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Showing posts from March, 2009

Here comes the B9R

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More than 5 months after the 'new-age-monster' was official launched in India, the Volvo B9R (Marketed as Volvo 9400 6x2) makes its appearance in the Kerala market now. The Volvo B9R is longer than the Volvo B7R at 13.7 meters in length (the B7R is only 12 meters long), powerful than any other bus in India (with a 9-litre, 340hp rear mount engine) and perhaps the most expensive on the road too (at Eight-five lakh rupees). 
One reason that I can think for the B9R have such a delayed debut (considering the fact that the Bangalore-Ernakulam route was one where the B7R was initially introduced) is narrow roads, and sharp curves in the towns of Kerala. The B9R is now finally in Kerala! 
Two operators are operating these mega monsters to God's Own Country, from the Garden City. One bus is operated to Trivandrum and the other to Alappuzha. One more service is to be launched to Trivandrum very soon.
The current services are:
1. Sofiya Lines (Bangalore agent: Friends Travels) to Trivan…

Where are the Volvos?

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When the first Volvo B7RLE rolled on to the streets of Bangalore in January 2006, the city - and the local transport provider, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation - took pride in being the premiers in providing such advanced modes of transportation. Today, the city leads in the number of Volvo buses being used for urban transportation, with over 340 Volvo buses on the roads.
While this passenger friendly move of BMTC has to be appreciated, the corporation falls flat when it comes to complete - and proper - implementation. Most of these volvo buses begin their first trips from the city not before 0700~0800, and invariably finish their last trips by 1800~2000. And, to add salt to the injury, the buses run opposite to the direction of passenger density on many routes. 
Take for example the case of Route number 365. About 11 buses are operated on this route (and its sub-routes 365B and 365J). This route originates at Kempegowda Bus Station and terminates at Bannerghatta National Pa…

HoHo goes Ho Ho....!!!!

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The HoHo (Hop On-Hop Off) service launched by the BMTC with huge fanfare has finally been redrawn! The initial routes made sure that all important points were skipped, and had ensured that passengers had to depend on other buses for their journeys around the CBD, while these fuel-guzzling monsters ran across without any passengers.
Six Volvo buses were used on these service (branded as Kendra Saarige) and almost all the trip went empty. One couldn't ever see more than a couple of passengers in these buses at any point of time. However, sometime early last week, these services were completely revamped. 
Now these buses touch all the three major transit points - KBS (Majestic), Shantinagar and Shivajinagar.


The revised routes are as under:
Orange Line: Kempegowda Bus Station (KBS/Majestic) - Corporation Circle - Lalbagh Main Gate - Shanti Nagar Bus Station - Richmond Circle - Mayo Hall - Trinity Circle - Begum Mahal Junction - Commercial Street - Cauvery Emporium - Anil Kumble Circle - …

Back in town...

The 3895 kilometre, Central Indian adventure concluded yesterday. While the first day of the trip had a few updates on the blog, the other days couldn't be updated due to certain connectivity issues over my GPRS connection. The connection refused to work after I crossed over into Maharashtra, and the stale mate continued all the way till I was back in town.

The trip was nice and the weather was pleasant. It drizzled slightly through Saturday, and this helped the weather remain cool. The MG ride was amazing, and the puny locos confounded us to no end. The train did comfortable 70-75 kmph, and the ride was really smooth - unlike my previous experience on the Palakkad-Kollengode section.

The Rajdhani journey (from Bangalore to Nagpur) is one forgettable journey, barring the fact that it was my first WAP7 ride. The coach was maintained poorly, the airconditioners refused to work most of the time, the sways were bad and the overall cleanliness did not live up to the aura associated with …

Mahoo... in Nagpur

Here we are finally at Nagpur. WAP7 30239 of Lallaguda did a real nice job of bringing us here. We made it to Nagpur by 1533. Had some light loco spotting here, and of course the Narrow Guage service to Chhindwara. The train had 9 coaches, and looked cool. Post our arrival here, about 5 trains arrived or departed. Pretty high traffic, and very high crowd too....More updates coming as the journey progresses :)

Mahooo... On...

