Sealdah and Beliaghata Diesel Loco Shed
by Saurab Basu
Shunting into the territory of an Ancient Paradise
A Trip, that was now pending for quite a long time, and we needed to do this before the sun got scorching hard. So, a very quick decision was turned into a well set outing, to explore the home ground of Sealdah. So close, yet so far, and that is why, Sealdah got delayed by a greater time, than expected. Time was also not supporting us for a long trip. Thus, Sealdah was Worth a visit, for an expected variety and some kind of a value addition.
Mr. Buddhadeb Saha, Samit, Subhabrata and myself, four of us, were to set out for this explorer. According to the plan, Subhabrata came to Nagerbazar, from where a whiz took us to Dum Dum JN, courtesy the Auto-Rickshaws and afterwards, it was one of the vacant DN EMU services that led us to the destination. The Assembly point being Platform No. 9A/B, we hurried to the spot, as it was just a Quarter to our plan of meeting at 11:00 AM. The platform was crowded, because of the JammuTawi Express, to leave soon. So, we decided to move out of the cluster, into a comparatively vacant zone, that would be convenient for Mr. Saha and Samit to spot. Meanwhile, a glimpse of Mr. Saha, from far off, in search of us, took me over to draw his attention, and eventually, Samit turned up, a bit late, due to the famed traffic zip of Kolkata. Mr. Saha, had arrived much early at 10:20 AM, and kept on roaming around, for us to arrive. Anyways, the Team having built, we set out for our job.
A long walk, across the Platform, found us within a congested Porter territory. Understandably so because of the approaching Rajdhani Express, arriving quite late, and was expected in another ten-minutes. Assuming an interesting WAP. 7 spotting on the cards, we opted to wait and shoot, from the platform itself. On the adjoining Platform, a fresh looking WAP. 4. 22337. HWH was ready to haul the Super Crawler service to JammuTawi. Tryout for a complete side view of one of the Diesel shunters. WDS. 6R. 36094. BWN, went in vain, because of an unprecedented thud from a passer by. Still, I was satisfied by the photographs taken by Subhabrata. We kept on clicking the varieties, while a shrill horn drew our attention, towards the Circular Canal Bridge. There She Was!! The White Beast - WAP -7. 30220. GZB, on her way, approaching in a rather gorgeous fashion, with the Kolkata Rajdhani.
The porters were found, in one of the busiest moods, running from one end to the other, for the best spots to mark their easy entry into the coaches, while the train enters the Platform gently. This is one of the most cinematic scenes in any station, with the Rajdhani Entering. The contrasts between the two stratums of a same society are very distinct.
As soon as the Raj, settled down a bit, it was time for the WAP. 4 - 22337 to gear up, and leave for the day. She set out with a great potential on her face that is going for a sure waste, because of being associated with the JammuTawi bound Service.
Now that the local movements were stalled for some time, we decided to start walking towards the.Beliaghata (BGA) Diesel Loco Shed.. A WDM. 2. 18997. BWN was found busy to take over charges, of an incoming express, shunting her for some rest in the coaching and parking area. The overhead heat was gradually on the rise, and we were a bit reluctant about the right direction to walk towards. I had an apparent idea that the BGA Loco Shed should be in the Eastern part of the station, and so upon approaching the first RPF Out post, outside the station area, we got the direction confirmed.
Beliaghata Loco Shed, is located East of Sealdah Station. Just while entering the Station zone, a line sets off towards the left, with a bridge running parallel to the Circular Canal Bridge, on the left, straightaway approaching the Coaching Complex. Just as we changed tracks towards the shed, the very first page of this unexplored Yard, began to unfold itself. The contents being a.Series of Eight Condemned WDS. 4 Class Locomotives. standing back to back, awaiting extinction very soon. Subhabrata was extremely happy to see them so close and went off to shoot each and every single one of them, for his illustrations. While Samit, Mr.Saha and myself, we were eager on the minute monitoring of each one of these CLW Built - Mack Locos. Here are the Road Numbers for the WDS. 4s located there:
- WDS-4 B 19433 With CLW Builder.s Plate
- WDS-4 B 19520 None
- WDS-4 B 19427 None
- WDS-4 D 19555 None
- WDS-4 B 19435 With CLW Builder.s Plate
- WDS-4 B 19437 With CLW Builder.s Plate
- WDS-4 B 19436 With CLW Builder.s Plate
- WDS-4 B 19519 With CLW Builder.s Plate
The Engines were not at all in running condition. They had majority of parts dismantled, and looked in a state of distress. The scene reminded me of the days when these Locos used to ply the Circular Railway prior to Electrification. Comparing their status with the Steam Locos at Bardhhaman found both of them at the same level of this equation of modernization. We could do nothing much, but move on the search for more.
