Erode Rocker!

This sunday too had the right dose of railfanning in store for me! I had to go to Panvel to see-off a relative who was returning to Kerala (Kannur) by Netravati Express. Accordingly, We left my home on my Qualis at about 1200. The road was un-usually less crowded today. I reached Panvel at about 12:15 itself. I had plenty of time to railfan. We (myself and my sister-in-law) purchased platform tickets and entered the station. The station was having a sizeable crowd (three departures in the next 75 minutes). The suburban EMU services were taking a partial off for the day. Services between Vashi and Kurla was closed for maintenance work, and EMUs were being pre-terminated at Vashi itself. Passengers were given the option of travelling by the KR4 Ratnagiri-Dadar Passenger towards Thane/Dadar.
We waited on Platform 1 for some time, while the person who was to travel purchased an Automobile monthly from the book store, when it was announced that Netravati would arrive on Platform 3. We took the FOB and suddenly I saw a blue coloured loco dozing off at the siding. I decided to check out the loco. On walking closer, I understood that the loco was an Erode loco. I was surprised, and walked briskly. The loco was WDG3A #14667 from Erode. I clicked about three snaps when I saw a person (probably a railway staffer) looking quite suspisciously at me. I did not want to take any risks and walked back to the platform. By now, the announcement of KR4 passenger was announced.
Sometime later, the train pulled in. The loco was WDM3A #18993 from Pune. While I was preparing for a snap, I saw two police constables roaming about. Aborted the plan and walked towards the starter to get an Image. The area around the Starter was infested with RPF and GRP. I had to finally abort all plans to photograph the good looking blue-coloured loco from Pune! Some time back, my attention was attracted by the horn of a loco. That was WDG3A #14595 from Kalyan rushing towards JNPT. The loco was alone. I went over the FOB for a photo when I saw another Kalyan WDG3A (#14559) pulling in from the JNPT side. I took photos and was back on the platform.
Just around this time, the PA system came alive and this announcement followed: "Six Three Phor Phaive Netravati Express aane ka sanket ho chuka hain. Yeh gaadi Platphoram theen par aayegi" (The indication of arrival of 6345 Netravati Express has been recieved. The train would arrive on Platform 3). This announcement by a male announcer was followed by the familar announcement by the 'recorded female sound' from the computer regarding the announcement of the train and its coach position. The train pulled in soon.
The loco working this train was WDM3A #18555 from Erode. This loco was earlier with Golden Rock Diesel Loco Shed (in Tamilnadu) and the logo of the previous shed was still visible. The logo of Erode was partly torn and one reads the name as "Erod Rock". The loco really rocks - is a very good smoker. I have seen the loco camouflaging the first coach with smoke!!! The loco slowly passed by me. The first coach was reserved for RMS. The Second AC coach was older than me! The coach was of 1983 make! The 3AC coaches were of post-2000 make with one of 2006 make! My relative had ticket in S9 coach. The coach was #00286 built, probably, by RCF. The train was late while pulling in itself. The starter turned yellow at about 1325. We returned home even before the train started pulling.
While returning, I preferred to drive through the Panvel-Uran state highway instead of the usual Panvel-Sion highway. The Uran highway runs parallel to the Panvel-JNPT railway line. This section has been completely doubled now! The importance of this line will surely get a boost with the new Western Dedicated Freight corridor! I reached home at about 1400, hand lunch and sat down to type this post!
Your are invited to see the images of the day by clicking here. Thank you!