Monday, July 28, 2008

Vegetarian Mess

For ages now, i have been one of the students of IITM who have been advocating the need for a separate pure vegetarian Mess facility on Campus.

All along, all Messes have had a basic Vegetarian Menu and the Non-Vegetarian being served as extras. We all comfortably chose to believe they were cooked separately and served seperately. Many of us chose to ignore the existance of Non-Veg in the same mess or avoided mess on occasions when non-veg was served. There were a very few who took to the extreme and chose to not even drink water from the mess, because it serves non-veg at times. Hence, there was always a group of us who wished a separate Veg Mess.

After enough signature campaigns and false starts and reasons like not enough patronage etc., since yesterday, IITM has indeed established a separate Vegetarian Mess Facility at the Ganga Hostel Mess.

A reason to celebrate and blog!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Train Trip Report 2

another trip to trichy.

this time it was to be made in two-and-half days notice. however, i was lucky to get a reservation on 2605 Pallavan Express from MS to TPJ on 19th july. being sunday night, i couldnt get any train reservation for my return journey for 20th night. i was still high on hopes to find some train connection for my return, even an afternooon train was not available. Thanks to pressure at home, i m not allowed travel un-reserved and hence was madly looking for some train connection. I couldnt even find a passenger train. I was hoping to find some train connection after reaching trichy.

I reached Madras Egmore station on 19th july at 14:55 for the 15:30 2605 pallavan express. The 2636 vaigai express had just arrived and passengers were finding it tough to move out of Pf5 thro the two narrow FoBs. there was a lot of confusion and crowds shouting as passengers from 2636 were coming out and passengers for 2605 were going towards the Pf. The luggage each person carried adding to the problems. It needed a few women PCs to come to the site and regulate movement in lines.

Pf 4 had 6125 MS - JU express. I couldnt go thro' the crowds to the North end of MS station to see the power on 2636 or 6125. my compartment D9 being almost near the south end of MS station made sure i reached the seat at 15:15 and found the compartment still not even 30% full. 6125 departed on time at 15:15 pm. There were ppl coming in and by departure time, the compartment was fully and the unreserved
passengers standing the aisles. Our power was ED WAP4 22268 in traditional WAP4-red livery. we started on time. Pf 3 had MS-KCG express with ED WDM2 16853 attached to it. There were empty rakes of other evening trains and the loco sidings had quite a few WDMs and WAMs. The rake of 2605 was in this order. E-SLR-UR-UR-D12 to
D5-PS1-Pantry-D4 to D1-C2-C1-UR-UR-SLR. The C2 coach was in the green and yellow livery while the rest of the train was in the usual blue. Some of its window panes had cracks which were sealed with tapes and stickers.

At the gopalswamy nagar yard, empty rake of 7643 Circar express was waiting behind AJJ WAM4 20601, which in all probability would be heading the train in the evening. There was TNP WDM7 11015 and a few WDS4Bs in the sidings in the yard. also was the empty rake of 2631/32 nellai express and that of the recently shifted to Madras division 113/114 TBM-VM passenger.

Though i wasnt expecting many crossings, i stuck my window seat and occasionally went to the door to see if there is anything that i should not miss. We pulled into tambaram on time. on the adjacent platform, was another rake of 113/114 with AJJ WAP4 22693 heading towards VM. We stopped at CGL for a moment and i got a good view of the old loco shed and its water tanks etc. Till here are the EMU limits and one could see island platforms and passengers waiting on them. We had a slow run-through at Tindivanam. This station might soon become a junction, once the new line from tindivanam to nagari is cleared. Between CGL and VM we had just two crossings first was PDY-TPTY passenger with ED WDM2 17750 and the second was AJJ WAM4 21297 with a passenger train. i would guess this could be 6128 GUV-MS express. We pulled into Villupuram on time. The goods yard had WAG5 23621 and some goods rakes. couldnt see many other passenger train rakes of locos in sight. At VM, our loco gave way for GOC WDP3A 15518. Quite a brisk loco, this was and gave pleasing horn. I have always
enjoyed running behind diesels for the horn and the sounds they make, which i find very soothing much in contrast to the electrics. Sooner than later, the electrics would go beyond VM till Ariyalur, ALU. the electrification is complete till ALU is waiting necessary clearances.

