Trichy - Madras Central via Erode

by Aravind


I guess an interesting journey of mine was a trip from Trichy to Madras Central on BG - via Erode.

This is sort of like traveling the three sides of a rectangle. I did it about 15 years ago just to experience being hauled by the famous Mangalore mail between Erode and Madras, which had been newly "dieselized" and was then the among the fastest trains on the Erode-Madras section. (The powers-that-were needed quite some convincing before they allowed me to purchase such a ticket ...)

The link express from Trichy to Erode consisted of through bogies to Bangalore, a few unreserved coaches for Erode, and one sleeper coach for Madras.

This through coach was empty when we left Trichy in the evening. It gradually filled up as we picked passengers at various points, the bulk of them entraining at Karur (for whom the MG Trichy-Madras trains were not a good option).

By the time we arrived in Erode it was nearly midnite. The coaches for Bangalore were moved first, to be attached to the then Cochin-Bangalore Island express. There used to be an engine change at Erode, so the new engine was attached directly to the Blore coaches. Of course I had to get down to watch all this action ...

The Island express pulled up, and its engine change took place, the process attaching the Blore coaches. It then departed.

After a wait, the Mangalore-Madras mail arrived. It too underwent an engine change at Erode with the new engine coming first to our coach, and hauling it to the waiting "headless" mail.

The mail finally left Erode, rapidly picking up speed that so used to enthrall me in those tender years. I waited for the train to cross the Kaveri outside Erode before climbing to my berth.

I sort of went to sleep for a while and woke up sometime before Katpadi, and marveled at the length of the train behind me, and the speed at which it was going (100 kph was a lot then!).

The one part I didn't like all that much was when a whole bunch of commuters crammed into our sleeper coach at Arakkonam. But that was the last hour of our journey and passed quickly. The train was punctual, which made the experience all the more memorable.

I've always enjoyed the trips on the Jolarpettai-Madras BG section, even tho' I've travelled on it several times between Madras and Blore. It is Southern Railways' showpiece; there is always something to watch along the route.

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