Pune, Rajdhani and Solapur
by Herambh Patankar
Mumbai to delhi on rajdhani express: 2001-05-28
I took the Rajdhani express to New Delhi on 23rd march. I was in the first ac coach and had a wonderful coupe. The train left Bombay Central at 4.55 pm 3:57 PM 3/28/01 sharp. It was hauled by a Valsad based WCAM2 upto BRC. The train passed thru the subarban stations of the Bombay area. We crossed the Vasai bridge. Alas the track on the old bridge is being dismantelled. The caternery wire is removed and the entire up track is removed, but the down track is still there. On the island a part of the embankment is removed . I guess thats the end of the old bridge. I also got a couple of snaps of it. Later around Dahanu road night fell and could not see anything. The train moved very slowly thru Surat station at around 8 pm. We reached Baroda at 9.00 pm. In the mean time I saw the pantry car. It is fully airconditioned. only electric heaters are used. Also there is a mobile satellite based STD booth.
Dinner was served after surat. Dinner is a big affair on the Rajdhani first a.c. it was a sumprious 5 course meal. It could beat any 5 star hotel hands down.. After the sumptuios meal I got down at BRC to see the loco changing ceromany. A guy from the pantry car with whom I had made friends took me to the loco. The WCAM2 was taken away and was replaced by a sparkling Gaziabad based WAP5. This loco no.30011 had "NAVODIT" written over it. I managed to get in the cab and get a couple of snaps of the driver and the controls of this beauty. It is computer controlled with LCD displays. Most of the components are imported from switzerland. In the morning got up at around Bayana. Reached Delhi at around 10.00 am. Saw the following trains
- Punjab Mail for Bombay at Mathura hauled by a Itarsi based WAM4 at
- Paschim Exp for ASR at NDLS hauled by a BRC based WAP4
- Jhelum Exp for Pune at NDLS hauled by a Itarsi based WAM4
Also saw some electric engines from the TKD shed but belonging to Western Railway. Isn't TKD on the Northern Railway
Saw many goods trains hauled by one WAM4 and one WDM2 of the TKD sheds. Here one Deisel and one Electric power is used to haul a goods train. I had seen this in January at Panvel where a KYN based WCAM3 and a KYN WDM2 hauled goods trains.
Bombay to Solapur and back: 2001-07-15
Had to attend a friends wedding in Solapur on Saturday 14th July in Solapur. Left for Solapur on Friday 13th July by the Siddeshwar Express. Train arrived right on time at 22.20 hrs at Dadar station. Reached station at 22.00 hrs.
Saw the 7308 Koyna Express arrive from Kolhapur. This train had an AC chair car and surprise, not one but two first class coaches (the ones with cabins). The Hussain Sagar Express then whizzed past us from platform number 4. Only two more trains, Deccen Queen and the Pushpak do not stop at Dadar on the down journey (they stop in the up journey).
The train came in and I settled in my coach AS-1 that was second last from the engine. This train also had a composite first class and second class coach called FS-1 in addition to the second ac coach. The attendant gave us a pillow and a blanket and another surprise. Two spotless white bed sheets a small bed sheet and a napkin all neatly folded and seal packed in a plastic bag bearing the logo of central railway solapur division and a particular laundry in solapur. This kind of cleanliness is a real pleasant surprise.
Crossed the Tapovan Express at Matunga and a late Indrayani Express at Thane. Was awake till Kalyan. After Kalyan the power full air-conditioning was enough to knock me off to sleep. Was awoken at 1.30 am by a phone call from my cousin who was to join me en route at Pune. We were entering Lonavala at that time. The train was about 25 min late. The big windows of the 3-AC coach offer you a good view especially when all the lights are off. It was drizzling at Lonavala. After Lonavala could not get sleep was awake till Pune.
The driver went berserk after Lonavala and the Kalyan shed WCAM3 was in top form. The train went at terrific speed and we pulled into Pune at 2.15 pm, just 45 min. This is the second best time I have experienced on this stretch the best being 35 mins by a late running 2027 Shatabdi Express in november 1996 courtesy of an elderly Sardarji driver and an old trusty WCM5 who had decided to reach pune on time come what may even if it meant breaking the sound barrier. Left Lonavala at 19.10 hrs reached pune at 19.45 hrs right on dot.
Reached Pune at 2.15 pm on platform 2. The 1064 Chennai Express had just come in on platform 2 with a Guntkal WDM2. On platform 1 1012 Mahalaxmi Express was all set to leave with its WCAM3. Left Pune at 2.30 hrs. Near Ghorpuri yard saw the Trivendrum Rajkot or probably must be Nagercoil Gandhidam (diverted train) with an Erode WDM2 waiting at the outer. This WDM2 seemed to be very sophisticated with fluorescent lights and not the usual incandescent bulbs in the cab. Later saw the Bangalore Mumbai Express hauled by a PUNE WDM2 come in from the Miraj branch. Then went back in my coach and settled down to sleep. Our Guntkal WDM2 had the same spirit of its cousin the Kalyan WCAM3 which brought us till Pune and started going at a terrific speed. I soon drifted off to sleep. I woke up at 6.50 am at a place called as Pakni just 2 station before Solapur. The WDM2 was still going fast. Finally entered the clean and sparkling Solapur station at 7.10 am , 35 min before time.
Attended the wedding. The whole Baraat(marriage party) was to come back to Bombay by the 1082 Kanyakumari Express leaving at 18.20 hrs.
