayagada back to Singapur Road Jn and did 18006 to Singapur Road to await events instead…..

VSKP WDM3D 11569 was hot on the heels of 18006 with its 58538 Visakhapatnam – Koraput passenger and once that departed there were virtually simultaneous departures in either direction with VSKP WDG3A’s 14933/14652 heading north and KGP WDG3A’s 13356/13382 heading south; 13356 still had its old Gooty shed sticker on the front. Next into the middle road was the OHE DMU with a flat wagon loaded with drums of copper wire to put up; it seemed the crew were working south towards Rayagada with stringing the place up. Then came the moment of truth as virtually simultaneous arrivals occurred this time with VSKP WDG3A’s 14544/13200 arriving from the north with a container train that had been sat at Sambalpur Jn for the whole of the previous day; and sure enough VSKP WDG3A triple set 14524/14636/14510 drew round the back of the station with what I could only assume to be the other VSKP triple set of 14514/14754/14537 attached to the rear.

It must have been a very heavy train to warrant 6 Alco’s to get it over the hill towards Muniguda, which equates to a massive 19800 horse power! Which of course can almost be met by just 4 WDG4’s! I was headed to the brake at the rear of the train to moment I realise what was arriving and was surprised at how easily the guard of which was persuaded to let me on board; of course starting my plea with the fact that I work on the railways in the UK is always a good lead into these things and it always works in your favour when there are already others in the van anyway; all seemed to be staff of course. From that point I wasn’t bothered how long the train took to depart, I had hit pay dirt as far as my cranking world went and wasn’t going to miss out on the opportunity that had presented itself regardless of how others would perceive the move.

With VSKP twins 14933/14652 having cleared the section quite quickly I was quite relieved when I saw the signal come off with a feather to the right as I hadn’t even considered that the freight I was on could be destined for somewhere up the Koraput line! The front three locos were allowed to do the work to ease the train out of the platform and onto the man line before the rear three locos gathered the train up and then pushed it in rear to regulate the speed more than anything by the sounds of the easing back every now and again. It was hard to have a conversation with the racket going on behind us but I managed to get out of the guard that triple Alco sets were now more common as the acceleration of the trains was better, a bit like having twin sets on express trains, and he also told me that the bankers mostly go on at Therubali but as his train was a heavy one and the triple set at Rayagada would have otherwise run north light engine to fetch a train south it was efficient use of traction and pathing using them to assist over the hill to Muniguda. Not that I was complaining in any way, shape or form; the only gripe I had was that he wouldn’t let me take any photos, which I can fully understand and I’d probably be the same if I was in his shoes too.

As we ran into Therubali, slowly, I could see what looked like a Shakti waiting to head south; which actually turned out to be BNDM WDM3D 11167 sat waiting with 18301 Sambalpur – Rayagada, painted in Shakti livery like most other BNDM WDM3D’s, which is very deceiving sometimes. We’d passed a pair of GM’s heading south and 18301 was probably waiting for that to clear the section before being allowed to go. In the distance I thought I could see another freight arriving but what it actually was, was probably 14933/14652’s train heading out of Therubali with a set of bankers on the rear as they erupted into life the moment I clapped eyes on them.

As I needed 11167 and it was sat in front of me it would have been rude not to leap onto it as it blew up to depart and I thanked the guard of the freight as I departed! Not content with only having one go on a freight I was seriously considering not going to Jagdalpur and spending the rest of the afternoon trying to ride my luck north of Singapur Road so I got off 18301 at Singapur Road to be greeted with R WDG3A’s 13410/13573 sat round the back of the GM’s that 18301 had clearly waited at Therubali to allow them to clear the section. A swift walk down to the rear of the train soon had me at the brake van and finding that whatever the previous Bert’s theory on loco efficiency and pathing may have just been jibber as attached to the rear of this train were VSKP WDG3A’s 14932/13264 and just like the previous train the guard was more than happy for me to ride with him to Therubali although he was a little bit more inquisitive as to what I was actually doing, and why, but was appeased as I explained my job to him and the fact that my hobby was why I was in India in the first place.

It wasn’t long before the train was under way and with it being a container train I couldn’t really gauge how heavy it would be compared to the previous train but it obviously warranted the bankers otherwise they wouldn’t have been on the train in the first place; surely? As there was 6600 less horse power than the previous train, but still a whopping 13200 horse power to move the train, the noise from the rear pair on this run was basically full on, without the easing back; as the leading pair were so far away all I could do was admire the clag as they opened up. Frustratingly it was another run with no photos allowed, not even on the phone camera so my camera had to sit it out for the second run in a row.

At Therubali for the second time I was amazed to find R WDG3A’s 13592/13594 waiting to head south along with a pair of R WDG4’s 12469/12459. Not knowing which would go first I hurriedly made my way to the rear of the trains, which is a lot longer walk that it seems. Before I got there I heard an electronic horn and was so pleased when the set with the GM’s started to move and not the Alco’s! I thought I was going to get denied access at my third attempt as the guard couldn’t quite get his head round why I wanted to ride with him and ultimately it seemed that my old Network Rail ID, still in my wallet for some reason, saved the day and ultimately got me on board. There wasn’t much conversation once I was on board, which didn’t really bother me, although I was happy to get off when we got down to Singapur Road but still thanked the guard for his hospitality as I walked over to the platform to await the late running 12808 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Visakhapatnam to arrive, which wasn’t far in front of my 18005 Howrah – Jagdalpur I’d decided that if I had missed 18005 at Therubali for whatever reason then it would be overnight in Rayagada but as things seemed to have worked out for the best I decided to cut my losses while I was well and truly head of the game and could never have even wished for the afternoon to have turned out like it had when I’d seen the triple set arrive into Bobbili earlier in the morning! What an absolutely cracking last four hours I’d had, which had almost rivalled the cranking of freight trains I’d done in the Haflong area of Assam on the MG a couple of years previous; but not quite!

Of course the come down from the high was a dud pair of VSKP WDM3A’s on 12808 Hazrat Nizamuddin – Visakhapatnam in the form of 14005/16436, which turned out to be the third time I’d had these in the last 4 days. With 12808 being late this delayed the departure of 57272 1530 Rayagada – Vijayawada which was sat in the adjacent platform with VSKP WDM3A 16440, waiting to go. As I’d not eaten and still had 45 minutes to do so I made bid for the Hotel Raj, straight opposite the end of the station approach road, and was treated to a very quick Aloo Dum and rice; and was very grateful of it in the end as it would be the last meal I’d get that day!

Just as I got back to the station BNDM WDG3A’s 13123/13142 were arriving with what turned out to be 08301 Sambalpur – Yesvantpur special; which would explain why they were at Sambalpur in the first place. Over the back of the station R WDG3A’s 13592/13594 had made it through to Rayagada in front of it and the locos were being prepared by a fresh crew, just as VSKP WDG3A’s 14544/13200 were departing. It wasn’t long before BNDM WDM3A 16165 arrived with 18005 Howrah – Jagdalpur, where my grand plans of getting my bureaucracy up to date went out of the window completely; in favour of getting my head down for a bit, which while broken sleep, I managed to keep it down and have to be woken at Jagdalpur when the train was in the platform. It was just the 25 minutes early and had arrived at 2305 vice 2330!

There was nothing available at Jagdalpur, not even chai, which made the crisps and biscuits I’d bought before departure from Rayagada a good buy indeed. I’d been hoping that Jagdalpur might have a retiring room where I could get my head own a bit longer but it wasn’t to be and the station waiting room had to suffice for the 5 hours I had to kill until the train set off back to Howrah at 0415! The only saving grace was that it wasn’t wedged!

 

Moves for Wednesday 2nd December 2015

16723 Parvatipuram Bobbili Jn 0500 Rayagada Jn – Visakhapatnam 58503 VSKP WDM3A
18932 Bobbili Jn Rayagada Jn 0625 Visakhapatnam Jn – Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin 12807 VSKP WDM3A’s 18932/18800 in multi
18800
11146 Rayagada Jn Singapur Road 0415 Jagdalpur – Howrah 18006 BNDM WDM3D
14524 Singapur Road Therubali Goods Train Goods Train, in guards van at rear – VSKP WDG3A’s 14524/14636/14534 in multi leading, VSKP WDG3A’s 14514/14754/14537 in multi banking in rear
14636
14534
14514
14754
14537
11167 Therubali Singapur Road 0605 Sambalpur Jn – Rayagada Jn 18301 BNDM WDM3D
13410 Singapur Road Therubali Goods Train Goods Train, in guards van at rear – R WDG3A’s 13410/13573 in multi leading, VSKP WDG3A’s 14932/13264 in multi banking in rear
13573
14932
13264
13592 Therubali Singapur Road Goods Train Goods Train, in guards van at rear – R WDG3A’s 13592/13594 in multi
13594
14005 Singapur Road Rayagada Jn 0835 (01/12) Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin – Visakhapatnam 12808 VSKP WDM3A’s 14005/16436 in multi
16436
16165 Rayagada Jn Jagdalpur 2130 (01/12) Howrah – Jagdalpur 18005 BNDM WDM3A

 

Gen for Wednesday 2nd December 2015

16114/16118 BNDM WDM3A’s 12835 1825 (P) Hatia – Yesvantpur

Railbus – Bobbili – Salur branch services

16144 BNDM WDM3A 18006 0415 Jagdalpur – Howrah (to Rayagada BNDM WDM3D 11146 forward)

16051 VSKP WDM3A 58537 0530 Koraput – Visakhapatnam

11569 VSKP WDM3D 58538 0650 Visakhapatnam – Koraput

11413 BNDM WDM3A 18310 1615 (P) Nanded – Sambalpur

11167 BNDM WDM3D 18302 1430 Rayagada – Sambalpur

16440 VSKP WDM3A 57271 2100 (P) Vijayawada – Rayagada, 57272 1530 Rayagada – Vijayawada

13123/13142 BNDM WDG3A’s 08301 xxxx Sambalpur – Yesvantpur

 

Photos for Wednesday 2nd December 2015

 

Thursday 3rd December 2015 (The possibility of a one train day…..)

My eyes were too tired to get much bureaucracy done and I eventually had to shut them. Unfortunately for me there were a few mosquitoes in the waiting room, and while I’d managed to kill a few I couldn’t kill them all and they took the opportunity when I was sleeping to have a go and I woke with my hands itching and my bite stick in Sambalpur! The little shits!

By 0330 the waiting room was getting restless and people were drifting outside so I joined them, where it was surprisingly fresh but pleasantly so; not too cool. Amazingly some guy had opened up a chai stall on the platform and copious amounts of chai were had before BNDM WDM3A 16165 got us under way with 18006 0415 Jagdalpur – Howrah not a minute late. The TTE had decided to make his bed up in my berth but soon moved when he realised his mistake. He also confirmed that I was the only person reserved in any of the six berths all the way to Sambalpur; which was more than a refreshing change and after a decent few hours’ sleep I was ready for what the day could throw at me and then got my laptop out…….

As we approached Singapur Road I packed away for a bit and spotted a pair of VSKP Shakti’s waiting to get into Singapur Road off the main line from Muniguda, while in the middle road waiting to head north were R WDG4’s 12402/12967. At Rayagada I wasn’t quite expecting to see VSKP WDM3A’s 16245/16441 sat in platform 3 with a late running 12807 Visakhapatnam – Hazrat Nizamuddin; which presented an opportunity! It looked like they’d only just arrived so I legged it to the vending stall got myself some samosas and pop, dumped them in my berth and headed over to platform 3 while BNDM WDM3D 11412 dropped onto the other end of my 18006 Jagdalpur – Howrah in the meantime; this loco change must be a booked loco change based on the fact I’d seen it happen two days in a row.

There was no doubt that 12807 was going to get the road first and when it did I was on board to Singapur Road, where 18006 turned up about 10 minutes later with 11412 looking rather splendid at the head of the train. So what I thought was going to be a one train day had son gone out of the window and I was quite pleased about it too. While departing Rayagada I noticed BKSC WDM2’s 17718/17761 waiting to head north with a freight; it would have been nice if they’d revealed themselves the previous day!

My journey to Sambalpur became something of an overhead electrification spotting exercise and the following applies from Rayagada; there are limited masts at Rayagada with masts up sporadically to Singapur Road where it’s basically fully electrified all the way to Lanjigarh Road. From there the masts are up towards Norla Road with sporadic bits of wiring being in situ yet at Kesinga there is no evidence of works having started! Then very bizarrely only one road is electrified between Kesinga & Titlagarh, the one from Titlagarh, with no evidence at all of masts on the other road.

At Kandel Road we overtook 58302/4 Koraput/Junagarh Road – Sambalpur passenger, which was about 90’ late; with VSKP WDG3A 14525 leading a dead VSKP WDM3D 11569. This could well become my second move of the day if it didn’t lose more time en-route as the timetable soon confirmed I could get off at Hirakud for it; from where it was given from 1532 to 1810 to cover the last 7km anyway, so even if it lost another hour it should still be right time into Sambalpur. Time would tell I guess and NTES was switched on to track progress anyway.

With 58302 showing just over 3 hours late, I got off at Hirakud anyway; the opportunity seemed too good to just throw away and I wasn’t in the mood to do the late night move towards Jharsuguda for to get the two pair sin coming back on 13351 & 18451 respectively; which was just as well as when I eventually arrived back into Sambalpur Jn, a little after 1900 and almost 60 late with 58302, 13351 was being announced as cancelled; with the inconvenience being regretted! I later found out that evening that there had been severe flooding that had affected Chennai and basically most trains touching Chennai had been cancelled throughout; regardless of their distance! NTES showed 248 trains cancelled for 03/12 alone with over 200 the previous day as well. So it looked as though I could well have been on the last 13351 Dhanbad – Alappuzha to run before the floods, when I’d done it south two nights previous! Back to the day at hand though and VSKP WDG3A 14525 did indeed work through to Sambalpur with VSKP WDM3D 11569 dead in tow. Just as we arrived BNDM wDM3A 16120 was being prepared to depart with 58138 1915 Sambalpur Jn – Jharsuguda and as it was dud I headed straight out for an auto to take me to the Hotel Sheela Towers; and was there before it would have been at Sambalpur Road.

My bag was still right behind the front desk, where I’d left it two days previous. My washing on the other hand was a different story and it took me 4 attempts at asking to get it delivered to my room. A room that I was basically allowed to pick and one that was quite large. The air-con was quite powerful and the fan soon had the cool air circulating around the room. There was initially no hot water but thankfully that was rectified after I’d been to the restaurant and a piping hot bucket wash was had as the shower was a bit crap and more like a fine sprinkler than anything resembling a shower!

With the long journey from Jagdalpur, the overnight in a mosquito ridden waiting room and the fact that sleep basically hadn’t been plentiful in my life for the past two days I was pleased to clamber into bed before 2100!

 

Moves for Thursday 3rd December 2015

16165 Jagdalpur Rayagada Jn 0415 Jagdalpur – Howrah 18006 BNDM WDM3A
16245 Rayagada Jn Singapur Road 0625 Visakhapatnam Jn – Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin 12807 VSKP WDM3A’s 16245/16441 in multi
16441
11412 Singapur Road Hirakud 0415 Jagdalpur – Howrah 18006 BNDM WDM3D
14525 Hirakud Sambalpur Jn 0230 Korapur – Sambalpur Jn 58302 VSKP WDG3A – VSKP WDM3D 11579 dit

 

Gen for Thursday 3rd December 2015

16344 BNDM WDM3A 18447 1935 (P) Bhubaneswar – Jagdalpur

17718/17761 BKSC WDM2’s on a freight at Rayagada

16120 BNDM WDM3A 58138 1915 Sambalpur – Jharsuguda

 

Photos for Thursday 3rd December 2015

 

Friday 4th December 2015 (Sambalpur at a slower pace; as seen through a camera lens)

I was up to check-out at 0700 but when I got to the front desk I noticed that check-out was 24 hours so I took the key back, returned my bag to the room and told the staff I’d probably be back for the complimentary breakfast at some point during the morning; and if not I’d definitely be back for food and a shower in the evening; then I was off in an auto to Sambalpur Jn to see what was going on.

VSKP WDM3D 11512 was just about to depart with 58301 0715 Sambalpur – Koraput as I walked onto the station and BNDM WDM3A’s 16114/16118 were just backing the stock in to form 18309 0850 Sambalpur – Nanded; which I can only assume they worked as they were nowhere to be seen when I got back later in the morning. BNDM WDM3D 11413, with BNDM WDM3A 16120 dead inside, were sat in platform 1A bay with 58136 0735 Sambalpur – Jharsuguda passenger, with the old DMU stock, and departed bang on time.

