Jonathan Lee

Worldly Images

India October 2011

This trip was a lot earlier in the year than any of our other trips and as such meant the Monsoon hadn’t quite finished completely. Even at 01:00 on the morning of arrival it was hot and humid in Mumbai……

The day in Mumbai was spent travelling round the local area getting various bits of track in. Strangely the most interesting journey of the day was the EMU ride from Dadar to Diva, which we both ended up on different trains as by the time I’d got on the train had already set off and my companion didn’t quite make it and followed on the next EMU…… I have to give a special mention regarding the loco pilot of KYN WDG3A 13604, which was working 12072 Auraghabad – CST “Shatabdi”. As we arrived into Dadar at a fairly slow pace, the LP opened 13604 up onto full power and literally shook the foundations of the station as we hammered up the platform, only shutting off when he decided to brake! Music to the ears……

I took off that night on my own on 11401 CST – Nagpur with PA WDM3D 11347 to a very wet Manmad, via Igatpuri as I’d not done the ghats with Alco. I had to get a rickshaw the short distance to the Hotel Shree Leela as it was raining that hard and I’d already got soaked walking down the platform.

The following morning my plans to do 17206 Kakinada – Shirdi seemed to be in disarray as I couldn’t find any mention of the train on the departure boards at all. Just as I’d resigned myself to the fact I would be waiting for the “Jhelum Express” towards Pune then MLY WDM2 17782 arrived with the train, no announcement or anything. It was almost to time too. With the front SL coach right behind the engine virtually empty, it was a very pleasant journey indeed. My journey back out of Shirdi was with KYN WDG3A 13303, which I’d seen at Dadar the previous night, on 12132 Shirdi – Dadar. This day was one of the only times you could nip in and straight back out of Shirdi without having to endure a length wait, which worked out very well for me.

It turned out the “Goa Express” was in front of the “Jhelum Express” at Kopargaon so I did it back to Daund, where the whole job came to a standstill with the Goa in one platform, locos running round, the Jhelum ended up in another, with it’s locos to run round, both with their twin PA WDM3As, then there was a very late running passenger into Pune, with a GY WDM3A, to contend with and the Daund – Baramati passenger hadn’t left either with PA WDG3A 14886. All of this resulted in 16332 Trivandrum – CST having to sit outside the station for 30 minutes waiting a platform, with its custom ED WDM3D 11110 which i ended up on into Pune to meet up with my companion again. After a not very eventful evening on the Pune – Daund line, essentially due to late running, we retired to a not very cheap hotel in the Pune suburbs and bizarrely ordered takeaway, Indian takeaway, in India…….

Our run down the Bhor Ghats the following morning produced a KZJ WDG3A 14968 on 17032 Hyderabad – CST. Having done dinner on the concourse at CST we returned to Dadar, walked to Dadar Central Railway station and did the first available EMU to Bandra then walked to Bandra Terminus, all of which was pretty harmless really and a lot more successful than our previous EMU journey. Bandra doesn’t really have much going for it and we were thankful we didn’t have long to wait. At least there was plenty of WSD4 action around the station to keep us occupied. The once a week 19049 Bandra – Patna produced the expected VTA WDM3A, 14074. Unfortunately we had to refrain from taking photos due to the RPF sat directly opposite the engine after it had backed on. We relaxed on board for the next 1131km to Narsinghpur.

We arrived into the Jabalpur/Katni area just as ET had been getting some nice shiny WDP4Bs to play with. Thanks to IRFCA members we were able to avoid these, having got hold of the loco links. An excellent day ensued with twin ET WDMs, WDM2s, 3As & 3Ds all added to the mix as we made our way to Katni. Once there we wondered outside the station and found the Hotel GSS just up the road and booked two rooms for the following week, when we’d be back, by which time our numbers would have increased to 4. Our second of 3 overnights was spent on 15010 Jabalpur – Lucknow to Kanpur Central with KTE WDM2 17752 and from there we ambled round the old MG route from Kanpur to Kasganj, on what seemed to be quite fast line. Unfortunately our attempts to do this line with YDM4s had been thwarted by the fact we’d turned up at Kanpur 6 days after it had been closed for conversion. We found diggers in the track-bed digging it out but no YDM4s!  Thankfully there was a YDM4 waiting at Kasganj for us, IZN 6442, which put in a very spirited run to Bareilly with the “Gokul Express”. Hotels are plentiful outside Bareilly station and we ended up in the K Bareilly, just after the up market Swarn Towers, where we had food that night.

