A Superfast with a Phobia of Speed

The title seems ironic; but IMHO it applies perfectly to 22106 Pune Mumbai Indrayani express – at least on the particular day Saturday 24th March. That day I had reached Pune by taking 11301 CSMT-SBC Udyan express – for the blog of that journey please refer https://ashwinkumar1989.online/2018/03/25/a-summer-saturday-morning-trip-to-pune/ . At Pune, as per plan; I bought the Shrewsbury biscuits and Mava cakes from Kayani Bakery. Of course, I also met my friend – railfan Jyothish KD; we had a session of railfanning of almost 1.5 hours. 12170 Solapur Pune Intercity chugged into Platform 2 of Pune behind Pune WDM3D 11176; to continue to Mumbai as my return train – 22106 Indrayani.

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12129 Pune Howrah Azad Hind express was waiting on PF3 behind BSL WAP4 22965.

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According to Jyothish this train is among the frontrunners in CR to get an LHB rake 🙂 . A BOBYN freight honked and passed through a siding next to PF2 towards Daund, hauled by GY WDG4s 12317 and 12465.

 

KJM WDP4D 40415 was coupled to ERS WDM3A 16237, at the rear of Azad Hind’s rake.

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According to Jyothish 16237 is not a great performer. 40415 had brought in 12781 MYS-NZM Swarna Jayanthi express; as I would learn from IRFCA member Yogesh Sir’s observations at Pune later. Coming back to the journey, my coach D6 was crowded. I had a non-trackside window seat,and it was facing backwards to the direction of the journey 😦 . 16532 SBC-AII Garib Nawaz express arrived on PF1 behind KJM WDP4D 40518. We departed at 18 36, a minute late; with the LP sounding a long and slightly shrill HT horn. Barely 4 minutes later, we came to a stop; only to start moving again with a twin-tone (HT horn mixed with a mellow LT horn) after a minute. 11009 Mumbai Pune Sinhagad express crossed us led by a chocolate boy KYN WCAM2-6P. We then slowly crossed over the points and started accelerating with fierce chugging and the classic ALCO transition (at around 40 kmph) just before SVJR. A train hauled by an EMD crossed at Khadki – probably 11019 CSMT-BBS Konark express.

We blasted away from Khadki till Kasarwadi, with the WDM3D turbocharger in full flow and the chief honking all the way 🙂

Meanwhile, the TTE came and asked just my seat number :O . There was a brief slowdown at Akurdi home signal, but we picked up speed through the station and blasted away till Vadgaon home; with rhythmic clickety clack track sounds ringing in my ears. Then we crawled before some hardcore chugging (that’s why I love the WDM3D! 😀 ) and acceleration, only to slow down at Kanhe; as a freight crossed us. The stop-start run continued, as we accelerated with chugging and honking before slowing down at Kamshet home; as an express crossed us behind a WCAMx. Then we had a fast run from Kamshet to Malavli home, racing vehicles on the highway. Entered Lonavla at 19 39 (16 mins late) on PF2. The culprit which had delayed us was waiting on PF3 – Pune Lonavla local; now ready to return to Pune. During our 2-minute halt, many people boarded – most of them unreserved young passengers.

During the climb down the Bhor Ghats, we took the midline. Crossed a train led by WCAMx (probably 11023 CSMT-KOP Sahyadri express) before Monkey Hill. I also had 3 Sabudana Vadas. We overtook a WAG7 hauled freight at Palasdhari yard and crossed a train hauled by an EMD.  Then we overtook a local coming from Khopoli at Palasdhari, and overtook a container train with WDG4D at KJT yard. Pulled into KJT (PF2) at 20 33, 25 mins late. This was where the horror run started. Quite a few people got down. There was a local on the left. After waiting for 9 mins, the LP grew tired and blew the twin-tone horn, followed by three HT toots (two different HT horns – one melodious and the other shrill 😉 ). A minute later, he blew the twin-tone horn and we left once and for all. After slowly clearing the points, the 3D beast chugged away; only to crawl and come to a halt at Bhivpuri home. A train crossed us behind an ALCO, during a stop that lasted as long as 10 minutes.

This was not the end of it all. We had another unscheduled halt at Neral home for 3 mins. I knew then, that something was seriously wrong on the line ahead; this was not the routine delay at work. We were riding yellows throughout – there was a brief fast run from Vangani before slowing down at Badlapur home and another such brief burst of speed from Badlapur to Ambernath home. At Vithalwadi home there was yet another unscheduled halt for 2 mins, before proceeding to stop at the station as well for a minute. Crawled into KYN (PF7) at 22 18, 1 hr 28 mins late. The coach almost emptied here. We had covered a distance of 47 km in 1 hr 35 mins – at an average speed of 30 kmph 😛 . A CR train (I couldn’t read the boards in Hindi properly) towards CSMT departed from PF5. We left at 22 23, after a stop of 5 mins.

For the first time since the run from Pune to Lonavla, the train started behaving as per its superfast status; we had a blasting run till the Parsik tunnel (except for the 50 kmph PSR before Diva) – during which we overtook a train behind an EMD coming from the Panvel-Diva line (a 2 hours late running 10104 MAO-CSMT Mandovi express?) and passed a stationary KR train with ED WDM3D 11318 (probably 50106 Savantwadi Road Diva passenger that had arrived) at Diva. The fast run soon came to a premature end as we stopped for clearance before Thane, during which a 1.5 hours late running 12809 CSMT-HWH Mail (Via NGP) crossed us with SRC WAP4 22898. Reached Thane (PF6) at 22 46, 1 hour 38 mins late. After I got down, 12133 CSMT-MAJN superfast chugged into PF5 behind KYN WDM3D 11383. Also, an announcement was made for the arrival of 13202 LTT-RJPB express on PF7.

I then took a crowded local to Vikhroli; whereon I took an auto to reach home by 23 25. Thus ended a rather eventful trip to Pune, which was overall quite satisfying; though the anticipated superfast ride turned out to be more of a fast passenger ride – hence the title of the report 😛 . The next day I found out through IRFCA member Umesh Bendre that this delay of Indrayani was owing to a cascading sequence of events – kickstarted by 11302 SBC-CSMT Udyan express’ loco failure between Shelu and Vangani, due to which 16340 NCJ-CSMT express was stuck for nearly 2 hours at Neral; which in turn delayed 12128 Pune Mumbai Intercity by more than 2 hours – in fact Indrayani ended up entering KYN less than 10 mins after Intercity! :O Just underlines the havoc an engine failure can wreak on a congested route. Hope this report does not deter you from making a trip on the Indrayani! 😛

Technical Terms

LT – Low Tone

HT – High Tone

ALCO – American Locomotive Company (and a class of diesel engines of the 1960s)

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

LP – Loco Pilot

IRFCA – Indian Railways Fan Club Association

Station Codes

CSMT – Mumbai CST

SBC – Bangalore City

BSL – Bhusaval

GY – Gooty

KJM – Krishnarajapuram

ERS – Ernakulam Junction

MYS – Mysore

NZM – Hazrat Nizamuddin

AII – Ajmer

KYN – Kalyan

SVJR – Shivajinagar

BBS – Bhubaneswar

KOP – Kolhapur

KJT – Karjat

MAO – Madgaon

ED – Erode

HWH – Howrah

NGP – Nagpur

SRC – Santragachchi

MAJN – Mangalore Junction

LTT – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (or just Kurla Terminus 😛 )

RJPB – Rajendranagar

NCJ – Nagercoil Junction

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