Wednesday, November 29, 2006
I got up much after the rooster in my Mobile shouted. It was already 0530. My head was drooping even while I was in the toilet. After a hurried bath, I reached at the Table for my breakfast. It was already 0625, and chances of getting the 0633 Local was negligible. I decided to fill up my tummy, and then drove like a fanatic to the railway station. I rushed up the stairs - The railway clock showed 06:40:15, the next train was at 06:42. The train came in at around 06:43 or so. I sat down, and my head was still drooping. I had lots of material to study for the day's examination in "Biopharmaceutics and Pharmacokinetics". I felt my stomach churning as I studied pathways of drug transport in the body. The book said "Blah...Blah...Blah...". I kep my eyes glued to the window as the train approached Kurla.
I got down at Kurla, and was shocked to see the Kasara EMU already pulling in...SO that meant that the Mandovi was late - As usual! I boarded the EMU. The motorman was another fanatic, and he notched up quickly. We were rushing at 80kmph by the time the train neared Vidyavihar! The train slowed down sharply as she approached Ghatkopar. I was overjoyed when I saw a WCAG1 approaching on the other line with a LPG Tanker rake. The loco was WCAG1 #21972.
I stood near the door with an intention of capturing the Deccan Odyssey on Camera. Whoosh! The Vidarbha express went past giving off a "sharp" blast of air on my face. I just noticed some thing inside the EMU. I looked at it....Whoosh! Roar! That was the Deccan Odyssey! I just could notice a multi-coloured loco. (The loco was confirmed to be an Erode Loco by fellow IRFCAn Ranjeet Ramaswamy, just minutes back!). Filled with anger to my self, I took a seat and decided to decipher something from the coded language (or rather alien language) of my text book.
The train by now reached/crossed Mulund, and I decided to head back to the door. The EMU pulled into Platform 5 of Thane in no time. I jumped out of the EMU, and rushed up the Foot Overbridge. Red Monsters of Maharastra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC a.k.a. ST) were waiting to ferry me to my college. The conductor punched out a Rs. 8 ticket, as the driver sped his 10-year old darling through crowded streets of Thane.
I reached College at around 0815, where I did most of the studying part! I almost finished all major topics by 1015, and rushed to the examination hall for the exam at 1030. The paper appeared to be coded in latin first, but later I understood that it was english! I had a mad dash to complete the paper (Arrgh! The hand still pains!). After the paper, our Principal Ma'am called us in for an opinion survey (It was her subject!). We all gave a ear-to-ear smile showing all the 32 teeth in our mouth!
After the Dental Advertisement, I dashed out to take a bus towards the station. The time was already 1315. Another Red monster took me to Thane. A Slow EMU scheduled for 1411 was expected on PF#4, while a Fast EMU was scheduled for 1416 on PF#6. I decided to take the fast one instead. The EMU actually came in at around 1425 or so. The motorman was another fanatic! The ride was superb. A boy (in 20s, with long shampooed hair) was standing at the door. Just then, the Mangalore bound Matsyagandha rushed through. I saw his hair rise, and he was almost struck off from the door! I kept standing near the doorway. The EMU pulled into Kurla by 1440. I narrowly missed a Belapur EMU. The next one on the platform was at 1456!!!
Just around this time, WCAG1 #21972 crossed me for the second time in the day with a long BCNA rake sans a caboose! That was my second date with this loco!
Some minutes later, twin Kalyan WDM2s rushed towards Wadala with another BCNA rake. I took the 1506 Belapur EMU. The ride upto Belapur Outer signal was normal. Our train was detained for about 7-9 minutes at the signal. During that period, two Mumbai bound EMUs crossed us! A Panvel bound EMU was standing hardly 50 metres behind our rake! That was a scene that I loved! I reached home by around 1545 or so! So that was a very long day today! Thanks for the read!
By-the-Way: This is the 100th post at this Blog! Thank you friends for your whole-hearted support! I hope to have them all round the year!
Monday, November 27, 2006
I took the usual 07:17 Ambernath Fast EMU from Kurla. Our EMU slowed down near Vidyavihar....Guess what? I saw the Samarsata Express snaking its way towards Lokmanya Tilak Terminus. The composition of the train was, from loco: SLR-GS-S1 to S9-PC-S10-AS1 to AS5-A1-A2-H1-GS-SLR; making a total of 23 coaches! The EMU kept speeding through familiar territories in the Ghatkopar-Thane section. The Nahur yard was deserted. Finally the EMU made it to Thane. I wanted to see the Mandovi, but instead saw the Kasara EMU which usually follows the Mandovi pulling in. So that meant Mandovi was late! Just as I got out of the station, I heard the Vidarbha Express pulling in.
The examination paper had all the expected questions - In all another easy paper!
Finally with a light heart, I (with my friends) reached Thane at around 1330. As we descended towards Platform 4, a Mumbai CST bound Slow EMU pulled in. The ride was the worst I have had in recent months! The EMU literally crawled at speeds in the range of 15-40 kmph all the way from Thane to Ghatkopar. Just between Kanjur Marg and Vikhroli, our EMU was overtaken by a "light" MU-ed pair of WCAM3 (#21883+#21884). At Vidyavihar, I saw WCAM3 #21955 waiting outside the Electric Loco Trip shed waiting for a signal. Finally the train reached Kurla at 1410 hours! Just as I alighted from the EMU, I saw the Varanasi-Mumbai Mahanagari Express pulling in, with WCAM3 #21956.
