“Storming Steel Stallions”

2000-11-19

by Phil Wormald

Photos from this trip can be found here: http://www.locopage.net/phil-pic.html

Dave Craik's trip report can be found here: dcraik-20001106-madmen.html

Sunday 19th November 2000

Start of our three-week trip to India starts at Heathrow with eight of us meeting up there for the Austrian Airlines flight to Wien. We are joined fairly late on by Rob Fraser and Peta who had a later than planned (oversleep) start!

Had an A321 Airbus to Wien on our flight, and on arrival we took an EMU into centre of town. Had an excellent meal in the "Rosenkavalier" restaurant in the station at Südbahnhof. Rob and Peta went off to their expensive hotel.

The remaining six of us enquired with train crews about possibility of finding hotels at Marchegg or at one of the stations of the line, as they knew of nothing we decided to ask staff at the station. The red cap confirmed that the ÖBB had staff accommodation at Südbahnhof, and we were OK to use them, a very cheap 95 schillings. Rooms were very clean and quite adequate.

We took 2143.072 to Marchegg, a loud one on load four, shame about the annoying donkey engine though. We found one of the hired DB 232's at Marchegg on freight. Returned to Wien on the same 2143, only on load one, but an excellent run, lots of noise.

Arrival Departure Distance
London Heathrow 09.35 A321 OE-LBC OS452 09.35 Heathrow Wien 1255km
Wien Flughafen Schdt 12.45 13.44 ÖBB EMU 27532 13.44 Wien Flughafen Wien Nord 18km
Rennweg 14.15 14.19 ÖBB EMU 29471 14.04 Florisdorf Wiener Neustadt 2km
Wien Südbf 14.22 17.28 ÖBB 2143.072 2524 17.27 Wien Südbf Marchegg 47km
Marchegg 18.16 19.42 ÖBB 2143.072 2529 19.42 Marchegg Wien Südbf 47km
Wien Südbf 20.33

Monday 20th November 2000

The morning plan was to attempt to have the 232 on the possible turn from Marchegg. However it did not work. As a result we only had two very short round trips to Simmeringer Hauptstraße on loud 2143s.

We made our way to the airport and checked bags in and caught up with the others who had been to cover the 2050 (GM) turn - which did not work either. We found e-mail access at the airport, but had no printing facilities to get hold of some India info that had been sent to me!

The A330 Airbus we had was not too busy. Live entertainment was provided by a camera, mounted on the front of the plane so that we could view on the seat-back screens therefore viewing "live" take off. Good food and a reasonable film helped to pass the time. We had a good view of snow-capped mountains near Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Landed a few minutes late in Delhi, and almost immediately had a phone call on mobile from Dave Craik who was already in India, having been at work in the country already. He had our taxis already arranged, and we had to split into two groups. Our driver (who had already driven Dave into town a few hours earlier after his internal flight) took us for quite a long walk to the cheaper parking facilities! The outside area of the airport not resembling an International airport in any way at all!

Taxi took about thirty minutes via various old and run-down roads. The pre-booked hotel left a lot to be desired from the outside, but was reasonable inside.

Wien Südbf 06.12 ÖBB 2143.072 2500 06.12 Wien Südbf Marchegg 4km
Simmeringer Hauptstraße 06.16 06.25 ÖBB 2143.076 2503 05.37 Marchegg Wien Südbf 4km
Wien Südbf 06.30 06.58 ÖBB 2143.076 2502 06.58 Wien Südbf Marchegg 4km
Simmeringer Hauptstraße 07.02 07.10 ÖBB 2143.028 E2507 05.51 Bratislava Wien Südbf 4km
Wien Südbf 07.15 07.29 ÖBB EMU 24266 07.14 Liesing Mistelbach 2km
Rennweg 07.33 07.39 ÖBB EMU 27203 07.33 Wien Nord Wolfsthal 18km
Wien Flughafen 08.11 10.50 A330 OE-LAO OS541 10.50 Wien Delhi 5548km
Delhi 22:15

Tuesday 21st November 2000

The first requirement of the trip was to get all the reservations sorted out and tickets validated. We had to wait until 09:30 for the relevant staff member to arrive (special desk for Indrail passes issued in UK). Meanwhile we wandered around the station to get some pictures of the ALCO power in the station area, and ended up wandering into the shed, as is seemed to be a general access area to anyone who wanted to walk around!

