Monday, May 18, 2009

trip to trichy - report

Trip to Trichy

My parents and I were travelling to Trichy by 6713 on 14th May and returning by 6108 on 16th May.

On the evening of 14th May, we left home rather late around 16:15 and thankfully my uncle dropped us at the auto/taxi entrance of MS by 16:35. We took the escalator on Pf 4 to the FOB and as we were descending the stairs of Pf 7, the rake of 6713 was being shunted in with the loco already attached. a TNP WDM2 was pushing it from GSN yard. I was getting excited to know that a TNP loco might be pulling our train. As it was pretty late, i resisted checking the MS loco shed for the locos that were present. The charts of the morning arrived 2662 were still on the coaches. This confirms RSA between 2661/62 and 6713/14.

Our coach S4 was 8th from loco behind a Extra Sleeper and SLR and 2 UR coaches and S1-3. It was a pretty old coach (91315) but was decently clean and maintained. My excitement was very short lived. The TNP diesel got detached and went away. she later reversed and got attached to MS-NCJ special on Pf3. this was 17677. ERS WDM3A 14046 came and got itself attached to our train. Also noticed that the rear end of the train had a 'shatabdi' liveried coach. i dont know what it was doing there.

Pf 6 had the empty rake of 2661/62 pothigai express with no loco attached. Pf 5 has MS-KCG express with LGD 22517 at the helm. Pf8 had Circar express waiting behind BZA WAM4 21224. We got our starter bang on time. We departed at 17:00 sharp, and so did 7651 on the opposite direction. At the GSN yard, spotted TNP WDM7 11010, and some WDS4 shunters too. Being the first departure for the evening and with not (m)any crossings scheduled we had a clear run and were going good. At the MKK loop line, TNP WDM2 18319 was ready to take the rake of another of MS-NCJ spls towards MS. All the suburban stations flew past us.

We reached TBM in 25 minutes. we were taken into Pf 8. Pf 9 had 113SR TBM-VM passenger with AJNI 27228 heading it. I have observed that as a rule, 113SR always gets WAGs from shed far in the north, always.

We moved out in a couple of minutes. The run to CGL was good. There is difference in the kind of surroundings after TBM. It gets a little more rural. A mix of buildings and fields and some industries scattered. We entered CGL around 17:50. At CGL were two trains on adjacent platforms waiting to move towards AJJ. 6352 NCJ-CSTM express was waiting behind ED 11186 and PDY-TPTY passenger was behind GOC 18699. As we came to a halt, 6352 got its starter and moved, only to stop immediately. We left after a 2 min halt and 6352 started again at the same time.

Reached MLMR around 18:20. Usually the 6128 and 6713 crossing happens at MLMR. however, the 6128 was late and had not yet showed up at MLMR. We were given the starter in a minute. 6128 was waiting for us as Poovanur (PVN) behind LGD 22354. We had our one minute halt at Tindivanam & earlier a momentary halt at Madurantakam as well. VM reached bang on time at 19:30. As we pulled in, PDY-VM passenger also walked in behind AJJ WAM4 20656. In the CGL-VM section, the MG line is removed in many bits. At stations especially, the line has been removed to make way for crossings/loops and possible doubling(?). The surroundings beyond CGL get all the more rural and with lush green fields on both sides and a evening sun-set. it was quite a sight to watch.

We departed VM by 19:45. The catering guys had taken dinner orders well in advance. The food that was loaded at VM was almost immediately served. 3 Parottas with veg curry (carrots, beans, potatos, green peas, channa) was pretty hot and tasty as well. It was a little spicy for my tongue though, worth the 25 bucks.

We reached VRI at 20:20. The biggest surprise of my full trip was here. a freshly painted WCR loco 18869 with no shed markings was standing the sidings. It had WCR and 'pa ma re' prominently painted on the cabin.

Our only crossing in this section happened at Kallakudi Palanganathan, were a passenger train was waiting for us to clear the line. After a on-time arrival and scheduled stop at ALU, we reached SRGM at 21:50 or so. We were taken into Pf 1. Usually if 6713 is late it is taken into Pf 2 & 6178 and 6713 have their crossing at SRGM. However, that day 6713 was on time and got the starter immediately as well. We were made to stop on the main line at Trichy Town station. As we were coming to a halt, one could see 6178 The Rocky was coming towards us. She entered the loop behind ED 11206 and came to a halt on Pf 1. Both trains departed immediately and almost simaltaneously in opposite directions. We moved smooth and in good speed thro' GOC and entered TPJ station at 22:30, 5 min behind schedule into Pf 4. 6108 was waiting to depart from Pf 3 behind 11213. She departed almost immediately after our train came in.

At TPJ, the Pf 5 had some short passenger rake and a WDP3A a little far from it. The pf 2 had a push-pull type train with TNP WDM7 11001 having coaches attached on both sides. Pf 1 had a inspection special train with WDG3A 14944 attaching itself to it as we were leaving the station.

Over all, it was a pretty good run with the train sticking to its schedule all the way. I could not measure speeds, and have no guesses on it either.

On friday and saturday i had made a few trips around Trichy by bus and spotted some trains while passing through the R(o/u)Bs. 11181 pulling 2636 on 15th may. 11195 pulling 2636 on 16th may. 36021 doing some shunting jobs.

On the 16th May evening, we were to return by 6108. My brother was also coming with us. We had lots of luggage and hence chose to be at the station early enough to be able to get into the train on time. We reached TPJ station by 21:05 for the 22:20 departing 6108 MAQ-MS express.

