Saturday, September 30, 2006

Last post of the Month!

So this marks the last post of this month. This post is interestingly the 48th post in the blog, and the 27th post of this month! Thanks for all the support you have been giving me!
Today was yet another normal day with the normal share of trains rushing past me! I saw nothing unusual during the course of the day! In the morning, I saw the Mandovi with WDP4 #20021 from Krishnarajapuram (KJM). In the evening, I saw the KR3 Ratnagiri Passenger with WDM3A #18951R from Pune doing the honours!
The day was just normal with no post-worthy incidences! Most EMUs were decorated and looked good. The Carsheds, i guess, were celebrating Dussehra with full vigour! The EMUs were decorated, cleaned and many even freshly painted!
One interesting thing: Thane station was getting a new coat of Paint today! The Signals (especially on Platform 9 & 10) were being painted, the tracks were cleared of outgrowths and weeds. The platforms were cleaned and painted!!! A white "outline" was painted at the edges of the platforms! In the morning, I thought this to be a normal excercise. But, Painting of the signal at Platform 9 (which is NOT in use) aroused my interest! Later on in the evening, I read in a local newspaper that our Honorable Railway Minister Shri Laloo Prasad Yadav would be visiting Mumbai on October 5 to flag of the second rake on the Thane-Vashi suburban section!!! So that is the reason for painting at Thane! Interestingly, the signals at Sanpada and Vashi too were painted a few weeks back!
So, winding up for the day! I just got a nasty pain on my left shoulder - so let me try some medication for it! There would be a post tomorrow - filled with surprises (most probably) or just normal junk!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Another date with the BAAZ!

Today, I had another chance to have a peep at the Magnificient Blue-Yellow "Monster" named Baaz! This loco (#20012) is one of the early locos manufactured by Diesel Loco Works (Varanasi). The loco has fibre cabs and has a different look as compared to a normal WDP/G 4 loco. This loco has its edges curved in a funky style as compared to the "hard" edges of the normal EMD locos! I love this loco!
Other than spotting the Baaz, I had much more interesting spottings this day - I left Belapur as usual at about 06:30 (by the 06:33 EMU). The Day was normal until I reached Kurla. As my EMU was pulling into Kurla, I saw the Sharavati Express rushing past with WDG3A #13048 from Pune in charge. I boarded the 07:17 Ambernath Fast. On my way, I saw the Chennai-Mumbai Mail rushing past with a WCAM3 (Yes! It was a WCAM3!!!), and the Kanyakumari-Mumbai Express with a WCG2. (Kanyakumari also had a Milk Tanker right behind the loco!). While my EMU was pulling into Thane, I saw the Mumbai bound Devgiri pulling out. The loco was a WDM2 from Pune!!! Just as I alighted at Thane, the PA system announced the arrival of Mandovi express, and I decided to wait for her! I was taken to a surprise by this loco!
In the noon, while returning - I was fed up with the monotonous route that I have been taking for the past 4 months! I decided to take the Panvel route (via Diva) for the day. I had the Matsyagandha express at that time. I purchased a Superfast ticket and rushed to the platform. The train pulled in sharp at 14:30 with WDM3A #14126 from Erode doing the honours. I boarded the SLR right behind the loco. The coach was 94736 based at Mangalore. The loco was a good performer with good heart throbs! I enjoyed every bit of the journey. I kept an eye for the Assistant Loco Pilot (ALP) as the train picked speed. The loco moved out of Platform 7 Loop line, crossed over the Through "UP" line and entered the Through "DN" line. The ALP kept watching through his window as the loco slowly notched to maintain speeds in the range of 30 kmph. The ALP noticed that the last coach had cleared the loop and he waved his flag vigorously. The loco notched vigorously soon after! He picked speed quickly, but had to slow down for crossing the Parsik Tunnel.
Right after the tunnel, the train got a red. There was a Tanker rake (hauled by a WCAG1) right ahead of Matsyagandha. The train kep waiting for some time. An OHE inspection van crossed us. Some time later, the train crawled towards Diva Outer. Here the train waited for about 5-8 minutes for the Tanker rake to clear the main line, and an EMU to cross us. The train then picked speed and crossed over to the Diva-Roha branch line. The train usually crawls through the platform to let railway staffers to "jump" into the train. The loco usually picks speed as soon as she crosses the Starter. The train kept going at a good speed until Nilaje. At Nilaje, the train was diverted to the loop line. A long Container rake, hauled by a WAG7 (#27695) from New Katni Junction was occupying the main line. The loop line seemed not to be in regular use! The train crawled through the platform and then joined the main line. On reaching the main line - it was business as usual! The train had a very un-eventful run until Panvel. She pulled into Panvel sharp at 1535. At Panvel, a railway staffer handed over a huge bunch of caution orders to the ALP! The train stopped much before the end of the platform. Matsyagandha re-fuels its loco at Chiplun unlike Netravati/Mangala which re-fuel at both places (Panvel and Chiplun)!
I got down from the train, snapped an image of the loco and walked towards the suburban section. Just then, I saw a Kalyan "baldie" WDG3A entering Panvel. I stayed over the FOB to see as to which line the train would enter. Surprisingly, the train entered the Platform line! The loco was WDG3A #14599. Though the loco was leading, she had an LV board hanging on her face! Probably that happened because of an oversight!
I boarded the 15:57 EMU back home! I reached Home at about 16:30. Thanks for reading this long update! Hope to see you again tomorrow!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Another day at Panvel

Today was just another day..but filled with misses! First - I wanted to board the 12:02 Panvel local from Belapur. By the time I reached the platform, the EMU had already departed! I took the 12:23 EMU towards Panvel. I was sure that I would miss the loco of Sampark Kranti and that happened! The EMU reached Panvel at about 12:45. I went to the ticket counter and purchased a Platform ticket. The Sampark Kranti had already reached Platform 1 of the station. I rushed towards the loco, and found three RPF officers roaming near the loco. (Photography was certainly out of question!). I rushed to Platform 3. By now, the Ratnagiri Dadar passenger pulled in. The loco was WDG3A #13059 from Pune. I couldn't photograph that loco too! I barely managed to have a glance of the loco working the Sampark Kranti and that was WDM2 #16860 from Ernakulam. All I could see was the loco notching up to depart from the Platform. The train took about 8-10 minutes to clear the outer signal.
Both the Sampark Kranti as well as Dadar passenger were given starters at the same time. The station dipped to total silence as soon as both the trains went out! There was one lone Self propelled accident relief train which was waiting for a signal on the main line. The train pulled out at about 1300. By now, the arrival of Trivandrum bound Netravati express was announced. The loco was already visible. One RPF constable was standing quite close to me. I moved a bit away and decided to wait for the loco. The loco was WDM3A #18555 from Erode. This particular loco was with Golden rock earlier and was recently transferred to Erode. The loco is a good smoker, and I had spotted it at Alwaye this August. The RPF fellow was roaming quite close to me, and I decided to keep away. Some time later, the Netravati pulled out of the station. By now, WAG7 #27240 from Ajni pulled in from the JNPT side with a long Container rake. I returned to the main platform to refill my tummy. I read a notice written on the Notice board kept near the Guard's Lobby. They were opposing a railway move to shift the Driver/Guard lobby to Jasai. Right now, Panvel has a Guard/Driver lobby where crew are based. Freight trains regularly change crew at Panvel.
Some time after 1330, the PA system blarred the arrival of Mangala Express on Platform 2 (???). This train used to be handled earlier on Platform 1. People are adjusted to boarding this train from Platform 1, and suddenly shifting the train to Platform 2 was very difficult for passengers. I saw people carrying tonnes of luggage crossing over to Platform 2. Platform 2 filled up in minutes and the platform was swarming with people (with heavy luggage) waiting for the Nizamuddin bound Mangala Express. Sometime later, a WCAG1 (#21970) pulled in with a "Flat Car" rake. The wagons were carrying 7 tractors each. I had seen the loco dozing of at Panvel yesterday! So where did the loco pick this rake from?
Some time later, a rajdhani liveried loco was visible at a distance, and that was Mangala Express. The rake slowly inched towards the Platform. The loco was WDM2 #16565 from Ernakulam. The train unloaded a huge number of Malayalees and continued its journey up north! I took an EMU and returned home! The day was tiring and I was totally drained out by the time I reached home.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Railfanning at Panvel

