SBC-MAS by Brindavan Express


by Balachander Ganesh

This is my first trip report to this group. This is about the short trip I had taken by 2640 Brindavan Express from Bangalore to Chennai on 12-Nov-04. I have not included any technical details like the speed limits, but I have composed this mail from what I saw though the journey.

I had earlier booked the ticket to Chennai by 2658 Chennai Main on 9-Sep-04, but had to cancel the tickets because of work (could not celebrate diwali with mom and dad: - (Luckily I got the tickets for 12-Nov by the this train.(I booked the ticket on11-Nov). This also happens to be my first trip by a 'day train' in this route since I usually go by the 2657/58 Mail or the 6221/22 Cauvery Express. I was glad I could do some trainspotting.

I reached Bangalore City [SBC] at around 1:40 pm. Brindavan Express was waiting at Platform 1. Surprised to see the charts were already pasted as the train would have come from Chennai at around 1:20 pm. The sanitary staffs were still cleaning the coaches. My coach was S2 which was exactly in front of the platform entrance. I put my bags on the top and then got down to explore the coaches. I went to the rear end of the platform. The loco #22548 ED WAP/4 which brought the 2639 Brindavan Express from Chennai was still there at the rear though it had been disconnected. The rake composition from the were as follows:

SLR,3xGS, S10-S5, PANTRY, S4-S1, C3, C2, C1, 3XGS,SLR.

8 Unreserved and 13 reserved coaches!!!. Surprised to see a large number of unreserved coaches. AS expected, the power was an ED WAP/4, Road Number #22570. Wondered what would be the coach code of the pantry car. Went back to the pantry and found it marked as 'PCB'. Surprised to see S9 and S10 to be of Jan shatabdi style coaches. Nice cushioned seats. From the charts, I could see that three coaches (S8,S9 and S10) were almost empty while the others were mostly full. Also C1 was fully booked, C2, partially filled while C3 was literally empty. The chart showed just 3 or 4 names in C3. The time was around 2:05 pm, which meant I had around 25 minutes to roam around. Decided to go for some train spotting, but then heavy rains started and I had to rush back to my coach.

My coach was clean when I came back. I took my seat (No. 104 Last bay middle seat L ) and waited for others to come. My co-passengers had already arrived and had taken their seats. They were a really big family and were proceeding to Chennai for some marriage. Some of them were scattered in S2, S1 and S4. I thought of exchanging my seat with one of their family members who was alone in S1, Before I could ask them, they requested another passenger who was sitting in Window seat # 103 to exchange that seat. Thought of having a good opportunity for the window seat.!!!. He said he would go to S1 after the TTE comes and ticks off his ticket.

The Train started at 2:30 pm on the dot. It slowly pulled out of the platform. I wanted to stand at the door, but then it was raining heavily. So I had to content myself by reading a book.(Gerald Durrell's 'Zoo in my Luggage'. This is about Durrell, wildlife conservationist's efforts to preserve some of the endangered species told in a humorous way. Guys who are interested in animals must read this). Bangalore Cantonment [BNC] was reached at 14:44, where most of the passengers go it. I included a large number of unreserved passengers who helped themselves by standing at the door, or taking the seats which remained unoccupied. The TTE did not do anything to send them to the General classes. Felt that this could be a common feature in the day trains. After 2 minutes, at around 14:46, the train departed from Cantonment. The train was still going slow. The rain had stopped, but there was mild drizzling. Bangalore East [BNCE] was passed at around 14:51 and Baiyyappanahali [BYPL] at 14:55,

The train slowed down just before Krishnarajapuram [KJM]. Wondered whether this train has a stopping at this station. Went through the station in a very small pace and once it got out of the station, it picked up speed. On the Right Side, I could see huge containers of Hindustan Petroleum. There seemed a very small platform but had no name board. Wondered whether this was for some freight loading/unloading.

Just before Whitefield [WFD] saw a KJM WDM/2 #17110 idling around. Whitefield was passed at 15:12. Saw a number of flatcars with containers but did not have a loco. It started raining heavily and so all windows had to be closed. I grew dark inside and all lights had to be switched on. So I went back to my book. Just then Passenger No 103, offered to go to S1 and the lady in the other group asked her son to show him his seat. Both of them went to S1 and in a few minutes, he came back with his grandfather. I offered my middle seat so that I could go to one corner and the family could remain together. But the 'grand old dad' insisted on having his window seat. So I had to settle down in my middle seat.

Rain had stopped considerably and soon the windows were opened. Malur [MLO] was passed around 15:25 and Byatrayanahalli [BFW] at around 15:31. This station looked similar to Baiyyappanahali in appearance. I mean the ramp, the road near by etc. Tyakal [TYC] was crossed in another 5 minutes 15:36. I saw a number of BOXN wagon loaded with ballast which seemed to be taken from the rocks on both side of the railway tracks.

