Sunday, August 20, 2006

a Monsoon sojourn!

The curtains raise for a grand week long sojourn to Kerala. This monsoon is slated to be not different unlike the last year, and hence there is a trip this year too! The journey begins today at 16:00 from Dadar. The first leg of the journey is by 1081 Mumbai CST - Cape Kanyakumari Express. I will be getting down at a Changanasseri (About 18 kms from Kottayam). The return journey begins August 26 at 1445 from Alwaye. The train would be 6346 Trivandrum - Lokmanya Tilak Terminus Netravati Express.

So..Stay tuned for regular updates which are expected to take place daily!!! So keep visiting. In the mean time you could read my previous travelogues, railfanning reports or even see the photographs of my previous trips! Please do visit this site regularly for the latest updates!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Desperation, Anxiety and what not!

These are a few things that one sees while standing in Queue for a reservation ticket! A few months back, when the first pre-paid online banking card - ITZ Cash was introduced, there was an advertisement in which a person packs a huge trunk box and says bye to this parents in a very emotional state as if he was going to a war-torn country. At the end of the scene he says "Aaj kuchh bhi ho jaye, main ticket kattake aavoonga" (Whatsoever happens today, I will reserve a ticket!). The advertisement was aimed at the huge queues seen at Railway reservation counters esp. during vacations. They were promoting online reservations. I had to go to the counter to reserve tickets due to a rather un-common reason!
Due to some serious confusion, an otherwise confirmed ticket HAD to be cancelled. We (I, and my parents) were to travel to Kerala by 6345 Netravati Express leaving Mumbai on 20th (tomorrow). The ticket was cancelled due to a confusion!!! Now, I had to re-book tickets! Tickets weren't available for our original train and had to opt to the ex-King of the sector the "Mumbai CST - Kanyakumari Jayanti Janata Express". This trains takes 12 hours more, but that doesn't matter. Only RAC tickets were available. The ICRTC server wasn't co-operating in booking an e-Ticket! I decided to book the ticket at the counter itself!
Due to this rather rare reason, I had to get up at 06:30 in the morning (I usually get up at 05:00)!!! I rushed to the reservation office by 07:30 and reached there sharp at 08:00 (Had been to the ATM to withdraw cash!). There were about 10 people ahead of me! There was confusion, desperation and anxiety of the faces of each of those 10 people ahead of me. There were about 15 more waiting near the other window (Belapur has 2 windows for reservation). The clock kept ticking (Right! Time and tide waits for none!). After a long 25 minutes of anxiety (If it took longer, then I would surely reached a state to have a dose of an Anxiolytic drug!), I finally reached the window. A cool breeze directly from the AC of the office was hitting right on my face. The person at the counter was not very sure about the Destination Code that i had written. He checked and found it right! The status of the ticket was RAC 4,5,6! No matter! Minutes of anxiety now gave way for joy!
More to come later!!!!

Friday, August 18, 2006

A sunny day after long!

Today was a rather sunny day. It had been cloudy for the past 2 weeks with no sign of the sun showing up. I had quite a few surprises in store for the day! To begin with, it was sunny and hence better spottings! The train was my normal 07:17 Ambernath Fast from Dadar! The journey was outstanding! I enjoyed each bit of it! On reaching Thane, I was welcomed by the announcement of the Madgaon bound Mandovi coming in! I decided to wait. The train came in with a WDP4 (#20023) working Long Hood Forward (LHF).

I am spotting a WDP4 after a very long time now! After this spotting, I rushed to my college with even a guess of what was in store for me in the evening! I left quite late from my college, and made it to the station only by about 16:40. There was no scheduled 12-car fast (I love them!) at that time except the 16:50 Dadar Fast! Some time later the Agra bound Lashkar Express came in! (Many passengers co-related the name of this train with the banned LeT). The loco was a WCAM3. I was on Platform 6, and at about 16:55, the 16:50 DR fast local came on Platform 4 without any prior announcement. I had a good run....only to get amazed and awe-struck! The local was a 12-Car AC/DC rake. CR has only ONE AC/DC 12-Car rake, and this rake has the 3 MRVC coaches!!! I boarded one of them (341A). The coach was disappointing!

