Sunday, June 29, 2008

A visit to Krishnarajapuram....

A railfanning trip with other IRFCAns in Bangalore was on the cards since a very very long time. It never materialized since every one pulled out at the last moment. Finally, it happened - a meet organized at a really short notice! We were to meet at Krishnarajapuram station at 1100. I and Jacob (Another IRFCAn, staying close to my home) were to meet up at the bus stop at 1000. But a Saturday morning fever struck me, and I left my home well past 1020! We met up at the bus stop and took a bus to Jayadeva Hospital. We headed off to the Jayanagar 9th block bus stop. We missed a bus just as we were nearing the stop. WE stood there for a long time, but no buses turned up!

We then toon another bus to Silk Board, and then changed on to a bus on Route #500D. The journey took 30 minutes, and the bus driver was driving way too slow! He was really competing with pedestrians, and even rickshaws could overtake the bus! We reached Krishnarajapuram station well past 1200! We were now joined by Abrar and Sanket! After a standard round of introductions, we started off walking towards the loco shed!

While we were walking, the Chennai-Bangalore Brindavan came in with WAP4 #22558 of Erode. We continued our walk towards a small halt platform built on the main line for employees of the loco shed. On our way, another IRFCAn Vibin called up and he asked our exact location. He drove towards our point, and on the way messaged us that the Marikuppam Push Pull was on the way!

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The Push Pull is basically a DEMU, and had 7 coaches including two power cars! After the DEMU left, we spotted a twin Vijayawada WAG5 hauled tanker rake rushing off towards Chennasandra. Vibin reached us by now. There was no traffic at all for very long periods! A Kalyan WDG3A (#14982) rushed towards Whitefield - probably to pick up her rake - after a long 40 minutes of silence! Just a while after the Kalyan loco rushed, the Bangalore MEMU from Bangarpet arrived. There was enough crowd in the train.

The Sheshadri Express to Kakinada rushed past about 3 minutes after the MEMU went. Vijayawada WAM4 #21218 did the honors of this train. That was my first proper sighting of a BZA WAM4! Traffic was dismal in the section, and it rained intermittently - pretty heavily on some occasions! Another tanker train went towards Chennasandra a while later with twin WAG5s of Vijayawada doing the honors again! We were joined by Colin Peter now (Sanket left us soon after Vibin joined due to his personal commitments!). WE decided to wait till the Brindavan heads to Chennai before we doing something that we all had been waiting for!

The Brindavan went through at 1502 hrs. Erode WAP4 #22550 did the honors! We then headed off to the DLS for a guided tour around, and then went home! I did not take much images, but the ones I took would be put up soon (I still have space issues at my image host - will probably solve them this week!).....

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Railway Jargon...demystified...

One small comment that appeared for the post "Yet another railfanning at Bangalore City!" is the nucleus on this post. The comment said:
Never saw someone deal with those letters like WDGPOIM etc with such felicity... great! But could you also explain in our posts what these letters mean... Your blog has a great potential to demystify Railways for the millions of common people.
Here I go! The locos on the Indian Railway system are mainly of two types: the Electrics and the Diesels! (I call the former as a Female and the latter as a male - I wouldn't go into the details, else I'd end up stirring a hornets' nest!). India has a variety of gauges for this railway system namely: Broad (1676mm - the most common Gauge in India - a majority of the routes in India are on this Gauge), Metre (1000mm - the erstwhile standard on many routes in India. Being converted to Broad as a part of Project Unigauge) and Narrow (762mm & 610mm).

I'd keep my discussions limited mainly to Broad Gauge locos only - that too only the most commonly seen ones! I am a diesel fan in all ways. The reason behind the love for diesels is obviously the sounds and smoke from a diesel locos - somethings absent entirely on an electric loco!

Locos in India are broadly divided based on their intended use into: Mixed, Passenger and Freight (Goods). All locos are given a "class" name, which basically consists of Alphanumeric characters. Three Alphabets followed by a Number denote the class name. Another alphabet may be added after the Number to denote "sub-classes".

