Bangalore - Madras by 2008

by Jay Balakrishna


This will be my first trip report on IRFCA simply because this is my first trip on IR since joining this list about a year back. With my appetite for IR thoroughly wetted, what with all the messages posted over the past year, I couldn't wait for this trip to begin. So without much further ado here it goes.

My wife and me where booked on the MYS-MAS 2008 Shatabdi Exp. from SBC to MAS for 10th Sep. The coach was C1, 3rd coach from front (1st coach was gen van, 2nd was EC1) seats 6 and 7. Crisp and clear announcements where made repeatedly on the PA system about an on time arrival of 2008 on platform 7. But it pulled into SBC, at 4:23pm(8 min late) by KJM WDM2 14077. Change of traction to AJJ WAM4 6PD 20606 at SBC. WAM4 livery was standard maroon. SBC departure was at 4:35(10 Min late).

Thanks to Jason's advice, I invested in an entry level 12 channel GPS satellite receiver etrex by Garmin before coming to India. Very interesting and useful toy. Gives you accurate speed reading as well as other various info. Was able to clock 2008's speed for much of it's run.

I must say that food and service on this train was excellent. Pepsi was served in a paper cup soon after departure. 1ltr Bisleri mineral water was also provided. "The Asian Age" newspaper was also given to all the passengers. Melodious old hindi songs was being played on the PA system. Snack was served as it passed KJM. It consisted of a sandwich, veg puffs, ketchup and cova sweet. A choice of coffee or tea in a thermos was also served. Up to KJM the speed was 65kmph. But accelerated to 101kmph as it passed the IOC depots. Then just for a few seconds touched 107kmph. But soon fell back to a cruising speed hovering between 95-100kmph. Slowed down to around 25kmph to pass thro Bangarpet at 5:35pm. Double line gives way to single line from here onwards till Kuppam. Picked up speed but not by much. Slowed down again before entering Kuppam at 6:05pm to switch to the double line. At mulanur the double lines parts and joins at patchur about 10 kms away. Mulanur to patchur is the mini ghat section and it was passed at a slower speed of 45-55kmph. As the train was entering JTJ at 6:40pm it slowed down quite a bit and I thought its going to stop now. But as it entered the platform, probably a rly employee, jumped out of the rear cabin of the WAM4. Did not stop at JTJ. At the other end of the platform a person was checking the undersides of our train with one of those powerful searchlights. Standard procedures, I suppose. Nice hot tomato soup with bread sticks and butter was served around this time. Also, the cool climes of the plateau give way to the heat and swelter of the plains here.

Progress was slow for another 10 min out of JTJ and in fact it came to a jarring halt in the middle of nowhere. The only time the train actually came to a halt. But after that the best run was made from now till AJJ. I clocked the highest speed of 111kmph, which lasted for about a few seconds in this section. But sustained high-speed runs in the range of 105-108kmph were achieved. But above 80kmph, the ride is very rough on this line.

At about 7:30, dinner was served in an airline style cart. There was a choice of Veg and Non-Veg. But I believe if you want non-veg you got to pre order it in advance which I had not done. But the server gave me NV when I asked for it. My wife opted for Veg. The food was north Indian style. It consisted of rumali(like a hanky) roti neatly rolled, excellent chicken curry, dhal, rice, mixed pickel, curds which tasted funny, salad packet consisted of cucumber, beetroot, and a slice of lime. In the veg platter, instead of chicken curry it was mutter paneer masala. Rest was the same. All this was served in standard aluminum foil packing. Strawberry ice cream was served for dessert. That was the only flavor available.

Passed AJJ at 8:35 at 25kmph. After AJJ the speed was very patchy with lots of slowdowns. Probably it was following other trains in this busy section. Passed Perambur at 85kmph but slowed down to 45kmph till after Basin Bridge jn. Pulled into Chennai at 9:40pm(15 min) late.

Couple of other trips where made by me. MAS-TPTY by the 6057 Saptagiri exp. and TPTY-MYS by the 214 TPTY-MYS fast passenger. For which trip reports will be coming up later. I will be making another trip to MAS this time from MYS next week by 2008. I will be in SBC from 23rd onwards till 3rd Oct. I would like to get in touch with members from SBC time permitting. Please do send me your contact info.

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