MAS - Gudur - Renigunta - Arakkonam - Chengalpattu - MS Round Trip Report Parts I & II
by Karthik Nagarajan and Raymond Arogyaswamy
Part 1 by Karthik Nagarajan
Sorry for the late trip report. This is from the Round trip that myself and Mr Raymond made about a month ago. I shall send across the photo links in a day or two.
We had agreed to meet at MAS to catch the Andaman Exp at 0530. I had to get up at 0300 coz Raymond had told me that it wud be better if I cud take the 0410 local to Park. I reached Tambaram station at 0345 sharp. Since I had enough time, I walked to the BO at the Eastern side only to find it closed. Then I had to go to the West side. Meanwhile announcement for a BG local was made. It was the 0350 one. If I had known this, I would have ran to get the tickets. I missed the 0350 local. But even then I was calm as my plan was to catch only the 0410 local.
I had purchased the ticket and got down to the platform from the Over-bridge. All the while I was listening to the announcements. I could sense that I was missing some detail from the announcement. The female automated voice was announcing the departure from pf 8. But the male voice, that was not automated was telling that it was the emu at the northern side of pf 8. At first I could not understand the meaning. After I got down to the platform and had a look at the entire strech, I could see two emus standing in a row in pf 8 as well as pf 9. So I went to the first emu and stood near one of the entrance on the other side from the platform facing the lines of pf 6 & 7.
Just then something caught my attention. I could see a BG headlight near the level crossing. The train was coming towards the station. I could not hear any diesel tunes and was surprised to see a Asansol WAG5e 23189 hauling a goods rake. Much to my surprise, this goods rake was given clearence and it proceeded. I was expecting to see this rake at each station that had a loop line. But it had crossed the entire strech before us. Finally at 0430 my emu started at tambaram. It was a dream run for an emu. The driver was tapping ( if notch:notching then tap:tapping..rite) agressively with blaring horns.
I reached MAS at around 0510. Meanwhile we have had exchanged SMS between us regarding our positions. Mr Raymond, first to reach the station had purchased our tickets to Gudur. We then pushed off to Saravana bhavan and had Idli & Vada and had a cup of coffee.
Taking the coffee cup in hand, we went for the loco inspection. It was a WAM4. The Andaman Exp had around 4 parcel vans after which was an unreserved compartment at the front. As a result, no one knew of the compartment and it was empty. OF WHAT USE IS AN EMPTY COMPARTMENT TO A RAILFAN ????? ALL THAT WE NEED IS AN EMPTY DOOR. Well YES, we got that too. It was a great start. We were moving at a steady pace till we passed BBQ. Then was a WAP4 crossing, waiting for clearence into central.
From Tondiarpet, we were going at a snail's pace coz of a goods rake, just ahead of us. We had to wait for it to go into a loop at Korukkupet, if I am right. Meanwhile we had a couple of crossings. We were doing good speed at Ennore and some places thereafter. Nayudupeta filled a couple of seats in our compartment. A WDS loco was at the other side of the platform.
Reached Gudur. Even after a couple of minutes, Andaman Exp was not starting. On the other side, we saw a WAM4 hauling a load. Also managed to get a couple of snaps. We could hear a cool horn from behind. yes..it was the Raj. Fortunately it was a WAP5 on that day. Man, this WAP 5 is really a great looking loco. Its a worth seeing loco. One must see the exterior finish. You can compare it to a sleek finish of a Merc. Especially the ABB logo on it. I managed a peep inside the cab, ofcourse from the pf only. No steaming please...
The controls are ultra-cool. Reminds me of an episode on the F-117 NightHawk on the discovery. But what looks odd is the old style of the Ammeters and the Voltmeters. Cant they come up with a fundoo looking dials for them as well ??? Finally the starter was given and it was moving like a vessel. So graceful. Its pickup was tremendous. Within no time it went out of sight.It had actually stopped for a brief 2-3 mins. Reason unknown.
