WAP-4 Usurps Pallavan/Vaigai
by Poochi Venkat
It's finally happened...the rumours were true about december 17th...Pallavan and Vaigai, our treasured SF twins, traditionally hauled by diesel beasts for all these years, have finally been taken over by electrics.
We chennai chaps were on the lookout and bharat spotted Pallavan blasting past Vandalur toward chennai. Following his tip-off I rushed to MS and sure enough, there was ED WAP4 22548 looking quite new, headlights on, proudly bringing in Pallavan at 11.43 itself (sch. arr. 11.50). Hardly had this loco been unhitched than another brute was deftly coupled to the other end of the rake - everything was in place and Vaigai Express to MDU was ready to thunder down the line behind ED WAP4 22295 by 12.05 itself!
Unfortunately the loco looked like it hadn't been cleaned in a million years...very surprising for a member from the Erode stable.
A lot of activity around the loco...everything including the cab door being tested, documents being traded, papers being signed, flags and torchlights being checked... the Chennai crew looked like the cat who got the cream!
Hopefully this effeciency will remain in the days to come...one of the reasons for not giving electrics to pallavan and Vaigai was the time taken for loco change at VM. At least at MS they seemed to border on the speed of a pro pit stop.
At 12.22 the starter turned amber and the cab filled with an assortment of loco inspectors, technicians and, of course, the Driver and assistant... Sharp at 12.25, the fine twin tones cleared the way ahead. Amidst waves and smiles the brute moved out quickly, eager, I guess, to prove itself. The 13-coach train cleared the platform almost at once.
A short while later, melodious twin-tones echoed through the cavernous canopy of Egmore and there was ED WAP4 22526 rushing down the platform to await 2605 pallavan express to TPJ (which would arrive in MS as vaigai).
At the last sighting, Bharat tells me the incoming Vaigai (2636) was being hauled by a GOC diesel. diesel? Strange but welcome!
Bharat was lying in wait at the Vandalur platform to savour the WAP4 with Pallavan blasting through. I was treated to a first-hand taste of action when he called me on my cell so that i could hear the super twintones and the brute ripping past!
We guys sorely miss the venerable diesel beasts...they're slowly vanishing from the Chennai area...so we have to get to either VM or RU now!...well...change is inevitable...
The positive side of things is the oppotunity to photograph WAP4 in 100% action!!