Sangamitra Super Fast (Trip Report KJM-MAS-KJM)

2004-04-13

by Karthik M.V.

Recently, myself & my brother had been on a short trip to Chennai by YPR-Patna Sangamitra super fast!! I call it superfast because it has avg speed > 55kmph for KJM-MAS!! But,very few people take this train because many are unaware of it, SL fare is higher, also only biweekly.

As I am at CSDR, this train is the best option (railfanning angle). Also I get to travel comfortably by SL class. Lalbagh/Brindavan have only sitting & are too crowded, plus I have to go far away to SBC.

Here is a mini trip report:

KJM-MAS

Schld dep 7am, but I always knew that 7am is impossible because, this train is put at CSDR for Lalbagh overtake. So I leisurely took an auto at 6:45am from CSDR. On to my left I saw DP4 hauled KCG-SBC exp just departing CSDR. That meant my train was on its way. I reached KJM by 6:55am. A few seconds later, heard the WAP-4 howl! It was the Lalbagh, it trundled past KJM at abt 40kmph. Everyone on plfrm thought it was Sangamitra & lifted their heavy luggages preparing to board!! But I was sitting there cooly;-) because I knew my train has a DM2 & WAP-4 is impossible!

At around 7:15am heard the distinct DM2 chug & horn. The sangamitra behind a LHF KJM DM2 sashayed into KJM like a beauty queen. This is a 'Nitish Kumar train', hence no wonder that the rake was brand new! It belonged to SWR of October 2003 make! Hardly 6 months old!

2GS + 8 SL + 1 PC + 2 3A + 2 2A + 2 GS = 17 coaches

This train has a big Chennai quota (3 years ago it was extended from MAS to YPR ). Hence last 5 SL were fully empty. Mine was S1 & I did'nt even bother to see that coach! I(we) directly boarded the empty coaches. Settled into a cubicle. Departed at 7:15 am. The sound of a departing DM2 is always mesmerising!

Ours was a fantastic coach with plush interiors. Seats were softer, all cubicles had a large mirror & food table. There is also a foldable cradle at seat no.42 SLB. When the velcro cover is lifted up, the cradle can be pulled out. The design is such that, the mother can sleep by putting her feet below the cradle, even while the baby is on it. The toilets had push button flushes.

Meanwhile our DM2 was zooming upto MPS but we were following a 'maruti car train' upto BWT. This was the first time I was enjoying KJM-MAS route with maximum comfort! It was a pleasure to zoom past green eucalyptus groves, with the cool morning air making you feel as if you were in AC! SBC-MAS route is down gradient , hence the DM2 does not have to put much effort to reach MPS 105kmph.

At JTJ I got down, to witness the loco change ceremony. But, I was in for a shock! Just as I walked towards the loco, the signal turned yellow, the DM2 gave out a loud horn & started moving! Then I quickly jumped on to the nearest coach. Thanks to the vestibuled rake, I safely reached back to my seat. TTE said that recently loco change has been cancelled.

I was even more thrilled because for the first time I will be behind DM2 upto MAS! (I think due to down gradient all the way, board might have decided to continue with DM2 ) But on AJJ-MAS section the DM2 really struggled as it had to ride yellows & reds. AJJ - MAS took 1hr20mins. But still we arrd on schdl at 1:05pm.

KJM-MAS 341km, 5hrs 45mins, avg speed 59.4 kmph!!

Below are some speed samples:

StationTimeAverage Speed in KMPH
KJM7:20am
WFD7:3060
MALUR7:5260
BWT8:12/1781
JTJ9:30/4570
Ambur10:0593
Gudiattham10:2489
KPD10:45/5275
WLJRd 11:089
AJJ11:40/4572
MAS1:05pm42!!

MAS - KJM return trip

Schdl dep MAS at 10:05 am, but the train came in behind an Itarsi WAM-4 only at 10:30am. All the MAS quota got emptied here. Since this quota is evenly distributed through the entire train, the coaches do not become entirely empty. So I searched through for an empty cubicle. 90% crowd was students of 20-25 age group. I guess they were coming in droves to Karnataka for admissions into colleges!

To my surprise, there was no diesel this time, instead a Saptagiri WAM-4 was attached. We departed at 11am. This is also the dep time of West Coast exp, so I was trying to figure out how things will work out. Tiruvallur arr was 12noon. Our driver seemed to lack the spirit ;-) rarely touching 100, there were some yellows as well. At km 59, some more insult was in store ;-) We were put on to the loop. The signal on the adjacent line was blazing green. That meant we were put for an overtake. 5 mins later WC arrd behind a shining WAP-4, & blasted past us at 100+. I felt this was brainless on the part of the TC as WC could have very well followed our train upto JTJ without compromising either of our interests.

After the overtake, our driver showed some spirit, but all the while slowing here & there due to WC exp running ahead. We arrd JTJ at 2:45pm. Here a SHF KJM DM2 took over. It was a great visual pleasure to see a SHF DM2 chug up the mini ghats upto Kuppam. There is no stop at kuppam, & we were chugging through at abt 20kmph. Until now it was just like travelling in any other train, but just then I was reminded that I am in a train from the dreaded state of Bihar!! Some crazy students pulled the chain. It so happened that they spotted a well next to the station where a few people were drawing out water. A crazy group of 5 got off the train with water bottles & began to fill water. In all the stns we had stopped there was no shortage of water, albeit less filling time. Seeing them, more crazy guys jumped out to do the same. Meanwhile they kept pulling the chain, so it took 20mins for the DM2 to recharge the brake pipe. Apart from the above, they were also shouting comments at females standing on the plfrms at various stations. I think, this type of unwarranted playfulness accompanied with hooliganism, is found in quite a few from Bihar. The two TTEs were toothless in front of such a gang!!

Anyway now the whole schedule was upset & such things having a cascading effect. In the next 15km short single line stretch we got caught with Brindavan for a crossing. Later we were also put behind a goods & it was a slow trundle all the way to Bangalore. KJM arr 5:45 pm (Schdl arr 4:45pm).

MAS-KJM, 342km, 6 hrs 45mins, Avg speed 51 kmph.

If we account for the losses (incl of pick up & braking times )

  • WC exp overtake = 10mins
  • Kuppam Chain pulling = 25mins
  • Brindavan crossing = 10mins

We would have made it in 6 hrs, Avg speed of 57 kmph!!

Here are some speed samples:

StationTimeAverage Speed in KMPHComments
MAS11 am
Trvllur12 noon42kmphkm 59 WC exp overtake
AJJ12:31/3854kmph
KPD1:33/3667
Gudi1:5775
Ambur2:2365
Vmbadi2:3396
JTJ2:45/3:0575
Kuppam3:54/4:1553Gudupalli Brindavan crossing
BWT5:03/5:0547
KJM5:50pm69
Material provided by Karthik M.V., Copyright © 2003.
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