We said goodbye to the P5 and went to the main platform. Again we had some Idli & Vada. We bought pass tickets to Renigunta. We had to catch the Ongole - Tirupathi Pass. While waiting for our train to come, the Jan Shatabdhi from Egmore came with the white and blue livery. It was going till BZA. Our train's arrival was announced on the PAS. It was a crowded train, compared to the Andaman. We got on to one of the compartments and stood near the door. We had a nice time getting down at each and every station and surveying the area. At most of the places we had water from the taps as it was a hot afternoon.
We finally reached Renigunta. On the far-end we could spot a twin WDG formation from Gooty, hauling a goods rake.
Rest in Next Part
Part 2 by Raymond Arogyaswamy
This is the second part of the trip report on the trip that both Karthik Nagarajan and I did a couple of weeks back. Part I has already been sent in by Karthik.
Part II starts with our arrival at Renigunta by the Ongole - Tirupati Passenger. Coming into RU, we saw a goods rake hauled by twin WDG2s on the line coming in from Cuddapah,waiting for our passenger to clear. These were in the standard red and cream Gooty livery. At RU, we saw a train standing which said Ernakulam - Rajendra Nagar. I thought that was strange because I knew that the Patna - Cochin Express or its variants ran via Chennai Central. What was even more strange is that it had a loco attached at the Arakkonam end. It's only now that I went through the IR site and found that this is the latest avatar of the Varanasi - Cochin Express that does that short trip to Tirupati and back in between. However, the IR site still says PNBE - ERS express whereas the nameboards said "Ernakulam -Rajendra Nagar Express".
Karthik wanted to click a brand new WDG2 in Gooty livery which was positioned at the Cuddapah end of the platforms, so we strolled towards it, and I ran "interference" for him (like they say in American football) for any RPF denizens that might be about, while he clicked away to his heart's content. Just then we saw a KZJ WDM2A coming to attach to the rear end of our passenger. I thought to myself - Is this a new route for going to Tirupati. Then I found that it was just coming to shunt an empty locked SLR that was attached to the end of our train.
The goods rake drawn by the twin WDG2's was now coming into Renigunta steadily into one of the sidings. It was beautiful to see the evenly matched pair, brilliant in their clean new livery, and even more beautiful to hear the "thrum thrum thrum" of the diesels as they pulled the heavy rake through the siding. That steady beat of the ALCO at medium rev with a small plume of smoke coming from both exhausts was pure poetry. I also checked up the IRFCA FAQ's and confirmed my suspicion that the WDG2's are longer than the WDM series locos. Karthik of course clicked furiously like there was no tomorrow, much to the amusement of bystanders. I had to divide my attention between WDG2 fanning and RPF scanning - such is life.
We had lunch at the refreshment room - not as good as our regular lunch at Villipuram!! Just then the 6011 Mumbai Chennai Express came in drawn by a GTL WDM2, around 20 minutes early. There was a ED WAP4 ready and waiting for it in the short dead end platform at the AJJ end. In the 1970's we used to see slip coaches for Hyderabad waiting for the Rayalseema Express on these platforms, having arrived by the Kanyakumari Mumbai Express. They used to wait nearly the whole day for their connection - maybe there was a Tirupati darshan ticket thrown in.
Then went over to the booking office to buy our tickets to Chengalpattu -we were scheduled to take the Tirupati - Nagercoil. Bought our tickets and then went out and had lovely cool buttermilk at one of the shops - I could swear it made a hissing sound when it went down our throats. We went back to the platforms to see our good old Ongole - Tirupati passenger still waiting patiently, nearly an hour after arrival, still nearly filled to capacity - as it turned out for our train. There was also a KZJ WDM2C on the platform running on idle without anybody in the cab. The GTL WDM2 detached from the 6011 then came on this platform and slowly shunted this WDM2C to the Cuddapah end of the platform.The Tirupati Nagercoil Express came in about 20 minutes late drawn by a GOC WDM2 in typical green cream livery. an air braked rake, it was already filled, and so our dreams of having a breezy run to CGL were dashed then and there. We got into the SLR right at the end of the train so that we would be just behind the loco when it changed ends. The crew was AJJ based and would travel upto Villupuram.
More in Part III later — no point in overloading you right now.