Tambaram and Rainy Day

by David Pravin


A quiet Evening at Tambaram

It was a very quiet evening at the Tambaram station and the clock at the station showed the time as 9.30 p.m. Except for a YAM1 Loco on the MG platform and a BG electric unit, the whole station was empty. I knew the Chennai-Tirunelveli Nellai Express had to come through in short time from now. It was not long before the announcement came on that Nellai was about to arrive on platform 6. My excitement began to grow as this was the moment I was waiting for as I was looking forward to Nellai arriving with a different traction. I sighted the train turning around the curve near Tambaram Sanatorium and I saw it moving into the yard and its bright head light soon fell on the tracks on platform 6 as the polished rails gleamed in the glow of the light, bringing the waiting passengers to their feet. With the passengers and the onlookers looking in awe, Train no 2631 Nellai Express majestically entered the platform with a thrilling vibration, shuddering the platform, hauled by a newly painted Erode WAP-4 A.C. Loco and braked to a smooth halt at the end of the platform, along side the stationary YAM1 on the MG track. It was the first day of traction change for the BG Nellai Express which would be hauled by the A.C. Loco up to Villupuram here after.

As I saw the MG and the BG Locos side by side, it brought back the memories of my earlier days when Nellai Express started its career on the MG with the YAM1 Class Loco as 119 down and 120 up Nellai Express from Madras Egmore. It was a touching sight to see the YAM1 standing quietly beside the gigantic WAP-4, without any of its glamour and prestige, approaching its last days, bowing down to the massive BG Locos, like WAP, WAM and WAG which have now entered into its territory to take charge of the prestigious Trains Nellai, Pandiyan and Rockfort Expesses..........

Rainy Journey by 104 UP!

Last evening I was at Tambaram and I decided to return to Chennai by train No 104 up Villupuram - Chennai fast passenger as 104 was always my favorite train to reach Egmore in the evenings. I reached the Tambaram station at around 6.35 p.m. but the SM at the station told me Train no 104 was late by 35 minutes and was expected only at 07.15 p.m. This did not dampen my spirit as I deliberately decided not to take the BG EMU to Egmore, though I knew my wife was waiting for me at Mambalam as I had asked her to board 104 at MBM.

Time seemed to go by slowly and the announcement came on that train 6703 Chennai - Tuticorin Pearl City Express was about to arrive on platform 7. Within minutes the train no 6703 thundered into platform 7 with a GOC WDM2 and grounded to perfect halt. Now I started to wonder if 6703 would wait here at TBM for 104 to come in or 104 was made to wait at Guduvancheri for 6703 to pass by and if so it would cause more delay!. But soon my excitement knew no bounds as the announcement came on and I got the information that 104 was arriving on platform 6 and so it was very evident that 6703 was going to wait. I was going to travel by a WAP4 hauled train for the first time on the MS-TBM route and I was hoping the WAP4 will put up a good show!

The dark clouds began to move towards the station and a few droplets of rain began to wet the platforms. Soon I could see the low head light of the WAP4, illuminate the darkness near the TBM railway gate and with a piercing double tone horn, train no 104, Villupuram-Chennai fast passenger, glided into the Tambaram Yard accompanied by train no 6854 Kumbakonam-Tambaram Cholan Express on the MG, which was simultaneously entering into platform 1, with a rather dim head light of the YAM1! The next few minutes was exciting as I watched the WAP4 22370 of 104 passenger, caught the attraction of every passenger on the waiting 6703 express as it rolled into platform 6 with its dazzling head lights, the shuddering sound of its wheels vibrating the station as it slowed down to a halt. I chose the perfect location in the second coach where I preferred to stand by the door to catch the excitement that was yet to come.

It started to rain gently with a slight drizzle, the perfect setting of a start of a great train journey! The starter signal was on and the guard started to wave his green torch, which the driver acknowledged and with a powerful blast of the double tone ear shattering horn, which made people waiting on the platform to clamp their hands to their ears, the WAP4 22370 moved on, leading us out of platform 6.

The Tambaram railway yard was silent and the only sound that was clearly audible was the steady humming of the WAP4's engines and a light thudding of the coach wheels on the wet railway line. The train rounded the Tambaram sanatorium curve and the WAP4 gave a fright to the people crossing the line with yet another powerful blast of its horn, though it was single tone this time. The signal at the Sanatorium station was at caution and the WAP4 kept up a steady pace at around 30 KMPH and glided smoothly into the Chromepet station, where again the signal status was the same....

The rain started to come down a little harder and the passengers in the Chromepet station who were peeping at the edge of the platform, could only watch open mouthed as the WAP4 gave them a piece of its mind, with another powerful single tone blast which made them scurry back into the shelter of the roof. The same pace continued and it was not long before we were approaching the outer territory of Pallavaram and my excitement was uncontrollable as I saw all the signals ahead were green and that was what the WAP4 had been waiting for! With a piercing blast of its double tone horn, it picked up the rhythm as the driver accelerated.... Every other signal was clear and stage was set for a great show as there was no controlling the WAP 4 as it ripped past every station, tearing out the ear drums of every human being standing close to it, the darkness of the rainy night shattered by its high pitched double horn as the Villupuram -Chennai fast passenger hurtled along at around 70 or 80 KMPH.

With a brief halt at Guindy, train no 104 with the WAP4 leading the way glided into the Mambalam station and my wife met me and she boarded the same coach that I was in. Between Mambalam and Chetpet, the WAP 4 gave my wife a perfect example of what a thrilling ride I had enjoyed from TBM to MBM!. The WAP4 22370 had indeed put up a fantastic show and as me and my wife walked down the platform 1 at Chennai Egmore, I could feel the joy and happiness inside me as I walked past the WAP4, waiting to give more thrills to enthusiasts like me as it was supposed to be coupled on to 2631 Nellai Express later on.... Indeed it was a very memorable trip for me as 104 Villupuram - Chennai Passenger and the WAP4 22370 have made my day!!!!!!!!!!

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