The Queen displays her class yet again

You must wonder by now; how I do not get bored after so many trips between Mumbai and Pune – that too such a short distance of less than 200 km. Well, yesterday’s trip was no ordinary one; it was one by the pride of CR – 12124 Pune Mumbai Deccan Queen. For such a classy journey, it was worth spoiling my sleep by taking 51033 CSMT-SNSI Fast passenger on Friday night; to reach Pune at an almost unearthly hour of around 04 15. I had a few naps in the waiting room on Platform 1; it was impossible to have a proper sleep in a sitting position. By around 06 20, I gave up all attempts and headed to the washroom to wash my face and brush my teeth. Then I had some tea and decided to spend the remaining 45 mins doing a spot of railfanning. 17614 Nanded Panvel express (announced wrongly as Panvel Nanded express 😛 ) departed from PF2 at 06 36, 16 mins late. 11024 KOP-CSMT Sahyadri express was to arrive at 06 55 on the platform vacated by 17614.

71416 Solapur Pune DEMU pulled ito PF1 at 06 40 (5 mins late) with a piercing HT toot. This train is an overnighter (taking 7 hrs 35 mins from Solapur) ; wonder how the poor passengers sleep without berths 😦 – I think IR should at least provide cushions on the luggage racks for such trains! 51451 Pune Baramati passenger (stationed on PF4) had a curious link – KJM WDP4D 40306.

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There was a trio of diesel beasts nearby – Pune WDM3D 11348, KJM WDP4D 40240 and Pune WDM3A 16522R (in a pleasing indigo-livery).

However, my attention was totally swept away by DQ’s loco – mega-offlink BRC WAP5 30049 in ‘Amul’ livery (standing on PF5) ! :O

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In my 2S coach, I had a non-trackside window seat facing Pune 😦 . 51451 departed right on the dot at 07 10, and at almost the same time; Sahyadri left towards Mumbai. We followed at 07 17 (2 mins late) with a characteristic high-pitched toot from our WAP5. Picked up speed before the Sangam Bridge, and overtook Sahyadri (Loco – KYN WCAM3 21954) at a good speed at SVJR.

The P5 accelerated almost like an EMU and we soon destroyed the Pune suburbs at MPS.

I was enjoying the blazing run right from SVJR starter; as we ripped through the suburban areas with their numerous buildings, slums, roads packed with vehicles and subways. The scenery grew wilder after Dehu Road (where there were boys playing cricket on a ground); with greenery almost everywhere and mountains towering in the far left. There were many curves where I could get a glimpse of our white beast racing on like no tomorrow. The MPS run was maintained till a slight slowdown before Talegaon, where a freight hauled by an EMD rushed past. Then we again blasted from Vadgaon home signal to that of Kamshet; where my ticket was checked. This was followed by another scorching run (including overtaking vehicles on the highway) from Kamshet to Malavli home , where we slowed down; but barely had we registered the drop in pace than we were ripping at MPS once more – thanks to the EMU-like acceleration of the P5! :O We continued in this fashion right till Lonavala home , barring another brief drop in pace followed by a quicker pick-up.

Overtook a stationary container rake led by UBL WDG4 12047 at Lonavala yard before entering the station at a decent speed, at 08 03; 6 mins early (in spite of starting 2 mins late) ! :O We had despatched the last 64 km in 46 mins – at a stupendous average speed of 83.48 kmph; the fastest I’ve ever experienced in this section! 🙂 The P5 had toyed with the puny 17-coach rake. 22105 Mumbai Pune Indrayani express came with Pune WDG4D 70370 on the left. This loco has been marked as “Unfit for M/E trains”; but then how come it got assigned to a superfast? :O Has it been upgraded since being marked as such? Anyway, we departed at 08 09; some 20-25 secs before the scheduled departure! :O I made for the famous Dining Car. Since my coach was D5, I had to cross 2 coaches in order to get to the DC. The train was very crowded; I kept bumping people, squeezing between them or lifting my legs to get across those who squatted around the doors and the areas near the washbasins.

