Sunday, September 30, 2007

October Bonanza: Update 1

Reached panvel at around 9.30. There is good crowd waiting for my train. All arrivals from KR are delayed by 40-45 minutes.
More will be posted tomorrow

Saturday, September 29, 2007

October Bonanza

Yet another October comes around, and yet another trip dawns! This trip too is now becoming an unbroken tradition. The route for this year's journey is as below:


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

The trip begins at Belapur on September 29 (Today) at 2100. We'll (I and my parents) would proceed to Panvel, and take the 6338 Okha-Ernakulam Express to Kasaragode in Kerala. We'll attend a function on October 01, and then proceed to Kannur. We'll proceed to Alappuzha on October 02 from there. On October 05, we'll be back at Kodungallur.

On October 07, we'll reach back at Bangalore via Coimbatore, Satyamangalam, Mysore. We'll take the 6340 Mumbai Express from Krishnarajapuram on October 09, 2007. We'll alight at Pune and take a bus back to Belapur.

So that is a 3000-odd kilometre journey to be covered in 11 days! It appears to be pretty tight since not a very good news is being heard about the roads in Kerala! Looking forward to cover the journey absolutely safely. So stay tuned right here for updates and possibly some reports too!

I'll try to make an update as the journey begins...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sunday under the wires... Part 2

After that unsuccessful search for a brunch, we were back besides the track. Just about 2-3 minutes after reaching there, we heard a "diesel" horn, and were anxiously looking out to who blew that! Some minutes later, WDM2 #16565 of Ernakulam rushed past with the Hazrat Nizamuddin bound Mangala Express. The train was around an hour late. There was absolutely no spottings during the next 25 minutes, and we were busy discussing about loco classes, and were sadly looking at the passengers who were still waiting for the passenger train at the station.

Some time later, WCAG1 #21979 returned back towards Diva working light (again!). Mayur was longing to see a WDG3A, and his prayers were sort of answered when a light WDG3A rushed towards Panvel a little after the WCAG1. The loco was WDG3A #14559 of Kalyan. We decided to move out after spotting Matsyagandha Express. Matsyagandha Express, bound to Mangalore, was worked by WDM3A #14048 of Ernakulam and came in around 1514.

P1040160

This loco was eluding me for pretty long now, and I was happy to capture her today, and that too working SHF! We walked back to my car and now headed to Panvel. I initially checked out the Khanda Colony LC gate, and then "Podi" LC Gate. "Podi" LC gate is located right outside Panvel station, and I was elated to find that Matsyagandha was still there at the station! So was WDG3A #13302 & #14559 of Kalyan!

I parked my car, and we rushed to the station. Just as we neared the station, an unknown WDM3A of Pune (in blue livery) pulled in with the Dadar bound KR4 Passenger. This train was running late by around 3 hours! We couldn't check out the loco since by the time we reached the FOB, the starter for the passenger turned amber! We headed straight to the station canteen and filled out stomach with something light, and downed come cold drinks to cool us down!

By now announcements about the arrival of Kerala Sampark Kranti was being made. We decided to head off to the refueling point since Karan wanted to see re-fueling. We walked a bit ahead of the platform to capture images of the loco. The train pulled in at around 1615 - about an hour late. The loco was WDM2 #18483 of Ernakulam. This loco seems to be a regular on this link!

P1040183

We stood there watching the refueling process, and I kept an eye on an RPF guys who was watching us with a hint of doubt! A few employees incharge of re-fueling explained the process and the method by which they find the fuel level in the tank. He demonstrated it live for us. Karan tried his luck for an FP, but was politely turned down by the LPs! Just as the refueling was over, the RPF guys came around and said in a rude voice: "Bahut hogaya, abhi chalo" (Thats enough, now clear off).

We walked a bit ahead to catch the loco pulling out, and by now the RPF guy went back to his den. The loco pulled up slowly, and moved on for her journey till Vadodara where she would hand over charge to an electric.