Just outside the station the brake went in and the train came to an abrupt stand and it wasn’t until curiosity got the better of me that I found the reason to be because the locos had split apart on departure and the brake pipes had come apart in the process!! I did wonder why the driver hadn’t blown three times on the horn to indicate he’d lost his brake; and I had my answer. Rather than cause a major fiasco though and have a load of people stomp around like they owned the place, to figure out what had happened, the pipes were checked, the locos drawn apart properly, the coupling inspected and then the locos put back together. The result being a 20-minute late arrival into Sambalpur Road; and me getting off as 18005 Howrah – Jagdalpur was showing right time and 18508 Amritsar – Visakhapatnam “Hirakud Express” was 2 hours late so I didn’t fancy all day at Rengali if 58136 did miss 18005; after all it was only a plus 15 anyway.

My fester at Sambalpur Rod pretty much set the tone for the day in the end and no sooner had I got off did KGP WDG3A’s 13555/13396 follow up the hill with a coal rake and made for a decent photo curving away from the station after they’d cleared the over-bridge. I was that impressed with the shot that I waited it out, under the shade of a tree, to see if anything else came up the hill, or indeed if there was anything else heading into Sambalpur. A chair was even produced from one of the local’s back garden’s for me to sit on while I waited and sit on it I did.

I wasn’t sat too long before BNDM WDM3A 18929 arrived with 12872 0515 Titlagarh – Howrah “Ispat Express”, which was duly photted as it departed, then the chair was handed back and I waited patiently on the platform end for 18005 Howrah – Jagdalpur to arrive; hoping that the Raipur Shakti’s I could see in Sambalpur Jn Yard would depart before it arrived. There was no such luck though and BNDM WDM3D 11412 soon arrived with 18005 and took me down the hill to Sambalpur Jn, where I discovered the R WDG3A’s to be 13594/13592, which I’d had on a container train during my Singapur Road jaunt two days earlier; they were now on a coal set though.

BNDM WDG3A 13422 had at last found a use and I’d seen it shunting from my vantage point at Sambalpur Road. When 18005 arrived it was poised on the Sambalpur Road Loop, having just shunted a rake of wagons into the yard; and sure enough it dropped onto the rear of 18005 to remove the Howrah – Sambalpur portion from the back of the train. Not wanting to mess around and being wary I was cutting it fine to get breakfast in, I was content to just do the shunt to Sambalpur Road, or the limit of shunt just off the platform end anyway, and then get an auto straight to the hotel.

The self-service breakfast at the Sheela Towers wasn’t up to much and looked to be al south Indian so I asked for omelette and omelette was served; the omelette, toast and chai were all included in my room rate so there was no additional fee to pay!

With plenty of time to spare before any of 18508 Amritsar – Visakhapatnam, 12893 Bhubaneswar – Balangir or 58131 Rourkela – Puri passenger would grace Sambalpur road with their presence I decided to head back there anyway; having got the photographing bug from my earlier stint there. I wasn’t disappointed either as I could see the flashing yellow light on the leading one of the pair of R WDG3A’s in Sambalpur Jn Yard; so they were being prepared for departure. In the hour I had at Sambalpur Road, before ultimately doing 58131 into Sambalpur Jn to view 18507 Visakhapatnam – Amritsar, I was treated to no less than 7 trains to photograph and it is surprising just how many different views you can take photos from at Sambalpur Road. The trains were as follows: R WDG3A’s 13594/13592 with a coal train, a DMU with 78103 0725 Rourkela – Sambalpur, BNDM WDM3D 11146 with 18312 Varanasi – Sambalpur, R WDG4’s 12498/12468 with a goods train, BNDM WDM3A 16512 with 12893 Bhubaneswar – Balangir, VSKP WDM3A’s 18928/18801 with 18508 Amritsar – Visakhapatnam and finally VSKP WDG3A’s 13648/14679 with a goods train; and then came BNDM WDM3A 16285 with 58131 0815 Rourkela – Puri passenger!

Most of the time I was at Sambalpur Road I was talking to a track gang, one of who initially attempted to tell me that photography was prohibited in the area and then was nice as pie when his boss turned up; who was the most sociable of the bunch and indulged me in conversation while his minions built the track trolley as we talked; bit of which were randomly turning up every now and again from down an alleyway. The gang were going to patrol from Sambalpur Road to Maneswar, basically round the curve and beyond Sambalpur City. They’d been hoping to get away a bit sooner but due to the amount of traffic had to hang fire for a while. Of course once one person got talking to me everyone else around then wanted to know everything that was being said and there was soon a decent sized group around; none of which were any trouble I might add but when I got out to get a photo of an approaching train I stayed away for the peace and quiet and the trolley was soon on its way anyway.

The photographing didn’t stop when I got back to Sambalpur Jn either as VSKP WDG3A’s 14549/14972 arrived with an empty coal set; and that was when I noticed VSKP WDG3A 14525 stabled round the back of the station, which was used later that evening to shunt an oil train together. No sooner had VSKP WDM3A’s 14044/16380 arrived with 18507 Visakhapatnam – Amritsar did VSKP WDG3A’s 14911/14618 arrive with a loaded coal set and by the time the twins had ran round the Hirakud Express and were setting off with their train, the yellow flashing light was on the front of 14549 as 18507 departed and they were following up the hill hot on its tail.

I decided not to bother going through to Jharsuguda with the Hirakud Express as I knew that dud BNDM WDM3A 18929 would be returning with 12871 Howrah – Titlagarh “Ispat Express” and I could cover all the remaining passenger trains in the Sambalpur area; and of course photograph away to my heart’s content in the meantime. I didn’t have too long to wait for BNDM WDM3A 16121 to arrive with 58215 1245 Jharsuguda – Titlagarh but the big question was, would I make the opposing working of 58216 0745 Titlagarh – Jharsuguda as it was already sat in at Sambalpur Jn; and had been for a good 10 minutes when 16121 got 58215 under way from Sambalpur Road. The saving grace ended up being the fact that we were heading down the hill on the middle line and had to cross over to platform 1A at the bottom; with 58216 being sat in platform 2 it couldn’t depart until we’d cleared the points. Despite me jumping off at the platform end as 58215 arrived, BNDM WDM3A 16077 had already got 58216 under way before I managed to leap aboard as it was slowly creeping out of the platform. The road had been off the moment the back coach of 58215 had cleared the platform and I had to make a mad dash for it in the end!

While I waited at Sambalpur Road for 58132 Puri – Rourkela to arrive the last freight of the day, with any light to photograph it, headed up the hill as VSKP WDG3A’s 14911/14618 made their way out of town. That made it 6 freights for the day with 5 of the 6 heading up the hill and only 1 down the hill towards Sambalpur; whether that meant anything or was just a coincidence I don’t know but the sun is good for trains heading into town in the afternoon and out of town in the morning at Sambalpur Road.

Once BNDM WDM3A 16556 had delivered me back to Sambalpur Jn with 58132 Puri – Rourkela passenger it was my cue to head back to the hotel, where a much needed shower was had and a decent meal. Check-out was straight forward and I didn’t have to remind them that they owed me RS158 from my advance and with the money duly handed over I got my last auto in Sambalpur to take me to Sambalpur Road when I waited under cover of darkness for 58137 1720 Jharsuguda – Sambalpur Jn passenger to take me down the hill into Sambalpur Jn for one last time; which turned up with BNDM WDM3A 16112, which promptly ran round at Sambalpur Jn to work 58138 1915 Sambalpur – Jharsuguda.

The station at Sambalpur Jn was quite busy with people. VSKP WDM3A 16051 was sat in platform 2 having arrived with 58303 0230 Koraput – Sambalpur; a bit earlier than the train had arrived the previous day! One platform 1 everyone waited patiently for the stock to be shunted in for 22804 1955 Sambalpur – Howrah weekly Superfast Express; meanwhile the TTE for which decided to buy the station puppies, of which there were four, a packet of biscuits and sprinkle them all over them while they slept in a heap on the platform. The irony of that being that none of them moved at all, some big dog came along and ate all the biscuits and 20 minutes later the puppies were scouring the platform for tidbits!

While Sambalpur seems to be quite a clean station there is a lot of building works going in which is involving all the tiles being taken off the seating areas and them being re-done yet there is no sign of electrification works in the station area at all; not a mast in sight! Some guy dossing on the platform was the only person messing up the place and the RPF were quick to move him on; of course he appeared to have had a bit to drink and wanted to push his luck as far as he could and the big stock eventually moved him on; before it was used to give him what for I might add.

The stock to form 22804 1955 Sambalpur – Howrah wasn’t backed in until 1940 by BNDM WDM3D 11146; which was a shame as I’d been hoping for BNDM WDG3A 13422 to do the honours. Still it was Alco and that’s all that mattered. The AC coaches in the set were only about 5 from the front so it wouldn’t be a long distance to walk on arrival into Howrah the following morning. Unfortunately as the stock had been backed in late none of the bedding had been laid out before departure and it was a good 20 minutes into the journey before bert got his shit in order; firstly handing out the blankets, then putting the slips on the pillows before handing them out and of course finally came the bedding; and with my bed made up by 2020 I was in it 5 minutes later and could unfortunately feel a bit of a cold coming on, probably a result of the 13 hours in 3AC coming back from Jagdalpur?!

 

Moves for Friday 4th December 2015

11413 Sambalpur Jn Sambalpur Road 0735 Sambalpur Jn – Jharsuguda Jn 58136 BNDM WDM3D
11412 Sambalpur Road Sambalpur Jn 2130 (03/12) Howrah – Jagdalpur 18005 BNDM WDM3D
13422 Sambalpur Jn Sambalpur Road Shunt Neck Shunt Sambalpur Jn portion off 18005 Howrah – Jagdalpur BNDM WDG3A
16285 Sambalpur Road Sambalpur Jn 0815 Rourkela Jn – Puri 58131 BNDM WDM3A
16380 Sambalpur Jn Sambalpur Road 2350 (03/12) Visakhapatnam – Amritsar Jn 18507 VSKP WDM3A’s 16380/14044 in multi
14044
16121 Sambalpur Road Sambalpur Jn 1245 Jharsuguda Jn – Titlagarh Jn 58215 BNDM WDM3A
16077 Sambalpur Jn Sambalpur Road 0745 Titlagarh Jn – Jharsuguda Jn 58216 BNDM WDM3A
16556 Sambalpur Road Sambalpur Jn 0330 Puri – Rourkela Jn 58132 BNDM WDM3A
16112 Sambalpur Road Sambalpur Jn 1720 Jharsuguda Jn – Sambalpur Jn 58137 BNDM WDM3A
11146 Sambalpur Jn Howrah 1955 Sambalpur Jn – Howrah 22804 BNDM WDM3D

 

Gen for Friday 4th December 2015

11512 VSKP WDM3D 58301 0715 Sambalpur Jn – Koraput

16114/16118 BNDM WDM3A’s 18309 0850 Sambalpur Jn – Nanded

18929 BNDM WDM3A 12872 0515 Titlagarh – Howrah

11146 BNDM WDM3D 18312 1430 (P) Bhubaneswar – Sambalpur

18928/18801 VSKP WDM3A’s 18508 2345 (PP) Amritsar – Visakhapatnam

16512 VSKP WDM3A 12893 0645 Bhubaneswar – Balangir

DMU BNDM 78103 0725 Rourkela – Sambalpur, 78104 1140 Sambalpur – Rourkela

11151 BNDM WDM3D 18006 0415 Jagdalpur – Howrah

16112 BNDM WDM3A 58138 1915 Sambalpur Jn – Jharsuguda Jn

16051 VSKP WDM3A 58302 0230 Koraput – Sambalpur Jn

 

Photos for Friday 4th December 2015

 

Saturday 5th December 2015 (Frantic around Prantik)

I woke about 0630 to find NTES telling me that 22804 would be into Howrah 15’ late after departing Kharagpur 43’ late. When I took my earplugs out I could hear the correct noise coming from the front of the train so there’d been no random loco change to bowl me out with an electric. At only 15’ late my plans for the morning, to meet Samit Roychoudhury for breakfast at Flurys on Park Street at 0800, were still intact; Indian Railways soon changed that though and the fact that it took us over an hour to do the last 8km from Santragachi to Howrah put us into Howrah at 0833; just the 88’ late! As I had to be on 12337 1010 Howrah – Bolpur there was no way I was getting to Park Street and back and so Samit ended up coming to Howrah instead; which gave us a lot more time together to chew the cud over a couple of bread omelette’s from the food plaza on the main concourse by platform 15.

It’s always good having breakfast with Samit and he even escorted me down the platform to my train; at the head of which was JMP WDM3A 16608, which had been on the shed just outside the station when I’d arrived on 22804 earlier. The front coach of 12337 Howrah – Bolpur was half empty and having bode farewell to Samit the loco pilot wasted no time in giving the Jamalpur machine what for. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a very god one but the run to Barddhaman was; unlike the last time I’d done the train when the loco had been excellent but the run shocking. Even after hammering along, with very little in the way of slowing down, 12337 was 15 minutes late into Barddhaman Jn and I was left wondering if it actually ever arrived right time with only 1h09m to cover the 107km from Howrah, via Dankuni? Rather than get off I opted to go through to Guskara to speculate and had I actually speculated, or even been aware of what was coming towards Barddhaman, I’d have been off at Khana Jn for BWN 14141 with 53068 0935 Rampurhat – Barddhaman; which I passed just after 12337 had rounded the curve from Khana Jn onto the Rampurhat line; having sat at Khana Jn for a few minutes! Still every cloud has a silver lining and just as we rolled into Guskara BWN WDM3A 16618 was coming to a stand in the middle road with 13162 0530 Balurghat – Kolkata Chitpur so that was me heading straight back to Bardhhaman.

When 13162 got into Barddhaman, close on its heels behind, in fact that close it almost made 13162, was HWH WDM3A 14142 with 12374 1100 Rampurhat – Sealdah. Shortly after that arrived so did a slightly late running 13015 1040 Howrah – Bolpur with HWH WDM3D 11499 heading it which I did forward to Guskara for a short wait for what turned out to be the surprise of the afternoon when NGC WDM3A 1680 turned up with 12347 1155 Howrah – Rampurhat. The Rampurhat line is pretty much solid Howrah and Burdwan engines so anything other than is basically a surprise.

At Bolpur it was evident from NTES that things were either going to go very well for me or very wrong; either way there were plenty of trains about and plenty of them were late so anything could happen. Unfortunately, HWH WDM3D 11246 had just been departing Bolpur with 53136 1305 Rampurhat – Howrah, which I could have done back to Bhedia for the late 53043 1110 Howrah – Rajgir but I waited for it at Bolpur instead and was rewarded with HWH WDM3A 17957 which I only did forward to Prantik, knowing 53066 1425 Rampurhat – Barddhaman Jn was late coming the other way. I had just enough time to spot the hotel I’d be staying in that night from the station footbridge before heading back to Bhedia with BWN WDM3A 18819 on 53066 and the afternoon was capped off nicely, after a short wait at Bhedia, with BWN WDM3A 18875 on 53135 1135 Sealdah – Rampurhat; with BWN WDM3A 16162 dead in train.

Back at Prantik I had an hour to kill before the mad evening rush was upon me so I attempted to walk to the Vasundhara Inn Guest House, which is only about 50m from the station boundary but you can’t get to it directly; as I found out. It’s only a short walk though, out of the station, turn right, follow the mud path to the end, then turn left and left again and you can see the front entrance. That’s assuming it’s not dark of course! The young lad at the front desk seemed a little surprised to see me when I walked in and had no knowledge of my reservation through Booking.com; which is becoming a theme in India. Still, the hotel was completely empty and I was the only one wanting a room so there were no issues and the room I was given on the 3rd floor had a balcony that overlooked the station and I was treated to BWN WDM3A 16557 hammering through with 15658 Guwahati – Sealdah while I was sorting my stuff out. The room itself was quite clean by Indian standards, hot water was provided by a geyser and was almost instant, there was no AC but two fans and the only problem I could find was the fact that there were a couple of tiny ants on the bed by the pillows! Other than that there was nothing to complain about at all. As the time I had was limited I didn’t bother faffing too much and was soon back at the station ready for the evening blitz.

A cracking evening it turned out to be as well with HWH WDM3D 11441 getting the ball rolling wit 13018 1540 Azimganj – Howrah, which dropped me nicely into HWH WDM3D 11403 with 13011 1525 Howrah – Malda town at Bolpur; where back at Prantik HWH WDM3A 14132 was just rolling in with 13054 1730 Siuri – Howrah. A similar experience was had at Bolpur with HWH WDM3A 18819 already being in with 53067 1735 Barddhaman – Rampurhat so a cross ballast leap had to be done as if I’d used the footbridge I’d probably still be crossing it now; the footbridge at Bolpur is the most ridiculous Indian Railways has produced and it just invites people to cross the tracks in my opinion!

