Finishing off 2019 in style! – Part 1

First of all, a very Happy and Prosperous 2020 to you all!! Secondly, I have been very busy for the last two weeks – thanks to my engagement (yes, finally! :D) and the activities arising out of this wonderful event; which may explain my absence for close to a month 😉 . Anyway, this blog is not about that; rather, it is about something very commonplace as far as I’m concerned – a train trip! That too, a train trip between Mumbai and Pune; probably a most fitting way to end 2019 – given my propensity to undertake such trips through the year! 😛 The excuse for this particular trip? To meet my friend and ex-colleague Rishi before my engagement. The train to reach Pune? 11041 Mumbai Chennai express.

On the day of the journey (Saturday 21/12/19), I left my home by around 12 15 and took an auto to reach Vikhroli; where I was greeted by the sight of 11061 LTT-DBG Pawan express blasting behind a mega-offlink AJJ WAP4 22783. Less than 5 minutes later; 17032 HYB-CSMT express ripped past with KYN WDM3D 11455 having an EMD horn. I then boarded a local to CSMT. On the way, 17032’s counterpart (17031 CSMT-HYB express) chugged past us before Parel; hauled by APU-fitted KYN WDG3A 14982R. We reached CSMT by 13 15; 45 mins prior to the departure of 11041 and thus with ample time left for a spot of railfanning. 17032 had arrived on Platform 8.

KYN WCAM3 21899 had brought 22102 MMR-CSMT Rajyarani express to PF13; while Ajni WAP7i 30738 was on PF12.

Ajni WAP7i 30734 had brought 12140 NGP-CSMT Sewagram express to PF15.

Meanwhile, there was a long wait for my train 11041 on PF14. At 2 PM (the time for departure of 11041), I had had enough; I made a long walk to the Enquiry counter (besides the ticket counter) and asked about the status of 11041. The gentleman behind the counter calmly replied that the train must have already left; to which I curtly pointed out that it had not yet arrived on its designated platform. He then made a quick phone call and informed me that 11041 would arrive a bit late; but would leave soon after arriving. Having no other choice left; I walked back to PF14, where the train eventually arrived around 14 15. On the brighter side, my coach S5 was 6th from the engine; which meant I could hear the horns (as well as engine sounds) clearly during the journey. Moreover, I had a trackside Side Upper Berth; though facing against the direction of the journey. Also, the coach was of a 2015 make and thus had mobile charging sockets in all bays; as well as biotoilets 🙂 .

Meanwhile, I saw Ajni WAG9 31063 roaming around in the distant left. We departed at 14 41 (41 mins late) under surprisingly cloudy skies; with the LP blowing a very long LT horn, followed by two short blasts. On the left, I saw that Ajni WAP7i 30736 was the power for 12139 Sewagram express to NGP. Meanwhile, our LP again sounded 2 long and loud blasts of the LT horn. On the right, APU-fitted and “Eco-friendly” Pune WDP4D 40586 crossed us. After the usual crawl over the points, the chief notched up with honking and smoking; I noticed that our loco was a WDP4D. We soon raced through Byculla, honking intermittently. I spotted KJM WDP4D 40246 on a siding in the right after the station. We blasted away for a while, before slowing down at Parel.

Dadar arrived at 14 57, 45 mins late. We were allotted PF5. A lot of people boarded here. We left after a halt of 2 mins; with a long LT horn. KYN WDG3A ‘Shakti’ 13426 was the power for 50103 DR-RN passenger on PF8. I could hear our WDP4D humming in full flow; as we accelerated through Matunga. We then thundered through Sion; HT and LT horns both blaring. Crossed 22148 SNSI-DR superfast behind a WCAM3 before slowing down at Kurla. I observed a more than 1.5 hours late running 12812 HTE-LTT superfast crawling to LTT; as we accelerated through Vidyavihar. On a siding; I saw KYN WDP4D 40277 coupled to its brother 40316.

We soon ripped through Ghatkopar, Vikhroli and Kanjurmarg before slowing down. Much to my delight, the LP sounded the HT horn more frequently now; it was a melodious harmonium-type horn. I sighted KYN WDP3A 15520 with a stationary BRNA rake before Mulund; at the other end was its brother 15512 (painted in the Indian flag Tri-colour livery and looking horrible IMHO! 😦 ). We reached Thane at 15 27, 50 mins late. A lot of people boarded here. We departed after just a minute; with a long and short blast of the LT horn. I had a brief nap; before we arrived on PF6 of KYN at 15 50, 53 mins late. To my surprise, a lot of people got down here! Of course, a bigger amount of people boarded! 😛 We left after a stop of 5 mins.

As we slowly crossed over the points, there were intermittent and long blasts of both the horns. After passing through Vithalwadi and Ulhasnagar at a sedate pace; we raced through Ambernath; accompanied by furious humming of our EMD. Crossed a stationary express rake led by a WAG9 on a siding. Then we blasted through Badlapur; accompanied by HT honking and rhythmic clickety clack track sounds. Raced cars on the highway in the right and ripped through Vangani; humming all the way. We then raced more vehicles and thundered through Shelu; LT horns blaring. Neral was again blasted apart in a LT-HT horn blur; here there was a very short rake (having CR daytime livery coaches) headed by a WAP7 – which train could this have been? :O

There was a slight slowdown at Bhivpuri Road home signal; before we accelerated and zipped through the station at MPS. Then we slowed down again, crossing a WAG9 hauling a Car Carrier rake. Pulled into Karjat at 16 37, 54 mins late. Here bankers would be attached to our rear; for the climb up the Bhor Ghats. Accordingly, I shall wind up here for now and wrap things up in Part 2. Please stay tuned! 🙂

LEGEND

Technical Abbreviations

  • EMD – Electro-motive Diesel (and a modern class of diesel locos)
  • LT – Low Tone
  • HT – High Tone
  • APU – Auxiliary Power Unit (specifically for charging the loco batteries when it is idle)
  • LP – Loco Pilot
  • CR – Central Railway
  • MPS – Maximum Permissible Speed

Station Codes

  • LTT – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (Kurla Terminus)
  • DBG – Darbhanga
  • AJJ – Arakkonam Junction
  • HYB – Hyderabad
  • CSMT – Mumbai CST
  • KYN – Kalyan
  • MMR – Manmad
  • NGP – Nagpur
  • KJM – Krishnarajapuram (KR Puram)
  • DR – Dadar (Central)
  • RN – Ratnagiri
  • SNSI – Sainagar Shirdi
  • HTE – Hatia

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