It was a whirlwind trip, planned only a month in advance. My BFF’s baby shower was happening in Trichy on Sunday Jan 28th. This involved a stopover at Chennai for a day, before taking an overnight train to Trichy. Why do I call this trip “whirlwind” ? Because almost 70% of the trip was spent in travel!! Here is the itinerary:
Day 1 (Thursday Jan 25th): Take 11027 CSMT-MAS Mail at night.
Day 2 (Friday Jan 26th): Entire day in train.
Day 3 (Saturday Jan 27th): Reach Chennai early morning. Stay at my grandparents’ place. Take 12653 Rockfort express in the night to Trichy.
Day 4 (Sunday Jan 28th): Reach Trichy early morning. Check in to hotel. Attend the baby shower function. Check out of hotel. Take bus (Sri Renganathan Travels) at 3 05 PM to Chennai. Reach Chennai at 9 PM. Have dinner, and board 11028 MAS-CSMT Mail at 23 55.
Day 5 (Monday Jan 29th): Entire day in train, again!!
Day 6 (Tuesday Jan 30th): Reach Mumbai early morning. Go home. After rest, bath and breakfast, go to office as usual at 9 AM!!
As to my train choice between Mumbai and Chennai (and vice-versa), it was because I had simply no other option (at least in AC), the trip being planned late and the other trains going full!! This particular blog (most probably split into 2 parts) will refer to the first part of the trip – the journey from Mumbai to Chennai by 11027. As ever, please do refer to the legend right at the bottom for all technical terms and station codes.
On Thursday Jan 25th, I left my home at around 22 15 after dinner; and took an auto to Vikhroli – from where I took a local to Dadar. 10111 CSMT-MAO Konkan Kanya express had a long halt at Platform 5, before leaving with a pure EMD horn. It stopped briefly, before starting again. On PF4, a fast local waited for this train to clear its path ahead; before leaving. An announcement was made for 12052 MAO-DR Jan Shatabdi to arrive an hour late. KYN WDM3D 11359 passed PF4. 11057 CSMT-ASR ‘Pathankot express’ made its halt on PF5 behind GZB WAP7 30249 with the typical whining HT horn. Later on PF4, 12115 CSMT-SUR Siddheshwar express arrived behind AEB-fitted UBL WDP4B 40065. It stopped after departing, before sounding its LT (electric-type horn found in many EMDs) and HT (sounded weird) horns and moving on.
11027 later came (on PF5) behind KYN WCAM3 21950. My coach A1 was 4th from the loco. I slept soon after showing my photo ID to the TTE (that seems enough nowadays! 😀 ). I had a really long sleep. Though I woke up quite a few times in between; when I finally got down from my SUB, it was already around 09 30. I washed my face and brushed my teeth. We departed from Madha at 09 38, running 1 hr 18 mins late! I could easily make out that we were being hauled by an ALCO; by the hard chugging (which could be heard even inside the AC coach!) and strong transition jerk. The loco had 2 twin tones for each of the LT and HT horns! We passed corn, sugarcane and maize fields; and crossed a train with 6 AC coaches (led by an EMD) on the mainline at Vakav – maybe 12627 SBC-NDLS Karnataka express?
There was a tractor with two sugarcane-laden carts near Angar LC and then a clump of coconut trees, before we pulled into Mohol after a fast run at 10 02; 1 hr 19 mins late. As we exited, I could see coconut groves and tent houses in the distant right; as well as a sleeper factory and plasser machines in the right. A highway across us was followed by huts, shanties and cottages. There was a lot of scenery in the form of a partly full river after Mundhewadi, coconut trees, different kinds of fields, streams; and cow sheds with cattle. There were also small temples, a tractor with two carts, a highway under construction at Bale; and lorries waiting at the LC. As we began to approach SUR, there were a lot of buildings, cottages, huts; and eucalyptus and coconut trees.
We crossed AEB-fitted UBL WDP4 20026 with two coaches of 22134 YPR-SUR express. Not sure what was going on! :O Then there were tall buildings and some buildings under construction. UBL WDG4s 12072 and 12082 were heading a BCNA freight in the opposite direction, as we pulled into SUR(PF3) at 10 33 – only 1 hr 3 mins late; due to slack. My coach was of 2008 make.
On PF2, 11031 SUR-BJP express was headed by APU-fitted Pune WDG3A 14565R.
Our loco was KYN WDG3A 13618.
The LP sounded a short burst of the HT horn, before sounding the LT horn and then the HT horn again (O! ); as we departed at 10 47, 1 hr 7 mins late. At this point, I am sorry to play spoilsport by ending Part 1 here; the intro has been long enough!!
EMD – Electromotive Diesel (and a modern class of diesel engines)
HT – High Tone
LT – Low Tone
AEB – Auto Emergency Brakes
ALCO – American Locomotive Company (and a class of diesel engines of the 1960s)
LC – Level Crossing
APU – Auxiliary Power Unit (specifically for charging the loco batteries when it is idle)
CSMT – Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (Mumbai CST with the ‘Maharaj’ 😛 )
MAS – Chennai Central
MAO – Madgaon
DR – Dadar (Central)
KYN – Kalyan
ASR – Amritsar
GZB – Ghaziabad
SUR – Solapur
UBL – Hubli
SBC – Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna Bengaluru (or just Bangalore City 😛 )
NDLS – New Delhi
YPR – Yeshwantpur
BJP – Bijapur