Upon return to the reservations office all the paper work was completed in about thirty minutes. Once valid we naturally wanted to find our first ALCO power to travel behind, as there were no diesel-hauled trains out of New Delhi station at that time of day, we took an EMU to Delhi Junction where we should have just missed the northbound 10:20 departure to Ambala, however luckily the train was still waiting and we scrambled through the stock and ran to the front to find WDP1 15054 (12-251B power unit) on the front of a fifteen coach local train (known as "passenger" trains).

It soon became apparent that there was some sort of delay, which we understand was due to single line working causing some large delays. We eventually left two and a half hours late! However the wait was certainly worth it, the fifteen month old ALCO sounded fantastic, though at certain times it was sounding very much like a V12 engined GE! I managed to make a good selection of high quality sound recordings from the front coach as we went along.

Sadly due to our heavy delay, the initial plan of going quite a way out had to be amended, got as far as Meerut City. The train north from there that we did to Meerut Cantt was packed on arrival, front coach was a postal, so upon asking for a short cab ride, the driver calmly suggested we stood on the walk board on the side of the Loco! This idea was quickly taken up by four of us, the locals being amused that western tourist could take such a common way of transport for the locals.

Our return back to Delhi was split between "passenger" and an express, the first was pulled by a recently rebuilt WDM2, It was making a superb noise, and a good screaming turbo noise was audible. Went as far as Ghaziabad Junction on the first train. From there we took the express behind with a "standard" WDM2, we stood in a vestibule for the twenty kilometre run back to Delhi. To save the journey on some form of electric back to Delhi station we went for "Auto Rickshaws" for the journey back to the hotel.

The journey was an experience to say the least! Three of the little yellow and black two-stroke haring down numerous back streets was more like a scene from a "James Bond" film! After a quick wash we went to a "Pizza Express" for an excellent (and much needed) decent meal.

DepartureArrivalLocoLoco No.Train No.TrainDistance
Delhi 09.54 IR EMU GDP1 08.30 Palwal Ghaziabad Junction 4km
Delhi Junction 10.10 10.20 WDP2 15054 305 10.20 Delhi Junction Ambala Cantt Jcn 66km
Meerut City 12.55 16.00 WDM2 16493 1DS 13.30 Delhi Junction Saharanpur Jcn 6km
Meerut Cantt 16.07 17.00 WDM2 17874 304 09.15 Ambala Cantt Jcn Delhi Junction 51km
Ghaziabad Jcn 19.00 19.50 WDM2 16535 9020 10.35 Dehradun Bandra T 20km
Delhi Junction 20.30

Wednesday 22nd November 2000

Today was the first of our long journeys, but first five of us went hunting for another WDP1 for another loud run. (Three others went to the railway museum). We were expecting the train on platform two at about 08:30 at that time a WDM2 arrived in the platform heading in the opposite direction! No sooner had we got on than WDP1 15030 appeared in platform one on the train we had been looking for. We ran over the bridge and got on, sadly as we had to scramble on at the last minute we were nowhere near the front (middle of load eighteen). The train was emptying out quite well we noticed, and soon it became apparent the train was not the one we were expecting. It officially terminated at Tilak Bridge and continued empty (with people on) to Hazrat Nizamuddin, ending up in sidings opposite the platforms. This put pay to our morning sampling of some more Diesels, at least we managed to return to return to Delhi, on an electric hauled express. By this time our train to Varanasi was nearly ready, we had WDM2C (16-251B 3100 horse power) 14002, on load twenty-one. Luckily we were quite close to the front (fourth coach). We had hoped to get into a fresh-air coach to appreciate the ALCO, but the front was a baggage van and second and third carriages were second-class coaches, and were packed solid. So we had to stick with appreciating to noise from the opening inwards doors (which wasn't a problem!). We started off running a few minutes late, but with recovery time we had a twenty-five minute stop at the huge station at Moradabad. Huge long platforms, numerous semaphore signals, and lots of wild monkey's running around the station made it a fascinating station. As darkness came there was little that we could see, though the doors were available for us at any time, which was welcome as the big WDM2C was making a tremendous noise, as expected on the huge train. As the evening continued thick mist slowed down the passage of the train and we started to run late.

