The first leg of a sudden trip (involving 2 successful Tatkal bookings!) to Ratnagiri through Konkan Railway was over. I had arrived here by 10103 CSMT-MAO Mandovi express; which had deposited me at RN at 14 40, 1 hour 25 minutes late. This left me with about 3 hours to kill at the station – I had a rather fitful sleep of about 1.5 hours at the waiting room; it is never easy to sleep in a sitting position, that too on steel chairs with no cushions! 😦 My return train to Mumbai (12052 MAO-DR Jan Shatabdi) was initially announced as 25 mins late, but eventually arrived more than an hour late on Platform 2; following 22120 Karmali Mumbai Tejas express which itself was 50 mins late! 😛
The long wait, however, gave me lots of opportunities for railfanning; and I of course obliged! 😀 Here are the observations from the railfanning session: https://ashwinkumar1989.online/2019/02/11/spottings-at-ratnagiri-on-a-winter-saturday/ For an account of my onward journey by Mandovi express; please read the 1st 2 parts: https://ashwinkumar1989.online/2019/02/17/a-sudden-trip-through-konkan-railway-part-1/ and https://ashwinkumar1989.online/2019/02/18/a-sudden-trip-through-konkan-railway-part-2/ . Coming back to 12052 JS, our loco was GOC WDP4D 40101. With a long horn, we departed at 18 57; 1 hr 2 mins late.
I was in a typically (like in all JS trains! 😛 ) cramped 2S (Second Sitting) coach. Though I had a window seat, my view was limited; since the seat was between two windows! 😦 The silver lining was that the coach was 5th from the engine; thus I could hear the humming of the EMD beast. After the usual crawl through the points, we accelerated superbly; the WDP4D of course making mincemeat of the small 15-coach rake! 😉 However, we quickly slowed down to crawl through a tunnel, followed by a viaduct with a TSR of 90 kmph on which we nearly came to a stop; before accelerating and crossing 19578 JAM-TEN express with a blue-white ALCO at Bhoke.
Meanwhile, the TTE came and just asked my name before proceeding to the other passengers! :O We accelerated through the famous Karbude Tunnel (3rd longest tunnel in India), before braking and then accelerating to MPS. We blasted through quite a few other tunnels before slowing down and then again accelerating quickly to MPS as Aravali Road was despatched at 19 40 – we had covered the last 53 km in 43 mins at 73.95 kmph despite the slow downs 🙂 . However, we then crawled through Savarda before accelerating and ripping through a long tunnel; followed by Kamathe.
The town of Chiplun flew past us, followed by the Savitri river; before we slowed down to crawl through the yard – spotted a RO-RO rake in the distant left. Pulled into the station at 20 07, 1 hr 13 mins late. Some people got down and more got in. A Pune WDG4 70173 was moving around in the opposite direction. We departed after a halt of 7 mins, with a long honk followed by a short one. After the heavy dose of food in Mandovi, I was not feeling too hungry and thus settled for a somewhat light dinner of 2 Cheese Sandwiches and 2 Samosas.
Meanwhile, the JS was setting the rails on fire with the EMD beast honking all the way. Khed was blasted apart at 20 38, with a more than 1 hour late running 12619 LTT-MAQ Matsyagandha express giving way for us 🙂 . Here is the audio of the clickety clack track sounds as we devoured miles in the dark, cold and windy night!
Slowed down in a very long tunnel after Diwan Khavati before again accelerating to MPS and then dropping the pace slightly before Vinhere. The roller coaster ride continued, as we ripped through the station; before crawling through a tunnel where there were railway workers with torches. Had an unscheduled stop at Karanjadi for a minute, as 50103 DR-RN passenger arrived on the other platform with an ALCO before we had come to a complete halt! :O As we departed, it also left at the same time! This stop for a seemingly lowly passenger sparked the ire of the LP; from then on he had his foot firmly on the pedal. A container freight bit the dust at Veer; following which a river and then Mangaon whizzed past us.
