WAP4 from Erode at Trichur
It was getting unbearably hot, and we were lucky ones to be blessed by
Maharashtra Government’s new offer – “load shedding”. The power outage
lasted till 1130. I rushed out of my home on my Qualis in search of an
auto rickshaw. I got one, and we (I and my mom) made it to the station at
around 1155. I purchased tickets to Panvel from the newly opened ticket
counters at Belapur station, and we made it to the platform with about 3
minutes to spare for the EMU. The EMU pulled in sharp on time, and we
reached Panvel at around 1220 or so. The station was too dry for that
hour. The crowd waiting for our train was not very high considering the
Just as we were about to enter the waiting room, an Asansol WAG5 pulled in
with a long container train. I left the luggage with my mom, and I decided
to check out the reservation chart and the coach position. My coach, AS3,
was the 5th from the loco, and our names – for sure – appeared on the
reservation chart! I purchased a bottle of water and a cold drink from the
only eatery present at the station. The PA system announced that our train
would be arriving on Platform 3, and we shifted from the retiring room to
My mom got a seat under a fan, and I decided to check out the power of a
container rake parked on Platform 2. The loco was WDG3A #14983 of Kalyan.
On the main line was WAG7 #27352 of Ajni with a Container train. I walked
back to the platform. Just around 1250, the arrival of KR4 Ratnagiri –
Dadar passenger was announced. The passenger came in at 1259 with WDG3A
#14678 of Pune. Kalyan WDM2 #16049 pulled in with a Container train on the
main line. Just minutes later, the arrival of my train was announced.
Finally, at 1308, my train – 6345 Lokmanya Tilak (T) – Trivandrum
Netravati Express pulled in with a delay of 18 minutes, with WDM3A #18555
of Erode in charge.
The loco was in the new “pseudo-WDM3D” livery, with its logo put up like a
description in some text book (Courtesy – Karan Desai, IRFCA). The arrival
of Mangala Express from Ernakulam was also announced. My coach stopped
right next to where I stood! The coach was WGACCN 05908 – manufactured in
March 2006 – Just 13 months old!!! RCF website shows that this coach was
dispatched on March 31, 2006! I kept the entire luggage inside, and
decided to stay outdoors till the train started moving. Meanwhile, the
Nizamuddin bound Mangala Express pulled in behind an Ernakulam Loco (I
couldn’t get the number since about three container trains parked parallel
to each other were locking my view of the loco!). A look at the
reservation chart baffled me! The 64 berth coach had 2 vacant berths, and
out of the remaining 62 berths, 39 were booked under the tatkal quota! (We
too had booked in the tatkal quota!)
At 1320, my train got its starter and we were on our way out of Panvel.
The TTE came around, and initialed on my ticket. The train picked speed in
no time. The pantry staff came around enquiring if we wanted lunch – which
we declined. Next in line were vendors selling snacks. While checking the
bed roll, I was shocked that we were given only 1 bed sheet instead of
two. On checking up with others in the bay, I came to know that some foul
play was on. Some minutes later, I caught up with the coach attendant, and
he went around saying some lame excuses, and passing the buck to some one
else. He was no where to be seen later!
By the time, our train reached Nagothane. We stopped on the main line
itself, and the stay extended to around 15 minutes. I spotted the
assistance pilot getting down from the loco and fetching water for him and
the pilot from a tap on the platform. No crossings took place, and we left
the station after a blank wait! There was some track renewal works ahead,
and we crawled our way to Roha. We reached Roha at 1455, late by around 13
minutes. We were welcomed into Roha by WDG3A #13303 of Kalyan – The newest
Kid there! At around 1500, our pairing train came in behind WDM3A #14046
of Erode. We finally left Roha at 1505. The train crossed over into KR
territory about 5 minutes later.
The ride got smoother, and the pilots accelerated to much higher speeds
than they could till now! The train started rocking! We halted at Kolad
for a few minutes to get the ACD activated, and then we continued our
journey to the south! The train kept rocking till we reached Veer. At
Veer, we were diverted to the loop line (the one without the platform).
Some minutes later, WDM3A #14126 of Erode pulled in with the 15-coach
Sawantwadi – Diva Passenger. Both the train got their starter almost
simultaneously. We were back on the main line, and reached MPS very soon.
The loco up-front was a real smoker, and she let out thick clouds of smoke
every time the pilots notched!
