Meeting Alok...

Alok Patel from IRFCA Nagpur is an "ever elusive" being! Many IRFCAns are reported to have missed Alok by a few minutes! I decided not to take a chance, and reached Panvel well in advance. The yard had two twin Kalyan WDM2 hauled BCNA rakes, and one Container rake headed by an an unknown WAG7. One of those twin WDM2 hauled BCNA was headed to Saswad road, and had originated from a "Kribhco Siding/WR" and was routed via "BSR-KJT". The other BCNA was empty, and probably bound to KR.
Announcements were being made about Alok's train - 0103 Mumbai CST - Madgaon Mandovi Express. The train was to arrive shortly on Platform 2. The train made here appearance at around 0840. An "ugly duckling" working Long Hood Forward did the honours.


The loco was WDP4 #20040 of Krishnarajapuram. Alok was exactly at the middle of the rake - Coach 12 of the 23 coach rake. The rake had one new coach (07-BEML Make Sleeper coach), while most others were of late 90s and early 2000s. I and Alok had a short chat. His coach was pretty empty, with just about 50% occupied! The - supposed to be clean, ISO certified train - was looking pretty ugly, just like the loco! The train pulled out after a 10 minute break. I hope to meet Alok once again very soon.

Just as Mandovi was moving out, an Erode WAG7 pulled in with a Container train going towards Vasai. I walked over the FOB, and noticed WAG7 #27327 of Tuglakhabad was pulling in with a JNPT bound container train. Mangala Express bound for Ernakulam was reportedly running late by 10-15 minutes. The train had a very good booking today, with an overflowing waiting lists! Waiting lists up to about 40 in sleeper class were cleared, and bookings went upto 150! In 2A, not a single W/L cleared, and in 3A about 6 W/Ls got cleared.

Mangala finally pulled in at 0940. The loco in charge was WDM2 #16860 of Ernakulam. The rake was the same in which I had traveled from Thrisur to Panvel on August 19th. The train had one VPU each at the front and rear of the rake. One of the coach attendants recognized me, and we had a short chat. The 1689 Roha Passenger was to pull into Platform 1 soon. I walked over to Platform 1. Just as I reached the platform, Mangala was given her starter, and the train pulled out.

1689 passenger came in with WDM2 #18068 of Kalyan in Charge. The same loco did the honours on August 20 also! I think the loco rotation is done every week. After clicking a few images of the passenger, I walked out of the station giving a short pause to my railfanning...

Photos of the day are here i.e., the third image on the page onwards...