Friday, March 28, 2008

Oh NO! Not again...

I keep forgetting about this blog pretty often these days. The days after the first week of march was damn tiring, and I ended up sitting in office upto 5pm on most days, and working 16 hours at a stretch on two days! Its now cool at office with most of this month's work done, and waiting for the work for the next month!

In between, I had been on a trip to Kerala (from March 19 to March 24). Details of this trip will be put up very soon.

Sometime this week, I got transferred from my original team to a totally new team - It is now a challenge to get mixed up with the new team, and to get things sorted out there. It is a pretty new team, with many members yet to work "live" with the production team. I hope it really is a challenge, and am looking forward for the grueling days when the entire volume supposed for a month comes calling!

Hopefully I have enough time to keep this blog updated these days....

BTW, my office timings have now changed from 0700-1500 to 1500-2300. I've been shifted to the second shift at office.... Evenings would be busy for me now on, while day time would be free... bye for now!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Railfanning on the NE line

As I had described earlier, the Lines in Mumbai division, ahead of Kalyan, is classified into "North Eastern" (NE) and "South Eastern" (SE). The NE line is from Kalyan to Igatpuri, and the SE line is from Kalyan to Lonavla. SE line has been explored quite a bit, and we decided to do justice to the NE line this time. It was a program decided at short notice - On Saturday afternoon to be precise, that Arzan, Babloo (Rajendra) and I would head towards Atgaon on the NE line.

Atgaon (ATG) is about 95 kilometres from Mumbai CST, and is located between Asangaon and Khardi stations on the Kalyan-Kasara segment. The station is located under AC wires, and the section is cleared for 105 kmph (there exists a PSR on the UP line from the ATG Home signal till the starter, and the SR is at 85 kmph). The station has one island platform, with two loops lines used for departmental reasons only. The station has no book/snack stalls. The Mumbai - Agra National Highway (#3) runs parallel to the station, and that provides for a small "dhaba" right outside the station.

We decided on the EMU to board, and accordingly I left home at around 0915. The EMU was at 1040 from Kurla. I reached Kurla at around 1025. Babloo joined me a bit later. Arzan called up at around 1036 to inform that his train has crossed Sion. We joined him in the train at Kurla. The run was average all the way to Thane. At thane, the train was diverted to the slow line due to maintenance work on the Down Fast line. It was an agonizing run after that. We stopped at all stations en-route. We had a brief halt at Kalyan outer. This halt gave me the first surprise of the day - Kalyan's own WDM3A! WDM3A #18852R was seen waiting at the freight yard with a freighter. While leaving Kalyan, I saw a WAG5 inside the ELS. The run ahead of Kalyan was below average, and the AC/DC EMU totally disappointed me with a slow run. We crossed quite a few trains including freighters on the way. Just near Asangaon, we crossed a container train hauled by WDG3A #13410. (This loco is at Raipur)

We reached Atgaon sometime after 1230. Just behind us was the Chhappra Express with WCAM3 #21944 in charge. Some time later, WCAM3 #21937 rushed off with the Howrah Weekly Express. Then came WCAM3 #21883 with the Mahanagari Express. After these spottings, we left off in search of something to eat. We found a Dhaba on the road side, and headed straight for our lunch. Arzan feasted on biscuits, while I and Babloo had Roti and Paneer Makhanwala. The curry was kind of bland. The curry was on the costlier side while the roti was pretty cheap! We stocked up water also for the day from here. Just as we were heading back to the tracks, an unknown train rushed towards Igatpuri with a WCAM3 doing the honors.

A tree, and a Gang-man's refuge acted as the "Camp Office" for the day. The Varanasi bound Kamayani express rushed off with WCAM3 #21940 in charge at around 1445. Behind this train was a Kasara bound EMU. Then two Kalyan bound Freighters headed off with a gap of about 20 minutes. The Aurangabad Jan Shatabdi rushed off at around 1552 with WDG3A #13366 of Kalyan in charge.

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Just behind the Jan Shatabdi was the Mangala Express to Nizamuddin with WDM3A #14139 of Ernakulam in charge. About 5 minutes later, the Hatia-LTT Express went off. We then headed back to the station, Just behind us was the Chhappra-LTT Express. We then spotted the Godavari Express as well as the Sewagram Express at the station.

We then took the Bhusawal-Mumbai Passenger to get back from Atgaon to Asangaon. From Asangaon, we took a Fast EMU towards Mumbai. We overtook the passenger train at Khadavli. Quite some trains crossed us on the way. We all jumped out at Kurla to catch the Udyan Express and the Koyna Express rushing off towards CSTM with their WDP4s! Both the trains literally crawled through the station! I and Babloo then took an EMU back to Navi Mumbai. Babloo got off at Vashi while I continued to Belapur...

The photos of the day are here...

Edited on March 11, 2008

Eventless days...

It was all event less days these days... It was all about rushing to office in the morning, and returning back home tired... As if a routine, I was late on all days, leaving home only by 0645, and then rushing down t office to reach there by 0700-0705. It was like a routine that I never returned from office before 4 pm. Though my shift ends at 1500, some work or the other used to keep me at office atleast till 1600 (On one day it went upto 1800!).

The only railfanning all these days were seeing a Kalyan WDM2 (#18068) dozing off at Turbhe (APMC Yard). The loco is assigned for shunting duties at the yard. #18068 used to be a star loco of Kalyan, and she was a regular with holiday specials all the time! Today she dons a "brown" livery marking her as "de-rated" for shunting duties only! An Original ALCO, she has already outlived her life!

There has been good container traffic these days to APMC. There were two rakes yesterday at APMC. One was ready to depart with a WCAG1 in charge, while the other was being shunted towards the container complex for unloading. The "No-Camera" Policy of my office is putting me off from taking pics of these guys! May be I'll carry a camera one day to get their pics!

300....and still counting!

This blog is finally 300 posts young! What you are reading now is the 300 th post of this blog...

Thank you for letting me reach this milestone - though it did take close to a year and a half to reach here - it definitely is an achievement!