by Pavan Kumar
Volvo Bus Journey
I started off from Bangalore to Ongole by APSRTC Volvo service nicknamed "GARUDA" at 8:30 PM. APSRTC has started running most of its long distance services to Vijayawada, Guntur, Ongole and Nellore by Volvo replacing Hi-tech buses, probably these routes being busy, earn lot of revenue. At BYPL saw a express train crossing over to Salem side. Ride was smooth and overtaking was just awesome, just ripping past other buses and lorries. Reached TPTY at 01:30, Nellore at 03:30, Kavali at 05:30 and Ongole on time at 06:30, Since this being my first journey towards coastal AP, I was eager to look at all these new places. As soon as we left Nellore on my left side saw a passenger train entering Nellore over Pennar bridge. Till Kavali railway tracks were on the other side, so couldn't see much of action. After crossing a ROB, saw first train of the day headed by AJJ WAM4 20648 and another WAP4 headed train. After crossing Ulavapadu saw the broken bridge on Manneru stream, which caused delays in most of the trains. Just before reaching Ongole a double WAG7 headed freight slowly crawled into Ongole.
Railfanning at Ongole (21/8)
After having some breakfast and meeting some of my father's friends and colleagues, I went to Ongole station. Saw MEMU leaving to Guntur from Pf-2 and a BCNA rake parked on one of loop lines. I started taking some snaps with a eye on RPF guys and I headed towards Ongole South Cabin, saw a OHE equipment coach standing on siding. I took a place near sand pit saw a NCR Jhansi WAG7 going past and reversing to get itself attached to BCNA rake and then one more freight headed by WAG5HB of Jhansi was made to stop on another loop line. Then came first express train headed by LGD WAP4 COROMANDAL Express going to Howrah which had a lengthy halt due to lunch time. Couple of freights passed by and as I walked to other end of Ongole station saw a Plasser India machine which is used for cleaning ballast. Had a small talk with the crew, took some snaps of the cabin inside. Then came Himsagar express headed by AJJ WAM4, surprisingly it had two Milk tankers attached in front of it. Those tankers are of NDDB and based at ED. Then came Navjivan Express to Ahmedabad headed by ED WAP4. As I was about to leave for lunch I head SM shouting at one of the guys who shows red/green flag saying "If you guys sit here who is going to show signal for the super". Sensing some superfast train in coming I too jumped the rails and I asked that person which train is coming, he said its Super, curious to know which specific it is, he said it is Coromandel express heading towards Chennai. And as it approached it Ongole with Max speed headed by LGD WAP4, it was a great sight to watch speed by.
Railfanning at Surareddypalem
After having lunch at Bhimas, we headed to a small station called Surareddypalem which is towards Chennai and it has become famous for loading of Granite. Some construction activity is going on at this station to accomodate more freight trains. Had a small chat with ASM, saw Chennai Rajadhani headed by GZB WAP5 and Janshatabdi headed by ED WAP4 at high speeds. There was some activity going on adjacent tracks and on close inspection it turned out to be track welding process. It was nice to see modern technology being used to weld/join tracks. Basically its a job of 20 minutes per joint and they use mixture of powdered Magnesium and Iron to ignite and generate a temperature of 3000C, so that iron gets melted and flows into the joints.As we were about to leave station ASM asked why not take a snap of display/control panel, for which I was waiting for a while and he explained details of the panel. He even showed how on switching of a nob, tracks joints can be changed, Even level crossing gates are controlled by this panel.
Trip by GHY-MAS express between Ongole-Nellore
On my return trip, as I didn't get a ticket by Volvo bus to Bangalore, I planned to goto Nellore, then to TPTY and from there to Bangalore. I was planning to Janshatabdi to Nellore, when I arrived to Ongole station there was a notice saying there are no seats available on JS, I had to take ticket for another train. It was GHY-MAS express headed by ED WAP4, I got into one of the GS, 2nd from engine and wow what a joruney it turned out to be, high speed action, ruthless dirving, train was going so fast that at some places ballast was flying and hitting underframe of coaches. At some palces it must have been doing around 100 KMPH. Krishna express was made to stop at Kavali to let us go by and we had to stop at Bitragunta as just ahead of us was a freight train. Just before Nellore we were made to stop Pidugupadu station to let Janashatabdi overtake us headed by ED WAP4.
Journey between Nellore-TPTY and TPTY-Bangalore
This part of the journey was a bad one as I had to stand for 3.5 hrs between Nellore-TPTY and I got the last seat in a KSRTC Rajahamsa bus between TPTY-SBC
At the end of journey I was left with many questions asked by people whom I talked with and also was wondering will ever a diesel engine will be seen in this section. When I introduced myself and told them about IRFCA, they were happy to hear that someone is interested in Railways and most asked what the use we are getting and railways is getting from this sort of Group.
Hope you all liked this report, photos will be uploaded soon.