Following my trip to Trichy by 11043 LTT Madurai express to attend my friend’s marriage, I slept my way to Chennai by 16178 Rockfort express; and had a brief stopover at Egmore, before taking 12164 Chennai Dadar ‘Super’ express to Mumbai on March 26th. You can read the report of the journey by 11043 here:https://ashwinkumar1989net.wordpress.com/2017/04/02/two-nights-and-a-day-to-down-south-in-ac-comfort/
Incidentally, the same loco that had powered Rockfort – RPM WAP4 22837 (as against the regular link of WAP7) – was to be the power for 12164 as well.I had a nap in the AC prepaid waiting room at Platform 4, before making my way to PF 7; where 12164 was stabled. The notable spottings were: 12662 SCT-MS Podhigai express on PF 5 with RPM WAP7 30409, and 12634 CAPE-MS superfast on PF 6 with ED WAP4 22558. My coach S8 was unfortunately in the back – 15th from the loco. It was a 2009 manufactured one – nothing remarkable – no bio-toilets and plug points only near the door.
We pulled out on the dot, at 06 50. Hardly had we crossed Park, when we made our first unscheduled halt for 5 mins, while an EMU crossed us. At Chennai Beach, 17652 KCG-CGL express crossed us with AJJ WAP1 22015. We then overtook a BNCA rake with a rare TATA WAG9 31792 at RPM. Stopped again after crossing the inglorious black waterbody called the ‘Buckingham Canal’. Predictably, on crossing VPY and merging into the main AJJ line; the WAP4 pulled out all its stops and we had a blazing run till Avadi home; barring a crawl at Korattur. In the process we overtook a freight with LGD WAG9 31157, and passed two lakes (at Korattur and Avadi) as well as a marshy pond after Pattabiram. After a sedate run till Nelimicherry, we again blasted till Tiruvallur; crossing a BOXN freight with twin AJJ WAG-5HAs 23675 and 23685; and overtaking a grey-silver EMU with pink stripes at Veppampattu. We then overtook a container rake with CNB WAG7 28006 at Tiruvalangadu. Then came the skip of AJJ at a measly 15 kmph: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTN2aivhqSA
A new platform was being built on the distant left. We crossed 22641 TVC-SHM superfast with AJJ WAP1 22016, and then overtook an ECoR special with LDH WAG7 28151 in a siding (after crossing over to the line to RU). This was the start of a frenetic run right till Pudi (except for a slow down at the Ponpadi curve and before Vepagunta) where we traversed all kinds of scenery – mountains, forests, trees of coconut, teak, ashoka, neem, eucalyptus and plaintains; green and brown fields; a marshy lake (after Puttur); huts, cottages; cattle grazing; a highway on the left (from Puttur) and a few bridges. Meanwhile, I had breakfast – bread cutlet. We stopped at Pudi while overtaking a BCNHL rake with JHS WAG7 27191. Pulled into RU (PF 1) at 09 25, 5 mins late. There was a massive crowd and quite a few people got in our coach. A Humsafar rake was seen on the distant right. On the left was GTL WDM3A 16656 with a milk tanker. After we joined the line to Kadapa, there was a beautiful green lake – but the effect was unfortunately ruined by its very dirty banks full of garbage, sewage and moss.
I dozed off for a while, and when I woke up, we had departed Razampeta at 10 35; right on time. We overtook a passenger with WDM3D at Hastavaram, before crossing the absolutely dry Cheyyaru river with sand, rocks, bushes and some palm trees making up the bed. Mountains still surrounded us in the distant left, as if to mock the arid landscape– with dry fields, thorny trees and bushes. After Mamtampalle, there was a lake full of thorny thickets. There were mounds of stone waste before Nandalur, and a tractor was neatly scooping it up. There was a guy on a bike exploring – brave of him in this hot and dry weather. There was some greenery after Bhakrapet, and a railway line crossed over us after Kanamallopalle. Then a BCNA rake with a blue WAG7 (in WAP4 shell) crossed us at a good pace. Pulled into Kadapa at 11 25, 1 min late. After we left, another line crossed over us and vanished to the left. This was probably the under-construction Kadapa – Madanapalle-Srinivasapura new line.
Another freight with a Barbie doll WAG5 crossed us at Gangayapalle. There was a temple and a mosque at Kamalapuram. There were also two bridges with TSRs on dry rivers (yet again)- with fields, bushes and shrubs, tall thickets etc making up the river beds. We overtook a short freight without any loco attached at Yerragudipadu, and then there was a vast dry brown stretch with just a few trees; and a factory in the distant left. The electrified line from Nandyal joined us from the left as we pulled into Yerraguntla at 12 06, 2 mins late. Quite a few people got down here. The famous India Cements factory was just outside the station, surrounded by tall thickets and a few trees. Then there was a blue-green lake surrounded by huge mounds of stone waste. The Rayalaseema landscape seemed to be full of contrasts like this . Meanwhile, I had a heavy lunch – Veg. Meals – comprising chapatis and rice, with side dishes as panner mutter, dal and aloo subzi; plus the sweet Soan papdi, a first I believe. All in all, a neat package and it was delicious. I topped it off with some badam butterscotch flavoured milk.
