Wednesday, June 17, 2009

madurai trip

Warning: It could be somewhat long and boring.

I went to Madurai with my extended family for a cousin's wedding. we left by 2637 pandian express on 9th June 2009 and returned by 6128 guruvayur - chennai egmore express on 12th June 2009.

On the 9th june 2009. i was suppose to be at MS station as early as i could, so that i can be receiving all the relatives who would come and we were 2 dozen people who were to travel together.

My brother and I reached MS around 20:10 and 2637 was already placed on Pf4. Our coach was S8, the 3rd or 4th from the loco. 104 PDY-MS passenger had arrived on Pf 2 behind ED WAP4 22222. KJM 20062 SHF was already attached to the rake of 2637. adjacent Pf5 had 2631 with AJJ 22712 in charge. Pf 6 had 2661 Pothigai Express behind GOC 15532. 2665 to CAPE was on Pf9 behind AJJ 21235.

Earlier, i got news that 6101 MS-RMM Express had ED 22380 as its power.

I couldn't venture much, as people had started arriving. Our coach was SMB-ed and all 81 berths were allotted. The choice of berths for LB/MB/UB/SL/SU was kept intact and the berth numbers got changed hence. In the middle of our group, there was one person each allotted in each of the coupes to the SMBs, and thankfully they all agreed to shift to the last of our bays and hence we had all 9 berths in 2 coupes and some people shifting to the third to just sleep. Our coach was 06210 and it was a neat coach. not much of complaints. The tables were working, the lights/fans were all working too. there was actually no confusion amongst the passengers. everybody seems to have looked at the charts and hence all of them occupied at their newly allotted berths.

that evening, 2665 left on time. later 6128 came into Pf 9 behind AJJ 22774. This should be the power of 6177 later in the evening. ED 22222 which had brought 104 went and took charge of 1063. 11013 was spotted doing shunting duties.
2661 and 2631 also departed on time. empty rake of 6107 was put into Pf5 and ED 11103 was the power of this train for the day.

We departed on time. I wasn't expecting any crossings for a while and there weren't any till VM. My mom and I chose to take a SLB and SMB so that we could sit and/or sleep at our will. We were sitting till VM. after which i climbed into the SMB and slept for a while. We reached TPJ around 4 in the morning. we had put the SMB back in place and were sitting again, after a hot cup of coffee. (usual railway coffee.)

as we were pulling in, a TNP WDMx was pulling an empty rake out of Pf 1A into the KRR line. The stabling lines beyond Pf 1A had GOC 15524, GOC 17674, ED 11239 all light. We were admitted into Pf 3. Pf 2 had the rake of TPJ -RMM passenger behind ED 17811. We departed in about 5 minutes.

at DG, ERS 18532 was standing light on the next platform. We were more or less keeping time i guess. At Vaiyampatti a freighter was waiting behind GOC twins, for us to cross.

We pulled into MDU around 6:30 am. 783 MDU - SCT passenger and MDU - VM passenger rakes were seen. also spotted were GOC 18337, ED 17699. 2636 Vaigai Express to MS was on Pf 5 waiting behind ED 11105 to depart at 06:45 am.

Return trip was by 6128 on 12th June. The train was supposed to arrive at 11:00 and leave at 11:10. So, we had all of ten minutes to dump in 2 dozen people and enough number of suitcases and cartons and hand bags.

We had all arrived with all the baggage by 10:30 in 2 batches and had got into Pf1 of MDU station where the train was supposed to arrive. As we were entering SCT - MDU Passenger pulled into Pf4 behind ED 16805 and within minutes 0683 SBC-NCJ spl pulled into Pf 2 behind GY WDG3A 16484. 0683 departed after a brief halt, which is when i spotted the slip coaches of 6128 behind KJM WDP4 20022 LHF on Pf 3. It consists of one SLR, S5 - S8 and D5. Our tickets were on S6. The porters on seeing this said they would take all our luggage to Pf 3 and put it into the coach. which also meant some people of our group also went along. Just as the porters dumped all the luggage into the s6 coach, and half of our group had got in, the short rake started to move. It was only 10:50 and the rest of 6128 had not yet arrived either, but this short rake started to move. Thankfully, all our luggage was loaded and with some of our people inside the train to take care of the boxes, the rest of them came back to Pf 1 and we were waiting at the position of the coach so that we can get in, when it is attached.

