Railfanning at Panvel

I was planning to railfan at Panvel in the "morning peak" hours since the past few days. My office timings changed about two weeks back, and is currently from 1500-2300 (As opposed to 0700-1500 earlier). I had planned this trip last monday, but woke up late and missed the chance. Today, I was determined to do it, and got up at 0730 itself. I headed straight to Panvel at 0815. The highway was relatively empty, and managed to reach Panvel by 0835 (15 kms in about 20 minutes!). The roads leading to the railway station was "infested" with police personnel, and I was a bit surprised on seeing such a huge number of police personnel there!

I decided to park my vehicle behind the station and headed straight there. I left my car in a parking lot and walked towards the station. Announcements about the arrival of Mandovi express towards Madgaon was being made. I rushed towards the ticket counter to get a Platform ticket, and found that the exit towards Platform 1 was cordoned off by the Police! The main line ticket counter too was closed and entry to the area was completely closed! A huge battalion of police personnel were seen, and I had a heat wave rushing across my body! I walked towards the suburban counter and discovered that the Chief Minister (Vilasrao Deshmukh) and the Minister of State for Railways (Narainbhai Rathawa) was coming to Panvel to inaugurate additional EMU services on the harbour line! (3 pairs of new trains are being introduced between Panvel and Andheri, and another 3 pairs between Panvel and Wadala Road are being added!).

There was no scope of even pulling out my camera. I was absolutely dejected as I walked towards the platform. There was a good number of freight trains, but photography was out of question since GRP & RPF guys were everywhere! I saw WDP4 #20036 pulling in with the Mandovi Express, but could stand only as a mute spectator! A sudden wave saw me rushing off to my car and headed straight towards a small LC gate about a couple of kms outside Panvel station. The traffic on the highway was a bit slow, and to add to the fuel were the large number of traffic cops on the road! I took a quick left after ONGC complex and headed towards the level cross. The road was pretty narrow, and I saw that the gate was closed! As I approached the gate, I saw Mandovi at a distance. The loco was picking speed, and she gave a treat with her horn blowing continuously!

I drove further down into a village, and saw that there were ways of accessing the Karjat line! The Nasik - Pune express was expected any time. I got on to the tracks. Villagers were seeing with a bit of caution and a bit of surprise! I stood there under the sun for about 5 minutes when I heard the horn of the train as she started out of Panvel. The train was probably taken on Platform 3 since the train made a quick exit and had picked up considerable speed by the time she crossed me! The loco in charge was WCAM3 #21881.

I then decided to head to Somatne station. I parked my car somewhere near Somatne, and headed straight to the tracks. Mangala was expected any time then. The signal remained red.... A gangman was seen at a distance, and I decided to keep away for some time. After about 15-20 minutes of standing in the sun, I saw the signal turn green. Just a minute later, I could hear the horn and the characteristic "chuff-chuff" of the loco! The loco came closer...and closer... She was WDM2 #16674 of Ernakulam.

The Roha passenger was already late, and I was expecting the train any time. I called up Panvel, and they said that the Garib Rath would come at 1030 itself! It was already 1020, and the train should have atleast reached Somatne by then! I remained around the tracks, where I heard another horn! This time it was WDM2 #18251 of Kalyan working the Diva-Roha Passenger:

The loco came in with full dynamic brakes on, and then braked hard to slow down while entering the loop. I decided to stay there and check if the passenger departs immediately! It didn't happen, and I was sure that another crossing is happening soon! Some minutes later, another horn was heard! I took positions to take a picture - a shiny "orange" colored loco was seen at a distance!

P1100155

The loco came closer, and I quickly identified the loco was an Ernakulam Baldie! The loco was WDM3A #14048 of Ernakulam working the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus bound Garib Rath Express!

The loco made a beautiful sound as she notched up to tide over a mild gradient! I called it a day after this spotting, and headed back to the highway. Traffic was very slow, and the number of police personnel seemed to have increased. I took a different route to get back home instead of the highway....

Links to all images have been provided along with the spotting itself! Please do have a look at them, and let me know your opinion! Bye for now!

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