Erode Express inaugurated
by Poochi Venkat
Last evening, some of us IRFCAians were at Chennai Egmore to flag off the new Chennai - Erode Express (6607).
The fact that the train departed 15 minutes late did not dampen anyone's enthusiasm!
ED WDM2 17714 did the honours on this run. Decorations were minimum and to-the-point. The customary banana leaves were absent. One of the officials noticed this and got them fixed to the front. And guess what was the spotlight illuminating the face of the loco?.....a twin-beam loco headlight assembly!! (placed on the front footplate and angled upwards).
One of the loco inspectors from ED diesel shed told us that they had just 8 hours to prepare this loco (incl. minor paint decorations) and they somehow had manged it. The decorative lamps had small bulbs in place of the actual flame. One interesting item was the flasher: it was the LED array type - the brightness, colour and visibility were excellent. I got the inspectors to switch it on so that I could take a picture of the loco with decorations and all the lights working.
As the clock approached the scheduled departure of 19.45, there was still no communication from the others, so the asst. driver was hanging out of the side of the loco with green torch all ready. I was on top of one of the metal platform seats, ready to snap the decisive moment and others were standing by the loco....this arrangement continued till 20.00 (!!) When the drivers were finally asked to proceed.
With a fine blast of the horns, asst. vigourously waving the green torch and the "travelling-loco-inspector" inside the cab smiling at all of us, the gaily decorated train moved out. I finally showed "thumbs-up" and the loco-inspector and asst. driver responded enthusiastically!
Our group (Vivek Hari, Karthik Nagarajan, myself, Krishnan) then moved off to re-fuel ourselves and wait for double-header action…