DepartureArrivalLocoLoco No.Train No.TrainDistance
Delhi08.30WDP1150302TR06.25Rohtak Jcn Tilak Bridge3km
Tilak Bridge08.4508.xxWDP115030ECS08.xxTilak Bridge Hazrat Nizamuddin3km
Hazrat Nizamuddin08.xx10.15WAP422352292511.35Mumbai Central Amritsar6km
Delhi10.3513:30WDM2c14002425813.30Delhi Varanasi794km

Thursday 23rd November 2000

When daylight broke we discovered that we had lost much more time during the night, we were over three hours late. The two tier air-conditioned sleepers had been reasonably comfortable during the night. Arrival at Varanasi was at about 08:30. We were met on arrival by a contact we had from DLW (Diesel Locomotive Works), he had two hired cars which were waiting for us, and we went straight to the "Hotel Ashok Varanasi" who they had kindly arranged for us. We had showers and breakfast and then drove the six kilometres across town to the DLW plant. There we met Mr Shubhranshu whom we had also been in touch with, and he joined us for an amazing tour of the factory. The un-doubtable highlight for us was to see construction of brand new WDM2C and WDP2A models, both fitted with a 16-251B ALCO engine of 3100 horsepower. One WDP2A and two WDM2C were very close to completion, we were allowed to have many photos taken by the DLW company photographer who kindly escorted us on the works visit. Outside we found two more WDM2C's in primer, and two in ex works orange and cream livery, also a WDP2A in a new blue and white livery. One of each class were started up, and we had a short "demonstration" run in brand new WDP2A 15536, even the paint was wet! Upon leaving the works the hired cars took us to a Buddhist temple in Sarnath before we returned to the hotel and had a meal.

DepartureArrivalLocoLoco No.Train No.TrainDistance
Varanasi05.25

Friday 24th November 2000

Our contacts had kindly arranged an early morning riverboat trip down the Ganges so we could view the sunrise and the assortment of Ghats along the waterfront. There was also a good selection of wildlife, we saw the attractive Kingfisher birds, and a group of Monkey's we seen running along the rooftops! We returned to the hotel, had a breakfast then split up into various groups. Mark, Alastair and myself returned to the works, we managed to return to the test house, and had the pleasure of seeing WDM2C 14064 on the load bank on full power. It was shut down and then restarted for our benefit. After a talk with some of the staff, we returned to the station at Varanasi Junction, there we found Vic and we all left on the 13:30 with WDM2 17574. We managed to stand in the parcels area of the first coach, so we could move around freely, the guard and train security personnel were a bit concerned but left us there as we were only travelling a short distance. We bailed at Sewapuri where the train was in perfect sunshine for an excellent photo. After about half an hour we picked up train 4257 with a 17901R (a February 2000 rebuild). This Loco sounded very ill, once the turbo cut in it was sounding more like a helicopter. We took this as far as Bhadohi where we had a choice of three trains back to Varanasi, the first was about two hours late, but the second was fairly close to time, WDM2 16095, and it even had seats available in the front coach! A possible short local move was rejected due to a late start; Alastair and I took an auto rickshaw back to the hotel. This gave us time for shower and relaxed meal before returning to the station and our overnight to Howrah. It arrived an hour late and we had a farewell send-off from Venkat. We got settled in our berths fairly quickly although Craig, Mark and I were in the low numbered berths, which were right beside the noisy air blower grills. After a few nights of these, I was stuffing socks and towels down them!