When BWN WDM3A 16410 arrived at Prantik with 53064 1445 Barhawa Jn – Barddhaman Jn I’d planned for this to be the last return trip to Bolpur of the day but when HWH WDM3D 11313 was arriving back with 53047 1640 Howrah – Rampurhat a late running 53043 Jaynagar – Howrah was just being announced and was in the distance. NTES also showed 53418 Malda Town – Barddhaman as being right behind it and I sensed a bonus three engine move coming up with me able to do one to Bolpur for the next to Bhedia and then return to Prantik on 53069 2010 Barddhaman – Rampurhat. Which would have all been good if I’d needed HWH WDM2 18572 that had arrived with 53043 Jaynagar – Howrah. I was ready for walking away as the heritage WDM2 hammered off into the distance but 53418 Malda – Barddhaman was being announced before the back coach was even out of the platform and when equally heritage HWH WDM2 18595 arrived, with BWN WDM3A 16414 dead inside, it would have been stupid to flag it and sure enough the fester at Bolpur paid off when BWN WDM3A 14141 returned with 53069 2010 Barddhaman – Rampurhat.

Back at the Vasundhara Inn the boy at the front desk was getting a little concerned as I’d told him I’d be back just after 8 o’clock; I was only an hour and a half late though! Food was soon ordered as room service, although there is a small restaurant area by the reception if you prefer to use it. Thankfully the food only took about 30 minutes to prepare, which allowed me enough time to get my crap in order for the following morning and figure out what I was going to do. Despite the later than planned moves I was still in bed by 2230; and glad of it as my nose had been streaming for most of the afternoon and I’d gone through half a bog roll blowing it, so hopefully this cold I’d inherited would do one overnight and leave me be…..

 

Moves for Saturday 5th December 2015

16608 Howrah Guskara 1010 Howrah – Bolpur 12337 JMP WDM3A – via Dankuni
16618 Guskara Barddhaman Jn 0530 Balurghat – Kolkata Chitpur 13162 BWN WDM3A
11499 Barddhaman Jn Guskara 1040 Howrah – Bolpur 13015 HWH WDM3D
16870 Guskara Bolpur 1155 Howrah – Rampurhat 12347 NGC WDM3A
17957 Bolpur Prantik 1110 Howrah – Rajgir 53043 HWH WDM3A
18819 Prantik Bhedia 1425 Rampurhat – Barddhaman Jn 53066 HWH WDM3A
18875 Bhedia Prantik 1135 Sealdah – Rampurhat 53135 BWN WDM3A – BWN WDM3A 16162 dit
11441 Prantik Bolpur 1540 Azimganj Jn – Howrah 13018 HWH WDM3D
11403 Bolpur Prantik 1525 Howrah – Malda Town 13011 HWH WDM3D
14132 Prantik Bolpur 1730 Siuri – Howrah 13054 HWH WDM3A
18819 Bolpur Prantik 1735 Barddhaman – Rampurhat 53067 HWH WDM3A
16410 Prantik Bolpur 1445 Barharwa Jn – Barddhaman Jn 53064 BWN WDM3A
11313 Bolpur Prantik 1640 Howrah – Rampurhat 53047 HWH WDM3D
18595 Prantik Bolpur 1500 Malda Town – Barddhaman Jn 53418 HWH WDM2 – BWN WDM3A 16414 dit
14141 Bolpur Prantik 2010 Barddhaman Jn – Rampurhat 53069 BWN WDM3A

 

Gen for Saturday 5th December 2015

14141 BWN WDM3A 53068 0935 Rampurhat – Barddhaman

14129 HWH WDM3A 13028 0750 Azimganj – Howrah

27183 CNB WAG7 53140 0700 Jasidih – Kolkata Chitpur

28647 AJJ WAG7 15235 1105 Howrah – Darbhanga

14142 BWN WDM3A 12374 1100 Rampurhat – Sealdah

16608 JMP WDM3A 12338 1310 Bolpur – Howrah

11499 HWH WDM3D 13016 1410 Bolpur – Howrah

11246 HWH WDM3D 53136 1305 Rampurhat – Sealdah

16505 BWN WDM3A 13188 1405 Rampurhat – Sealdah

16557 BWN WDM3A 15658 2240 (P) Guwahati – Sealdah

20017 SGUJ WDG4 12041 1415 Howrah – New Jalpaiguri

16870 NGC WDM3A 12348 1635 Rampurhat – Howrah

18572 HWH WDM2 53042 1845 (P) Jaynagar – Howrah

 

Photos for Saturday 5th December 2015

 

Sunday 6th December 2015 (To do Dumka, or not to do Dumka?)

Despite being so close to Prantik station not a single train woke me overnight and I only had one running nose moment that forced me to get out of bed and blow my nose; yet when the alarm woke me at 0630 my cold was almost gone, thankfully!

NTES soon revealed that what I’d figured out the previous night was still on and surprisingly 13134 Varanasi – Sealdah was spot on time so I had no time to waste and having left my big bag at the hotel I was soon dressed and on my way to the station; where I was greeted with BWN WDM3A 16574 as it arrived with 13134 Varanasi – Sealdah. I only had a short time to wait at Bolpur, during which time lots of chai was consumed, before BWM WDM3A 18845 arrived with 53070 0615 Rampurhat – Barddhaman Jn passenger; which I did forward to Bedhia for BWN WDM3A 16410 back to Prantik with 56063 0630 Barddhaman Jn – Barharwa Jn passenger.

A simple morning move soon over I had an hour to kill before I headed towards Rampurhat to set about doing the planned bash for the day, which involved covering the newly built Rampurhat – Dumka – Jasidih line. Breakfast was ordered the moment I walked through the hotel door and was delivered 20 minutes later; by which time I was sorted for a quick exit once I’d finished. After what turned out to be a decent breakfast, apart from the chai which was probably the crappest tea I’d ever had in India, I settled my bill at the front desk and left the Vasundhara Inn behind as I set off to cover pastures new; I did wonder, as I walked to the station, when another soul would set foot through the door of the Vasundhara Inn though. It had done me no harm and was certainly good value for the price and in a very quiet location compared to that of say Bolpur.

HWH WDM3A 14132 produced with 13017 0605 Howrah – Azimganj Jn and surprisingly had quite a bit of space in its chair car accommodation; where I spent the whole journey to Sainthia Jn in a bit of a flap as I’d done a line-up for Rampurhat and 53081 1130 Rampurhat – Dumka passenger wasn’t showing on NTES, not even when I did an individual schedule enquiry; this left me wondering if the train had started running and then there’d been some problem with the line that had resulted in it closing again? With 53081/82 both showing on India Rail Info and E-Rail I got off at Sainthia to wait for 15657 Sealdah – Guwahati Kanchanjunga Express and sat working out a back-up plan should I need one and thankfully I could get back to Barddhaman Jn for 13185 Sealdah – Jaynagar Gangasagar Express that night if I needed to. It wasn’t best move and a bit of a waste of day but it would keep me on track with the bash plan nonetheless.

Having seen BWN WDM3A 16557 head into Sealdah with 15658 Guwahati – Sealdah the previous evening I was quite pleased when it was thrown back out on the opposing working of 15657 and presented itself at Sainthia bang on time.

On arrival at Rampurhat HWH WDM3A 14143 was just departing with a diverted 13466 Malda Town – Howrah; which usually ran via Katwa to Howrah. Also in the station were UDL WDG3A’s 13629/14770, the latter shut down, which were being used to shunt a coach, which had been detached from the rear of 13017, to the bay platforms. SGUJ WDG4 12817 was the only other thing there and was sat in the reception sidings wait a path forward to wherever it was going. Despite everything that was going on the first thing on my mind was finding out if 53081 1130 Rampurhat – Dumka actually ran. Finding it on the list of station departures, as I looked for the Station Master’s office, helped calm the mind and the female Station Master soon confirmed that it did indeed run and that it would depart from platform 2. With my mind at rest I relaxed a little and even got my camera out to photograph what was going off in the station area and UDL WDG3A 13639 was soon along with a freight as well.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that 53081 1130 Rampurhat – Dumka could only be formed off 53025 0905 Azimganj – Rampurhat, as it was the only arrival before 53081 was due to depart; and what used to be an Andal loco, BWN WDM3A 16473 arrived into platform 2 with 53025 and was immediately detached to run round. While it was doing so I got talking to a guy on the platform who told me he’d spent 20 years in the Dumka area negotiating the building of the Rampurhat – Dumka – Jasidih railway line and explaining the benefits of it to locals as well as being involved with overcoming the problems faced with land acquisition in the “very rural” area as he described it to me. While I’d been aware that the line was being built for about 5 years I had no clue just how long it took to even get the process in motion in some areas and this section seemed to take a rather long time to overcome some hurdles if the process had indeed started 20 years ago!

It seemed to take an age to run 16473 round and nobody seemed in a rush to get the train under way; with the loco not even being attached at departure time. Meanwhile another diverted train arrived and departed, this time it was 12518 2100 (P) Guwahati – Kolkata Chitpur with BWN WDM3A’s 18874/18805 at its helm; unfortunately, I couldn’t tell from when I was situated whether they were multi’d up or if 18805 was dead in tow. Once 16473 was attached NGC WDG3A 14844 was allowed out of the reception sidings outside the station and ran through with a tank train; then it was out time to depart, 45’ late. Not that I was bothered as I had from 1305 to 1845 to kill in Dumka!

As BWN’s 16473 eased the train out of Rampurhat I was the only person in the front coach and the rest of the train barely had a soul in it either. Thankfully, for Indian Railways, it didn’t stay like that throughout but the train wasn’t well loaded at any point throughout the journey although there was a travelling TTE on board; who was off at every station and checking people on the platform as they walked away from the train! His presence certainly wasn’t a waste of time either.

The line speed wasn’t too bad towards the first station on the line, Adal Pahari, which looked like it had been built years ago and just left to grow weeds and to let the station sign rust. Likewise, the run forward to Pinargaria wasn’t too bad either, this station on the other hand looked a lot newer, had a rather large and deserted building beside it, which could be reached by a big empty footbridge over the tracks. There were still lots of building materials laying around, with track sections and sleepers piled up on the approach to the station.

Station number three along the line was somewhat of an anomaly as it apparently stood in an ambiguous location and was currently the topic of debate locally as to what name it should actually show on its station boards! I’m reliably told that it was to carry a double barreled name of both the local townships but as a result of the “fall-out” the station name is currently not displayed anywhere, with the station signs remaining a blank yellow colour with no writing on them at all. India Rail Info shows the station as Harinsing; will it ever carry this name I wonder? Despite it’s no name plenty of people boarded there, as had been the case at Pinargaria also; but the train was far from full with there still only being half a dozen or so in the front coach!

Between Harinsing and the next station of Ambajora Shikaripara the line speed slowed down to an almost walking pace for quite a lengthy section of it as the train travelled along an elevated section of track, that really must have taken a bit of constructing to get the embankment so high. All around it was nothing but a rural landscape where the odd open coal mine seemed to spring up every now and again. Quite why the railway line had to be elevated so high I don’t know but all along it were conveniently located concrete footsteps up one side and down the other to allow locals to negotiate the embankments safely. It seemed that the novelty of the newly arrived train hadn’t quite worn off yet as all along the line people stopped what they were doing to watch the train run by and at a road over bridge on the approach to Amajora Shikaripara at least a dozen folk lined its top as the train headed underneath; all seemingly waiting for its passing before going about whatever they’d been doing beforehand!

Ambajora Shikaripara looked like another new station, which was built on the end of the embankment that the train had been traversing for miles; with its station building below platform level. Quite why it needed three platforms with three tracks though is anyone’s guess. Perhaps Indian Railways have big plans for the line and the loop is to enhance capacity along the route, which let’s face it cuts a big chunk out if trains are heading from Rampurhat towards Kiul/Patna/Gaya. I was quite surprised to not see any freight along the route at all.

Barmasia is another single platformed station with only a small station building. It was here that I noticed vendors flitting between coaches as they all seemed to be trying to sell the same goods to the same few on board the train. The travelling TTE had some success in taking money from people without tickets while the train halted here, which begs the question of whether the one passenger service a day between Rampurhat & Dumka actually makes any money at all?

The last station before Dumka was Kurwa, which unlike any of the other stations seemed to be built in a cutting with its station building elevated above it, at the top of an embankment reach by steps up to it; which would also be the way out of the station itself. Both the small station building, small station canopy and paved platform edging all looked to have only been finished recently and while there were now a few people on board the train there didn’t seem to be many people getting off en-route.

Arrival into Dumka was at 1355, 50’ late. Even though the station at Dumka was opened for services from Jasidih Jn before the service from Rampurhat commenced, it still has that air of newness about it and looks quite clean as well. There are three through platforms and a bay platform at the Rampurhat end of the station, with an adjacent siding over the back end of the station where a train full of rails was being offloaded; and was still being offloaded when darkness fell a few hours later! In the middle platform BKSC WDM3A 16621 was sat with the rake for 18620 1845 Dumka – Ranchi Jn Intercity, which would be my way out of Dumka some hours after my arrival. As I’d happened to travel through Dumka on a Sunday the only services running were the Ranchi Intercity and the Rampurhat passenger as all other trains were Sunday excepted; so on a Sunday Dumka only saw two pairs of trains.

After photographs I thought it might make sense to try and get myself into town for something to eat; which appeared to be about 3km away on Google Maps. There was an auto right outside the station front as I walked out and I was soon beckoned in; what are the odds that the other two occupants spoke fluent English eh!? My good fortune had them negotiate a fare of RS150 with the auto driver and his mate, with them paying RS50 to their drop-off point en-route and me paying the outstanding RS100 to my chosen destination in town. Without having much of a clue where to go at all I just picked a hotel name off the Google printout I had and hoped for the best; when we turned up at the Hotel Narayani, which had been the only one with a review, it looked like a bit of a hole but I’d eaten at worse looking places! The two guys at the front door of it told the auto driver to take me elsewhere and I was soon at the Green Hotel, which was open for business and had people eating inside. With so much time to kill I’d arranged with the auto guys, with a little help from a local who spoke English, to pick me back up from the same place at 1700 and headed inside.

The meal I had at the Green Hotel was excellent and what’s more plentiful; which resulted in me not actually being able to finish my Aloo Dopyaza and Paneer Kulcha. I was stuffed. When I’d finished the two auto guys were still knocking about so rather than hang around in town I decided to just head back to the station and try and catch up on some bureaucracy while I waited; that was where the fun began……

I’m not a big fan of riding around in autos on my own in strange places at the best of times, especially when the station was a hefty ride away, so when the younger of the two started pestering me to buy them some food I became very wary straight away. Then we ended up in a petrol station where they insisted on RS50 for the fuel, which they were very kindly going to add to the RS150 we’d agreed for the return journey to the station. That was when I started to lose my temper with them and got out to walk away. Luckily for them the guy at the petrol pump spoke English and assured me I would only be paying the difference in fare when we got to the station; so I clambered back in, aware that there weren’t many autos’ about in the town at all. When we set off again, while some of the areas we passed through were vaguely familiar, I was glad to recognize the road towards Dumka station and then see the station come into view as we approached. The journey wasn’t helped by the fact that everyone drove in Dumka like there was no tomorrow; it was a little surreal at times as nobody seemed to use their horn at all, even when I traffic, which was all way too civilized for the India I was used to! With the inane jibbering on the way to the station and the pestering for food, along with the questioning about whether I had a train ticket or not, I was glad to get out and be in control of my own destiny again and having laid RS100 on the seat at the side of the driver I turned my back and walked away; you can guess what happened next? Yep, I was followed to the station front and pestered for more money, at which point my angry streak surfaced and the young lad was told in no uncertain terms he was getting no more, he had been given the agreed fare and that was that and I left him standing at the station entrance, feeling my Rath, as I walked onto the station and over the footbridge. While doing so I was approached by a couple of guys as I walked over the footbridge who wanted to make sure I was ok and didn’t have any problems. When I explained the issue I’d had with the auto they soon understood my shouting and thanked me for being firm with them and putting them in their place. It wasn’t the last I heard though and at some point I fully expected a confrontation on the station but thankfully that never came but some guy who’d been talking to the auto guys at the front gate came to query things with me as he’d been told the agreed fare had been RS200 and that I’d only given them RS150; once I explained my side of the story though he was fine and agreed with everything I’d said and done. This little issue is everything that I hate about India and as a tourist in a strange place on my own I have to be more careful than usual; if it wasn’t for the majority of auto drivers in India the country would be a lot more pleasant a place to get around. I’m a seasoned traveler and used to this kind of crap from auto drivers so imagine what it’s like for those that aren’t! Enough said on the matter……..

There wasn’t much to do on the station and not a stall in sight selling anything, let along chai! The attendant from the 3AC coach kindly left me a sheet to sit on while I did a bit of bureaucracy in the time I had to kill but when the station began to liven up I put everything away and just went with the flow; boarding the train only 30 minutes before departure. Thankfully the coach hadn’t warmed up too much as the sun hadn’t been glaring down all day. I was quite pleased to have the pleasure of a different BKSC WDM3A at the head of the train to those I’d had on the circuit at the Ranchi end at the start of the trip. With this being the only known BKSC passenger turn it seemed to make sense that a loco change took place at Bokaro Steel City itself at some point during the loco’s cycle but when that was would probably be discovered by someone at some point in the future?