Closing remarks: Karan rushed off to catch an EMU back to Malad (via Kurla and Dadar), while I and Mayur took the road route. I dropped off Mayur at a bus stop in Belapur, from where he took a bus back home while I drove back home! That was a real nice day! We railfanned from 1000 to 1630 - That is 6-and-a-half hours!

Images are here. Please have a look at them, and post your comments. I need them to improve my skills!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday under the wires...

Prelude: It was a Saturday noon, and I my mobile cried out aloud. That was Karan Desai of IRFCA, Mumbai. He was planning a railfanning at Panvel - My own territory! I was quick to suggest an alternative, and we decided to head off there in the morning. Mayur was to join us at Vashi, and I took my car along. We met at Vashi Station at around 0930. Karan updated that the Madgaon bound Mandovi was waiting at Thane even at 0900! We left in a matter of a couple of minutes, and I hit a comfortable 80 in a few minutes on the Panvel State highway. We took a left turn at Kalamboli, and hit towards Taloja on NH4. We made it there at around 1000.

We were just roaming around for a good job to park my car, when WDP4 #20030 rushed past working SHF with the Madgaon bound Mandovi Express - THAT WAS REAL HARD LUCK! We were totally disgusted, and slowly walked towards the tracks, just about 50 metres from where I parked by car! Passengers waiting on the platform of the nearby Navade Road railway station meant that the Roha passenger was yet to go!

We walked may be around 100 metres away from the stations. To describe the location a bit: It was about 2 kilometres of straight track visible with a down gradient and then an UP gradient in quick succession. The track then takes a curve to the right. The section is double lined, and the clearance between the two tracks seemed to be too narrow - ruling out EMU services completely! Both the sides of the tracks have wild growing bushes and we had absolutely no place to stay away from the track! To add to our misery was the fact that the line was an open ar toilet for villagers around! So, each step had to be kept carefully!

Our first spotting came at 10:14. That was the Roha Passenger, and the loco in charge was WDM2 #18041 of Kalyan! This loco is the oldest working WDM2 in India - The second loco of the class to be built! The train approached us at around 65-75kmph, and came to a grinding halt in a matter of a minute! The loco smoked out to the station for a scheduled halt as we continued our spotting. About 14 minutes later, WAG7 #27622 of New Katni Junction (henceforth referred to as NKJ) rushed towards Panvel with a container train.

Mayur was dying to see a WDG3A. Just then, a train approached from the Panvel side. That was a twin NKJ WAG5 hauled container train. The leading loco was WAG5 #23908. The action was hotting up, and now it was the turn of WAG7 #27088 of Kanpur to entertain us. The loco rushed towards Panvel with a Container train. Just after this container train, WCAG1 #21981 rushed towards Diva with a BCNA rake. Fifteen more minutes later, WCAG1 #21977 coupled to dead WCAG1 #21975 rushed towards Kalamboli yard with a BCNA rake.

It started showering down shortly after this spotting, and we had to hurriedly return towards the station. There was a flyover just before the station, and this gave us the well required shelter. Just as we made it there, WAG7 #27368 of NKJ rushed towards Vasai with a Container train. Right after this container train was a Plasser Machine which rushed towards Kalamboli.

We then decided to walk towards the station as the rain was catching up more energy! The Plasser appeared to had decided to ruin our day, she was working on the Down line right outside the station! WCAG1 #21975 (which went dead a few minutes back to Kalamboli) came back to the station, and rushed off towards Diva side. It started pouring down after that, and the rain was so heavy that our pants were getting heavy and we were hugging our cameras tight to avoid it getting drenched! To add to the drama, WCAG1 #21977 (the one which tugged the dead #21975 to Kalamboli) rushed towards Diva with her headlamps on!

It stopped raining a little later, and around the same time the Plasser Machine also finished her job thereby vacating the Down line. We walked out of the station and went a few metres ahead towards Diva. By now the Trivandrum bound Netravati Express was visible. The train curved around and approached the down gradient. The loco looked like an Erode one, and I was a bit sad on that!