I decided to explore the Pantry car. I just crossed two compartments (S3 and S4) and got into the Pantry. It was 97 built (Number was 97828). Looked clean and tidy the train had just started. The Kitchen was busy with the cooks making Vadas and Cutlets. There were two 'dining tables' each one long enough for 6 or 7 people to stand and eat. So, at least 15 people could eat at one time. Wonder whether this feature is available in all the pantry cars. I had not seen such a thing during my previous travel in trains with PC. On One side, there was a price list with the heading "BRINDAVAN EXPRESS SOUTHERN RAILWAY - PRICE LIST". Are the caterers are fixed for this train??. Also mentioned in the bottom was "ALL WATER BOTTLES, COOL DRINKS AND BUSCUITS ARE SOLD AT MRP". I helped myself with Boli and Vada. Boli was really tasty and were selling really fast.

Just then the train slowed down and I felt that Bangarapet [BWT] was nearing. I went to the nearest door in S4 and leaned out to see the train curving in a loop to enter the Station. It pulled into platform 4 at 15:44, late by around 4 minutes. There I saw some a AJJ WAM/4 21259 heading an unknown passenger. I thought that it could be the 101 Chennai - Bangalore passenger which halts at Bangarapet during that time. None of the coaches had the destination boards. Not sure whether only the SLR coaches at both end have the boards. Just then remembered the recent discussion regarding the 'MSL' at the name boards at the station. Noticed that the board at Bangarapet was marked as 'MSL 809 - 765 mts'. What is this range of values.? Is this heights and lowest points between the station limits? Can some one explain. The train started at around 15:47, late by 7 minutes.

Went back to my seat and started reading again. Bisanattam [BSM] was crossed at around 16:02 and Gudupulli [GDP] at 16:09. Immediately after BSM, I notices a small hillock with a narrow road climbing over it. It seemed to be a really nice spot to have a walk over the road. It was dark and cloudy outside with mild drizzling. At around 16:10, it started raining heavily again.

My mobile beeped signaling a message received. I opened it to find one from the Mobile Service Provider informing they are the #1 provider. .. blah, blah, blah. and 'Welcome to AP'. So felt that we had crossed Karnataka and entered AP and Kuppam should be reached in a few minutes. Kuppam [KPN] (wonder why is there an 'N' instead on 'M') was reached at around 16:15. Departure at 16:17. Still 7 minutes late.

Mulanur [MUR] was crossed at 16:35. The train slowed down which seemed to be because of the terrain. It was rocky on both sides. Soon lost sight of the other line. The Lines of Eucalyptus trees which followed us before Bangarapet were replaced by the coconut grooves lined on both sides of the tracks. Still no sign of the second line. At 228 km, the line joined back before Patchur [PU] which passed around 16:45 only go back hiding into some fields. At 225 km, the line joined back. The Train started a steady acceleratation for the first time since leaving Bangalore. The rain had stopped completely but cold wind was blowing. All windows were now opened and our compartment was filled with chill air. The line towards Bangalore was at a higher location (should be around 15-20 feet higher than our line towards Jolarpettai. At around 16:50 we passed though a small station which I could not read the name because of speed. From the Time Table I made out it to be Somanayakkanpti [SKPT].

On the Right side I could see mountain ranges with low moving clouds. It was a sight every photographer would dream to capture. I went to the door only to find they were fully packed with people standing and peeping out. Around 16:55, lines diverged to the right signaling the approach of Jolarpet [JTJ]. Soon we were joined by the lines from Salem at right side. Jolarpet has beautiful mountain ranges nearby. Mountains covered with lush greenery filled with mist after a rain is a great sight to the eyes!.

Jolarpet was reached at exactly 17:00 late by 20 minutes. Delay may be due to misty conditions. I was not able to see for more than a few hundred meters or so. Distance markings on the catenary poles were being repainted. In most of the poles, yellow paint as background had been applied but the distance markings are yet to be painted. 6023 Chennai Bangalore Express was waiting in PF 1. Departed from Jolarpet at 17:03. Just as we were leaving, the Tatanagar - Alleppey Express powered by AJJ WAM/4 #20436 was pulling to the platform.