We pulled into Karanjadi loop some minutes down the line. We were cross
the Rajdhani here! The crossing is such a high profile one, that we had to
wait for about 15 minutes! The Rajdhani came around smoking at around
1659. The loco in charge was WDP3A #15518 of Golden Rock in “Green”
livery. The 15-Coach train crossed in about a minute. We got our starter
about a minute after the Rajdhani went past, and our loco screamed aloud
as she put the 21 coach rake back on the main line. The loco smoked up and
we were back to 100s!
As always, we got a loop once again. This time it was at Anjani! The halt
this time was short. Just a couple of minutes after my train stopped, I
could hear a typical EMD horn from a distance, and there she was – WDP4
#20037 rushed through with the Mumbai bound Mandovi Express in tow. After
4 crossings in 80 minutes, we finally made it to Chiplun at 1725 – late by
40 minutes. The coaches were re-watered as passengers were treated to hot
Vada-Pav and Samosas. The train pulled out at 1735. The loco put up a very
grand show till Sangameshwar road. We were put to the loop here.
Sangameshwar is another KRCL station guarded by a Tunnel on one side.
Trains traveling on the UP directions, if they have to enter the loop,
have to slow down inside the tunnel itself! Just as the last coach of my
train was clearing the main line, I spotted a head lamp ready to exit the
tunnel. The other train surely had a danger signal and was preparing to
stop, but the signal turned green as the train neared it. I could see the
loco notching up heavily. That was the Dadar bound Jan Shatabdhi Express.
The loco was WDM3A #14080 of Erode. The crossing was just a matter of a
back on track soon. The pilots notched up quickly, and they were clearly
showing that they wanted to finish off their duty quickly! We reached
Ratnagiri by 1900, late by about 15 minutes. I walked up to the loco to
have a look at crew change. By now, the CR pilots were on their way to the
running room, while KR pilots were checking the loco. The loco was having
all her lights on, and the assistant pilot was running around checking
various ‘fluid’ levels. The loco was ensured to be in all her health and
we were ready to roll ahead! We got our starter at 1910, and we were back
on track. The pilots of KR showed that they were superior to their
counterparts of CR when it came to notching! The train rocked its way
served at about 2000, while the train was rolling ahead at a very good
speed. The Vegetarian Meals platter had Rice, Sambhar, a Veg
accompaniment, Curd and Pickle. Water was initially not served, but later
after a few of us protested, he supplied water in sealed plastic glasses.
We had a non-stop run upto Kudal. We made it to Kudal a few minutes past
2100. We left after the customary 2 minute halt. Our next halt was at
Thivim. We reached Thivim at 2148, and we were surprisingly taken to the
loop line (Platform 1) instead of the main line. About 3 minutes after we
stopped, the Mumbai bound Matsyagandha Express went past at a very good
speed. We left Thivim at 2158.
Our next halt was at Karmali, where we reached at 2216 and left at 2218. I
decided to wait until Madgaon before sleeping. We reached Madgaon outer by
around 2245, and were made to wait for about 15 minutes. We finally made
it to Platform 1 of Madgaon at 2310. I decided to check out if the loco
changes, and confirmed that only the pilots’ change there and not the loco
(As was reported on IRFCA earlier!). New pilots took over, and we were now
ready to roll. I was back in the coach, and by about 2320, our train
departed from Madgaon. I stood by the door till we crossed the coaching
In the coaching yard, the rake of Mandovi Express was being assembled (two
extra coaches were attached owing to the summer rush). Doing all the
shunting works was WDP4 #20036 with her cab facing Kankanadi. I went to
sleep shortly after 2340. I had a very good sleep, and got up at around
0710. Just as I jumped down (literally) from my side upper berth, the
train was pulling in to Payyanur, and the time was 0716. The train left
the station at 0718. I hunted out a vacant toilet, and quickly finished
all the morning chores!
Kannapuram at around 0735, and left the station two minutes later. I was
out at the door to catch some fresh air from the pristine villages of
Kerala. My railfanning session on Day two began exactly at 0743 with the
photograph of WDG3A #13229 of Erode working a long LPG rake. We had a
danger at Pappinisseri outer, which turned to clear just as the loco
stopped. We smoked through the station at 0749. We hardly picked up speed
when we reached Valapattanam River. The double line territory ends here,
and it’s a single line from Valapattanam Bridge to Kannur. We had a long
wait before we could cross the river. The Kannur-Mangalore passenger was
waiting on the other side of the river (at the station), and she got
precedence over us to cross the river. The loco in charge of the passenger
was Flat faced WDM2 #17544 of Erode.