The meaning of these alphabets are: The first one stands for the Gauge of the loco:
W = Broad Gauge
Y = Metre Gauge
N = Narrow Gauge (610mm)
Z = Narrow Gauge (762mm)

The second character stands for the power source:
D = Diesel
A = AC Electric
C = DC Electric
CA = AC/DC Electric (runs on both)

The third character stands for the intended purpose:
M = Mixed (works Passenger & Freight)
P = Passenger
G = Freight (Goods)
S = Shunting

The number denotes the "series" of the loco (incase of Electrics and Branch line Diesels), while this number denoted the power (in HP) of the loco (for main line Broad gauge Diesel locos). Number "1" would denote a thousand hp.

The alphabet suffix after the number would denote the sub-class of the loco. In diesel locos it also means an increase of a 100hp over the power denoted by the number i.e., 3A would mean 3100hp, while 3C would mean 3300hp!

So, the syntax of writing a loco's class name would be: [Gauge][Power][Purpose][Series][Sub-class]

Now, WDG3A follows this syntax, and the expansion for this class would be: Broad Guage Diesel Freight (Goods) 3100hp locomotive!

There are some exceptions to this nomenclature though! A WDM2 is a 2600hp loco, while WDM2A too is a 2600hp loco but works only on Air-Brake! Similarly, WDM2B is also a 2600hp loco but with dual brakes (Air & Vacuum) brakes working! WDP1 is a 2300hp loco, while the WDM7 is a 2000hp locos! These locos have odd classes because they are exempted from following the mainline BG Diesel classification system since these locos are intended to operate on branch lines!

In case of an Electric Locomotive, the number denotes the series in which the loco was actually produced (or designed). This a WAP4 would mean: Broad Gauge AC Electric Passenger 4th series loco i.e., it is the 4th loco in the "WAP" series to be produced!

The locomotives currently in Use in India are (only Broad Gauge):
Diesel: WDM2/2A/2B, WDM3A, WDM3C, WDM3D, WDP1, WDP3A, WDP4, WDG3A, WDG4
AC Electric: WAM4, WAP1, WAP4, WAP5, WAP7, WAG5, WAG6, WAG7, WAG9
DC Electric: WCG2, WCM6 (Only two were produced - One damaged in fire, and the other converted to AC traction!)
AC/DC Electric: WCAM1, WCAM2/2P, WCAM3, WCAG1
Diesel Shunters: WDS4B, WDS6/6B

Out of these, DC Electrics, and AC/DC Electrics are sort of exclusive to the Mumbai region, and they rarely venture out. AC/DC Electrics go upto a maximum of Ahmedabad on the WR line, and Manmad/Pune on the CR line. DC electrics are exclusively seen on Central Railway and work only to Pune side. The sole surviving DC electric is the WCG2 - which is all set to move to the scrapyard in less than a year from now. (A separate tribute post about the WCG2s would be put up later).

This is all about locos! A brief description about these locos would be put up later. I hope this post would demystify the railway jargon a bit. My next posts would demystify more of those terms.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Yet another railfanning at Bangalore City!

I had some work in the city today, and desperately wanted to spend time. I headed off from my home at around 1300. The journey started off with a few hiccups (I had to return home after walked quite a distance to pick up some thing very important - an umbrella!). I then took a rickshaw to the nearest bus stop, and got into a bus towards Kempegowda Bus station (Majestic). I got down at State Bank of Mysore, and then walked around to finish off my work (I had to jobs - managed to do one, but the other is yet to be done!).

After the hectic work, I headed off towards the Railway Station. I managed to reach the station at around 1545 (I was planning to be there atleast by 1400, but could reach only an hour and 45 minutes later!). I initially thought that the 1014 Express had left, but the platform indicators was still displaying that the train is yet to arrive! I had a cup of coffee (I had skipped lunch - and settled for a couple of guavas!) and walked around Platform 1 when I heard a WDP4 revving up! Just then, I noticed an Ernakulam loco swiftly pulling in! I just about managed to get a photo of the loco and then finished the coffee. The sound of the WDP4 came clearer, and the loco became visible. The loco headed off towards the advanced starter, and then reversed back to couple up to the rake of the 1014 LTT Express. The loco was WDP4 #20033 of Krishnarajapuram.