DepartureArrivalLocoLoco No.Train No.TrainDistance
Varanasi13.30WDM217574110813.30VaranasiGwalior23km
Sewapuri14.0114.38WDM217901425714.10VaranasiNew Delhi22km
Bhadohi15.0615.36WDM216095300619.20Amritsar Howrah45km
Varanasi16.3521.10WDM218996307422.05Jammu Tawi Howrah762km

Saturday 25th November 2000

Woke many times during the night, and was a little bit concerned by the high speed running, we had been expecting through diesel despite being on an electrified main line. However on looking out the door we were relieved to see we still had WDM2 18996 on the front. Arrival at Howrah was only a few minutes late and we had a couple of fast cars to the hotel. Due to the one-way system we took the longer route via the new suspension bridge. The booked hotel was very comfortable, after freshening up we all took cars to Sealdah station to see what we could do in search of ALCO power. Unfortunately we arrived quite a way behind the lead car, only when we got halfway down the platform did we find the others, starting to leave with Jumbo "Low nose" WDM2 in the middle of a set of stock. As it was going very slowly we bailed onto the ballast and scrambled into the wrong side. Hoping it was one of the "circular" trains, however it soon became apparent the furthest we were going was the nearest carriage sidings! (Again!) After being fuelled and many strange looks from staff in the sidings we returned to the station, with the effects of the heat and some earlier dodgy food I returned to the hotel, Alastair joining me in an auto rickshaw. After a good sleep I ventured to nearby Internet facilities for an hours surfing. On return to the hotel we had a meal, with me taking an early night and more much needed sleep.

DepartureArrivalLocoLoco No.Train No.TrainDistance
Howrah / Sealdah11.3513.42WDM217855ECS13.42Sealdah Sealdah CS1km
Sealdah CS13.4514.35WDM217855ECS14.35Sealdah CS Sealdah1km
Sealdah14.38

Sunday 26th November 2000

Fairly early start as we had to cross the river to reach Howrah for our 08:25 departure, this time we travelled over the river via the older bridge. Our train left from the more modern platforms served by the South Eastern railway. We were fourth coach from the rear of the twenty-coach rake; WDM2C 14057 was on the front. The line south from Howrah was very busy with freight and passenger; one pair of WDM2's was passed on a huge empty coal train, black smoke going everywhere! A couple of our party had a cab ride during the afternoon, Alastair and I travelled in the guards portion of the front coach for an hour in the early evening so we could get to hear some of the action from the WDM2C. Once darkness fell we had an entertaining game of cards to pass the long evening in our coach at the rear.

DepartureArrivalLocoLoco No.Train No.TrainDistance
Howrah08.25IR14057270308.25Howrah Secunderabad679km

Monday 27th November 2000

I woke as we pulled into Vijaywada and we were bang on time, now fifth coach from the front of the train, very pleased to see a WDM2C on the front, as this had been a section we thought we might well have been caught with an electric on the train! It turned out 14041 had taken over from 14057 at Vishakapatnam, giving a long run of 663 km with it. We took taxis straight to the very comfortable Hotel Viceroy located on the lakeside, and after freshening up we returned to the station for various choices of moves. Some stayed with YDM4's on the metre gauge, a few others and myself took a WDP1; we were not amused to find a DMU (self propelled type!) on our return! Luckily we were able to get off at Kacheguda on our return and continue on a WDM2 on an express that started from there. We then managed a quick out and back trip on the metre gauge lines with YDM4 ALCO power; sadly we did not manage to get any of the earlier MLW built examples. After this it was back to the hotel, four of us squeezing into one of the minute "auto rickshaws". Had a good meal in the hotel restaurant once we all got back there, the other party very happy as they had managed to get an MLW built loco.

DepartureArrivalLocoLoco No.Train No.TrainDistance
Vishakapatnam00.2500.45WDM2c14041270308.25Howrah Secunderabad663km
Secunderabad12.3515.30WDP11506853515.30Secunderabad Kurnool Town12km
Yakutpura15.5616.11IRDMU57214.00Mahbubnagar Secunderabad4km
Kacheguda16.1817.30WDM217142766417.30Kacheguda Manmad8km
Secunderabad17.5018.05YDM4660459318.05Secunderabad Nizamabad10km
Cavalry Barracks18.3518.36YDM4655860917.45Medchal Secunderabad10km
Secunderabad19.05

Tuesday 28th November 2000

Quite a late start as neither Dave nor I fancied the 06:00 intended start, we made our way down to the station for the 10.35 departure on the metre gauge. Went as far as Ammagudu where we were able to phot two southbound trains before returning to town. We took a WDM2 for the short run to Hyderabad before taking an auto rickshaw direct to the hotel. As it was a scorcher of a day, we returned to hotel to get bags ready before heading back later. I spent all afternoon in the hotel and some of the food I had eaten earlier had made me ill, and I was quite happy to stay in the cool of the hotel. We took two taxis to the station, WDM2C 14045 was our train loco, load twenty-three for the run south to Bangalore via Dronachellam, the loco running round at Guntakal just before midnight.

