Secunderabad-Tirupati, part 1

by Lakshman Thodla

July 2004

This is the trip report for Secunderabad-Tirupaty-Secunderabad.

I took the 2764 Padmavathi Super Fast Exp from SC at 19.00; the loco was a WAM 4P 6PD/E of BZA shed, No. 20475.

We left sc at 19.02 and crawled upto Moula Ali at 50 kmph due to signals and other caution orders train load was approximately 18 coaches and the WAM 4 was crawling, just imagine! I had a very bad experience with this train as it went over one and half hours late once.

After clearing Cherlapalli loop line as ML had a freight the driver then kicked in to top form -- he was a man with over 20 years of experience by his looks and the train went effort lessly to 80 kmph and then after Ghatkesar he hit MPS of 105 kmph. He was already 17 min late at Ghatkesar and he just kept the train on MPS except for 2 Caution Orders near Aler otherwise the line was very good and we reached KZJ at 21.10, 15 min late. After a brief halt we reached WL 15 minutes later. Then we hit the GT line the NDLS-NAS line as I call it and the train reached 105 kmph in a very short time and the track maintenance was very good and was like the JTJ-AJJ section. No Caution Orders and we were on MPS and I saw the WAM4's full capabilities which I realised was souped up. More on that later. Crossed about 25 freights at high speeds, about 10 more were in the sidings at stations mainly with WAG7 and WAG5 locos from sheds like TKD Asansol. The best is yet to come.

I then saw a AJJ WAM4 -- yes M4 haul freight towards KZJ. I could not note road numbers due to high speed. We reached Manhorabad and KMT on time. It was 11 pm and I crashed for the day and woke up early in the morning near NLR and saw more freight towards BZA. One more thing I noticed is that the main time for goods is in the morning times as the evenings from 16.00 to 06.00 hrs is packed with expresses and a majority of the freight is sent in the day time. So railfanning for freight is morning activity. Saw some more WAG 5/7 from LGD Asansol TKD BZA.

We entered GDR-TPTY section 20 min late. This section is almost doubled now except for a small patch near GDR and RU and the doubling is done from GDR to Venkatagiri on the DN line i.e., the line used by trains towards RU, and from there the new line is the UP line for trains towards GDR. From Venkatagiri the old line takes over.

We speeded through the section at 80 kmph but still lost time in signals and caution orders.

Reached RU at 8.00 am 20 min late and tpty 15 min later. All railguys note, RU is famous for garam masala vada which is very very good and famous but buy it only from IR vendors.

Then I started my climb up the Tirumala hill with a ruling gradient of 1 in 20. Loco (i.e., myself) managed without stalling anywhere just halts for testing muscle strength.

I had a good darshan and prayed for footplating and came back to TPTY next day and wanted to go to KHT (Sri Kala Hasti) 35 km from TPTY on the GDR route. My prayers were answered when I went and chatted with the 7480 driver and he was a great jovial chap and was happy that I knew quite well that I will get a foot plate if I came early enough.

And lo and behold, the driver was ready to start and I said I will come. He asked me join from RU to KHT. He was a very good driver and took the VB train to 75 kmph between RU and TPTY.

Then I bribed the driver with famous masala vada in RU and he was happy and we went upto 100 KMPH in short strecthes and the driver was merrily poking fun at his asst. He kept speeds of 75 kmph almost throughout and he said the caution orders were due to rail breakages on the GDR-BZA section and they needed time to repair this. He also said newer locos would be coming on that line.

The BZA M4 locos have a Medha digital speedometer with a 6 hour memory backup. The locos have a starting current of 1100 amps for 2 min, 1000 amps for 10 min, 750 amps continuous, and 840 amps for 60 min. The driver said having such a high continuous current capability would make the loco reach 120 Kmph within 5-10 min with 24 coaches on any section. Acceleration of locos is not just a function of the track quality but also how much current can go through the motors in a given time just like the fuel oil pressure in DM 2 determines its performance. What are the current ratings in WAP4'S of BSL BRC. Erode locos have 800 amps maximum, I think, if I remember so the BZA WAM4 is more powerful than a ED WAP4 uhhhhhh??? A point to ponder; I will check LGD ratings in a couple of days.

I started back after local temple visits, in 7423 Naryanadri Exp. I could not check the loco as we reached 10 min before departure but it was a BZA WAM4. It did struggle a bit with the load and the driver used the shunts to reach MPS on GDR line. After GDR there were many caution orders but the loco reahced 110 kmph soon after and maintained it for quite some time. We got stopped at Sri Venktateshwara Palem for the up convoy to Chennai due to bridge work -- where exactly is it happening? We reached MPS again but the WAM4 does have a tough time compared to the wap4.

I slept and awoke to find the WDP4 taking over. We were running 40 min late but made up some time on the way and at Bibinagar saw AP Raj with WAP5 and Tenali Intercity and East Coast Exp. Reached Secundarabad at 7.40 am, 35 min late.

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