I was going through a confusing phase in my career. I had already decided to return to Academics after a short break. During this time, a few more academic options opened up, and one such prospective employer wanted me to appear in person for a one-to-one meeting. The date was decided at a very short notice, and I was in the fray for tickets. I had to be there in Kasaragod, in Northern Kerala, on a Friday morning. The obvious options were all sold out - for some reason, there are no convenient trains from Thrissur towards Kasaragod. All of them departed or arrived at unearthly hours. While going through the option, I came across a train that connected Thrissur to Kasaragod in 4 hours and 39 minutes! This had to be my choice!
February 04, 2022:
The train departs from Thrissur at 0620hrs, and I was driving down to the station. I left home sometime around 0400hrs - I wanted to ensure sufficient time to make sure I could securely park my car. I reached the station a little past 0500hrs - I could find a good parking slot very easily, saving quite a bit of time. All the trains to the "north" depart from Platform 2, so was my train. I was traveling by 22149 Ernakulam - Pune bi-weekly Superfast express, via Panvel. This train has a very early departure from Ernakulam - and runs through Kerala as if its tail is on fire. The train has very limited stops and hence has a very short run time.
The Ernakulam bound Mangala Express was occupying Platform 3, as I entered the station. This train left soon later. There was a steady stream of departures to the south - the Kanyakumari bound Island Express, the Kochuveli bound Kerala Sampark Kranti Express and the Guruvayur-Punalur Express. My train turned up at 0638hrs, about 21 minutes behind schedule. The train was hauled by twin WDG3As from Kalyan diesel loco shed - #13577 and #13551 were in charge. I was a little disappointed seeing twin WDG3As - mainly because WDG3As are restricted to 100kmph, and this could be a hindrance to making up our delay. We started from Thrissur at 0641hrs.
|Somewhere between Thrissur and Shoranur|
My coach, S1, was a 2015 built WGSCN coach. My berth was originally an upper berth - and most people in the train were already asleep as I boarded. I managed to find a vacant side lower seat and remained there for most part of the journey. We crossed the Yeshwantpur - Kochuveli Garib Rath express soon after departing from Thrissur. The run was largely eventless for most of the time - the diesel loco and the beautiful landscape is a deadly combo. The chugging sound was just phenomenal. We crossed the Chennai - Alappuzha Express after Wadakkanchery.
We got to Shoranur at 0714hrs - 4 minutes behind schedule. I was sure this would be a really short halt - just sufficient for crew change to be completed. I rushed to the front to have a closer look at the loco, and then rushed back to my coach. I also picked up my breakfast from the "mobile vending cart" on the platform. We started from Shoranur at 0721hrs - 6 minutes behind schedule now. We crossed the Trivandrum bound Jan Shatabdi Express right outside Shoranur station.
|The lead loco, at Shoranur|
|The train, and its locos!|
|Departing from Shoranur - the Jan Shatabdi can be seen coming in|
I had my breakfast soon after we left Shoranur. My breakfast was a plate of Idly-Vada with Sambhar and Chutney. The base kitchen at Shoranur serves some really delicious food - and this one was no different. The Sambhar had some life in it - not just a watery gravy of dal with coriander. The chutney tasted quite fresh as well. Food from Shoranur is generally recommended. We crossed the Kannur Alappuzha Express a little past Kuttipuram.
|The breakfast from Shoranur|
This train makes very little stops - at the rate of about 1 stop per district (with an except of Kannur district having 2 stops). We skipped most stations on the way, and made the next stop at Tirur (0803hrs). Interestingly, almost all the stops were just a minute or two - except at Shoranur, which was longer due to operational reasons. We left Tirur at 0805hrs - about 10 minutes behind schedule now. The train has a very tight schedule, and runs on tracks fit for 110kmph - but with locos that are restricted to 100kmph! This had an adverse effect on the ability to maintain time. The train had another non-stop run between Tirur and Kozhikode.
We crossed the Kannur-Coimbatore Express a little past Feroke, followed by the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus - Trivandrum Netravati express at Kallayi. We rolled in to Kozhikode at 0843hrs - 11 minutes behind schedule now. We crossed the Nagercoil bound Parasuram Express here. The occupancy in my coach increased at we got to Kozhikode. We departed from Kozhikode at 0846hrs (maintaining the 11 minute delay). There was another brilliant non-stop run after Kozhikode - till we got to Thalassery. En route, we crossed the Mangalore-Chennai Egmore Express, just outside Thalassery. The platform line at Thalassery is located on the loop, and its a painful process of exiting the main line, and crawling in to the loop. We got to Thalassery by 0945hrs - 16 minutes behind schedule now. The stop was short, and we were off by 0946hrs.
The next stop was at Kannur - this was perhaps the shortest gap between stops for this train. We were at Kannur by 1006hrs (09 minutes behind schedule now). We crossed the Hisar-Coimbatore AC Express here. This stop was also short - the actual occupant of the seat I was occupying boarded here. I moved back to my original seat as we started off from Kannur (1010hrs). Things got a little "dry" as we left Kannur. It was slightly getting hot as well.
The train had a pantry car, and I thought of trying the food from the pantry car - I picked up a plate of Veg Cutlet - two pieces of Veg Cutlet were served with 2 slices of White bread, along with small serving of Ketchup. The cutlet was a little salty, but paired well with the bread. We crossed the Bangalore-Kannur Express somewhere en route. I wanted to capture the Kalnad tunnel, and remained at the door while passed the tunnel. I mis-judged the distance to Kasaragod station and ended up heading to the toilet to get fresh. The train actually entered tOverall:he station as I came out of the toilet - and I ended up having to rush to retrieve my bag and get off the train before it got moving again! We had reached Kasaragod at 1114hrs - 15 minutes behind schedule. The train had covered the last 85 kilometers (from Kannur to Kasaragod) in an hour and 4 minutes - a rough average of 80kmph!
Do check out the video from this ride, on
Journey in a Nutshell:
Train Number: 22149 Ernakulam - Pune Superfast Express (Via Panvel)
Loco link: WDG3A #13577 & #13551 from Kalyan Diesel Loco Shed
Coach: S1, WGSCN #154056 based at Pune
Punctuality: 9/10 (Delayed)
Coach Maintenance: 10/10
Bedroll: Not Applicable
Catering: Not Applicable
9/10 (It was a good journey)
This was one of my fastest journeys between Thrissur and Kasaragod. People still give me suspicious looks when I say I can travel from Thrissur to Kasaragod in under 5 hours. Its a great option for people travel for a day's work - they could perhaps work on this slot and run a daily train, that could help a lot of people!