For those of you who have not yet read Part 1, here is the link: https://ashwinkumar1989net.wordpress.com/2017/05/21/my-first-visit-to-pandharpur-part-1/ . I had darshan at the Vitthal Temple, but could not see the main deity due to the crowd. I then came to my hotel room and slept for 4 hours, as I was tired after walking in the dry heat of the peak summer. I checked out by 5 pm, and then had tiffin (a Tomato omelette) and a cup of coffee at a veg. restaurant nearby. I then walked my way towards Pandharpur station (1.2 km from the hotel), but went under the rail under-bridge over the road to the right side- instead of going on the left. As a result, I had to walk a longer distance than usual; and reached the other side of the station (via the entrance to the Goods yard). Thus, I had to cross the tracks in order to reach Platform 2, and then take the FOB to reach Platform 1 – where the ticket counter was located near the exit(main entrance of PVR).
I then purchased a Gen. IInd class ticket to KWV and waited at a bench on Platform 1, where the unreserved 11310 Miraj-SUR express was expected to arrive. Announcements were made well before 11310’s arrival, but the train ultimately arrived at 18 11, 11 mins late – behind the same loco that had hauled 11309: Pune WDM3D 11384 (but obviously SHF now).
A lot of people deboarded here. I boarded the 2nd coach from the loco and got an emergency window seat, though facing non-track side. The WDM3D sounded its HT horn,and then the melodious LT horn (as described earlier in Part 1), and we pulled out after a halt of 4 mins. We curved to the left, and then picked up speed slowly.
Soon came the beautiful sight of the sun and clouds being reflected on the Bhima river, as we continued to accelerate amidst furious chugging by the 3D beast.
It was a fast run to Modnimb with LT horn blowing throughout (much to my delight), as we covered 31 km in 24 mins, at an average of approximately 78 kmph. A few settlements, temples, water tanks, an underbridge, flyovers across us and a hotel marked the arrival of Modnimb at 18 39, 2 mins late. After a halt of 2 mins, we departed with the LT horn being blown yet again. The beautiful sunset was enhanced by the sight of the electric pole seemingly swaying backwards, as we were doing a speed of around 90 kmph, honking all the way.
The contrasting scene of a barren landscape and the lovely red hot ball in the distance was too good not to be snapped.
As we neared KWV and thus slowed down, I observed a train accelerating towards Daund with a shrill ALCO horn – probably 51028 PVR-CSTM fast passenger. We pulled into KWV at 19 03, 7 mins early; on PF 1(as expected). After I got down, I observed the WDM3D blowing the HT horn at 19 13, and then after 2 mins the HT horn and then LT horn; and finally departing. Meanwhile, I had about 3 hours to kill at KWV , and took advantage of the time to railfan away – here are the observations from the session https://ashwinkumar1989net.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/observations-at-kurduvadi-on-a-sunday-night/ . By the way, I had a dinner of Veg. Pulao (it was ok) at the Vegetarian Refreshment room on PF 2.
My return train to Mumbai – 22140 SUR-CSTM superfast – arrived at 22 30 (15 mins late) on PF 1, behind Pune WDM3A 18724. My coach S2 was in chaos – there were quite a few people with unreserved/waitlisted tickets, and I found it a struggle to get to my seat; even though it was very close to the door (being number 1). Meanwhile, 12702 HYB-CSTM Hussainsagar express arrived and overtook us – to add insult to the injury. This is one of the rare instances when I’ve witnessed a superfast overtaking another superfast (best of all, me being inside the overtaken superfast). Fortunately, the TTE soon came and checked our tickets. He gently (but firmly) told a family (who were travelling with unreserved tickets) that it would be better for them to move into a UR coach, as they had no chance of getting reservation; moreover, they would have to pay a fine of Rs.380 (Rs.130 for the fare difference and Rs.250 as the penalty for travelling without proper reservation) if they stayed. They protested that there was no space in the UR coaches; but I felt that they could instead try to board another train (there are many trains from Kurduvadi to Mumbai) instead of disturbing the bonafide passengers with reserved tickets.
All in all, it was a big relief when the train finally departed after a halt of almost 40 mins (running more than 50 mins late); and I spread my legs on my LB. However, we made really good time in the night, and I felt great hearing the fierce chugging of the WDM3A and the clickety clack track sounds. I woke up a few times in between (particularly when we reached Pune). The last time I woke up, we had reached Kalyan and people were scrambling to get down. I then slowly and groggily took my bag and got down. We had reached KYN at 04 17, 19 mins late. Given that we were more than 50 mins late at KWV, I felt it was a really good job by the ALCO beast (of course by the LP!) to recover more than half an hour of lost time – even taking into account the slack etc. Solid section controlling by CR – to have Hussainsagar clear our path after overtaking us at KWV, so that we could move on unfettered.
In my sleepy state, I tripped and fell halfway while climbing the FOB at KYN – nothing to be alarmed about, just a few scratches, nothing more. I then took an EMU to Vikhroli and an auto from there, to reach home by 05 30. I had a sleep of about 1.5 hours (which would not have been possible had I got down at Dadar instead- the train does not stop at Thane) before taking bath, having breakfast and leaving for office.
FOB – Foot Over-bridge
SHF – Short Hood (of the diesel engine) Forward
HT – High Tone
LT – Low Tone
LP – Loco Pilot
PVR – Pandharpur
SUR – Solapur
CSTM – Mumbai CST
KWV – Kurduvadi
HYB – Hyderabad
KYN – Kalyan