With it being dark I saw nothing at all of the line from Dumka to Jasidih Jn and when we got to Jasidih the train loaded up to the hilt, with one person in my bay not actually having a valid ticket until Madhupur Jn as he couldn’t get a berth from Jasidih. Ultimately I ended up standing up while the loco ran round as an 83 year old guy wanted to make his lower berth up. He did me a massive favour in the end as while I was stood at the door minding my own business I heard an announcement for 13136 Jaynagar – Kolkata Chitpur and soon realised that it was booked diesel to Asansol so went to get my bag from under the seat, just in case, and sure enough the correct headlight configuration came into view shortly before BKSC WDM3A 16621 was given the road. I was more than pleased when UDL WDM3A 16174 came into view and was pretty much hot on the heels of 16621 as it hammered its way to Madhupur Jn; where UDL WDM3A 16323 was sat waiting to depart with 53519 2135 Madhupur Jn – Giridih passenger. I was tempted with it but the first station out was 6km and too far to be walking back in the pitch black if there was no road transport about to get me back to Madhupur.

When I finally got NTES to play ball it seemed like there was a move on anyway, while not Alco when MGS WAM4 21338 rolled in with 13320 1325 Ranchi Jn – Deogarh it tipped my balance in favour of doing it; namely as it wasn’t a WAP4 and with the fact the WAM4’s were a disappearing breed. It was only a 12km run to Mathurapur and only a short wait for what turned out to be ASN WAG5 23063 back to Madhupur Jn with 53132 0740 Muzaffarpur – Sealdah.

There were plenty of stalls lining the street outside Madhupur station and when NTES showed my 13185 Gangasagar Express as about 40’ late I had more time to kill than I needed; and chose to fill it drinking chai from a stall that clearly seemed to have different sixes of clay cup at varying prices. I chose my size carefully and ordered an omelette from the cleanest looking and busiest stall while I waited!

By the time surprise ASN WAG5 23523 had rolled in with 13185 Sealdah – Jaynagar I was surprised that UDL WDM3A 16323 hadn’t arrived back with 53520 2250 Giridih – Madhupur Jn passenger as it should have been in at 2345 and we were rolling out only a few minutes before midnight! Thankfully bedding was already waiting for me and my lower berth was soon made up and once the TTE had done his stuff it was lights out and sleep; knowing full well that the 40 or so minutes would not be recovered, sleep wise that was, as the Gangasagar Express was always a good runner and wouldn’t be late at Darbhanga….

 

Moves for Sunday 6th December 2015

16574 Prantik Bolpur 0840 (05/12) Varanasi Jn – Sealdah 13134 BWN WDM3A
18845 Bolpur Bhedia 0615 Rampurhat – Barddhaman Jn 53070 BWN WDM3A
16410 Bhedia Prantik 0630 Barddhaman Jn – Barharwa Jn 53063 BWN WDM3A
14132 Prantik Sainthia Jn 0605 Howrah – Azimganj Jn 13017 HWH WDM3A
16557 Sainthia Jn Rampurhat 0635 Sealdah – Guwahati Jn 15657 BWN WDM3A
16473 Rampurhat Dumka 1130 Rampurhat – Dumka 53081 BWN WDM3A
16621 Dumka Jasidih Jn 1845 Dumka – Ranchi Jn 18620 BKSC WDM3A
16174 Jasidih Jn Madhupur Jn 1240 Jaynagar – Kolkata Chitpur 13136 UDL WDM3A
21338 Madhupur Jn Mathurapur 1325 Ranchi Jn – Deogarh 13320 MGS WAM4
23063 Mathurapur Madhupur Jn 0740 Muzaffarpur Jn – Sealdah 53132 ASN WAG5
23523 Madhupur Jn Barauni Jn 1745 Sealdah – Jaynagar 13185 ASN WAG5

 

Gen for Sunday 6th December 2015

18996 HWH WDM3A 53044 xxxx (P) Rajgir – Howrah

11403 HWH WDM3D 13012 0430 Malda Town – Howrah

14143 HWH WDM3A 13466 0610 Malda Town – Howrah (diverted via Rampurhat)

16473 BWN WDM3A 53025 0905 Azimganj – Rampurhat, 53081 1130 Rampurhat – Dumka, 53082 1325 Dumka – Rampurhat

18874/18805 BWN WDM3A’s 12518 2100 (P) Guwahati – Kolkata Chitpur

23583 TATA WAG5 18604 1655 Bhagalpur – Ranchi

22802 MGS WAP4 13005 1910 Howrah – Amritsar Mail

16323 UDL WDM3A 53519 2135 Madhupur – Giridih, 53520 2250 Giridih – Madhupur

 

Photos for Sunday 6th December 2015

 

Monday 7th December 2015 (It appeared that the fog had arrived early in northern India)

I thought it was time to get up when the bert out of the upper berth opposite started clattering around and put the lights on; when I realised it was 0130 I had a few words to say! It turned out that the daft fool had lost his mobile phone, or should I say couldn’t find it, so was turning his berth upside down and checking under the lower berth as well. He’d had it in the top pocket of his shirt and sure enough I noticed a mobile phone shaped object under his jumper, at his waist; needless to say it was indeed his “lost” phone! Karma restored, so were my eyelids to the closed position!

While arrival into Darbhanga was bang on time, it wasn’t that late either. I was up in plenty of time too and was greeted outside with a nice blanket of fog; it appeared that the fog in northern India might be arriving early in this particular year!? NTES wasn’t a pretty sight for Darbhanga either with 14650 Amritsar – Jaynagar being 9 hours late and 12562 New Delhi – Jaynagar being 16h30m late! While these had potential to be a bit of a bonus in the moves, their return workings would be well down the pan so could have the opposite effect.

I went forward towards Sakri with what turned out to be SPJ WDM3D 11272 on 13185 and when we got held at Tar Sarai for 55280 0515 Biraul – Darbhanga I was off when SPJ WDG3A 14863 rolled in; which I actually managed to write down as 14683, which is also an SPJ engine, but managed to correct later in the morning when I actually had 14683 on a different train! 55280 dropped me nicely into Darbhanga to rush over the platform and do 55519 0605 Samastipur – Jaynagar back to Tar Sarai with MGS WDM3A 18813; that turn having previously been a KGP link. SPJ WDM3D 11299 was soon on its heels with 55575 0800 Darbhanga – Biraul and it put me into Sakri Jn to view the last running 52517 0830 Sakri – Laukaha Bazar, which had been held to await connections off the Biraul; 6494 was just being prepared for departure.

As we ran into Sakri on 55575 I noticed three YDM4’s just south of the station, they were 6465, 6514 & 6530, all of which had been seen at Izatnagar a month or so earlier loaded on BG wagons. 6465 had recently been based at Narkatiaganj as I’d had it there and 6514 had been photographed on the Bihariganj branch but 6530 hadn’t been sighted for a while, although it was a long time NKE machine anyway. It appeared that the three NKE machines had been delivered very recently as KTE WDG3A 13026 was occupying platform 2 at Sakri Jn with a short rake of flatbed wagons; so could have even delivered them as recently as the previous day? Even so I had no time to go down and investigate as I’d decided to not bother with 6494 and investigate what the MG had to offer later in the afternoon as it was a better move. Instead I opted for an opportunity to dump my bag at my pre-booked hotel in Darbhanga as it was shaping up to be a warm day after the fog had cleared so quickly. SPJ WDM3A 16262 was soon along with a retimed, as per NTES but not the printed timetable I might add, 55514 0735 Jaynagar – Samastipur Jn. The train was wedged on arrival but I managed to find some space in the disabled toilet, which nobody else wanted to bother with so I actually had more space to Darbhanga than anyone else on the train; and there were people hanging off the outside by the time we left Tar Sarai!

The fact that both 53041 Howrah – Jaynagar and 12562 New Delhi – Jaynagar were late it meant I had more options to get back to Sakri for the afternoon MG moves, which also meant I didn’t have to rely on 13226 Rajendranagar – Jaynagar to get me to Sakri in time. Having passed TKD WDP4D 40109 with 14650 Amritsar – Jaynagar, which was a bit of a surprise, I no longer had to concern myself with 14673 Jaynagar – Amritsar on the return either; however…..

Upon arrival into Darbhanga, armed with my ME maps to get me to my hotel, I was stopped in my tracks before I managed to get off the station when I found SPJ WDG3A 13180 sat in with a set of stock, facing towards Samastipur with a crew in. I hadn’t been expecting a train and NTES hadn’t shown one, however with people on board it was clearly going somewhere and I eventually figured out it was 55254 0810 Darbhanga – Samastipur running 2 hours late; obviously delayed coming in from wherever the rake share arrived from. Going to the hotel was put on hold when 13180 got the road before 16262 with 55514 did and having done an auto back from Laharia Sarai before I was already figuring out I’d be at the hotel within 30 minutes but might well be putting my hopes all on 13226 Rajendranagar – Jaynagar being on time to get me to Sakri for the afternoon MG moves. At Laharia Sarai an announcement stopped me in my tracks as I headed straight for the auto’s that were parked outside the station; it was announcing 55253 0830 Samastipur – Darbhanga, which I hadn’t even considered while I’d been figuring out what to do when presented with 13180. Sure enough 55254 with 13180 was held for 55253 to arrive with SPJ WDG3A 14683; which was when I realised I’d written the wrong number down in my book earlier, confirmed by the fact 14683 was in a completely different livery to the SPJ WDG3A I’d had earlier, 14863!

45 minutes after departing Darbhanga with 13180 I was walking into the Hotel Grand SM Regency, which was about a 10-minute walk from the station. It’s accessed through the front doors of the SM Plaza shopping mall and up a few flights of stairs to the reception. The staff on the front desk couldn’t have been more accommodating and they were prepared for my arrival, having received my Booking.com reservation; which was just as well as the hotel was fully booked with a wedding party that night! My room was only a standard room but it was very clean, spacious and well presented. It was even sprayed with air freshener before I was allowed in. Having completed the necessary form filling in reception I had no time to enjoy the room at all and was hightailing it back to the station within minutes.

While checking NTES on my way back to the station I realised that 53041 Howrah – Jaynagar was going to be at Darbhanga before 12562 New Delhi – Jaynagar; the latter now being 18 hours late! The first auto I came across wasn’t interested in taking me to Laharia Sarai but the next was and 15 minutes later I was stood on the platform, having paid RS200 for the 8km journey. HWH WDM3A 16115 was soon along with 53041, which was quite wedged but there was enough room to get me onto the train. Upon arrival into Darbhanga though, where the crew changed, those with their hordes of stuff down the side of the engine were ordered to remove it; which resulted in one bundle coming open and its contents being tipped onto the tracks by the loco! Let’s just say the guy doing the ferrying was in a lot of trouble with his other half!

I was a little surprised when 53041 departed Darbhanga in front of 12562, which arrived shortly afterwards at just the 18h30m late with MGS WDM3A 18844 on a turn that had previously been a PTRU link. The AC on the train was almost empty throughout and despite not needing 18844 I opted to do it to Sakri anyway so as not to jeopardize my afternoon moves as 13226 Rajendranagar – Jaynagar was late; not quite late enough to miss the 1415 Sakri – Nirmali but late enough to be of concern.

With doing 12562 to Sakri it meant I had plenty of time to walk down and photograph the newly delivered YDM4’s and upon arrival it seemed to be all go in the station as NKE YDM4 6597, previously on the Saharsa system, was just running round to drop onto the stock for 52529 1415 Sakri – Nirmali and SPJ WDM3A 16045 was just arriving with 12569 Jaynagar – Anand Vihar Garib Rath.  KTE WDG3A 13026 was started up as I walked down the tracks to the YDM4’s at the Darbhanga end of the station and when I got to them I noticed that they weren’t quite ready for service yet as some of their brake pipework was on the side running boards, yet to be refitted after they’d been lifted off the flat wagons. What I also noticed was that where the locos had been lifted the metal under the running boards had been damaged; to different extents on each loco. Quite why I’d only noticed this now I don’t know but a few days later I noticed it on every loco at Saharsa as well so it seems to be a common thing when lifting the locos, albeit something that IR doesn’t seem particularly bothered about? Of the three YDM4’s 6465 looked to be the runt of the litter with its fresh paint job being shoddier than that of 6514 & 6530 with 6530 having quite a lot of oil spattered down it’s sides as though it had been blowing it out of the exhaust while being run up after painting.

While I was down by the YDM4’s TKD WDP4D 40109 departed with 14650 Jaynagar – Amritsar, having arrived 9 hours late with 14673 from Amritsar I guess a 5-hour late departure with 14650 was quite respectable? When I got back into the station SPJ WDM3D 11299 was sat waiting to go with 55578 1200 Biraul – Darbhanga. With platform 2 being occupied by KTE WDG3A 13026 and its flat wagons this meant that 13226 Rajendranagar – Jaynagar couldn’t arrive until TKD WDP4D 40109 had departed with 14650 Jaynagar – Amritsar and would have to cross it at Laharia Sarai; the KTE Shakti being where it was, was causing more than its fair share of problems and in the end MGS WDM3A 16532 only just made 52529 1415 Sakri – Nirmali and people were still getting onto the MG train as it rolled out of the platform!

I was surprised that 52529 departed before 52526 0945 Nirmali – Sarki arrived, which it should have done at 1330, and was quite surprised it hadn’t been sat waiting for us at Manigachi. NKE YDM4 6551 was already in at Lohna Road though. Thankfully my journey to Jhanjharpur Jn was in daylight so I could take stock of what was going on around the railway, from the comfort of an actual seat as the train wasn’t full at all. Since my previous visit to Sakri 12 months ago nothing seemed to have progressed at all in the gauge conversion preparation stakes, sleepers were still piled up by the roadsides along the route, having not been moved, and the new bridge over the river at Lohna Road still wasn’t completed and was missing the middle span. Quite when gauge conversion would reach Jhanjharpur was anyone’s guess but it didn’t look as though IR wanted to hurry it along anytime soon!

At Jhanjharpur I found a couple of unexpected things, 6590 was sat in the pit road with previously serviceable 6495 & 6592 joining the long term unserviceable YDM4’s in the ever increasing line over the back of the station, which consisted of the following from the Sakri end: 6495, 6592, 6682, 6532, 6458 & 6512. I then found 6510, another one previous from the Saharsa system, shunting stock at the Nirmali end of the station. 6510 & 6597 had both arrived at Jhanjharpur since my last visit and there was still one more loco to spot, which would arrive with 52528 1400 Nirmali – Sakri.

With a few minutes to spare I went outside the station at Jhanjharpur, for the first time ever, and found the street adjacent to the station lined with stalls but not one could sell me a bottle of Thumbs Up! While minding my own business I had the pleasure of watching an old RPF guy driving his motorbike straight into a stall that I’d been stood at only minutes before; the contents of the front of which we scattered on the floor and the hoarding was dislodged as well. While entertaining for me it looked like the stall owner had his work cut out as I headed back to the station for my train.

As expected 6494 rolled in with 52522 1240 Laukaha Bazar – Sakri, a train that was so empty I had nearly all of the front coach to myself! It’s amazing how the loadings in the area differ from visit to visit. On the approach to Sakri Jn the inevitable signal check had us at a stand outside the station and 13186 Jaynagar – Sealdah went by us on the BG while we waited. I got the impression that we were brought to a stand so that the barriers, at the Jhanjharpur end of the station, only had to be put down once and for the least amount of time, as we were on the move once the Gangasagar Express had passed by us. Many people had given up and got off to walk by that point but most got back on as the train trickled by them on its way into the station. Had I been going for the Gangasagar Express I’d have been a little annoyed with the fact that it was already in the station but it was held to allow people to scurry across the bridge and make it. SPJ WDM3A 16453 was also in the station with 55515 1345 Samastipur – Jaynagar passenger. I didn’t have much time to spare at all as no sooner had we stopped did 6551 get the road to depart with 52519 1730 Sakri- Laukaha Bazar.

With the new arrival of 6510 & 6597 at Jhanjharpur I was keen to find out what the remaining YDM4 on the system might be so I went back out with 6551 to Manigachi, where I could see the silhouette of a YDM4 in the station as we approached; it’s headlight turned off. I was destined to left wondering what the remaining YDM4 could be when I found 6590 at the head of 52528 1400 Nirmali – Sakri; clearly having re-engined it at Jhanjharpur based on the fact it had been on the pit road when I’d departed earlier! I wasn’t complaining though as 6590 had been one that had eluded me until this point.