I haven't attended college for the past 2 days. I was getting bored by noon. There was nothing "watchable" on TV. There wasn't anything that I could do. By noon, i decided to make a short trip to Panvel. I called up my mom and informed her of my plans. I was ready to go. I packed my bag with camera, spare batteries, water and emergency medicines. I drove fast to the station and took the 12:23 slow towards Panvel. As I entered Panvel, the PA system announced the arrival of KR4 passenger. The queue at the ticket counter was long and I couldn't afford standing there for a Platform Ticket. I had a Panvel "Return" ticket and I was technically permitted to enter the platform. I took a snap of the loco, WDG3A #13150 from Pune, hauling the KR4 Ratnagiri - Dadar Passenger. After the snap, I went to the ticket counter to get my Platform ticket.
By the time I returned after getting the Platform ticket, the Passenger was ready to go. I went about having a quick look at the platforms. Platform 3 was occupied by a Long BCNA rake hauled by Twin WDM2s from Kalyan. Netravati Express (bound to Trivandrum) was scheduled to arrive on Platform 2. I walked towards Platform 2. A WDM2 (from Kalyan) coupled to a WDG3A was waiting on the main line. Sometime later, WDM2 #17674 from Erode pulled in with the 22-coach Netravati Express. I was surprised to see a plain WDM2 being assigned to haul a 22-coach load.
I returned to the Main platform (platform 1). By now, Netravati Express was ready to leave. I saw a WAG7 (#27691 from Jhansi) coming in. The loco stopped at the signal, and the loco pilots got down. Panvel is now a change over point for Pilots working trains from JNPT. The PA system came alive once more, and an announcement was made that the Delhi bound Mangala Express would arrive on Platform 2. I rushed to Platform 2. Just before Mangala came in, WAG7 #27770 from Ajni pulled into Panvel from the Diva side with a long Tanker rake.
By now, an Ernakulam loco was visible at a distance. Passengers waiting on the platform became active and so were the vendors. The loco - WDM2 #16457 - pulled in with the 18-coach rake and unloaded a huge number of passengers. The rake had a brand new (06-built) 3AC coach. The remaining coaches were mostly of 9X make. I was too tired and drained out to continue further. Took an EMU back to Belapur!
My body still hasn't completely recovered from the state of disease. Thanks for the read...hope to resume college from tomorrow!
Oops! Forgot this - The photographs of this trip can be seen by clicking here!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Frog...RIP

Yesterday was another tiring day. I was down with bronchial constriction since Thursday and out of compulsion, had to attend college on Friday and Monday. On Monday, we had our 15-marks internal assessment examination in a run-up to the University examinations scheduled to begin from November 21, 2006. The subject was Pharmacology Laboratory-II. In this lab, we usually get to murder Frogs and conduct experiments on them. For the examination, our teacher decided to conduct a "new" experiment instead of testing our knowledge in the older ones! We had to determine the concentration of a drug solution by a "suitable" method using the rectus abdominis muscle preparation of Frog. The drug was Pancuronium.
Pancuronium is a potent AcetylCholine Antagonist. AcetylCholine (ACh) is a neurotransmitter. ACh induces contraction of Skeletal muscle (the muscle used to the test is a skeletal muscle). When Pancuronium is administered, the force of contraction is reduced. This can be analysed. By analysing the response of known concentrations of Pancuronium, and comparing them with the response produced by the test sample, once can determine the concentration of the Test Sample. This is the experiment. The teacher finished explaining this in 5 minutes. We started the experiment at around 12:30. The Lab assistant dished out pithed frogs. I am bad at cutting out the tissue, and my friend did the job for me. The core procedure started only at 1300. By the time, I finished my experiment, it was 14:30. By the time the results of the experiment was ready, the clocked ticked past 15:30. The teacher hurried, and asked everyone of wind up and she made her way out of the lab. I made my way to the bus stop and took a bus to Thane.


Now some Railfanning! The day was normal in the morning. There seems to be a speed restriction between Mankhurd and Govandi now. Trains on the UP line regularly crawl at 15kmph between both the stations. I saw the Punjab mail rushing past when I reached Kurla. Our train crossed the Chalukya right outside Kurla. The loco was a Turquoise liveried WDG3A from Pune. I spotted the Vidarbha right outside Thane. This rake had 20 coaches as against its normal length of 18 coaches! In the evening, I narrowly missed the 16:37 CST fast from Thane. The train scheduled for 16:41 was reportedly delayed by 10-15 minutes. The train scheduled for 16:45 pulled in at about 16:50. The rake was a 9-Car AC/DC one. This train stops at Bhandup and Ghatkopar between Thane and Kurla. The EMU expressed her abilities between Thane and Bhandup very well. BTW, I spotted the Lucknow express at Thane while waiting for the 16:45 Fast. The pragati was crossed near Nahur, and the Nandigram near Ghatkopar.

I was too tired when I reached Home. Still have got some signs of breathing trouble and decided to take a days off today as well!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

My first Railfanning Photograph!

This image of a WDG3A from Pune rolling through Panvel station was my first railfanning photograph. Though I had attempted my hand in railfanning photography with a poor Handycam and a time-tested Kodak "film" camera, I got the best photographs on my Digicam. This was the first of them!
I started loving WDG3As since then! The loco in this photograph is WDG3A #13059 from Pune. On most of my days, I spot a WDG3A (mostly from Pune!!!). I have started to develop a crush for these mini-monsters. I love seeing these locos on Express trains now-a-days. This is a scene that used to be an eye-sore for me until a few months back!
Back to the history of this photograph! This image was the 260th image of the Digi-Cam which has now completed 7060 images. Over this period of about a year and 7 months, I have clicked over 1500 railfanning images.
I was too scared to click that image. While recalling my mental position at the time of clicking this image, I tend to laugh uncontrollably! The day - 13 February 2005, at about 1215 - Myself, my Father and my brother walked into Panvel station in order to board the 6345 Netravati Express to go towards Trichur (in Kerala). We had brought the camera just about a week earlier. My brother brought a "waist bag" for me to carry the camera along. The camera has an SLR-like body and is too big to be kept in the pocket. I had tied the bag on my waist, and made an entrance into a very secluded station. I was feared of taking my camera out. My father was busy purchasing some reading material (newspaper, magazine, etc) from the only book stall at the station. I spotted this loco coming into Panvel station. I wanted to take an Image. We walked fast and walked up the Foot-over-Bridge. I asked my brother to keep an eye for RPF. He did that while I clicked the Image. I kept reviewing the image again and again while sitting on a Bench at the platform!
At Panvel, Photography points are easier to find and it is easy to click images inspite of the presence of RPF station! So - This was the post for the day! Sorry for not being able to post tomorrow - My health did not allow posting. Thats it for the day. I will continue railfanning tomorrow onwards!

Friday, September 22, 2006

A tired and surprising day!