The loco cleared the down gradient and then began her up gradient. The loco was WDM3A #14140 of Erode. The loco pilot spotted us as he came closer and switched the headlamps on for us...

P1040008

..Thanks a lot dude for that! The 21 coacher train rushed past us pretty quickly. Just about 10 minutes later, WCAM3 pair #21956 & #21897 rushed towards Kalamboli with a BCNA rake. There was no action for about 20 minutes from then! Later on, WAG7 #27052 of Mughalsarai rushed towards Panvel with a Container train! Mayur was a bit surprised on seeing a Mughalsarai loco here! Another 10 minutes later, WDM2 #17628 rushed towards Diva with a Container train. The loco did not have any logo, but my records state that the loco was from Pune. (I had spotted her roughly a week back at Thane with a small marking stating "PA" on its cabin).

Just as the container train cleared the line, we spotted WDM2 #18408 of Kalyan approaching us on the Down line. The loco was working light and is probably an inferior loco. About 15 minutes later, we spotted some loco approaching us on the Down line. It appeared like a WCAG1 to us, and we were already sick of seeing them! Karan and Mayur rushed off to get a different angle. The loco was WCAG1 #21979. Just as the loco rushed past, WAG7 #27519 of Jhansi came from the other line with a Container train bound to Vasai. I called up Panvel station, and it turned up that the next two trains that we were expecting were running late!

We decided to move out and get some thing to eat. All the three of us were hungry and wanted something desperately! We moved out, and decided to check out Kalamboli yard first. We spotted a WDG4 sleeping off inside the yard. Just as we were preparing to move back, the level cross gates closed, and a WDG3A was seen closing in! That was WDG3A #13302 of Kalyan working an empty BLCA rake towards JNPT. After this spotting, we decided to return to our old place.

We could not find a decent place for getting something to munch on, and decided to abort the plans for eating. Instead, we were back at our point for some more spottings....More coming up in Part 2.

Second part of the report would be posted tomorrow. Images of yesterday's railfanning trip is here. Enjoy!!!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Unscheduled halts on the DIVA-PNVL Line...

This is one post that I had been planning for a pretty long time now. I thought of putting it up while I was killing time hearing songs on my PC today.

The 101 kilometre long Diva-Panvel-Roha branch line of Central Railway's Mumbai division has about 17 authorised halts, and 3 unscheduled halts. By "Scheduled" halts, I mean stations which are listed in the timetable. Of the 17 halts, 5 stations are mere 'halt' stations i.e., stations without loop lines. The 26 kilometre section between Diva and Panvel has 7 "scheduled" stations (including both ends) and three "unscheduled" stations.

Agasan

The first Unscheduled station is Agasan. This "halt" comes at kilometre 45/4 (distances ex-CSTM). This halt is between Dativali and Nilaje. Dativali is at 44/4, while Nilaje is at around 47/something.

The next unscheduled halt is at 51/4, between Nilaje and Taloja stations. I couldn't find any name boards for this one (I'll try out once again soon). The next unscheduled halt is at 53/2, between Nilaje and Taloja stations. (Taloja is at 57-odd). This one is name Nighubammali (I think I got it right).

ALL passenger trains on this route stop at these three halts. The first time I traveled, I thought the train had stopped for want of signals. But presence of passengers on the tracks baffled me. It did not take much time to figure out that there weren't any signals around, and these halts were regular! There are passengers who get out of the train at these points, and many others wait on the tracks to entrain!

Passengers cannot be blamed for patronizing such halts since passenger services on this railway line is pretty poor. These interior villages have very poor bus services too! There are 5 pairs of passenger trains on this route.

I'll get some images from these places very soon...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thane...once again...!!!

I had some work at Thane, and I left my home at around 0930. I took the 1033 Thane EMU from Sanpada, and reached Thane at around 1100. It started pouring down as I reached Thane. I, hence, decided to wait for some time at the station itself. I went over to Platform 7 and stood at the CST end.