The seating capacity of the FC coach has further been reduced! There is no grabrail for people standing at the door, and standing there when the train runs at 100kmph is very risky! The seats aren't that comfortable. Overall, a clear hands down! The run, however, was amazing! The train zipped through stations like Bhandup and Vikhroli at 100kmph with the horns blarring continuously! The run was terrific! At kurla, i had another surprise - The deccan queen! She came in with a WCAM3. The horn blarred continuously until the end of the platform!
The day was a very good one! I had tons of action! I will be taking a break tomorrow - But thats for a very big railfanning coming up in the next week - A trip to Kerala...(Of course by train!). The itinery is still uncertain, but the journey is confirmed!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The 16:27 Employees train....

Central Railway operates a few Employee special locals on each day. This is a form to their salute to thousands of railway employees who help the mighty system to keep running each minute. The train, a 12-car local, is run from Mumbai CST to Kalyan. It is usually a Fast local which halts at every station which has platforms for fast trains. The train is usually packed to the brim with employees occupying each inch of space available. They mostly occupy all seats and are usually found sitting on the floor also! I spot this train almost regularly at Mulund (at 16:27). I spotted this train today also. (seen in the image).
In addition to this, I had my usual dose of crossings in the form of Pragati Express, and one train of the 2107/2173/2153/2161 group (Today, it was 2153 Habibganj Express). I missed Nandigram Express today!!!
Another interesting thing: Yesterday in the evening I boarded #333A (working the AN16 fast). Today I travelled in #72333 (working the DA1 Fast). Now one can understand why CR hasn't re-numbered! But CR could have renumbered 333A as 82333 or 92333!!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

All rain.......No flood :-)

Today was a day of rain...rain....and rain! It has been raining continuously since 0500 AM today. It still hasn't stopped. The rain slows down to a drizzle every 45-60 minutes and then regains momentum once gain! I was expecting water-logging at many places - and - suprisingly that did not happen :-(

Most Long-distance trains were on-time barring a handful. The day was a good one! I returned from Thane on #333A. The train really flew through stations like Mulund and Vikhroli at 100 kmph with the horns blaring almost continuously. Rain drops were landing on my hand as if there was a warfare! The run was amazing! See this image for an Idea!

Another interesting point of the coach was that: The coach was once re-painted by WR. WR follows a 3-colour scheme for interiors of FC coaches. The lower half of the coach is painted Dark green, the middle portion is Pista Green while the upper most part is White. This is in contrast to the CR's Pista-White 2-tone livery.

While on my Kurla-Belapur leg, a TTE boarded from Sanpada. He got his victim at the door itself. A fellow in his 20s was travelling in FC with an Ordinary Second class ticket! The TTE got hold of him and got down at Juinagar. The poor soul would have either parted with a 3-Digit sum or something else like his watch or so! There is even a chance that he could have been taken to the GRP station at Vashi! I had a chill wave running down my spine - Was I carrying the correct MST? I quickly checked it, and saw it to be allright!

Signing off for the day...But before winding up: A very happy Janmashtami!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Best wishes of the Day

Wishing all my visitors a very happy Independence Day! India is celebrating its 60th Independence day today - August 15, 2006.

India got independence from its earlier rulers - Britain - at the stroke of midnight on 15 August 1947.

At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.

-Quoted from the famous Tryst with Destiny speech made by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of Independent India at the stroke of midnight on the 15th of August 1947.

Wishing India all the best for its future. This Independence day is very special since it is just a month since there was a terrifying attack on the commercial capital of the country - Mumbai!!!

A road journey from Bangalore to Mumbai!