Quite pleased with how my day had gone I boarded 55520 1715 Jaynagar – Samastipur passenger at Sakri, with MGS WDM3A 16532 leading the way, and headed back to Darbhanga while I pondered what I should do the following morning to get to Saharsa; despite having a plan. Back at the hotel Grand SM Regency things were starting to get busy when I arrived with wedding guests milling about everywhere and the general ambience about the place being a bit busy and a little noisy. It seemed like it was wedding night in Darbhanga as I’d passed two other places, on the walk back from the station, that were being set up for weddings. After I’d ordered my food for the evening the hotel manager was kind enough to ring through to a hotel in Saharsa for me to reserve me a room for the following two nights. Initially it seemed like there wouldn’t be any room but 15 minutes later, after three phone calls, my room at the Hotel Vijieya in Saharsa was confirmed. After a very good meal, in my cozy room, I was glad to get to bed and thankfully my earplugs kept the noise from the wedding party well and truly out of my head…….

 

Moves for Monday 7th December 2015

11272 Barauni Jn Tar Sarai 1745 (06/12) Sealdah – Jaynagar 13185 SPJ WDM3D
14863 Tar Sarai Darbhabga Jn 0515 Biraul – Darbhanga Jn 55280 SPJ WDG3A
18813 Darbhabga Jn Tar Sarai 0605 Samastipur Jn – Jaynagar 55519 MGS WDM3A
11299 Tar Sarai Sakri Jn 0800 Darbhanga Jn – Biraul 55575 SPJ WDM3D
16262 Sakri Jn Darbhabga Jn 0735 Jaynagar – Samastipur Jn 55514 SPJ WDM3A
13180 Darbhabga Jn Laharia Sarai 0810 Darbhanga Jn – Samastipur Jn 55254 SPJ WDG3A
14683 Laharia Sarai Darbhabga Jn 0830 Samastipur Jn – Darbhanga Jn 55253 SPJ WDG3A
Auto Darbhabga Jn Laharia Sarai RS150, 8km, 20 minutes
16115 Laharia Sarai Darbhabga Jn 0715 (06/12) Howrah – Jaynagar 53041 HWH WDM3A
18844 Darbhabga Jn Sakri Jn 2035 (05/12) New Delhi – Jaynagar 12562 MGS WDM3A – 18h30m late
6597 Sakri Jn Jhanjharpur Jn 1415 Sakri Jn – Nirmali 52529 NKE YDM4
6494 Jhanjharpur Jn Sakri Jn 1240 Laukaha Bazar – Sakri Jn 52522 NKE YDM4
6551 Sakri Jn Manigachi 1730 Sakri Jn – Laukaha Bazar 52519 NKE YDM4
6590 Manigachi Sakri Jn 1400 Nirmali – Sakri Jn 52528 NKE YDM4
16532 Sakri Jn Darbhabga Jn 1715 Jaynagar – Samastipur Jn 55520 MGS WDM3A

 

Gen for Monday 7th December 2015

40109 TKD WDP4D 14650 1155 (P) Amritsar – Jaynagar (9 hours late), 14673 0715 Jaynagar – Amritsar (5 hours late)

14683 SPJ WDG3A 55255 1130 Darbhanga – Muzaffarpur

16045 SPJ WDM3A 12569 1200 Jaynagar – Anand Vihar Terminus Garib Rath

11299 SPJ WDM3D 55578 1200 Biraul – Darbhanga

11272 SPJ WDM3D 13186 1715 Jaynagar – Sealdah

16453 SPJ WDM3A 55515 1345 Samastipur – Jaynagar

16532 MGS WDM3A 13226 0720 Rajendranagar – Jaynagar

13026 KTE WDG3A sat at Sakri all day with a short rake of flat wagons; assumed to have delivered the YDM4’s mentioned below

 

MG (NKE YDM4’s outbased at JJP)

6465, 6514 & 6530 at Sakri Jn having just been offloaded after arrival from IZN

6495, 6592, 6682, 6532, 6458 & 6512 demic at Jhanjharpur

Serviceable and working out of JJP – 6494, 6510, 6551, 6590, 6597 plus one other not seen

6494 52517 0830 Sakri – Laukaha Bazar

6510 shunt loco at Jhanjharpur

6551 52526 0945 Nirmali – Sakri

6597 52520 0815 Laukaha Bazar – Sakri

 

Photos for Monday 7th December 2015

 

Tuesday 8th December 2015 (Best laid plans, Chain pulling & TTE’s…….)

I was pleasantly surprised to be woken by my alarm clock and not the joviality of the hotel guests, who clearly enjoyed their wedding evening, judging by the state of the function room when I went to order breakfast at 0645. The restaurant didn’t open until 0700 but I was assured my food would arrive at 0715; it eventually turned up at 0740 and had to be rushed down as I was aiming for the 0835 departure from Darbhanga and thank god I did rush it in the end!

Having already settled my bill the previous night I bode the hotel staff farewell and set off walking through the deserted streets of Darbhanga, to the station. On my way I passed by the two places that had been set up for weddings the previous evening; it was absolute carnage both inside and out! There was rubbish strewn everywhere and piled up outside each were literally hundreds of plates of discarded food, which were making a good breakfast for anything and everything that passed by; with cows having a good go at the leftovers as I hurried by.

Things got busier as I neared the station and the roadside by the junction was already lined with colourful vegetables being offloaded to passersby; and roaming cows that just took what they wanted when people weren’t paying attention. As I walked onto the station my attention was instantly taken by what I was seeing at the front of 12565 Darbhanga – New Delhi Bihar Sampark Kranti Express; it was only a bloody GM; and a Siliguri one at that. Whether an off-link or not I don’t know but SGUJ’s WDP4D 40129 was not what I had in mind that morning and I was very glad to have made 55254 0810 Darbhanga – Samastipur passenger, despite the later than planned breakfast. SPJ WDG3A 13405 did the honours, on what turned out to be a relatively empty passenger train to Samastipur. We were overtaken en-route by The Bihar Sampark Kranti and it seemed like IR were being kind to me on this particular morning as there were a couple of late trains on NTES that were heading towards Barauni from Samastipur. My plan for the day had been to simply get to Samastipur on 12565, do 11124 Gwalior – Barauni Mail to Barauni for 55538 1245 Samastipur – Katihar to Begusarai for 12568 Patna – Saharsa or 15280 Adarsh Nagar – Saharsa to Saharsa; my plan went a little better than I expected it to in the end and I did end up doing both 12568 & 15280, just not on the same day!

Having crossed SPJ WDM3A 16176 with 55253 Samastipur – Darbhanga passenger en-route, just as we began to round the curve into Samastipur Jn the brakes went in as the chain was pulled by one of the many college students on board; all of whom then exited the train and legged it across the tracks to college. As we set off HWH WDM3D 11572 came round the corner on the main line with 53132 Muzaffarpur – Sealdah passenger and it suffered the exact same fate we had and was chained on the main line to allow all the travelling college students to get off and walk the shorter distance to college.

As SPJ WDG3A 13405 drew into the platform MGS WDM3A 18846 was sat waiting to depart with 12562 New Delhi – Jaynagar, which was only 16 hours late on this occasion! With NTES showing my planned train, 11124 Gwalior – Barauni, as already 2 hours late, 53132 Muzaffarpur – Sealdah looked like a good bet but an even better bet wasn’t far behind it in 15232 Gondia – Barauni Express; which itself was 3 hours late. I was toying with the idea of watching 11572 depart with 53132, in favour of doing 15232 behind it, but when dud SPJ WDM3D 11534 rolled into the platform with 15232, adjacent to where 11572 was stood with 53132, there was no choice and what a good choice I made in doing new 11572; as it got the road shortly afterwards and left 15232 Gondia – Barauni Express stood in the platform at Samastipur!

It wasn’t long before 11534 with 15232 was hot on our heels and sure enough 53132 was held at Nazirganj for the Express to go by and it approached at a great rate, however it then began to slow at a great rate as well and then the familiar three honks on the horn came; which didn’t need to be done a second time for me to be already down on the tracks waiting for the train to come to a stand, and I wasn’t the only one. As I clambered aboard the virtually empty sleeper class coaches of 15232 about a dozen people scattered in all directions when the train came to a stand. Quite why they’d even bothered doing the express in the first place is a little puzzling, especially as both it and the passenger stood at the side of it had been in Samastipur at the same time, side by side! Either way I was grateful and 11534 was soon on the way with 15232.

At Dalsingh Sarai the chain got pulled again, this time it seemed by people who’d got off 53132 at Nazirganj, who obviously wanted a faster journey to their destination. As people scattered at Dalsingh Sarai though I noticed a distinct concern on some of their faces and then realised that the people running after them weren’t fellow travelers they were actually plain clothed railway police who’d literally been stood in wait for when trains got chained and they were rounding up as many people as they could catch; whether they were the actual chain puller or not. One guy got caught right outside my window, basically because he ran like a girl and then couldn’t jump over a fence. I could tell by the look on his face that he feared what was going to happen to him now and I could only watch on as once again 11534 got to grips with its train as it pulled away from Dalsingh Sarai.

On arrival at Barauni Jn there was little more entertainment to contend with as the TTE at the top of the platform steps checked everyone’s tickets as they headed away from the terminating 15232 Gondia – Barauni Express. I just watched on from nearby on the footbridge as he collared one young lad who was travelling with a passenger ticket and not an express one, who the TTE had clearly seen get off 15232 and was having none of his excuses. He’d actually got off 53132 at Nazirganj when I did, the difference was I was valid and he wasn’t and he was going to suffer the consequences that day as he was led off by the TTE.

My plan to do 55538 Samastipur – Katihar to Begusarai didn’t seem to be going to plan as it just didn’t pick up on NTES as having departed. There were get out of jail free cards though, unfortunately in the form of 15910 Lalgarh – New Tinsukia Avadh Assam Express and 15484 Delhi Jn – Alipurduar Jn Sikkim Mahananda Express which were showing as 3 and 8 hours late respectively on NTES when I arrived at Barauni Jn. NTES didn’t even recognize 12568 Patna – Saharsa as a train so I had no clue how that was doing but 15280 Adarsh Nagar – Saharsa was showing 6 hours late, which was a train I fancied ending up on into Saharsa if I could help it at that late!

While figuring out what my options were, based on the current status of the trains, SPJ WDG3A 13080 rolled in with a late running 55539 Katihar – Hajipur passenger. It was at that point that I realised that 53132 Muzaffarpur – Sealdah hadn’t turned up yet and that it was only 3km to Barauni Flag so even if I missed it there off 55539 I could walk back to Barauni Jn in the 90 minutes I had to kill before the Avadh Assam Express would be on the horizon. 15 minutes after departing Barauni Jn I was delivered back there by 11572 working 53132; which I didn’t realise until later on was actually left at Barauni Jn instead of running round. I’d been expecting the Alco to work through to Asansol as it had done in previous times but 53132 now seemingly got re-engined at Barauni instead.

I was quite surprised when NGC WDM3A 16578 arrived into Barauni with 15903 Dibrugarh – Chandigarh as the last time I’d had anything to do with that train it had been worked by an SGUJ WDP4; and boy had I wish I’d done it on that occasion as I watched it roll out of Lumding Jn. Following that was 15715 Kishanganj – Ajmer with its customary MLDT WDM3A 16007. Having fed myself on the station at Barauni, as there really is nothing around the station area at all, I waited patiently for 15910 Avadh Assam Express. On the platform near where I was waiting were three TTE’s who pounced the moment the Avadh Assam arrived. It seemed to me that a bit of clamping down was going off in the Bihar area? I was more concerned about the wedge factor of the train and went in search of the TTE, who kindly gave me an upper berth for the journey I’d opted to make aboard his train, to Mansi Jn.

Mansi had seemed like a sensible idea based on the fact there were potential moves to Khagaria Jn if things fell right and it was more by luck than judgement that SGUJ WDP4 20074 put me into Mansi just in time to watch BWN WDM3A 16618 arrive from Saharsa with 13164 Saharsa – Sealdah Hatey Bazar Express; which I was so pre-occupied with on arrival that I completely missed the fact that SPJ WDM3A 16401 was sat in the main platform wait to depart with a very late 55537 0835 Katihar – Samastipur passenger. A quick jog round the back of the train and across the tracks in front of KGP WDM3A twins 16421/16110, that were sat waiting with a freight, soon had me finding myself a bit of space on board 55537.

I didn’t have long to wait at Khagaria Jn before a train came heading my way back towards Mansi and it was one that I didn’t even realise was coming as 12488 Anand Vihar – Jogbani came bowling into the platform with MGS WDM3A 16254 at its helm. Having confirmed with someone on board that the train did indeed stop at Mansi I got off the train in the middle road at Mansi 10 minutes later thanking my lucky stars! The train was 12h30m late and had been brought to a stand in the middle road at Mansi Jn, which I thought was a bit odd for a stopping express. It wasn’t until I eventually found the train in the timetable that I then realised it was right away Khagaria to Naugachia; half way to Katihar!

KGP’s WDM3A twins 16421/16110 were still in the middle road at Mansi when I got back but were shortly allowed to head off towards Khagaria. I managed to get across the tracks before they set off and could see 55223 Katihar – Darbhanga passenger approaching in the distance; which arrived with SPJ WDG3A 13402, which had been a KZJ engine previously. While I was walking down the trackside towards the platform edge, something caught my attention. It was a crow that was looking at me with a mischievous stare, as if to enquire exactly what I was looking at. Either way it looked a bit shifty and when I got a little closer I realised why when I saw a pigeon in its grasp that it had clear already had a go at. My passing had obviously interrupted what the crow was doing and the poor pigeon seized the opportunity to attempt an escape but without its wings functioning and a hole in its chest it didn’t get very far before the crow dragged it back with its beak. Still apprehensive about my presence the crow appeared to look at me, then at its catch, then back at me before hammering the poor pigeon in the head three times and then setting about ripping into its belly. Strangely it then flew off to watch from overhead and it was only when I walked off that I actually realised the pigeon was still breathing!

As I stood on the platform, chomping freshly fried bits, I began to think that my luck for the day must surely have ran out; as 12568 Patna – Saharsa approached in the distance. MGS WDM3A 16256 was soon in the platform and I found the AC Chair Car coach towards the rear of the train and even managed to find myself a seat within it to Saharsa. Upon arrival SPJ WDM3B 14160 was sat waiting with 55565 1815 Saharsa – Samastipur passenger and in the MG platforms I was very pleased to find NKE YDM4 6744 waiting to depart with what I thought at the time was a late running 1615 Saharsa – Raghopur but it actually turned out to be a very late running 1430 Saharsa – Tharbitia; I found out later that night that the MG from Tharbitia to Raghopur has closed for gauge conversion on 30/11/2015, courtesy of a small note stuck on the MG ticket booth. Another NKE YDM4 I was pleased to see was 6676, which was sat with a set of stock in the other MG platform, having clearly arrived before I’d got there.

Knowing full well that I could have 6744 back in later in the evening, on what I believed to be a late night move at the time, I opted to do 14160 back out on the BG to Koparia and the move paid off as SPJ WDM3D arrived with 15210 Amritsar – Saharsa, dragging GD WDM3A 18810 dead inside; 3 hours late! When I got back in to Saharsa the occupants of 15210 seemed to be in a mad rush to claim the best platform space and I’ve never seen competition like it as everyone made a mad dash to lay their blankets out on the platform so they could get dossed down for the evening and await whatever train they were doing forward, whenever that may have been. Meanwhile back in the MG platforms I found NKE YDM4 6676 having run round its stock and was sat waiting to go with what I believed at the time was the 1900 Saharsa – Raghopur but late found out was the 1800 Saharsa – Tharbitia; I did it out to Saharsa Kacheri for a cycle riskshaw back to the Hotel Vijieya, which took about 15 minutes and cost RS30 for the rickety ride.

The Hotel Vijieya had been expecting me when I arrived and my name was clearly written on their list of arriving guests for that day. There had been a little more English spoken at the hotel than on my last visit, with the hotel manager being fluent. After filling in all the relevant forms and books I was shown to my room, which was a rather large room on the first floor, which had a reception room with sofa and table and a large bedroom with double bed, air conditioning and a portable heater! Let’s just say it was rough round the edges and far from clean with stained towels, bedding and pillows; but it was the “only business class hotel in Saharsa” so it claimed, so must have been better than the competition? Which of course I’d never stayed at. Piping hot water was only the click of a switch away though, which was at least something, and the state of the sheets was why I always carry around my own sheet for the duration of a trip.

I couldn’t hang around for long as I planned to do the late evening move out to Panchgachia, which at the time of departing the hotel I believed was the 2215 Saharsa – Raghopur out for the 2020 Raghopur – Saharsa back in; which should be 6744 returning. As I milled around on the platform I couldn’t quite believe it when NKE YDM4 6569 came running through the platform to work the outbound train. A few minutes later I was hanging around in the shadows, out of the way, which was when I found the small white notice stuck to the side of the MG unreserved ticket booth. Initially I thought it was just a timetable change but then it sank it that it was actually a complete recast due to a section having closed for gauge conversion. As of 01/12/2015 the timetable came into force with train no longer running between Tharbitia and Raghopur. Which explained why what I believed to be the 2215 to Raghopur departed at 2145 and was actually a very late 2015 Saharsa – Tharbitia. It obviously then sank in that the trains I’d seen and done earlier weren’t what I’d thought they were; but then another issue entered the arena as none of the trains were anywhere near to their departure times but they were getting less late as the evening went on. I ultimately found out from a stall owner, while consuming some of his finest fried goods, that there “been issues down the line earlier”. That was all I could get out of him to explain why the train service was basically down the pan on the MG. As I headed out to Panchgachia with 6569, where 6744 was waiting to bring me back into Saharsa, it wouldn’t be until the following morning that I realised my luck hadn’t run out when I’d stepped off 12488 in the middle road at Mansi. Despite getting back to the hotel very late and not going to bed until almost midnight, I went to bed a very happy man having had three new NKE YDM4’s that night; which was way more than I could have ever hoped for!