Just as I entered Platform 7, announcements were made that the Sahyadri Express from Kolhapur is arriving on Platform 7. The train turned up at 1114 with WCG2 #20117. The train was given the starter almost immediately after she halted! This train usually gets overtaken by Sewagram Express here. The Nagpur-Dadar Sewagram Express turned up after the Sahyadri went out. The loco in charge of Sewagram was WCAM3 #21941. Just as Sewagram started moving out of the station, I spotted WCAM3 #21960 waiting at the home signal with the Chhapra Express in tow. The train had to wait for about 3 minutes at the signal, since a Fast EMU was halting on Platform 5.

Just as Chhapra Express cleared the station, WDG3A #14813 of Kalyan rushed towards Matunga with a set of coaches bound for POH. There was no major movements for the next 40 minutes. There was some sort of a Signaling failure at thane and the Advanced starter on UP Through line remained at Danger for a pretty long time. Some people from the S&T department turned up quickly and they were seen checking something behind the signal. Announcements were made about the arrival of the Trivandrum bound Netravati Express at around 1200. The train turned up at 1211. WDM3A #14049 of Ernakulam was doing the honours of this 21-coach train.

I left the station shortly after 1215. I took a rickshaw to Wagle Estate from Thane Station (East). The rickshaw guys at West were getting too greedy, and were demanding Rs. 80 for a journey which normally costs only around Rs. 25! They were taking full advantage of the situation of absence of bus services currently from the station. The driver whom I hired from East charged me only Rs. 27! (Meter Tariff). After finishing off my work at Wagle Estate, I took another rickshaw back to the station (West), and this cost me only Rs. 24! I made a to-and-for trip for Rs. 31, while the drivers at West were demanding Rs. 80 for a one-way trip!!!

I reached the station back at around 1315. I had some snacks from a stall on the platform, and I was now ready for catching some more action. The first train to be spotted was the Mumbai-Hyderabad Express. WCG2 #20148 was in charge. A minute later, WCG2 #20119 pulled in with the Chennai-Mumbai Express. (This train, 6012, is currently run by SR. The train would be a CR train from October 01, 2007). Just as the train (6012) pulled out, another train was seen at the home signal! That was the Varanasi-Mumbai Mahanagari Express. WCAM3 #21954 did the honours for this train.

Just minutes after the Mahanagari left, WCG2 duo #20152 & #20112 rushed through the station with a BCNA rake towards Kalyan. A couple of Ballast cleaning machines rushed towards Kalyan side after the BCNA rake. There was no major movements for some time till 1410. WCAM3 #21934 rushed light towards Kalyan at around 1411. Announcements were made about the arrival of KR4 Ratnagiri-Dadar Passenger at around 1410. The passenger pulled in at 1415, with WDM3A #18621R of Pune in charge. The train was 17 coaches long today! Just as the passenger pulled out, a WCG2 hauled train was seen waiting to enter Thane (from the Kalyan side). That was the Coimbatore-LTT Express. WCG2 #20142 was doing the honours.

Announcements were now being made about the arrival of the Mangalore bound Matsyagandha Express. The train showed up at 1434 behind WDM3A #14126 of Erode. This train now shares its rake with the 6347/8 Trivandrum-Mangalore Express, by virtue of it this train got two additional General compartments! I boarded the 3rd coach from the loco. WCAM3 #21963 rushed towards Mulund side with a lone departmental wagon.

The train pulled out at 1538. The loco moved out quickly and we slowly crawled through the Advanced starter. The loco picked up speed shortly after the advanced starter. The speed was around 60kmph when we crossed a signal after the Advanced starter. The train maintained speeds in the range of 60kmph, when all of a sudden the pilot noticed a danger signal at Parsik tunnel outer! The pilot slammed the emergency brakes, and the train came to a grinding halt in a matter of about 2 minutes. Just as the train came to a complete halt, the signal turned to Attention. Kalyan WDS6 #36253 rushed towards Thane with a departmental rake. My train stood still for about 3 minutes, and then smoked her way towards the tunnel.

