Secunderabad Trip Report
by Samit Roychoudhury
Just returned from SC last night. Had a decent trip. Nothing very exciting railwaywise, so i just present the highlights.
Departed on 19th morning at 6.50 am. Train left dot on time. 22 coaches (air braked) hauled by a blue WDM2C, Vizag shed. As far as i could tell the same loco stayed on till the end of the run. It made good time though it got late by about 30-40 mins en route. The running was especially impressive late in the evening nearabout vizag where long stretches of 110 approx speeds. The crows was very limited.... as in no extra people about. The cops were keeping watch and taking regular rounds. Only new thing i saw was that smoking has been banned from all trains. This could be a problem to smokers for who going more than 24 hours without a ciggy is tough. People were smoking near the corridors and at one point a cop caught my co-passenger and took him away. Later he emerged, said he didnt have to pay anything. Another nice thing i noticed was that beyond the suburban sections of calcutta, the stations ar mostly very clean now. All have long plastic wastebins, usually yellow in colour.
Was travelling SL class.. S1 which was way back toward sthe engine. And had the misfortune of having berth no. 1... so close to the toilets. Wasnt so bad weatherwise. Rained some and was generally cool. The coaches were reasonably clean, though i cant say that about people's habits... especially when i see them dunk food on the floor. The pantry car was efficient... as in there was very frequent movement of their staff with all kind of food... a new one i noticed this time was Veg Biriyani and Chowmien. Much of the time they sold the Non-Veg separately. But the food quality was very indifferent... The Veg Cutlets were tasty but the first Tomato soup i got was running with black pepper... making it very hot. The Omlette was tasteless and the Chicken was ok... if on the bonier side.
I was also checking my atlas along the way. Someone had pointed out earlier in the forum that the electrification has been completed upto Cuttack (from the south). That is absolutely incorrect. Electrification ends at Barrang jn... on the direct route. It veers off on the Talcher line, though i dont know for how long it goes. Cuttack has no masts in place yet. As far as the electrification southward from Kharagpur... its difficult to say accurately since trains dont run on elec here (not that i saw) there are masts up all over and some with wiring complete... Basically in various states of completion. The line from Khurda Rd to Puri has been electrified. And yes elec trains are in fact running from Bhubaneshwar. I saw a Lallaguda WAP4 there.
Another major correction was that the lines Kazipet - SC and Nalgonda - SC dont meet at Bibinagar as all maps etc suggest, But 3 kms away at Pagidivalli, which isnt a passenger stop.
SC was reached almost on time. We pulled in at about 1000 hours. The train had made up much of the 1 hour it had lagged behind in the middle of the journey.
Secunderabad was a surprise after Calcutta. Broad roads, clean roads... flyovers... no traffic jams. Wow :-) Met up with Laksh there. Sad Shanky has moved away. Anyway Laksh and i went trainspotting one day to the trackside (between Begumpet and Khairatabad). Saw the WDP4 finally.... unfortunately LHF. We also saw his favourite WAP4. Thanks to Laksh for taking the time off :-)
The tracks were also visible from my hotel room... But was a little far away.
The return journey was uneventful. Train left dot on time (1750 hrs from SC) this time had a middle of the coach seat. The weather was decent all the evening and next morning but then really heated up towards Orissa, had a headache right from the beginning... And couldnt get a medicine anywhere on the platfrom where i checked. Finally i was told the train superintendent carried some by one of the pantry car bearers and finally set out to find him. One of the attendants in the AC coach helped me locatee him and the gentleman was VERY corteous. He made me sit down and offered me his box from where i pulled out an analgesic.... He asked me which coach i was in and when i said S3 he said wow you had to walk all the way here you could have asked someone to get it. What i liked about the man was that he didnt give shoddy treatment even though i was travelling SL.
Another interesting event was that right across my compartment (I always travel side lower if i have the chance), there was a couple of people and the TTE positioned himself there. Soon the guys took out a bottle (wrapped in newspaper) and mixed the 'contents' with water in their glasses. They seemed to be friends of the TTE... who didnt seem to mind in the least bit. Presently another TTE came in took off his coat and had a drink with the other two passengers. i dont know if the second TT was on duty. After that everyone pushed off. Pretty strange i thought. And yes... the second TT was the one who took the bag that contained the bottle. The train was quite empty from then on but at Vijayawada (I think) people got on and made such a commotion getting settled. They too were gone in the morning and then on had a spacious journey... though as i mentioned before... was very hot.
Train reached Howrah about 15mins late. Then came the nuisance of the coolies and the taxi line. The new prepaid cab booth at the new station (SER) is close but very messy dirty and noisy (with constant taxi horns). Its really bad when it rains. The ordinary taxi line is too far away.
An interesting thing i noted was that all coaches had a window with different kind of bars (as opposed to standard horizontal ones) maked emergency exit. On some coaches they were painted red while on the other ones it was regular colour. Talking about colours... so many trains now sport the blue livery (airbraked stock). i dont like the colour much, as it tends to look dirty quickly.... especially from a distance. Even in the blues i have seen two distinct shades... One is the dark almost navy blue while there is a brighter cobalt like blue, which i like way better :-)
Also noticed the airbraked rakes emit an acrid smell when the train brakes are applied. Never experienced this as much in vacumn braked ones. Is it because airbrakes are more powerful?
I can't be sure but i think i saw a couple of MEMUs or DMUs with mixed rakes... as in mixed colours. Also saw one with a diesel loco on it.