A long day lay ahead as we boarded 15212 Amritsar – Darbhanga at Bareilly. Being 2nd class only it was wedged, yet not in the disabled compartment, right behind the loco, where we spent the entire journey to Gonda via Sitapur. I was certainly ready for getting off by the time we got there and had never been so thankful to get straight into a 2AC coach. I was suffering quite badly with hayfever, which was stemmed somewhat inside the 2AC of 12512 Trivandrum – Gorakhpur, which we did to Mankapur Jct with JHS WDM3A 16211, to then watch 16203 come hammering through shortly afterwards.

During our fester at Mankapur we found the biggest spider I’d ever seen, in the biggest web I’d seen, thankfully neither of us had walked into it! The treat of the afternoon was a LKO WDM2 starting away after a crew change, which just blackened the skies as it got to grips with its heavy train. Having made it back into Gonda on GD WDM3A 16429 with 19040 Muzaffarpur – Bandra we played a very good move indeed by not doing 15653 to Lucknow for our 12555 Gorakhpur – Hisar forward to New Delhi as we overtook it before Lucknow.

When we woke the following morning I was straight to the door to confirm whether our GD WDM3A 16384 was still at the head of the “Gorakhdam Express”, thankfully it was and we’d achieved something in getting the track from Kanpur to Delhi in for Alco, which isn’t easy.

By the afternoon I’d split from one companion, met up with another and then met up with a 3rd at Saharanpur, with one having gone off to do his own thing for a couple of days before we all met up in Haridwar later on. Our conveyance to Saharanpur had been SSB WDM2 16605 on 54475 Delhi Jct – Haridwar passenger, via Shamli. A train that was heaving from start to finish and not short of a few youngsters to annoy everyone with their youthful antics and general messing about….. I was glad to get off.

Our run to Ambala that evening was on the once a week 12325 Kolkata – Nangaldam, which was 8 hours late due to it still being delayed due to the issues in the Naxalite areas. MGS WDM3A 16255 sounded nothing like any Alco we’d had before and once on full power it had a metallic screeching noise from the turbos. Loud it was, nice it wasn’t and it left a ringing in our ears. We had been in the luggage van right behind it mind! The Hotel Batra Palace was about 200m from the station exit at Ambala Cantt and cost us RS1400 for a double room.

We all had different agendas the following morning, 3 of us stuck together for the morning though and did 12231 Lucknow – Chandigarh with filthy LKO WDM3A 18879 to its destination. Our hopes of riding up to Kalka with an Alco banker were dashed when 14095 Delhi – Kalka “Himalayan Queen” departed without a banker at all. We’d resigned ourselves to the fact that it wasn’t going to happen and had even split up to go our separate ways for the day. However we were soon back together as BGKT WDM3A 16276 backed onto 12211 New Delhi – Kalka and assisted the GZB WAP7 (30234) all the way to Kalka, pouring out the typical Alco clag as it did so. At Kalka we did split up with the other two going forward to Shimla, i made my way back to Ambala on the Kalka – Ambala passenger with GZB WAP4 22567, which was routed towards the rear of a standing train at Chandigarh. Thankfully the Loco Pilot realised and brought the train to a stand before hitting it, although not before he’d gone beyond the points.  The investigation took an hour and resulted in me missing my train at Ambala Cantt, the result of which was me going direct to Bathinda on 14711 Haridwar – Sri Ganganagar with LDH WDM2 16760. There were  a few hotels straight outside the station and it wasn’t long before i was holed up in the Hotel Basant, having paid the RS650 for the night.