Crossed Kettandapatti [KDY] was crossed at around 17:10 and it was raining heavily, The platforms for up and down lines were far apart with lot of trees and bushes and a small path cut across them connection the two platforms. An Express Train sped past us headed by a WDM/2. The Greenery so far on the side was now replaced by jungles of concrete. We soon crossed Vaniyambadi [VN] and it was soon back with nature in it purest form. A level crossing few kilometers before Vinnamangalam was really beautiful. Lots of flowering plants with striking colours were planted near the gates and the gateman's room. Wonder whether it is because of the personal interest of the gateman or some station master of the nearest station. Anyway it was nice to see something of a neat and clean garden at a level crossing when some of the stations are very poorly maintained.

More mountains and more coconut groves. Soil was red in colour and I was able to see a number of brick kiln on the sides. Arrived at Ambur around 17:30, 28 minutes behind schedule. Just as we were leaving Ambur, the 2679 Chennai Coimbatore Intercity Express was entering the platform. This train seems to be late by more than 35 minutes.

The train ran very close to the foothills. Could see a large number of sheep's and cows grazing at the bushes over the mountains. It was amazing to see them casually climbing vertically over the hard terrain. Seeing these animals in discovery and animal planet is different, but watching them just a few feet in front of you is something that cannot be missed out.

Pachakuppam [PCKM] was crossed at around 17:38, At around 171 kms, the came to a halt and started moving slowly. Soon we were crossing a bridge over 'PAULAR RIVER'. It was very dry with not a drop of water to be seen. Only a few animals were seen eating at the bushes that were there. Guess the bridge should have been an old one because of the speed restriction. Once the train crossed the bridge, it accelerated and soon it was blasting it's way to Katpadi. Seemed to me the driver was trying to make up the lost time. A number of stations just flew past before I could notice.

I made my way back to the pantry and had a cup of 'Masala Tea'. For Rs 5.00, it was very tasty. It was around 18:00 and getting dark outside. I could not see the distance marking anymore because of the darkness and speed of the train.

I decided to explore the 'Jan shatabdi Coaches' and went to S9. It was obviously built in 04. I was surprised to see that exactly one half do not face the other. The layout of the seats was some thing like this.

DOOR |_ |_ |_ |_ |_ |_ |_ _| DOOR |_ _| _| _| _| _| _| DOOR

Seats 1-42 facing foreword, 43-48 backward,49-54 forward and 55-108 facing backward. The cushions were nice and high enough for supporting out heads. But then the space between the two rows seemed to be a little small. This may be inconvenient for slightly stout persons. There was no vibration or later movement from left to right and also less sound of the movement.

I came back to my seat and Katpadi was reached at 18:13. Late by 20 minutes. Did not seem to make much of the lost time. A really huge crowd got into our coaches and were filling in the vacant seats and requesting the passengers to 'adjust' themselves. It looked more like an unreserved compartment with people sitting on floor and hanging near the doors. The 1081 Mumbai CST - Kanyakumari Express was waiting in another platform. It was great to see the train running on time. At 18:15 the train started it's departure and even just before it came out of the platforms, it stopped. We waited for more than 10 minutes and finally at 18:27, the train started moving. We were now running late by 32 minutes.

I could not do any rail fanning as all the passage ways and the door were blocked by people. I did not even get up from my seat as there was no guarantee that my seat would be there when I come back. So I started reading the book again. There was some commotion and woke up with a startle. I realized that I had been sleeping for some time. The train was at the platform at Walajah Road [WJR]. It waited for more than 10 minutes and so more time was lost. I did not note the time. Rather I was too sleepy to do them.

I started reading again, Outside I could see the first signs of diwali celebrations. The night sky to lit with colourful crackers and rockets. The grandfather who was sitting beside me decided to entertain me and his grandson. He was asking us puzzles and both of us were breaking our heads to crack it. He asked us one question regarding cricket which none of us could answer. See whether you can crack them.

"Team B is playing and require 7 runs to win with 2 balls remaining. Two batsmen on either side have scored 94 each. In these two balls both batsmen are able to score 100 and win the match. How is this possible?"

We tried all combinations of noballs, wides, etc, but still could not get the answer. He finally gave the answer himself. Forgot to tell you that they shared some of the home made snacks and biscuits with me in the evening.

Arakkonam [AJJ] was crossed at a slow speed around 19:20. There after a number of express trains from Chennai crossed us. I spent most of my time reading. I decided to get out at Perambur itself as it would be nearer to my home. The train passed through a number of suburban stations and finally stopped at Perambur [PER] at 20:15. It was late by 35 minutes.

Answer for the puzzle:

Batsman 1 hits the ball and runs 3 runs. There is an overthrow and the ball crosses the boundary. The Umpire calls 'One Short of crease' So he gets 3 + 4 - 1 = 6 runs. Since they have crossed for 3 runs, the batsman 2 will now face the ball and he hits a six of the last ball.

Material provided by Balachander Ganesh, Copyright © 2004.
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