I wanted to see the Ratnagiri-Dadar Passenger, but instead I saw light WCAM3 #21955 rushing towards Dadar. (Yeah! The same loco that I saw at Vidyavihar!). Finally, at 1416 a Belapur bound EMU pulled in, and I reached home by 1500! Thanks for reading this report. Just wait for more coming up sooooooon!
Saturday, November 25, 2006
I got down at Kurla, and went towards Platform 5 to board a Fast EMU to Thane. There was one 12-Car Thane EMU scheduled. I did not want to travel by that, and decided to wait for the next one. The next was a Kasara EMU. The AC/DC rake pulled in. I settled on to a seat (did not want to stand at the door!). Right outside Kurla, I saw the Pragati Express rumbling off!
At Mulund, two Ticket Checkers got in and detected three cases of "irregular" travel. All the three surprisingly had tickets - but for Second class. One person argued on the grounds that "he had a ticket". The TTE got rough with him, and rathered ordered to shut up. He argued that he "did not know" that it was a First class coach! The person spoke in a tough manner to the TTE knowing well that he is in a soup. The train pulled into Thane. The TTE asked the person (who argued) to cough up the fine which roughly works out to Rs. 300 (including Rs. 250 which is the minimum fine). The person had only 250 or so. He argued with the TTE again on the grounds that "he had a ticket"! The TTE had some physical exercise with him and dragged him to the Chief TC's office. I decided to go my way!
I took an Auto from Thane and proceeded to Wagle Estate where I had to meet a person. At the "Marathon Chowk" or "Teen Hath Naka" (which is essentially the major junction for Thane on the Eastern Express Highway; I witnessed an autodriver "stuffing" the pocket of the Traffic cop with money! It was hilarious to see the way the cop accepted the money! After the driver payed up, the cop advised him about traffic rules and let him off! Off-late the formula offered by the cops is that - You have to pay the fine. If you pay 100%, you get a receipt, pay 50% 'Me happy; you happy" & No receipt!
After witnessing this event, the rickshaw moved forwards for about a kilometre or so. Alas! The transmission suffered damage, and the rickshaw had to be abandoned! That incurred me an additional expense of having to hire another auto! Finally I met the person, and finished all the jobs and returned to Thane. On entering the station, I saw the Nagercoil express pulling with WCG2 #20152 in charge. Some time later, the Manmad-LTT express, and the Kamayani express (both side-by-side) pulled in. I purchased a ticket for Panvel (to travel on Matsyagandha Express) and went to Platform 7. Gulped down 500ml of chilled mango juice and settled down for railfanning.
The Ghost of the university exam was a following me all the way! I had study material for Monday's exam and sat down reading them. Meanwhile, The Hyderabad Mumbai Express and the Mumbai Hyderabad Express went past with WCG2 powers. Sometime later, a late running Howrah - Mumbai 'Kolkatta' mail (via Allahabad) rushed through with WCAM3 #21888 in charge. Sometime later a BCNA rake hauled by WCAM3 21881+21883 went past. I kept reading about Sedatives while the flow of EMUs continued regularly in addition to the slurry of announcements. The Chennai-Mumbai Express was delayed by an hour, and the train went past at about 1353. Sometime later, the Hatia-LTT Express pulled in.
A peculiar thing that I have noticed about this train is that, this train always has majority of its coaches from Santragachhi (SRC) coaching Depot, in addition to 1 or 2 coaches from Tata or Hatia base! The coaches of todays rake were mostly built in mid 80s to early 90s with the exception of a single coach that was a 2005 built sleeper coach! For the next five minutes, the main line dipped to silence. The crowd on the Platform was building up as the departure time of Matsyagandha was approaching.
As a very cold wave, the Coimbatore-LTT Express pulled into Platform 7 with WCG2 #20149 in charge. Some minutes later, the arrival of the Ratnagiri-Dadar passenger was announced. I rushed to Platform 6 to take an image since an RPF personnel was roaming near me. At about 1415, the passenger pulled in with WDM3A #18951 in charge. I returned to Platform 7. The Matsyagandha finally pulled in at 1430. The loco was WDM3A #14046 from Erode (seen in the picture above). I decided to board the General coach right behind the SLR for a change! The coach was full (almost all seats taken!). The departure was getting delayed. Suddenly, a long BCNA rake hauled by WDM2 pair #18345 & #18354 from Kalyan rushed towards Mulund, and our train got its starter. The Mumbai-Chennai Express had arrived on Platform 5 by then. The loco was WCG2 #20157.
The run out of Thane was normal. As our train approached Parsik Tunnel, I saw a headlamp about to exit the tunnel. That was WCAM3 #21932 hauling the Mahanagari Express towards Mumbai CST. The journey ahead was dry - no interesting observations at all! The train pulled into Panvel at about 1525. A WAG7 (#27759) from New Katni Jn. was waiting for departure towards Vasai as my train pulled in. Just as I was waiting for the RPF officer near the SLR to move away, I noted an Erode loco approaching the station. I had a mad dash towards the Foot over bridge. The loco was WDM3A #14125, and the train was the Netravati Express towards Lokmanya Tilak Terminus! This train was a regular late runner during the monsoons, and is now running on schedule!
