Sunday @ Saphale!

A mail calling railfans in Mumbai for a short trip to Saphale sent me dreaming!!! The days following the mail were done discussing the details of the trip, and today - 17 July 2007 - was decided as the date, and the venue Saphale or Kelve Road.

I reached Andheri at about 0920 by an EMU from Dadar, and found Arzan Kotval already waiting for me at Platform 8. Anamitra was to join us at the station, while two others (Deep and Abhishek) would board the train from its origin at Bandra Terminus. Andheri was the second stop for that train. They (Deep and Abhishek) were in the second coach from the loco. The train pulled in at 0944 into Andheri. The loco in charge was WCAM1 #21836 from Valsad. Anamitra just made it on time for the train - 245 Bandra Terminus - Vapi Passenger. We boarded the coach second to the loco (A 1984 built General Sitting coach). Akshay Marathe joined us from Borivli.

The train pulled out of Andheri at around 0952, already delayed by 10 minutes. We (myself and Deep) were hanging around the door to catch a glimpse of the August Kranti Rajdhani from Hazrat Nizamuddin. The train slowly cleared the points and entered into the Main line. Guess what? The August Kranti Rajdhani was waiting on the UP line for us to cross over!!! The loco in charge of the LHB rake train was WCAM2P #21871 of Valsad. The run ahead till Borivli was normal, with a few EMUs rushing past our train. We crossed the Bhavnagar-Bandra Express right outside Borivli, and she had WCAM1 #21849 of Valsad. Akshay fought his way into the compartment, which was getting jam packed by the moment. We crossed the Gorakhpur-Bandra Awadh Express right outside the station, and the loco in charge was WCAM1 #21838.

The run ahead was absolutely dry. We crossed an unknown express near Vasai. The coach was even more crowded when we left Vasai. The crowd was increasing at each station. We reached Virar at about 1042. A huge crowd got in here, and passengers were hanging out of the coach precariously! We were getting scared by the types of acrobatics performed by the passengers! We finally made it to Saphale at around 1103. It was an ordeal to jump out of the train! The 17-coach passenger pulled away dropping us at the small wayside station. Saphale has two platforms, both on the main line, and each line has a loop which is on the Virar end of the station. The section in 25 kV AC Electrified!

The signal on the UP main line was already green, and we were waiting for a crossing now. The train was Jodhpur-Bandra Suryanagari Express, with WCAM1 #21824 of Valsad in charge. We were all waiting for the star of the day - 'Ahmedabad-Mumbai Karnavati Express'. The station was dipped in silence, when all of a sudden someone among us spotted the signal on the Main line going green! It was moments of anxiety then, when Arzan spotted a 'loco' on the main line! That was her - WCAM2P #21873 - working the Karnavati Express! The train cleared the station at a very high speed! We had a look around the station, and filled up our tummies from a stall at the station, and stocked up water supplies for the next few hours!

Just around then, WCAM1 #21814 pulled in with the Virar-Valsad Shuttle. The train was pretty crowded, and then added more crowd from the station. Minutes after the shuttle went, a Dahanu Road - Virar MEMU pulled in. The 12 car train had three power cars, and had a pretty good crowd. We walked over to Platform 1 (on the Down Main line) when WAG7 #27655 of Ludhiana sprinted across with a long ConRaj train. We decided to shift our location to Kelve road, which was 6 kms towards Dahanu from Saphale. Just around then a Dahanu bound MEMU pulled in. The train had lots of empty seats, but we preferred standing. We crossed a Container train hauled by WAG7 #27286 of Ludhiana.

We reached Kelve road about 4-5 minutes after setting off from Saphale. Kelve road has three platforms - one on the loop line, and two on an island platform between the main lines. Our first spotting was the Ahmedabad-Borivli Passenger, which came in behind WCAM2P #21877. We were all set to get a photo, when the pointsman came around shouting at us for taking photos! Now, what on earth is his problem? We silent saw the Bandra bound Sayaji Nagari Express rushing through with WCAM1 #21848!

We then went out to a hotel to have our lunch. A drunk man (he was stinkingly drunk!) starter shouting at us for speaking in English, and we found it better to vacate the place. We took a parcel from the hotel, and had our lunch at the station. While we were busy with our lunch, a WCAG1 pulled in with a long Tanker rake, and she was overtaken by a WCAM2 hauled express train. After our lunch, Deep and Arzan tried taking a permission from the Station Manager, which was politely refused! We had no option but to walk a few metres down from the station.

Right near the Home signal of the station is a bridge across "Taki" River. We crossed the bridge (hardly about 60metres long) and took refuge under a tree. We first spotted WAG7 #27847 of Ludhiana sprinting across with a Container train. Just minutes after this freight, Ludhiana's Colourful sisters WAG5 #23315 coupled to #23759 sprinted towards Dahanu with a Container train. Just a few more minutes later, WCAM1 #21821 crossed us on its way towards Diva with a RCF owned Liquid Ammonia Container. We decided to get back to the station then. Shortly after reaching back, WCAM1 #21840 pulled in with the Mumbai Central-Ahmedabad Passenger. Just after this passenger was the Gujarat Express with WCAM1 #21818 in charge. Some time later, an unknown Jaipur-Bandra Express rushed through with WCAM1 #21812 in charge.

Some minutes later, WCAM1 #21824 rushed across with the Jodhpur bound Suryanagari Express. A Dahanu-Virar MEMU pulled in at about 1500, and we took that train on our way back. Arzan, Anamitra and Akshay got down at Saphale to continue their railfanning, while myself, Deep and Abhishek got down at Virar. We kept waiting for the Karnavati Express since the signal for the main line was green! And just moments later, WCAM2 #21863 came in with the Karnavati Express, and we were standing right close to the neutral section! The loco came with both her "Pantos" down!

Abhishek took an Andheri bound EMU (1600 Departure) while myself and Deep took a Dadar bound Fast EMU, which departed at 1559 (scheduled departure 1555). We crossed an unknown "Rajdhani Special" at Borivli, and the Mumbai-Delhi Rajdhani near Bandra. We got down at Dadar, and rushed over to the CR part. We took at Kalyan bound EMU to see the Deccan Queen at Kurla. I just alighted at Kurla, and I spotted WCAM3 #21935 rushing through with the Pune bound Deccan Queen! I then took a Belapur bound EMU at 1733, and reached home at around 1815. There ended a real adventurous day, with approximately about 34 train spottings!

Photos of the day can be seen here. Bye for the day!!!

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