I boarded the 06:33 Slow local from Belapur as usual. I hadn't slept the previous night. I woke up at about 2 AM. I was suffering from breathing congestion and had a very bad day. I spent most of the day on my bed. I settled at one window seat of the train with a very heavy head and a very heavy eye-lid. The train put up a very great show, crossing each station atleast 2 minutes before time! The train slowed down after Mankhurd and kept crawling until Tilak Nagar. Reached Kurla sharp at 07:06. I went to Platform 5, and was literally gasping for breath. I saw the 07:11 Karjat fast rolling past but was in no mood to board the train. Just after the Karjat train pushed out, I saw an Erode Loco smoking up ferociously and running towards Platform 6. The camera couldn't catch the train in focus. I was surprised by the loco! Which train was that?
From the speeding train, all I could read was the KR SWR markings! That was the Konkan Kanya Express!!! Some time later, My train (07:17 Ambernath) came in. I stay put at the door itself. At Vidyavihar, I saw that the points were set for the LTT. I was sure that some LTT bound train would be standing nearby. The train was 2102 HWH-LTT Jnaneshwari. On the way between Ghatkopar and Thane, I spotted Dadar-Chennai Express, Bhubaneshwar-CSTM Konark Express and some other WCAM3 hauled train. Right outside Thane, I spotted the Nagpur-CSTM Vidarbha Express. Just as My train came to a halt at Thane, the Sharavati express rushed past. The loco was WDG3A #13052 from Pune.
I was too tired to continue at college. I had lost all my energy, and i decided to return home at 1300. Some minutes after I reached Thane, I saw WDM3A #17871R from Pune pulling into the station with KR4 Ratnagiri-Dadar passenger in tow. Some minutes later, a twin WCG2 hauled Tanker rake rushed past the station. I kept wandering around the edge of Platform 6. I saw a WDM2 from erode rushing towards Platform 5. The starter was green.


The loco was WDM2 #18236, the same loco which worked the 0112 Konkan Kanya in the morning. Some 15 minutes later, WCG2 #20131 pulled into Platform 6. The load was 1014 Coimbatore - LTT Express. This train is now 21 coaches long. One extra 2A has been added. The LTT Express was kept waiting to let the 2619 Matsyagandha come in. The loco was WDM3A #14046 from Erode. Just around this time, WDM2 #18218 from Kalyan rushed past the station with a "Track Recording Van" in tow. The loco was an Original ALCO. Some time later, my train (14:47 CSTM Fast) pulled in. On my way, I spotted the CSTM-MAS Express, and the Pune bound Sinhagad Express. I was too tired by the time I reached Kurla, I was damn exhausted and I had no energy but to relax inside the coach of a Belapur bound EMU. Interestingly, a TTE boarded from Tilaknagar. He inspected the tickets of all passengers and then got down at Chembur.
A good day thus came to an end! Thank you. I hope to have something interesting enough to post tomorrow!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The first air trip!

A topic that isn't really related to railfanning: My first trip by Air. The trip was quite un-expected. I had gone to kerala to bring my mom back from a hospital in Trichur. She had been to the hospital for treatment of Osteo-Arthritis. She had to stay back for about 21 days for the treatment. I travelled to Kerala by Netravati Express. (That was my maiden journey on the Konkan Railway route : Click here for the travelogue). Our initial plans for the return journey was by 6334 Hapa (now Veraval) Express. The tickets were waitlisted and showed no signs of confirmation even as the date of journey closed in! Finally on the day of journey, we got the ticket cancelled and opted to fly instead!
My dad called up a relative in Ernakulam, who inturn contacted his travel agent and managed to get a confirmed ticket on board Air Sahara (S2) 203 bound to Delhi via Mumbai. The flight was scheduled as 15:15. We reached the airport (Cochin International Airport Limited, Nedumbassery. India's first and only Greenfield airport!) at about 1400. The Check-in was already opened, and we checked in by about 14:15. I did not know the procedures of check-in. The Luggage was X-Rayed and cleared. We had about 2 pieces of Cabin Baggage and 1 piece of Checked-in Baggage. I was watching the action at the airport with a wide-open eye! I was amazed by the size of those birds!!! I saw a Jet Airways flight touching down (The bird was VT-JNN, B738). The aircraft would take off 10-minutes before my flight and is bound to Mumbai.
My aircraft was another Boeing 737-700, VT-SIG. I saw the aircraft touch down, and the bird looked beautiful. The aircraft came to the bay. Sometime later, Boarding was called. The security at the gate verified if our hand-baggage had the tags on. We walked towards the bird, and boarded through the rear-door. The seat number was 23E & 23F. I grabbed the window seat. Candies were served soon after. Some time later, the aircraft was pushed off, and the aircraft ran towards the Runway. The take-off point on the runway was far from the tarmac. My mom asked if the aircraft would run all the way to Mumbai. Sometime later, the captain asked all of us to wear seatbelts and to switch off all electronic equipments. The safety demo was done.
The aircraft made enough thrust for take-off and took off! That experience was marvellous! Just after take off, I saw a WAP4 hauling a train on the line adjoining the airport! The aircraft gained cruising altitude very quickly. The meal service started off soon. The Veg. option had 2-3 Chappatis (very soft), Dal Makhani, a dessert and a choice of Coffee or Tea. The meal service was outstanding. We reached Mumbai very soon. I spotted the Express way and that confirmed that we were about to land. Some time later, the Thane creek was visible, soon Ghatkopar and Dharavi was visible. The aircraft touched down at about 1700. The captain relayed a message regarding our touch down and the temperature outside. The captain was a lady, and she finished the announcement with the standard "Sahara Pranam"!
We got out of the aircraft. The climate outside was hot and humid. We were taken on an Airconditioned bus to the arrival terminal. The door of the bus failed to open on reaching the terminal. The driver got down and physically opened the door for us. We collected our checked-in baggage and walked out of the terminus. My brother was waiting for us. We reached home at about 1830! That was a marvellous journey, a journey that I remember always! About 6 months later, I flew again this time on Indian Airlines on the same sector!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

WDP4.....What else???

The day was just usual in the morning. The EMU that i took (06:33 ex-Belapur) was running abnormally slow after Mankhurd. She ensure that I missed my connection train (07:17 Ambernath) at Kurla! I saw the EMU picking speed as I hurried down the FOB to Platform 5!
While waiting for the 07:24 Kasara EMU, I saw the Chalukya Express rushing past. The loco was WDG3A #13048 from Pune. Just as the Chalukya cleared the advanced starter, a WDP4 horn was heard. That was the Madgaon bound Mandovi Express!!! The Loco rushed through the platform kicking up a sand-storm instantly! The "monster" was 20016. The Ferozpur-Mumbai Punjab mail went past shortly after this. The loco was WCAM3 #21886. I boarded the 07:24 Kasara ("N") EMU. The ride on teh EMU was filled with moments of Anxiety! Guess what, the EMU covered the distance is just 14 minutes!!! On the way, the Vidarbha Express (WCAM3 #21881) croseed out EMU.
The Mandovi was waiting on Platform 7:

She was in dire need of a Wash and some patch coats of paint!!! I rushed to college in a State transport bus. The bus had a lady conductor who pleaded to each passenger to tender exact change. It was her first trip of the duty it seems!
I returned in the evening by 16:37 Fast from Thane. On the way, I crossed a WCAM3 hauled train & Pragati express. I spotted the Nandigram with a Pune WDM2 at Kurla. I took the 17:03 Belapur EMU from Kurla.
Winding up for the day! I am too tired. My joints are aching, the nsotrils are blocked and have a minor irritation in my neck (throat!). Hopefully this doesn't worsen into a full fledged illness! Bye for the day. Tomorrow is a holiday. A post would be made if and only if there are any thing interesting worth a post!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Tuesday...a dry day!

