Sunday, December 30, 2007

The year that was!

2007 is all set to end in a less than 30 hours from now! Another new year is round the corner... before welcoming the new year, let me have a recap of the year that really was special!

  • This year started with a bang! I railfanned at Panvel on January 02, to welcome the year in true railfan style!
  • The year had the maximum number of journeys in a year till date beating 2005 hands down! 2005 had 6, while 2007 wins with 8 journeys!
  • I got a brand new camera in June!
  • I completed my graduation, and joined a BPO with 5-figure monthly salary!
  • Flew again after a long gap (the last air journey was in May 2005)
This post came a day early instead of December 31 since I am not very sure if I would be able to make a post tomorrow! Anyways...

Wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous New Year!
Happy New Year 2008

December Chills!


Finally the trip is done! The last long distance journey of the year that had many of them!

The down journey was by 2163 Dadar-Chennai Express. My coach was A1 (01052A based at Dadar). The locos that hauled my train were WCG2 #20151 from Dadar to Pune, then WDM2 #17541 of Guntakal from Pune to Renigunta, and finally WAM4 #21297 of Arakkonam from Renigunta to Chennai Central. The train was more or less on time at most stations. We reached Chennai Central at 1941 as against the scheduled arrival time of 1935!

The trip from Chennai to Bangalore was by road, in my Brother's Innova. We left Chennai at around 1530 and reached Bangalore some time after 2130. The traffic snarls in Chennai made things really bad. We were put up at Adayar, and the journey from Adayar to Sriperumbudur was painful! The run from Sriperumbudur to Bangalore was a breeze. We left Sriperumbudur sometime after 1800, and still made it to Bangalore by 2130. The traffic was moderate, and the car rarely went above 100kmph (I was at the wheel!)

The trip from Bangalore to Mumbai was by IndiGo Flight 6E-275. The aircraft was VT-INF (Airbus A320). The flight was pushed back at around 1136, and took off at 1146. We landed at Mumbai at 1300. Deplaning began at 1307. We were bussed to the terminal, and I was out in about 3 minutes (I had only cabin baggage!). I took a rickshaw to Santacruz Railway Station. The meter reading said Rs. 25.00, while the driver demanded Rs 50! I paid only what he was really eligible for (the meter reading!), and then walked off to the bus station. I then took a bus to Nerul, and then a rickshaw from there to home! The entire ride from the Airport to Home cost me Rs. 93 (25+15+50), while a taxi would have cost atleast 600 bucks!

So that was a long journey! The pics from the train journey are here, while the pics of the flight journey are getting ready (there are two videos - 1 of the take-off, and the second of the landing) - will be put up very soon!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

December Chills!

Another winter, another trip!

Another railfanning this winter! I am leaving for Chennai tonight by 2163 Dadar-Chennai Express. Will be back to Mumbai on December 30 in the afternoon by flight from Chennai.

A detailed Itinerary is posted here..

SO do tune in for regular updates, right here!

Monday, December 24, 2007

In search of rails without the wires...

A rather long dream of railfanning at a location which does not have the menace called wires was fulfilled today! I got an off at office after about three weeks of holiday less work. So decided to utilize it in the best way a railfan can - finding out a new railfanning point! I called up IRFCAn Deep to find out if he was free. He came down to Panvel at 1045, and we left towards Panvel. We ran through Panvel Bye-pass and got straight to Somatne. We then took a turn and entered the road towards Rasayani. The track runs almost parallel all the way, and we then decided on a good location for railfanning.

Our place was at Village Narpoli. We caught three trains there, and the highlight of all was the Trivandrum bound Netravati Express with the WDM3A! (Seen below)


After being there till about 2PM, we rushed to Panvel station. We had some light snacks, and got back to railfanning. Panvel was at its best after a long time, and there were regular freight movements throughout the time we were there!

Mastyagandha towards Mangalore left at around 1545 with WDM3A #14076 of Ernakulam in charge. The LTT bound Netravati came in at around 1615 with WDM3A #14051 of Ernakulam in charge. We left Panvel at around 1630, and I reached home shortly after 1515.

Images of the day are here.... Sorry for rushing through and making a rather small report (Will edit this and make a bigger one very soon!)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Another evening at Panvel

Sunday, December 16, 2007: This Sunday, unusually, was a working day at my office. I had grand plans for the evening, and the working announcement made me sad. But, later on, I informed my immediate superior that I would be reporting late to office and I made my way to Panvel to receive my dad who was returning from Kerala.