After VM, the PDY branch line branched off to the left while the underconversion VM - CDM - MV main line gave us company for a while before hearding leftwards. Stations after this were all the usual one run through, one loop two platform stations, all of them deserted and just a couple of railway staff waving their green flags. The catering staff on 2605 had quite a variety and the aroma was good. There was dal poli, biriyani(veg, chicken & mutton), cutlets, dal vadas, masala dosa and plantain bajjis making the rounds other than the packed chips and biscuits and water. Though the aroma was very inviting, i wasnt hungry enough to try any of them.

We reached VRI on time, with the TPJ-CUPJ passenger waiting on the adjacent platform behind ED WDM2 16850. There werent many other crossings in this section either. GOC twins WDM2 16864(leading) and 18419 went past us with an unknown train. We pulled into TPJ right on time into Pf1 after the one minute stoppings at ALU, LLI, SRGM and GOC. At TPJ station, there were ED WDM2 twins 16462 and 16479 with a rake of coal leaving from Pf 4 as soon as we pulled in. Pf 2 had TPJ-RMM passenger with ED WDM2 16480. Pf1A had the rake of TPJ-ED-JTJ passenger with ED WDM2 17584 in blue and white livery. As i was about leave the station, 1044 MDU-LTT express pulled into Pf4 being KJM WDG3A 13331.

My hopes for finding a train back on sunday were not answered yet. On sunday again, i was back at the station at 2 pm with hopes of finding some train, atleast a passenger for some distance and then some connecting train, but i couldnt find any. however made some interesting spottings. As i entered the platforms after taking the
platform ticket, announcements were made for 6127 MS-GUV express to arrive on Pf3. Pf 4 had the 826A MV-TEN passenger waiting behind ED baldie WDM3A 14055 (ACD Fitted). Pf 1A had TPJ-ED-JTJ passenger's rake with ED WDM2 16564 at the helm. ED WDM2 18554 was in the pit line between PFs 1 & 2. The pit lines behind Pf1A had GTL WDM3A 14039 in a blue-yellow-grey livery and ERS WDM3A 14076 and GOC WDS6 36013. 6127
arrived behind GOC WDM2 twins 17258 and 17699. As 6127 was arriving, a passenger from Palghat Town also arrived on Pf2 behind ED WDM2 17703 unannounced. As soon as this passenger arrived, the leading loco got itself detached. and 18554 ran to the sidings to come back and get attached to the train at the GOC end of the station. Announcements were being made for arrival of 6128 on Pf1 and 6127 left at 14:15 or
so. As i walked up and down the Pf1, i noticed that another GOC loco was also making its way towards the passenger on Pf2. I immediately walked down to find that WDP3A 15518 (which had pulled 2605 the previous day) was also getting attached to the train which was now re-boarded as the TPJ-CUPJ passenger. The WDP3A and WDM2 were both alive and the men were also seen connecting some wires in between them.

also seen at the far end of the pic is 16564. There is work for the extention of the shelter at TPJ platforms and also Pfs 5,6 are being converted to BG to facilitate better handling of the traffic. at 14:30 6128 pulled in behind the familiar combo of 16864 and 18419. And i left the station to go and book tickets on bus.

The bus journey had its own problems with the rains delaying departure and some vacuum lines started leaking and hence the bus started about 2 hours behind schedule. i got down at tambaram and took an EMU. While our bus was doing the Chingleput - Tambaram stretch, a passenger train went past us behind WAM4 20671. The railway line and road were quite close that i could spot this. At TBM station at 8 am, 2693 Pearlcity express pulled in behind ED WDM3A 14126. I wanted to see the out-going 6127 express. however, there was no sign of it, till i got down at
Guindy at 8:30 am. i couldnt wait more and headed homewards.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Train Trip Report -1

This is my first report. Kindly tolerate errors.