I had been to college today after a short day long break. I got up late and my entire schedule had a cascading effect. I missed my 06:33 Belapur-CST local, and had to settle for the 06:42 Panvel-CST local. The journey was dry till Kurla. I missed by 07:17 Ambernath fast also! I had to settle for the 07:24 Kasara Fast!
I severly missed seeing the Chalukya Express. I consoled myself that I could atleast see the mandovi. But even that didn't happen. Sharp at 07:20, my Kasara EMU pulled in. The EMU had a single piece windshield. The Motorman was standing instead of being seated. The coach that I boarded was 362A. The coach was new (a transfer from WR, but it seems that it never made it to the tracks of WR!!!). The interiors of the coach did not have signs of over painting. There was just 3 advertisements inside the coach! The seats were silk soft! I literally sunk into the cushion! The EMU kept its word of reaching me to Thane atleast by 07:40!!! (AC/DC EMUs require just 13-17 minutes of actual running time to cover the distance between Kurla and Thane, while DC ones require between 16-20 minutes!). On the way, i spotted the Vidarbha and Punjab mail.
In the evening, I narrowly missed seeing the Ratnagiri passenger! I boarded an AC/DC EMU (left TNA at 16:19). The coach again was 362A!!! I enjoyed each bit of the journey. On the way, the EMU crossed the Kanyakumari Express, and one WCAM3 hauled train (probably the Kanpur bound Udyog Nagari Express). I spotted the Pragati Express at Kurla. I was too tired by then having lost all my energy working at the laboratory of my college! I took the 16:49 Belapur Slow (coach #72315). The coach made all sorts of noises and did not permit me to even close my eyes!!! I reached home at about 17:30, totally tired and clueless about my today's Blogpost! Thanks guys for reading this crap!
Hope to give a better update tomorrow! God help me to take out some time so that I could spot both the Udyan and Pushpak expresses (Both depart CSTM with about 15-20 between each other, and both get KJM WDP4s!!!).

Monday, September 18, 2006

Railfanning with IRFCAns!

Sunday had me experiencing railfanning with people having similar thoughts! It was on the 9th of this month that Deepesh Soni from IRFCA Mumbai send a mail to the list that they were planning for a railfanning, and other members were invited for the same. The venue was Parel Railway station, Platform 3/4 CSTM End on 17th September at 16.30. I was over-joyed and quickly replied to count me in!!! Sunday was a working day, and i was to reach there after my college.
My railfanning moments before and after college was described in the previous post. Continuing from where I left yesterday! (Those reading for the first time are requested to read the previous post first).
After the Sewagram pulled out of the station, I went to get an extension ticket. My Season ticket was valid only upto Kurla. The person at the counter gave me an 'extension' ticket worth Rs. 8 (valid for travelling from Kurla to Parel and back!). I rushed back to the FOB. Just around this time, there was an announcement regarding a fast local which was to arrive soon on Platform 6. I rushed down the FOB, and took positions to 'jump' into the train. The EMU was already crowded. The First class coach was empty and I jumped into one. I managed to find a seat after Mulund. Somewhere during the journey, the Bhubaneshwar bound Konark express rushed past our train. I got down at Kurla, and decided to change over to a Slow EMU there itself (I partly repent and partly approve this particular decision!). The platforms were crowded to the maximum possible extent! I got to platform 4. There was an indicator about a Slow EMU that was scheduled to reach at 16:05. Minutes after I reached the platform, there was an announcement that this local was about 10-15 minutes late. A WCAM3 attracted my attention around this time. I was worried about that train! The loco came close:

The train was the Kanyakumari Express. The train getting a WCAM3 surprised me! (One member from IRFCA pointed out that the loco had both her Pantos down!). The train came to screeching halt after covering about half the length of the platform. The train left about 2 minutes later. Soon after the express cleared the platform, I saw an orange liveried loco waiting at a distance. That was the Ratnagiri Passenger. The loco was WDG3A #13150 from Pune (the very same loco that I had seen in the morning with the Chalukya!). Minutes after the Passenger crawled past, an EMU pulled into the platform. I couldn't enter the coach since it was packed beyond limit! I decided to wait until the next one comes in! The next one came at about 16:25. That too was packed, but as a fact of determination, I waded through that sea of humans to find a few inches to park my already tired legs! Sitting was beyond question. I had barely one grab-handle to hang on. A family of 3 were continuously trying to make their way inside the coach. All passengers including me were believing on one relieving fact that the EMU empties at Dadar.
As the EMU pulled into Dadar, people were struggling, pulling and pushing to get down. I moved further inside the coach and managed to get a seat. The Pune bound "Pragati Superfast" was waiting on Platform 4 at Dadar. Our train was on Platform 3. The train pulled out after excreting hordes of humans from its coaches. She waded through the Dadar yard towards Parel. I was back at the door by now. It was time to get down. I again had to wade through a very concentrated sea of humans to find me way out of the train. The Platform was terribly crowded. I saw two people (looking like Railfans!!!) sharing dialogues with each other on a bench at our venue! I was a bit hesitant to interrupt them initially. Some time later, I walked down to that platform. Three ALCOs were parked on a stabling line just parallel to the UP Through line.


I clicked the queue of locos, and then went to interrupt them! The members who had already reached there were Herambh and Sachin. Amit from Kalwa had just joined them. We introduced ourselves. Just around then, the Nandigram towards Nanded rushed past with a WDM3A of Pune in charge. We kept trying to call Deepesh Soni, who was supposed to reach there at 1600 itself!!! The time was about 1645 then! Sometime later, Deepesh came down. Deepesh went down and hunted for Apoorva (A member from Dadar). Sometime later, we found a gang of 6 railfans hanging around a desolate platform in Parel! There was a very heavy police presence on Platform 1.
Herambh was busy charting out plans for a day of railfanning somewhere on the Panvel-Roha section. We decided to wait until the Deccan Queen rushed past. Photography had to done after adequate precautions. Soon, we spotted the Deccan queen rushing towards the station. Just at the right time, an EMU came on Platform 2 -which blocked the vision of the cops on Platform 2!!! The loco doing the honours was WCAM3 #21955. We walked out of the station. We went to a small hotel nearby and filled out tummies before returning to the station. We had a group photo taken, and parted ways. Herambh and Sachin proceeding towards Elphinstone road station (WR prefers to call Parel as Elphinstone road!). While we (Deepesh, Amit, Apoorva and myself) took a CR EMU. We decided to wait until the Panchvati (bound to Manmad) rushes past. The scene was beautiful! We took an EMU at about 1930 (A Thane Slow). Amit and Apoorva got down at Dadar, myself at Kurla and Deepesh continued to Vidyavihar.
I rushed to Platform 7. The Foot over bridge was terribly crowded. It took about 5 minutes for me to get down from the FOB!!! The platform was crowded as ever! An EMU bound to Panvel rushed in. There were empty seats in First class, but I decided to wait for the next local. I gulped down some cold 'flavored milk' from the railway catering stall. The next EMU was towards Belapur (Yipee!). The coach that I took was empty. I got a window seat from Kurla itself. The air was cold with occasional water droplets landing on my face! I finally reached home at about 19:45. There ended a very interesting day! The day was too long, an I decided to stay home for a day!!!
SO, I would resume attending college from tomorrow. Wait for more updates!!!
The Images taken by me during my railfanning sessions (Morning, afternoon and Evening) can be viewed by clicking here.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Aha! End of the week..Sunday

Thank god its a sunday!

Sunday was something different other than being a holiday! I met a few other railfans in Mumbai who are members of IRFCA. The day started off with me resting on to the wall of an EMU speeding towards CSTM (06:58 Belapur). I reached Kurla at about 07:30 or thereabouts! The first train that I saw was the Chalukya Express. She rushed past with WDG3A #13150 in-charge. The train was slow (probably she just crossed a double yellow!). The loco notched up as she approached the starter. The scene was marvellous! A few minutes after the Chalukya went through, The Deccan Express bound to Pune rolled through. The loco doing the honours was WCG2 #20155. My EMU (07:41 Asangaon semi-fast) closely follows the Deccan. The EMU was an AC/DC one. She picked up speed very quickly. We crossed the Vidarbha just around Vidyavihar. The loco doing the honours was WCAM3 #21883. My EMU slowed down after Mulund (near the Kopri Flyover). She had a red-signal at Thane outer. I could see the rake of the Deccan express waiting on Platform 5, and the rake of Mandovi on Platform 7. I was excited on seeing the Mandovi there!!! Our train got the signal a few moments after the Deccan cleared the platform. I couldn't control my excitement on seeing a WDP4 at the helm of the Mandovi. I literally jumped out of the EMU to take an Image. The WDP4 was well ahead of the "Stop" markings, she had cleared the platform totally!

