A Round Trip to Begin 2019!

New Year begun, greetings exchanged – it was time to catch up with the grind of work; after 2 hectic weeks though, it was high time for a break. For a railfan, nothing less than a train trip would do. This time, unexplored territories were on the agenda. Thus a round trip to Baramati; the plan being:
1) On Saturday Jan 12th morning, take 11301 CSMT-SBC Udyan express to Daund; reaching there by 13 00.
2) Take 71405 Daund Baramati DEMU (leaving Daund at 14 35) to Baramati and return to Daund at 17 45 by the same train which goes to Pune as 71404 Baramati Pune DEMU.
3) Railfanning and dinner at Daund; then take 51034 SNSI-CSMT fast passenger at 21 30 to reach Mumbai the next day early morning.

On the big day, I left my home and flagged an auto to Vikhroli; whereon I took a local to Dadar. Heard an announcement being made for 12859 Mumbai Howrah Gitanjali express being rescheduled to depart at 09 15 – 3 hours 3 mins late. As I was wondering what was going on, 22108 Latur Mumbai superfast chugged into Platform 6 at 08 09 (39 mins late) behind KYN WDM3D 11355. Then I got info from a railfan friend that a handful of trains were diverted due to a maintenance block at IGP – 12859 Gitanjali and both 11025 and 11026 (BSL-Pune-BSL expresses) via Daund (no wonder Gitanjali was rescheduled!) and 11067 LTT-FD Saket express and 15017 LTT-GKP Kashi express via Diva-Vasai-Udhna-Jalgaon!

Meanwhile, 12290 NGP-CSMT Duronto accelerated through Dadar without stopping – the power being Ajni WAP7i 30619. My Udyan express then arrived on PF4 with KYN WCAM3 21883. We departed at 08 33; 8 mins late. My SL coach was rather crowded. On the brighter side, it was of a 2013 make and thus had mobile-charging sockets in all bays as well as biotoilets. I had a plate of sabudana vadas for breakfast. We skipped Thane while overtaking a KYN bound slow local and then passed through some marshland with a few ponds, followed by the Thane Creek; before blasting through the Parsik Tunnel.

There was more marshland with a lake before Dombivli. We crossed a daytime CR intercity headed by a chocolate brown KYN WCAM2-6P. Pulled into PF4 of KYN at 09 09, 7 mins late. We had covered the last 45 km in 36 mins at 75 kmph. 12618 NZM-ERS Mangala Lakshadweep express arrived on PF6 at 09 11, 29 mins late. We departed a minute later. Now the coach was even more crowded! I had an upper berth and so couldn’t do much trainspotting; the door was also packed! Hence I dozed off for a while.

When I woke up, we had departed Karjat after a technical halt (for banker attachment) at 10 am. A BCNA freight hauled by Pune WDG4 70029 crossed on the right. I saw a banker couple (KYN WCAM3s 21951 and 21881) on a siding. Then we surprisingly stopped, before departing with melodious twin tones at 10 06. It seems we had made a double stop due to the platform at Karjat not being long enough to handle the 22-coach train! :O The coach was jam-packed now (with quite a few unreserved passengers) and I was not really enjoying the journey. By the way, if Karjat were a technical halt; why would the train need to stop twice since no passengers are expected to board? Staff were expected to board perhaps? 

Anyway, I spotted a stationary ACC cement rake led by GY’s WDG4D 70673 and WDG4 12751. We overtook another stationary freight headed by twin WDG4s on the left. 11024 KOP-CSMT Sahyadri express then crossed us with a WCAM2. The freight action continued as we crossed a BCNA rake with twin WDG4s and twin WAG7 brakers. Meanwhile, my ticket was finally checked! In the Bhor Ghats, we crossed 22498 TPJ-SGNR Humsafar hauled by WAP5 301X4; followed by a pair of bankers. Then we skipped Khandala while passing a stationary 17032 HYB-CSMT express led by an ALCO. As we slowed down to a crawl before Lonavala; a few bikes and a car overtook us on the road in the left. Pulled into PF1 of Lonavala at 10 50, 18 mins late.

We left after a stop of 2 mins; only to come to a halt 2 mins later – finally departing at 10 56. Looks like we had made a double stop due to inadequate platform length once again! 😛 11042 MAS-CSMT express chugged into PF2 at a good speed behind a KYN WDG3A ‘Shakti’. We crossed a pair of stationary JHS WAG5-HBs 24039 and 24018 in the yard. Then we overtook an ACC Cement freight headed by twin ALCOs (leading one in GY’s famous Kingfisher livery). Picked up speed and raced cars on the highway after Malavli. I dozed off once more. When I woke up, we crossed 51318 Pune-Karjat passenger (now extended till Panvel) behind an orange and cream ALCO after Khadki.

