A whirlwind trip (which involved at least 70% of travel) was coming to an end. I had travelled from Mumbai to Chennai by 11027 Mumbai Chennai Mail (taking 2 nights and a day), met my grandparents and a close friend at Chennai, travelled to Trichy (by taking the overnight 12653 Rockfort express) for my BFF’s baby shower function; and returned to Chennai by bus – on Jan 28th. For reference to the start of the trip – please see this https://ashwinkumar1989.online/2018/02/06/the-start-of-a-whirlwind-trip-part-1/ . The bus (Sri Renganathan Travels) was supposed to reach Chennai by 9 PM; leaving me nearly 3 hours to have dinner and then board my return train to Mumbai (11028 Chennai Mumbai Mail) at ease. However, the heavy traffic since we entered the outskirts of Chennai; ensured that we reached 1 hour 15 mins late.
I got down at the point where the bus terminated; which was near Egmore station. Then I had dinner at Buhari Hotel and took an auto to Central station to board my train. This blog post will describe my journey by 11028 to Mumbai – or at least the first part of it! 😀 As usual, please refer to the legend right at the bottom for all technical terms (I won’t promise to cover all of them!) and station codes. The train was waiting (as usual) on Platform 1. My coach A1 was of a very old 1993 make (the AC 3 Tier coach B1 had slightly better luck, being of a 2000 make 😛 ); and 5th from the loco – AJJ WAP1 22042.
I had my ticket checked, before we departed at 00 02 (7 mins late); with 2 whistles and a long HT horn. I had already clambered into my SUB even before my ticket was checked – that tired I was; as a result of the bus journey! Having a seat right at the back of the bus certainly doesn’t help, especially in a Volvo! 😦 Even the comfort of the reclining facility (and the AC!) wasn’t good enough to make up for the rough, bumpy ride. Thus, I was determined to have as much rest as possible; in the AC 2 Tier comfort of the train back to Mumbai. True to my plan, I had a really long sleep with some weird dreams. I would wake up a few times in between – each time it would take me at least a minute to realize that I was travelling in a train!! 😛 Then I would promptly close my eyes and drop off to sleep again.
By the time I finally decided to clamber down from my berth, it was already well past 9 30 am. We were having a really long halt at GTL (PF5) ! I washed my face and brushed my teeth, before getting out of the coach for some much needed fresh air. Then I had some coffee. In a siding, APU-fitted GY WDM3A 14040R was coupled to its shed-mate WDM3D 11385.
In the distant right, I could see GD WDM3A 16062 next to a coal-laden BOXN freight headed by EMDs (leading – UBL WDG4 12043). By the time we finally departed, with two long blasts of the LT horn; it was 10 10, and we were running 1.5 hours late!! There was an RVNL OHE Inspection Car in the distant right, as we exited the junction. There was a blue wall on the right, housing Indian Oil and HP tanker rakes. Gangmen were busy at work. We crossed 16613 RJT-CBE express – it had 4 AC coaches; and an extra AC 3 Tier coach at the rear. There were gangmen pushing a trolley full of people on the rails! :O Elderly people were sitting on the dry, dark brown fields. There were stagnant little ponds as well. A WDG4 crossed us with a tanker freight having a BOXN wagon. Nearby, there was a tractor and a HP tanker lorry. Construction work was going on, indicated by a pit.
At Nemakallu, there were again gangmen busy at work, as well as bikes on the platform. Then there was some classic countryside scenery, in the form of men and women working in the fields, lots of goats and sheep being shepherded; and hay being loaded into lorries. After Molagavalli, there was a TSR of 75 kmph; and we were surrounded by huge windmills for a while. After Aspari, there was a temple; followed by cottages, bushes and shrubs. The sights of gangmen and labourers carrying cement indicated the arrival of Nagarur at 10 49, 1 hr 40 mins late. Then there were a lot of buildings, cottages and huts; and an LC before Adoni. As we exited the station, a tall freight hauled by a WDG4 and a WDG4D crossed us at MPS. There were rocky man-made hills in the right, as well as forests; and palm and coconut trees.
The effect of the AC made me doze off. When I opened my eyes, we had arrived at Kosigi. There was a lot of crowd on the DOWN line platform; and quite a few people crossed the tracks. We departed after a halt of two minutes, with a long as well as short blast of the LT horn. There were temples, cottages and huts, an LC; and some trash and sewage. Then there was scenery in the form of coconut and palm trees, sunflowers and white flowers. Again, there were a lot of gangmen busy working at Iranagallu; after which 57631 SUR-GTL DEMU crossed at a good speed. The sights of men and women working in the fields, followed by bushes and shrubs; signalled the arrival of MALM (PF3) at 11 47, 1 hr 38 mins late. The station had a decent crowd as usual, again with quite a few people crossing the tracks! A family got in here.
