Hi, Yesterday night I accompanied my father, along with a couple of his staff on a night inspection to Kalluru. Let me describe what a night inspection is. A night inspection is usually carried out by the head of any particular branch of a division, at any station falling under the jurisdiction of his division, to check whether everything is working normally.
Kalluru is a small station located on the Gooty Ananthapur section of the SCR. The MG Line coming from Guntakal and bound for Pakala joins the BG section over here, and both of them run in parallel, all the way up to Dharmavaram. The station is relatively small; only passengers + the 1013/1014 Kurla express stop here. The town is on the NH7 between Hyderabad and Bangalore.
Reached the station at around 0030 hours, after receiving a rather warm reception by the street dogs which were rather irritated by a lowly human contraption disturbing their night´s sleep.
On opening the gate of the station, we found a motley group of labourers (encroachers in railway parlance) enjoying a quite sleep, under the comfort of a ceiling fan whirring away at a high speed overhead.
ANOMALY.. Why should the ceiling fan be kept on when the station does not have any night trains? Immediately ordered to be disconnected.
From there we went to the Dy. SS's room. The Dy SS was pretty alert coordinating the passage of the 7085 up KCG - SBC express within a few minutes through his station. As the staff carried out their routine inspections checking out the various fittings log books, registers etc, I could faintly hear the familiar sound of the DP4.
Went out to the platform. Sure enough, the advanced starter and starter were showing green. The horn grew louder and louder, and then the twin headlights of the DP4 pierced through the darkness as it cleared the bridge and the curve and headed towards us. Within a few minutes, it zoomed past at about 95 Kmph.+ (SHF), with the driver exchanging the all clear with the station staff.
Going back to the inspection. The water cooler was checked up, and though the water was coming, it was not cool. Defect noted down. Checked up the platform lighting and found a solitary tube light malfunctioning on the MG side. Noted down.
By this time, the folks at Kalluru had realized that some important activity was going on. All the people sleeping on the platform and near the ticket counter got up and huddled around near the fag end of the platform.
The crew of the station in the meanwhile started poring out their cup of woes. They all were staying in ‘Type 1’ quarters (single room quarters, in Railway Parlance) and were experiencing problems with their quarters. All their points were noted down, and in some cases, they were given a dressing down, for not having complained before.
In the meanwhile, the decks were being cleared for the passage of the 6530 SBC_BBVT Udyan express. As the Dy SS cleared the route, I observed that he had a book in which numbers were marked out in an ascending order. Against every train passing through his station, he has to issue a ‘Private’ number. I saw ‘49—6591’, ‘52—7685 ’ ‘54—6530’ marked in his book. In addition, the Dy SS has to record the time of passage of the train through his station, and he has to clear the signals after checking up with the LC Gate Walla whether everything was all right. In the meanwhile, heard the horn and the rumble of the approaching 6530 down. Within a few minutes the Lone KJM Headed LHF Udyan express with 21 coaches went past us at a pretty good speed.
After checking out the station we moved to the LC Gate, situated about 600 metres away from the station. The LC was a barrier-gate type, handling minimal traffic, criss-crosses the track between Kalluru and a nearby village. Checked the functioning of the LC Gate. Well, it was functioning, but then, the gates were not aligned properly. The signals are cleared only when the gates are locked and the gatekeeper has to ensure this.
I also got to see the FUSEE — this is in the shape of a long candle and can be struck with a match near its head. Has a metal rod at the bottom Once lit, it gives out a bright flare, which can be visible from quite a distance away (about 1 to 2 Kms approx). the gate keeper uses this (he lights it up and inserts it in the middle of the track, and then shows his lantern, so as to warn the driver of an approaching train of any problem in the gate). This flare can work even when it is raining, and that's pretty good.
So finally after staying there, for about 45 minutes we headed back to Guntakal. The Gate Walla who realized that the Sr DEE was doing the rounds came up to the jeep and poured out his cup of woes also. His Type 1 Quarter had faulty electrical connections and often gave shocks.
We noticed that the staff in this station had a lot to complain about. It appears that the people in the middle were not doing their job properly. Strong action from the top brass might improve the situation. By the time we reached home it was 0330 hours. Went to bed, after hearing the PA system announcing the departure of the 7429 Rayalaseema express to TPTY.