A 33 hours long train journey (from Trichy to Mumbai) makes for a similarly elephant-sized blog as well 😛 – as to how it started, please see https://ashwinkumar1989.online/2018/05/20/a-long-dreary-and-forgettable-journey-part-1/ . Where were we? Ah…at GY. As we departed after a halt of 3 mins, I saw GY WDP4D 40117 in the DLS. The twin GY WDG3As that I had seen earlier (leaving GY) had reversed and were now in parallel with us – now leading was 13067 and trailing was 13081. Their LT horn was of the pure EMD variety; while the HT one sounded like that of a classic ALCO horn (“baaam”). We soon overtook this pair. There was a Plasser Crane coupled to a flatbed wagon on the line to Kurnool. We passed through scenery such as many palm groves, green grass; and a rainfed pond (in which boys were bathing). There was an abandoned toilet at Nakkanadodi where we nearly stopped. An express hauled by a WAP4 blasted past us.
There was more charming scenery in the form of coconut groves, date palm trees, and a shepherd leading a flock of goats and lambs to graze; before Timmanacherla – where we crossed a DEMU marked “Moula Ali” on the loopline. Then we crossed a BOXN freight behind twin WDG4s. As the town of GTL appeared, the line from Kurnool curved in sharply and joined us on the right.
I had forgotten to mention that I had ordered lunch online through https://www.travelkhana.com/ ; which was supposed to be delivered at GTL. We arrived there at 12 29, a minute early. As I was waiting for the food to be delivered, time slowly trickled by. After 5 mins, I made a call to the number given by Travelkhana; and was told “to be patient” by the lady on the phone, as my order would be delivered on time at my seat. I called her again just as announcements were made for our train’s departure, and was told “to wait for one minute”. I was getting tense and losing my patience. Eventually we started moving and still the order was not delivered! I made a last-ditch call just as we slowly pulled out of the station; the lady had the nerve to say that the train’s arrival at the station was 13 40 and that’s why they could not deliver the lunch! :O Do these idiots even bother to read the train timetables while taking care of the delivery?
Anyway, she tried to assure me that the food would be delivered at the next station Adoni. I decided to give her a chance and wait. But Adoni came and went! When I called again, a man picked up the phone this time. I complained about the delivery failure and finally he acknowledged that there was a mistake at their end; and that a complaint would be registered and refund would be processed…phew!! I decided not to use Travelkhana again if I could avoid it. However, there was a more pressing matter at hand – I had not had anything since morning, except for a bottle of water and a bottle of Slice! Imagine my luck…since I had ordered food online, I didn’t order anything from the pantry or the vendors passing around till then! Now, none of the guys from the pantry (or the vendors) were to be seen!! I thus had no choice but to try my luck at the stations instead.
I expected to get something for sure at MALM, being such a popular pilgrimage spot; but alas!! I was desperate now…poured out my anger to my mother over the phone, and managed to scribble this poem (the rough version, in my diary) https://hellopoetry.com/poem/2498217/what-is-it-like-to-go-hungry/ . At Raichur, since the train stopped for only 2 mins; I could just have a Choco Cream Roll – but i didn’t mind, as anything solid was ok for me then! 😛 At Krishna, we had our 2nd (and last) watering halt – meaning a stop of at least 10 mins. This was the reprieve I so desperately needed, as I had a packet of lemon rice that I purchased from a vendor. After a while, I retired to my SUB to sleep. It was really hot and sultry (unsurprisingly), but I was so tired that sleep came easier than I thought. We were moving at a really slow pace (since we had so much slack!) and I could sense that we had a very long unscheduled halt at a particular station.
Eventually when I came down, we made another unscheduled halt at Thangundi (on the mainline) for 6 mins. As we departed, twin GTL WDG3As whizzed past us with a shrill honk. There was a long road bridge under construction before the ghost station Shampurhalli. Then we passed small cottages, temples, rocky hills, cattle grazing, arid land with some burnt patches, an LC, stone huts, and stacks and walls of stone; before another unscheduled stop at Nalwar. There was a BCNHL rake in the right on the mainline. As we left after a massive 16 mins, I saw that the power of the rake was twin KZJ WDG4Ds 70803 and 70804. There was some construction work going on nearby with pits and bulldozers, apart from scenery such as many short date palm trees, eucalyptus trees and viaducts. We crossed 16593 NED-SBC express led by red and cream liveried GTL WDM3D 11565. Inevitably we were held up again at Wadi home signal for 9 mins.