We crawled through the tunnel, and the signal outside the tunnel too turned to be danger! The train stood still for some time and then started moving forward. The pilot could see that the next signal was at "Caution". We slowly crawled towards Diva. WDM2 #16049 of Kalyan was seen sleeping off at Diva outer. We crawled through Diva station, and then the loco gave off a smoky start! We ran through Dativli at a decent speed. We crossed a Vasai bound BCNA rake at Agasan. WDG3A #14563 of Kalyan was in charge. We slowed down at Nilaje outer due to a caution order.

We crawled through the station. A container train was parked on the UP main line, and another rake was parked on the loop line (UP). The loco in charge of the rake on the loop was WAG7 #27646 of Kanpur, while the rake on the main line neither had a loco nor guard! I spotted WAG7 #27886 of Vishakhapatnam was spotted standing light at Taloja station. The run from Taloja to Kalamboli was uneventful. We crossed an unknown WAG7 hauled freighter at Kalamboli. We stopped at Khanda colony gate signal for a minute, and then moved ahead (After the signal turned green). We slowed down after Panvel home. WAG7 #27464 of Tughlakhabad was seen dozing off at the loco siding. My train was received on Platform 2.

P1030783

Platform 3 was occupied by a Twin Kalyan WDM2 headed BCNA rake. The main lines were occupied by a JNPT bound Container train (a WDG3A was in charge), and a Karjat bound VPU rake (headed by WDG4 #12035). Finally, I rushed out of the station, and took a bus back to Belapur. I reached home at around 1645.

Images of the day are here. There are 19 images starting with this.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The New face of NMMT

Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport a.k.a NMMT, is a local Municipal Corporation run Transport Organisation serving passengers commuting in Navi Mumbai and to areas like Thane, Dombivli, Badlapur, Mulund, Panvel and Uran. The organisation began bus services in 1996 with an initial fleet of 25 buses. Today, the organisation operates 39 routes with a fleet of around 285 buses based out of two operational depots. NMMT depots are located at Turbhe (near Vashi) and at Asudgaon (near Panvel).
Older NMMT buses bear the "MH04" registration mark, while the newer ones bear the "MH43" mark. There are around 200 buses bearing the MHO4 mark, while the remaining ones bear MH43 numbers (Numbers: MH43-H-5001 till 5085). All NMMT buses have an Ashok Leyland Chassis. The initial 170 buses have water-cooled Leyland Engines, while the around 30 buses have Hino Bharat-I engines. All the buses bearing the MH43 mark are Hino Bharat-II engine powered.
Asudgaon depot was opened sometime in the middle of 2005. Each depot holds around 140 buses. The area from Airoli to Nerul (West) is served by Turbhe depot, while the areas from Nerul (East) to Panvel is served by Asudgaon depot. The Longest route of the undertaking is from Vashi Railway Station to Badlapur (East) (Route Number: 46; about 44 kilometres).

DSCF8584

The above set of buses is of the older fleet of NMMT. This design was kept standard for a pretty long time now.

DSCF0104

The above model of buses was introduced by NMMT in October 2005, consequent to their first bus service to Mumbai. NMMT operates one bus service to Mulund (Route number 100, terminating at Gawhanpada in Mulund East). Around 25 such buses were delivered in that set. Around 15 of those buses had bodies built by Auto Body of Pune, and the remaining 10 had bodies by ARCO of Pune. The bodies built by Arco were generally not acceptable to passengers and crew alike for different ergonomic reasons!

Another set of 25 buses were delivered in mid-2006. All these buses were built by Auto Body Pune. Around 5 such buses had a "luxury" type seating. And, around 1 or 2 of them had only one exit door as compared to the usual 2. This was one among them:

DSCF8443

Probably after passengers opposed, the single door patter was dropped, and they were back to twin door buses, but with the Luxurious seating. Sometime in August 2007, the chairman of NMMT promised a surprise to be unveiled on August 15, 2007. The surprise was the set of 35 new buses. These buses have a more flashy body, with stylish paint job, huge single piece windshield and more. The body was built by Antony (of Mahape).

