Saturday November 16th had found me on a mini-trip to Igatpuri; in order to escape the hustle-bustle of a workaholic city like Mumbai. I had reached there by 15017 LTT-GKP Kashi express (via BSB). For the description of that journey please go to Part 1: https://ashwinkumar1989.online/2019/11/17/escaping-from-the-hustle-bustle-of-mumbai-yet-again-part-1/ . Now was the time to return; by 22148 SNSI-DR superfast. The train arrived around half an hour late on Platform 4; behind KYN WCAM3 21882.
My coach S6 was an Utkrisht coach made in 2014, and had plug points in all bays as well as biotoilets. We departed at 13 10, 35 minutes late. I had a lunch of Veg. Biryani from one of the food vendors on the train. It seemed like they had simply mixed white rice with some hotch-potch gravy of vegetables and called it “Veg. Biryani” !! The result was one of the most tasteless and bland dishes I’d ever been served in a train!! I turned my attention to the window; anything to take my mind off this rather forgettable lunch! We had our 2nd brake testing halt on our descent of the Thull Ghats.
As we started, 11059 LTT-Chhapra Godaan express crossed us behind a DLW-made ET WAP7i 37059. For some reason it was on the MID line (we were of course on the 3rd (UP line) !! :O The 2nd tunnel was somewhat long. Before the 3rd brake testing stop, 12542 LTT-GKP Sant Kabir Dham express crossed us with a DMW-made GZB WAP7i 39056 (transferred to KYN, as per the IRFCA Loco Database; just 2 days later!). The train was banked by twin WAG7s. There was a PSR of 30 kmph after TGR3. We halted for clearance before Kasara. A BCNA freight crossed us behind a WAG9 31×49; it was banked by KYN WAG7s 27221, 28558 and 27109. There was a Board indicating the MPS on the Thull Ghats: 60 kmph for trains having up to 18 coaches and 55 kmph for trains with 18-24 coaches.
We skipped Kasara and soon accelerated to MPS; I noticed that there was a TSR of 50 kmph on the DOWN line. Here is the video of us blasting through mountain scenery (including cattle grazing), highways and the ghost station Oombermalli; accompanied by melodious clickety clack track sounds:
We then slowed to a crawl, before soon picking up the pace again. The DOWN line was below us now. After ripping through Khardi at MPS, we slowed down once more; crawling on a sharp curve to the right. There were a lot of uneven mounds covered with dried grass.
As we accelerated to MPS, 11061 LTT-DBG Pawan express crossed us with a WAP7. There was a fire burning in the distant right. Our stop-start run continued, as we again started crawling; a bit of forest scenery giving us some respite.
Meanwhile, 11071 LTT-BSB Kamayani express thundered past us behind another WAP7. We had another unscheduled stop at Atgaon for 50-odd seconds. I spotted a WDS6 with a short rake carrying sleepers and rails in the distant right; there was also some drilling work going on at the platform on our immediate right. We accelerated to MPS yet again before lethargy kicked in once more; owing to a TSR of 80 kmph. The route was interesting; with lots of sharp curves and forests on our immediate right. We blasted through Asangaon before the speed phobia struck yet again; as we started crawling. As we picked up speed slightly, 12617 ERS-NZM Mangala Lakshadweep express crossed us behind GOC WDP4D 40570. There was more scenery; including some uniquely shaped mountain peaks (partly forming a plateau) in the far right.
There was yet another unscheduled halt at Vasind for less than half a minute; where I observed a lot of construction work going on; as well as a KYN WDP3A 15518 in Tejas livery with an inferior freight – sad to see such mighty beasts once-upon-a-time; reduced to this kind of a fate! 😦 Anyway, we than passed a residential complex with the board ‘JSW Steel-coated Products’ in the distant right. Then came the broad and perennial Bhatsa river.
We soon accelerated to MPS, horns blaring; accompanied by melodious clickety clack track sounds. This time we had a sustained fast run till Ambivli home signal (except for a slight slowdown before Titvala). Then onwards it was a lukewarm run more or less till KYN. 22121 LTT-LKO AC express, hauled by DMW-made GZB WAP7i 39062 (transferred to KYN 2 days later; just like its shed mate 39056! 😀 ), was leaving from PF4 of the junction close to half an hour late; just as we entered PF5 at 14 55 – ourselves 50 mins late! 😛 A lot of people got down here. 12071 Dadar Jalna Jan Shatabdi, led by KYN WDP4D 40372, then pulled into the platform vacated by 22121. It departed after a stop of 3 mins. We ourselves left 2 mins later.
As we accelerated to MPS, we crossed a stationary 11041 Mumbai Chennai express behind Pune WDG3A 13664. Then we overtook a slow local to CSMT after Thakurli. An express headed by a blue and white ALCO then crossed us; possibly a more than 1.5 hours late 17031 CSMT-HYB express? We had a really fast run till the Diva LC; where there was a PSR of 50 kmph. Then onwards it was a crawl till Thane. At Diva station we crossed 11009 Mumbai Pune Sinhagad express with KYN WCAM2 21876. Even though it had been a while since the end of the monsoons, we were greeted by a spray of water at the beginning and the end of the Parsik Tunnel. The local which we had overtaken got its revenge before Thane Creek; as we had a 3-minute halt for clearance – as 12117 LTT-MMR Godavari express crossed behind BSL WAP4 22912.
Finally we arrived on PF6 of Thane at 15 26, 59 mins late! I got down here and boarded a local to Vikhroli. On the way, we crossed a stationary BCNA rake hauled by Ajni WAG9H 31083 at Nahur yard. After Bhandup, a KYN WDG4D 70379 leading a Crane and an Accident Relief Van crossed us. As I got down at Vikhroli; I was greeted with the sight of 50103 DR-RN passenger ripping through the station with melodious HT and LT horns from the KYN WDM3D 11355 heading it – the last railfanning action of the day! 🙂 Then I took an auto to reach home by 16 20. Thus ended another short but enjoyable outing – hope you all have enjoyed reading as well! 😀
- DLW – Diesel Locomotive Works, Varanasi (largest diesel engine manufacturer in India; now manufactures electrics as well!)
- DMW – Diesel Locomotive Modernization Works, Patiala (serves to extend the service life of Diesel engines and significantly raise the level of their availability; now also produces WAP7s!)
- IRFCA – Indian Railways Fan Club Association
- PSR – Permanent Speed Restriction
- MPS – Maximum Permissible Speed
- TSR – Temporary Speed Restriction
- LC – Level Crossing
- HT – High Tone
- LT – Low Tone
- ALCO – American Locomotive Company (and an old class of diesel engines of the 1960s)
- LTT – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (Kurla Terminus)
- GKP – Gorakhpur
- BSB – Varanasi Junction
- SNSI – Sainagar Shirdi
- DR – Dadar (Central)
- KYN – Kalyan
- ET – Itarsi
- GZB – Ghaziabad
- TGR – Thull Ghat Reversing Cabin (Serves as brake testing halt for downhill trains)
- DBG – Darbhanga
- ERS – Ernakulam Junction
- NZM – Hazrat Nizamuddin
- GOC – Golden Rock (Ponmalai)
- LKO – Lucknow Charbagh
- CSMT – Mumbai CST
- HYB – Hyderabad
- MMR – Manmad
- BSL – Bhusaval
- RN – Ratnagiri