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We are finally in Secundrabad. The loco changed, and 18897R gave charge to WAP7 30239 of Lallaguda. My first ever sighting of a 3 phase loco! Hoping for a blast now.. More updates on the way.

The journey has begun!

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The journey has finally begun! 18897R of Kazipet is doing the honors! We left slightly late now. By the way, the dinner has been served.. Yummm! So let me dig into it. Meet you tomorrow.

Mahoooooo.......

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The longest railfanning journey in my life is all set to begin. The 3895 kilometre trip will be done 5 days - with about 66 hours of travel. This is the route map of what we are upto:


The following is our journey plan: 
March 12, 2009 ------- 2429 Rajdhani Express (3A) = 1371 km Bangalore (Dep): 20:20 Nagpur (Arr): 15:40
March 13, 2009 ------- 2114 Pune Garib Rath (3A) = 253 km Nagpur (Dep): 18:35 Akola (Arr): 22:25
March 14, 2009 ------- 458B Akola Ratlam Fast Passenger (SL) = 313 km Akola (Dep): 08:00 Indore (Arr): 17:55
9310 Indore Gandhinagar Shanti Exp = 438 km Indore (Dep): 22:05 Vadodara (Arr): 06:25
March 15, 2009 ------- 6613 Rajkot Coimbatore Exp = 1520 km Rajkot (Dep): 12:15 Krishnarajapuram (Arr): 16:20
About the journey: The desire to travel on the long-winding Metre Gauge section get the much needed spark at the recently concluded IRFCA Convention. A marvellous video presentation of the entire section was shown, igniting each mind to make a trip. The final spark, which lit up the lamp, was a mai…

Of Kendra Sariges and Big10s....

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The ways of BMTC never fails to amaze me. They come up with very innovative idea, but fail miserably when it comes to implementation. On recomendations the Agenda for Bengaluru Infrastructure Development (ABIDe), the BMTC introduced a couple of new branded services. These services are called Kendra Sarige and Big10.
Kendra Sarige (KS) is a ring-route that runs along the periphery of the city's central business district. Although most of the city's workforce are now employed by the IT companies in Electronic City or at ITPL, this particular area - which constitute the CBD - is strategically and commercially important. The motive behind the idea was to reduce vehicular population, and thereby reduce pollution. KS is operated using Volvo buses. These buses charge a flat fare of Rs. 10 and one can travel between any two points.
The major points covered by the KS service are: Richmond Circle, Brigade Road, Mayo Hall, Trinity Circle, Residency Road, Cubbon Road, Chinnaswamy Stadium an…

The return journey from Thrissur to Bangalore

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For some obscure reason, the number of buses running between Kodungallur and Thrissur. This meant that I had to leave a pretty long buffer time for my connection. My bus back to Bangalore was to depart from Thrissur at 2000. I left home at 1800, and took a bus to Kodungallur. From there took a Limited Stop bus heading to Thrissur. The bus left at 1820. The driver stepped the gas pedal pretty hard, and we were flying through the way. 
Run through most of the way was pleasant, except for a bad traffic block as we neared Thrissur. A temple festival was underway, and people had jammed the roads. It took quite some time to cover a short 1.5km stretch. The bus dropped me near the KSRTC bus station - Chettiyangadi - bus stop at 1940. I tugged my baggage and walked towards the bus station. On the way, got some local snacks and packed them into my bag. 
I reached the bus stop at 1945. I noticed that my bus was already at the platform, and the engine was on. I got a bottle of cold drink and got i…

Back in the Garden City...

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Am back in the garden city after the quick week-end rush to my home town. Reached home at around 0445 this morning... more details, and a detailed report very soon...

Till that happens, enjoy these little glimpses of the big festival happening at my hometown (unfortunately I could attend only a day's event out of the three days of extravaganza).





So, stay tuned for more images from the festival, and of course the trip report of the return journey...