P1030588

P1030585

One single thing that i did not like about these buses is the windows. The earlier buses had panes which had to be raised. They were more airy. The new ones have panes which are moved forward and back ward. These ones let lesser air inside! The body work was good, and I had the fortune to travel on one yesterday. (The bus in the image is the one in which I traveled.)

Before winding up: The rear view of the bus::

P1030593

All the best NMMT for their new venture of operating more services to Mumbai...

Monday, September 10, 2007

To Thane after a break...

I had to leave my car at the workshop for some urgent repairs. After dropping the car there, I reached Thane station at around 1345. I purchased a ticket to Panvel on Matsyagandha Express. I reached the platform at around 1350. As I was walking down to the platform, announcements were made that the Coimbatore-LTT Express was running late by an hour, and so was the Varanasi-Mumbai Mahanagari Express. The Ratnagiri-Dadar Passenger was scheduled to arrive soon on Platform 7.

A few minutes later, WDM2 #17739 of Pune - in a very bad condition - pulled in with the passenger. The loco was in brown livery last year, and even the new livery showed signs of the old livery. Just as the passenger cleared in, WDM2 #18354 and #17608 of Kalyan pulled in with a TP rake. The train came to a dead halt a bit before the starter (the starter was red). Just as the loco stopped, the signal turned green. A pointsman rushed to hand over a few caution orders. The loco notched up, and maximum power was applied. The rake slowly inched forward! It took about 5 minutes for the rake to clear the platform!

Just minutes after the tanker moved out, WDM2 #17628 (without any logos) pulled in with a tanker rake carrying "Liquid Ammonia". Just as the loco passed me, I noticed " CR PA " painted on the cabin. That meant that the loco was of Pune DLS! She was probably out of a POH at Parel. Each wagon in the rake was in a very poor state with the paint peeling out, and signs of corrosion was evident. The rake smelled badly of ammonia. After the rake cleared, there was negligible traffic for the next 20-odd minutes. About 2 CSTM Bound EMUs were cancelled, and a handful of others were running late.

P1030522

Announcements were made about the arrival of Matsyagandha Express at around 1430. The train made her appearance at around 1434. WDM2 #17676 of Erode was doing the honours. After a quick photo, I rushed over to board the train. Just as I boarded the train, WCAM3 #21945 pulled in with the Varanasi-Mumbai Mahanagari Express. My train moved out at around 1440. We crossed a CSTM bound EMU at the home signal. WCAM3 #21887 was waiting at the outer signal with the Hyderabad-Mumbai Express.

The run ahead was normal. The loco was a beautiful smoker, pushing out loads of smoke everytime she notched up! We crossed two north bound Container trains on the way (both hauled by WAG7s). We pulled into Panvel at around 1521, and stopped on Platform 3. The loco was refueled and was now ready to move out. A Pune WDG3A was waiting to proceed towards Diva with a Container train. A twin Kalyan WDM2 was waiting to proceed towards Thal wit ha Naptha rake. I took a bus back home from Panvel. There ended another short session.

Images of the day are here. They are the last 12 images of the page starting with this one.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Railfanning at Panvel...

Panvel is always a weakness for me! Here I go once again... I reached Panvel at around 1200. The station seemed to be too crowded, with many departures running much delayed. The "late" runners list was getting longer by the minute, and the Ernakulam-Jaipur Marusagar Express topped the list by running late by 16 hours! Mangala Express (Ernakulam bound) was the next with a delay of 8 hours, Madgaon bound Mandovi Express by 5 hours and the Nizamuddin bound Mangala Express with a delay of 2 hours!

