Railfanning at SBC/YPR

by Naren Damodaran


On a warm day, 20th April, Anil and myself set out on a railfannign expedition. Our main purpose was to try and catch 3 WDP4's together at SBC as on Tuesday's the MAS-MYS Shatabdi does not run,hence there would be an extra DP4 stationed at SBC according ot our logic....how wrong we were!!..and moreove Anil had spotted 20012 Baaz Pretty Bird WDP4 coming in with Kacheguda Express in the morning!!!

While walking down to Bangalore East, we saw 2 KJM WDM's and the WDP4 20006 that had come in in the morning with the Rani Chennama Express going toward KJM shed...one hope blown!!!

So we proceeded to take the DMU to SBC, but not before Anil had a few words to say to the station master at East about his attitude toward us, he wouldn't give us a ticket because he said it's not DMU but Push-Pull!!!...what an idiot!!...anyway we got the ticket and boarded the DMU to SBC. Not much action on the way except for an express crossing us which we were unable to identify, most probably an empty rake proceeding to be parked at BYPL Yard.

We reached SBC and prompltly proceeded to the far end (Mysore end) of the station to check out the AC Trip Shed thinking that it would be a 'hep n happenin' place!!..wrong again!!!...a measly shed, the size of my garage, with 2 WAM4's and one WAP4 22256 hiding behind (the outgoing Brindavan loco).

Well we loafed around, checked out the loading area for parcels, saw the Blue Parcel Service, Jan Shartabdi coach, a few discarded AC Coaches, and soem other coaches. We saw the breakdown special with a crane!!!

As we were returning to the station we saw the Toyota Train coming in from Bidadi with an orange Shakti!!...awesome!!...this train gets a thru till BYPL!!! and in 10 minutes another freight in the opposite direction.

Saw a fresh KK rake with 5 AC's, and one extra AC Coach with 'Banglaore-Chennai' on the board. We saw a lot of Hubli bound rakes and dirty Prashanti, Tuticorin rakes as well.

Now, the fun!!..

As we reached the other end of the station to watch the loco's being parked, we hear DP4 Baaz sounding his horn....and sure enough he was detached from KCG and then moved very qucickly into another line to shift to the UBL side. While he was doing this we spoke to the shunter who was thoroghly enjoying himself blasting the beast from one end of the station to the other...and so was the case for other loco's he was shunting!!...

He was all ecstatic that he had DP4 under his control, and hurriedly told us that it ahd already been refuelled and was shifting onto UBL side for the Intercity to UBL return trip.

He then proceeded to park it right next to a WDM2 from ED..and what a sight it was!!!....the DP4 from the radiator part till the end of the LHF was wholly longer than the DM2 with little bit of the cab sticking out from the opposite end..thats when we actually realised how long this beast was!!!

We were also witness to the shifting of the ED WAP4 22256 from the AC Shed to the Cantt. end of the station waiting to be harnessed to the outgoing Brindavan.

We also saw 3 WDM3A's.....2 from KJM, one a baldie, and the other from GY with the Prashanti..this loco was on and sounded simply orgasmic!!..if I may use that word!!...it was the same loco we had seen on Sunday, so we are wondering where the Prashanti gets a loco change?

In came Seshadri with a 'wailing' horn....Engine refuelled and reversed. Next, in came CBE-LTT with ED WDM2. Brindavan was 45 minutes late to arrive.

We moved in to UBL side to check out the Intercity with a DP4 into SBC from UBL....it was late by 30 minutes.

In the meantime, the SBC-Arsikere Express, blasted off with full throttle and amazing smoking with a differently liveried KJM loco....this loco too was blast-shunted by that WDP4 shunter...he was really knocking himself out with these locos...we manged to catch him as he was departing for lunch..and he said he will not be shunting the incoming WDP4 as he is on lunch break...too bad for us!!...

Anyway as we were waitng for the Intercity to roll in, Brindavan came in on the other side of SBC with ED WAP4 22381.

In a few minutes followed a late running KK as well with ET WDM 2 and 2A Jumbo.

Soon we heard a distinct horn, and looked as far as the eye could see to try and catch the WDP4 on the long curve into SBC....however what we saw surprised us!!!....GY WDM 3A baldy was hauling the Intercity!!!..we were stunned...another DP4 down the drain!!

As the train came in and stopped we spoke to the guard of the IC. We asked him if the WDP4 had failed soemwhere en route. He said no and that the train had teh GY all the way from UBL. Then we asked an official as to why the train came in with a DP4...that is when light shone upon us.....the WDP4 Baaz 20011 was involved in 2 accidents on Saturday and had returned to the shed for repairs!!..hence the link was broken!!!... Now as a result, Rani Chennama and KCG would come in with WDP4's and UBL IC with a 3A, and the IC and KCG would leave with DP4's and the Rani Chenama with a 3A. So we at SBC had a chance to see both the DLW built WDP4's at SBC in one day....but for a cruel twist of fate!!