The DC was packed and I had to stand for some time before I managed to share a table with a couple. Meanwhile, we took the Midline in the Bhor Ghats and crossed an express with an ALCO (probably 22149 ERS Pune superfast) after Khandala. I had 2 Chicken Cutlets with Bread Butter Toast, some Potato Chips and the famous Cheese Toast. The Cheese Toast was tasty as expected and the Chicken Cutlets were decent, but the Potato chips were quite bland 😦 . We crossed 12127 Mumbai Pune Intercity behind a chocolate brown KYN WCAM2-6P (and banked by blue WAG7s) near Thakurwadi, and passed a train hauled by a WDP4 on a big curve (probably 18520 LTT-VSKP express) before Palasdhari. The good food was slightly marred by the slow service, as I ordered a coffee and it took 10-15 mins for the waiter to inform me that only tea was available. I agreed to have tea, but it took another 10 mins to turn up. Meanwhile, having descended the Ghats; we had a blasting run from Palasdhari to Neral, including overtaking a container freight headed by UBL WDG4 12103 at Karjat yard and consequently skipping Karjat at MPS at 08 55.

Then there was a crawl from Neral to Shelu home for a TSR of 50 kmph, but the WAP5 again accelerated EMU-style and we had another blazing run from Vangani home all the way to Vithalwadi home; including overtaking the culprit (a BCNA rake hauled by a WDG4 and WDG4D) at Vangani. Vangani, Badlapur, Ambernath and Ulhasnagar flew past us as the P5 destroyed the outskirts of Mumbai similar to the way its Pune cousins were ripped apart. Meanwhile, heading back to my coach and my seat again proved to be a struggle through the maze of people. We skipped KYN at 09 31 through PF7 and overtook an LPG tanker train led by a Pune WDG4 700X3, as we accelerated quickly after crossing the points. Blasted from Thakurli home till the PSR of 50 kmph at Diva LC and then overtook another BCNA rake behind Pune WDG4 12460 at Diva (on the line to Panvel). Then we again let it rip from the Diva starter till Thane home, before slowing down to skip Thane station at a sedate pace; at 09 45.

So we had covered the last 66 km from Karjat in 50 mins at 79.2 kmph; the WAP5 had displayed its amazing acceleration and speed yet again. However, it seemed to have tired out in the process; as the run from then on was rather below par – especially Bhandup onwards. We had 3 short unscheduled halts – at Kurla home (for just 15-20 secs), Matunga home (40-45 secs) and Dadar home (25-30 secs); at Matunga home a slow Bombardier EMU overtook us at a good speed. Finally arrived at Dadar at 10 16, 13 mins late. I got down here, along with many other people. The last 25 km from Thane had taken us 31 mins – a mediocre average of 48.39 kmph. However, overall it was an extremely classy run in true DQ-style; with the offlink WAP5 displaying EMU-like acceleration followed by aggression. Meanwhile, I observed that Ajni WAP7 37007 had brought in 11022 TEN-DR Chalukya express from Pune; and chocolate boy KYN WCAM2-6P 21869 had likewise hauled in 12164 Chennai Dadar ‘Super’ express.

I took an EMU to Vikhroli and observed 12134 MAJN-CSMT superfast chugging with KYN WDM3D 11356 before Sion. Got a share-auto from Vikhroli to reach home by 11 05. Hope you enjoyed this blog; notwithstanding the fact that it is the 7th Mumbai-Pune trip that I have written about this year! 😛

LEGEND

Technical Abbreviations

DEMU – Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (or diesel local train)

HT – High Tone

EMU – Electric Multiple Unit (or local)

MPS – Maximum Permissible Speed

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

M/E – mail/express

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

TSR – Temporary Speed Restriction

PSR – Permanent Speed Restriction

LC – Level Crossing

Station Codes

CSMT – Mumbai CST

SNSI – Sainagar Shirdi

KOP – Kolhapur

KJM – Krishnarajapuram

SVJR – Shivajinagar

BRC – Vadodara

KYN – Kalyan

UBL – Hubli

ERS – Ernakulam Junction

LTT – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (or Kurla Terminus)

VSKP – Visakhapatnam

TEN – Tirunelveli

DR – Dadar (Central)

MAJN – Mangalore Junction

 

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