We had a 14 mins stop at Kondapuram for watering. I noticed some monkeys here. The dry and dusty heat made me doze off again, and when I woke up, we were having yet another loopline overtake of a freight (as is the norm in SCR) at Rayalacheruvu. Then we had an unscheduled halt at Jakkalacheruvu (probably for clearance to GY), where there was a family of monkeys. There was a TSR of 30 kmph on the line from SBC, which joined us on our left.Arrived at GY at 14 26, 32 mins late. Here there were quite a few spottings: Maroon-brown AJJ WAG5s 23177 and 23617, next to it a BOXN rake led by UBL WDG4s 12120 (in standard blue-white livery) and 12111 (in the famous mango-yellow livery), and a Pune WDG4 70062 in the distant left. We then had a brisk run to GTL, utilizing the slack we had. There was a beautiful lake in the distant left just after GY and another such beauty (but with thorns and weeds in it) before Nakkanadodi. There were a lot of goats grazing at Pattakottacheruvu; and a lot of date palm trees, shrubs, thickets, a few ponds and a cement factory before Timmanacherla. Reached GTL (PF 6) at 14 54, 9 mins late.
Our electric loco, which had done a sterling job; came off. Time for the diesel beast – GTL WDG3A 14685 – to take over.There were quite a few sightings in and around GTL – GTL WDM3A 16566, GTL WDG3A 13068, GTL WDM3A 16695R, LGD WAP7 30430 and Pune WDM3D 11384.I also got my first glimpse of the Electric Trip Shed in the distant left, as we departed at 15 18; 18 mins late. The line to Bellary-Hospet curved away to the left.The GTL bypass from the Hospet line (used by freights I guess) joined us just as our ALCO beast transitioned. The ‘jhatka’ was mild, since I was in the 15th coach from the loco.I could hear the chugging mildly. The acceleration was obviously slow after experiencing a WAP4, but I liked the ‘jhatka’ and the gradual increase in speed thereafter. The sights around were clearly indicative of a drought-laden area – with cracked soil, black soil, rows of thistle plants, a few trees and shrubs here and there; as well as a few ponds and troughs. There were windmills in the distant left near Molagavalli. Saw the substation at Nagarur – indicating the electrification works in this stretch. A stream completely covered with sewage and a house in complete ruins marked the arrival of Adoni at 16 01, 22 mins late.
I was surprised to see a Hero Motor bike showroom here. Hero is everywhere it seems. There were also Oil industries, and a large godown full of sacks and logs. The infertility of the region continued, but with some variety in scenery – such as different types of fields (corn, green, brown and thistles), cattle grazing, man-made hillocks in the distant background, pits of water for irrigation, ponds etc. There were also Eucalyptus, Neem, Palm and coconut trees, hay and brick huts, and mounds of red chillies left to dry in the baking hot furnace of the weather. Pulled into Manthralayam Road at 16 36, 17 mins late; after a good run of 42 km in 35 mins. The ALCO was in full form. We then passed a sleeper factory before crossing the almost entirely dry Tungabhadra river (except for few deep patches). The run till Matmari was slow; even slower than the many tractors seen around us, but I loved the oh-so-melodious traditional ALCO horn. Sounded like an old KJM WDM2.
Lot of electrification work was going on till Marichethal. From here till Wadi, I saw ‘IR’ marked in Zonal KM markers instead of ‘SCR’. Any idea why? Meanwhile, we picked up speed, with the turbocharger in full flow. There were two more ponds before Raichur arrived (honking continuously, much to my enjoyment) at 17 20, 31 mins late. There were two GY WDM3Ds 11117 (in a different indigo-white livery instead of the usual blue-white ) and 11325. Quite a few people got in our coach (mostly unauthorized Gen. 2nd class passengers). A rare WDM3F 11321 and WDM3D 11372 of GY were leading a BCNA freight in the distant left. The departure was marked by many buildings, cottages and bungalows – seems to be quite a developed town. Then there was a big pond, followed by factories in the distant left. We crawled through the loop line to overtake a BOXN rake hauled by twin EMDs at Yermaras. Saw the SSP at Yermaras (looks like electrification has reached here too). There was a very long pipeline before Chiksugur.