I couldn't control my feelings on seeing the DP4. I have seen this class of locos many times, but every time I see a DP4, I get excited. (now, is that a neurological disorder - or a mere Chemical Locha!). Since, I had reached Thane quite early, I decided to wait at the station until the Udyan rushes past. Minutes after I made this decision, an EMU bound to Ambernath pulled into Platform 5. The EMU was detained, and the Mandovi was given a starter. The Pilot gave off the deafening horn (I managed to record it on my mobile). The EMU was detained for about 5 minutes!!! The passengers were angry at this decision of the section controller!!! I could see a WCAM3 hauled train waiting at the outer signal (CSTM End i.e., waiting to enter Thane station from the CSTM Side). After about a couple of minutes after the Ambernath EMU left, the CAM3 pulled in. The loco was 21897, working the LTT-Bhagalpur Express. (I was seeing an ER rake after a long time!!!). This express crawled through the platform.
I did not want myself to be spotted by anyone of my class, and I kept standing behind an FOB. I was handsomely for that decision!!! A very late running Punjab mail rushed through the station. The loco was WCAM3 #21887. The rake had a red coloured Air-conditioned coach with "NR" markings. The coach was coded as "ACRA"! Soon after the Punjab went, I could see a WDP4 negotiating the curve just before the outer signal. The starter had already gone Green. That meant that the loco would fly though the platform. It did! The loco was WDP4 #20023, working the Udyan Express bound to Bangalore. She blew the horn almost continuously through the platform. I rushed out of the station, and took a bus to college.
I reached Thane station at about 1430 after college. Just as I reached Platform 6, the Ratnagiri-Dadar Passenger departed. (I loco should have been WDG3A #13051 from Pune!). By now, the Matsyagandha bound to Mangalore had reached Platform 7. The loco was WDM3A #14054 from Erode. The loco was a baldie. Just as I clicked the Matsyagandha, the Mumbai-Chennai Express pulled into Platform 5. I missed the loco by a few seconds! The Chennai Express was detained in-order to allow the Matsyagandha move out! The station dipped to silence for about the next half an hour. EMU services were in a mess since the Main "through" UP line (a.k.a fast line) was closed for "engineering works" between Kalyan and Thane. So, this ended up with many Slow EMUs being cancelled, and Fast ones being made to stop at Mulund, Bhandup, Vikhroli, Ghatkopar and Kurla.That was worse! At about 15:08, the Sinhagad bound to Pune pulled in. This train had 17 coaches, and a lone WCG2 #20113 was doing the honours. About 15 minutes later, the Manmad bound Godavari Express pulled in. The loco was WCAM3 #21898. About 10 minutes later, the Nagpur bound Sewagram express pulled in. The loco this time was WCAM3 #21958.
I went to the "Extension counter" and took an extension ticket from Kurla to Parel (that's where the meet took place). The rest of the journey was "adventurous"!!! I had my first ever railfan meet at Parel in the evening! The report of the same would be posted tomorrow!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

6 hours of verbal bombardment and a diesel surprise!!!

Too big a title? We had a seminar at college today. The topic was "Global opportunities for Pharmaceutical Industries". The topic was off-beat and the speakers concentrated mostly on Drug Patents, Quality control audits and so on! The speakers had about 6 hours to speak and they made it! The presentation of two of the speakers (there were 4 in all) were just okay.
The day was un-usual. I missed by usual 06:33 local, and finally took the 06:41 local. I reached Kurla at 07:16. I missed my 07:17 Ambernath fast narrowly. While I was at the platform, the Devgiri Express rushed past the station. (The loco awed me!) That was Pune WDM3A #18724 doing the honours! I first mistook it for the Chalukya, but the complex boards gave off! Just behind the Devgiri was the Chalukya Express - The loco was WDG3A #13051. Just minutes after Chalukya, the Madgaon bound Mandovi express rushed past Kurla. The loco doing the honours was WDP4 #20022 from Krishnarajapuram. The loco approached with the horns blarring continuously. The scene was marvellous!
I boarded the 07:24 Kasara Fast local. The AC/DC EMU working this particular train did the maximum she could! We crossed the Matsyagandha at Ghatkopar. The loco was WDM3A #14140 from Erode. The EMU rushed past Vikhroli at 81.72 kmph (44.05 secs to cover a km). She picked up more speed and crossed Kanjurmarg at a speed of 88.99 (40.45 secs), and Bhandup station was crossed at a speed of 89.10 kmph (40.40 secs). We pulled into Thane sharp at 07:41 (Early by about 5 minutes!!!). Just as the train was pulling in, i could see the Mandovi still crawling before stopping. I got down from the EMU and admired the loco (20022 WDP4) before taking a bus to college!
The Seminar part: Less said the better! The college provided lunch for all students for the day :-) The seminar got over by about 17:00. I rushed out to take a bus to Thane. It was raining heavily. I reached Thane at about 17:30. I boarded an EMU at about 17:37. The EMU's approach was beautiful:


The rain showed no signs of subsiding. The thunders were getting stronger as the train neared Kurla. I got down at Kurla, and took the 17:59 Panvel slow! (That is un-usual; I never travel on a Panvel local!). It was really raining heavily. Water entered the coach through all possible gaps! The small gap that remains when doors are closed too weren't spared. I finally reached Belapur at about 18:40. It was still raining heavily. The top speed of the wiper was just insufficient to let me see the road! The rain has just subsided. The day has just ended...and so is this post!
Meet ya tomorrow! (Yep! Sunday is a working day).

Friday, September 15, 2006

A day of diesels and a nasty headache!

Today was a day of diesels! The day was usual until Kurla. At Kurla, I saw a light WDM2 from Kalyan rush towards CST. Around then, My EMU came in and i took a seat. The Sharavati Express to Dadar rushed past around the same time. I couldn't notice the loco number. I decided to be at the door for most of the journey. I spotted the Punjab mail (WCAM3 #21952) at Vikhroli. Crossed the Vidarbha at Mulund. The train pulled into Thane before time. There was no word about the Mandovi and hence I left for college.
Was very busy at college that I developed a nasty headache by evening. I couldn't concentrate on anything. I rushed back to Thane (only for a few surprises!). As I entered the station, I saw the Sewagram (towards Nagpur) leave. Sometime later, a WDM2 from Kalyan rushed past with a "Track Observation car" in tow. Minutes after this, the Konark towards Bhubaneshwar crossed the station. The PA system announced the arrival of KR3. I saw the train enter the station. The loco doing the honours was WDM3A #13064 from Pune (so that was the loco that worked Sharavati in the morning!).

The passenger had 13 coaches today. She halted for about 2 minutes at the station. The crowd in the train was "moderate". After the passenger went past, the 5647 LTT-Guwahati Express (delayed by close to 9 hours) rushed towards Kalyan. The "flag-man" had his jaw drop on seeing the train! I boarded the 16:03 CST Fast EMU. On my way, I crossed 2 trains which I presume to be Kanyakumari Express and Lashkar Express (to Agra). I reached Kurla at about 16:30. I decided to give the 16:49 Belapur EMU a miss and kept waiting to see the Nandigram. The Pragati 'superfast' rushed past shortly. I walked towards the CST end of the platform (Island Platform #5/6). The CST end is usually empty. Sometime later, my attention was attracted by the sound of a Diesel loco:

That was WDM2 #17739 from Pune. She was working the Nanded bound Nandigram express. The loco was in her original "Maroon" or "Rust" livery. This particular train used to get WCAM3 until about 3-4 days back. A Diesel loco running under the wires from Manmad to Mumbai is surprising! My forgot my headache for a moment. I rushed to Platform 7 and took an EMU to belapur (17:04 Slow). The headache pulled me down heavily. I slowly reclined on the seat and had a short nap. I was waken up abruptly by water droplets falling on my face! I opened my eyes to see that it was raining heavily!!! Both sides of the train were completely covered with smog and the visibility was hardly 100-200 metres! The slowed down considerably. The rain kept continuing (and is still continuing!).
A hot and humid day finally gave way to a heavy rain! Hope to have another day of diesels tomorrow!!!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A surprise.... "baaz"