Still half asleep the following morning i relaxed on board 19771 Japiur – Amritsar in my 2AC side berth with ABR WDM2 16825, having done the Bathinda – Firozpur passenger out to Gangsar Jaito with TKD WDP1 15012. By the end of the day I’d achieved everything I’d set out to do which was the track from Bathinda via Firozpur to Ludhiana then south to Dhuri before returning to Ambala and with 3 different TKD WDP1s thrown in it was a decent day all round. The others had apparently had a decent trip to Shimla too.

Leaving Ambala we took a long way round to get to Haridwar but it achieved what we set out to do in getting the route via Panipat to Delhi on 14732 Bathinda – Delhi Jct with LDH WDM3A 17932 then the route via Meerut back via Ambala on 12055 New Delhi – Dehradun “Shatabdi” with LDH WDM3A 16472, all for Alco. The Hotel Sachin International over the road from Haridwar station did the job, it was RS1200 for a twin with extra bed and the water was scolding hot.

Having been to Dehradun in the morning, up with GD WDM2 16712 on 14632 Amritsar – Dehradun and back with surprise TKD WDP3A 15520, we spent the afternoon waiting for 54463 Bandikui – Rishikesh passenger, which the Station Master at Raiwala confirmed was 3 hours late. The majority of our festering about was indeed done at Raiwala, the junction station for Dehradun & Rishikesh. It was an interesting fester, one which involved a resident monkey scooting through a hole in the roof to pinch one of our bags of crisps while we weren’t looking. We couldn’t help but laugh as it sat on the roof eating away and even the cheek of it throwing the empty packet back through the same hole towards us, brought a chuckle out! Unfortunately while at Raiwala I had the need to go and it was one of those “need” to go moments as well. There were some facilities at the wayside station that is Raiwala but lets just say you could count the amount of times people had visited beforehand, the majority of which was round the edges of the enclosure surrounding the facilities and nowhere near the hole in the ground! Needs must and all that……..

We were saved from an extensive fester by LKO WDM3A 16304 coming to a stand with 14114 Dehradun – Allahabad, which shouldn’t have stopped. Back at Haridwar SSB WDM2 16782 was just offloading it passengers, having arrived with the Rishikesh passenger. At that point our group became 4 again. Thankfully the train wasn’t too late so that we ended up not going to Rishikesh, however it was that late that it was held at Rishkesh coming back, to let the legendary 14609 Rishikesh – Jammu Tawi “Hemkhunt Express” out first. Which was all good and well but our bags were still at the hotel over the road at Haridwar. The 30 minute stop at Haridwar was more than enough time to nip and collect them though. Most trains stopped for a period at Haridwar either to be serviced or attach/detach coaches, or both.

We arrived into a misty and cool Jammu Tawi at 0415 the following morning, LDH WDM3A 18775 having done the honours throughout. Having sought breakfast on the platform we had a “fill-in” move planned before heading up to Udhampur which would involve 19224 Jammu – Ahmedabad back to Vijaypur Jammu for our 14033 Delhi – Udhampur through to Udhampur. ABR WDM3A 16415 whisked us to Vijaypur Jammu, where LDH WDM3A 14067 with a late running 13151 Howrah – Jammu, which we scrambled across the ballast between the two trains and made, just!

Back at Jammu we had breakfast in the refreshment room, which was being cleaned as we ate. All I’ll say is that there was a clean rim round the bottom of the wall when the mop much reach every day but the rest, I doubt had seen any cleaning since built! All excited about our trip to Udhampur we were all set, waiting patiently on the platform as it was being announced, imagine the horror as we realised that the white loco we could see in the distance was in fact a WDP4B and a dual cabbed one at that! We all stood dumbfounded as TKDs 40013 rolled in and we were still in shock as it departed too, empty. It would have been a very relaxing journey indeed. Whether it was a one-off or a link change we didn’t know, all we did know is that we needed an alternative plan, very quickly.