Just as the loco finished coupling, a WDS6 (#36243) of Krishnarajapuram pulled out the rake of the Karnataka Express from the yard to Platform 4. The shunting delayed the departure of the Coimbatore-LTT Express (1014) from Platform 1. After the rake (of Karnataka Express) settled on PF4, the 1014 express was allowed to head back home. The loco which brought in the 1014 from Coimbatore (WDM3A #14075 of Ernakulam) followed the rake upto the starter, and then stopped there. I walked towards Platform 5, and spotted the Itarsi twins waiting to charge back home!

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The locos were WDM3As #18809 & #18727. I can't understand the need to have twin WDM3A locos to work a 24 coach rake! Isn't it a bit overpowered! I headed on to Platform 5, and saw that the rake of the Ernakulam express was already there! Just then twin WAM4s reversed on to the Platform to get coupled to the train. The loco allotted for this train was WAM4 #20610 of Arakkonam. The loco was brought in by WAM4 #20674 of Arakkonam. Just then the rake of the Karnataka express was once again pulled out by the same WDS6, and this time shunted off to Platform 1!!!

Some time later, WAM4 #21320 of Arakkonam (in Barbie Livery) pulled out of Platform 7, and reversed on to Platform 6. In the mean time, I decided to check the Yeshwantpur side of the station, and headed off there. WDP4 #20005 of Hubli was seen standing at the IOH shed. There was another WDP4 around, but couldn't notice the number since a rake was blocking my view. A WDS4 shunter (#19534) was shunting out rakes from the yard. The Hindupur passenger was shunted out first and parked on Platform 8. I walked back to Platform 5 once again. All of a sudden, I noticed a diesel on Platform 7 - that was WDM3A #14053 of Krishnarajapuram with the Mysore-Chennai Shatabdi Express! The loco was removed, and WAM4 #20674 of Arakkonam took charge of the Shatabdi.

I walked back to Platform 1, and then took a photo of WDM3A #14075 of Ernakulam sleeping off at the siding there and slowly walked off towards the exit when I noticed that the Mysore-Nagercoil Holiday special was yet to arrive! I headed back to Platform 7 once again. Around this time, I noticed WDM3A #14053 shunting around, and WDM3A #18704 parked ahead of the loco of the Tippu Express on Platform 6. This loco (18704) had earlier shunted in the rake of the Ernakulam Express, and later took the Chikkaballapur Passenger.

I walked around the Mysore end of Platform 7. The loco for the Tippu Express was WDM2 #17446 of Krishnarajapuram. The Nagercoil special pulled in at around 1728 with Golden rock WDM2 #16863 doing the honors. I called it a day, and headed to the bus station to get a bus back home! That is the end to another day! Images taken during the day would be uploaded soon! (I have some space crunch at my image host - trying to solve it out soon!).

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Back in Bangalore...

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After a 10-day long relaxation visit to Kerala, I am back in Bangalore once again. This would be a short visit here in Bangalore, and I would be heading back to Kerala soon. The journey was filled with enough suspense and drama! I had reserved a ticket for the Bangalore Intercity for Friday (20 June). I was heading back home in a bus when I heard about a Harthal in the district the next day i.e., on my date of journey!

To add fuel to the fire, my ticket was waitlisted too! I decided to move to my aunt's home the previous night itself. The journey to my aunt's home in Ernakulam was more dramatical! I left my home at around 8pm. No buses stopped at the bus stop near my home, and after long suspense filled minutes, a rickshaw stopped. I reached Kodungallur at around 2030. A bus turned up at 2100. I reached my aunt's home at around 2230.