A wet Friday evening…My mobile cries out loudly and that was a call from my classmate. The message was that I must report to college on Monday. I got hold of my lecturer’s telephone number and called him up to tell him my position. My ticket was booked for a train leaving from Bangalore only on Monday at 8pm. This would reach me to Mumbai only at 8pm on Tuesday. My lecturer told me to find some other way to reach back since the matter was urgent and my absence could bring in trouble! The next day, I started searching frantically for tickets at the Bangalore City Station’s reservation counter and could not get any ticket. We (Myself and my parents) proceeded to the Kempegowda Bus Station a.k.a. Majestic to enquire about tickets in KSRTC’s Volvo service to Mumbai. A “slow” link welcomed us, and reservations were not possible! We left In search of another reservation counter, and zeroed in on the KSRTC reservation counter at Jaya nagar. The queue at the counter was small and managed to reach the clerk soon. He typed in the details and said that just once seat was available on the bus that leaves Kempegowda Bus station at 3pm on Sunday. I confirmed the booking, and a computer printed reservation ticket is issued for the same. The fare was Rs. 1111 including taxes. After getting the ticket, we proceeded to the Railway counter to cancel my seat in the train.

Another wet day…Sunday, May 28 2006, 1330 hours: Myself, my dad, brother and sister-in-law, left the home on a car. We slowly moved towards Kempegowda Bus Station (a.k.a. Majestic). We reached majestic some 40 minutes later. As we got down from the car, it started pouring down. Luckily the down-pour was short. We made it into the bus station. Kempegowda Bus Station, popularly known as Majestic, is the Central bus station for intra-state as well as inter-state services operated by different state transport corporations. The bus station is very huge and has direct bus services to almost all major cities and towns in Karnataka and the neighboring states. My bus was to depart from Platform one at 1500 hours. The other platforms mostly had buses to places inside the state. There is a dedicated platform for buses towards Mysore, and there are buses every 10-15 minutes.

My bus came in at about 1430. The bus, a Volvo owned-by the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), was sparkling clean. The service is named as “Airavat”, and the buses are usually white in colour to signify the name! The registration number of the bus was KA-01-F-8040. The bus has two drivers and one conductor. The passenger bagged is stored in the luggage carrier under the body of the bus. Only hand baggage is permitted inside the bus. My seat number was 39 which is in the rear of the 45-seater bus. This route is supposed to have a semi-sleeper bus, but today it was a normal bus. Sharp at 1500 the bus left from the terminus. The first four seats of the bus were kept aside for the crew, and the last five seats were un-reserved. There were 5 passengers going to Belgaum, who occupied the unreserved seats.

The ride was smooth and calm unlike normal AC buses. The engine is rear-mount and is too powerful for Indian roads. The 7-litre engine which churns out 260hp of power is adequate enough to power the Air-Conditioning also! Each passenger has an individual air outlet and a reading lamp. The Air-suspension dampens most of the jerks, but the major ones are known. I could hear the whine of the engine since I was sitting right above it! The bus crawled through the crowded Bangalore roads and finally managed to reach the outer limits. FM radio was played in the bus till the outskirts of the city. As the bus reached Neelamangala, the FM was unclear and hence the Conductor switched it off, and decided to play a movie. The movie turned out to be the Ajay Devgan starring Shikhar. It was raining outside, and the bus was flying on the road. The highly powered engine made overtaking easy for the driver. The bus has retarders and hence braking from a high speed is also easy for the driver. He was maintaining speeds in the range of 80-100 at most of the stretches. We pulled into a Kamat group hotel at Sira for evening snacks at about 1700. We left the place at 1730.