I finally took an EMU towards Belapur and came home. Yawn! Its late in the night and let me have a sleep. BTW, photos of the day are available here. (Please scroll towards the bottom!) Thanks for the read - expect some thing "new" tomorrow!
Friday, November 24, 2006
Finally after 5-misses in a line, I got a sneak opportunity to capture the Mandovi at Thane. The loco was WDP4 #20022 - I was meeting this friend after a very long time now!
The paper appeared to be a deja vu! The same sort of questions that I had expected! Overall a good paper - the score should be good too! I left the college at 1300, and got a bus at 1310 - That was a TMT (bus operated by the local Municipal Corporation) bus at its worst condition! The bus was surely to gobble up atleast 40 minutes to cover the 11-odd kilometre journey! The bus finally reached Thane at about 1345. I was to board the 1350 slow towards Thane (I repent that decision!). The 1350 slow reached Thane at about 1355 or so. The local was almost crawling the entire distance.
The KR4 Passenger over took our train somewhere near Vikhroli. (The sixth miss!). I couldn't get the loco number, but that was surely a WDG3A from Pune. I reached Kurla at about 1425 or so. Some minutes after 1440, the Mahanagari Express rushed past the station (The seventh miss!). The train was too fast for me to grab the camera! Finally with a disgusted mind, I boarded an EMU, and reached home by 1530! Thanks for this read! There are some surprises for tomorrow - Stay tuned!
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
I had a normal day today. Took the 0633 slow from Belapur. One interesting spotting - While I was standing on Platform 5 at Kurla, the Pune bound Intercity rushed through (The train was probably late since I/C usually crosses Kurla at around 0706~0708, and today the time was around 0711). The loco had her markers on. Just as the loco approached Kurla station, some trespassers were noticed by the Loco pilot and he switched on the Headlamps and blew the horn continuously right till the end of the platform. Out of excitement by seeing the loco speeding up through the curve I even forgot to notice the loco road number!
I took the 07:11 Karjat local from Kurla. On the way, our train crossed the Deccan Odyssey somewhere near Bhandup. I reached college at about 0800. We had Pharmaceutics Examination today, and the paper was good. I had to get a concession certificate from my college since my season ticket is expiring next week. I had a longish wait to submit the application for the same, and the office staff told me to return at 1500. I told her that I'll collect the certificate on Friday and she agreed!
I reached Thane at about 1320 or so. I boarded a Slow local at around 1335 or so. I was travelling in a slow local after a long time now. I was anticipating a few crossings but nothing happened. As the EMU approached Kurla, I eagerly looked at the Kurla Diesel Loco Pilot's Lobby. I spotted an unidentified WDM2 (in maroon livery), WDM3A #18700 of Erode and WDG3A #13052 of Pune. The Pune loco was preparing to proceed towards Dadar to pick the Ratnagiri passenger. I reached Kurla about a minute later, and proceeded to Platform 7/8 to catch a Belapur local.
Some minutes later, 13052 moved out of the Loco shed, proceeded towards Dadar via the sidings near Kurla station. The loco proceeded at a very slow speed. Just as the loco covered the distance of the platform, I saw another WDG3A approaching Kurla. That was WDG3A #13055 from Pune bringing in the Ratnagiri-Dadar Passenger!!! Thus 13055 met 13052 just near Kurla advanced starter! That was a scene!
I boarded an EMU at 1416 bound for belapur and settled on a seat reading Hindustan Times. Thanks for the read! Please keep up the patronage. As I had mentioned earlier, the blog will be updated less frequently until December 01, 2006 due to my examinations. Please bear with me! Thank you.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Railfanning: I took the 06:33 Belapur CSTM EMU in the morning. The 0628 CSTM EMU which runs ahead of my train was delayed today, and CR decided to send our train ahead. That ensured that every inch of space in the tiny First Class enclosure was taken up by passengers of both the trains combined together! The journey was normal, and I had no time even to look outside. I was deeply engrossed in text books. Just as I prepared to get down at Kurla, WDG3A #13047 from Pune overtook our train with the Dadar bound Chalukya Express in tow.
I boarded the 07:17 Ambernath Fast from Kurla. On the way to Thane, I was blankly looking out of the window. Places that I see everyday were appearing different to me today! On the way, the EMU crossed 2 WCAM3 hauled trains. While crossing one of those trains, the stench from the toilets was overpowering the blowing wind, and the stench kept lingering in the coach for quite some time! At Nahur, I spotted WCG2 20159-20129 hauling a long BCNA rake. I had spotted the same pair, hauling a BCNA rake at Thane last Thursday!
In the noon, while returning - I was welcomed to Thane by KR4 Ratnagiri Dadar Passenger. The train had a Pune WDG3A at its helm. Myself, and a friend of mine boarded the 14:02 CSTM Fast from Thane. That was an AC/DC rake. We were seated backwards, and the forward facing seat right opposite to us were occupied by three men. One of them looked like a Loco pilot, while another face amongst them was too familiar. On hearing their talk, it was quite obvious that they were railway staffers. My friend slipped into sleep, and I was overhearing their conversation. They spoke in the Local language - Marathi, which I am not very fluent in. I could understand their conversation to about 85-90%. Two of them were apparently regulars on Konkan Railway. They spoke about the Loco link of Jan Shatabdhi, and the loco sharing between Netravati and Matsyagandha! One of them, who apparently was/is a regular on Konkankanya was saying that it is a pleasure to drive on KR, and trains are rarely delayed. While CR delays most trains. I kept hearing their conversation till I reached Kurla. Two of them got down at Kurla. While at Kurla, I saw the Chennai express rushing past with an unidentified WCG2.