I reached the station sometime after 1500. I took a Platform ticket and slowly walked into the Platform 1. The platform was deserted. The Mangalore bound Matsyagandha Express is scheduled to arrive at 1515, but there were no passengers! An announcement was played that the train is arriving shortly on Platform 3. I rushed over to Platform 3, and there were a good number of passengers there! I decided to capture the loco from the foot over bridge, and the loco was WDM2 #18598 of Erode. A plain WDM2 for a 21 coach train!

Another train was pulling in on the main line from the Karjat side - that was a BCNA rake with...


...WDG3A #13382 of Kalyan in charge! This is probably the newest loco at Kalyan! Kalyan Diesel Shed is getting WDG3As at a steady pace from March this year! Looks like their old ladies (original ALCOs!) are getting ready to retire! I walked down the FOB, and rushed towards the loco end of Matsyagandha Express. A BCNA rake was parked on Platform 2. The BCNA was worked by twin WDM2s of Erode (led by WDM2 #17599, and WDM2 #17581 trailing). It appeared as if I was standing at some station in the south, with three Erode locos lining up!

I now spotted a train approaching the station from the Roha side, and that surely was my dad's train! The train was slowing down, and I had to rush back to the platform (#1). I made it to the platform very much on time, and I decided to take a photograph from the Roha end of the platform (Standing just a few metres away from the RPF station!) There were no RPF guys around as I clicked images! The loco was WDM2 #16859 of Ernakulam! Another WDM2 with a 21 coacher!

I received my Dad, and we rushed back home. I reached office at around 1645 (my shift began at 1500!). I took 4 images in the day and all are here: Image 1: WDM2 #18598; Image 2: WDG3A #13382; Image 3: WDM2 Twins; Image 4: WDM2 #16859

Saturday, December 15, 2007

To Panvel...last week...

December 08, 2007:

The number of railfanning events in this year seems to be bell-shaped. It was low in the beginning, then picked up, and now back to lower levels. Ever since I joined my job (in October), I never have had time for railfanning, or the likes. My dad was to go to Kerala on an urgent work on Saturday (Dec 08, 2007). The tickets were booked on Friday in Tatkal quota.

A small mess up during the reservation ensured that the boarding point selected was Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, and this strategic point was noticed shortly after 1100 by my mom. The train departs from LTT at 1140, and my home is atleast 45 minutes away from the station! Finally, we decided to face whatever be it and take a chance. Myself and my dad left home shortly after 1145, and picked up the tickets from my Mom's office. My mom too joined us. I drove down the Sion-Panvel State Highway and reached Panvel station shortly after 1230.

The KR4 Ratnagiri-Dadar Passenger was running late by 20-25 minutes, and so was the Nizamuddin bound Mangala Express. There was just one container train at the station, and she occupied Platform 2. Netravati was to arrive on Platform 3, and was running late by 5-10 minutes. I decided to have a look at the power of the container train on Platform 2. The loco in charge was WCAG1 #21981. She probably was bound to Karjat.

Announcements regarding the arrival of the Netravati Express took the centre stage, and the coach positions were announced. A manual announcement was made that the train had passed the previous station (Kalamboli). So, it was just the matter of a few seconds for the train to show up. I walked down towards the Kalamboli end of the station to get a good view of the loco working the Netravati Express. I was expecting a WDM3D of Erode to do the honours (a message from IRFCAn Jimmy conveyed that the link is shifting to Ernakulam shortly). But, an "orange" coloured loco turned up!

The loco was ...


...WDM3A #14076 of Ernakulam. This was probably my first image of this loco in proper light! The loco slowly crawled in with the 21 coach rake. My dad had his reservation in B2. The coach was of 2002 make. He entered the coach a bit tensed, but his seat was unoccupied! A quick look at the reservation chart showed that out of the 64 seats in the coach, as many as 59 were reserved in the Tatkal Quota, and about 2 in the "SS" (or "Lower Berth") Quota! The railways are really minting money with such tactics of selling tickets at a premium!

My dad asked me and my mom to leave before the train does, and time was running out for me to get to office! Just as I was back on the foot-over-bridge, I saw the Dadar passenger pulling. It was WDM3A #18688R of Pune in charge. The train was pretty crowded, and we rushed out of the station before the passenger stopped. I was back at home some time after 1340. Had a quick bath and rushed to office!