We reached MS railway station at 16:20 hours. 6713 (formery 7613)
was in Pf 3. The power was ED WDM2 17710. The empty rake of MS-CAPE
express was being pushed into Pf4 by ED WDM3D 11187. In all
probability this train would be pulled by the same loco. Pf2 was
empty and Pf1 had MS-PDY express with a sleeping AJJ barbie doll
WAM4 21320. The stabling lines beyond Pf1 had a couple of WDSx, some
WAM4s, ED WDM2 17811 (in white and blue WDM3D livery) and GOC WDP3A
15518. Pf 5 had 7651 MS-KCG Exp and Circar was on Pf 8. I couldnt go
and check the power on these two trains. Pf 7 had KJM WDP4 20054
light. Pf 9 had an unknown train with GOC WDP3 15504 facing towards
TBM side. WDS 4B 19533 (TNP?) was bring a coach to attach at the
rear end of Circar. We got our signal to start at 17:00 hours sharp.

The Gopalaswamy Nagar Yard between MS and Chetpet had empty rakes of
the night trains and WDS 4B 19534 (TNP?). 19533 and 17811 had moved
into the yard by then. We were going good till Chromepet. Near
chromepet there seemed to be some signal problem. We were waiting
for sometime. The EMU line had 3 units one behind the other waiting
for the signal to proceed towards TBM. Quite a sight it was, to
watch them queue up and passengers jumping down to get in the EMU in
front and on to the UR coaches of our train. There was a Gangman
flagging signal for the trains to go...

We pulled into TBM at 17:40 (15 min behind schedule). The adjacent
platform had TBM <--> VM <--> TPJ passenger with a AJJ WAP4 22294
waiting towards VM. There was also an AJNI WAG9 with a BCNA rake
heading southwards.

From here on till VM we had a MG line giving us company. Most
stations in the section had a MG platform or two. The masts of the
electrified line are still intact thro' the section. Only at
Tindivanam station the MG lines seems to have been ripped off to
give way for the platform. Some station had loop lines with some of
the MG goods coaches and tankers and caboose.

In between Paranur and Chingleput an unknown train (it was short
enuf to be a passenger train and too short for an express) was going
towards TBM with an ED WAP4 22357.

We entered Chingleput (after the obligatory wait outside the
station, near the lake) at 18:10 (this is about 20 min late) or so,
to be greated by the MS <--> PDY <--> TPTY passenger with a GOC WDM2
16789 waiting to go towards kanchipuram side.

The next stop was Melmaruvathur. We pulled in at 18:45 hours. The
loop line had LGD WAG9 31157 heading a BCNA rake waiting to proceed
towards Chingleput. And the second platform had 6128 GUV-MS Express
with a WAP4 (couldnt note the shed or road number). The wait here
was almost 5 min or so. The next stop was Tindivanam at 19:15 hours.

We reached VM at 20:05 hours (a good 40 min behind schedule). a KZP
WAG7 was waiting with a BCNA Rake in the goods lines. The pit line
near the platforms towards MS had LGD WAG5 23905 and another AJJ
WAG5 234xx. The other end of the platform had another pit line with
GOC WDG3A 14641 (a palindrome!) There was a small train (prolly a
passenger) with a AJJ WAM4 21228 waiting in one of the platforms. I
guess its a passenger to PDY as there were announcements made for
the same.

We left VM at just past 20:15 hours. With not many trains to spot or
scheduled to cross for a while, i dint care to look for them. There
werent any trains till SRGM. We passed Vriddhachalam at 20:55 and
Ariyalur at 21:35 (both being 1 min halts). The wiring for
electrification is done till here. AFter this there were only masts.

