Pune - Mumbai by 2124

by Akshay Marathe


The morning of 1st January 2007 was a cold (by Mumbai's standards) morning in Pune. I woke up at 5.15 am pretty excited because I was going to travel by the Deccan Queen after a gap of almost 5-6 years (thanks to the express-way). This journey too was only due to my insistance. I had come to Pune by car with my parents. When the trip was planned, the first thing I told was that I will return by the DQ, not the car!

So, I finished all the chores and got ready. After helping dad to pack the luggage and load it into the car, I set out, alone, towards Pune station. It was quite a task to find a rickshaw from Hadapsar to Pune station at 6 am! After about 5 minutes, I thought of looking for a bus. But thankfully I got a rickshaw soon.

I reached Pune station at 6.35 am. The rake of the DQ was already waiting on platform 1. My coach, SC-1 was 2nd from the loco. It manufactured in 1994, and was just rehabilitated by Bhopal workshop. The interior of the coach was very clean & bright due to the fresh paint. My seat was an aisle seat. After finding out the seat, I went towards the front of the train. The loco was yet to arrive.

At about 6.50, the loco arrived from the trip shed. It was WCAM-3 #21932. The loco had digital notch repeaters. After watching the coupling rituals, I went back to my coach. Saw the nearby platforms. Pune - Solapur passenger was waiting on platform 2. Near platform 3, a WDG-3A Shakti and another diesel were stabled. A GTL WDM-3A was roaming about in the station.

At exactly 7.14 the starter turned amber. The loco gave a short blast from its horns & the DQ left Pune for the first time in 2007. The late running Sahyadri express was waiting on an adjoining platform. Loco change had already taken place & a howling WCG-2 was heading it. After clearing the points at a slow pace, the WCAM-3 showed its power. The train accelerated rapidly. I simply love the acceleration of the WCAM-3 over the sangam bridge. Shivaji Nagar was crossed at about 90 kph. The only downside was that being the second coach there were slight jerks everytime the notch was changed.

After Shivaji nagar, I went back to my seat. I had coffee, which was slightly watery. For breakfast, I ordered cutlets. The cutlets were good. Meanwhile, the DQ was cruising through the outskirts of Pune at fairly high speeds. I couldn't do doorplating for long stretches, as the passengers objected to opening the doors because of the cold. Finally, I went to the door at Kamshet. It was fun to stand at the door in the cold. At one point of time, the speed calculated by using the KM stones came out to be 102 kph.

Just before Lonavala there was a caution order of 30 kph. After negotiating that caution order, we immediately accelerated to 60 kph. We reached Lonavala at 8.05. Just as we pulled in, a cement rake headed by a WDG-4 (dead) and a triplet of WCG-2s was pulling out of LNL. The Pune bound Indrayani express too arrived while we were waiting at LNL. Finally we departed after about 5 minutes. Before Khandala, we overtook the cement rake which had gone ahead of us at Lonavala. The run through the ghats was normal. We were routed through the MID line.

After maintaing speeds around 50 kph throughout the ghat, it was time to do full speed! As soon as we left Karjat, we started picking up speed quickly. We were soon at MPS. Except speed restrictions, we went at MPS till ulhasnagar. The LP was using the horns very liberally. That added more fun when we blasted through stations at MPS! After Ulhas nagar, we slowed down considerably. Till Kalyan, we maintained a slow pace barring a few occasions when speed increased to 85-90. The train crawled through Kalyan. On a adjacent platform, the incoming Kushinagar express was waiting. We overtook it there.

After KYN, the run was a mix of high & low speeds. The Parsik tunnel was covered in exactly 60 seconds. The run from TNA to about CLA was sheer pleasure with all stations passed at high speed, horns blaring. The acceleration of WCAM-3 was superb in the suburban section too.

The DQ was at DR outer at 10.10 itself, but pulled into platform 6 of DR at 10.15. I alighted there. DQ left in a couple of minutes. The Devgiri express which was headed by a diesel was overtaken at DR (it was waiting on platform 5).

I crossed over to WR, purchased a ticket to Borivali. Then boarded a fast train to BVI, a decision, as I found out in some time, which I regret. It was a 9xx series AC/DC EMU. The train took 30 minutes to cover the distance between Jogeshwari & Goregaon. Three slow trains overtook us in the meantime. Finally, I reached home at 11.45.

I hope you enjoyed reading this report!

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