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June 2005

Romancing CR Branches (Part-1)

Diva-Panvel section of Diva-Roha Branch

Central Railway's Mumbai division, in addition to the main line, has two branch lines currently in operation for passenger trains. They are Diva-Panvel-Roha and Diva-Vasai Road. A long standing aim to travel on these branch lines saw fullfilment recently. This report features the Diva-Panvel-Roha railway line. Panvel-Roha section has been transvered many times and numerous reports are available at the Travelogues section. The section sees about 5 passenger trains and about 14 express trains. The passenger trains run early in the morning and travelling on them needs a bit of early waking up! Finally to accomplish this aim, I decided to travel on an Express train. I had to go to Thane for some personal work and decided to fix this aim into my schedule. I left home at about 9 am, reaching Thane by about 1030 and finishing off my work, I was back at the station by 1230. The only train running through the targeted section is the Mangalore bound Matsyagandha at 1430. So decided to spend some time at the station and purchased required tickets and I was on the platform in no time. I suffered a late response and hence was not able to photograph trains. The only photograph available is the above one. (For details, read-on). Thane sees a lot of trains running past without stopping in the afternoons. The first train, I spotted was the Muzzafurpur bound Pawan Express which whizzed past with a WCAM3 at its helm. The next one was the Mumbai CST bound Chennai-Mumbai Express. Some time later, Kamayani Express pulled into the station. I decided to spend time on Platform 6 and was lucky enough to catch a long ConCor rake to be hauled by Kalyan's WDG3a #14567 on camera. (The image above). Some time later, there were announcements about the impending arrival of Train no 167 Dadar-Mangalore Holiday Special.

I said to myself, thats my train. The train was soon pulling to platform 7. i rushed to the platform and was surprised to see the train already pulling in. The loco was Kalyan's WDM2 #18068. The rake was very small and was in the order: Loco-SLR-GS-GS-A1-AS1-S9 TO S1-GS-LDS (SLR). It was a 16-coach rake. I boarded the rear SLR and decided to have a look at the rake. My compartment was built in 1992, homed by CR. The train left Thane at 1343. The train quickly picked up speed and we negotiated points and joined the main line soon. We crossed the Parsik tunnel at 1349 and kept speeding towards Diva. We crossed an oil-tanker rake hauled by Kalyan WCAG1 #21975 at 1353, while our train was moving slowly towards Diva. Diva was reached at 1357. Our train did not stop there, but passed at a very low speed. Here the Vasai Road bound DMU was readying for its 1400 departure as train number 1648. This rake has the loco at the middle and two driving cabs at each end. The loco was Kalyan WDM2 #18169. We crossed the station and took a right curve to enter the Roha branch line. This branch line is doubled and electrified upto Panvel Junction. The section between Diva and Panvel has been energised to 25 kV AC Traction as opposed to the ruling 1.5 kV DC Traction in Mumbai. The first station on this section is Dativali and was crossed at 14.01. We crossed the Dadar bound KR4 Passenger just outside Nilaje station at 1403. The passenger was hauled by Kalyan's WDM2 #18336. We crossed Nilaje at 1405. The run was quite uneventful and it was raining almost continuosly. The coach was empty with only about 5-6 passengers including me in th entire coach having a capacity of over 90 passengers. The train was on its last scheduled run. We crossed the third station on this section, Taloje Panchanand at 1411. The next station was Navade road, which was crossed at 1414. We reached Kalamboli Goods yard by 1416 hrs where a WAG7 welcomed me. There a Kalyan WDS6 and twin Kalyan WDM2s led by 17492 was waiting for duties there. We finally pulled into Panvel at about 1425 hours. The Nizamuddin bound 2617 Mangala express hauled by Ernakulam WDM2a #16885 was waiting at the station. A ConCor rake hauled by Pune's WDG3's #14816 & #14813 MU-ed. The locos has a note reading "De-Rated Loco". Finally walked out of the Main-line platforms and went towards the Suburban Ticket booking office and purchased a ticket to Nerul to go home.

The local was already there on the platform. I boarded the last compartment. It started raining then and the that was a real heavy down pour. The train left Panvel at 1440. We crossed Khandeshwar at 1443, Kharghar at 1448 and finally reaching CBD Belapur at 1455 bringing my journey to an end!

I am eager to know how you liked this report! Please send in your comments and suggestions (brick-bats also welcome) to binaiks@gmail.com

©2005 Binai Kochunni Sankar

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