That alternative plan was already sat in the platform. We’d decided pretty unanimously that we’d head straight for Amritsar, where we would end up the following day anyway, and just arrive a day early. It was a simple plan too, 12472 Jammu – Bandra to Chakki Bank, with its twin LDH WDM2s 17621/16662, which had plenty of room in the 2AC. From there we’d get a rickshaw to Pathankot and do the afternoon express to Amritsar and relax for the evening. As we were running a bit late into Chakki Bank due to re-signalling taking place in the area, we had no time to spare and were off the train as soon as it hit the platform end and leaving the car park in a rickshaw before the last of the 25 coaches had even entered the platform! The rickshaw driver delivered us to Pathankot Jct in 13 minutes, we only had 15. Then cam the second letdown of the day. Due to the signalling works there was a block between Pathankot & Sarna which meant all trains on the Pathankot – Amritsar line were starting from Sarna, which was confirmed by the notice in the station master’s window. so our rush had been for nothing and we needed to be 8km up the road, which was another rickshaw ride away. At least the diagrams of the trains were posted on the notice at the station which confirmed that the train we were going for wouldn’t be a DMU, as we’d first feared when sitting and trying to work it all out for ourselves. We ended up into Amritsar on 54616 Pathankot – Amritsar passenger and were in the Hotel Grand by 2000. It was the closest hotel we could find in the guide books, which was an excellent choice too at RS1400 for a twin with AC and hot water. The staff were friendly, they served beer on draft and not in bottles and the food was cracking too, oh and they did washing, albeit not the day we stayed due to the washer having a family bereavement!

Our two days in the Amritsar area were relaxing if nothing else and encompassed the Hoshiarpur branch, a couple of runs with TKD WDP3As on 11057/8 Dadar – Amritsar (15514, 536 & 537) and another run with twin LDH WDMs Jalandhar – Chakki Bank & return (17610/654 out for 17885/16662 back) on 12471/2 Bandra – Jammu and even a morning trip to the Golden Temple as the sun rose. Our conveyance out of Amritsar was ABR WDM2 17747 on 19782 Amritsar – Japiur, via Ludhiana & Hisar. To get on this train at Amritsar we had to step over a body that was just laid on the floor, wrapped up & covered in flies, with all the rest of the packages to be loaded into the baggage van.

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The Jaipur MG was one of my favourite bit of MG in the whole country but was on its last legs. The Station Master told us that it would close within 6 months of our visit, which would be the end of an era for Jaipur. YDM4s out that day were 6426, 6499, 6732, 6733, 6654 & 6729. 6426 was outstanding, 6654 poured clag out everywhere, 6499 was the worst of the day and 6732/29 were painted in a light blue livery that we’d not seen before. We think they’d been out stabled at Mavli Jct and had recently returned to Sikar. Having had an excellent day KTE WDM3A 16338 took us to its home station, Katni Jct, with 12182 Jaipur – Jabalpur via Kota & Bina, under the wires from Sawai Madopur.

The Hotel GSS weren’t expecting us when we turned up, despite having taken our details and even allocating us rooms the previous week. In fact they were just about to put 4 people into the double downstairs until we turned up and made claim to it. It wasn’t long before we were sorted though and after a shower and change we were back at the station for 51701 Jabalpur – Rewa passenger, which we did all the way there and back to Satna Jct with ET WDM3A 16412. It turned into a bit of an endurance test on the Rewa branch itself and we were 2h30m late back at Satna Jct, where we just had to get off. Having made our way back into Katni having stepped off at Maihar, 11094 Varanasi – Mumbai for 15018 Gorakhpur – LTT, both with twin ET WDMs (17908/18816 & 17515/18692) we were quite late and dinner ended up being from an omelette wallah on the way back to the hotel.