Today was just another day for me except for a few incidences! The day began as usual in the morning. On reaching CLA, I was heavily missing my regular dose of watching the Chalukya and/or Punjab mail flying past. I boarded my by-now regular 07:17 Dadar-Ambernath 12-car Fast local. The journey from CLA to VVH (Vidyavihar) was normal. I saw the Matsyagandha sneaking into LTT. Just as our train took the sharp curve towards Vidyavihar station, I saw the Chalukya Express rushing in with WDG3A #13063 in charge. This particular loco was in a turquoise livery and the loco looked cool! I settled inside the coach for the rest of the journey.
On reaching Thane, the first announcement that I heard was that the Madgaon bound Mandovi was expected in the next few minutes. I decided to hang-on. The Mumbai bound Vidarbha came in. The train had all Sleeper coaches of 2006 make. The coaches looked refreshing. The coaches were manufactured by BEML. By now the "humm" of the WDP4 hauling the Mandovi was coming closer. I couldn't control my happiness. By now the Vidarbha was given the starter and the train slowly pulled out. I could see the WDP4 through the windows of the coaches of Vidarbha! The DP4 gave me a shock. That was WDP4 #20012 nicknamed as "Baaz". The Logo of the DLS (UBL) was torn off.


Sorry! All I had was my mobile which has a VGA camera! I couldn't resist taking an image of this beauty!
The loco looked fresh as ever. The colour design was trendy. The train as usual had 22 coaches. I had to rush to college. In the evening, I reached the station by about 16:30 and was surprised to see the 16:19 CST Fast pulling in! This local is an AC/DC one. The train flew through known territories. I spotted the Habibganj Express and Pragati superfast on the way. At Kurla, the Nandigram express rushed past with a WDMx in charge. I even spotted an EMU (based at Kurla) which had a modified cab. The shape of the EMU has been modified a bit. I boarded the 17:03 Belapur Slow! The day ended in style with moderate showers!!! Thanks!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Something to post....

Today was a holiday for me! I spent my time completing a few assignments and listening to songs on my computer. I was thinking for a topic to post about since morning! I guess, the following would be a better post:::
The following are my railfan interests:
1. Favorite Loco: WDM3A (all ALCO Locos)
2. Favorite route: Konkan railway (Roha to Thokur)
3. Route most travelled: Panvel - Trichur and Mumbai - Coimbatore

Some other tid-bids from railfanning:

A photography scene that I miss everytime: A loco crossing my train at good speed. I am bad at photographing trains when both are in motion! I mis-calculate the "Shutter lag" of my camera, and I end up in photographing the Front SLR of the train!!!
I love to photograph thick smoke left by ALCOs!
I love the characteristic ALCO throbbing sound. I have never travelled on a train hauled by a GM (WDP4) loco! I guess i wouldn't change my mind after travelling on a WDP4 hauled train!!
I am a diesel fan! I love seeing Diesel locos, especially smoking under the wires!
One such "Smoking under the wires" is seen below::


I took this photo while travelling on board the 1081 CSTM-CAPE Express. The location, is the sharp curve after Renigunta.

The loco which eludes me the most: Ratlam WDM3A! Whenever I try photographing this loco, the train comes in with a different link!

Each time my camera gets ready to photograph the Mandovi, the train comes in with a WDM2 instead of its regular WDP4!

I have travelled ONCE on a WAP4 hauled loco! I was impressed by the pick up, but severly missed the sound and smoke of an ALCO!

Hopefully, this post doesn't bore you! I would [hopefully] have something interesting to update tomorrow! BTW, the banner for the october journey to Bangalore is ready! The journey has been titled as "Southern Sparkle". More details on the way!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Another day ... Tuesday!

Today was Tuesday....A lucky day for me! The day begun and ended as usual except for a few interesting observation. I'd like to give the observations in a bulleted list instead of the usual paragraph today!
  • I spotted the Chalukya Express today! (That's just usual) The loco doing the honours today was WDM3A #18925 from Pune. The loco was very beautiful in her "Blue" uniform!!!
  • I spotted the Latur-Mumbai express rushing right behind the Chalukya. The loco doing the honours was WCAM3 #21933.
The day remained normal in the morning, except for an un-expected annoucement in the evening "Wednesday would be a compensatory holiday for Final year students!" (Compensatory since Sunday was and is a working day!!!). With a very light heart, i rushed out of the college. Rushed to the station. I was finding it hard to wade through the sea of humans on the Foot-Over-Bridge to make it to Platform #4. The 16:23 local was already entering the platform. I had a mad dash to the rear First class coach. I spotted the Mahanagari Express (bound to Mumbai CST) on Platform 6. I expected, our train to be left first. It turned out otherwise. The starter for both the trains were given almost simultaneously. Both these trains have to travel on the same line!!! I was a bit worried since CR has a habit of sending Fast locals on the slow line. If such a thing happens, then the EMU would end-up in stopping at outer signals at most stations and then crawling through the platform! Luckily for me, the EMU changes tracks at Mulund Outer, and entered Mulund through the fast track itself. An EMU had mowed someone down, and people had gathered around the body. There was a huge commotion, and one EMU was half way into the station.
Interestingly, our EMU crossed 4 EMUs between Mulund and Nahur. The EMUs were standing back-to-back. The leading EMU was detained for some unknown reason at Mulund, and that caused a traffic pile up! I narrowly made it to Kurla on-time to board my local. THe coach turned out to be one of my favorite coaches : #72512 based at Sanpada! A few coaches of the 5XX series, and almost all coaches of the 7X7XX series have Crompton Greaves' Voyager fans. These fans are more powerful and make very little noise! These coaches have better suspension, and the ride quality is much better!
Time to wind up the report!!! Meet ya tomorrow!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Another week....

Monday...is a day when I feel the most tired - Sadly, Monday marks the beginning of a very torturous week. The day began as usual. The journey to Thane was normal. The day took a few un-natural and interesting turns - read on!
At about 9.30AM, we (myself, and two of my friends) got a very exciting and happy news - Our teacher was absent. This meant that we had a fully free day ahead. We decided to hang out for a movie. (Of course, with my Mom's permission). Little did we know that the events of the day was going to take such a marvellous turn. At about 10.00 AM, we decided to get out of the college. We walked down the two floors from the Library to the gate with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement. We were shocked on reaching the gate - the gate was closed. A higher-up from the management had instructed the gate-keeper not to let anybody out of the college until 14.30. We desperately wanted to leave the college. We tried every trick (including greasing of palms) to get out of the college. One student from our college tried his skills of high-jump. He suceeded. He jumped out of the compound across a 8 feet granite stone wall. By 10.45, all students from our batch came down. We once again tried every trick that we knew with the gate-keepers (3 of them, We were about 12). Lastly, we gathered all our courage and asked the gatekeeper to connect to the principal of our college to confirm if we were really free for the day. (We were sure that our principal was absent!). We managed to divert the attention of all the 3 gate keepers.
Just around this time, one boy from our class quietly un-locked the gate and opened it wide. We siply ran out from the gate! We ran non-stop for about 200 metres. All of our were panting, gasping and laughing!!!! We couldn't control the excitement!!! We rushed to the cinema hall. The show was at 12.45. We filled out stomach from Dosa Plaza. We entered the hall at about 12:30. The show began on time. The movie was Lage Raho Munnabhai. I was seeing a Bollywood-flick after long 2.5 years in a cinema hall! Co-incidentially the last movie that I saw in a cinema hall was Munnabhai MBBS. Lage Raho is a sequel to Munnabhai MBBS. The movie was overall a very good one. It runs to about 2 hours and 35 minutes. The movie has a lot of comedy and lots of History to learn! The movie defines 'following Gandhi principles' as Gandhigiri!!! The songs are okay. The Background music is a direct pick from the advertisement of ICICI Bank.
We just couldn't control our excitement even when we stood at the station waiting for a train! I boarded the 16:19 CST Fast. The EMU was an AC/DC one. We crossed the KR3 Ratnagiri Passenger at Thane. The loco was WDG3A #13048 from Pune.
The day was very interesting with a lot of surprising and unexpected turns and twists!
Warning & a word of caution: The experience of mine - which has been narrated above - is just a part of the college fun. It is kindly requested that no-body should try imitating the same or mimic the activity at your institution. This could lead to severe disciplinary action.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A long railfanning after many days...