2605 arrived on the Pf 1 behind 11195 at 21:15. simaltaneously GOC 14844 came in from MDU side with a freighter and departed in a few minutes. Pf2 had the rake of 0634 special from TPJ to MAS via KRR, ED, JTJ. It had the boards with reach TPJ <-> MAS <-> MAQ. It was shunted in by GOC 36188 and later the ED Shakti 13500 got attached to it. It was scheduled to depart at 22:40. at the pit-lane beyond pf 1A 18869, 11006 and 36021 were all sleeping.

Soon the empty rake of 2605 was shunted out. 6178A from KMU arrived on Pf1 at 21:45. The power was GOC 14641. The loco got detached almost immediately and ran off making way for the rest of the coaches of 6178 to be attached. The earlier practice of 6178A arriving on a different platform and then getting pulled out and pushed into Pf1 did not happen. 11195 which brought in the 2605 got attached to 6178 and the train pulled out at 22:05.

our train 6108 arrived at Pf 1 at 22:15 behind 11258. The same loco reversed and got attached. Our coach S10 was the 5th from the loco, with an SLR and 3 UR coaches behind the loco. Coach was not new (97231) but had been maintained good. However, as it seems like a practice, we had to wait for 6713 to arrive before we could depart. 6713 arrived at 22:45 behind ED 18561 and dead ERS 18555. 0634 departed on time towards KRR. A little before 0634 pulled out, 18869 got energized and moved into the pit-late between Pfs 1 & 2. We departed around 23:00 and were held up at GOC for the 2633 to cross. ED 11105 was doing the honours. As we moved out of GOC, i saw a short passenger train from TJ side waiting to enter the station and proceed towards TPJ. SRGM was reached at 23:30 and I went to sleep after that.

Only spotting that i noted that night was at Sendurai. 6123 Anantapuri went towards TVC behind 14046. I think this was at 00:35 hours.

I woke up after TBM and we reached MS at 0530 into Pf 6. Rocky had been brought into Pf4 by 22666. 2164 to DR was waiting on Pf 7 behind AJJ 22004.

It was a good run and what more would a rail fan want, after 2 full-ALCo hauled journeys. I personally enjoy the sound of ALCos and always loved diesel hauled trains. All thro' the trip, i resisted from trying to be over inquisitive about spotting trains/locos and totally refrained from fishing my camera out, as i was afraid of being caught. Also, thanks to my extra-cautious mom, i could not door plate at all.

We reached home in an autorickshaw and were settling down when all hell broke loose. My brother had missed his mobile phone. And we were sure it was not in the auto or anywhere else. It had to be in his berth. Our coach was locked on all sides by the TTE even before SRGM came and there were no casual travellers at all. hence, we were sure it was not somebody who generally picked it up. we decided to take a chance and my bro and I rushed to the station on my two wheeler.

I parked the vehicle in front of vasanta bhavan, opposite to MS and ran to the Platform, after taking the Platform tickets. It was 6 am. Rakes of 6177/78 and 6107/08 were not there. 2638 had come into Pf4 with GOC WDM2 twins 16875(leading) and 17363. I made a dash to the enquiry desk and the Station Master's office and requested the in-charge to help. The Platform in-charge directed me to go to the Yard at Gopalswamy Nagar(GSN)and contact the yard master.

We rushed to GSN on the two-wheeler again and made a good round of the place to only find locked offices and a couple of buildings with nobody around. An old lady was at a small temple near the yard cleaning the frontage of the temple and another man was found filling water bottles. Taking a chance, i went into the RPF out-post outside GSN and requested the person-on-duty to help me.

The RPF were absolutely cordial and immediately they sent a man with us, looking for the rake of 6107/08 and to check our coach. in a matter of minutes we were in the S 10 coach. And the phone was still lying there on the Upper Berth no.3. All that the RPF personnel wanted was a letter stating that we had travelled by this train with coach and seat number mentioned, stating that we had missed a mobile phone and came looking for it. we thank the RPF staff at GSN who helped us trace it and retrieve it for us. I was expecting the RPF people to ask for some money and also for details of ticket/PNR etc. However, they asked nothing and were totally cordial and immediately helped us get the phone back. As we were driving out of GSN, empty rake of 6127/28 was being pushed into MS. Kudos to the RPF!

The kind of garbage that is found lying on the tracks of GSN was very disturbing. The number of water bottles, abandoned clothes, footwear, food packing materials, tetra packs... Oh my gosh, i felt very bad and was wondering why shouldnt IR provide dustbins in its compartments. Or is it that it is provided and I am not aware of it. I am rather convinced that i should use the dust bins and not litter the coaches.

And what happened to the WDP4 which was supposed to bring 2638 on the 17th morning? what was the link of that day's 2609? did the twins go with 2609 or went back south-wards with some other train?

The electrification of VM-TPJ chord line is done. I dont know if the energising has happened beyound ALU though. The pillars are up, they are wired and even the turn-outs and sidings have been wired fully. All of TPJ station is under wires now. I am planning a trip by 2637/6128 to MDU to attend a cousin's wedding sometime in mid-june and hope the WDP4 link continues till then atleast. If it does, that would be my first taste of travel behind a WDP4.

My good guess would be this also figures on the IRFCA mailing list. But no guess of mine would ever explain why this happens to be a post here :-/
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