I love having a full weekend off ; especially in the monsoons. It provides you the opportunity to undertake train journeys which might otherwise have been difficult; given that there is a Mega Block on Sundays – due to which many daytime intercities usually tend to get cancelled. Moreover, the train in this case was 12117 LTT-MMR Godavari express; starting from Mumbai in the afternoon and reaching its destination in the night. This meant that I had to return by an overnight train; and if I were to arrive back at Mumbai on a Monday morning, the event of such a train getting late would have made me late for work. Also, there was the additional risk of the overnight train getting full; due to its arrival in Mumbai at the start of the week. Hence I preferred to undertake this trip on a Saturday; as reaching Mumbai late on a Sunday posed no issue to me.
The date of the journey was July 28th – meaning we were in right in the middle of the Mumbai monsoons. Hence, I was excited as I started from my home around 13 20/25. Took an auto to Vikhroli, where I was fortunate to snap an APU-fitted KYN WDG3A 14647R in a different navy blue-green livery; chugging towards Thane.
From Vikhroli I took a local till Kurla; whereon I took a Harbour line local to Tilak Nagar – from where LTT is a mere 5-mins walk. Our counterpart 12118 MMR-LTT Godavari express (to depart back to MMR as 12117) had come on Platform 3 with a superb offlink – ED WAP4 22381.
On PF1 lay the LHB rake of 22121 LTT-LKO AC superfast, with an extremely noisy rear EOG.
The rake of 12619 LTT-MAQ Matsyagandha express was shunted into PF5. 11202 Ajni-LTT express (announced wrongly as ‘superfast’ 😛 ) arrived on PF2 at 14 23 (38 mins late) behind another massive offlink SPJ WDP4D 40356, just as 22121 departed.
The loco of our train was BSL WAP4 22362.
11014 CBE-LTT express arrived on PF1 at 14 40, 10 mins late, behind KJM WDP4D 40362. The LHB rake of 18610 LTT-Ranchi express (via ALD) was shunted into PF4; there was an ECoR coach in the consist. Meanwhile, I had the pleasure of snapping up my coach C1 – a 2013 make Jan Shatabdi AC Chair Car coach, and 3rd from our rear.
There were plug points in all bays. My window seat (41) was right in the middle of the coach, and there was a table across us. My seat was facing towards Mumbai; while the seats on the other side of the table were in the direction of the journey. We departed at 15 07, 7 mins late. I saw that KYN WDG3A ‘Shakti’ twins 13427 and 13551 were attached to the rear of 11202, now ready to depart as 11205 LTT-NZB express. Seriously, twin Shaktis for a measly 16-coach load; the train would accelerate like a local! 😀 There was a PSR of 10 kmph on PF2. Meanwhile, my ticket was checked. There were a variety of locos in the Trip shed nearby: BSL WAP4 22951, SRC WAP4 22599, HWH WAP4 22336, KYN WCAM3 21939 and chocolate brown KYN WCAM2-6P 21868. There were also ET’s WAP4s 22915, 22629 and 22885 in sidings nearby. As we joined the 5th line at Vidyavihar and picked up speed, 12812 Hatia LTT express (running more than 1.5 hours late) crossed us with SRC WAP4 22637; before stopping for clearance.
There were high-rise buildings with the board ‘Jony’ at Kanjurmarg, as well as a huge Crompton Greaves water tank. Then I saw Plasser machines in a shed; on a line branching to the right. Spotted Tejas-liveried KYN WDP3A twins 15520 and 15518 at Nahur yard. We pulled into Thane at 15 31, 13 mins late, on PF7. On PF8 was 22148 SNSI-DR superfast, hauled by KYN WCAM3 21960. We departed after a 2-mins halt, at the same time as 22148 pulled out (1 hour 3 mins late) with a melodious twin-tone from its WCAM3. On the right, a Thane-Nerul Trans Harbour local overtook us. Strangely, in our coach; the toilets were only at the rear! At the front were instead some weird enclosures with a lot of switches and boxes! :O Meanwhile, a container rake led by a WDG4D crossed us at a good speed just before Parsik tunnel. An OHE van coupled to 3 WAP7s and a WCAM3 crossed us just as we exited the tunnel. There was some marshland with mountains and some high-rise residential buildings in the far right, as we crawled before Diva.