Today was a very special day for me. The day started off at 6 AM. I boarded the 06:58 CSTM Slow local. The local was deserted for most of the journey from Belapur to Kurla. I reached Kurla at about 07:30. The platform was crowded with many students, probably, going for some camp. The Dadar bound 1018 Chalukya express rushed past Kurla with WDM3A #18951 (from Pune) in charge. Sometime later, the Deccan express rushed towards Pune with a WCG2 in charge. Just as the Deccan express cleared the Advanced Starter, The Punjab mail towards Mumbai CST rushed in. The loco doing the honours was WCAM3 #21962. Some time later, My EMU (AN5, bound to Asangaon) came in. That was an AC/DC EMU. She did the 13.72 km distance between Ghatkopar and Thane in an impressive 10:36 minutes i.e., at an average speed of 77.66 kmph!!! I recorded a speed of 85.71 kmph between Bhandup and Nahur. The run was impressive!!! Our train had a red signal at Thane outer where the train stopped for probably a minute. At Thane, there was an announcement that 0103 Mandovi Express was late today. I couldn't wait to see the train, and I rushed towards College.
The return journey couldn't be less than marvellous!!! Since the day was a Sunday, I was not sure if the Harbour line was funtioning today! The main UP line was closed today! I did not want to take chances. I decided to take the Matsyagandha to Panvel. I took a Superfast ticket and slowly walked through the Foot Over bridge. I saw that most Express trains were arriving on Platform 4 instead of 6/7. Just at the foot over bridge, I saw a friend of mine, who said that Matsyagandha would be arriving on Platform 5. I got to Platform 5. Around this time, the PA system blarred that Matsyagandha express would arrive on Platform 5 instead of Platform 7. A Karjat bound fast local rumbled past around then. That local emptied the platform! All fast locals towards Mumbai CST were halting at Mulund, Bhandup and Vikhroli in addition to the normal stops.
Soon, the arrival of Matsyagandha was announced. An Erode loco made her appearance clearing a curve at the entrance of the platform. The loco kept her horns blowing. The loco approached towards my camera.


I was standing a bit down the end of the platform. There were two RPF personnel towards the Diva end of the platform. I had a mad run after the loco crossed me. I had to run the distance of about 5 coaches to reach the Front SLR. The coach had moderate rush. I decided to settle down at the door itself. Just as the train was preparing to leave (the starter was already green), a railway employee in "white-and-white" uniform came close to the loco. He had a Walkie-Talkie in hand. I heard some one shout: "Matsyagandha driver... start the train". True to the words, the loco gave a very long horn and started notching up. I was just metres away from the loco. I enjoyed the beats of the notching up loco!
The assistant pilot held his green flag until the last coach cleared the station. The loco notched up very soon, and we were at about 60 kmph by now. Some metres away, the loco slowed down. There was a temporary speed restriction owing to some engineering works on the adjoining UP line. The entire railway "line" was being replaced with new ones!!!! The train crawled through Parsik tunnel and the Kalwa creek bridge. We were given a Danger signal at Diva Outer. That was to allow an EMU to change over from the UP Through line to the UP Slow line. Soon, our loco gave a long horn, and we were slowly approaching Diva. Express trains towards Panvel are always given "Caution" signal at Diva. The train crawls through the platform. Railway employees are usually picked up at this station. They board the train while the train is running. The signal the loco pilot to keep crawling until they board!!!
We cleared the "Diva Hurdle" soon and entered the line towards Panvel. The loco notched up quickly and stations flew past. We crossed a Kalyan WDM2 (#18354) hauling a Departmental "Observation" car. The train rushed through stations before getting a "stop" at Kalamboli. The train stopped for quite sometime before moving. We crossed the Chandigarh bound Kerala Sampark Kranti just at Kalamboli outer. The loco doing the honours was WDM2 #16565 from Ernakulam. (This train used to have a Ratlam link!). Our train slowed down once again. This time, we were made to wait at a level cross to let vehicles pass!!! We crossed a light WCAG1 (#21972) at Panvel outer. We pulled into Panvel at 15:22. I spoke to the Loco pilot at Panvel. I asked him about his duty, and he said that they work upto Ratnagiri! (Thats a very long duty). He said that it is the same for all superfasts! I took an EMU from Panvel at 15:53 and reached home by 16:30!
So there ends a long railfanning that took place after long 2 months!!! Thanks for reading.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Dreaming........

A few weeks back, our teacher of Pharmacology (a subject that deals with Drug interactions in our Body), threw a question at students in the class - Do you dream? Do you have nightmares?
Most of us shook our heads in approval. She continued saying that, "many are still dreaming..Good morning - Welcome to the class!". She was to teach the Sleep Cycle that day. She classified sleep into two parts viz., Rapid Eye-Movement (REM) sleep and Non REM Sleep. She said that a person requires the right amount of Dreams/Nightmares to have a fresh day!
For the past few days, I have been dreaming of a very sweet thing - a rail journey coming up in October. I would be travelling by 1017 Dadar - Yeshwanthpur Chalukya Express (End-to-End). I decided to keep a watch on the incoming 1018 daily. For the past few weeks this train has been consistently getting WDG3As from Pune. I started loving them shortly. The locos that i had seen in the past week were 13139, 13051, 13150, etc. These WDG3A, named "Shakti" look different from the other WDM series locos. One such WDG3A is seen below::


The loco seen in the above image is WDG3A #13051 from Pune - hauling the KR4 towards Dadar (Shot at Panvel).

I kept wondering whether the loco link of this train has been permanently changed to WDG3A. Today, I had the surprise of the week :: The 1018 Chalukya Express came in with WDM3A 18858R. The loco was in "AB" livery. The loco looked gorgeous as she rushed through Thane's Platform 6.

I tried compiling a list of WDM3A from Pune. I was startled to find that there were just 30 WDM3As, and still PUNE sends their WDM3As with any train! The Road numbers of WDM3As that I noted are: 14093, 16013, 16041, 17854, 17863, 17871, 17897, 17910, 17924, 17967, 18575, 18612, 18621, 18648, 18651, 18660, 18688, 18702, 18719, 18724, 18737, 18757, 18764, 18767, 18773, 18858, 18925, 18933, 18951, 18976.

Hopefully, the Chalukya that i would travel has either a WDM3A or WDG3A #13150. 13150 has a WDP4 like horn!!!

More coming up tomorrow.......

Friday, September 08, 2006

Another interesting day...