As we then slowed down to a crawl before the Sangam Bridge, a tempo overtook us on the road in the right. At Pune yard, I saw the rake of 22943/44 Pune-Indore superfast on the right and 22105/06 Mumbai-Pune Indrayani expresson the left. I wonder what the rake of Indrayani was doing in the yard – wasn’t 22105 Indrayani exp supposed to have headed to Solapur as 12169 Pune-Solapur Intercity? :O Was 12169/70 cancelled that day due to a line block due to doubling? Moreover, there were some ladies inside the rake of Indrayani and some men inside the rake of 22943/44! What was going on? :O

Meanwhile, the ETS on the left was full of locos as usual: TKD WAP7 30395, BRC WAP7 30471 and DLW-made Ajni WAP7 37001 were coupled. There were also SRC WAP7 37010, KYN WCAM3 21942 and LGD WAP7 30655. In the distant right, de-rated Pune WDM3A 018767R (painted in WDS6 livery!) was moving around. Also spotted Pune WDP4D 40425 on a siding before we crawled into PF6 of the junction at 11 54, 14 mins late. A lot of people got down here and quite a few boarded! By the way, I had ordered an early lunch through RailYatri to be delivered here. However, even as I waited in vain for someone to manoeuvre his/her way through the crowded coach and deliver the food at my seat; we eventually departed Pune after a stop of about 10 mins!

I made a frantic call to complain to RailYatri’s Customer Care; but the lady told me that I had only provided the coach number and not the seat number while ordering online; and that they had tried to reach me but were unable to do so! :O I retorted that I had provided all the required details but there must have been an error at their end; and there was no network coverage – hence they could not reach me. In the end, the lady informed me that the order would be cancelled and the money refunded within 7 working days (I eventually got the refund on 14th – within 2 days!! – some consolation! 🙂 )

To add to my woes, there was less water in the Western toilet at the front. However, the more pressing concern for me was to have whatever food was available from the vendors. Thankfully, this was taken care of; I had a plate of medu vadas with chutney and thus satisfied my hunger. We reached Uruli at 12 36, 22 mins late. Many families got down here and thus there was a lot more breathing space inside the coach! By the way, there were 3 lines on the left – freight sidings I suppose? We left after a halt of 4 mins. I saw a Camping Coach for Staff attached to a Plasser Machine on the left. Then we soon picked up speed and blasted through scenery in the form of sugarcane, corn and paddy fields, coconut trees and bovines grazing.

We ripped through Yevat and then crossed a freight hauled by twin ALCOs. Saw some goats, lambs and sheep grazing before crossing an EMD-led train. We then crossed another freight headed by twin WDG4s. There was more rural scenery in the form of farmers (men as well as women) busy at work in the fields, cattle ploughing sugarcane fields and sugarcane being loaded into a tractor. The freight action continued inexorably as we overtook a freight with twin ALCOs at MPS at Patas. This was followed by a pond, before we slowed down on the approach to Daund.

I spotted a sleeper factory on the left as well as GZB WAP7 30381 on a siding. The PSR for the loop lines was just 10 kmph. We entered PF5 of the junction at 13 18, 18 mins late. We had covered the last 47 km (from Uruli) in 38 mins at 74.21 kmph 🙂 . Now the first leg of the Round Trip was complete. It was time for the 2nd (and main) leg – exploring the Daund-Baramati line.

The next step was boarding 71405 Daund Baramati DEMU; which would leave at 14 35. I bought a single ticket (they don’t sell return tickets! It seems this facility is available only in big cities! :O ) from the ticket counter outside the station premises. The DEMU arrived on the north end of Platform 6; I took a seat in a coach at the front of the rake. Here is a picture taken inside the DEMU:

We started moving at 14 19 itself, only to come to a stop 2 mins later; at the south end of the platform! It looked like we had made a double stop so that more passengers (from either end) could board! :O We finally departed at 14 43, 8 mins late, with an EMU-type horn. A minute later, 12780 NZM-VSG Goa express arrived behind TKD WAP7 30348 on PF2 – it was running bang on time. Our Baramati line took a huge curve to the right; while I spotted a maroon-brown BSL WAG5 23558 on a siding. 