 

Moves for Tuesday 8th December 2015

13405 Darbhabga Jn Samastipur Jn 0810 Darbhanga Jn – Samastipur Jn 55254 SPJ WDG3A
11572 Samastipur Jn Nazirganj 0740 Muzaffarpur Jn – Sealdah 53132 HWH WDM3D
11534 Nazirganj Barauni Jn 2100 (06/12) Gondia Jn – Barauni Jn 15232 SPJ WDM3D – 3h late
13080 Barauni Jn Barauni Flag 0400 Katihar Jn – Hajipur Jn 55539 SPJ WDG3A
11572 Barauni Flag Barauni Jn 0740 Muzaffarpur Jn – Sealdah 53132 HWH WDM3D
20074 Barauni Jn Mansi Jn 1945 (06/12) Lalgarh Jn – New Tinsukia Jn 15910 SGUJ WDP4
16401 Mansi Jn Khagaria Jn 0835 Katihar Jn – Samastipur Jn 55537 SPJ WDM3A
16254 Khagaria Jn Mansi Jn 0730 (06/12) Anand Vihar Terminus – Jogbani 12488 MGS WDM3A – 12h30m late
16256 Mansi Jn Saharsa Jn 1245 Patna Jn – Saharsa Jn 12568 MGS WDM3A
14160 Saharsa Jn Koparia 1815 Saharsa Jn – Samastipur Jn 55565 SPJ WDM3D
11509 Koparia Saharsa Jn 0635 (07/12) Amritsar Jn – Saharsa Jn 15210 SPJ WDM3D – GD WDM3A 18810 dit – 5h late
6676 Saharsa Jn Saharsa Kacheri 1800 Saharsa Jn – Tharbitia 52330 NKE YDM4
Rickshaw Saharsa Kacheri Saharsa Jn RS30, 2km, 10 minutes
6569 Saharsa Jn Panchgachia 2015 Saharsa Jn – Tharbitia 52332 NKE YDM4
6744 Panchgachia Saharsa Jn 1730 Tharbitia – Saharsa Jn 52329 NKE YDM4

 

Gen for Tuesday 8th December 2015

40129 SGUJ WDP4D 12565 0835 Darbhanga – New Delhi

16176 SPJ WDM3A 55253 0830 Samastipur – Darbhanga

18846 MGS WDM3A 12562 2035 (PP) New Delhi – Jaynagar (16 hours late)

16578 NGC WDM3A 15903 0700 (P) Dibrugarh – Chandigarh

16007 MLDT WDM3A 15715 0600 Kishanganj – Ajmer

20050 SGUJ WDP4 15909 1040 (P) New Tinsukia – Lalgarh

16618 BWN WDM3A 13164 1420 Saharsa – Sealdah

14167 SPJ WDM3B 55559 1345 Saharsa – Samastipur

 

MG (NKE YDM4’s outbased at Saharsa)

6744 52328 1430 Saharsa – Tharbitia

 

Photos for Tuesday 8th December 2015

 

Wednesday 9th December 2015 (Licking a WDM3D buffer beam surely can’t be good for you?)

Despite the late night I was still up and out of the hotel for a brisk walk to the station to cover trains departing at 0730. It was a cold and very foggy morning, with both my jumper and coat making the trip out with me. The streets were deserted until the main road, where the queue of traffic was becoming impatient as everyone waited for YDM4 6676 to arrive with 52321 0415 Tharbitia – Saharsa; which I could hear the horn of, in the distance as I set off from the hotel.

I managed to get NTES working on my way to the station and was amazed to find that the train I’d originally planned to arrive into Saharsa on, the previous night, still hadn’t arrived; and was now 12 hours late! So when I realised that 12567 0700 Saharsa – Patna Jn hadn’t gone yet I decided to clamber aboard and do it out to Simri Bakhtiyarpur where MGS WDM3A 16256 and train were held to await the arrival of the very late running 15280 Adarsh Nagar – Saharsa, which rolled in with SPJ WDM3A 16655; just the 12h45m late!

As I couldn’t see the locos on the MG shed when I came back in on 15280 I decided to have a walk down to the shed in the hour or so I had to kill. The thickness of the fog became more apparent as daylight tried to prevail but it didn’t look like it was going anywhere soon and the coat remained well and truly fastened as I wondered down towards what turned out to be a very atmospheric Saharsa DLS in the end. The luck I’d had the previous day was compounded when I found 6744, 6569 & 6758 at the shed exit, all clearly having been dumped there; I soon found out that they were to be fuelled from the two road vehicles that were parked alongside the tracks, along with 6513 which was parked on top of the demic line that consists of 6684, 6463, 6389 & 6683. I had a quick walk round the shed area but nothing else revealed itself from the fog and the only other presence of a YDM4 was the bits left behind after 6392 had been cut up on site; the number pained onto the generator confirming what the parts belonged to. By the time I’d quickly walked round 6744 had been struck up and someone was clambering onto 6513 to start that as well. There were a few members of IR staff around and one didn’t seem to be happy with something as he started to raise his voice at the others and pointed towards 6569; I took that as my cue to make myself scarce and I began to blend into the fog as I skulked away from the place, as quickly as I’d emerged from it.

I hung around by the end of platform 1 for a while, waiting for the stock to emerge from the carriage sidings for 15209 0845 Saharsa – Amritsar; I couldn’t even see the end of the loco stabling point from where I was, let alone the carriage sidings, due to the fog. While admiring the manual work being done by those that were loading the bags of rice, which had arrived into Saharsa by train, onto lorries for onward transportation I came across a new low point; even for a dog! Stabled up were SGUJ WDG4 12159 and SPJ WDM3D’s 11584/11509. While having a look around them I came across a female dog that was acting a little strangely round the front of 11509. When I stood and watched, out of curiosity, I figured out that it was actually licking the buffer beam of the loco; I can only assume in some sort of vain attempt to survive? It wasn’t just the odd lick either it was having a proper go at the thing and when it had finished with the buffer beam it then went underneath to see what other tasty morsels it could find splattered on the bogies and traction motors! Never have I ever seen anything so ridiculous from a dog in India; it would have had a field day with the pile of dumped food I’d walked by outside the wedding venue in Darbhanga the previous day!

GD WDM3A 18810 eventually appeared out of the fog with the stock for 15209 0845 Saharsa – Amritsar which I was hoping would happen. With it appearing it didn’t quite confirm why it had been dead inside SPJ WDM3D 11509 the previous evening on 15210 and ultimately why 11509 ended up going away dead inside something else later in the morning. Still I wasn’t complaining when the Gonda machine departed bang on tie with 15209 and a short wait in the fog at Simri Bakhtiyarpur ended with the hulk of SPJ WDM3A 16584 emerging with 15532 Amritsar – Saharsa; which was 4h30m late.

Back in Saharsa SPJ WDM3B 14167, in a nice red livery, had collected SPJ WDM3D 11509 out of the loco stabling point and was sat waiting to depart with 55553 0450 Banmankhi Jn – Samastipur Jn with it dead inside. I was soon heading back to Simri Bakhtiyarpur on a reasonably empty but late passenger train and was heading straight back in with SPJ WDM3D 11299 on 55566 0445 Samastipur – Saharsa, which had of course been on the Darbhanga – Biraul turn two days previous. Upon arrival into Saharsa 11299 and set then worked forward with 55570 1000 Saharsa – Dauram Madupura, would return with 55569 1110 Dauram Madupura – Saharsa and then work 23225 1240 Saharsa – Rajendranagar Link Express. There was no rest for me at Saharsa either as SPJ WDM3D 11584 was being prepared in the loco stabling point as we arrived and was soon dropping onto the set of stock in platform 1 to form the MWFO 55567 1035 Saharsa – Samastipur; albeit late!

My fourth trip to Simri Bakhtiyarpur was a bit more leisurely than the rest and I had about 30 minutes there. The fog had started to lift a little but there was no sign of the sun making a breakthrough at all. When BWN WDM3A 18714 arrived with 13163 Sealdah – Saharsa Hatey Bazar Express people were spilling out of the doors as the train rolled down the platform. Thankfully I managed to get into the 2AC coach towards the rear of the train and lounged in relative comfort on the way back into Saharsa; where 18814 was immediately run round to make the return trip to Sealdah with 13164 1420 Saharsa – Sealdah.

The rice loading seemed to be progressing well when I got back and it had brightened no end. All the rice spilled to the floor during the transfer process was now being gathered up, along with all the sand, dust and other crap on the floor, and bundled back into bags that were being repaired in situ by the many women helping out with the whole process! SPJ WDG3A 13613 had arrived into the middle road with a ballast train and SGUJ WDG4 12165 was just backing on when I clambered over the guard’s van at the Mansi end of the train to take another walk over to the shed and see what was going on. Ultimately the GM headed off with the ballast onto the Katihar line so its load could have been for the continuing gauge conversion works to bridge the gap beyond Banmankhi Jn?

The fact that’s I’d heard YDM4’s running on shed as I’d arrived with 18714 on the Hatey Bazar Express was what prompted my second walk round the Saharsa DLS that day. With the fog clearing and the sun even attempting to get out every now and again it was a completely different wonder to the one I’d had that morning. 6513 remained in the same place it had been that morning but 6569, 6744 & 6758 were all down by the diesel shed and all running. I only came across one member of staff on my walk round, who was more than happy to let me go about my business when I pointed to my camera. 6569 was sat just outside the shed with 6744 & 6758 sat just inside over the pits, on separate roads. I could only assume that it might have been break time as there was nobody around in the shed at all; other than me!

I ended up with time to kill in the afternoon so when I viewed YDM4 6676 arrive with 52325 1115 Tharbitia – Saharsa, SPJ WDM3B 14160 depart with 55559 1345 Saharsa – Samastipur, BWN WDM3A 18714 depart with 13164 1420 Saharsa – Sealdah and YDM4 6754 depart with 52328 1430 Saharsa – Tharbitia I headed off to the hotel for some food. As 15531 Amritsar – Saharsa had arrived late 15532 1500 Saharsa – Amritsar was being advertised to depart 2 hours late so there was nothing spoiling at all until 1615. I’d found 04911 1615 Saharsa – Ambala Cantt special on NTES, which technically required an extra loco at Saharsa to cover it and the only extra loco that had turned up all day was SPJ WDG3A 13613 off the ballast that had been in the middle road when I’d last arrived back into Saharsa.

Having stuffed my face at the hotel I made sure I was back at the station to cover 04911 and wasn’t surprised to find SPJ WDG3A 13613 at its helm; after all there was simply nothing else to use. The problem with the train was that it was booked to be right away to Khagaria Jn but with both 15210 Amritsar – Saharsa and 12568 Patna Jn – Saharsa heading towards it when 13613 set off from Saharsa I wasn’t surprised, and was also quite pleased, when 04911 came to a halt on the through road at Simri Bakhtiyarpur to await the arrival of 15210 Amritsar – Saharsa; which for a change was only 2h30m late and rolled up with GD WDM3A 16332.

With no other BG moves on the cards that evening I ended up doing YDM4 6513 out to Panchgachia on 52330 1800 Saharsa – Tharbitia that evening; it having replaced 6676 in the circuit. Of the 7 YDM4’s Saharsa had at the time this was the one I’d least wanted to have but with 6676 now being out of the circuit, as well as both 6569 & 6744, I was still very grateful to have arrived into Saharsa when I had and even more grateful for the farce that had seemingly occurred the previous day as without it I’d have missed 6569 & 6744. Both of which looked destined not to work again during my visit!

Having waited at Saharsa for the arrival of MGS WDM3A 16256 with 12568 Patna Jn – Saharsa, 6513 eventually set off and the train was still very empty when it did. The headlight of 6754 was visible in the distance at Panchgachia and compared to the previous day’s fiasco I was amazed at just how on time the MG seemed to be at Saharsa now; obviously with less distance to cover there are less issues to encounter. I was back at the hotel for 2030 that evening, where my second good meal of the day was immediately ordered and while it was being prepared I was thankful of the hot shower that evening; especially as the moment it had started to get dark it turned instantly cold again!

 

Moves for Wednesday 9th December 2015

16256 Saharsa Jn Simri Bakhtiyarpur 0700 Saharsa Jn – Patna Jn 12567 MGS WDM3A
16655 Simri Bakhtiyarpur Saharsa Jn 1600 (07/12) Adarsh Nagar Delhi – Saharsa Jn 15280 SPJ WDM3A – 12h45m late
18810 Saharsa Jn Simri Bakhtiyarpur 0845 Saharsa Jn – Amritsar Jn 15209 GD WDM3A
16584 Simri Bakhtiyarpur Saharsa Jn 1750 (07/12) Amritsar Jn – Saharsa Jn 15532 SPJ WDM3A
14167 Saharsa Jn Simri Bakhtiyarpur 0450 Banmankhi Jn – Samastipur Jn 55553 SPJ WDM3D – SPJ WDM3D 11509 dit
11299 Simri Bakhtiyarpur Saharsa Jn 0445 Samastipur Jn – Saharsa Jn 55566 SPJ WDM3D
11584 Saharsa Jn Simri Bakhtiyarpur 1035 Saharsa Jn – Samastipur Jn 55567 SPJ WDM3D
18714 Simri Bakhtiyarpur Saharsa Jn 2010 (08/12) Sealdah – Saharsa Jn 13163 BWN WDM3A
13613 Saharsa Jn Simri Bakhtiyarpur 1615 Saharsa Jn – Ambala Cantt 04911 SPJ WDG3A
16332 Simri Bakhtiyarpur Saharsa Jn 0635 (08/12) Amritsar Jn – Saharsa Jn 15210 MGS WDM3A
6513 Saharsa Jn Panchgachia 2015 Saharsa Jn – Tharbitia 52332 NKE YDM4
6754 Panchgachia Saharsa Jn 1730 Tharbitia – Saharsa Jn 52329 NKE YDM4

 

Gen for Wednesday 9th December 2015

MG

Saharsa DLS (NKE YDM4s outbased at Saharsa)

6683, 6463, 6389 & 6683 demic with the remains of cut up 6392 laying around

6513, 6744, 6569 & 6758 fuelled in the morning then all but 6513 in the pit roads later for servicing

6471 52323 0700 Tharbitia – Saharsa, 52326 1215 Saharsa – Tharbitia, 52327 1530 Tharbitia – Saharsa

6513 52330 1800 Saharsa – Tharbitia

6676 52321 0415 Tharbitia – Saharsa, 52324 0730 Saharsa – Tharbitia, 52325 1115 Tharbitia – Saharsa

6754 Saharsa Carriage Siding shunt loco then 52328 1430 Saharsa – Tharbitia, 52329 1730 Tharbitia – Saharsa

 

BG

14167 SPJ WDM3B (SPJ WDM3D 11509 dit) 55553 0600 Banmankhi Jn – Samastipur

11299 SPJ WDM3D 55566 0445 Samastipur – Saharsa, 55570 1000 Saharsa – Dauram Madupura, 55569 1110 Dauram Madupura – Saharsa, 23225 1240 Saharsa – Rajendranagar Link Express

14160 SPJ WDM3B 55560 0840 Samastipur – Saharsa, 55559 1345 Saharsa – Samastipur

18714 BWN WDM3A 13164 1420 Saharsa – Sealdah

11572 HWH WDM3D 23226 0720 Rajendranagar – Saharsa Link Exp, 55565 1815 Saharsa – Samastipur

16584 SPJ WDM3A 15531 1500 Saharsa – Amritsar (2-hour late start)

16256 12568 1245 Patna Jn – Saharsa

 

Photos for Wednesday 9th December 2015

 

Thursday 10th December 2015 (It just got later and later…….)

I was up for the 0730 departures from Saharsa again and it was another cold morning as I walked to the station; having left my bags at the hotel to collect later when I checked out. With all the late running of trains heading into Saharsa from Amritsar over the previous two days I wasn’t at all surprised to find 12204 Amritsar – Saharsa Garib Rath 4 hours late departing Bhatni Jn. I was booked on the return 12203 1500 Saharsa – Amritsar, which only had a 4h50m turnaround off 12204; it wasn’t looking good!