My uncle dropped me at Alwaye (Aluva) station the next morning. My ticket was still waitlisted, and I had to book another ticket in the same train from Coimbatore to Bangalore. I took an unreserved ticket from Aluva to Coimbatore. The train came in at 0940 with WDM3A #14080 of Ernakulam in charge! The run was beautiful from Alwaye to Coimbatore. I managed to get an emergency window seat for this section of the journey. For the remaining of the trip, I had to settle for my reserved seat in the same coach.

The train was hell crowded from Coimbatore to Bangalore. It was an average trip (more details would come in my travelogue - to be published very soon). We finally managed to reach Bangalore at 2148 - late by a whole 38 minutes! Images would come soon....

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Short Railfanning at Thrissur

I had a small railfanning at Thrissur Station today. I was at the station to reserve a ticket for me to return to Bangalore urgently. I am now "reporting" from a cyber cafe here in Thrissur itself!

I reached the station some time after 1230. Just as I reached there, I spotted the Hyderabad-Trivandrum Sabari Express waiting to depart from PF 1 towards TVC. I couldn't check the loco, by the time i entered the PF with a PF ticket, the train was already moving - all i could see was that it was a WAP4.

Just as Sabari left, the Mangala Exp towards NZM pulled in on PF 2. Ernakulam WDM3A #16295R was in charge. The train was at the station for about 10 minutes. The station was devoid of RPF guys much to my excitement! There was one RPF guy who was roaming around the station for some time. I forgot to take an umbrella, and decided not to leave the station due to the fear of getting drenched in a downpour! Luckily nothing like that happened!

I checked the arrival status of 2432 Rajdhani, and found that she was still to reach Shoranur! Just after Mangala left, WAP4 #22654 of ED pulled in with the Mangalore bound Parasuram Express! This train now gets a WAP4 upto SRR! The train lost its Pantry car recently!!!

After Parasuram left, Announcements were being made about the arrival of the Hyderabad bound Sabari Express. She came in at 1308 with ED WAP4 #22391 in charge. After the Sabari came in, I headed off to the food plaza for my lunch. On the way, I enquired at the enquiry counter about the Rajdhani - they said it'd come at 1325! So, I had under 20 minutes for my lunch!!! I had a real quick lunch. The announcement was made as I was almost done with the lunch. I then had a mad dash to the platform to get a pic of the Rajdhani! She came in at 1326 with WDP3A #15515 in charge! The rake was a normal one, in the worst possible condition!

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I headed off to book my ticket. I reached the reservation office, took a token and filled up a reservation form. A good Samaritan who had two coupons gave me one! The coupon that i took bore the number 653, while the one he gave was 522! The last token then called was 521!!! I took a ticket in just 5 minutes and was out!

I reached the platform right on time to see the Guruvayur-ERS Passenger. She came in at 1352 with WDM2 #16804 of ERS doing the honors. The passenger had 13 coaches, and had real poor occupancy. I headed off to get a cool drink was then took a seat on PF 1. The arrival of the 6382 CAPE-CSTM Express was announced. The train came in at 1439 behind WAP4 #22714 of Lallaguda!!!

Just as 6382 stopped, the arrival of 6318 JAT-CAPE was announced! She came in at 1444 with WAP4 #22548 of ED doing the honors. The train had some 12 coaches in the following arrangement: LOCO-SLR-GS-GS-B1-B2-S1 to S5-PC-SLR.

Both the trains (6382 & 6318) left at the same time! The arrival of the Garib Rath to Mumbai was announced next. The train came in at 1452 behind twin Guntakal WDM2s! The locos were #16682 (Leading) and #17588!!! I called it a day, and headed out after the GR came to a halt! Am now heading off to the bus station (right opposite to this cyber cafe) to take a bus to head back to my home...
Photos coming soon!!!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Traveling.... ticketless....

... its not deliberate! I've been traveling (or rather shuttling) between my home and the nearest town for various reasons over the past week. All the journey have been by bus. My home is on the Thrissur-Kodungallur State highway. The nearest town (Kodungallur) is just 3 kilometres away, and the bus fare is Rs. 3.

