Ahmedabad evening action....
by Abhijit Lokre
Just spent an interesting evening at Ahmedabad station…with all kinds of locos....WAMs and WAPs...WCAMs and WDMs...a longish report....
Shelly (my wife) was traveling to Dehradun via New Delhi and I went to drop her off at the station. She was traveling by the 2957 Rajdhani and then by the Mussourie express. Anyway…1650 and we arrived at Kalupur (ADI is popularly known as Kalupur here). Departure time was at 1725. After getting the platform ticket (I had a small argument with the clerk who insisted on first printing 50 pf tickets before handing over one to me!!!), we checked the scheduled platform. 2957 was listed on pf 5 (surprising because it had been shifted to pf 1 some time back).
2957 was a nice clean rake with old coaches (94xxx, 95xxx for AC3T and 92xxx for AC2T). It was 10 coach affair (4 AC3T, 2 AC2T, 1 AC first, 1PC, 2EOG). ADI seemed to be pretty quiet at that time with the 6501 ADI-Bangalore express being shunted on pf2 and the 2915 Ashram on pf 7. 2957 departed on time at 1725 and I had the evening clear to do some rail fanning.
2915 had all sleeper and GS coaches of 04xxx. The AC coaches were older. All in all, a very good looking train. WR always seems to pay special attention to rake maintenence on this train.
I took the overbridge to pf 2 to check the loco of the 6501. 6501 is a weekly train and I was curious to know its loco link. As I reached the southern end of the pf, I found that the loco plus one and half coach was outside the platform way ahead of the starter. Surprising, because pf 2 at ADI easily accommodates 24 coach trains (it has an extension 2a), and the 6501 was not a 24 coach affair. The loco looked like a WAP4 and I hurried for a better look (WAPs are rare at ADI). On getting closer, it seemed to me that it might be WAP1. sure enough it was WAP1 22031 from Ghaziabad!!! What was it doing here? How did it get to ADI? Either it must have come by the same train from Manmad (??) in the morning or it must have come by the Sarvodaya. The assistant driver was in the cab and he now proceeded to back the train into platform 2 so that all coaches including the loco were inside the platform!!! This was the first time I had seen anything like this….why was the train originally parked like that? Did the shunter just leave it like that???
The 8034 HWH-ADI express was scheduled 2 hrs 50 mins late and it crawled in on pf 3 behind a SRC WAP4 22399 at 1750. It was a 21 coach affair with a parcel van. The first three sleeper coaches were marked Howrah-Bhuj to be linked to the Kutch express later in the night. Another three were Howrah-Porbander to be attached to the Saurashtra express in the late evening.
Meanwhile, the driver of the 6501 arrived and was handed his caution order….but not before he performed an elaborate puja in the cab!!! At 1800, the loco blew its horn and after confirming with the guard…..6501 was off. It snaked out thru the points and headed out…..21 coaches with two AC2T and one AC3T and a pantry coach…
Now there was a clear view of pf 1 with the Gujarat Queen to Valsad ready for departure. Surprisingly, it was behind a BRC WAM4 20410 (usually it gets a WAP4 from BRC). It had a humanoid logo on its side….most probably a transfer from Bhilai (am I right??!). GQ departed at 1810…..22 coach affair with the highlight being a first class chair car…these are rare nowadays….
I wandered on pf 2 for some time…..there was a sizeable crowd there…..wondered why, when at 1830 WDM3a 18728R hauled in the Nadurbar-Surat-Jamnagar intercity express. There is a rake sharing between the 237/238 Nadurbar-Surat passenger and the Surat Jamnagar express. The train left after only 7 minutes…..that’s very fast by ADI standards…where trains usually have a minimum 15-20 minute halt (of course this is because of loco change). With no loco change and the train slightly behind schedule, the train must have got quick clearance. The highlight here was a man boarding the train thru the emergency window by diving in…….that was amazing!!!! A good clean dive, head first and he had the emergency window seat!!!
Next, the 1465 Veraval-Jabalpur express was announced on pf 5. By the time I reached the front of the train, the diesel power had moved off and a WAM4D P 20487 from BRC was being attached. (D means dual brake…? And what is P? parallel???, usually it is 6P, pls correct me if I am wrong). Pf 4 had the Valsad passenger with a BRC WAM4D 6P 20496. The driver was testing the pantos and there was a lot of sparking going on… 1465 got its starter at 1850 and the driver sounded a long blast followed by two short ones. Repeat……repeat again….and again…and again…..!!!! five minutes later, there was no sign of the train moving….i decided to move;-)….to pf 2 again…..even after I reached pf 2 5 minutes later….the horns were sounding…..1465 finally left at 1900.
Pf 2 seemed very busy with lot of people milling around…..wondered why…..as WCAM1 21800….Vallabh pulled in with the Anand Ahmedabad passenger…..it stopped on pf 2 where a long queue had formed…..for Aseem’s “Queen of Crawlers”, the Sabarmati express to Varanasi. Coolies were busy offering seats for 30 bucks each….and making money!!! They would ask their customers to seat comfortably on the platform benches….a seat would be waiting for them….on the train!! Meanwhile, the Anand Ahmedabad passenger crawled out to pf 2a (it departs later in the night as the Mumabi passenger). Vallabh was freshly painted in the dark blue-light blue livery…but that couldn’t hide its age. It looked really ancient with lot of weathering and patching….so when is it going to be condemned?
By this time, the line for the Sabarmati had snaked its way to where I was standing and I had formed part of the line!!! Having no wish to travel by this venerable train, I decided to make myself scarce and moved to pf 1 where the Bhuj-Bareilly Ala Hazrat express waited for my attention!! The train changes direction at ADI and the WDM2a 17231 from LKO made its way to the other end to be attached. The train had name boards proclaiming it to be the Bareilly-Bhuj-Dadar-Bareilly express….a shared rake….VB and looking really nice….i have traveled by this train a few times between ADI and DLI and it is a decent train….the maroon colour made a refreshing change from the blue seen all round. Ala hazrat had one light blue dark blue sleeper coach…..maybe it is one the way to being converted to AB….
I decided to call it a day then…it was almost 1945 and I had spent almost 2 and half hours at the station…the Navjeevan was an hour and fifteen minutes late...and I had had enough..I had an idli at the snack counter…and headed home…just as I stepped out for an auto, I received a call from Shelly asking me where I was……!!!! When I said I am still at the station…..she was amazed…..her rajdhani was just pulling into Abu road then!!!