I got down at Kurla, and went towards Platform 5 to board a Fast EMU to Thane. There was one 12-Car Thane EMU scheduled. I did not want to travel by that, and decided to wait for the next one. The next was a Kasara EMU. The AC/DC rake pulled in. I settled on to a seat (did not want to stand at the door!). Right outside Kurla, I saw the Pragati Express rumbling off!
At Mulund, two Ticket Checkers got in and detected three cases of "irregular" travel. All the three surprisingly had tickets - but for Second class. One person argued on the grounds that "he had a ticket". The TTE got rough with him, and rathered ordered to shut up. He argued that he "did not know" that it was a First class coach! The person spoke in a tough manner to the TTE knowing well that he is in a soup. The train pulled into Thane. The TTE asked the person (who argued) to cough up the fine which roughly works out to Rs. 300 (including Rs. 250 which is the minimum fine). The person had only 250 or so. He argued with the TTE again on the grounds that "he had a ticket"! The TTE had some physical exercise with him and dragged him to the Chief TC's office. I decided to go my way!
I took an Auto from Thane and proceeded to Wagle Estate where I had to meet a person. At the "Marathon Chowk" or "Teen Hath Naka" (which is essentially the major junction for Thane on the Eastern Express Highway; I witnessed an autodriver "stuffing" the pocket of the Traffic cop with money! It was hilarious to see the way the cop accepted the money! After the driver payed up, the cop advised him about traffic rules and let him off! Off-late the formula offered by the cops is that - You have to pay the fine. If you pay 100%, you get a receipt, pay 50% 'Me happy; you happy" & No receipt!
After witnessing this event, the rickshaw moved forwards for about a kilometre or so. Alas! The transmission suffered damage, and the rickshaw had to be abandoned! That incurred me an additional expense of having to hire another auto! Finally I met the person, and finished all the jobs and returned to Thane. On entering the station, I saw the Nagercoil express pulling with WCG2 #20152 in charge. Some time later, the Manmad-LTT express, and the Kamayani express (both side-by-side) pulled in. I purchased a ticket for Panvel (to travel on Matsyagandha Express) and went to Platform 7. Gulped down 500ml of chilled mango juice and settled down for railfanning.
The Ghost of the university exam was a following me all the way! I had study material for Monday's exam and sat down reading them. Meanwhile, The Hyderabad Mumbai Express and the Mumbai Hyderabad Express went past with WCG2 powers. Sometime later, a late running Howrah - Mumbai 'Kolkatta' mail (via Allahabad) rushed through with WCAM3 #21888 in charge. Sometime later a BCNA rake hauled by WCAM3 21881+21883 went past. I kept reading about Sedatives while the flow of EMUs continued regularly in addition to the slurry of announcements. The Chennai-Mumbai Express was delayed by an hour, and the train went past at about 1353. Sometime later, the Hatia-LTT Express pulled in.
A peculiar thing that I have noticed about this train is that, this train always has majority of its coaches from Santragachhi (SRC) coaching Depot, in addition to 1 or 2 coaches from Tata or Hatia base! The coaches of todays rake were mostly built in mid 80s to early 90s with the exception of a single coach that was a 2005 built sleeper coach! For the next five minutes, the main line dipped to silence. The crowd on the Platform was building up as the departure time of Matsyagandha was approaching.
As a very cold wave, the Coimbatore-LTT Express pulled into Platform 7 with WCG2 #20149 in charge. Some minutes later, the arrival of the Ratnagiri-Dadar passenger was announced. I rushed to Platform 6 to take an image since an RPF personnel was roaming near me. At about 1415, the passenger pulled in with WDM3A #18951 in charge. I returned to Platform 7. The Matsyagandha finally pulled in at 1430. The loco was WDM3A #14046 from Erode (seen in the picture above). I decided to board the General coach right behind the SLR for a change! The coach was full (almost all seats taken!). The departure was getting delayed. Suddenly, a long BCNA rake hauled by WDM2 pair #18345 & #18354 from Kalyan rushed towards Mulund, and our train got its starter. The Mumbai-Chennai Express had arrived on Platform 5 by then. The loco was WCG2 #20157.
The run out of Thane was normal. As our train approached Parsik Tunnel, I saw a headlamp about to exit the tunnel. That was WCAM3 #21932 hauling the Mahanagari Express towards Mumbai CST. The journey ahead was dry - no interesting observations at all! The train pulled into Panvel at about 1525. A WAG7 (#27759) from New Katni Jn. was waiting for departure towards Vasai as my train pulled in. Just as I was waiting for the RPF officer near the SLR to move away, I noted an Erode loco approaching the station. I had a mad dash towards the Foot over bridge. The loco was WDM3A #14125, and the train was the Netravati Express towards Lokmanya Tilak Terminus! This train was a regular late runner during the monsoons, and is now running on schedule!
I finally took an EMU towards Belapur and came home. Yawn! Its late in the night and let me have a sleep. BTW, photos of the day are available here. (Please scroll towards the bottom!) Thanks for the read - expect some thing "new" tomorrow!