As I was at the station in good time I spotted MGS WDM3A 16256 in the platform with 12567 0730 Saharsa – Patna Jn and then went into the very un-busy ticket office to attempt to get a ticket for someone back home wanting to avoid the nice new loco-link on the Goa Express; which had recently become solid GM! Unfortunately, the reserved ticket window didn’t open until 0800 and there were already a few people hanging around at the counter waiting for it to open; so I tried my luck at one of the empty unreserved counters. Surprisingly my pre-written reservation slip was taken, processed and I was handed the ticket. With that result I then tried my luck to get a reservation on 15279 1140 Saharsa – Adarsh Nagar Delhi, due to the fact that my 12203 was inevitably going to end up departing Saharsa late; just how late at that point was the uncertain thing! I failed miserably in my quest though and was told that the train was already charted. I later found out that booking in reserved coaches was “not available” according to the IR website. I later found the train to be fully reserved, although there was the odd berth to Gorakhpur available I didn’t fancy getting off in the middle of the night, or standing in Sleeper Class for that matter.

MGS WDM3A 16256 was just departing with 12567 0730 Saharsa – Patna Jn as I got to the station and as soon as it had done GD WDM3A 16332 back the stock in to form 15209 0845 Saharsa – Amritsar. SPJ WDM3B 14167 then arrived with 55533 0450 Banmankhi Jn – Samastipur and immediately ran round to head towards Mansi. With there being nothing to take my fancy on the BG I turned to the MG again and opted to do 6471 out to Panchgachia on 52324 0730 Saharsa – Tharbitia, which left late. I was glad that 6754 was already in waiting with 52323 0700 Tharbitia – Saharsa as it was cold outside! Back at Saharsa I found SPJ WDM3V 14167 waiting to go with 55553 0600 Banmankhi Jn – Samastipur and that was my cue to return to the hotel for breakfast and a lounge about before I checked out.

My omelette, toast and aloo paratha went down a treat. My bill for the two nights, including all my meals, came to RS3247 with the room costing RS1250 (excluding tax). The friendly hotel manager thanked me as I left the hotel at 1100. Having found the odd reservation available to Gorakhpur on 15279 1140 Saharsa – Adarsh Nagar Delhi I’d decided not to bother attempting to get one and did the train out to Simri Bakhtiyarpur anyway, knowing that 12203 was now 5 hours late in the Muzaffarpur area. BWN WDM3A 18851 was todays conveyance back into Saharsa with 13163 Sealdah – Saharsa Hatey Bazar Express; again with people spilling out of the doors in unreserved. While waiting at Simri Bakhtiyarpur I was all on my own and had plenty of space around me yet a family decided they wanted to basically standing in my space as they waited for their train. I gestured that there was plenty more space around but the head of the family was having none of it and started to give me a bit of lip so I moved away and gave him some lip back as I did. I stood grinning to myself, as I waited in my newfound empty space, listening to all the family repeating the word knob-head between themselves; which is what I’d called the guy that had been giving me lip as I walked away……

There was plenty of room in 3AC again when 13163 turned up and on the way into Saharsa the train was held at Sonbarsa Kacheri, where I expected 23225 Saharsa – Ragendranagar to turn but when we set off with nothing having turned up I could only assume that we couldn’t get into Saharsa due to some probably shunting taking place that would have prevented access to the two platforms. I was surprised to find ex PTRU and now SPJ WDG3A 14922 waiting to depart with 23225 when I arrived and was immediately scrambling across the tracks to board before it set off. I was back at Simri Bakhtiyarpur before I knew it, where SPJ WDM3D 11282 was sat in waiting to go with 55560 0840 Samastipur – Saharsa. With NTES showing 23226 Rajendranagar – Saharsa not far behind I was off 55560 at Sonbarsa Kacheri for 23226 behind; which turned up with offlink JHS WDM3D 11285.

Upon arrival into Saharsa I found YDM4 6513 on what remained of the MG tracks round towards Katihar, now used as a shunt spur to get out of the carriage sidings, which ultimately shunted its stock into the station to form 52328 1430 Saharsa – Tharbitia. Also shunting at the same time was NGC WDG3A 14839, it was shunting the wagons out of the rice unloading area, which must have been emptied, and was piecing the whole train back together in the middle road on the BG. As I photographed 6513 doing its shunting, from the MG to BG flat wagon loading ramp, the crew beckoned me into the cab but I was more interested in the photographing to take them up on their offer and politely declined. From my vantage point I could see into the loco shed and found 6744 & 6758 inside the shed again with 6569 & 6676 sat just outside; seemingly maintenance was continuing.

When I checked again 12204 Amritsar – Saharsa was showing 6 hours late. I asked in the Station Supervisor’s office at Saharsa and was told that 12203 would be rescheduled to a 1745 departed vice the booked 1500. With nothing else to really do I then headed off in search of some food and was surprised to find that the Hotel Koshi Niwas, near the BG level crossing, had closed its restaurant; which I’d used on a previous visit to Saharsa. I ended up in a small place, which looked the better of the bunch, over the road from the Koshi Niwas and was served a very good veg noodles and aloo paratha; which I was amazed to only pay RS40 for the lot!

By 1500 12204 was 7 hours late and was still 30km the wrong side of Khagaria Jn. Safe in the knowledge that I wasn’t going to get bowled out I headed out to Simri Bakhtiyarpur with SPJ WDM3D 11282 on a late 55559 1345 Saharsa – Samastipur and still ended up back into Saharsa before 12204 did as even 12568 Patna Jn – Saharsa had turned up in front of it; with SPJ WDM3D 11280. 12204 wasn’t far behind and eventually rolled into platform 1 at Saharsa 7h05m late at 1715 vice 1010 that morning with LDH WDM3A 16663!

People trickled onto the train as it was prepared for departure, which was surprisingly only 3h50m late at 1850, after a 1h35m turnaround. Unfortunately for me I had a side-middle berth but luckily a group of guys travelling to Delhi for an engagement had a stray one further down the coach and I swapped with them for their upper-side berth. I was thankful of the swap as well as they looked a lively bunch, seemed a little drunk and had already offered me a can of Kingfisher; which of course was illegal to drink on IR premises! One of the guys was also trying to tell me that the giant of the bunch was some sort of gangster in Supaul and had killed people there. I was better off where I’d moved to without a doubt and from my vantage point I watched the farce unfold beneath me as some idiot travelling with 13 bags, that I could count, had to move everything around as others boarded with their own oversized luggage! All in all, the train was overcrowded, very busy and wedged to the gunnels with luggage that shouldn’t have even been allowed into the train in the first place and as a result of all of the aforementioned it was noisy as well and I was thankful for my Ipod drowning out the background noise at that point. Due to the noise it was after 2200 when I managed to settle and get some sleep.

 

Moves for Thursday 10th December 2015

6471 Saharsa Jn Panchgachia 0730 Saharsa Jn – Tharbitia 52324 NKE YDM4
6754 Panchgachia Saharsa Jn 0700 Tharbitia – Saharsa Jn 52323 NKE YDM4
16655 Saharsa Jn Simri Bakhtiyarpur 1140 Saharsa Jn – Adarsh Nagar Delhi 15279 SPJ WDM3A
18851 Simri Bakhtiyarpur Saharsa Jn 2010 (09/12) Sealdah – Saharsa Jn 13163 BWN WDM3A
14922 Saharsa Jn Simri Bakhtiyarpur 1240 Saharsa Jn – Danapur 23225 SPJ WDG3A
11282 Simri Bakhtiyarpur Sonbarsa Kacheri 0840 Samastipur Jn – Saharsa Jn 55560 SPJ WDM3D
11285 Sonbarsa Kacheri Saharsa Jn 0720 Danapur – Saharsa Jn 23226 JHS WDM3D
11282 Saharsa Jn Simri Bakhtiyarpur 1345 Saharsa Jn – Samastipur Jn 55559 SPJ WDM3D
11280 Simri Bakhtiyarpur Saharsa Jn 1245 Patna Jn – Saharsa Jn 12568 SPJ WDM3D
16663 Saharsa Jn Burhwal Jn 1500 Saharsa Jn – Amritsar Jn 12203 LDH WDM3A – 3h50m late start, 5h45m late by LKO – Via Barauni, SPJ, MFP, Chhapra, Gorakhpur, Gonda

 

Gen for Thursday 10th December 2015

MG

Saharsa DLS (NKE YDM4s outbased at Saharsa)

6683, 6463, 6389 & 6683 demic with the remains of cut up 6392 laying around

6744, 6569 & 6758 in the pit roads late morning for servicing to continue

6471 52321 0415 Tharbitia – Saharsa, 52324 0730 Saharsa – Tharbitia, 52325 1115 Tharbitia – Saharsa, 52330 1730 Saharsa – Tharbitia

6513 Saharsa Carriage Siding shunt loco then 52328 1430 Saharsa – Tharbitia, 52329 1800 Tharbitia – Saharsa

6754 52323 0700 Tharbitia – Saharsa, 52326 1215 Saharsa – Tharbitia, 52327 1530 Tharbitia – Saharsa

 

BG

16256 MGS WDM3A 12567 0700 Saharsa – Patna Jn

16332 GD WDM3A 15209 0845 Saharsa – Amritsar

14167 SPJ WDM3B 55533 0450 Banmankhi Jn – Samastipur

14160 SPJ WDM3B 55553 0600 Banmankhi Jn – Samastipur

11285 JHS WDM3D 55565 1815 Saharsa – Samastipur

 

Photos for Thursday 10th December 2015

 

Friday 11th December 2015 (Being hours late sometimes has its benefits!)

With 12204 being non-stop from Gorakhpur to Lucknow Charbagh I had to rely on NTES to confirm how late the train was as we’d already left Gorakhpur before I decided to get down from my upper side berth and try and figure out where we were exactly. At 5 hours late, as we now were, my day’s plans in Lucknow were completely down the pan; which let’s face it they had been since long before I’d left Saharsa. The fact that I wasn’t departing Lucknow until 2025 that night was a saving grace I suppose and I spent some of my remaining time on board 12203 trying to figure out what to do when I eventually arrived into Lucknow.

As is often the case in situations like this I was presented with an unexpected option when 12203 came to a stand in the middle road at Burhwal Jn and alongside was another train heading towards Lucknow. Having had enough of my Garib Rath I quickly grabbed my bags and scrambled across the ballast to what turned out to be 12531 0605 Gorakhpur – Lucknow Jn; which departed first. What I didn’t know until I arrived into Barabanki Jn was that LKO WDM3A 18500 was in charge of the train; this was a heritage engine even if it had been rebuilt to a WDM3A and one I’d been wanting to have since last seeing it at Lucknow. Knowing I had nothing else to do in Lucknow until 1500 a move fell nicely into place as LKO WDM3D followed behind with 12511 0635 Gorakhpur – Trivandrum Central; and having watched LDH WDM3A 16663 run through with 12203 I was quite pleased to find 15203 Barauni – Lucknow Jn not too far behind 12511 and was off again at Badshahnagar to wait for it.

I was quite pleased with how things had turned out when I arrived into Lucknow Jn with GD WDM3A 16690 on 15203 Barauni – Lucknow Jn. Especially when I found out through NTES that 12203 had arrived into Lucknow Charbagh 5h45m late. With a bit of time to kill before 15204 headed back out to Barauni Jn at 1500 I headed over to Lucknow Charbagh to get some food at the Comesum on platform 1. I found SGUJ WDG4 12340 waiting to depart with 14523 Barauni – Ambala Cantt some 17 hours late, LDH WDM3A 16353 with a late 04924 Chandigarh – Gorakhpur and LKO WDM3A 16289 with a late 14220 1255 Lucknow Charbagh – Varanasi.

Back at Lucknow Jn I found LKO WDM3D 11458 having arrived with 22454 Meerut City – Lucknow Jn, the rake then formed 11110 1640 Lucknow Jn – Jhansi Intercity as booked with GZB WAP4 22554 doing the honours. LKO WDM3A 18500 worked back out of Lucknow Jn with 22453 1440 Lucknow Jn – Meerut City and GD WDM3A 16207 came in and ran round with 15107 Chhapra – Mathura. GZB WAP5 30040 was the only other engine I saw which was sat with 12003 1535 Lucknow Jn – New Delhi Shatabdi.

The station area was quite busy at Lucknow Jn and there was a hefty presence of moneys about the place and the woman sat on platform 1 attempting to eat a bag of nuts wondered why one of the monkeys tried to steal the bag from her! They prowled from platform to platform and even when I walked up the busiest of the bunch they were just mingling in with the waiting crowds; the juveniles among them entertaining themselves while clambering about on anything possible! I was pleased to find GD WDM3D 11265 at the head of 15203 1500 Lucknow Jn – Barauni when I’d walked the length of the platform and chose to take refuge from the afternoon sunshine in the empty front coach.

Some guy tried pointing out to me that the front coach was indeed the ladies coach but couldn’t understand the argument I was trying to have with his as to why he was sat in it. Eventually I was thrown out by two RPF, despite me only going to Lucknow City and there only being one woman in the whole of the coach. They then made me get into the next coach and when I stood at the offside door then insisted that I sit down. My argument fell on deaf ears and I ultimately lost it and having moved someone to create space for me I didn’t really have an option but to sit down; of course I stood back up the moment the train set off.

At Lucknow City ex CPR outbased IZN YDM4 6500 was just about to depart as I got off 15203 onto the ballast to head across to the MG platforms. In the opposite platform I found IZN YDM4 6464 with 15309 0800 Izatnagar – Aishbagh so waited for 15314 Izatnagar – Aishbagh behind instead which turned up with IZN YDM4 6507. While I waited LKO WDM3D headed back out of Lucknow Jn with 12532 1635 Lucknow Jn – Gorakhpur.

At Aishbagh IZN YDM4 was sat in with the stock to form 52246 1755 Aishbagh – Mailani, meanwhile 6507 was immediately run round to form 15320 1710 Aishbagh – Palia Kalan and after photographing them I decided to wait around and do 64276 EMU into Lucknow Jn to get food again at Lucknow Charbagh. While waiting IZN YDM4 6533 began shunting the stock in to form 15308 2025 Aishbagh – Izatnagar; it had been hiding over the back of the carriage sidings and I hadn’t even realised it had been there until 15320 had departed. At which point my concern as to where the engine for the Nainital Express was coming from went away.

NTES had been playing up a bit in the afternoon and when I eventually got a station line-up for Aishbagh out of it I ended up paying RS100 for an auto back to Lucknow Charbagh as 64273 was caped! After food at the Comesum again I got another auto back to Aishbagh only to then watch 64274 Lucknow Jn – Barabanki EMU arrive; which was the return of the cancelled 64273. The moral of that jaunt being not to assume that something would be cancelled just because the inbound had been.

I’d been originally planning to do 18192 Farrukhabad – Chhapra from Lucknow Jn to Lucknow City for the Nainital Express forward but 18191 Chhapra – Farrukhabad had been well down the pan on its way to Farrukhabad that morning so I hadn’t even bothered checking it. Having had a few chai’s on the platform while waiting for the AC attendant to turn up and open the 2AC coach my curiosity got the better of me and NTES showed 18192 as already being in at Lucknow Jn and it was only about 10 minutes later when it was on the approach to Aishbagh. I’d managed to board 18192 on a previous visit when it had run through Aishbagh very slowly so there was no reason why I couldn’t do it again. The issue for the Loco pilot was that the signal to Lucknow City was beyond the platform end and obscured by the station building and trees so he had no choice but to approach with caution if checked at the previous one. I needn’t have worried in the end as KTE WDM3A 18964 came to a stand in the platform anyway and after about 2 minutes got the road up to Lucknow City. I only had 20 minutes to wait there before 6533 rolled in with 15308 Aishbagh – Izatnagar Nainital Express. As the MG between Pilibhit & Izatnagar was set to close on 31/12/2015 this would be my very last run over the section; on what had been one of the premier MG Express trains during it’s time. When Lalkua had been closed the Nainital was run into Bareilly Jn instead, then when that shut it was terminated at Izatnagar. What I didn’t expect to happen once Izatnagar had closed was for the Nainital Express to be extended to Tanakpur instead; which actually made sense as there were two sleeper coaches detached from 15308 at Pilibhit anyway, which then went to Tanakpur on the first passenger of the morning. There was only one other person in my four berth compartment; who was unfortunately getting off at Pilibhit in the middle of the night.