We crossed the bridge and the station shortly after the crossing.
Valapattanam had a freight siding, and WDM2 #16678 of Ernakulam was seen
dozing off at the siding after dropping a BCNA rake. We finally reached
Kannur at around 0815, late by an hour and 10 minutes. (The cause of delay
was unknown). We left Kannur 5 minutes later. The breakfast (Masala Dosa)
was served while the train was stationary at Kannur. We reached Thalasseri
at around 0835, and left at 0837. I was busy chatting with my Mom all the
way, and suddenly I noticed that we were indeed crossing Mahe. We crossed
the Mangalore mail with an Ernakulam WDM3A in charge at around 0905. This
crossing was interesting – I was fiddling with my mobile phone, and was
simply recording the track outside on my mobile camera when the mail
rushed across! We reached Vadakara at 0910 (late by an hour and 12
minutes) and left at 0915.
The run from Vadakara to Kozhikode was uneventful, and I spent almost the
entire distance inside the coach. We reached Kozhikode at around 0955
(Platform 3), with a delay of exactly an hour. We left Kozhikode at 1005.
Ernakulam WDM2 #16885 was waiting on Platform 1 with the rake of
Kozhikode-Shoranur Passenger. A small one kilometre stretch from Kozhikode
to Kallayi is yet to be doubled. I decided to stay at the door for some
more time. We crossed the Ernakulam-Kannur Intercity express just before
Parpanangadi. The loco in charge was WDM2 #18318 of Ernakulam. We reached
Parpanangadi at 1040, and departed 2 minutes later. We then stopped at
Tirur (1100) and then at Kuttipuram (1120). I was anticipating a crossing,
and stood at the door. The Pallipuram-Shoranur section is still pending to
be doubled, and I was surprised to find that the Pallipuram-Karakad
section has been converted to an absolute block section i.e., allows only
one train movement at a time! There are no crossing stations any where!
We reached Karakad at 1150, and I spotted the Coimbatore-Mangalore
passenger waiting there with WDM2 #17116 of Golden Rock in charge! We were
welcome into Shoranur by Ernakulam twins WDM2 #17620 coupled to #17805. We
reached Shoranur at 1156 on Platform 5, with a delay of 21 minutes. The
loco pilots once again changed, and new ones took charge. Ernakulam WDM2
#16671 was waiting on Platform 3 with the rake of Ernakulam - Shoranur
Passenger. The loco was all set to shunt the rake to the siding.
Surprisingly, both my train, and the empty rake of the passenger got our
The empty rake was diverted to the Shoranur-Palakkad line, while we took
the Thrissur line. We crossed the Bharatapuzha and entered into Trivandrum
division at around 1210. The Trivandrum-Indore Ahilyanagari Express was
waiting at the Bharatapuzha outer signal with Arakkonam WAM4 #20477
in-charge. My train notched up quickly and we were cruising at a very
smooth speed. I was determined to photograph the Venad Express today, and
stayed at the door. The section from Shoranur to Thrissur is filled with
sharp curves, gradients and what not! The UP and Down lines run at two
different levels at many places.
We crossed Wadakancheri station at a slow speed. The outer signal for the
UP line had its signal set for the loop line. I knew what was in store for
me!!! I switched on the camera and kept myself ready for a photo. I
spotted a WAP4 at a curve, and quickly took a photo. The loco was WAP4
#22268 from Erode, and the train was Trivandrum-Shoranur Venad Express.
Just as I took the photo, somebody patted me! I turned back and found an
RPF constable behind me. I pretended to be taking images of ‘nature’. He
asked me to close the door. I closed the door, and went back to my seat. I
went to the toilet and washed my face and got ready to get down from the
We finally pulled into Thrissur station at around 1245. We got down and had
our lunch from the restaurant at the station. I had to book a ticket for
my journey to Bangalore the same evening, and hence went to the
reservation office. Just as I neared the office, a Golden Rock WDM2 pulled
in with the Mangalore bound Parasuram Express. Tickets were not available
for any train, and I booked a ticket for a Private Volvo bus (operated by
a leading company called Kallada). We then took an auto to the bus
station, and then a bus to our destination….
Photographs now available at http://irj.fotopic.net/c1256069.html