P1030507

The first arrival after I reached there was a freight train hauled by Kalyan WDG3A #14595. That was a BTPN rake bound to Navghar HPCL Siding returning after unloading Naphtha at RCF at Thal. After this rake came in, annoucements were made regarding the arrival of the Trivandrum bound Netravati Express. Netravati came in at 1300 with WDM2 #16885 of Ernakulam in charge. The KR4 Ratnagiri Dadar Passenger came at around 1315, with WDM3A #17687R of Pune in charge.
After both trains left, announcement were made about the Madgaon bound Mandovi Express' arrival. The train came in at 1330 with WDM2 #18169 of Kalyan in charge. Just minutes after Mandovi came, the Jaipur bound Marusagar Express pulled with Twin Ratlam WDM2s in charge. The leading loco was WDM2 #16849 and #17822 (jumbo) came trailing. The 22 coach train had pretty good patronage, and passengers seemed to have starved. The train unfortunately does not have a pantry car, and vendors on the platform had a very good business.
Just as I was preparing to move out, WDG4 #12001 (in the pic above) was seen pulling in from the Pune side with a BCCN rake. The loco was still in the original GM-EMD livery bearing marks of "GM" on the body along with the markings "1997" and "GT46MAC". I rushed to the Khanda Colony LC to catch the Marusagar Rushing past. There ended a fruitful railfanning session.
Images of the day can be seen here. Today's images are the last ten (10) images starting with this one. Bye...

Sunday on the SE line...Part 2

We reached Shelu after a very short 5 minute ride. While riding the EMU itself, we decided on the spot where we should stand for further railfanning. After getting down at Shelu, we walked a few metres, may be around 100-odd metres, towards Neral. The tracks makes up a rough "S" shaped curve, and then about a kilometre of straight track, punctuated by a sharp left curve. In the straight section, there is a down gradient quickly followed by an up gradient. (This description as seen while standing at Shelu looking towards Neral).

Myself and Karan decided to stay near an OHE pole which gave us ample room to be safe if a train came on the UP line. Out first target was the Kanyakumari Express. Shortly after we reached there, an EMU rushed towards Khopoli. Some minutes after the EMU went, the Kanyakumari Express rushed through with WCAM3 #21981 in charge. After the Kanyakumari Express went past, Arzan called up Karan and asked us to join them. (They had walked a few metres further towards Neral). We walked up to them, and they had pretty more room to be safe!

Our first spotting after reaching the new vantage point was the Pune bound Pragati Express. WCAM3 #21882 was incharge of Pragati. Shortly after Pragati went, WCG2 #20138 rushed towards Mumbai with the Deccan Express in tow. Karan was waiting patiently to meet the "Diesel God", and all of a sudden we heard a horn very similar to the WDP4! We were all seat and took positions to get the best pic of the loco! We heard the horn again, but the loco wasn't visible! Some minutes later, the noise came closer and much to the disappointment of Karan, the loco was working Short Hood Forward!

P1030427

The loco was WDP4 #20027 of Krishnarajapuram. The loco smoked lightly as she cleared a gradient! We had a very good time clicking the monster. We were now waiting for the next big spotting - the Queen! The Queen (Pune bound Deccan Queen) made her appearance behind WCAM3 #21889 at around 1822. Just as the Queen cleared the down gradient, the Mumbai bound Koyna Express became visible. WCG2 #20151 was in charge of the Koyna.
After this spotting, we walked back slowly to the station (Shelu). While waiting for our return EMU, we had another surprise spotting! The Okha bound Express from Ernakulam! This train is supposed to take the KRCL route, but a landslide there forced the train here. She was about 20 hours late then, and WDM3A #17894 of Ernakulam was in charge! We left one EMU doe to crowd, and picked the next one.
Arzan decided to stay back at Shelu to catch some more action. During our journey back to Mumbai, we had two Loco pilots to our company. We got some information from them, and the entire return ride was interesting. I got down at Kurla. At Kurla, while waiting for my EMU to get back to Belapur, I spotted the Trivandrum Mumbai Weekly Express and the Pune Mumbai Intercity Express. I reached back home at around 2130.

The images of the day are here. Please have a look and them, and do send in your valuable comments. Bye...