Just as I entered Platform 7, a belapur bound EMU pulled in, and I rushed to board the train.
The day was too tiring, and hunger was overpowering me. I was restless until I had my lunch. That was really a tiring day! Hope to have better days ahead!
Saturday, November 18, 2006
After about three months of regular postings, Platform 7 is now taking short breaks. Since My terminal examinations are starting from Monday, the frequency of updations will change. I'll try to make updations every alternate day from now on.
Please bear with me for the interruptions, and please bless me for my tough days ahead!
I have 6 papers in all, spanning over two weeks. The examinations will be on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the next two weeks. At the end of the next week, I plan to put up a very huge surprise. So keep visiting regularly (atleast once every two days! Please...). So bye till the next update.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Platform 7 happens to be my favorite railfanning location (this signifies the name of this site!). I walked a long distance down the platform, and settled at a good point for photography. At about 1028, I took the first photograph of the day. The Pune-Mumbai Pragati Express came calling with WCG2 #20139 in charge. The link of this train is quite unpredictable, and like some advertisements - Conditions apply! An Asangaon bound Fast EMU pulled into platform 5. The Rake had a brand new MRVC styled coach (#369A). The coach swept me off my feet in excitement. Due to the excitement, I forgot to take an Image. I wanted to take an image of the coach, and decided to wait for the rake to return!!! The platform got crowded soon. An EMU was to depart from the platform. Some EMUs (especially Fast ones) use Platform 7 to reverse. Just after the EMU came in, a Twin WCG2 hauled BCNA came calling. The locos were 20159 (leading) and 20129. The EMU cleared the platform at 1045.
At about 1105, the Howrah-Allahabad-Mumbai Kolkatta mail came in with WCAM3 #21953. I saw this train after too long now. I enjoyed seeing the ER rake. Right after the Mail cleared, a light WDG3A (#14563) from Kalyan rushed towards Nahur. At about 1115, the Sahyadri Express pulled into Platform 7. Just as I was preparing for a photograph, an RPF officer came in. I simply stood there admiring the beauty of the loco. The officer noted down something, and walked back. I rushed towards the loco. The loco was WCG2 #20120. The loco pilots got down and were busy chatting. This train usually is detained at Thane for 2-3 overtakes! In the meantime, WCAM3 #21951 hauling the LTT-Chhapra express halted near the Outer signal.
The advanced starter for the Main line turned green, and the PA system announced the arrival of Sewagram express. So that was the first overtake! Some time later, WCAM3 #21947 went through with the Sewagram in tow! Some minutes later, an EMU overtook the poor Sahyadri who has been seeing overtakes since morning!!!
The Sahyadri went out, while the Chhapra express went in. About 10 minutes later, I saw a furiously smoking WDM3A pulling in with a train. I went into a tizzy for a few minutes trying hard to guess the train. The loco came closer. The loco was WDM3A #18773R from Pune, and the train was - Yeshwantpur - Dadar Chalukya express!!! The train was delayed by over 4 hours! About 10 minutes later, WCAM3 #21954 pulled in with 3202 Rajendranagar - LTT Express. I admire the capacity of people from UP and Bihar to fill up any number of General (Unreserved) coaches given to them! Infact, for trains bound to Bihar/UP (especially is the rake is based there), coaches have the board "Reserved" in case they are! (No offences meant!).
The PA system warned people on Platform 5 to stay away since a Fast train was expected soon. The train was an LPG tanker hauled by WDM2 #16215 from Kalyan. The platform (#7) was swelling with Mallus (Keralites) waiting to board the Trivandrum bound Netravati Express. The train pulled in sharp at 1205 with WDM3A #14123 from Erode in charge. The PA system warned about a fast train on Platform 6. I rushed up the Foot-Over Bridge (FOB) to see the train. That was a light WCAM3 #21961. I went in for a light refreshment, and returned to Platform 7 by 1220. The first train to pass through during session 2 was the Hyderabad Mumbai Express. The loco was WCG2 #20157. Just as the train cleared, the Darbhanga bound Pawan express rolled past with WCAM3 #21943 in charge.
Soon the Nagercoil express came in with WCG2 #20149 in charge. The train, a 17-coach load, has a halt at Thane. At the same time, WCAM3 #21963 pulled in with 2118 Manmad - Lokmanya tilak terminus Godavari Express. Some time later, WDG3A #14563 from Kalyan (the same loco that I saw in the morning!) pulled in with a long BCLA/BCLB (Container) rake. At about 1257, the rake with the new MRVC coach (the one that I spotted in the morning) returned through the slow line. The Chennai-Mumbai express had departed from Platform 6. The loco was WCG2 #20147.
At about 1300, the Varanasi bound Kamayani Express pulled in with WCAM3 #21959 in charge. Shortly after the train left, an RPF officer came around the vacate the platform of urchins. I decided not to take chances, and left the platform. I went over to Platform 6, and had some more light refreshments. Just around this time, I noticed a WCAM hauled BCNA rake approaching the station, and at the same time, a WCG2 hauled train was fast approaching the station. I was in a dilemma. I decided to photograph the WCG2 first. The loco was WCG2 #20133, working the Hyderabad Express. The WCAM hauled BCNA was still a long way away. The loco now closed in. It was actually twin MU-ed WCAM3s. The locos were 21881 (leading) and 21883 (trailing). I took a fast EMU (13:34 ex-TNA) and proceeded to Kurla. There were NO crossings on the way. I reached Kurla at around 1350. I decided to stay on Platform 6 (Kurla) for some railfanning. The first spotting was a light loco WCAM3 (#21888).
