Half a Day and 300 miles Away From Home – Part 1

A weird title for a blog – this ; but then, this “trip” itself was weird – involving a sleep-killing overnight journey to Manmad by 11015 LTT GKP Kushinagar express, which starts from LTT at 22 45 and reaches MMR at an unearthly time of 03 10 – involving a distance of 245 km. The return journey being by 22102 MMR-CSMT Rajyarani express, which starts from MMR at 05 25 (again, an odd hour πŸ˜› ) and reaches CSMT at 10 07 – traversing a distance of 261 km. Thus, this outing involved being away from home for more than half a day; in which I would cover approximately 300 miles by train πŸ˜€ . This particular blog will cover the overnight journey by Kushinagar express. As is the norm in my blogs, please refer to the legend right at the bottom for all technical terms (There are lots of technicalities, but I haven’t promised to cover all! πŸ˜› ) and station codes.

On Friday March 2nd, I left my home by 21 15 after dinner; and took an auto to Vikhroli – from where I took a local to Kurla.Β From Kurla, I was to take a Harbour line local till Tilaknagar – the station for LTT. The 21 55 local to Vashi came almost 5 mins late on Platform 7, and we had a wait of more than 5 mins; as a BCNHL freight headed by twin WDG4s (leading – 12630 of KZJ) passed slowly in the opposite direction through PF8. Reached LTT with more than half an hour left for my train Kushinagar express’ departure, after a walk of less than 5 mins from Tilaknagar station. Thus, I had a bit of time for railfanning. On Platform 6 was GOC WDP4D 40103 near a rake. On PF5 was 13202 LTT-RJPB Janata express with ET WAP4 22849.

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On PF4 was 11013 LTT-CBE express. My train was on PF3. BSL WAP4 22245 coupled itself to the rake, accompanied by melodious LT and HT toots.

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At the same time, 13202 departed almost 10 mins late. The main reason why I had chosen Kushinagar was its LHB rake. There were at least 2 ER coaches in this CR rake :O , 1 Duronto-liveried AC coach; and an Antyodaya coach in the front. There was dust and grime (as well as some cracks) in most of the coaches 😦 . My coach S1 was 3rd from the rear.

20180302_223011

15018 GKP-LTT exp (via Varanasi) arrived on PF1 at 22 38, 4 hours 33 mins late. My coach had mobile charging sockets in all bays, but my LB had torn rexine 😦 . As per the announcements, 12879 LTT-BBS superfast was to depart from PF2 and 12141 LTT-PPTA superfast was to depart from PF4 (after 11013 departed). We left at 22 50 (5 mins late), after 2 rounds of whistles. The rake on PF6 belonged to CR, and had at least 6 AC coaches. There was a massive crowd on PF4 for the superfast to PPTA, and queues were being formed; with a whistle blown to ensure order! :O The PSR over the turnouts was just 10 kmph. There was a brief stop at the outer for just about 20 seconds, a train with EMD crossed on the right .On the left, 12141 rake was stabled – to be shunted on to PF4. All the AC coaches were old (mostly 1990s manufactured 😦 ) except for the AC First class coach, which was of a 2012 make.

It amused me to see vendors selling tea/coffee, Meals/Veg.Biryani/Egg.Biryani, samosas etc. even at this late hour! πŸ˜›Β  As we slowly joined the main line at Vidyavihar, 12052 MAO-DR Jan Shatabdi blasted past at MPS; hauled by an EMD with original GM cab πŸ™‚ . Our coach had a flat wheel it seemed, and there were typical LHB jerks at low speeds and while braking. We soon picked up speed and were blasting away; the track clatter (combination of flat wheels and LHB track sounds πŸ˜› ) were music to my ears. After Vikhroli, we crossed the Hindustan Construction Company on the left. Then we overtook a slow local to KYN at Bhandup while blasting at MPS. There were tall towers like Ashford and Runwal Greens in Nahur West.Β We overtook a slow Thane local before Mulund, and a WCAM2/3 ripped past us in the Thane yard.

Pulled into Thane at 23 18 (15 mins late), with the local we had overtaken arriving at the same time. As we departed after a halt of 2 mins, I found out that the toilet at the front had no light; with the tube light missing and the bulb not working 😦 . The KYN local that we had overtaken earlier now overtook us, and an LHB train crossed on the right. We overtook the KYN local (once and for all, I think! πŸ˜‰ ) when it stopped after Thane Creek. Our WAP4’s horns (mostly HT was used) were audible even though my coach was at the rear! πŸ™‚ We blasted through the Parsik Tunnel at MPS, and slowed down after crossing the Mumbra Creek; to observe the PSR of 50 kmph before the Diva LC. Overtook another KYN local after Dombivli, only for it to overtake us in turn; as we crawled before KYN home signal. Then we had the last laugh, as we picked up speed; while it stopped at KYN home πŸ˜€ .

Pulled into KYN on Platform 4 at 23 46, 21 mins late. 12115 CSMT-SUR Siddheshwar express arrived behind UBL WDG4 12125 just after we departed – after a stop of 4 mins. It took me a while to fall asleep on my LB, since I had earlier had a long sleep of 2+ hours in the afternoon; and had also woken up late – around 9 am πŸ˜› . Besides, the occupants of the coach were chatting for a while. I had set an alarm to wake me up at 3 am (since we were supposed to arrive at MMR at 03 10). However, when I woke up; we were still some distance away from MMR. I answered the call of nature, and then sat on my berth with my bed sheet wrapped around me; as I did not want to risk missing my stop in the event I fell asleep again. After a while, the train slowed down and came to a halt. I went to the door with my shoulder-bag, thinking it was MMR.

However, it was just MMR home signal. We eventually pulled into MMR at 03 48, 38 mins late; on Platform 2. Hope you are ready to wait till Part 2 for the return journey by Rajyarani express – I can assure you it will be a cracker of a blog! πŸ˜‰

Technical Terms

LT – Low Tone

HT – High Tone

EMD – Electromotive Diesel (and a modern class of diesel engines)

LHB – Linke-Hoffman-Busch (German company whose technology is used to produce modern coaches – mostly seen in Rajdhanis, Shatabdis and Durontos)

PSR – Permanent Speed Restriction

MPS – Maximum Permissible Speed

LC – Level Crossing

Station Codes

LTT – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (or just Kurla Terminus πŸ˜› )

GKP – Gorakhpur

MMR – Manmad

CSMT – Mumbai CST

KZJ – Kazipet

GOC – Golden Rock (Ponmalai)

ET – Itarsi

RJPB – Rajendranagar

CBE – Coimbatore

BSL – Bhusawal

BBS – Bhubaneswar

PPTA – Pataliputra

MAO – Madgaon

DR – Dadar

KYN – Kalyan

SUR – Solapur

UBL – Hubli

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