Another sunday at Neral...

After a long week at office, I thought that the best way to spend the Sunday is to railfan. AS thoughts about this railfanning kept "re-winding" in my mind, I received a call from Arzan (on Friday). I was waiting for a training session to begin when I got this call. He was proposing a trip o Neral! I did not think another time before saying "YES!".

I checked up with the internet and found that the Matheran Hill railway was back on track! So that was an icing on the cake! The Sunday dawned, and a small "box" news in a Malayalam News paper informed that EMU services in the Vashi-Kurla section was cancelled today! I had to change my program now. I quickly checked up and decided to take a train to Thane instead. I left home a bit after 1100. I parked my car at Vashi, and rushed off to purchase a ticket (a one day pass). I got it and rushed off to the platform to take a train to Thane.

The run out of Vashi was interesting. I reached Thane at around 1200. Platform 7 was preparing to welcome the Trivandrum bound Netravati Express. The train came in at 1206, with an Erode WDM3D in charge! The loco was WDM3D #11184. I ran up and down to get a good pic, and the entire "circus" left me tired. I took a short rest under a fan on the platform. Netravati left at 1212. There were quite some action after that, and I took some images. Some notable action were a WCAM3 with the Nagercoil Express, a Vatva WDG3A with a freighter, and the mother of all - WDM3A #18980R of Kazipet with the Hyderabad Express!

I called up Arzan to inform him that the train that we were planning to take on that day was run with a 9-car rake instead of the normal 12-cars. It was then that Arzan tipped me about the Kazipet loco with the Hyderabad Express. I was joined by Ravi at around 1300. He assisted in getting a ticket for Deep, who was to take the train at Kurla. Our EMU came in at around 1340. We had a rather silent run towards Neral. We crossed the 1014 LTT Express near Diva, and Krishnarajapuram WDM3A #14082 was in charge! We reached Neral at around 1450. We walked over to the NG side. We purchased water bottles to stock up for the rest of the day, and we slowly walked toward Matheran along the NG tracks to capture an incoming train.

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The tiny little train came in a full 10 minutes early, and she had a real powerful horn, which could be heard as much as a kilometre away! The loco was NDM6 #603 of Neral Loco Shed. We then walked over the BG side to capture the Chennai Express. I received a call from Mr. Saxena who was now joining us. He just arrived Neral on an EMU from CSTM. We waited patiently for the express, as Saxena walked towards us. We had a small introduction, and we were delighted to have such a person with us!

By now, the Chennai Express was visible. WCG2 #20142 did the honours. We walked back to the station, and had light refreshments. After this, we were back on the track to spot the Sinhagad Express. She came in with WCAM3 #21935. It suddenly struck me that, we had another NG arrival soon! Mr. Saxena was returning back to CSTM. We thanked him for making it to our meet, and we (Myself and Deep) rushed off to the NG side. Arzan and Ravi were still clearing some of their doubts with Saxena.

As we entered the NG section, we noticed that the train had already entered the station. NDM1A #550 was doing the honors of this train. After a few images, we noticed that the loco was now ready to shunt the rake back to the loco shed. We hung around to see the shunting activity. The SLR coach was uncoupled, and pushed around manually, while the other coaches were pushed in by the loco itself. The loco then went to the shed as NDM6 #603 was coming out to take charge of the evening departure to Matheran. We took a few images of the loco, and then rushed back to the BG side to capture some more action.

We just made it on time to see the Konark Express. WCG2 #20139 did the honours for this train. The sun started setting, and there was no point in waiting for more time there. We decided to take an EMU back at 1730. We went to the refreshment room to have some refreshments. Arzan now decided to go to Bhivpuri Road, while the remaining three of us decided to return back. We took an EMU to CST at around 1730. Ravi got off at Thane, Deep at Ghatkopar and I got down at Kurla. I took an EMU back to Vashi from there.

Images of the day are here...There are more images than what I have mentioned above!


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