The bus doesn’t stop at any bus station unless and until there is someone to get down. We entered Davangere bus station by “mistake”. The bus left the bus station without even stopping. The driver stopped at a Hotel for Dinner at 2000. The hotel was big and clean. We had a halt of almost an hour there, and finally departed at about 2100. The second movie, Bobby Deol starring Jurm, was being played. The movie got over by about 2200, and the conductor put down the curtains. The bus cruised past villages and towns before finally stopping at Belgaum at about 2330. The bus left the bus station after a short break, and finally pulled into some “unidentified” bus depot – a depot is a shed where buses are parked in the night – and filled the fuel tank. The bus continued its run, and I felt asleep sometime later. I woke up at about 0600 am, and the bus was then on the outskirts of Pune. There is a small gradient just before Pune, and normally buses find this climb very difficult. But in this case, the bus was rather overtaking other heavy vehicles on its climb!!! We pulled into Pune city and the bus entered Pune Swargate Bus Station at about 0700. About 6-7 passengers got down here. Two seats were vacant since Kolhapur, and the bus took in 9 more passengers from Pune. Now all the 45-seats were occupied. The bus left Pune bus station at about 0730. The driver rushed across some small roads, and directly entered in the Bye-Pass road instead of crawling along the city roads. The bus quickly picked up speed, and we soon entered the expressway.

The driver was maintaining a speed of atleast 100 kmph on the expressway. To our company was a Volvo operated by MSRTC which was literally at or above our speed. We pulled into a food plaza at about 0800. I was not is a mood to have breakfast, and instead opted to have a Tea. We left the food plaza at about 0820, and the driver resorted to “flying”. The bus exited the express way at about 0845, and finally reached Belapur at 0900. I had earlier informed the conductor that I wanted to get down at Belapur and he accordingly had the bus stopped at Belapur. The speed was surprising! The bus managed to cover the 100-odd kilometer distance in just over an-hour! Anyway, I had luggage in the under-floor luggage compartment. The conductor opened it for me, and the bus left soon after! I had a walk to the nearest Auto-Rickshaw stand, and took one home!

Overall, I would rate the journey at 8/10. The ride was comfortable, the AC was powerful. The only problem was that the sleep wasn't comfortable (due to personal constraints!). The timings was nice. These buses really pose a risk for railways! A train takes anywhere between 23-25 hours while this bus takes only 18-19 hours!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Another day of Late Running trains!

You may be wondering what the title means!!! I came across a variety of late running trains today. (Now onwards, the title for such postings would be : Day of Late Runners - Day XXX) That would be a better title!!! The day began as usual for me. I took my regular 06:33 slow ex-Belapur. The journey was normal and un-eventful till the time the EMU reached Govandi (three stations before Kurla while travelling towards Mumbai CST from Belapur). At Govandi, I heard a very unclear announcement regarding some sort of disruptions on the Harbour line. The announcement was being continuously being relayed over the PA system of the station. The origin of the message of the Kendriya Soochna Prasaran Kaksha or the Central Information Control Room of CR. This message made me panicky! The train continued its normal run until Tilak Nagar. The EMU just left the station, and was held up at the Advanced Starter. The train that left just ahead of my EMU from Belapur was just a block ahead. There was another EMU right behind my EMU! The 2 km run between Tilaknagar and Kurla took over 10 minutes. By the time I reached Kurla, it was 07:20 (I usually reach by 07:09). I had a close call with the 07:24 Kasara EMU and just managed to get into that train!!!
The run between Kurla and Thane was done in 15 minutes as against the normal 22 minutes for this particular train!!!
On the way, I spotted the Devgiri Express only! Samarsatta and Vidarbha expresses were absent conspicuously! The highlight of the day was the spotting of WCAM2 near Vikhroli!

During my return journey, the list of late runners was simply topped. I spotted the Samarsatta at Thane in the evening at 16:45 hrs. This train should have crossed Thane atleast at 07:00 hrs! She was close to 10 hours late!!! There was the usual fiesta of crossings by the Lucknow express, Pragati Express and Nandigram Express. I spotted the "Dakkhan ki Rani" or "Deccan Queen" at Kurla being hauled by a proud WCAM3!!! The return journey was too uneventful to be described!
Are you interested to have a look at the photos of the day? Then click here.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Another day at railfanning!