The Shed was still quite far from this point. Another stretch of walk started, with a charging puff on offer, and we were in front of the Goods Cabin. Upon asking about the Shed, a rather helpful Staff, pointed towards a long series of BOXN Rakes, at the end of which a Voluminous Water Tank could be located. He confirmed that to be our destination. A thankful adieu to the Railway man, and the proceedings prevailed. The Yard Area is quite sufficient with the Coaching Complex towards the left and Goods Parking area on the right. The end point, being the BGA Shed Area.
One point worth a mention was an Accident site located near the Shed Entrance, with one of the VB Coaches, bent and damaged badly, against the Boundary wall. I do not know, whether this was something simulated or rather a condemned coach has been dumped herein.
While such calculations were going on, regarding the above spot, a speedy movement drew the focus onto itself. This was the first ever spotting of a GONDA based WDM-2. 17997, approaching fast and furious, for yet another trial run. Shooting continued in the work area, with a couple of visitors entering the ramp one by one. They were the WDM-2 - BWN - 17634 and the hot favorite.Jumbo. WDM-2. 17845, from BWN again. They continued the progress towards the Shed, laying the path for us to follow.
This time yet again, an Accident Relif Van, with the Number series. 993994 / A, served as the.Dwarpalaka. (Meaning Gate Keeper), past which is the Page. Three of the day.s tour book. The Beliaghata Diesel Locomotive Shed.
Spottings in the BGA Loco Shed:
The Shed is comparatively a petite infrastructure, with 5 Bays, serving 20 Locomotives at a time. The productivity of this Shed is its Shunters that serve in and around Sealdah. The list includes a series of WDS. 4s and 6s. Along with them, the Loco Shed, also has a running maintenance facilitation for the WDM. 2s arriving, from different Sheds. We had an opportunity to catch the Jumbo, while being Re-fuelled. She was absolutely photogenic at that moment with a sky-high smoke and the sounds changing with the shifting moods. Spending some time in and around the corners of this picturesque Loco Shed, I got the Spotting List of Locos for Rabibrata:
- WDM-2 17916 BWN
- WDM-2 16410 BWN
- WDS-4 B 19522 Not Mentioned
- WDS-4 D 19617 BGA
- WDS-6 R 36076 BGA
- WDS-4 D 19573 BGA
- WDS-4 D 19622 BGA
- WDS-4 D 19569 BGA
- WDS-4 D 19570 BGA
- WDS-4 D 19647 BGA
- WDS-4 D 19618 Not Mentioned
- WDS-4 B 19438 BGA
- WDS-4 B 19518 BGA
- WDS-4 B 19457 Not mentioned
- WDS-6 R 36219 BGA
- WDS-6 R 36220 BGA
At first when we approached the Bay Areas for photography, a bunch of Railway Employees, doing their duty, with full responsibility, confirmed our identity after going through the Photo Permit. After this, we did spend an eventful forty to forty five minutes, in the Work Zone, to capture different settings, of this location, which remained so unexplored till this day. A couple of WDS. 4 Class Locomotives were found, in active state, with maintenance being carried out. I wonder, if they run in and around this Shed area only, because my memory does not offer any scene of these Locos running in or near Sealdah, in the recent past.