The following days jaunt was excellent with no less than 4 pairs of ET WDMs involved and that after arriving into Jabalpur on JHS WDM3B 14162. Bizarrely our first set of twins (16094/14094) were on 12322 Mumbai – Howrah and so were our second (17899/18826) the former being 23h45m late at Katni and the latter being right time only 15 minutes behind the previous days train! The second pair put us nicely into the corresponding working of 12321 Mumbai – Howrah with confusingly numbered 17862/18762, which had to run round the back at Maihar due to ABR WDG3A 14707 coming to grief as it struggled up the hill into the station with a heavy load. the result was oil being ejected all down one side of the engine and the crew were looking round it and opening doors as we departed.

KTE WDM2 “jumbo” 17804 deserves a mention, which we had on 11451 Jabalpur – Rewa express that evening, it was an outstanding example and proves that WDM2s can perform and sound excellent at the same time. After our 4th pair of ET WDMs, 18816/17908, dropped us at Jabalpur off 11093 Mumbai – Varanasi we had time to utilise the refreshment room before our overnight “Garib Rath” 12535 Lucknow – Raipur through to its destination with customary LKO WDM3D 11172.

We did have grand plans for some sort of breakfast at Raipur but R WDG3A 13406 put pay to that. We saw it as we arrived, sat in the adjacent platform with 18518 Visakhapatnam – Korba, and managed to get our stuff gathered and of our onto it just as it set off! Breakfast did come at Bhatapara though, nice freshly made stuffed balls and piping hot chai.

We were scattered around the 3AC of 17481 Bilaspur – Tirupati whcih we did to Titlagarh with VSKP WDM3A 16436 and then we had the pleasure of quite possibly the coldest AC chair car I’ve ever experienced on 18302 Rayagada – Sambalpur which had BNDM WDM3D 11202 doing the honours. We had to go to the door to warm up, which at least had the benefit of listening to the 3D on the front.

Sambalpur Jct station is a fair distance from the nearest hotels and we ended up asking a local outside the station, who ultimately put us in a rickshaw and told the driver where to take us. Once in the “City” hotels are plentiful, however the first 7 we tried were all full. We were quite relieved when one of the hotel reception staff pointed us to the Hotel Li-n-ga, down a side street off the main road, and they confirmed they could accommodate us. They still have the restaurant open too which was a bit of a relief too.

Our day round Sambalpur was a day of mainly BNDM WDMs, for me anyway as i spent the majority of it on my own while the others went to Rourkela. One VSKP WDM3A crept in quite early in the day with 18311 Sambalpur – Varanasi, which we ended up using as a taxi from Sambalpur Road to Jct when it shunted the stock out of the sidings at Junction. It had to come virtually to Road to reverse and with the engine only just off the platform end it made it quite easy for us to hope aboard for our free ride back to Junction with the stock and engine we wanted to be on anyway, which didn’t stop at Road i might add.

Having spent my day between Sambalpur & Jharsaguda i met up the the others, returning from Rourkela, at Rengali, where I got off 13351 Dhanbad – Alapphuza with twin VSKP WDM3As 14005/16512 for 18451 Hatia – Puri with twin BNDM WDM3As 16251/419. We’d actually got reservations on 18451 from Sambalpur to Puri but only in SL class and they were right next to the door in berths 1-4. We’d made a decision to not bother and travel to Puri the following morning, however the train didn’t look that bad or rowdy. It deposited us at Sambalpur Road while it waited for a platform at Junction, which meant we got back to the hotel much quicker as it was only a kilometer or so down the road.

We had an early start the following morning and at 0535 the last thing we needed was to be arguing the toss with rickshaw drivers, but they insist on being a pain in the neck. The first wanted RS100 to return us to Sambalpur Jct, the second wanted RS60, strangely the first then wanted to take us for RS60. He was dismissed for being cheeky in the first place and told where to go!