Today was yet another day of railfanning! I started off from my home at 06:20 as usual to board the 06:33 CSTM local. I reached Kurla by about 07:08. Just As I walked down the steps of the new slippery FOB at Kurla to reach Platform 5, the 07:11 Karjat fast left the station. I was now waiting for my regular 07:17 Ambernath fast. Just while I waited, two MU-ed WCAM3s rushed past the platform with a long set of Sleeper and Second Chair Car coaches of NR, NCR, SR, and CR. All coaches were closed and were probably bound to Matunga workshop. My train reached by now. The journey to Ghatkopar was uneventful except for the crossing of Devgiri Express near Vidyavihar. At Ghatkopar, I spotted the Chalukya express with her almost regular link - Pune WDG3A. After Ghatkopar, and before Mulund my emu crossed the Habibganj-LTT Express and the Latur-CSTM Express. My EMU crossed the Vidarbha express just outside TNA.
Whilst on the return, I spotted a Twin WCG2 (#20144 & 20147) hauled "Flat-Car" rake. I also spotted the CSTM-Kanyakumari express rushing past. While on the EMU, I spotted a WCAM3 hauled express, the Pragati Express (WCG2 @ Ghatkopar) and the Nandigram (WCAM3 @ Kurla) before making it to Kurla.
My EMU (16:23 TNA-CSTM 12-Car Fast) regularly get red signal at Ghatkopar Outer & GC-Starter. This is a regular occurence. My EMU is usually closely followed by another Fast which comes from Kalyan. Both these trains are usually just back-to-back!!!
More to come on monday!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Back on track...after a small derailment!

Apologies for the late update! The past week was a very busy one with hardly any time or energy left for updation of this blog! The first day of the week was a very wet one! Monday was, in short, a holiday for me! Took a days' off to "protect" myself from getting drenched up! On tuesday, the week started fresh! Tuesday was another wet day. The journey was with closed windows for the entire length in the morning! In the evening while returning, the train came to an abrupt halt after Kanjur Marg station. This is the sight that I saw later:

That was a bit frightening though! The train crawled through, and managed to reach Kurla (CLA) just a few minutes late. Harbour line trains were normal! Wednesday and thrusday were two dry days of this week! Wednesday was Rakshabandhan - a working day for our college! The trains and buses were packed beyond capacity on the day!
Today, Friday - 11 August 2006 was an interesting day. I travelled to and from Kurla in the same coach - #72338, albeit at different timings! The BEPR-CLA journey was at 06:33, while the return was at 17:04. In the morning, i had a few interesting crossings! My train crossed 5 Expresses in the morning of which 3 were diesel hauled!
The first one was a very late running 0112 Konkan Kanya from Madgaon - Hauled by KJM WDM3A #18546 at Ghatkopar. The next was 2620 Matsyagandha from Mangalore - hauled by Erode WDM3A #14075. The third was an unidentified express behind a WCG2! The fourth was 1036 Mysore-Dadar Sharavati Express behind WDG3A #13051 from Pune! The fifth one was Vidarbha Express from Nagpur with WCAM3 at its helm!!! Most crossings were in style!!!
In the evening (left Thane at 16:23, by Fast Local), my train crossed the Kanyakumari Express, another unidentified train, Pragati Express before making it to Kurla. Just after Vikhroli, our train was held up at a Danger signal. The signal turned to Caution and the train just crawled into Ghatkopar (GC). The train stood at GC for about 5 minutes for want of signal. The block Just ahead and Just behind were occupied by Locals! One could see the rear car of the local ahead of us, and the driving cab of the local behind us! While at GC, my train was flown over by three aircrafts - One from Jet and the remaining two from Indian. The train made it to Kurla quite late. I saw my regular 16:49 Belapur local leaving the station from the FOB!
The day was interesting. I am looking forward for another interesting day tomorrow!!!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Railfanning in Mumbai...Post 11/07 (Part 2)