I saw that our line was wired; meaning electrification was progressing at a fast pace! Noticed a group of boys playing cricket nearby, before we made a “technical halt”; as a notebook was given to the motorman by a man waving a signal. I saw a board indicating the beginning of Pune division of CR (we had exited Daund; which comes under Solapur division) – so I guess this stop was probably for handing over the instructions regarding speed restrictions in this route. Here is a video of us accelerating and honking continuously while passing through scenery in the form of paddy, corn and maize fields, bushes and shrubs:

I saw some bullock-carts being operated on the land as well as in a rainfed pond! :O There were many curves on the route; including a huge curve to the right that was at almost 90 degrees! Our DEMU smoked up as we climbed a gradient. Here is a pic of the rake on one of the many curves:

Then we passed through many rock cuttings, followed by a highway besides some arid land with a lot of thorny plants.

There was a tractor on the left and a house under construction, before we had our first stop at Maladgaon for just about 40 secs. Then there was a PSR of 40 kmph (20 for goods), followed by a hut and a cottage. Now there were only poles; the section was not wired. Then there was a TSR of 45 kmph, followed by typical rural scenery – rows of coconut trees in the distant right, women and children working in corn fields, goats, lambs and sheep grazing, tractors; and rows of plants and small trees. We also passed a pipeline and some thorny bushes; before a road gave us company on the right. Had our 2nd stop at Sirsai for about only 50 secs; nearby lay a well with a wall of very low height – exposed in a precarious manner! :O Then there were a few dry open spaces.

This was followed by a curve and rock cuttings again. Some greenery with a lot of trees showed up briefly.

However, the land then became arid again with a lot of rock cuttings and thorny trees.

Some greenery showed up occasionally within the desert land, though.

There was another TSR of 45 kmph before I saw bovines grazing as well as rows of coconut trees. A cool wind blew, lessening the effect of the afternoon heat. We had a very brief stop at the outer for 20-25 secs before our 3rd and final scheduled halt at Katphal. Many people got down here. Then there was an LC where we crossed two converging roads; nearby was a petrol pump. This was followed by cottages, shanties and many other settlements on the left.

After some rows of plants, small trees and thorny bushes; the town of Baramati showed itself up. We had a stop of less than a minute before another LC. After departing, the motorman honked continuously. Another road gave us company on the right; we were on a higher level now. This was followed by yet another of TSR of 45 kmph, before we slowed down to a crawl to enter Baramati yard. There was a BCNA freight on the left; followed by a stationary BOXN rake on the right headed by APU-fitted Pune WDG3A 14815 and Kurla WDG3A 14904. We pulled into the platform at 15 51, 4 mins before time.

Pictures at Baramati

The simple and neat exit.
The tea, coffee and snacks stall at the station; I had 2 Bhajji Pavs here.
View of the somewhat busy station (in the late afternoon) from the inside; people waiting to board the same DEMU which returns as 71404 Baramati-Pune DEMU.

After a gap of about half an hour at Baramati, it was time to head back to Daund by 71404 Baramati Pune DEMU. I noticed a WR coach in the consist; moreover, some coaches had cushions but all coaches were marked ‘2nd class’! :O Assuming those coaches were first class, I decided to board a coach without cushions to be on the safer side; since I didn’t have an FC ticket. There was a warning horn at 16 17, before we departed at 16 20; on the dot. I saw a few people (one of them a railway employee, going by his uniform) lying under the BCNA freight on the right! It really struck me how steeped in poverty and squalor India is; given that people have to sleep in such inhuman conditions! :O Anyway, coming back to the journey, we soon left the town far behind.

Then there were many factories in the outskirts; seen here is one with a tall chimney:

We had a stop for less than a minute at Baramati LC; just like in the onward journey. Then there were more factories/industrial establishments (one of them near slums).

A clump of eucalyptus trees surrounded by a wall and a fence.
A parking lot for lorries.
A highway gave us company briefly.

There was a TSR of 45 kmph, before we stopped at Katphal for just about half a minute. This was followed by arid open spaces, a curve to the right and cattle grazing. Then there were many rock cuttings and a massive curve to the right, followed by some greenery. Then the scenery became less fertile briefly; I saw men and women involved in construction work, as well as some shanties. The contrast in the landscape continued; as we passed a coconut grove, men and women working in the fields and a few flying parrots 🙂 . Then came the scenic Sirsai station; where we stopped for just 20-25 secs!

There was typically charming countryside scenery till the next station Maladgaon – cow sheds with cattle, huts, cottages, a water tank, goats, lambs and sheep grazing, sugarcane and maize fields, rows of small trees, women growing onions in a field and dry canals. We had a stop of 50-odd secs at the quaint little Maladgaon station.


Then there were more herds of lambs, goats and sheep grazing, followed by rock cuttings and more rural scenery, before we had a stop of a minute at Daund home signal for clearance; followed by another little halt of about 15 secs. There was a PSR of 30 kmph and I saw a board at the back “Entering Token Block Territory” – so Daund-Baramati is Token territory and is also being electrified! Wonders of wonders! :O Meanwhile, we joined the mainline.