Reached the station at 17.45 hrs. Saw the Konark Express come in pulled by a Kazipet WDM 2c. Also on the siding saw the brand new rake of the Solapur Pune Intercity Express which was to start from 15th. Kanyakumari express came in at 18.10 hrs sharp hauled by a Guntkal WDM2. The shed logo of Guntkal has changed. It is now a circle with a diamond in the center. We settled in our S10 and S9 coaches. After the train left maneuvered ourselves so that all the elders were in one coach and all of us youngsters in another so that we could have fun. Soon all our musical interments were out and the party began. On the way till Kurduwadi crossed a long oil container train hauled by a Pune WDM2. Then we waited at Wadshinge for the diverted Netravati Express. A Pune WDM2 was in charge of this train (another surprise). Soon reached Kurduwadi. Saw the Kurduwadi Pandharpur Pass with a Pune WDM2 on the adjacent platform. After Kurduwadi the constables made us close all the metal shutters due to security reasons. We shut them off and the party continued. Reached Daund at 22.30 we could open the shutters there. Daund Pune was uneventful. Reached pune at 11.50
Next day on 15th July left Pune for Bombay by 2028 Shatabdi Express. Saw the Goa Express hauled by Pune WDM2 leave. Shatabdi left Pune on dot at 17.35 the Shatabdi from platform 1 and 1077 Jhelum express (pune WDM2 in charge) from platform 3 leave at the same time in opposite directions. Saw the diverted Netravati with an Erode WDM2 standing at Shivajinagar. At Malavli overtook Trivendrum Bombay express and overtook Gitanjali express at Kalyan. Nothing else eventful happened reached Dadar at 20.50 hrs. End of a good wedding trip
Days Trip to Pune and back: 2001-07-29
Had to go to Pune for a function. Left Bombay by the early morning Indrayani Express and returned by the evening Shatabdi express. The highlight of this trip was lot of diesel action under wires.
Reached Andheri at 4.30 am. Saw the Bandra Dahanu DMU at platform 4. (hey where is the AC-DC EMU they still use a DMU. A Ratlam WDM2 is put right in the middle of the rake formation. This has MU cables connected on both sides. These cables go to the adjancent coach and through a special pipe on the roof of each coach go to the cab on either end. The WR DMU cabs are plain unlike the colourfull streamlined Central Railway DMU. (by the way why need a DMU on Vasai Diva section. Can't they use a regular EMU as the section has been DC throughout). A couple of men got into the cab of the WDM2 checked something and adjusted some levers (dont know exactly what) and went away.
Took a local to Dadar reaced Dadar at 4.50 am 1 hour before the scheduled Dadar departure so decided to go till VT and take the train from there and do some early morning trainspotting. Saw the 2106 Vidarbha from Nagpur at Dadar. This train has a unique livery of lightblue, a white stripe and green and each and every coach had the same consistent livery.
At the trip shed at VT saw an Erode WDM2, I guess it would be responsible for the Mandovi Express. Reached VT at 5.20 am and settled down in my coach. Train left at 5.40 am sharp. At Diva saw the Diva-Sawantwadi-Madgaon Passenger with an ED WDM2. This brought one question to my mind, how is the KRCL mainting loco links of the Erode shed as the track between Mangalore and Erode is not operational due to the collapsed bridge. How does the loco get back to Erode for its trip maintainence. I expected the loco link to go for a big six(bigger than those hit by a certain MR Sachin Tendulkar). And expected the Kalyan locos to take over the loco links temporary. Or are the ED locos undergoing trip maintainence at Kalyan till the bridge is rebuilt?
At Kalyan saw the Hyderabad Rajkot Express hauled by a Kazipet WDM2. I saw this train last year. Till then its powers used to be HYD-PUNE WDM2 of the Kazipet or Pune shed, Pune-Vasai WCAM3 of Kalyan shed. Vasai-ADI WCAM1/2 of Valsad and ADI-Rajkot WDM2 of Ratlam or Vatwa shed. Now does a Kazipet WDM2 go all the way from HYD to Rajkot? And if so what could be the reason for this change.
At Karjat saw a bulky goods train waiting to go up the ghats. This had 4 Pune WDM2 in charge. Two MU pairs with 2 sets of drivers in the first and third loco. Reminded me of the American goods trains having 4-6 locos.
Reached Pune at 9.15 the HYD Mumbai Express had just come in with a Kazipet WDM2c. Also saw the Pune WDM2c. Its livery is identical to an Erode livery.
For the return journey reached Pune station at 4.30 pm. Saw the Goa Express come in behind a Pune WDM2. Saw the Pune Solapur Express and the Jelhum Express both behind Pune WDM2. The Shatabdi left pune at 5.35 sharp from platform 1 and the Jelhum moving in the oposite direction at the same time from platform 3. Now for a big surprise. As Jhelum moved away from platform 3 saw a train on platform 4. It was the Mangala Lakshwadeep Express with heading in the dirction of Solapur/Miraj could not see the loco. We know the train is diverted due to the bridge problem but it has to be diverted either via Agra-Itarsi-Nagpur-BZA-Renigunta-Jolarpet-Erode-ERS or via Agra-Itarsi-Bhusaval-Manmad-Daund-Solapur-Guntkal-Gooty-Dharmavaram-SBC-Hosur-Salem-Erode-ERS. What is that train doing in Pune? The other Diesel train seen later on was the diverted Netravati at Talegaon with an Erode WDM2. Why not a WCAM3 upto Pune and then a WDM2?
Reached Dadar at 8.45 pm. another trip completed