To Panvel...last week...

December 08, 2007:

The number of railfanning events in this year seems to be bell-shaped. It was low in the beginning, then picked up, and now back to lower levels. Ever since I joined my job (in October), I never have had time for railfanning, or the likes. My dad was to go to Kerala on an urgent work on Saturday (Dec 08, 2007). The tickets were booked on Friday in Tatkal quota.

A small mess up during the reservation ensured that the boarding point selected was Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, and this strategic point was noticed shortly after 1100 by my mom. The train departs from LTT at 1140, and my home is atleast 45 minutes away from the station! Finally, we decided to face whatever be it and take a chance. Myself and my dad left home shortly after 1145, and picked up the tickets from my Mom's office. My mom too joined us. I drove down the Sion-Panvel State Highway and reached Panvel station shortly after 1230.

The KR4 Ratnagiri-Dadar Passenger was running late by 20-25 minutes, and so was the Nizamuddin bound Mangala Express. There was just one container train at the station, and she occupied Platform 2. Netravati was to arrive on Platform 3, and was running late by 5-10 minutes. I decided to have a look at the power of the container train on Platform 2. The loco in charge was WCAG1 #21981. She probably was bound to Karjat.

Announcements regarding the arrival of the Netravati Express took the centre stage, and the coach positions were announced. A manual announcement was made that the train had passed the previous station (Kalamboli). So, it was just the matter of a few seconds for the train to show up. I walked down towards the Kalamboli end of the station to get a good view of the loco working the Netravati Express. I was expecting a WDM3D of Erode to do the honours (a message from IRFCAn Jimmy conveyed that the link is shifting to Ernakulam shortly). But, an "orange" coloured loco turned up!

The loco was ...


...WDM3A #14076 of Ernakulam. This was probably my first image of this loco in proper light! The loco slowly crawled in with the 21 coach rake. My dad had his reservation in B2. The coach was of 2002 make. He entered the coach a bit tensed, but his seat was unoccupied! A quick look at the reservation chart showed that out of the 64 seats in the coach, as many as 59 were reserved in the Tatkal Quota, and about 2 in the "SS" (or "Lower Berth") Quota! The railways are really minting money with such tactics of selling tickets at a premium!

My dad asked me and my mom to leave before the train does, and time was running out for me to get to office! Just as I was back on the foot-over-bridge, I saw the Dadar passenger pulling. It was WDM3A #18688R of Pune in charge. The train was pretty crowded, and we rushed out of the station before the passenger stopped. I was back at home some time after 1340. Had a quick bath and rushed to office!

I took just 3 images in the. They are here: Image 1: WCAG1 #21981; Image 2: WDM3A #14076; Image 3: WDM3A #18688R