Some time later, a Diesel loco approached the station. That was WDG3A #13051 from Pune speeding with the Dadar bound KR4 Passenger. I wanted to see the Chennai express rushing past, but a Belapur bound EMU was pulling in. I decided to take the train and go home instead. Just as I entered Platform 7/8, I spotted WDM3A #18773R from Pune proceeding towards Dadar from Kurla Loco shed after refuelling. That was the same loco which brought the Chalukya express, and the loco would now work the KR3 passenger towards Ratnagiri. There ended a long railfanning session. I probably would have one more tomorrow when I go to pick up my car! So bye for the day. The photos will come up soon at Galleria.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I had Pharmacognosy practical examination today. The exam was average, and I had an unusually poor performance in the subject. I tried hard to put behind the day while I travelled back to Thane on an overcrowded MSRTC bus. I was tensed since I had plans to board the Ratnagiri passenger. The time was already 15:45, and the train is at 16:05. I had just 1.5 kms to cover, but the road is usually heavily crowded. The bus finally pulled into Thane station at 1600. The train had already reached, and chances of me boarding the train after purchasing a ticket was negligible. I decided to put off the journey!
I and Ranjeet (fellow IRFCAn) had plans to have some railfanning at Panvel. Ranjeet backed out. I lost interest after I missed the train! I took an EMU towards Kurla. I decided to stay there until the Deccan Odyssey goes past. I had some fun & action filled railfanning there in the evening. WCAM3 #21931 rushed past with the Pragati Express towards Pune. About Ten (10) minutes later, WDM2A #16810 from Abu Road rushed through with two VPUs in tow. About 2 minutes past 1700, the Nandigram Express (Mumbai CST - Nanded) rushed past with WDM2 #18579 from Pune in charge. I was waiting for the show stealer! At about 1703, a Belapur bound EMU entered Platform 7. A person standing on the platform in which I was standing (Platform #4) wanted to board the EMU. He jumped on to the tracks. I saw a diesel hauled train approaching the tracks on which he was. The Loco pilot switched the head lamps on, and kept blowing the horn until he got off safely. The train was the Deccan Odyssey. The loco was the DO special WDM3A #18719R from Pune. Deccan Odyssey has 17 coaches which included the 2 End-On-Generator cars!
I decided to call off the railfanning and rushed to Platform 7. I boarded the 1716 Panvel Slow, and settled down on an empty seat. Reached home at about 1800. In all it was a good railfanning day. Bye, meet you tomorrow with tons of spottings!
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
As the EMU crossed the Thane Outer, I saw the Mandovi standing at Platform 7. The EMU just pulled in for a halt, and I jumped out to have a look at the loco. The beast from Krishnarajapuram was the newest to visit Mumbai - WDP4 #20030 was it! I quickly snapped a photo (the sun was directly incident on the loco and that gave a very high contrast photo!). I walked out and took a bus to college. While the bus was pulling out of the Bus Station (about 5-8 minutes after I took the photo), I heard the DP4's horn, and saw the train pulling out.
I had to perform a murder at college today. I decided to delegate the chance to a friend of mine. The victim was a Frog. We murdered him (or better - The lab attendant murdered the from), and took out his Rectus Abdominis muscle to perform our experiment. The experiment turned out well and the results were quite good. I finished up the experiment by about 1300, and left college at about 1430 after having a Chinese lunch from our college canteen. Thane station was waiting with the regular host of surprises (are surprises regular?). The first train to be spotted was the Manmad bound Godavari Exp. After a few minutes, the CSTM Bound Mahanagari Express pulled in with WCAM3 #21900 in charge. The train had 3x GS, 2x SLR, 12x SL, 1x 2A, 1x 3A totalling 19 coaches. One Sleeper was from SR. Just as the Mahanagari cleared Thane advanced starter, the Nagpur bound Sewagram pulled in! I couldn't photograph the loco.
I took a CSTM bound Fast EMU (1532 ex-TNA) and reached Kurla at about 1555 or so. On the way, I spotted the Konark Express (WCG2) and Ratnagiri Passenger (A Blue coloured WDM3A from Pune!).
At Kurla, a WCAM3 pair were waiting at the helm of a long "caboose less" BCNA rake. The rake crawled from the Wadala road side towards Kurla Goods yard. A Kalyan WDM2 moved in the opposite direction also. I boarded the 1616 Belapur Slow from Kurla, and reached home by 1700 or so! I came home and washed by hands with Dettol soap to free me from the sins of the murder ;-) Bye for the day, meet ya again tomorrow!
Monday, November 13, 2006
The day was relatively dry except for spotting of the MAS-CSTM Express. There were nothing noteworthy today except for a very funny incidence at college::
We (my batch of 13 students) were to have our Pharmacology practical examination today (The very same Frog Murder: For new comers - Click here). Accordingly I made it college at 0900 AM well in time for the 1000AM exam. We all got ready (wearing our white lab coats), took all the required apparatus (dissection box), and were waiting near the laboratory. Since this was an university conducted examination, the examiners were outsiders. They hadn't arrived. We were made to wait. The clocked ticked past 1100 AM, still there were no signs of the examiners. Our principal was on leave, and the next 'in-charge' was tensed and she made frantic calls to the university. She realised a very cruel joke: The university had totally forgotten about our college while appointing examiners!!! We had none! Finally some alternates were searched, and two examiners were arranged. They are expected to make it to our college tomorrow! We finally returned home!
