Indian Railways Reports
Diva Vasai Corridor : A sublime experience
Dr. Shirish Yande
Ever since Diva Vasai corridor opened up for the passenger traffic, my
journey on this section has always been during the dark hours of the
night so far. Apart from the perceptible curves, I never got to
explore the real charm of this section until March this year, when I
took the Pune Indore Express to Surat for a Medical Conference.
The train travels on this line during the twilight hours of the
evening, giving a thrilling experience of viewing this section in the
most spectacular way.
My train (powered by a WCAM-1 of Valsad shed) departed Kalyan Jn.
â€œright timeâ€ and reached Dombivali within 6 minutes. The train now
finds itself on the up line number 6 (going towards Mumbai). The AC
catenary work over the mainline is complete but awaits activation on
the first four lines. I guess the line no. 5 and 6 are already
activated, since the loco (WCAM-1) seemed to change the Pantograph
here. As the sun sets over the western horizon, the train slowly
leaves the mainline and scrambles over the long loop.
Now the fun begins. As it diverts on the huge curve of 270 degrees,
the temptation of looking back at the main line is simply
irresistible. Believe me, it is one of the most emotional moments in
the life of a Railfan in his railfanning career. The view of leaving
the mainline and taking another branch line has always been a moving
experience for me.
The view of the long curve is now apparent at this point and is simply
breathtaking even for a non rail buff (although I could spot very few
at the door at this time). As we complete the first 90 degrees of the
curve, the two lines of the triangle join us as if to console the
heart of a real Railfan. This particularly assures you that you are
not far away from the mainline. The train crawls at very low speed to
cross over the points.
Once across the points, it gathers speed and continues a very sharp
bend to run over the bridge across the mainline at the level of
Dombivali station again. This gives a fascinating view of the entire
train over a long time. It is also interesting since the train has
already travelled 4 kms by now to come back on the top of where it
commenced the diversion, i. e. over the Dombivali Station again. Itâ€™s
a wonderful spectacle.
Soon we pass Kopar Road and approach the Bhivandi Road station, at
which the train halts for several minutes. We passed a loaded tank
rake carrying Anhydrous Ammonia here. As we leave Bhivandi Road
station, the Ulhas River makes a beautiful canvas for further run on
this section. This is particularly enchanting at the time when the sun
is about to set on the horizon. Here on the train runs through what
can be described a â€œvery rawâ€ terrain. This piece of land is
surprisingly underdeveloped given for its proximity to the huge
metropolis of Mumbai.
The track on this section is smooth and continuously welded, although
the soft sounds of the welded joints are distinctly audible over the
most of the journey. Yet the journey appears largely noiseless.
Surprisingly the train never speeds beyond 90 kms an hour on this
line; indeed it averages a meager 30 kms/ hour. This is mainly due to
heavy freight traffic on this line, compelling the train to brake
several times. Although a double line is a clear advantage, overtaking
a goods rake usually means diverting on a loop and then scrambling
back on the mainline. This maneuver easily eats away 15 minutes of the
schedule. IR have always assumed this time since most trains have a 90
to 100 min haul for this 38 km. run. Another prominent reason for a
longer time allowance is that these trains have to cross over to join
a very busy mainline section at either end.
The terrain is mostly level, although a few small mountains do appear
from time to time. There is a sharp contrast though, when you see an
AC electrified double line passing through a relatively underdeveloped
area. The viaducts are particularly beautiful on this line but one
must travel during the daylight to appreciate their beauty.
My return journey was exactly the same time the next day, this time on
Rajkot Coimbatore express headed by a WDM 3A of Erode shed. Having
arrived at Vasai 20 minutes ahead of schedule, we halted for a long
time at Vasai. The departure from Vasai was no different than the
previous evening, while we leave the mainline in much the similar
manner, except that there are DC to AC converted catenary structures
seen on the track close to Vasai Road station. The curve is much
gentler on this side, but what is most disappointing is the absence of
a triangle on this end. IR do have limitations of space, but imagine
how nice and convenient it would have been to have a triangle on this
end as well. It would have allowed trains from the Western Railway
terminuses to divert on the main southeast corridor from Mumbai.
What I noticed on this leg of the journey was a WAG 7 heading a box
wagon rake at Juchandra station. By the way all stations on this
section are small and tidy. Bhivandi road is perhaps the largest on
the route. I also came across a single traction substation on this
IR has so many wonderful sections that a Railway enthusiast can barely
cover. But Diva Vasai is a very special section on the IR and offers a
lot for a railway enthusiast.
My arrival at Kalyan Jn. at 19 40 hrs marked the end of the day as
well as end of what can be called one of the most charming journeys I
have ever had.
Note: I strongly recommend the members to
visit the photos
that describe this section much more vividly. They are available on one of
the Picasa albums, here:
Material provided by Dr. Shirish Yande, Copyright © 2010.