There was a BCNA freight (headed towards SC) waiting at Halakatta on the Wadi bypass line. I spotted LGD WAP7 30286 on a siding, as well as BZA WAP4 22251. There were quite a few two wheelers waiting at an unmanned LC and many bikes inside the station premises. In the yard, I saw KYN WDG4D 70323 in the right as well as Pune WDG4s 12682 and 12501 heading a BOXN rake (facing the other side) in the distant right. Arrived at the station at 18 37, 3 mins early; in spite of the very slow running with all these unscheduled halts – as explained earlier, this train has a mountain of slack! 😛 Here I had a Bread Omelette during the 14-min halt. There was a PSR of 10 kmph on the rightmost line as we exited the station. There was a sleeper factory on the right which also had cranes and huge piles of rails along with the sleepers. Saw some upturned Container wagons – was it a recent derailment? We were soon blasting away with some melodious HT honking (accompanied by flat wheel sounds) before slowing down. There were some thorny plants before the Kagini river; over which the TSR of 30 kmph remained (as observed in my journey to Chennai by 11027 Mumbai Chennai Mail). Reached Shahabad at 19 09, 12 mins late. Here (irony of ironies!!) my ticket was finally checked!! Wow…after almost a day had passed!! 😛 I guess this is the Indian Railways’ style of saying “Better late than never”!! Coming back to the railfanning, there was a huge factory in the right; as we departed after a stop of 2 mins. Now that there wasn’t much slack left in our schedule, we sped away in earnest; again with rhythmic flat wheel sounds! 😛There were industrial buildings and sheds at Hirenanduru. We crossed 11301 CSMT-SBC Udyan express with its customary EMD. There were rows of tiny houses, a highway across us, and lines joining from a freight complex; before we arrived at GR (Platform 3) at 19 35, 13 mins late. There was a massive crowd on PF1. I had ordered dinner as well online, but through http://railyatri.in/ – which is not just a food ordering app but also a very useful rail portal. Their approach to customer service was much more professional, as they had called and informed me in advance that the dinner would not be delivered at GR (due to the restaurant there being closed); but would instead be delivered at the next station SUR. So I had no reason to panic or suspect a delivery failure; unlike in case of Travelkhana. Meanwhile, I saw that the station had an escalator! :O Also, people were running pell mell to board the train; when we departed after a stop of 4 mins! 😛
Now we were in single line territory. At Babalad, a passenger (probably a more than 2 hours late running 57133 Bijapur Raichur passenger) hauled by an orange and cream ALCO was reversing on the scissor-crossing loop; as we accelerated through the station. There were lots of huts and cottages before Sawalgi. Now there was a significant change in the weather, as winds were blowing and lightning was striking at regular intervals! :O There was a big curve to the right, followed by many huts, cottages and buildings; before GUR. We almost stopped at Kulali, after which there was a giant windmill; again followed by huts and cottages before we made an unscheduled halt at Dudhani – just having entered Maharashtra. 22133 SUR-YPR superfast blasted past with a WDP4B; also overtaking a BOBYN rake hauled by an orange and cream ALCO in the left in the process.
We departed after a stop of 5 mins. A road briefly gave us company on the right, followed by a factory in the distant right, settlements on the right; and a long bridge over a dry river. An express was made to wait for us while we passed Boroti, where there was a Plasser machine attached to a coach on a siding in the distant right. It started drizzling as we crawled through AKOR with continuous honking. Since 4 of us were squeezed in the side bay, I decided to have my dinner in my SUB! 😛 We pulled into SUR (PF3) at 21 41, 26 mins late. Thankfully, the dinner was duly delivered here – 3 Rotis with Dal Fry. To my astonishment, it included a complimentary packet of Nicotine gum (supposed to help one quit smoking in 12 weeks)!! :O How did they assume that I was a smoker? Beats me!! Anyway the dinner was tasty. Soon after, I brushed my teeth and went to sleep. Again, I did not really need my bed-sheet as the weather soon returned to its earlier sultriness! 😛
I woke up quite a few times in between, and (not surprisingly!) had to try quite a few different positions to be able to sleep like a log. Finally got down from my berth as we were departing KYN. I brushed my teeth, gathered my luggage and stood near the door. Reached Thane at 05 31, 28 mins late. I got down here and took a local to Vikhroli; whereupon I took an auto to reach home by 06 20. Thus ended a long, dreary and forgettable journey lasting almost 33 hours! Thanks for patiently reading till here! 😛
Update: Travelkhana later sent me a message of regret and also a mail stating that the concerned restaurant had been reprimanded! Also the money for the order was refunded to my PayTM account! So maybe I will have second thoughts on my original decision to avoid Travelkhana! 😛
DLS – Diesel Loco Shed
LT – Low Tone
HT – High Tone
ALCO – American Locomotive Company (and an old class of diesel engines of the 1960s)
EMD – Electromotive Diesel (and a modern class of diesel engines)
DEMU – Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (or just diesel local train 😛 )
LC – Level Crossing
PSR – Permanent Speed Restriction
TSR – Temporary Speed Restriction
GY – Gooty
GTL – Guntakal
MALM – Manthralayam Road
KZJ – Kazipet
NED – Nanded
SBC – Bangalore City
LGD – Lallaguda
BZA – Vijaywada
KYN – Kalyan
CSMT – Mumbai CST
GR – Gulbarga
SUR – Solapur
GUR – Ganagapur Road
YPR – Yeshwantpur
AKOR – Akalkot Road