So thats it for the day! Keep a look out for some interesting turns and twists tomorrow..Keep visiting!
Sunday, November 12, 2006
We took a bus from right outside our home to the Municipal Bus station, Kodungallur. From there we boarded a Limited Stop bus bound to Thrissur. We got down at Chettiyangadi which is the stop for the Railway station as well as the KSRTC bus station. The first thing on our agenda was to book tickets for my brother. We tried all the travel agencies around the Bus station. We tried even the reservation counter of the state run KSRTC. They day being a sunday, and a weekend of a week which had handfuls of holidays, all buses were running full. Finally a travel agent agreed to give us a seat which is reserved for Ernakulam Quota. We had to pay the fare from Ernakulam to Bangalore (Rs. 650, Shama Volvo). Getting a seat was more important!!! After managing to get a seat, we walked towards the reservation counter.
Just as we neared the counter, Mangalore-Trivandrum Parasuram express pulled into the station with a Erode WDM2. Simultaneously on Platform 2, the Ernakulam-H.Nizammudin Mangala Express pulled in (WDM3A #14052, Ernakulam). We filled the reservation forms, and took a token (#463, #464). The token number that was just called was #323!!! We were still 140 tokens away. The time was 1215. Sometime after the Mangala & Parasuram went, the Mangalore bound Parasuram Express pulled in with an Erode WDM2. The Ernakulam bound Mangala express too pulled in with an Ernakulam WDM2 around the same time.
After both the trains went, it was the chance of the Hyderabad bound Sabari express to pull it with a WAP4. After the Sabari went, The Kochuveli bound Kerala Sampark Kranti pulled in with twin locos. A live WDM2 of Ratlam, and a dead WDM2 of Ernakulam right behind. Our token numbers were called at around 1345. We got the tickets in a matter of about 10 minutes (3 seats for 2678 CBE-SBC Intercity in AC Chair Car, and One seat for 2124 Pune-CSTM Deccan Queen in AC Chair Car).
We then proceeded to the IRCTC Sassya Vegetarian Food Plaza. The styling of the plaza was at par with private restaurants. The service, and food was good! This restaurant is surely recommended to all! The bill was about Rs. 80 (Two plates of Kerala Parotta with Veg Curry, One Pineapple juice, and one Mosambi juice). The bill was quite cheap as compared to the service offered!!! We then took a Rickshaw to the Municipal Bus stand, popularly known as Sakthan stand, and boarded an ordinary bus bound to Kodungallur. We got down right in front of our home! I enjoyed train spotting at Thrissur. I could not photograph any trains, though I had a camera, since I wasfully tensed about the availability of tickets and since the car was still in police custody, and we were in touch with police officials to get all the formalities done!
Saturday, November 11, 2006
The first train to go through (before Deepesh joined me) was a long Tanker rake hauled single-handedly by WDG3A #14983 from Kalyan. Minutes after Deepesh joined in, we saw the Patna-LTT Express "screaming" past with a WCAM3 in charge. The train had two refrigerated cars at the rear end. Minutes after the express went through, We spotted the Sahyadri express going through with a WCG2 in charge. After some time, we saw the Sewagram express going through.
We were in for a rude shock after a few minutes. The Ferozpur-Mumbai Punjab mail went through! The train was about 5-6 hours late!!! Deepesh jokingly put it that the train would be 24 hours early instead!!!
The railfanning session continued until 1300 hrs. While we were moving out (along with the third person whom we had to meet), the Netravati went through. We had some refreshments from Hotel Satkar right outside Vikhroli station (West). We (minus the third person) decided to continue our railfanning at the station. We were welcomed by Pawan Express which went through with WCAM3 #21931. Closely behind the Pawan was the 6351 Mumbai-Tirupati-Nagercoil express behind WCG2 #20151. We decided to change platforms. At this time a WDM2 (18068) from Kalyan rushed past with 4 coaches appearing to be fresh from the POH shop at Matunga. After some more time, the Kamayani Express rushed through with two WCAM3s in charge (the second one was dead though!). After the Kamayani was the Hyderabad-Mumbai Express, followed by Manmad-LTT Godavari Express. We boarded a CST bound Slow local from Vikhroli at 1303.
At Vidyavihar, the Chennai-Mumbai Express hauled by a WCG2 overtook our EMU. At the same time, the Mumbai-Hyderabad Express went through. I reached Kurla at about 1315, and boarded a Belapur bound local at 1330. Reached home by 1430! Some photos of the day are available here! So bye for the day.
Friday, November 10, 2006
The day was too tiring that I had no chance of freeing up my mind until 1630 in the evening. I alongwith my friends left the college at 1700, and got a bus 1725. I reached Thane at 1800. I decided to go by the Thane-Vashi train instead of moving via Kurla. Just moments after I reached Thane, there was an announcement that 5018 Gorakhpur-LTT express was 3hrs late today (quite normal!!!). The CST bound Mahanagari express pulled in at about 1820 (about 4 hours late!). I boarded the 1830 Vashi EMU and kept watching out like a kid at the bright lights from the road outside! I reached Vashi at about 1900 and boarded the 1913 Panvel EMU from them. Reached home damn tired at 1930 or so! Goin for a sleep! SO BYE for the day! Meet again - 2morow!