We met a silent member of IRFCA Mr S.Srinivas who was going to UBL and had booked an official footplate of the DP4 but the driver had not been informed earlier of this so he couldn't take Mr. Srinivas onboard. Mr Srinivas walked onto the platform and just looked at Anil and me, we first thought he was some official, later we found out who he was when he introduced himself to us upon realuising that we were IRFCA guys and were intently looking at the loco!

As luck would have had it we overheard conversation between the driver of the WDP4 20012 to UBL saying that he was teh one who was driving the DP4 of Rani Chennama when it ran over a suididal human being near YPR on Saturday morning. Sad indeed. He said he couldn't do anything as the guy jumped suddenly onto the tracks and he had no time to stop the train..well....

Soon the WDP4 took off slowly and then began to gather speed.....and was lost to sight soon with the IC.

Prior to this we had seen the Tippu Exp from MYS come in and the guard van was in JanShatabdi style...so we got in and sat down on the seats...really comfy!!!...awesomely comfy!!!...

We then decided that we would take a train to YPR and from there we would take the YPR-SA pass on the new line thru Hebbal and Banaswadi as we badly wanted to do that line.

In the meantime the LTT, Seshadri, Prashanti and Brindavan had all left in a space of a few minutes.

So we decided to look for a Coke and then sat down next to the 2 KJM 3A's....Lo and behold....suddenly the loco fired up!!!...what a sight that wass....!!!...smoke jsut blew from the depths of the loco...what a sound and sight!!!!...awesome!!...in a moment we saw movement inside the other 3A as well, and saw the driver crank up that as well..awesoem!!!!....really mind blowing!!!...just like silent volcanoes they had suddelny erupted in a joyous blanket of smoke and sound!!..

Then it was 15.30, time to catch the SBC-Shimoga Pass to YPR. We did just that, surprisingly the train was headed by an ED WDM2!!!

We reached YPR on time with a few blasting meteres, and got off.. Adjacent to us stood our next train.. the YPR-SA pass.

Now, this train shares it's rake with the SBC-MYS pass, this we concluded while we were returning from the AC Trip Shed at SBC and saw the MYS-SBC Pass pull in with the exact rake as the SA one. The other rake is a way better one with sometiems the new gurad van in JanShat style attached.

At YPR station we saw the YPR-VSG Express with a dirty rake ready to depart and a GY 3A baldy in charge. Also we solved the mystery of the new coaches that Anil, Sandeep and myself had seen at CSDR and Ravi Sunderajan had told us it was for a MYS train..and for over 2 months not been able to know which train they were attached to.

And here is the answer: The whole new rake is the YPR-Ahmedabad Express!!!! yes indeed!!! the same coaches that we had seen at CSDR now stood beside us at YPR!!...Finally the mystery solved!! All the coaches we had seen plus one 99 make coach AC was in the rake!!!...it was to be headed by a WDM2A of KJM.

As we pulled out in the YPR-SA Pass, we passed the washing pit of YPR....there stabled to be bathed were the YPR-Bijapur Exp, Dharwad, part of Sampark-Kranti, and another 2 rakes...YPR is becoming a big time hub!!!

Soon we turned an acute left and proceeded on the YPR-BAND line. We came across Lottegolahhali where just 2 people boarded the train and next came the beatiful little Hebbal station. This station is kept beautifully and well-maintained. Alas, this was the end of the nice scenery we were to witness. Soon after crossing the Mekhri Circle Road under the massive Hebbal Flyover we met a parallel running gutter and slum area...horrible to say the least...

That's when we realised that the officials had a right to be pissed off at the people on the line..the nutcases don't move ntil the last moment of the train running over them..placing stones etc on the rails all over the place. Right from YPR to BAND people lined the tracks watching this phenomenon go by and waving, stopping all their other work. Children are the problem, playing on teh tracks...and placing small boulders etc...so much so that we had to be real slow.

At 4.40 we reached BAND and then split ways. The end of a great day of unexpected railfaning.

Important Points:

  • BNC in most probability will become an originating and departing source for Chennai trains to be introduced soon after new lines are laid at BNC to reduce load on SBC.
  • YPR is touted as a hub to SBC, but station needs improving...as do the state of the rakes there...DIRTY!!!
  • YPR-BAND line is a possible speed run once the hassles of humans are cleared.

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