Bus services in this area is operated mostly by Private operators, while the state transport corporation (KSRTC) has a name sake presence in the sector. The major bus routes in the area (around my home) are: Kodungallur-Thrissur, Kodungallur-Irinjalakuda, Kodungallur-Mala, and Kodungallur-Chalakudy. These are the route that operate towards my home from the town, and are almost 100% operated by private operators! These services are perfectly legal, and are controlled by the state's transport regulations. Permits are given to private operators, and they are supposed to adhere to timetables fixed by the local traffic authorities.


(A private bus at the Municipal Bus station at Thrissur - picture is only representational)

Some "big" names in the sector are - KK Menon, MS Menon, SN Transports, AL-Ameen, Sree Krishna, Raju Motors, Nandan, and so on. These operators operate a pretty good number of buses, and have well maintained buses. One major issue with bus operators is that they do not issue tickets to passengers - which is a major violation of their operating rules. Older transport companies like KK Menon, MS Menon, etc issue tickets, while the newer companies try to "cut costs" by not issuing tickets.

These buses run at break neck speeds, and walking on roads is a nightmare (thanks to the absence of foot paths) . Due to an increasing spate of accidents, the Kerala High Court made it compulsory for Commercial vehicles (Heavy Vehicles) in the state to have speed restriction devices with a set speed of 60kmph. But all that remains now is the stickers on windscreens which state that the vehicles have those devices installed, and they continue to run faster than before!

So, ticketless travel is more of a compulsion than a pleasure - but in this case you don't save any money but just don't get a ticket! isn't that funny....?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

In kerala - the life here

Its raining here! Monsoons reached on time in the state, but didn't get enough strength that it usually has at this time of the year. The weather is humid enough to keep people sweating through the day!
The electricity department ensures their importance daily through power cuts each evening! Am now typing this sitting near a candle! My home is situated near a major road, and vehicles running through keep making noise through the day! I was busy for the past two days owing to unpacking works at my home. This is perhaps for the first time that i'd be staying at a place close to a bus stop - the bus stop is hardly 150 metres from my home!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Off to Kerala - Update 2

Finally reached here! The train reached Thrissur at 15.53. It rained pretty heavily on the way. More coming up soon

Off to Kerala - Update 1

Good morning! I am on the 02677 bound to ERNAKULAM from bangalore. The loco in charge of my train is WDM3A 14076 of ernakulam. We left hosur at 7.42 - about twenty minutes late! More coming as the journey progresses.....

Heading off to Kerala again...

I am heading off to Kerala once again! I am taking the 02677 Ernakulam Intercity today morning to Thrisur. I'll be in Kerala for a long time now, uncertainty looms over whether I'd even return to Bangalore now!

The updates to this blog would be erratic for the next couple of weeks may be. I'll try to update it, but no guarantees would be made!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The new way to ride in the city: BMTC's Volvo!

Volvo buses revolutionized inter-city travel when they were introduced for the first time in India some time in the middle of 2002. The model that was introduced was the B7R which has a 290-hp rear mount engine. The City bus version of this bus - the "B7R LE" was introduced in India sometime in early 2006. BMTC - Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation - was the first city transport corporation to introduce them on Indian roads! Currently, three corporations operate them - BMTC, Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) and Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC), Chennai. Mumbai's BEST is expected to receive a few of these Volvos very soon.



As of now, BMTC operates about 110-odd Volvo B7R LE buses (About 74 normal buses, and about 40 buses modified to run on Airport routes). The normal B7R LE buses are called "Vajra" while the Airport ones are called "Vayu Vajra" buses. A Vajra bus can seat around 37 passengers, while Vayu Vajra buses can take in about 25 passengers. The Vayu Vajras are intended to ferry passengers from different points in Bangalore City to the Bangalore International Airport situated at Devanahalli - about 30 kms away from the city.

BMTC operates about 8 routes within the city, and the frequency on most of these routes are outstanding. The patronage in these routes are excellent during peak hours, and one can see passenger traveling standing inside the bus. The minimum fare in this service is Rs. 10. (The Airport Services have a point-to-point fare starting at around Rs. 50, and going upto Rs. 250).