6128 from GUV pulled in at 11:10 behind ERS WDM 2A 16565. She immediately got detached and ran off. The MDU slip coaches came back from the yard and got itself attached and we all got in. It was all done by 11:25. The coach was pretty old one, 98351. However, it looks clean. The mobile chargers weren't working however. However, we were to wait for the starter. And even after we got the starter, we werent moving for sometime. Eventually, at 11:55 6340 NCJ-CSTM Express pulled into Pf2 adjacent to us behind ED 18533. And we departed MDU at 12 noon, full 50 minutes late. Outside MDU station we had a momentary halt just before the Vaigai bridge and after that we were off in style. The DP4 showed some of its capabilites. We were doing good speeds till KQN where we were put on the loop. the main line had a long BCNA rake with GOC Twins 17619 & 17835 (leading & JHF) waiting to move towards TPJ. We pulled into Dindigul (DG) at 13:05 hours. on the adjacent platform was the empty rake of VM-MDU-DG passenger with the vinyl posters of 'SMTM silks, Madurai' stuck all over it. 383 CBE-NCJ Passenger came in behind ED WDM3A 16479R freshly painted in orange with a silver stripe. I guess, this loco is just back from DMW. We left DG after a 5 minute halt. At Ayyalur(AYR), we were put on the loop line and one was expecting 6127 to be the one we were waiting for. However, it was a BOXN rake behind GOC WDG3A 14944. We had a minute's halt at Manaparai (MPA) however 6127 was still not seen. At Samudiram (SMDM), 6127 was waiting for us. The power was a WDP4. however i couldnt notice the road number. I guess it must be 20062 which had pulled 2637 on 9th june, according the loco link, it must have taken 6128 from MDU to VM during the day on 10th and then gone to TEN with 2631 on the night of 10th. it must have come back to VM with 2631 on the 12th morning and hence would be pulling 6127.

We pulled into TPJ at 14:30. At the yard, empty rake of the evening's 2664 was waiting behind GOC WDS6 36001 to be pulled into the station. The UR coaches were already getting filled at the yard itself. There were quite a few locos all around TPJ station. TNP WDM7 11002, ERS WDM3A 18700, ERS WDM3A 17894, TNP WDM2 17570, ED WDM2 18600, GOC WDP3A 15504, GOC WDM2 16864. There was also a BOXN rake behind ED WDG3A twins 14667 & 14664. We departed after a 5 minute halt. At GOC, there was a BCNA rake behind ED WDG3A 13511 waiting to move towards SRGM. Also spotted light was TNP 11004 on the loop lines. We halted at SRGM and ALU for a minute each.

At Mathur(MTUR), 2635 Vaigai Express was waiting for us behind ED WDM3D 11105. At Ichangadu (ICG) a BCNA rake was waiting behind ED WDM twins. We pulled into VRI around 16:15. On the adjacent platform was the 701 VM-MDU passenger waiting behind GOC WDM2 16867. We left after a minute's halt. At Ulundurpet was a BOXN with the loco detached. It looked like a WAG5. We pulled into VM at 17:30. AJJ WAP4 22696 was going to take-over our train from here. On the adjacent platform was VM-PDY Passenger behind AJJ WAM4 20647. This train departed as soon as we arrived. Other locos spotted were ED WDM3D 11201 and GOC WDM2 twins 17620 & 17676. The loco change happened rather fast. We however waited for 2605 to arrive. It arrived behind AJJ WAM4 20671 at 17:50 and we departed immediately. At Perani outer, we halted briefly though we had the signal to proceed. 6735 Chendur Express was waiting here behind GOC WMD2 17674. 6713 behind an ERS loco was waiting, for us to cross, at Thozhuppedu. We reached MLMR around 19:00 hours. We were waiting for 2633 to arrive. The horn i heard was quite shrill and for a moment, I thought if 2633 started getting a DP4 or some electric loco. However in a moment, 2633 pulled in behind ED WDM3D 11228. We reached CGL around 19:30 and departed almost immediately. It started to look very cloudy and a slight drizzle started also. It was pretty dark also. I hence couldnt notice crossings or spottings after CGL. TNP WDM7 11003 was at CGL behind a short passenger rake. By the time, we crossed a couple of stations the rain had caught up heavily and all the windows had to be shut which meant, all the more bad visibility. We reached TBM around 20:00 and by then the rain had got thinner. AJJ WAP4 22712 pulled 6101 which crossed somewhere in between. a momentary halt at MBM. we reached Chetpet station and had to wait for 5 minutes, till 2663 would pull out behind AJJ WAM4 20652. We finally pulled into MS Pf9 at 20:30 hours (late by 15 minutes). The Pf8 had a solitary HCPV, prolly detached from 2663. AJJ 22696 which pulled us all the way, immediately got detached and went to wait behind 2631 on Pf 5. It would have later pulled 6177.

Given the number of people in the group and the loads of luggage, with the lack of porters and trolleys on Pfs 8&9 adding to the problems, one had to take care of stuff and leave home soon, rather than try do some railfanning. We used the Vepery side entrance to get out of the station and left MS station around 9 pm.

The GC of TBM-VM MG to BG is happening. The MG rails, and the iron-rod type sleepers have been ripped off at many places. The new sleepers also seem to have arrived at some places. However, lots of work does need to happen before one can see a double line till VM.

The second line between DG and MDU is almost done. It runs parallel for most of the stretch except for the Ambatturai - Vadipatti section, where they come close to each other at the KQN station, in between. The linking of the line to the main line at MDU station is still left.

Also I noticed 3 or 4 BG-MG diamonds outside DG station where the DG-POY-PTJ/PGT MG line crosses over the full BG network. All of them are at acute angles. These diamonds would become history as the MG section is already closed for GC. The only other place i have seen a diamond is outside MSB station on the MRTS line. There is a diamond connection for the Pfs 7 & 8. At CGL, where the AJJ line has to cross over the MG line, it is a dual gauge line for a short stretch.

Overall, it was a nice trip to remember for a long time. though, there were no surprise links or eventful happenings, I guess it is quite a thing for everything to be happening normal too.

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