If you are reading this blog for the first time, you are recommended to read the first part of this post, first)

My assumptions simply turned right, and the teacher failed to turn up! Quite happy and disgusted (on the teacher's absence) i made my way back towards Thane on a rickety state transport bus with a friend of mine. The bus was packed to the fullest, and leaking to the maximum possible extent, we made it to Thane. We both were hungry and went in for a brunch at the nearby Kunj Vihar - a renowned "snack bar" in Thane. We parted ways inside the station, with him going towards Dombivli, and myself towards Kurla.
Thane was silent at that hour. I narrowly missed a fast local my seconds. I slowly walked towards the Kalyan end of the platform and found out a place to sit. The entire length of the platform had one single RPF constable who was day-dreaming! Main-Line traffic was less. I kept watching EMUs rushing to their destinations. A Kalyan WDM2 led tanker rake rumbled past the platform. An improper point on the track ensured that everyone had their ears closed.

Some minutes later, a WCAM3 rushed past the station with the Pavan Express towards Lokmanya Tilak Terminus in tow. The train was too fast that it managed to kick up all dust in the platform that had settled since the onset of monsoon! The mainline regained calmness barring for a few odd-EMUs rumbling towards Kalyan. At close to 12:10, the Netravati Express towards Trivandrum pulled in with WDM2 #17834 from Erode in charge! Minutes after the train stopped, the Sewagram express towards Dadar came in on platform 6. The RPF constable who was sleeping on the other part of the platform now woke up and was jotting down something in a book.
After all these trains went, I decided to slowly leave! The fast EMU that just came in was quite crowded. I left the first one, and boarded the second. I grabbed space near the door. On our way towards Kurla, we crossed the North-bound Pawan Express, and the Trivandrum bound weekly express.
We pulled into Ghatkopar - just to be welcomed by a huge sea of passengers waiting for this fateful local! We crossed the Varanasi bound Kamayani Express just at this station! The journey beyond was eventless!

Conclusion: The police is still to act! I had a very successful railfanning in Mumbai :-)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Railfanning in Mumbai...Post 11/07 (Part 1)

July 11, 2006 is not just another Terrible Tuesday in the memory of Mumbaikars. It was a day when about 7 bombs went ripping through Mumbai's Lifeline - Suburban trains, in rapid succession. The day marked the end (??) of peaceful train journeys in Mumbai. Police personnel are every where - even in nondescript stations. They have been given a table or two along with 5-6 chairs per table. They sit around in the table (what else?). Poor people who work as mere transporting agents are asked to open their bags/luggage and are put through unwarranted mental agony. By-standers look on as if the person is a terrorist who just got entrapped in the nets of police! The day changed the way Mumbai railfans go on! One has to be careful if he plans to roam around a platform.
I decided to try and railfan on a predecided date - Monday, July 31, 2006. A sort of foresight made me carry my camera along. Now what was that foresight? I would be free during the day - the teacher might just not turn up and the assumption turned right. I left my home as usual. After changing my train at Kurla, I kept myself at the door. Trains whizzed past with no mercy towards my poor camera which found is hard to focus at relative speeds exceeding 100-160 kmph! Most trains on the day ran through the wrong side! The were travelling on the UP Slow "B" line instead of the usual UP Fast "A" line. My train was on the Down Fast "A" line, and i was on the right side!
There was some problem on the main line, and i saw two express trains "back-to-back" at Mulund! Just when i pulled into Thane, Vidarbha express pulled out. I decided to stay back on the platform and then watch the Mandovi come in. Mandovi came in a few minutes later. There was a 12-car fast EMU blocking my view of the Mandovi. The loco of Mandovi came to a dead halt, but the sound of the loco was quite familiar - but - not the one I was expecting! Guess what.....