There was another factory, some green fields and coconut trees before we crossed the Krishna river, with the setting sun reflected beautifully in it.Skipped Krishna station at a good speed. Had some crisp dal vada. The majority of the surroundings were still arid, with exceptions such as bushes and shrubs, and neem, banyan and date palm trees here and there. There were also a few stagnant ponds and pits. Reached Saidapur at 18 04, 35 mins late. It was a relief to see most of the unauthorized passengers get down here. There was a massive pile of sleepers stacked on the left. Seems there is a sleeper factory here too. The setting sun was quite a spectacle, even in this dry land.We then had a quick run till Yadgir, covering 23 km in 19 mins; during which we crossed typical Indian rural scenery – brown and green fields, meadows, cottages, goats grazing; plus ponds and pits here and there. A swamp with dirty water, some construction work (involving JCBs) and the Yadgir Polytechnic College marked the arrival of Yadgir at 18 25, 31 mins late. Now it was getting dark, but quieter at the same time. Hence from thereon I could hear a lot of rhythmic track sounds, a real treat to the ears. There were more swamps. We overtook a freight with blue twin WAG7s at Lingiri (first time I am seeing electric loco in this section, though I am aware they have started plying). A similar pattern of scenery continued, with the sight of a temple/mosque and some cottages indicating the arrival of a station. Arrived at Wadi (PF 2) at 19 06, only 1 min late thank to slack. The junction was full of activity as ever.After we departed, in the dark silence of the night, the chugging of the ALCO beast was audible again. We passed the brightly lit ACC factory, and then crossed the perennial Kagini river with the classic ‘dhak-dhak’ sound over the bridge. Shahabad seems to be a decent-sized town, as I could see the lights for quite some distance. Now the turbocharger was on full song, and to add to it the rhythmic clickety-clack track sounds were a real treat to the ears, when the eyes could not see much. We crossed the highway before entering Gulbarga (PF 3) at 19 55, 6 mins late. There was a big crowd on PF 1. The town was brightly lit, like Shahabad; and the highlight was huge statues of gods/goddesses. From here, the famous single line started, and correspondingly the delays too.
I had dinner of Veg.Biryani, which was strictly average (as compared to the Egg Biryani which I had in 11043 earlier). At Babalad, we had a scissor crossing with 11301 CSTM-SBC Udyan express hauled by Pune WDP4D 40424, after reversing on the loop (with PSR of 10 kmph) honking continuously. We then crossed a passenger (probably Bijapur passenger – running 2 hours late as per the announcement at GR while crawling through Gaudgaon. We had our next crossing halt at Kulali for 6 mins, And what a crossing it was! 22133 SUR-YPR superfast ripped at MPS with a pure EMD horn from its Pune WDM3D. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sYJQtQPTX8
Next we had a really long stop at Dudhani.17308 Bagalkot Mysore Basava express came very slowly and made its scheduled halt behind KJM WDP4 20025 (Seems to have been transferred very recently from UBL. Loco Database still shows UBL). The departing HT horn from this beast was very unique, and I bet can only be found on EMD locos. In this section the Super was behaving more like a fast passenger. At Boroti 17222 Kakinada LTT express was standing behind an EMD. We stopped , and then started after sounding the horn; and again stopped. Then 17222’s EMD sounded its unique horn (similar to the LT horn of KYN WDP4D 40347 which hauled my 11043 earlier) and departed. Finally we started after some melodious bursts of horn blowing from our WDG3A. Confusing but I loved the horn play. Our poor run continued, as we had yet another unscheduled halt at Akkalkot Road.
I then lay down on my LB but could not sleep immediately. I sensed that we reached SUR probably an hour late. After that I was able to sleep, and there was some fast running (since 12164 usually gets good priority from SUR to Pune). We reached Pune about 20 mins late. When I woke up, we were somewhere near Badlapur/Ambernath. I quickly brushed my teeth and got ready to deboard at Kalyan. We were moving at only a sedate pace. The WCAM3 (I later found out at Dadar that it was a WCAM3 by the single red stripe, while on my way to my office at Lower Parel) seemed to lack the spirit of the WAP4 and WDG3A that had earlier hauled our train. Reached KYN at 05 53, 45 mins late. Got an EMU to Vikhroli and then took an auto to reach home at 07 20. I was thoroughly tired. But somehow amazingly after a bath and breakfast I was fresh, ready to take two EMUs (a fast from Vikhroli to Dadar and then a slow to Lower Parel) to reach office by 9 30 (I had taken permission to reach at 10 am instead of 9 am)!
Well that’s it guys, hope you enjoyed this really long report, keep the comments going!
EMU – Electrical Multiple Unit (Local train)
EcoR – East Coast Railway
SCR – South Central Railway
IR – Indian Railways
TSR – Temporary Speed Restriction
PSR – Permanent Speed Restriction
EMD – Electromotive Diesel (and a class of modern diesel locos)
ALCO – American Locomotive Company (and a class of diesel locos of the 1960s)
HT – High Tone
LT – Low Tone
RPM – Royapuram
SCT – Sengottai
MS – Chennai Egmore
CAPE – Kanniyakumari
ED – Erode
KCG – Kacheguda
CGL – Chengalpattu
AJJ – Arakkonam
TATA – Tatanagar
LGD – Lallaguda
CNB – Kanpur
TVC – Trivandrum Central
SHM – Shalimar
LDH – Ludhiana
RU – Renigunta
JHS – Jhansi
GTL – Guntakal
GY – Gooty
SBC – KSR Bengaluru
UBL – Hubli
VPY – Vyasarpadi Jeeva
SUR – Solapur
GR – Gulbarga
YPR – Yeshwantpur
KYN – Kalyan
KJM – Krishnarajapuram