We reached SRGM at 22:10 hours (a good 30 min late) and were in Pf2.
The Rockfort express towards MS pulled into Pf1 with GOC twins 16880
(leading) and 16883. Most stations between VM and SRGM (included)
dint have any platform lights and all stations were pitch dark. we
left SRGM at 22:20 and headed towards TPJ. 6108 MAQ-MS Exp crossed
us between GOC and TPJ with ED WDM3A 17803. It had a white and blue

We reached TPJ Pf4 at 22:45 hours (20 min late). Pf 3 had the MDU-
JAT link express towards ED with GOC WDM2 17677, waiting to leave.
Pf 2 had empty rake of some short train and ED WDM2 17599 and GOC
WDS6 36018 (live and roaring).

While we were walking out of the station, 17710 which had pulled us
all along had got detached and went towards the GOC side of the
station thro the pit line between Pf 1 & 2.


The original plan for the Weekend was to take the 13:25 826A Tirunelveli - Mayiladuturai Passenger to MV on Saturday and to return to TPJ either by 6232 Mayiladuturai -Mysore express or 6178A from KMU to TPJ. We had to make a couple of religious stoppings around mayiladuturai.

However, as we reached TPJ station on saturday afternoon at 13:25, 826A had left for MV already. We hence had to do the trip to-and-fro by buses, hence i was pretty upset for not being able to travel by train. This is one section that i have travelled a lot in the MG days as a kid. It wanted to see if i could remember any of those places and how they look like presently. however, it dint happen. The only solace was that, while crossing MV station by bridge, one could spot a lot of MG rolling stock and the MG line towards Thiruvarur was still there. While returning past midnight, i also spotted MG coaches atop BG flat wagons on sidings near GOC workshops. The other observation i made, when the railway line was running close the to roads, was WDM2 17710 which had hauled our 6713 on friday night was pulling some passenger train in the TPJ-TJ section.

On sunday night, we reached TPJ station at 21:30 a good 50 min early for our return journey by 6108(formerly 6608) to MS. It wasn't easy to convince my parents that i wouldnt wait with them at the lounge, but would wanna walk around the platforms. However, i had it my way.

In Pf1, WDS6 36018 had deposited the TPJ-MS part of 6178 and was heading back towards the loop lines with one 3 AC coach alone. This loco had a Jumbo-type short hood. The short hood was not as wide as the cabin, but it was shorter than the height of the rest of the loco, that having straight windows. Does that qualify as a Jumbo?

Pf3 had two trains with their locos facing each other. One was the TPJ-RMM passenger with ED WDM2 17914 facing towards MDU side. The other was an unknown passenger with ED WDM2 17599 facing towards GOC side. Both these locos dint show any signs of being live. GOC WDM2 16867 was going across the pitlanes, light. Pf 1A had another unknown passenger train with ED WDM2 17475.

10-12 minutes to 22:00 hours the KMU-MS part of 6178 was pushed into Pf1 by GOC twins WDM2 18317 (leading) and 16882. It is quite a strange thing that happens with 6178(A) at TPJ. The TPJ-MS part of the train is pushed into Pf1 much before the KMU-MS part arrives from KMU. The KMU part of the train is received in any of the other platforms which is empty, and then the leading loco comes back to the other side(or new loco attached?) of the train to pull it out and push it back into Pf1 to be attached to TPJ-MS part of train. When some delays happen, there is a lot of confusion. 6178A arrival is usually not announced. While there might be passengers waiting for other trains, this short train arriving, pulling out and coming back into Pf1 causes quite a confusion on somedays. (on one of the previous visits, i myself was running all over TPJ station coz of this confusion). 6178 departed from Pf1 at 22:00 hours. Also, noticed was the presence of non AC First Class coach in 6178. In the meantime 6351 CSTM-NCJ express arrived and left from Pf4 with ED WDM2 18537.

