Yes, you read right – yet another trip to Pune; must be making you wonder whether this city is my 2nd home! 😛 Nope, there were some sweets and snacks to buy from the famous Chitale Bandhu Mithaiwale; and of course some railfanning at Dapodi – 3 stations away! 😛 Anyway, the train for the onward journey was 11007 Mumbai Pune Deccan express. On the day of the journey (Sunday 24th Feb), I got up at 05 35, had coffee and took bath; before leaving my home by around 06 25. Took an auto to Vikhroli; where I waited for a local to Thane.
In the meantime, I heard a distant EMD humming sound; which was slowly growing louder and louder. At 06 51, 15017 LTT-GKP Kashi express passed by with BSL WAP4 22974; while a more than 1.5 hours late running 10112 MAO-CSMT Konkan Kanya express blasted past with its usual EMD . Barely 4 minutes later, a more than an hour late running 12164 Chennai Dadar superfast followed behind KYN WCAM2 21874; was surprised as well as disappointed to see my favourite train this late! Anyway, I then boarded the local for which I had been waiting. Spotted KYN WDP3A 15544 in Tejas livery at Nahur yard.
The frenetic morning action continued as a train hauled by an EMD ripped past us at 07 08; overtaking a train with ‘KR SWR’ markings on the 6th line – wonder which two trains these were? 17058 SC-CSMT Devagiri express departed from Platform 6 of Thane at 07 17, 1 hr 2 mins late; an announcement was made that it would be short-terminated at Dadar! 12127 Mumbai Pune Intercity then cruised onto PF5 behind Ajni WAP7 30619 at 07 18, 6 mins late; departing 2 mins later with the customary HT whine of the WAP7.
The action continued unabated, as 17412 Kolhapur Mumbai Mahalaxmi express then arrived on PF6 behind KYN WCAM2 21861 at 07 21 (54 mins late); at the same time, 18520 LTT-VSKP express, led by KYN WDP4D 40234, made an unscheduled halt on PF7 – thanks to closely trailing 12127! 😛
As you can see in these two photos, Thane was quite crowded! Mahalaxmi exp departed after a stop of 2 mins. 2 mins later, 18520 left with a short HT horn followed by a long one. 11016 GKP-LTT Kushinagar express then pulled into PF8 at 07 30, 3 hrs 58 mins late!! I suppose mainly due to the fog. My train Deccan exp then came to PF5 behind KYN WCAM3 21883 at 07 37, 4 mins late.
12620 MAQ-LTT Matsyagandha express then arrived 1 hr 45 mins late :O on PF8, with GOC WDPD 40103. Meanwhile, we departed after a halt of 2 mins. By the way, my AC Chair Car coach C1 was an uniquely liveried ‘Utkrisht’ coach; with special features such as plug points in all rows, digital display showing the next halting station and guidelines such as “Do not leave your luggage attended”, “Please help us keep the train clean” etc., regular announcements (“Welcome to Deccan express”, “Next halting station is Kalyan” etc.) and some wi-fi entertainment as well! 🙂
Meanwhile, my ticket was checked. I had a trackside window seat, but it was unfortunately in between two windows; thus my view outside was limited! 😦 An LHB express crossed us behind a WAP7 – probably the newly LHB-converted 12290 NGP-CSMT Duronto. We had an unscheduled halt before Diva for just 15-20 seconds, followed by another one before KYN. I saw 12493 Pune-NZM Darshan express (headed by a big font WAP7) stationary at KYN starter, as we arrived on PF4 at 08 08; 16 mins late. 11025 BSL-Pune express arrived 2 mins later on PF6. Meanwhile, I had a plate of bread cutlets for breakfast. We left after a stop of 6 mins.
Since I had not slept well during the night, I reclined my seat and had an intermittent sleep of close to 1.5 hours! When I woke up, we were approaching Khandala. Saw a BOXN freight at the station, headed by UBL WDG4 12070. We reached Lonavala at 09 50, 12 mins late; departing after a halt of 4 mins. Spotted Pune WDM3D twins 11224 and 11181 in the yard. We soon picked up speed and were thundering along, racing a lot of vehicles on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and skipping Malavli at MPS.