The train of the day was 18303 Sambalpur – Puri, which we did throughout in the front coach, which was unreserved. There was no room in AC Chair car. It wasn’t a bad journey, lunch was provided at Bhubaneswar from the many biriyani vendors, we were also treated to a very heavy mini storm on the Puri branch, which thankfully didn’t last long and it was scorching hot by the time we got into Puri. It was a place I’d expected a lot more of and was sadly disappointed. The beaches were ok but the sea rough, it was a dusty place and didn’t really seem to have much going for it. We ended up sweating a lot and drinking cold pop to combat the heat, that was our trip to Puri…….

I stayed in Puri on my own while the others returned to Khurda Road on R WDM3A 16130, the same loco we’d had in. I spent an hour or so in the refreshment room and then another hour passing the time riding on stock being shunted out of the sidings for the evening departures. Whilst sat in the front bay of 12843 Puri – Ahmedabad afterwards I noticed a couple of RPF looking round the carriage sidings, I was guessing they were looking for me so kept a low profile until we departed, our twin VSKP WDM3As 18938/16048 making easy work of the load 24 train. The latter darkened the skies every time it was opened up and one of them had a very strong transition that made the train jerk every time it came in.

At Raipur the following morning we simply watched our VSKP machines being removed from the train, went to a nearby hotel for breakfast and returned to do our “Garib Rath” 12536 Raipur – Lucknow to Katni, where we used an excellent food place just outside the station on the left for dinner, then returned to go forward to Satna on 12189 Jabalpur – Hazrat Nizamuddin with JHS WDM2 17824, another superb WDM2. It had been 24 hours of virtually constant travel, with more to go, and we were thankful when we boarded 12165 LTT – Varanasi at Satna, which ended up departing after midnight. The bonus was the twin ET WDM3Ds on the front, 11278/304.

Varanasi is renowned for its rickshaw touts and we were subjected to one straight away, the moment we arrived. He agreed to take us to the hotel of our choice for just RS20, of course to get his cut when he got us there. What he didn’t realise was that we’d already booked and paid. We just played the game all the way, right up to the point where we told him they had room and he went in to collect his “cut”. His face was a picture when he realised he’d been played……. The Hotel Surya was quite good too, spacious, clean-ish, had a bar and a nice restaurant. It was however not cheap, as with most places in Varanasi, but at least we could book in advance on the internet to save on the hassle factor.

My time in Varanasi was a bit of a disaster really. My first day, spent mainly on my own, I managed to get the electrified route via Mirzapur with Alco on 11094 Varanasi – Mumbai with twin ET WDM2s 18762/17862 at Allahabad no rickshaw driver would take me to Allahabad City to get the non-electrified route in back via Mandaundhi. I only had 10 minutes when I arrived anyway and gave it up as a bad job in the end and jumped on 14209 Vindhyachal – Lucknow to fill in some time before the next train back via Mandaundhi and ended up getting off at Prayag for 15018 Gorakhpur – LTT with twin ET WDM3As 16223/18856, which i’d watched depart Varanasi earlier! Sat in Allahabad when i arrived back was KTE WDM2 17561, waiting to depart with 11071 LTT – Varanasi. I cut my losses and waved a flag of surrender and succumbed to the empty SL class for a journey back to Varanasi via Badohi. The train was subjected to a full ticket check in SL class and a guy opposite me clearly didn’t have a SL class ticket, his arguing with the TTE soon ended when an army guy tapped him on the shoulder as if to say “don’t be stupid”. He was soon in the doorway parting with as much money as he had, having already handed over RS220!

