Hi folks, This is the 3rd report in my series of night inspection reports. The destination this time was Juturu, located about 40 Kilometers (by road) from GY on the GY RU section of the SCR. We started out by 2300 hours on Monday 25th November and it was 0120 by the time we made it to Juturu. En route, we had a 10-minute halt at the Senior Section Electrical Engineer's office at GY where the staff picked up a couple of tube lights and bulbs.
The going to Juturu was pretty smooth, with the Mahindra cruising at a comfortable speed of 80 Kmph on the recently done-up highway. It was a full moon night and we had our celestial friends high up to give us company. As usual, I could also sight a couple of blinking lights far up on the horizon. Flights were on their paths going to Mumbai or some other western destination. The team is the same old trio.
By the time we were approaching the closed LC gate at JUTURU, a BOXN rake was heading away at full speed towards GY side. After the passage of the goods, we made our way to the lone platform of the station. The folks on duty (the SM & the Khalasi) had just closed their doors, when we knocked on them. On opening it, they were surprised, by our presence over there. The Khalasi, who was all set for a comfortable snooze on an old ‘MSMR’ wooden bench, got a proper dressing down. Poor soul, he was appointed on compassionate grounds hardly 25 days back, and was beginning to learn the ropes, and then this surprise visit. He will be alert at least for the next few days.
We later asked the staff as to why they had kept the doors closed. Well, they had all sorts of creatures for company. This was more than evident from the sight of a huge group of insects jostling around near the tube light. And hey, they did have some scorpions & snakes for company!
The same old equipment was present in the SM's room, with the only difference being the absence of Neal's Ball Token Machines. This section has an automatic signaling system. On the far end of the room I saw a board giving a brief description of JUTURU station. Here are some of the facts:
The Larsen & Toubro's Cement Factory is located near Tadipatri, about 18 Kms from Juturu. Sidings have been provided to the plant from the GY side as well as RU side. I could see the glimmering lights of the plant in the horizon.
In the meanwhile, the SM cleared the main line for the passage of a BCNA rake to KRNT. The Main Line in the Instrument block was lit up in yellow indicating the route clear for the train. As is customary, all of us trooped out on to the platform. The Khalasi went to the other side, while the SM stood on the platform. The KRNT rake was headed by a KJM DM3A, and was going at a very normal speed. Back to the SM's room, here are some more of the observations: 3 Nos. Crank Handle Boxes with point Numbers painted on them. A list of essential equipment at the station: The list includes:
Apart from this high on the wall were some Safety Slogans:
There is only 1 pair of passenger trains plying on this section. The 208 Down TPTY - GTL Passenger has the timings 1314 hours/1315 hours & the 207 Up GTL-TPTY Passenger has the timings 1327 hours/1328 hours. The revenue collection varies from Rupees 39 per day on the weekdays to Rupees 240 per day on the weekends. The weekends usually witness a heavy rush to TPTY hence the spurt in ticket sales.
After carrying out all the necessary checks, and seeing to it that the staff replaced the fused bulbs where required, we went back to our jeep, thus bidding goodbye to a lonely JUTURU station at around 0300 hours. On our way back, we checked out the LC Gate. The gate Walla was alert and did manage to answer some of the basic technical questions put to him. In the meanwhile, the siren near the gate started ringing and in no time, a GY 14898 LHF & 14887 LHF WDG3As headed, RTPS bound 58-car BOXN rake pulled in to the 3rd line. Immediately we decided to go foot plating to GY on the DG3A. The drivers of the DG3A had taken over the rake at Nandalur at around 1815 hours on the previous day and were booked up to GY.
We had to wait for about 15 minutes to get our turn to move. As soon as the rake moved in, a couple of GY WDM3As Light locos, which had been waiting for us at the home signal, moved into the inner loop line. We were still waiting & this time it was the Venkatadri crossing. After about 10 minutes, the GY DM3A LHF headed Venkatadri express crossed us at a top speed of 100 Kmph + on its way to TPTY. The GM's Air Conditioned saloon was the last coach in the formation.
We got our signal soon and started off. I made myself comfortable on the deck near the Short hood, immediately behind the driver, so as to get a good ringside view of the action. The DG3A immediately notched up to the 7th notch at 30 Kmph, and after that, on exchanging the all clear with the guard over the walkie-talkie and also with his flashlight, the driver moved to the 8th notch. His position was pretty comfortable with the A9 and the SA9 brakes on a wooden board + the notch handle, a little distance away. All the pressure gauges and the power gauges were conveniently located nearby, on the desk. After crossing 40 Kmph, there was a sound & light show near the cabin, with the DG3A emitting a sound similar to a cracker blast, accompanied by a flash of light from the long hood. The speed controlled relay had been activated after 40 Kmph and the DG3A rapidly notched up to 55 Kmph, with the rear DG3A providing ample support.
We had a speed restriction zone at Km 386/20 of about 20 Kmph, and this was indicated by a caution order in the hands of the Assistant. He pinned it up near the door with a circular disc. The driver notched down to 4 and pulled up the A9 lever. The zone was negotiated it carefully under the watchful eyes of the Assistant Driver. Work on an over bridge on the high way was going on hence the precaution. After clearing this, the Driver sounded the horn and notched up again to 45 Kmph. At JakkalaCheruvu, we slowed down again to take the loop line. On the way, we crossed the 7429 Rayalaseema express headed for TPTY. The double line section had started by this time. All through this time, the Assistant driver was keeping a sharp vigil on the right side of the LH, while his senior counterpart was looking up on the left side of the LH.
At around 0425 hours we hit danger aspect and came to a halt near the NH7 LC gate near GY. We were waiting for the Hampi express to pass from the SBC side. Soon we got the starter, but the starting was from smooth. It was a Herculean task for the twin brothers to haul the 4500-tonner 58-car behemoth up the slight incline. The wheels were slipping rapidly in spite of the Assistant driver applying the sanders. I went onto the railings to check out the action below. Sure, the DG3A's wheels were slipping, emitting sparks in the process. We could smell the pungent burning odour, as the wheels simply could not make it.
The driver was trying his best. He notched up to 5 then came back to 3, and finally with one mighty swipe to 6, the beast finally budged and we all heaved a collective sigh of relief. We cruised slowly in to the GY yard, and finally came to a halt at around 0435 hours. Exactly 1 hour 20 minutes on the loco. We finally headed back to GTL. I was so tired that I dozed off on the back seat of the Mahindra, and got up only when we reached 1013 Prabhath Nagar at around 0550 hours.