We overtook many vehicles on the highway before honk-blasting through Kolad. Finally stopped at Roha to catch our breath; after a rip-roaring run of 62 km (from Karanjadi) in a mere 43 mins at 86.51 kmph 🙂 . Moreover, we had covered the last 128 km from Chiplun in just 98 mins at 78.37 kmph; notwithstanding the halt at Karanjadi plus a few slowdowns! 🙂 Despite starting more than an hour late, the JS had shown why it’s a force to be reckoned with in KR. Meanwhile, a few people made use of the unscheduled stop at Roha to board our coach! 😛 We left after 2 mins with a long horn followed by a short one.
Even on crossing over from KR to CR territory, the chief was in no mood to let up as we started ripping right away. Crossed a river and a highway over a bridge before Nagothane. Here is a video of us thundering through an industrial region with many factories (including that of H & R Johnson) and overtaking many vehicles on the highway:
There was a slowdown before we skipped Pen at MPS at 22 24; after which an LHB express blasted past us at Hamrapur with an ALCO – probably 12223 LTT-ERS Duronto. Then there was another river before Jite; where another train ripped past behind an ALCO. There was yet another river before we arrived on PF5 of Panvel at 22 56, 53 mins late; having made up 25 mins since Chiplun – thanks to a blazing run of 203 km in only 2 hrs 42 mins at 75.18 kmph 🙂 . Here quite a few people got down. We departed after a halt of 2 mins, only to come to an abrupt stop; before leaving in a minute.
A local going to the car shed overtook us; a sign of the troubles that were to follow in this graveyard stretch between Panvel and Diva – a freight corridor. We continued to crawl, getting overtaken by vehicles on the road in the distant left. A train hauled by an EMD crossed us; only to come to a stop. We also stopped for 3 mins, before resuming our torturous crawl. The traffic in the opposite direction was high, as an AC train led by an ALCO crossed us. We stopped again; this time for 6 mins. By now the excitement of travelling in a train like the JS had totally evaporated; I just wanted this painful journey to end so that I could go home and sleep.
We overtook a container freight at Kalamboli; and with that we temporarily broke free of the shackles binding us, accelerating to a respectable speed. The passenger traffic in the opposite direction continued inexorably, as another train with an ALCO crossed; were these all trains going through KR, going by the fact that they were diesel-hauled? Yet another ALCO-headed train crossed us as we branched left to join the mainline at Diva; only to come to a halt. We also stopped for 2 mins; during which quite a few passengers disembarked even at this late hour, in the middle of nowhere! So desperate they must have been to reach their homes; that they didn’t want to wait even for 15-20 mins more to reach Thane! :O
The agony didn’t end immediately, for there was yet another halt at Thane home signal; before we finally limped into the station at 00 10 – 1 hr 22 mins late!! I saw 10111 CSMT-MAO Konkan Kanya express arriving behind Pune WDP4D 40576; before I boarded a local to Vikhroli – was speechless on seeing the crowd even at that late hour! Mumbai is Mumbai, what to do 😛 Anyway, I took an auto from Vikhroli to reach home by around 00 50. Thus ended a quite eventful Konkan trip planned at the eleventh hour. The journey by JS was truly one of two halves – the brilliant run till Panvel; followed by the horror run thereafter! Finally, thank you so much (in advance) for reading through all these 3 parts patiently! 😉
- EMD – Electro-motive Diesel (and a modern class of diesel engines)
- MPS – Maximum Permissible Speed
- LHB – Linke-Hofmann-Busch (a modern Swiss company which manufactures coaches with high speed capability and anti-climb safety features; used in Rajdhanis, Shatabdis , and many Durontos and AC expresses)
- TSR – Temporary Speed Restriction
- ALCO – American Locomotive Company (and an old class of diesel engines of the 1960s)
- 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)
- LP – Loco Pilot
- CR – Central Railway
- CSMT – Mumbai CST
- MAO – Madgaon
- RN – Ratnagiri
- DR – Dadar (Central)
- GOC – Golden Rock (Ponmalai)
- JAM – Jamnagar
- TEN – Tirunelveli
- LTT – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (Kurla Terminus)
- MAQ – Mangalore Central
- ERS – Ernakulam Junction