True to the title of this blog post, it was a leisurely ride by the ‘Food King’ of IR (10103 CSMT-MAO Mandovi express) so far; as we were often held up for crossings involving long halts of at least 10-15 mins and thus the delays kept increasing. We were running 44 mins late when we departed from Chiplun at 12 42. For an account of our progress till then, please refer https://ashwinkumar1989.online/2018/12/12/a-leisurely-sojourn-by-the-food-king-part-1/ . We crossed the beautiful Savitri river with an island in between and blasted through more scenery, before slowing down in a very long tunnel; for an unscheduled halt for a crossing at the very next station Kamathe.
Palindromic ED WDM3D 11111 raced past us with a freight. The wait here was for thankfully only 6 mins. Then there was another very long tunnel with a PSR, followed by more beautiful scenery; before we skipped Savarda (another ghost station!) – where an SR train with 6 AC coaches hauled by a WDG4D was made to wait for us; any idea which this train could have been? A 3 hours late running 16346 TVC-LTT Netravathi express, perhaps? Anyway, we then sped through a few tunnels and viaducts (including a really tall one over a partly dry river which afforded a spectacular view of the valley), after which there was a TSR of 110 kmph! :O
There was another unscheduled stop for a crossing at Aravalli Road, which was again almost like a ghost station! :O KZJ WDG4 12548 rushed past with a RO-RO rake. Here also the wait lasted only 6 mins. The tunnel spree continued, accompanied by a viaduct over partly dry river and beautiful greenery; with the mountains (as ever) in the distant background. I observed a “chis-chis-chis-chis” sound coming from the tracks many times at higher speeds! :O I have for long wondered (without success) about the cause of this phenomenon. We reached Sangameshwar Road at 13 48, 1 hour 13 mins late. It was an extremely picturesque station, fully surrounded by greenery and trees 🙂 . The mainline had an MPS of 110 kmph! :O Here we had a massive wait of 21 mins, as 50106 SWV-Diva passenger came slowly and made its halt.
After we finally departed, we picked up speed through yet another long tunnel. Then there was a viaduct over a beautiful river and a valley, followed by another very long tunnel; before we slowed down in the next tunnel. After a short tunnel, we pulled into Ukshi (famous for its location between 2 tunnels) for yet another crossing halt.
This was no ordinary crossing – 12431 TVC-NZM Rajdhani accelerated past, headed by chugging GOC WDM3As 16507R and 16232R with an EMD-type horn. We left after another long wait of 16 mins and passed many tunnels and viaducts, before the famous 6.5 km-long Karbude Tunnel (3rd longest in IR); which took us more than 7 mins to cross. This was followed by more viaducts and rock cuttings, before we slowed down to a crawl to enter RN yard – here there was a PSR of 10 km on the Saloon siding.
Pulled into Platform 1 of RN at 15 07, 1 hour 52 mins late. Our counterpart (10104 MAO-CSMT Mandovi express) arrived on PF2 at the same time, 1 hour 7 mins late; behind KYN WDG4 12761. Both LT and HT horns were sounded as we departed after a stop of 6 mins. After some time, I could barely hold my breath; as a truly nasty smell from a factory nearby engulfed our nostrils! :O The LT horn was sounded more often now, as we took a massive curve to the left. The stretch that followed was pure bliss, with many tunnels and tall viaducts (including the famous Panval Nadi viaduct).
There was a PSR of 15 kmph on one of the loop lines at Nivasar, which was blasted apart at MPS; as we had a blistering run before slowing down for a PSR of 50 kmph over a bridge on a small river.
There was a PSR in yet another very long tunnel through which we crawled and received a good dose of water spray from the walls 😛 . Ripped through Veravali at MPS, followed by a viaduct over a stream and a tunnel; before we were looped at Vilavade for a crossing – for the umpteenth time! 😛
16338 ERS-Okha express chugged and accelerated past us with ERS WDM3As 14049 and 16293R having an electric-type horn. After a stop of only 5 mins, we picked up speed in a long tunnel; followed by a TSR of 50 kmph in another tunnel. Then there were more tunnels, viaducts and greenery before we raced through Saundal station; which had been built at an elevated level! :O Reached Rajapur Road at 16 25, 1 hour 55 mins late. 22120 Karmali Mumbai Tejas express was waiting on the left with Pune ALCO twins (trailing – WDM2 16012R). Both of us departed at the same time; with Tejas accelerating rapidly, since it was on the mainline and moreover was a puny 15-coach rake headed by twins! 😛 There was a river, followed by tunnels, viaducts and the construction of a new station in progress; before we pulled into Vaibhavwadi Road at 16 42, 1 hour 56 mins late.
The station had only 1 platform; which was on the loop line. There was a main line, but it had no PF. A 3rd track and a 2nd PF were being constructed on the other side of the mainline. Meanwhile, we were treated to the king of all crossings; as 12052 MAO-DR Jan Shatabdi thundered through the station swiftly behind a honking GOC WDP4B 40064. Finally left at 17 01, 2 hours 14 mins late; after a wait of 19 mins!
I observed another station being constructed before Nandgaon Rd was despatched at MPS. We had a blistering run through trees, viaducts over streams and greenery; before slowing down for a TSR of 50 kmph and then pulling into PF1 of Kankavli at 17 25, 2 hours 7 mins late. Thus a leisurely run of 10 hours had come to an end (as far as I was concerned! 😀 ). Here are 2 videos for you to relive the trip along with me; please KEEP SUBTITLES ON for better viewing!!
A few points about this trip; less said about the punctuality of the train, the better!! Detained almost everywhere for crossings as long as 15-20 mins, it was not a surprise that we reached the destination more than 2 hours late! 😛 But the natural scenery of KR and the food more than made up for it! 🙂 Tunnels, bridges, viaducts, greenery and mountains galore! Coming to the food now – Delicious Fried Rice with an extremely generous quantity of Gobi Manchurian pieces in the spicy gravy. The Khanda Bhajjis were crisp and tasty too, and mixed well with the olive green chutney. I really liked the Sheera as well; had the right amount of sweet in it. All right, hope you all enjoyed this long account of my latest Konkan trip! Thanks in advance for being with me so patiently! 😀
- TSR – Temporary Speed Restriction
- PSR – Permanent Speed Restriction
- SR – Southern Railway
- RO-RO – Roll On-Roll Off (Freight service in KR; in which road trucks along with their drivers are loaded on to flat bed freights)
- MPS – Maximum Permissible Speed
- EMD – Electro-motive Diesel (and a modern class of diesel engines)
- ALCO – American Locomotive Company (and an old class of diesel engines of the 1960s)
- LT – Low Tone
- HT – High Tone
- RMV – Rail Maintenance Vehicle
- CSMT – Mumbai CST
- MAO – Madgaon
- ED – Erode
- TVC – Trivandrum Central
- LTT – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (or Kurla Terminus)
- KZJ – Kazipet
- SWV – Savantwadi Road
- KYN – Kalyan
- NZM – Hazrat Nizamuddin
- GOC – Golden Rock (Ponmalai)
- RN – Ratnagiri
- ERS – Ernakulam Junction
- DR – Dadar (Central Railway)