Meanwhile, I noticed that my coach was very old (manufactured in 1999), but had very recently undergone POH – dated 21st December 2018 in fact! 😀 There were biotoilets, and I was pleasantly shocked to see that the Indian toilet was furnished as per the style of a house! However, my expectations were soon brought crashing down to earth; as the 2S (Second Sitting) coach ahead had a broken hand-shower in an Indian toilet and there was no water from the washbasin tap! 😦 Producing Utkrisht coaches alone is not enough; they need to be maintained well too!
Coming back to our progress, we slowed down a bit; before ripping at MPS again, as the Expressway climbed on a hill above us. A service road gave us company from close quarters, before we thundered through Kamshet. Reached Talegaon at 10 17, 8 mins late; there was a TSR of 85 kmph on the UP line. By the way, we had covered the last 30 km in 23 mins at 78.26 kmph 🙂 . Some people got down during the 1-minute stop here. 51318 Pune Panvel passenger pulled in with APU-fitted Pune WDM3A 16049R; it also left in a minute. Our WCAM3 again accelerated superbly with the light 17-coach rake and we blasted away till Begdewadi home signal; where the crawl started.
There was an unscheduled halt at Dehu Road on the mainline for 2 mins; while an express chugged past us with a red and yellow ALCO – probably 11042 MAS-CSMT express. This was followed by another such stop (though only for 40-45 secs this time) at the very next station Akurdi. This was followed by a road underbridge below us; we also crossed a local between Pune and Lonavala. I then saw a TSR of 90 kmph on the UP line and a Plasser machine on the right-most line, as we crawled through Chinchwad. Then we finally accelerated below a two-way road bridge; there were two more such bridges between Kasarwadi and Dapodi.
Reached Khadki at 10 59, 14 mins late; having covered the last 28 km in 41 mins at 40.98 kmph 😛 . Quite a few people got down during the 1-minute halt here. In the yard, there was a Plasser machine next to two Camping coaches in the distant right. After departing, we maintained a sedate pace; the cars on the road overtook us, but we had the last laugh as they stopped at a signal near the road underbridge below us. We had a stop of just 40-45 secs at SVJR; but that didn’t deter a lot of people from alighting! 😛 A local which was apparently terminated here proved to be the culprit behind our slow run from Begdewadi onwards!
From here we crawled all the way to Pune, with a lot of road vehicles overtaking us. I saw Kamla Corner Theatre in the distant right after Sangam Bridge. 11014 CBE-LTT express (surprisingly running less than half an hour late 😉 ) crossed us behind KJM WDP4D 40531 with a pure EMD horn; before we pulled into PF4 of the junction at 11 16, 11 mins late. After getting down, I observed that the train had a totally mismatched rake with 2 Jan Shatabdi coaches (one in the old livery and the other in the new livery!), 5 Utkrisht coaches, and the rest a mixture of coaches in the regular blue-cyan ICF livery and CR daytime liveried coaches – totally 5 liveries! 😛
To cap it all, the entire rear SLR (which was also an Utkrisht coach!) and the rear door of C2 had stopped outside the platform limits! :O
Then the rake was moved ahead after a few minutes and managed to stop just within the platform limits! Phew! Anyway, let me quickly wrap this up before it becomes boring (if it hasn’t already! 😛 ). Please stay tuned to Part 2 for the return by 12128 Pune Mumbai Intercity!
- 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)
- KR – Konkan Railway
- SWR – South Western Railway
- HT – High Tone
- POH – Periodic Overhaul
- TSR – Temporary Speed Restriction
- APU – Auxiliary Power Unit (specifically for charging the loco batteries when it is idle)
- ALCO – American Locomotive Company (and an old class of diesel engines of the 1960s)
- SLR – Seating Cum Luggage Rake (attached at the front and rear of every ICF self-generating rake)
- ICF – Integral Coach Factory, Perambur (Chennai) [manufactures most of the coaches in Indian Railways]
- LTT – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (Kurla Terminus)
- GKP – Gorakhpur
- CSMT – Mumbai CST
- MAO – Madgaon
- BSL – Bhusaval
- KYN – Kalyan
- SC – Secunderabad
- VSKP – Visakhapatnam
- MAQ – Mangalore Central
- GOC – Golden Rock (Ponmalai)
- NGP – Nagpur
- UBL – Hubli
- MAS – Chennai Central
- SVJR – Shivajinagar
- CBE – Coimbatore Junction