We overtook a BCNA freight behind a blue BZA WAG7 28464 (with WAP4 shell), just as we started blasting after Diva. Crossed a stationary container rake with NKJ WAG9 31978. 15065 GKP-PNVL express hauled by another offlink SRC WAP4 22367 crossed us on the 6th line after Dombivli. A local overtook us on the left. Then we crossed another stationary container freight led by BL WAG7 28744, in a yard on the far right. I saw Metro Junction Mall as well in the distant right, before we reached KYN at 16 02, 22 mins late, on PF4. There was a small office of the Crime Branch – KYN unit. We departed after a stop of six minutes. The crossover speed was 15 kmph. The freight action continued inexorably, as we crossed a BCNHL rake moving towards the distant right; using the KYN bypass. There was a TSR of 30 kmph on the UP line. Water was overflowing over a dam on the Ulhas river. We started moving at a fast pace from Ambivli, crossed 12142 PPTA-LTT superfast behind a WAP4 at MPS and then blasted through Titvala.
It was a pleasure to blast through the beautiful and perennial Kaloo river. There was another TSR of 85 kmph on the UP line before Khadavli. We passed through monsoon-drenched greenery with a lot of trees, as well as cattle grazing; before the mostly-full Bhatsa river. There was a slowdown before Sharmal Nullah, before we picked up speed from Vasind. I dozed off for a while. When I woke up, I saw yet another TSR of 75 kmph on the UP line; before we made an unscheduled halt at Khardi home signal. The UP line was on a higher level for a while, as we blasted through greenery; the highway briefly keeping us company on the right – on the other side of which was Vrindavan Restaurant and a petrol pump. The greenery continued before we had another unscheduled halt of 6 mins at Kasara home signal.
There was a TSR of 75 kmph on the rightmost line, before we crossed KYN WAG7 triplets 27125, 27110 and 27408. Another container freight with Ajni WAG9H 31879 and dead JHS WDM3A 16365R crossed from the yard. We reached Kasara at 17 33, 47 mins late. We had taken 1 hour 25 mins for the 67 km from KYN – at a disappointing average speed of 47.29 kmph. We had started 7 mins late and had further been delayed by 40 mins. Find out if we later make up lost time in Part 2 – happy reading till then! 😀
PSR – Permanent Speed Restriction
TSR – Temporary Speed Restriction
APU – Auxiliary Power Unit (specifically for charging the loco batteries when it is idle
LHB – Linke-Hofmann-Busch (a modern French company which manufactures coaches with high speed capability and anti-climb safety features; used in Rajdhanis, Shatabdis and many Durontos)
EOG – End-On Generator (a diesel generator attached to both ends of the train to power the coaches)
MPS – Maximum Permissible Speed
ECoR – East Coast Railways
OHE – Overhead Equipment
LTT – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (Kurla Terminus)
MMR – Manmad
KYN – Kalyan
ED – Erode
LKO – Lucknow Charbagh
MAQ – Mangalore Central
SPJ – Samastipur
BSL – Bhusaval
CBE – Coimbatore Junction
KJM – Krishnarajapuram
ALD – Allahabad Junction
NZB – Nizamabad
SRC – Santragachchi
HWH – Howrah
ET – Itarsi
SNSI – Sainagar Shirdi
DR – Dadar Central
BZA – Vijaywada
NKJ – New Katni Junction
GKP – Gorakhpur
PNVL – Panvel
BL – Valsad
PPTA – Pataliputra
JHS – Jhansi