Monday, September 03, 2007

Sunday on the SE line...Part 1

Prelude: SE Line or the "South East" Line is a part of Central Railway's Mumbai Division. The SE line is from Kalyan to Pune running across the Bhore Ghats. Suburban EMU services exist upto Karjat, and then on to Khopoli through a branch line. The major stations on this suburban are Ambernath, Badlapur, Neral and Karjat.
A team of Four IRFCA Mumbai members, viz, Arzan Kotval, Anamitra, Binai Sankar (Myself), and Karan Desai decided to explore this line for the sheer high speed action it has to offer. A Karjat Fast EMU was decided as our outbound train. Arzan was to take the train from Dadar, Myself from Kurla, and the remaining two guys from Thane. This trip was undertaken on September 02, 2007.

I left my home at around 1145, and took the 1214 EMU from Belapur. We had purchased Tourist tickets to make our life easier! I reached Kurla at around 1250. Shortly after I reached there, WCG2 #20117 rushed towards CSTM with the Hyderabad-Mumbai Express. Some minutes later, WCG2 #20122 rushed towards Kalyan with the Hyderabad Express. My EMU came in at around 1315. We took the rearmost FC coach. While on the travel, we spotted Pune WDM3A #18767 at Kurla DLS, a Kalyan WDG3A at Kurla yard, a WCAG1 hauled BCNA crossed us somewhere near Vikhroli, about two WCAM3 hauled trains crossed us before Thane. At Nahur yard, around three freighters including one ready to pull out with WCAG1 #21870 was seen.
Karan and Anamitra joined us at Thane. We doorplated for most of the time. The approach to Kalyan was pretty slow. We were trailing an EMU, and were literally riding Yellows from Parsik Tunnel onwards! A lone WCAG1 was seen at Kalyan Yard. We crossed the Coimbatore-LTT Express just outside Kalyan (Karjat side). The train ran at a very good speed from Kalyan onwards. The ride was very rough and there were plenty of occasions where we were almost thrown out of the train! Karan decided to settle at the door, while we sat inside. Our initial plan was to get down at Neral, but later decided to extend it to Karjat. We continued in the same train towards Karjat.
We were taken on a small terminating EMU Platform near Platform 2 at Karjat. The Pune passenger was occupying Platform 2. Twin WCG2s were preparing to take charge of the banking assignment of the passenger. WCG2 #20124 was in charge of hauling the passenger to Pune. Arzan tried chatting with the pilot, but he seemed un-interested! We then decided to check out the bankers. The passenger was banked by WCG2 #20150 (leading) and #20140. The passenger left at 1530, while our return link to Neral left at 1537. We crossed the Chennai Express at Bhivpuri. Our train made a brief halt between Bhivpuri Road and Neral, to pick up a corpse of somebody who was mowed down by an earlier train.
We reached Neral at around 1600. We had a quick look around the loco shed, and then rushed to the main line to catch some action. We walked a few metres towards Karjat, and decided on a spot to stay around. The first train to be spotted at Neral was the Pune bound Sinhagad Express. WCG2 #20155 was in charge.
We then decided to check out the NG loco shed in detail. We initially planned to obtain permission from the office, but being a Sunday the offices were closed! Around 7 NDMx locos were seen inside in addition to one steam loco. The Locos that I could spot inside were NDM6 #603, NDM1A #550, NDM6 #600, NDM1A #551. The NG line is being used as a path for driving bikes around by the villagers! The NG side of the station was silent since the services were suspended due to monsoons.
We were back near the main line very soon. The station was pretty crowded much to our disappointment, and we decided to proceed to Shelu instead. We decided to spot the Konark Express before proceeding, and we selected a spot at the end of the platform itself. Our train to Shelu was to arrive soon, and the signals were already set.

P1030338

Konark Express came in at 1659, with WCG2 #20153 in charge. The train had 20 coaches, and was decently fast. Just as the train went past, our EMU was visible, and we had to rush back to the platform. I and Arzan couldn't make it to the FC coach, and we decided to take a Second class coach instead. The train was a 9-coach train, which caused all the confusion! The run from Neral to Shelu was interesting, and the surroundings were captivating.

To be continued....look out for Part 2 right here.