The following day was about as successful, our 14265 Varanasi – Dehradun, with LKO WDM3D 11130 (in LKO livery) was late and missed our -17 at Janghai Jct, which of course we had no right to make anyway. However 11059 LTT – Chhapra was 40 late when we got on and the 2AC was even full and standing in the doorways. ET twins 17795/14086 did the honours, the former being in old ET livery which was now virtually non-existent. Our plan was to do the train via Shahganj to Mau Jct but the constant chain pulling between Janghai & Zafarabad Jcts got the better of two of us and we decided enough was enough and headed back into Varanasi from there on 13010 Dehradun – Howrah with LKO WDM3A 16372. All was not lost for the day thuogh and I planned to do the newly converted Jaunpur – Aunrihar line, that the others had done the previous evening. Another best laid plan that was soon in the bin when the train to Jaunpur hadn’t arrived within 40 minutes of its booked time, the result was me boarding GD WDM3B 14151 at the last minute for a ride direct to Aunrihar Jct if only to admire the new BG route coming in from the left as I arrived…… It turned out to be a decent return trip as 14151 was outstanding and GD WDM2 “jumbo” 17869 I had back on 55123 Bhatni – Mandaundhi passenger was the engine of the trip. Another outstanding WDM2 for the trip, never had I had so many!

We left Varanasi on 12237 Varansi – Jammu the following morning with LDH WDM3A 17942, via Sultanpur. How much longer would this route remain solid diesel? At Lucknow rather than get a rickshaw to Aishbagh we decided to do KGP WDM3A 16347 on 18192 Kanpur – Chhapra to Lucknow City to get a rickshaw from there, as it was closer. It ended up taking us 45 minutes with our pedal rickshaws, neither of which knew where the hell they were going and it was us who eventually directed them in the right direction when we saw the station from an over bridge we went over!

6606 was sat waiting with 15308 Aishbagh – Lalkua with load 19. We were reserved in 1st class and there was no upgrade as 2AC was full. After my previous experiences on the Nainital Express I’d taken a blanket off a previous train for the overnight journey as it was usually quite cold, uncomfortably cold too. It was no exception, although we did manage to get a sheet out of the attendant for a small fee of RS25 each! He’d promised pillows etc at Daliganj, of course they never showed up. The only other YDM4s at Aishbagh were 6385, shunting stock, and 6581 arrived with the 2005 passenger arrival, 15 minutes late.

The following morning we split up at Lalkua and met up again at Moradabad, two of us went to Haldwani on 13019 Howrah – Kathgodam with GD WDM3A 14111 for LDH WDM2 17768 back into Delhi on 15036 Kathgodam – Delhi Jct while the others went via Kashipur. Haldwani station is dangerously close to falling into the river down below and a few more run-off years and i reckon it will disappear. The outer tracks already have no ballast beneath them, just clear daylight and the railway must realise this as there is a new bridge being built to take the railway across the river, how long it will take to complete I don’t know.

Our last evening in India was spent doing a different bash, rather than suffer the Rewari line and the stagger out to at least Delhi Cantt we’d come up with a far better alternative out towards Hapur which gave us far better options and plenty of engines to boot. What we hadn’t banked on were the number of people travelling as it was the eve of Diwali. It was wedged enough to Ghaziabad but there people were just hoarding the platforms and boarding whichever train they could. It was absolute carnage,  people were on the engines, between the coaches, hanging out of the doors about 5 at a time and even running down the platform holding on to the handrails hoping to get that bit of foot space to allow them to be carried away by the train. Most gave up when they ran out of platform to run along……..

It was pitch black and we had no idea where we were and had to ask the help of locals wedging us into the next train to get us off at Pilkhuwa. There we managed to attract the attention of the local police force and RPF, who couldn;t understand why we were going to Hapur when we wanted to be in Delhi. The “time pass” explanation seemed to help and they made sure we were escorted into 2AC and given a seat on the attendants bed to Hapur, which was nice of them. The run back into Delhi from there was relatively empty as everyone was leaving the City. Of course we had to get off at Ghaziabad for the one last engine, as with every trip. It was ABR WDM3A 18797 with 19106 Haridwar – Ahmedabad “Mail” and what a machine it was too. A good one to finish on. Back at Delhi Jct all we had to do was collect our bags from the cloak room and barter down the taxi wallahs from RS700 to RS500 for the journey back to the airport.

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