The loco was WDM2 #18480 from Kalyan doing the honours! I was expecting to see a WDP4 there! Totally disgusted on missing the WDP4, I rushed out of the station to take the very next bus towards my college.
(To be continued tomorrow!)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A day of late running trains

The day dawned as usual [Yah! The sun rised in the east :-)]. At 06:30 I found myself wiping a wet seat in a First class coach of an EMU scheduled to depart Belapur CBD at 06:33. The train left on time. It was raining too heavily and all windows/doors of the coach were closed. The train managed a decent show and reached Kurla at about 07:12. I walked through the FOB, to reach Platform 5 (From PF 8). My usual train - 07:17 Ambernath Fast was expected soon. Just minutes after I reached the platform, a WCG2 hauled train zipped past Platform #6. The loco came in with her horn blaring and the headlights on. The assistant held the green flag tight while the loco flew at the Maximum speed through the platform. The train was 6010 Chennai - Mumbai Mail. She should have reached CSTM by 03:45, if on time!!!
My train reached on time. It was raining heavily, and hence standing at the door was not in question! Most seats were wet, but still I managed to find a seat that wasn't wet. The train kept medium pace (thanks to the rain!). One thing that I had noticed on reaching Kurla was that most trains were late. An indication for the same was that a Slow EMU towards Kurla was shown as "0:00 ST" which is usually used to indicate special services.
The rain had no signs of subsiding (that was a painful indication!). While on the run, we crossed two more WCG2 hauled express which I presume to be Bhubaneshwar - Mumbai Konark Express and Hyderabad-Mumbai Hussain Sagar Express. We crossed about 2 WCAM3 hauled expresses also. Our train kept medium pace throughout the journey. She managed to make it to Thane sharp at 07:35 (2 minutes early!). Just as the EMU was pulling into the station, a heavily late-running 1082 Kanniyakumari - Mumbai CST Express hauled by a WCG2 slowly pulled into Thane! This train should have actually reached CSTM by 04:55 while she had just reached TNA at 07:35! CSTM is still a good hour away!
The remaining journey by bus was normal! I had to return from college at about 09:30 AM. I got a bus back towards Thane only by 10:30. I reached Thane at about 11:00. Had some light snacks and was back in the platform to take a train back home! I reached the platform at about 11:30 (or there abouts). Just as I neared the platform, a train scheduled for 10:23 left the platform (an hour late!). I sat down on a seat on the platform watching the passing by trains. The clock kept ticking away, and there was no signs of any fast EMU coming in. In the meantime, Pawan Express towards LTT, and 3201 Rajendranagar-LTT Expresses went through Thane. Many un-suspecting passengers were waiting on Platform 7 for the Trivandrum bound 6345 Netravati Express which was scheduled to arrive TNA at 12:00. The Sahyadri Express from Kolhapur came in and left. Minutes after the sahyadri left, the PA system gave out a rather annoying message: "6345 down Lokmanya Tilak Terminus - Trivendrum Netravati Express, is expected to arrive at its rescheduled time - 1500 hrs!" That was a g00d 3hrs behind schedule. There was no prior announcement or notification regarding such a rescheduling!
At about 12:20, an Fast EMU came in. This train was actually scheduled at 11:11!!! The train was crowded, and people had taken every centi-metre of space available. I decided to leave the train. At about 12:30 another EMU came in - scheduled for 12:11. This one was relatively empty, and I could get space to stand! The train charged southwards with occasional slow downs. We crossed the Nagercoil bound Express and Pawan express on the way. Reached Kurla at about 12:50. Had a refreshing cold drink before continuing my wait for a Belapur Local that finally arrived at 12:58.
In all, Most UP trains of the day were delayed to a extent of 30-90 minutes. There were q considerable number of cancellations in the slow line. A long way to go CR!