During the halt of 11 mins, I had a plate of Capsicum Bhajjis; which was just passable. Then came the Tungabhadra river.
After Matmari, there was an LC with a bus and some two-wheelers; followed by another TSR of 75 kmph. This was again followed by charming countryside scenery in the form of a lot of goats and sheep being shepherded, more LCs, ponds, women busy at work in the fields; and bushes and shrubs. There was yet another TSR of 75 kmph before Marichethal, followed by corn fields. We crossed a long train with quite a few AC coaches hauled by an EMD. This was followed by a lot of buildings and cottages in the distant right. Then, the sights of an FCI factory, GY WDG4 12858, two solitary BCNA wagons, KJM WDP4 20057, ED WAG7 27633, and BPCL lorries in the distant right; signalled the arrival of Raichur. As we departed, I noticed that a red flag had been placed on the track next to us.
As we exited, I observed quite a few sights such as ML Nair Auditorium, an amphitheatre, a highway across us, a temple in ruins, a mosque; and huts and cottages. Then the industrial area began, with CHUDI and SLNRI factories; and an unelectrified line branching off towards the right. There were two Plasser machines at Yermaras; after which we had an unscheduled stop for a minute. I saw labourers loading gunny bags into lorries at the factory on the right. This was followed by KB Shreeji factory, gangmen at work (yet again!), a lorry, an excavator; and a new line (probably freight) being constructed – again branching towards the right. We overtook a KZJ WAG7 27744 with an SLR plus wagons carrying rails; through the loop line at Chiksugur – the guard waved the green flag at us.
Then came the iconic cooling towers of the RTPS.
At Yadalapur, we had another unscheduled halt of a minute. There was an ACC cement rake on the right. This was followed by the Krishna river.
I again nodded off for a brief while. After Lingiri, there was again the usual scenery – corn fields, bovines grazing, men and women busy at work in the fields, bushes and shrubs; and a stagnant pond. We overtook some vehicles on the road parallel to us. 11027 Mumbai Chennai Mail crossed us led by a WAP4. The sight of a lot of buildings and cottages indicated the arrival of Yadgir at 13 49, 1 hr 35 mins late. A few people got in during the 3-min halt here. Then we crossed the partly dry and partly moss-filled Yadgir Nallah. This was followed by a highway across us, corn fields, tar being laid on an unmetalled road, a lot of men and women busy at work in the fields (yet again!), women leading bovines to graze; and the usual bushes and shrubs. After Thangundi, there was a big distance between the UP and DOWN lines; as well as a big curve to the right.
There was a lake, as well as a few rocky hills and huts and cottages; before Shampurhalli. After Nalwar, there were neat rows of small coconut trees; followed by the usual bovines and corn fields; as well as some construction work going on in a pit. There was also a cycle with a load parked near the DOWN track. There was a perceptible change in the (now becoming monotonous) scenery with some eucalyptus trees as we approached Wadi – the end of SCR and the beginning of CR. From the Halakatta line, a coal-laden BOXN freight crossed us hauled by twin WAG7s (Trailing – 28022 of ED). There was a tanker rake next to us, as we arrived at Wadi at 14 40 – 15 mins before time; thanks to some ridiculous slack! 😛
Here, the lunch I had ordered through https://www.travelkhana.com/ was duly delivered 🙂 – 2 chapatis with Egg curry. The packaging was imperfect, with some of the curry spilling out; but the Egg curry was spicy and delicious! 😀 By the way, our electric engine would be detached – for a diesel loco to do the duty till Pune. Also, I will resume my account of this journey in Part 2. Hope I haven’t bored you so far! 😛
HT – High Tone
LT – Low Tone
APU – Auxiliary Power Unit (specifically for charging the loco batteries when it is idle)
EMD – Electromotive Diesel (and a modern class of diesel engines)
OHE – Overhead Equipment
TSR – Temporary Speed Restriction
LC – Level Crossing
MPS – Maximum Permissible Speed
DEMU – Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (diesel local train 😛 )
SLR – Sitting-Cum-Luggage Rake (attached to both ends of a train)
RTPS – Raichur Thermal Power Station
AJJ – Arakkonam
GTL – Guntakal
GY – Gooty
GD – Gonda
UBL – Hubli
RJT – Rajkot
CBE – Coimbatore
SUR – Solapur
MALM – Manthralayam Road
KJM – Krishnarajapuram
ED – Erode
KZJ – Kazipet