These buses have a comfortable 2x2 seating layout. The buses are air-conditioned, and has individually controllable air conditioning vents. The leg-space is comfortable enough, and the ride is comfortable keeping all potholes at bay!





These buses have automatic transmission, and reduces the driver fatigue to a huge extent. The traffic conditions in Bangalore is awful, and these buses waste a lot fuel due to traffic blockades. An official figure released by the BMTC a couple of years back indicate that the cost of operating these buses was some 50-odd rupees per kilometre!





These buses have a huge single piece windshield, and has a great view of the road! BMTC is trying to increase its profitability by allowing advertisements on the glass windows of these buses. The Advertisements are printed on semi-transparent material and stuck on to the windows. The buses have a music system, and popular FM stations are played in these buses. These buses have a driver and a conductor. Tickets are issued using electronic ticketing machines, and litter the buses much less as compared to normal ticket blocks. The buses are well maintained, and all of them are based at BMTC's Depot Number - 7, located at Subhash Nagar (near the Kempegowda Bus station).

Visit this page for a frequently updated album containing photos of BMTC Volvo buses!

Monday, June 02, 2008

First railfanning at Bangalore!

Its been over a month since I moved over to Bangalore from Mumbai. Had it been in Mumbai, I'd have done atleast 4-5 railfanning trips by now! The only 'bit' of railfanning that I could do was the trip to Mumbai in the third week of May. Unlike Mumbai, traveling within the city is a pain in the neck here in Bangalore. Reaching the City Railway station takes me a whole 45 minutes (but I have an option of either sweating it out is a normal city bus or take one of those advanced Volvo City buses!) of traveling alone! My home is in the outskirts of the city and is about 15 kms from the City Railway station. I decided to make a trip, and Monday was chosen just for spotting the Nagercoil Holiday special from Mysore.

I headed off from home at around 1400 with my brother. He left me at the bus stop, and I stood there waiting for a bus for a pretty long time. I just managed to get one at 1430. The journey to the Railway station too exactly 45 minutes, and I was there at 1515. But some confusion delayed me a bit, and I reached the station at around 1540. The Coimbatore-LTT Express was already on Platform 1. The Platform ticket vending machines were crowded, and by the time I got a ticket it was 1545! Just as I entered the station, the LTT Express started moving out! All I could notice that it was a WDP4 working SHF.

I decided to check out the loco that brought in the 1014 Express from CBE. It was WDM3A #18700 of Ernakulam in Erode livery! The SHF of the loco was in a bad shape with the paint peeling off at many places! (Looked like the loco is headed to the beauty parlor soon!). The loco trailed the express leaving a gap of about 100 metres. The train was detained mid-way due to an EC pull. The train then started moving off after a couple of minutes. The loco trailed the train closely. I headed out of the station to withdraw some cash from the ATM, and by the time I returned, I noticed that the loco (Ernakulam WDM3A) was parked at the small siding close to Platform 1. (This loco used to work the Chamundi Express earlier, but now with the dismal punctuality of the 1014 express, it appears that they decided to leave the loco to sleep at the station itself!).

Platform 2 was occupied by the rake of the Kacheguda Express, while the rake of the 2592 Gorakhpur Express was on Platform 3. The power for Gorakhpur Express was WDG3A #14685 of Gooty. (It was a Kazipet WDG3A on May 19th!). The train had some 14 Sleeper coaches, 1 Pantry car, 1 3A, 1 2A, 4 GS, 2 SLR. The crowd in the train was heavy. By around 1600, WDS6 #36243 of KJM pulled the rake of the Karnataka Express from the sidings, and shunted it to Platform 1!!! The rake was at the platform a whole 3 hours 20 minutes before departure!

Platform 4 was occupied by the rake of the Karnataka Express which came in the afternoon. The rake was being cleaned, and C&W workers were replacing the boards of the train with that of the Chennai Mail. The other rakes that were present in the yard were: Kanyakumari Express, Marikuppam Passenger, the Bangalore portion of Kaveri Express, and a long rake made with spare coaches. There was one JS coach lying around with the board "Bangalore-Chennai"!!!