Yesterday, I had the worst shock in my day - A WDP4 with a 13-coach train! (THe WDP4 was dead though!). Today, I had some more interesting sights...
I reached Kurla at 07:06, just as yesterday. I walked down the FOB to reach Platform 5. I heard a very long and continuous horn. The sound was similar to a WCAM3. The loco was 21939. She was rushing away with the Pune bound Intercity. The scene was beautiful. The train cleared the platform in less than a minute! The train had two AC Chair Car Coaches, two SLRs and 9 Second Chair cars. I loved the scene, and simply missed my camera!
The 07:11 Karjat Local was just behind the intercity. As usual, I left the local. Some time later, I heard a horn similar to a WDP4. I was awe-struck for the next few seconds. The horn came closer. The loco pilot, it seems, loved the tone. He kept blowing it repeatedly. I saw the loco, and I almost fainted - The loco was WDG3A #13150 from Pune working the Sharavati Express (Mysore-Dadar). The rake (13-coaches) was peanuts for the loco. I loved the way the "flag-man" stood at the platform.
I took the 07:17 Ambernath fast. The journey from Kurla to Thane was normal. I spotted the Ferozpur-Mumbai Punjab mail near Thane. The announcement regarding the arrival of 0103 was announced. The train now regularly has an extra Sleeper coach. I went to college by bus.
While returning in the evening, I saw the Kanyakumari Express rushing past (That's usual!). At Mulund, our train was held up for a few minutes. The reason: A Container rake was coming out of Nahur Yard. The cross-over point in just near the starter of Mulund Up line. The loco was WDG3A #14697 from Bhagat-ki-Kothi!!! BGKT locos are regular in Mumbai. This particular loco seemed to be freshly turned out of Parel Workshop. The smell of paint was fresh! I had seen the loco in the loco at Kurla in the morning!
On reaching Kurla, I noticed that the Vashi local had just left. My local is usually just behind the Vashi one. I had a run for the train. I was panting like a dog while i stood on the platform. Just around this time, a MU-ed pair of WCAM3s hauling a very long BCNA rake. My local pulled into the platform line just as the WCAM3s were pulling in. I was surprised to find that a forward facing Window seat was empty. The coach was 72710. I slept until Seawoods. The journey ended at 17:28. Thanks for reading!!!!!!!!!!

Meet ya tomorrow!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Chalukya with a WDP4???

I had the worst shock my life today! I slipped into an Absence (Petite Mal) Seizure in just seconds of landing at Kurla!!!!

I took my usual local from Belapur being disgusted about not getting my daily morning newspaper - the paper vendor at the station was just coming in, while my train was ready to leave! I reached Kurla - surprisingly on Time - at 07:06. I saw the Pune intercity rushing out with a WCAM3 at her helm! I reached Platform 5. As usual did not board the 07:11 Karjat fast, and instead kept waiting for the 07:17 Ambernath fast. I saw the Ferozpur-Mumbai Punjab mail rushing past Kurla. She picked up all the dust on the platform. I wished to see the chalukya. Some time later, I heard the ever-familiar horn of a diesel loco - That was WDG3A #13051 from Pune. She was working the Chalukya Express (Surprised about the caption??? Read on!).
She was carrying a Dead WDP4 (#20020) with her! I was totally awe-struck, and initially failed to spot my local! Some how boarded the local. I had a diesel feast today - We crossed the Matsyagandha near Vikhroli!

On reaching Thane, I decided to wait for the Mandovi. Some time later, she pulled in. The loco was WDP4 #20026 from KJM. This train is now 22 coaches long. She now carries an Extra Sleeper coach! I rushed out of the station, took a "Red-Monster" to College!

I had the usual fare in the evening! The local was the 04:37 ST Fast ex-Thane. This local halts at Mulund, Vikhroli, Kurla, Dadar and Byculla! I saw that interesting sight of the train running through a heavily crowded Ghatkopar station today!!!

More coming tomorrow...Sadly - This blog would have updates on Sundays also. My College has just decided to make Final year students work on all the 7 days of the week. Now we work 6 hours for 7 days a week!!! Hopefully, I'd be carrying my camera on Sunday! So..Wait till then!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Onam 2006

We celebrated Onam today since yesterday was a very busy day! I had an off at college today (thanks to Anant Chaturdashi, the 10-day of the Ganpati Festival - On this day the idols of Ganpati are immersed in water-bodies marking the end of festivities), and our family decided to celebrate today! My dad had a working day and this sub-dued the festival! My mom made a stumptous sadhya, or traditional feast. Onam Festival is also approaching its end.

Along with Onam, I had another reason to be happy!!! The final approvals for another trip to the south has been granted by my parents! The rough itenery is: Departing Mumbai on 21 October by Chalukya Express reaching Bangalore on the 22nd. We would proceed to Kerala about 2-3 days after reaching Bangalore. We would attend a family function on October 29. Finally, we would return by Udyan Express on November 2.

So thats a rough sketch...hope to give it a very good shape. The tickets are ready and so is my camera!!!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Happy Onam!!!

Happy Onam to all Keralites all over the world!

Malayalees, natives of the South Indian state of Kerala, celebrate Onam - a harvest festival today! Onam is celebrated over period of 13 days (14 is some places). In the malayalam month of chingam which is the first month of the Malayalam calender, after the harvesting of crops are done this festival is celebrated. There is a common saying : Atham patthinu ponnonam or "Pon-onam is on the 10th day of Atham". Atham is a birth-star commonly used by Astrologists in Kerala.
Onam has another history, which goes like: Kerala was ruled by a very honest and lovable king Mahabali. Jealous of his fame in the country, some Gods decided to throw him off power. Thus, Vamanan was born. Vamanan, dressed as a saint appeared before Mahabali and asked for "3 foot" of land. At his first foot step, the entire ocean-rivers were covered. In his second, he covered the entire land. He did not have place to keep his third step. Understanding that the saint is no ordinary person, the king bowed and asked the saint to keep his feet on the kings head. Thus the king was pushed beneath the earth to another world called Pathalam. The king had a wish that he be permitted to visit his praja or country men every year. Thus Onam is a festival when the king is permitted to visit his state!

Onam is celebrated by most households by arranging floral designs at their door steps which is reportedly to welcome the king. They enjoy the day playing games and a stumptous feast or Sadhya consisting of traditional dishes and sweets. On this day, all members of the family get together and spend time with each other!

My family couldn't celebrate today, and we have decided to celebrate tomorrow!!! Wishing a very happy Onam to my fellow country men! In addition to Onam, the country is celebrating Teachers day today!

Teacher's Day....

Today, India celebrated its own Teacher's Day. This day marks the birth anniversary of a very great teacher, and a former president of India - Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. We celebrated this event at our college with much enthusiasm. Since we are in our final year, we had to take the lead. Praising our teachers weren't very easy!!!!
Due to the function, My day started off quite early. I woke up at 0445. I boarded the 05:58 Slow local from Belapur. The train was much more crowded than my usual 06:33 local! I just managed to reach Kurla on time. I had a run up and down the FOB. Just as I was balancing and riding my brakes, I saw the 06:38 Badlapur Fast pulling into the platform. I barely managed to enter the train. It was raining dogs-and-cats outside.. I saw my fellow passengers indifferently keeping their umbrellas open! The doors and windows of the train couldn't simply stop the water!
I made it to the college by 07:30. The function was a grand success. While at thane, I saw the Madgaon-Dadar Ganpati Special, and the "Gudur-Secundrabad-Mumbai Simhapuri-Devgiri Express". The SC rake of Devgiri was stinking - Poor cleaning! You might just keep wondering about the name of the train that I have put up: The train is actually "Secundrabad - Mumbai Devgiri Express", but she shares her rake with the "Gudur-Secundrabad Simhapuri Express". The front SLR had the name "Simhapuri" while the rear one had the name "Devgiri"!!! Pick the one of your choice :-)
During my return, I did see a lot of trains, but was too tired to note any!!!!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Back to blogging!



During the past two weeks, I did not have an access to internet. And finally when I had it, i was too busy to blog! The journey to kerala was marvellous. The rain gods made their presence felt by sending down a few showers (occasionally heavy!). The locos that hauled my trains, surely kept up my wish by smoking very well!

My first journey on a WAP4 hauled train too was in style! The pickup of the WAP4 surprised me! After all the "bloody" monster was hauling a 17-coach load!

I resumed attending college from Tuesday. Days flew past just like those AC/DC EMUs. Yesterday - Saturday - was another interesting day. For the first time in two months, my train from Belapur reached Kurla on time - at 0706. There were no interesting observations en-route though!

For visitors longing to read my travelogue of the recent trip to kerala...click here.

Bye for now!

Friday, September 01, 2006

A very very late udpate....

This update should have been here a week back....

Finally I am back from Kerala. THe trip was marvellous with about 500 photos in all!!!! The weather was okay!

More coming very soon.