Having satisfied our Quest for Beliaghata, we bid adieu to the world of Diesel, in anticipation of some Electric Spotting in the Sealdah Electric Loco Trip Shed at Narkeldanga. Back tracking till Narkeldanga, took a considerable span of time, but not in vain. A glimpse of the Trio Standing with their heads high up made us feel the spirits of accomplishment. It was an invincible combination of WAP. 4 / 6 and 7. The first stop here was the validation from the In-Charge, and we were allowed to continue shooting. Narkeldanga is primarily the EMU Car Shed of Sealdah Division, with a Holding Capacity of 30 EMU Rakes. We had a nice interactive session with the In-Charge, Mr. Banerjee, who took us back to the old days of the Sealdah division, when WAM. 1s used to be pulling the push-pull EMUs. Topics were popping into one by one, on the chronology of events, in and around this part of the Railways. He was kind enough to give us company, in exploring each and every cutting corners of this Area.
The very first member to be enlisted was the Electric Shunting cum Training Car. Ramakrishna, used for Coach Allocation for the EMUs. The Sunlight made it feel excellent, in contrast to the conventional EMU Rakes, parked in and around her. She had a glowing livery, adjoined by the Special EMU cum Ticket Checking Unit..Chetana.(Chetana is a Bengali word meaning conscience).
A walk around the Old Wheel Turning Shed, found it in an abandoned state, with the Machinery still in place, silent to death. A SAN. OHE Vehicle parked in the OHE Shed, drew attention, with the Green Look shining on her face, bathed with the sparkling rays of the afternoon Sun.
The Circle would have been incomplete, if the final surprise was not captured. This one was truly something which we call add-on. the Broad-Gauge Turn Table. This is located just in front of the Trip Shed and is completely in Active and Operational Status. Mr. Banerjee added that this Turn Table is still under use.
We could not thank him more, and appreciated the extremely nice gesture of this gentleman. The Three Musketeers standing in the Trip Shed, definitely needed our visit, and were waiting eagerly. The WAP. 7. 30220 GZB, that brought in the Rajdhani, earlier that day, was surrounded by a WAP. 6. 22407 from ASN and WAP. 4. 22507. HWH, making up for the final verdict. A Complete Happy Family.:-)
We got to know from the In-charge that an Inspection Car that had gone for supervision of the newly laid BG line, between Majherhat and Prisep Ghat, would be arriving soon. This one was designed and being kept us by the Narkeldanga Unit. As we were crossing tracks, the vehicle approached slowly. A typical rajdhani Livery, without any innovation, disheartened us!
Time ticked on, and now it was our turn to return back to Sealdah. It was a tiring couple of hours, but fruitful and satisfactory. But, hey, there is till something new here. While we started heading back towards the Station, the EMU with Navy and Sky Blue Combination, entered the station, with the first set of its photographs enlisted. And something very interesting, a WDM. 2. BWN in Blue and Orange Livery turned up with the incoming service of the Hatey-Bajarey Express from Barauni, was the final gift for the day. Having the perfect light conditions, we went on for a shoot out, of this rare visitor, with an angry assistant approaching from the Loco, challenging our permission. Once mentioned of having one, he just rewinded back, quickly into the Loco, with a mimicking face. A comedy of errors!
A WDS. 6 R. 36159 from BGA, was peeping in and out, for some job, while a WDM 2. 16337 from Bardhhaman, was standing still, as if the Lord of the Platform. Amongst all this another Shunter. WDS. 6 R - 36145, was found in a rather Sad Look, reaching out far away towards the Out Yard, all alone.
We thanked ourselves for this wonderful day, and headed for the Cab Stand, with plans for some Beer at Mocambo. Park Street.
The Plinthed BK. 3. NG Steam Loco from the Bardhhaman. Katwa Line, was tangled all around by the colors of politics, draped in the Maoist theme flags. It is a real shame!
After this it was a smooth cab ride to the famous Mocambo Restaurant at Park Street. A toast to this Day, along with some Crab Delicacy for me, a Stake for Samit, and some Chicken Salad dishes for Subhabrata and Mr.Saha, met up our quench for a much needed appetite. The Crab dish was really tasty, and while I am writing this report as late as 05:00 AM in the morning, I feel like having the same dish with a Toast for the wonderful team named. IRFCA!
Sincere Thanks to: Samit Roychoudhury. For being a Wonderful Companion, as always All the Members of the Eastern Railway Family, who made this day, come true, Mr. Buddhadeb Saha for his company with the tidbits and informational stuff on Railways And Subhabrata Chattopadhyay. For his excellent and enthusiastic Company