Thursday, November 09, 2006
The coaches of Sampark Kranti were being watered i.e., the overhead tanks were being filled with water. The rake composition was Loco-SLR-GS-GS-S1 to S7-PC-S8-AS1-HA1-GS-GS-SLR, totalling 17 coaches. It was a huge disappointment to see that this train is still having only a partial AC2T coach! I moved over to platform 2 to watch the Ratnagiri passenger. Just around this time I recieved a call from Ranjeet asking my location. Some minutes later, a MU-ed pair of Kalyan locos trundled past light towards the Diva end of the station. Minutes later, the Dadar passenger pulled in with WDG3A #13149 from Pune in charge. The passenger now was 14 coaches including 2 reserved compartments and 2 SLR. The loco had a EMD styled horn. The arrival of Netravati Express was also announced now.
Some more minutes later, WDM3A #14054 from Erode pulled in with the Trivandrum bound Netravati Express. I had seen the same loco working the same train last week on Tuesday at Kankanadi. So the loco would have reached its home on Thursday, underwent a maintenance schedule and returned, probably, on Monday. The train had 21 coaches - 11 Sleeper, 1 AC2T, 4 AC3T, 1 PC, 2 GS and 2 SLR. The loco was refuelled and the journey continued at about 1310. Ranjeet finally located me, and we sat down for some rail-chatting! The PA system announced the arrival of Mangala Express. We slowly walked towards the Diva end of the station where we noticed WDM2 #17632 from Kalyan dozing off. We also noticed twin Kalyan WDM2s pulling into panvel with a BCNA rake. We walked over to Platform 1. The platform was already crowded with passengers waiting for the Mangala to come in.
Some minutes later, at 1350, 2617 Ernakulam - H.Nizamuddin Mangala Lakshadweep Express pulled in with WDM2 #16459 (Ernakulam DLS) in charge. The train started moving out by 1355 when more passengers were still to board! The train moved just inches and stopped again. The loco blew the "short-short-long" signal code to indicate "Emergency Chain Pull"! The train once again started moving in about 2-3 minutes! We decided to call off the day. I went to the suburban section and boarded an EMU which was already waiting there. At about 1405, twin Tuglakhabad WAG5s pulled in with a Container rake. The EMU left panvel at 1413, and I reached home by about 1430!
The images of the day can be seen by clicking here. So bye for the day.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Wednesday was no ordinary day that I could sleep off! This was the day when I would be appearing for the first of a series of four Practical Examinations conducted by the University of Mumbai at the Final Year Bachelor of Pharmacy (Semester 7) examinations. We had our Pharmaceutical chemistry exam today. I was tense in the morning, but later relaxed out after reaching Kurla. I decided to stay at the door on the speeding 0741 Asangaon Fast AC/DC EMU. There were no crossings (Mail/Express) on the way, and that disappointed me to the maximum. I reached college at 0900 and was engrossed in preparations for the day. At abotu 0920, we came to know that the external examiners who had turned up where the same ones who had come for our First year examinations way back in 2004. The are two examiners - One a male and the other female. The "sir" has reportedly done post-doctorate and is known for his "off-the-way" questions. As soon as I came to know about them, I decided to abort studying and instead prepared for the worst.
The experiments given were easy ones. The synthesis went out well though the yields were low. The viva-voce was interesting. He was not interesting in a single question related to our syllabus. He asked quite general questions like - "What is the need for recrystallisation", "How is a Molecular weight calculated" and reasonings for the same. I finished off by 1500, though the scheduled time was 1700. I left the college at 1545, and reached Thane on time to board the 16:23 fast.
On reaching Kurla, I decided to wait for the Nandigram. Some minutes later (at about 1700), Nandigram rushed through with a Pune WDM3A. Right behind Nandigram was the Deccan Odyssey powered by WDM3A #18754R from Pune! The train was about 18 coaches long including its two Generators. The Generators truly roared through the station! I enjoyed the sight! I reached home at about 1800. Bye for the day! Watch out for tomorrow's update!
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
In the afternoon, I boarded the 1402 CSTM fast local from Thane at about 1430hrs! That was an AC/DC EMU and she really showed off shortly after Mulund. While my EMU was pulling out of Thane, I saw the Mangalore bound Matsyagandha pulling in with WDM2 #17544 from Erode, working LHF. This particular loco has a flat face at the SHF end, probably a modification after an accident! As my EMU pulled out, the Chennai express pulled in.
While I was at Kurla, the Sinhagad express rushed past. This train now gets a WCG2 and had 18 coaches including a AC Chair Car and a Pantry car! I boarded the 1459 Panvel from Kurla and reached home by 1545! Bye for the day....
The Kuttanad area of Alappuzha, which was ill-connected by road until a few years back, had only these boats for their commute. One such boat is seen in the image above. The boat has about 4 crew members including a Driver, a navigator, a person to tie the boat at stops, and a conductor locally called as a "Master". In the image seen above, a cabin can be seen above the roof of the boat. The Navigator sits inside this cabin. He has a starwheel to control the direction of the boat. He communicates with the Driver, who sits towards the middle of the boat, with the help of a bell.