6108 arrived on Pf1 at 22:12 behind ED WDM3D 11121. This loco's Short Hood was modified to look like a WDP4 or WAP4. The train came into TPJ from Karur side in LHF mode. Hence, when it reversed at TPJ, it was SHF from TPJ to MS. WDS 36018 attached the 3AC coach to the front end of 6108 before the Luggage Van. 11121 reversed and got itself attached by 22:25 pm. However, we did not get our starter signal.

Announcement were being made for 6713's arrival. In the meantime, a BCNA rake came into Pf4 from MDU side with GOC twins 17620(leading) and 16883. AT 22:45 6713 Madras - Rameswaram express pulled into Pf 2 with ED WDM2A 18698 from GOC side. It was interesting to note that the though announcements at TPJ station still referred to MAQ-MS express as 6108, all the display boards and electronic display screens still refer to it as 6608, which is the old number. Also, the announcements referred to 6713 by its old name, Sethu Express. This name is not being used these days, officially atleast.

When we got our signal to depart it was almost 23:00 (a good 40 min delay here!). The curve from Pf1 to join the TPJ-GOC line is a nice place to see the full train from Loco to the last coach. Spotted the 2633 MS-CAPE express between TPJ and GOC waiting to get an entry into the station. It was lead by ED WDM3D 11200. While waiting for entry, its head light was off, and only the markers were on.

We reached SRGM at 23:20 and Ariyalur at 23:57. Pearl City express came in with GOC WDP3A 15534. There was also a BCNA rake headed by WDMx 14032 in the sidings. I felt it was having the usual ED shed livery. After a weekend full of Road Travel, i couldnt stay awake for long. However, i did note down crossings whenever i woke up.

At sendurai, an un-spottable express went past towards TPJ. At Mathur, a very late running 2642 NZM - CAPE express was waiting for us to crawl in and leave after a momentary halt. At Ichchangadu, WDP4(?) headed Nellai/Pandiyan went across zipping thro'. I was half asleep and couldnt really go to the window/door to check the road numbers of the loco. The horn was of a much high pitch compared to the normal WDMs. We reached Vriddhachalam at 01:20 hours. an unknown passenger train headed by a sleeping ED WDMx 18533 was in the adjacent platform.

We reached VM around 02:20 hours. As we entered, 6178 was leaving from the line of the other side of our island platform. There were some WAMs and WAPs resting the sidings, i couldnt note details though. As we were leaving VM, MDU-MS Pandiyan express pulled into the other platform with GOC WDM2 twins. 16880 (leading) and 16861 (a palindrome!) Also spotted in the sidings a BCNA rake with VSKP WAG-7 27885.

I slept again to be briefly woken up at CGL, by the absence of breeze. We reached TBM, a good one hour late, 05:15 or so. We pulled into MS pf6 at 6:15 am.(one hour delay!) Rockfort had gone to the yard. The TNP WDS4B shunters were doing their duties. MS <--> PDY <--> TPTY passenger was in Pf1 with AJJ WAM4 20613 (panto down). 7644 Circar express came in from MSB side into Pf7 with AJJ WAM4 20573. Announcements for Pandian Express to come into Pf4 was being made.

I found that travelling by SL is much more comfortable than normal Lower berth to be peeping out and seeing things from a train. Going to the door is much better, however i couldnt drag myself out of my berth most of the time.

We had a good weekend.


PS: i hope the numbers and details are right. I did note down the numbers and details on a sheet of paper, thro' the journey and hence am that much confident about them. It is very nice of IR to display the Loco numbers on the sides so prominently.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Fan of trains.

The Indian Railways are fascinating.
I love the trains and train journeys and have been obsessed with seeing trains and travelling in them.

Sometime back a friend of mine got me to visit and have been hooked on to their website for their photos and info from then on. And since not so long ago, i have also been part of the Indian Railway Fan Club Association's yahoo group reading and posting messages there as regular as i would love to.

And even more recently i have started wanting to write reports of train journeys and since, i have a blog that has not been updated for a long time, i thought i can atleast put them reports here to have a copy of them.

PS: people of limited acquaintance to trains and other terminology used by the IR will find it tough to decifer the reports.

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