Howrah Rajdhani Trip

2004-08-17

by Bharath Narayanan

  • Date:Tuesday Aug-17-2004
  • Train:The Rajdhani
  • Loco:Wap-7
  • Scheduled time of departure:4:15pm
  • Scheduled time of arrival:9:50am
  • Actual time of departure:4:20pm
  • Actual time of arrival:9:47am

This trip showed me that if all the best things in terms of rolling stock, operations and planning available in Ir are combined it may still be possilbe for the Rajdhanis to compete with the low cost airlines. I arrived at hwh at about 3:55pm with Samit Roychowdry. As our emu pulled into hwh we saw the future of IR being coupled to the Raj rake. I had a reservation for a 2AC birth. We found the coach and as I placed my bags under the seat, Samit told me to take a look at the 1 AC accommodations and switch if I liked it. It was only one coach away so we went over to it and as soon as I saw the cabins I decided to shell out the extra cash. After checking with the TT we went over and got my bags. It was about 4:10 by the time I got settled in my berth. After about five mins I said bye to Samit and turned my GPS(Global Positioning System) on.

At about 4:20 the mighty one let out a high tone toot. We slowly pulled out of the platform, gently riding out over the points. At about 4:25 the P7 turned from loco to super loco and the GPS went Haywire. 30,35,40,45..... an emu would not have kept up. I could physically feel the Gs push me back. I have traveled in trains hauled by wap4s,wdp4s,wap5s and just about every thing else under the sun but nothing comes close. Soon we were at about 110 and the p7 was screaming through the local stations with the hi-tones on fire. At around 4:50 the speed started ticking over again and soon we were at 127kmh and stayed there for a while. I did not take notice of the chief service man offering the customary rose to me and my fellow passenger. Nor did I open the fruit drink that was given-My eyes were totally focused on the GPS. The train then slowed down and came to a halt for a couple of seconds. I switched on the stopwatch on my phone as soon as I felt the rake move. When I used the GPS on my previous trips hauled by other locos the speed would tick over at 1 maybe 2 kmh but now it was making quantum leaps of 4 to 5 kmh. In exactly 2mins and 18secs we were at 100. I was not very sure of the grade this time but my timing of lalbagh with a wap4 a few months back on a down gradient revealed a time of three minutes and 10 secs for the same 0-100. This time in 3 minutes and 10 seconds we were at 124kmh. But more than stop watches and GPS systems the true testament to this phenomenal creation comes in it's ability to make up time between restrictions. About 3 and half minutes after we started accelerating we were stabilized at 129kmh and we stayed there for a long time.

Some tea was served in the meantime along with some chocolates. We slowed down to about thirty for a minute and again the stopwatch was turned on,one minute and thirty five secs for 30-110. The coach was extremely comfy-the berths were large and the padding very soft. The riding at high speed was quite bumpy though. Speeds of 127-129 were constantly maintained. Dhanbad was reached ahead of schedule at about 7:10 p.m.. We moved out of the station at about 7:23 and this time 0-100 was achieved in 1 minute 57secs!!!. I think this must have surely been a downgradient. A speed of 128 was maintained for some time and dinner was served. First came a really watery tomato soup. And then some Dal,rice and roti. Desert was a small ice cream cup. Somewhere before Gaya the speed dropped to 75 and stayed that way even after the stop at gaya was completed slightly behind schedule. This was they case for aprrox and hour and a half and sometime around twelve I felt that all too familiar force pushing me into my seat and saw the gps climb rapidly to 127kmh. I decided to go to sleep.

I woke up at about 7 with the p7 in full flow at exactly 130kmh. From 7:00 to 8:30 a distance of about 150kmh was covered. Breakfast was served around this time. It had some cutlets and tea/coffee. We crossed GZB at 9:00am and the train was stopped everywhere all the way to Shivaji brdige where we were held for a further 5mins. We came to a stop in NDLS at 9:47am. Without the speed restrictions and the various slow downs to stay on time this could have been 7:47. You can only imagine what can be achieved if 150kmh running becomes a reality. As far as the tittle for best express loco in India is concerned there is only one loco in the contest-its called the Wap7. Finally a spiritual successor to the mighty WP has been built(some members will be pulling out their sticks now to cause bodily harm to me:D:D:D). Hearty congrats to Mr S.M at CLW and his team.

Material provided by Bharath Narayanan, Copyright © 2004.
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