The driver notches the engine depending on the signal that he recieves from the navigator. The boat is powered by a Diesel powered marine engine. A single bell means stop, double means move, and triple means faster. The third person in the crew jumps out of the boat every time the boat reaches a jetty for a stop. He helps pull the boat closer to the jetty, and he ties the boat on to a metal rod so that the boat doesn't move away while passengers are boarding/alighting. He also pushes the boat off from the jetty during departure. The conductor, as in a bus, issues tickets to the passengers.
The boat is a very economical means of transport, but is slower (about 15 kmph!). Typically and end-to-end journey on a boat lasts about 3-4 hours. The boat services are not available during nights (excessive reflection from the water surface due to the headlight is quoted as a reason!). The seats in the boat are padded with coir. The boat in the image is a very old model and is made of seasoned wood. The newer models are made are made of steel and look more complex.
I had a trip in May 2005 from Nedumudy to Alappuzha, a distance of about 14 kilometres. The journey time was 2 hours, and the fare was Rs. 9.50. That was a beautiful experience with the boat alternating between the river and rivulets! The boat takes "U-Turn" at about 3 occasions. The ride is recommended to know the real spirit of Kerala!!!
Sunday, November 05, 2006
I got my second opportunity on October 29. Since Private bus operators were beginning a strike on October 30, I expected heavy rush on KSRTC Buses and on Trains, and since I had to reach Ernakulam on October 30 for some urgent work and to board the Poorna Express, I decided to go to Ernakulam from Kodungallur (in Trissur District of Kerala) on October 29 in the night itself. Accordingly, I reached Kodungallur Municipal Bus Station at about 1930. I saw a KSRTC bus waiting for departure. I enquired with the conductor and he said that the departure time was 1940. The bus was working a Kodungallur-Ernakulam South Station shuttle service. The bus was KL15 1798, Fleet Number TA764 of Parur Depot. The bus was quite old and was a "Limited Stop Ordinary" service. The bus was of TATA make. The bus left sharp at 1945 and reached Edappally at about 2100. There was heavy traffic and the bus took a longish halt of about 15 minutes at Parur Depot.
I had two journeys on KSRTC buses this time. I'll put up an image of a KSRTC bus soon. So bye for the day!
Saturday, November 04, 2006
In the evening as I walked on the FOB at Thane station, I saw a WCAM3 (or WCAG1) waiting for a signal at Thane Distant Outer. The EMU services appeared to be normal. The 1637 CSTM 12-Car Fast pulled in on time. I feared a loco failure there! The EMU stops only at Mulund and Vikhroli between Thane and Kurla. On the way, I spotted a WCAM3 hauled train (Probably the Lucknow/Lashkar), the Pragati with a WCAM3, and the Nandigram with a rust coloured Diesel loco. As my EMU approached Kurla, I saw a Panvel EMU waiting right before the Kurla LC. At the station a Vashi EMU too was waiting. The time was about 1700, and I was expecting my 1703 Belapur to pull in.
The train that actually pulled in was the 1649 Belapur Slow! The train was about 30 mins late, and was closely following two other trains. This ensured that the train stops at outer signals of each station!!! The train finally pulled into Belapur at 1748, about 15 minutes after its scheduled return departure!
This was for the first time I experienced a line block on Harbour line! So that is it for the day. Tomorrow is sunday and there will be no travelling. I plan to upload a few tidbits from my recent Kerala trip. So please ensure that you are here tomorrow in the evening! Bye and good nite!
Friday, November 03, 2006
The day was normal. One interesting fact - As my EMU from Belapur was entering Kurla, I saw the Mumbai bound Konkan Kanya rushing past. The train was over 2 hours late. It is high time KR abolishes the Rake-Sharing of Mandovi and Konkan Kanya. On many days, Konkan Kanya pulls in several hours late and that consequently delays the outgoing Mandovi. Passengers are put to undue hardships due to this.
In the evening I saw the pragati rushing past with a WCAM3. More spottings tomorrow! Bye!
Thursday, November 02, 2006
We had our Pharmaceutical Chemistry practical examination today. The exam was being conducted by our college. We had two questions (of 35 and 22 marks respectively). The procedure for synthesis of a chemical compound would be given, and we have to prepare, analyse it and submit. Analysis means determination of its Melting point only. The first procedure turned out to be wrong. The teacher had to change is totally midway, and that resulted in One-and-a-half hour of extra work. But inspite of this, we managed to finish the experment much before the stipulated time! I ended up with a injured hand after a small glass cappilary pierced my index finger of the right hand!
I had my lunch at 1600. I was totally tired and drained out. I literally dragged myself to the bus-stop, then to the station and thence to the train. I and My friend boarded the 16:50 Thane-Dadar Fast. On the way (and at the station), I spotted the following: Habibganj Express with a WCAM3, Pragati with a WCG2, Nandigram with a blue coloured WDM3A, one light WCG2, and a light WCAM3. At Kurla, I saw a MU-ed pair of WCAM3 coupled to a BCNA rake. I took the 17:17 Panvel slow from Kurla, and finally reached home before 1800 pm!
Will write more on my Kerala trip soon. The travelogue is ready and will be uploaded in a day or two. Meanwhile, you can have a look at the photos of the return journey. The images of the down journey is stuck up at my brother's PC, and efforts are being made to retrive them! Here is the link for the gallery: Click here for the Images.
So bye for the day!