An Evening at Okhla
by Mohan Bhuyan
Nowadays I commute to Gurgaon, so miss out on the trainspotting opportunities provided by the bridges over the eastern Ring Road. This evening I visited the offices of Goodyear. As luck would have it Goodyear's HQ is in the Godrej Building just off Mathura Road and right next to Okhla station between HZN & TKD. I immediately decided to end my working day after the visit to Goodyear and spend some time at the station - office bag and all. Good decision because I was treated to a wealth of railway activity. Okhla has two pairs of up and down lines - one set for pass trains and the other for goods. there are also 2-3 loop lines, one of which had a fully loaded but loco less mixed rake of BOXN's & flatbed's. I also saw:
- The Vishakapatnam - HZN Express (which for some unfathomable reason is called Sampoorn Kranti - I really hate these bombastic titles that don't give so much as a hint of where the train is going/coming from) coasted in behind a Bhusaval WAM 4. Before it could stop, the starter changed from "on" to double yellow and with what sounded like a rather relieved toot from the driver, it eased off towards HZN.
- A New Katni WAG 7 hauling a BCN A rake, heading South.
- An obviously late Paschim Express hurtled through towards TKD behind a BRC WAP 4. Everybody on the platform stepped well back...some not a second too soon.
- a passenger bearing all of the following on its boards stopped briefly - Agra -New Delhi, Rohtak - Delhi, Delhi - Shamli - Saharanpur. This had a GZB WAM 4 in "Rajdhani" livery MU'ed with a dead WAM 4 in standard maroon livery.
- Then a jam packed GZB - Shahdara - DLI - MTJ MEMU pulled in. Everyone else on my platform squeezed in as well, and looked at me strangely for not joining them in their uncomfy commute.
- A lone WAG 9 went by - really good looking, these engines. Both driver and asst. were looking comfortable -seated (not perched) on their chairs. Later I saw the same loco waiting to join the main line from NDLS just before the new Yamuna Bridge.
- Another EMU - largely empty because it was coming from the wrong direction at the right time.
- One WDS2 hauling another came in from the TKD side - I guess they were on their way to NDLS, though they were on the goods line.
In between the trains, I inspected the track next to my platform looking for fractures and missing fishplates. No Luck - Thank the Lord. Everything looked fine - welded rails, concrete sleepers, well ballasted, et al.
I dragged myself away - reluctantly, because I knew I was plunging into the height of the rush hour. At least I saw my first whole trains in a fortnight, a welcome relief from the twisted wreck on TV.
I think I'll make Goodyear a client...even if they don't pay us too much, the rewards will be far greater...