I took just 3 images in the. They are here: Image 1: WCAG1 #21981; Image 2: WDM3A #14076; Image 3: WDM3A #18688R

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A big SORRY!

Sorry for not publishing anything for quite some time now! I was actually busy at my office (My timings changed to 1500-2300 now!), and my net connection was down since the last Sunday (December 03 onwards).

In the duration, I had two railfannings - the reports of which are lines up and will be published in the days to come

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Railfanning - under their nose...

Nov 30, 2007 : After a tiring day at office, I back at home by 0800 (I was working in a night shift which commences at 2300, and gets over by 0700, I generally reach home at 0800), I was once again offered a chance to railfan - this time at a place which is poorly covered for the fear of getting caught in the act (of photographing) - Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, fondly called as CST, or CSTM in the railway parlance.

My sister in law was returning to Bangalore after a week long stay here. My dad was going to CST to send her off. She was leaving by the 6339 Nagercoil Express. I decided to grab this chance, and I got ready for the journey. We left home shortly after 0945, and headed straight to Vashi. My sis-in-law rushed to purchase tickets, while I parked the car. We took an EMU from Vashi to CST. We reached CST at around 1115. Our train was taken on Platform 1. We walked over to the Mainline section, and purchased platform tickets. We then rushed off to Platform 18, where the 6339 was expected.

On the way, I spotted an unknown WCAM3 waiting with the rake of the Pragati Express on PF10, WCAM3 #21887 with the Deccan Queen on PF11, another WCAM3 with the Panchvati Express on PF14 and WCAM3 #21940 on PF15 with an unknown train. WDM3A #16219R was sleeping off on PF16 with the rake of the Devgiri Express. PF17 was awaiting the arrival of the Howrah Mail (via Allahabad). WDS6 #36122 pulled in with the rake of the 6339 Express to Platform 18 at around 1125. My sis-in-law was in A1. She went in and "unloaded" her baggage.

We remained outside for some time, and then I decided to check out the loco that was to work her train. I walked towards the loco end (her coach was the fourth from the rear of the 18 coach train). The train was standing on the newly built side of the station, and the railway authorities had built a less than average facade to the otherwise impressive station building. The loco had still not arrived. An Unknown WCAM3 now entered PF17 with the Howrah mail. Some minutes into standing...


...WCAM3 #21898 crawled towards Platform 18 to take charge of the train. I looked in awe at the loco slowly approaching the train - this train is one among those to be upgraded to a WCAM3 since the WCG2s started their retreat. Some other train have shifted to diesel traction after the WCG2s started their exit. The loco came and coupled itself, while I walked back to her coach. The train pulled out at 1205 - exactly on time, and I slowly walked towards the suburban side. The WCAM3s that I had spotted earlier had disappeared by now, and instead WCG2 #20112 was spotted with the rake of the Sahyadri Express on Platform 8, and the Hyderabad Express was occupying PF9. I took a Belapur bound EMU from CSTM.

On the way out, I spotted WDM3A #18893R of Kazipet preparing to pull out with the Hyderabad Express. I spotted another Kazipet loco sleeping off behind the Electric Loco trip Shed. There were just two WCG2s at the Trip shed, and about 3-4 WCAM3s too were spotted. WCAM3 #21888 was standing out with the board of the Sinhagad Express. My train quickly picked up speed. We overtook WDM2 #18463 of Kalyan pulling out the empty rake of Devgiri Express just after Masjid. The run from Masjid to Sewri was uneventful. I spotted an MBPt Shunter (#55) shunting out a BCNA rake towards Wadala, and another shunter (#53) working a BCNA rake towards the port. Both were spotted right after Sewri.

I spotted WDM2 #16459 coupled to #18419 (both from Ernakulam) standing light at Wadala Road Freight interchange yard, and I spotted another WDM2 couple at Kurla. The run from Kurla to Vashi was eventless. I reached home at around 1400, and had a good nap before gating back to office.

The photos of the day are here, starting with this one. A total of 9 images. The meaning of the title is that: I took photos at CSTM standing very close to RPF guys! A bit sense, and usage of the swivel scree of my camera did the trick - Now that a secret ;-) This entire thing happened on November 30, 2007.