I spotted Kazipet WDG4Ds 70366 and 70432 in the distant right. We pulled into PF6 of Daund at 17 29, a whole 16 mins early; indicative of the ample slack this DEMU has! 😀 Now the 2nd leg of the Round Trip was complete; all that remained was the return to Mumbai. My train to Mumbai (51034 SNSI-CSMT fast passenger) was to depart from Daund only at 21 30; so I had a lot of time for railfanning apart from dinner! You can refer https://ashwinkumar1989.online/2019/01/15/spottings-at-daund-on-a-wintry-saturday/ for my sightings at Daund – during afternoon as well as evening and night! 

51028 PVR-CSMT fast passenger arrived on PF3 behind KYN WDM3D 11390. This train would run combined with 51034; which arrived on PF4 with KYN WCAM3 21934. The KYN WDM3D would shunt the coaches of 51034 and attach them to 51028; the combined rake would then depart from PF3 headed by the 3D – indeed a complex operation! 😉 I got inside my AC 3 Tier coach B1.

The ALCO had already attached itself to 51034. We soon started moving with a short LT horn; I saw a few equipment vans attached to BCNA wagons in an enclosed fence starting from a shed on the right. We moved forwards for about 5 minutes before coming to a stop. Then we started moving backwards; in order to be attached to 51028 – honking all the while. I was enjoying this; the first time I had ever experienced a slip-coach shunting operation! 🙂 After some time, we stopped and then started crawling with a few more honks. After a minute, we came to a halt and then started rocking back and forth for 2 mins as the coupling was done. It was 21 24 when the operation was complete; in a short time 🙂 .

Meanwhile, the TTE came to my seat and just confirmed my seat number! We departed from Daund at 21 32 (2 mins late) with a long LT horn followed by a short one. A highway bridge passed over us as we picked up speed. I could hear our WDM3D chugging faintly even inside the AC coach (since it was close to the engine) if I kept my ears close to the glass! I soon called it a day and lay down on my side lower berth; could hear the chugging more clearly through the night! :O We reached Dadar at 04 15, 32 mins late. I got down here.

Announcements were made for 16382 CAPE-CSMT ‘Jayanthi Janata express’ to arrive 25-30 mins late and for 12702 Hyderabad Mumbai Hussainsagar express to arrive 20-25 mins late. Also, 51153 CSMT-BSL passenger was cancelled! I was shocked as it is usually 51154 that ends up getting cancelled due to always running terribly late! Anyway, I boarded the first local of the day – the 04 33 slow to Kasara. Got down at Vikhroli and took an auto to reach home by around 05 15. Thus ended an exciting Round Trip; hope you enjoyed reading the blog! 🙂

Legend

Technical Abbreviations

  • DEMU – Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (or diesel local)
  • EMU – Electric Multiple Unit (or just local/suburban train)
  • CR – Central Railway
  • WR – Western Railway
  • ALCO – American Locomotive Company (and an old class of diesel engines of the 1960s)
  • ETS – Electric Loco Trip Shed
  • APU – Auxiliary Power Unit (specifically for charging the loco batteries when it is idle)
  • DLW – Diesel Locomotive Works, Varanasi (largest diesel engine manufacturer in India; now manufactures electrics as well!)
  • EMD – Electro-motive Diesel (and a modern class of diesel engines)
  • MPS – Maximum Permissible Speed
  • PSR – Permanent Speed Restriction
  • TSR – Temporary Speed Restriction
  • LC – Level Crossing
  • LT – Low Tone

Station Codes

  • CSMT – Mumbai CST
  • SBC – KSR Bengaluru (Bangalore City/Majestic)
  • SNSI – Sainagar Shirdi
  • KYN – Kalyan
  • IGP – Igatpuri
  • BSL – Bhusaval
  • LTT – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (Kurla Terminus)
  • FD – Faizabad
  • GKP – Gorakhpur
  • NGP – Nagpur
  • NZM – Hazrat Nizamuddin
  • ERS – Ernakulam Junction
  • GY – Gooty
  • KOP – Kolhapur
  • TPJ – Trichy Junction
  • SGNR – Sriganganagar
  • HYB – Hyderabad
  • MAS – Chennai Central
  • JHS – Jhansi
  • TKD – Tughlakabad
  • BRC – Vadodara
  • SRC – Santragachchi
  • LGD – Lallaguda
  • GZB – Ghaziabad
  • VSG – Vasco-da-Gama, Goa
  • PVR – Pandharpur
  • CAPE – Kanniyakumari

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