The twin Itarsi locos which would work the Karnataka Express were also standing at the yard. The locos were WDM3A #16225 (leading) and WDM3A #14109 (Trailing). The leading loco was in the DCW livery. The Marikuppam Passenger rake had WDM3A #17902 of KJM coupled to it, while WAM4 #21320 of AJJ was seen standing in the yard coupled to an unknown rake. WAP4 #22662 of Erode was seen standing on Platform 6 coupled to WAM4 #20515 of AJJ.There was a good crowd on Platform 5 waiting for the Ernakulam Express.

Platform 6 was occupied by the rake of the Chamundi Express. Platform 7 was crowded with passengers waiting for the Nagercoil Holiday Special, and the Chennai Shatabdi. The Nagercoil special was running late, and was expected only at 1920 instead of 1605!!!

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The rake of the Ernakulam Express was brought in at 1614 by WDM3A #18704 of Krishnarajapuram. The rake is usually parked at Cantonment Station (BNC). The train had 12 SL; 2 3A; 1 2A; 3 GS; 2 SLR. The rake is the lie-over rake of the Patna Express. The WAP4+WAM4 combo now headed towards Platform 5, and the WAM4 (20515) was coupled to the Ernakulam Express. After this, the WAP4 was uncoupled, and the loco moved slightly ahead and stopped near the starter.

I decided to explore the other side of the station in the mean time. I've never seen that side in the day time, and I headed off straight to Platform 8. In the meantime, I noticed that the Itarsi twins had already been coupled to the Karnataka Express! Platform 8 was occupied by the rakes of the Chikkaballapur Passenger and the Hindupur passenger. The Chikkaballapur passenger had about 3-4 coaches. Platform 9 was occupied by the rake of the Mysore Passenger, while Platform 10 was vacant. WDM3D #11136 of Gooty was standing near the rake of Mysore passenger. WDP4 #20053 of Hubli was standing at the IOH shed. WDM2 #16670 of KJM was shunting a few coaches around.

In the mean time, WDM3A #18704 of KJM which earlier brought in the rake of Ernakulam Express from BNC reversed and took charge of the Chikkaballapur Passenger!!! 3100 horses to haul just 4 coaches!!!

I walked back to Platform 7 to see the Shatabdi Express. There were no signs of the train arriving. The Gorakhpur express left on time at 1640. At around 1647, WDM3A #18904 of KJM pulled in with the Marikuppam-Bangalore Passenger - This train was taken on Platform 3. The arrival of the Shatabdi Express was announced at 1650. The train came in at 1653 with WDP4 #20020 of Hubli doing the honors. The loco was uncoupled quickly, and the loco proceeded to Platform 6 at a brisk pace. WAP4 #22662 of Erode now pulled out of Platform 5, and came in to take charge of the Shatabdi Express. The train left some time around 1700. The composition was Loco-EOG-E1-C1 to C7-EOG. The crowd was heavy, and there were lots of passengers trying to get a seat in the train!. I decided to check out the loco of the Chamundi Express but seeing a few cops roaming in that area, I headed off to the FOB. I could identify the loco to be from KJM, but no idea of the number or class!

The rake of the Rajdhani Express was parked in the yard near Platform 10, and it was a normal rake (not an Airtel rake!). I called up my brother and headed off straight to the bus station to get a bus back home. I got a volvo from there and reached home sometime around 1815.

RPF guys were aplenty at the station. There was one guy who was sort of shadowing me all the time since I landed on Platform 5! He was walking around with a Walkie-talkie, a Lathi and a book into which which was noticing details of almost each parcel lying around on the Platform(s). He ensured that he was there where ever I went!!! Thanks to the flipping LCD of my camera, I managed to click pics where ever i wanted to! Overall, I had the same feeling which i had when I visited Panvel for the first time after getting my new camera! Scared of anything and everything I'll explore SBC once more on a working day to catch some more action!

Photos of the day are here. ( Please do have a look at them, and get back with your comments!)