 

Moves for Friday 11th December 2015

18500 Burhwal Jn Barabanki Jn 0605 Gorakhpur Jn – Lucknow Jn 12531 GD WDM3A
11227 Barabanki Jn Badhshanagar 0635 Gorakhpur Jn – Trivandrum Central 12511 GD WDM3D
16690 Badhshanagar Lucknow Jn 2030 (10/12) Barauni Jn – Lucknow Jn 15203 GD WDM3A
11265 Lucknow Jn Lucknow City 1500 Lucknow Jn – Barauni Jn 15204 GD WDM3D
6507 Lucknow City Aishbagh 0620 Izatnagar – Aishbagh 15314 IZN YDM4
18964 Aishbagh Lucknow City 1335 Farrukhabad Jn – Chhapra Jn 18192 KTE WDM3A
6533 Lucknow City Izatnagar 2025 Aishbagh – Izatnagar 15308 IZN YDM4

 

Gen for Friday 11th December 2015

16353 LDH WDM3A 04924 2315 (P) Chandigarh – Gorakhpur

12340 SGUJ WDG4 14523 0500 (P) Barauni – Ambala Cantt (17 hours late)

16289 LKO WDM3A 14220 1255 Lucknow Charbagh – Varanasi

11458 LKO WDM3D 22454 0455 Meerut City – Lucknow Jn

18500 LKO WDM3A 22453 1440 Lucknow Jn – Meerut City

16207 GD WDM3A 15107 0500 Chhapra Jn – Mathura Jn

22554 GZB WAP4 11110 1640 Lucknow Jn – Jhansi Intercity

30040 GZB WAP5 12003 1535 Lucknow Jn – New Delhi Shatabdi

11227 LKO WDM3D 12532 1635 Lucknow Jn – Gorakhpur

 

MG

6464 IZN YDM4 15309 0800 Izatnagar – Aishbagh

6500 IZN YDM4 52240 1450 Aishbagh – Tikunia

6507 IZN YDM4 15320 1710 Aishbagh – Palia Kalan

6571 IZN YDM4 52239 0505 Tikunia – Aishbagh, 52246 1755 Aishbagh – Mailani

 

Photos for Friday 11th December 2015

 

Saturday 12th December 2015 (The Delhi conundrum)

I wasted no time at Izatnagar when 15308 arrived bang on time and was even off the train before it came to a stand. I had time to assess the place as I left the station via the new flat crossing over the MG tracks, which had diminished since my previous visit; leaving only one MG platform operable at Izatnagar now. The footbridge over the MG wasn’t in use either and works had clearly taken place to prepare for the impending closure of the MG on 31/12/2015, less than 3 weeks later. I have to say I was surprised that the line was closing in sections from the Izatnagar end with the locos being based there as they’d now need transferring by BG wagons once the sections were open; unless a satellite DLS was created at Mailani or Pilibhit.

My auto to Bareilly Jn took no time at all on the empty roads and cost me RS100. I was pleased to have made my booked train at Bareilly Jn; 14321 0605 Bareilly – Bhuj. It had already bee sat in on platform 4 but the loco had shunted the leading four coaches off, eventually to reveal itself later as IZN WDM3D 11353 and with an extra coach for the rake. Meanwhile TKD WDM3A 16537 arrived with 04404 Anand Vihar Terminus – Lucknow Charbagh special, 8 hours late, and TKD WDM3A 18844 arrived in the opposite direction with 12353 Howrah – Lalkua. While I was sat on board 14321 I watched GZB WAP1 22037 arrive with 12232 Chandigarh – Lucknow and then TKD WDM3A 14135 get chained as it tried to hammer through with 13257 Danapur – Anand Vihar Terminus; a train that was booked to be technically non-stop from Buxar to Delhi but for the technical stops en-route, of which Bareilly wasn’t one of them! This was the second time I’d seen this train chained at Bareilly though so I’m guessing it was a regular stop, booked or not!

I shared my 2AC compartment with a girl and her father, who were of Indian origin but now lived in Australia and were visiting for a number of weddings. They’d stayed in Bareilly as her father’s roots were there and he’d wanted to visit friends he still had there. It was a pleasant journey to Delhi and with the 2AC on 14321 being very near the front there was plenty of opportunity to listen to the machine that was 11353 at the front of the train. Needless to say though the run in from Ghaziabad to Delhi was tedious and we’d already been an hour late at Ghaziabad as well.

After a lengthy stop on the Yamuna river bridge outside Delhi Jn 11353 drew its train up to the last signal before Delhi Jn, right by the Red Fort. Hundreds of people seemed to have had enough of the waiting by this point and there was literally a mass exodus from the train. There didn’t appear to be much going on but there was a set of stock being backed into the shunt spur adjacent. Up ahead people were already jumping aboard in anticipation of it heading into the station area when it reversed. The fact that they were aboard was my cue to go and investigate and it was only about a minute after it stopped on the shunt spur that the set was on the move towards the station. I had no clue what the engine was at the end of the stock but figured out that the stock was off 14206 Faizabad – Delhi Jn and when the journey came to an end in the carriage sidings at the east end of the station I wasn’t surprised. Thankfully when I got to the other end of the stock SSB WDS6AD 36276 hadn’t disappeared straight away and was stood just off the stock with the shunter just clambering back aboard.

As I headed over the footbridge to drop my bag at the cloak room on platform 5 11353 rumbled under it with 14321. I noticed SSB WDM2 17949 in platform 7 bay as I walked down to the cloak room, which was where 14521 1310 Delhi Jn – Ambala Cantt would depart from but there was stock on top of it so it had clearly worked the inbound set into Delhi. When I emerged from the cloak room I headed straight to McDonald’s for something to eat before returning to platform 7 to view what was going to work 14521 to Ambala Cantt. As I walked down the platform though, a good 20 minutes before departure, I noticed the stock beside me start to move away. A little confused by the fact it wasn’t departure time I jumped aboard anyway and went straight into NTES to find that 14521 was still showing at a 1310 departure and sure enough the set came to a stand at the east end of the station and after SSB WDM2 17949 had cleared the platform it was propelled back in. I was well pleased to find SSB WDS6R 36522 just pulling away from the stock as I got to the other end, and equally as pleased when SSB WDM2 17949 dropped onto the set.

Across the way SSB WDM2 17947 was sat with a set of stock, which I thought might have been to form 54521 1320 Delhi Jn – Saharanpur but when SSB WDM2 17881 turned up with it at Delhi Shahdara Jn it was a welcome surprise; which I did forward to Sahibabad to find MLDT WDM3A 16569 sat with 15715 Kishanganj – Ajmer and was, let’s not say whisked but taken back into Delhi at a lot greater rate of knots than the journey on 14321 Bareilly – Bhuj had been! Back in platform 5 at Delhi Jn I was surprised to find a second MLDT WDM3A, 16514, in the next platform across the way. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to find out what it was working but I’m guessing two MLDT WDM3A’s side-by-side at Delhi Jn didn’t happen very often at all?

Having weighed up my options on NTES I decided to nip out towards Delhi Cantt on 15715, with 16569, as 19601 Udaipur City – New Jalpaiguri was running late. I was almost taken by surprise when it was sat at Delhi Sarai Rohilla waiting the road forward but managed to leap over for it and was pleased to find offlink LDH WDG3A 14865 at the head of the train vice the usual link of an ABR WDM3A. Back at Delhi Jn there was a lot of walking around to be done to find out what was about. I couldn’t quite see the number of the WDP4D at the head of 14645 1550 Delhi Jn – Jammu Tawi or the one at the opposite end of the station with 12916 1520 Delhi Jn – Ahmedabad Ashram Express but did see BWN WDM3A 18679 in the platform having arrived with 13119 Sealdah – Delhi Jn and then watch IZN WDM3D 11336 arrive with 14322 Bhuj – Bareilly. When I came across SSB WDS6R 36521 at the west end of the station, coupled to the stock to form 15274 1715 Delhi Jn – Raxaul I was soon looking for a way into the coaches and it wasn’t long before I found one. The fact that 36521 was being fueled gave me a bit of time to figure out my move, yet when I found an entrance I was a little apprehensive about leaping across the tracks onto an empty set of stock that had nobody else on it; that was until SSB WDM2 17886 arrived with 54506 0600 Ambala Cantt – Delhi Jn adjacent to it! Once everyone had got off the set that 17886 had just brought in provided ample cover to allow me to get into 15274’s rake under the radar and I sat with the blinds down, out of sight, until the set started moving shortly afterwards. I didn’t realise at the time but after 36521 had deposited me into platform 16 I noticed, when walking back over the footbridge, that the remainder of the stock was being shunted in by SSB WDS6AD 36272 from the opposite end of the station; which was definitely something for the memory banks; to be pulled out during my next visit to Delhi.

After I’d watched LDH WDM3A 16129 arrive with 14732 Fazilka – Delhi Jn, around 4 hours late, by the time I’d got to the other end LDH WDM3A 16435 was just dropping on to form 12481 1310 Delhi Jn – Sri Ganganagar which was being advertised as 3 hours late. GZB WAP5 30010 (with GZB WAP7 30257 dead inside) had arrived with 13413 Malda Town – Delhi Jn Farakka Express, 11 hours late, and TKD WDM3A 14027R also arrived with 15036 Kathgodam – Delhi Jn; I didn’t see the number but unfortunately a WDP4D worked back out with 15035 Delhi Jn – Kathgodam vice the booked TKD WDM3A! As 14014 1615 Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Sultanpur Jn had been cancelled outright I did 16435 out to Vivekanand Puri Halt on 12481 for a brisk walk over the footbridge and TKD WDP1 15011 back into Delhi Jn. By which time LDH WDM3A 16291 had dropped onto the stock that had been shunted into platform 16 to work 15274 1715 Delhi Jn – Raxaul. As it departed I noticed SSB WDM2 17882 just dropping onto the stock to work 54471 1735 Delhi Jn – Rishikesh and was off for it at Sahibabad.

Quite pleased with my haul of SSB WDM2’s during the afternoon, when TKD WDP3A 15508 arrived almost to time with 54304 0705 Kalka – Delhi Jn passenger I decided that I was ready for home at that point and that I couldn’t be arsed with hanging around ages for either 14555 Bareilly – Delhi Jn or even 14044 Kotdwara – Delhi Jn so I headed straight back into Delhi and finished the trip exactly as I’d started it three weeks earlier; on a TKD WDP3A.

On that note my trip came to an earlier than anticipated finish at Delhi Jn and after collecting my bag from the cloak room I headed to McDonald’s for the second time that day before doing something I’d never done before and head to Delhi Airport via the Metro. I soon found out that tickets for the Airport can’t be bought at Chandhi Chowk so a token to get me to New Delhi it was, which only cost RS10. At New Delhi its clearly signposted to the Delhi Airport Metro line and I headed by a massive cue of people, who had clearly come off the Airport line, as I walked down the tunnel towards the stand-alone line. As well as ticket windows there are also ticket machines, before you go through security. It took me seconds to buy my RS60 ticket to the airport with a RS100 note at a ticket machine and I was soon aboard a metro to the airport; the whole experience was very efficient indeed and I was even allowed into the airport early despite my flight not departing for 6 hours when I got there!

Even though I’d done Mc D’s twice during the day I was still ready for something else when I’d got through security and went for a lighter option of Chinese noodles instead of the pizza I actually wanted.

 

Moves for Saturday 12th December 2015

11353 Bareilly Jn Delhi Red Fort (approx 1km outside DLI) 0605 Bareilly Jn – Bhuj 14321 IZN WDM3D
36276 Delhi Red Fort (approx 1km outside DLI) Delhi Jn East Carriage Sidings Shunt stock ex 14206 Faizabad – Delhi Jn SSB WDS6AD
36522 Delhi Jn Platform 7 Delhi Jn Platform 7 Shunt stock for 14521 to release 17949 off the blocks SSB WDS6
17949 Delhi Jn Delhi Shahdara Jn 1310 Delhi Jn – Ambala Cantt 14521 SSB WDM2
17881 Delhi Shahdara Jn Sahibabad 1320 Delhi Jn – Saharanpur Jn 54521 SSB WDM2
16569 Sahibabad Delhi Sarai Rohilla 0600 (11/12) Kishanganj – Ajmer Jn 15715 MLDT WDM3A
14865 Delhi Sarai Rohilla Delhi Jn 0020 Udaipur City – New Jalpaiguri Jn 19601 LDH WDG3A
36521 Delhi Jn between Platforms 13/14 Delhi Jn Platform 16 Shunt stock in for 15273 DLI – Raxaul SSB WDS6 – via DLI Jn cutting RM
16435 Delhi Jn Vivekanand Puri Halt 1310 Delhi Jn – Sri Ganganagar Jn 12481 LDH WDM3A – 3 hours late
15011 Delhi Sarai Rohilla Delhi Jn 1310 Farukh Nagar – Saharanpur Jn 14545 TKD WDP1
16291 Delhi Jn Sahibabad 1715 Delhi Jn – Raxaul Jn 15273 LDH WDM3A
17882 Sahibabad Ghaziabad Jn 1735 Delhi Jn – Rishikesh 54471 SSB WDM2
15508 Ghaziabad Jn Delhi Jn 0705 Kalka – Delhi Jn 54304 TKD WDP3A
Metro Chandhi Chowk New Delhi Towards Huda Metro – RS10
Metro New Delhi Delhi Indira Gandhi Airport Towards Dwarka Sector 21 Metro – RS60

 

Gen for Saturday 12th December 2015

16537 TKD WDM3A 04404 1935 (P) Anand Vihar Terminus – Lucknow Charbagh (8 hours late)

18844 TKD WDM3A 12353 0815 (P) Howrah – Lalkua

22037 GZB WAP1 12232 2110 (P) Chandigarh – Lucknow

14135 TKD WDM3A 13257 1600 (P) Danapur – Anand Vihar Terminus

40251 TKD WDP4D 1401 1615 (P) Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Raxaul (18 hours late)

40xxx TKD WDP4D 14645 1550 Delhi Jn – Jammu Tawi

40xxx TKD WDP4D 12916 1520 Delhi Jn – Ahmedabad

18679 BWN WDM3A 13119 2115 (PP) Sealdah – Delhi Jn

11336 IZN WDM3D 14322 1615 (P) Bhuj – Bareilly Jn

17886 SSB WDM2 54506 0600 Ambala Cantt – Delhi Jn

16129 LDH WDM3A 14732 0210 Sri Ganganagar – Delhi Jn

30010 GZB WAP5 (30257 GZB WAP7 dit) 13413 1910 (PP) Malda Town – Delhi Jn (11 hours late)

14027 TKD WDM3A 15036 0850 Kathgodam – Delhi Jn

40xxx TKD? WDP4D 15035 1600 Delhi Jn – Kathgodam

 

Photos for Saturday 12th December 2015

 

Sunday 13th December 2016 (Glad to be on the way home)

I was pleasantly surprised on board the plane when the woman and her kid moved nearer their friends at the front of the plane shortly before take-off; which in true style I was then asleep for. I was rudely awoken by some guy asking me if he could sit by the window as the two seats at the side of me were empty, who assured me he wouldn’t disturb me; he was very wrong! I first felt him clamber over me to get out and when I found him at the back of the plane an hour later, when I went to the toilet, I assumed he’d given up on the seat and decided to get stretched out for a while; only to be woken an hour later when he woke me again to ask to sit back down. It was at this point that I started to lose my cool with him and our exchange of words resulted in him taking his headphones and going away, only to return later after I’d sat back upright and ask to sit down again. At this point I really did lose my rag with him and rhetorically asked him what was wrong with his own seat, after telling him he was starting to piss me off and becoming a real nuisance! I was quite clear with him that he wasn’t disturbing me again for the rest of the flight and if he got in that was where he was stopping at which point he started to tell me to “shut my mouth”; which he told me to do on more than one occasion but soon shut his when I threatened to ask the crew to remove him from the seat for good! What an absolute wanker! While I was more than happy for him to sit there initially as is often the case, you give an inch and they take a mile and in taking the mile care not about the inconvenience to others! It was a flight I was glad to get off I tell you!

As we were a little late into Heathrow I had to get a move on to make it through the airport and onto the underground in time to get for my 1020 train from Kings Cross, which I made by 5 minutes! 91105 delivered me back to Doncaster with a very peaceful quiet coach at the front of the train. The trip had ultimately been one of the best I’d done with a massive haul of engines for me, way more than I’d ever had in one trip before; this probably due to the time I’d spent in places allowing for some proper cranking as opposed to the usual lack of time in places due to chasing new track. I was already looking forward to my next trip at the end of February, as I put my washing in at home the moment I walked through the door; which was all repacked when dry and my bag left ready to walk out of the door nearly 3 months later!

 

Moves for Sunday 13th December 2015

G-BNLP Delhi Indira Gandhi Terminal 3 Heathrow Terminal 5 0350 Delhi – Heathrow BA142 British Airways
91105 Kings Cross Doncaster 1020 Kings Cross – Newcastle 1N11

 

2 Comments

  1. Yogesh B Karandikar
    Posted 24/01/2016 at 1:33 pm. Reply to this comment

    Jonathan Sir,

    Excellent Photos covering Alcos of almost all loco sheds in Northern India!

    Thanks a lot for sharing these high quality images!

    Hats off to your railfanning spirit!

    Eagerly waiting for photos from your next trip in Feb-2016!

    Thanks & Regards,
    Yogesh B Karandikar
    IRFCA / IRI Member

  2. Jonathan
    Posted 24/01/2016 at 1:50 pm. Reply to this comment

    Thanks very much Yogesh; i’m now about to figure out which sheds i’ve missed.

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