DepartureArrivalLocoLoco No.Train No.TrainDistance
Secunderabad10.35YDM4637060410.35Secunderabad Medchal9km
Ammagudu11.0211.11YDM4655860510.25Medchal Secunderabad9km
Secunderabad11.3512.25WDM217505702909.35Cochin Harbour T Hyderabad Jcn10km
Hyderabad13.00
Secunderabad17.40WDM2c14045708517.40Secunderabad Bangalore745km

Wednesday 29th November 2000

We got off at Bangalore Cantt, as it was closer to the "Comfort Inn" hotel that we were booked into. We were given rooms fairly quickly, though some were wrong, and it took a while to get sorted out. One of our contacts (Srinivas) from the IRFCA club was on hand to escort us round, he had expected to meet us at the City station, but soon found us in the hotel. After breakfast the others headed off on their chase for ALCO power, I stayed in the hotel to try and shed the bug I had caught. Srinivas returned at lunchtime, we went to the local Pizza Hut where I was happy to feed on more "safe" food! After this we chased the inbound pair of WDM2's on the "Karnataka Express", sadly all our "roadshow" were on the wrong side to get a surprise photo taken of them. After briefly meeting them at the "City" station Srinivas and myself went to meet up with Mr Rakesh Misra (Divisional Railway manager). He was most helpful in answering the many questions we both had and showed us round the operational control rooms. Afterwards Srinivas returned me to the hotel where I was able to have a quiet evening alone.

DepartureArrivalLocoLoco No.Train No.TrainDistance
Bangalore07.15

Thursday 30th November 2000

We had a depot visit organised today, Srinivas and the hotel car took us to the local depot where we had a fantastic tour round and could see about ten WDM2's in the shed area. One loco was being put through it's paces on the load bank this was most entertaining for us to see. We acquired more "working links" (Loco diagrams) so we could be more familiar with the workings of the Diesels in the area, the WDP2 info from Golden Rock depot was even faxed over after a special request from us! Upon return to the hotel we stopped off to get pictures of the inbound "Karnataka Express" with it's booked pair of WDM2's from Itarsi depot. Again we paid a visit to the Pizza Hut, as this would enable us to avoid "dodgy" food supplied on the train. Afterwards we returned to the hotel to collect the bags and make our way to the station to pick up the "Mysore Thanjavur Express", WDM2 18555 was on the front of load 15, a few of the more "keen" members of our group had taken the pair of WDM2's on the northbound "Karnataka Express" as far as Bangalore Cantt station, and rejoined us there.

DepartureArrivalLocoLoco No.Train No.TrainDistance
Bangalore18.40WDM218555623215.30Mysore Junction Thanjavur Junction327km

Friday 1st December 2000

Another not very comfy night on the train, surprised to find that we had a different WDM2 on the front in the morning. Luckily Rob had sussed out a reliable method of finding out where Loco changes occur (each loco has a log book in the cab), and we had this one from Erode. Again the food was not suiting me, and Rob, Peta and I were all suffering, I decided to retreat to the comfort of the hotel to try and finally get rid of the illness. Added incentive was that Dave and I had a perfect view of the station from the seventh floor of the hotel. I got many pictures of the attractive green and white livery metre gauge YDM4's as they came in and out the station. I also made use of the Internet facilities in the hotel and also my mobile phone was working, so I had plenty of communication! By the time the sun had gone down and it was much cooler Craig (who had also opted for a day off) decided on a run out, the presumed YDM4 on the 19:10 local turned with a horrible YDM2 "shunter", I was disgusted, but took it as to be on the move! We bailed to Budalur to continue on the standard gauge with WDP2 15501 which was behind us, however meanwhile YDM4 6149 (MLW built) came in with Express 6702, the 20:25 finishing time being much more sociable than the alternative 23:25 finish! Once back in the hotel we found Alastair had passed us and he had finished on a DMU! (Maybe our YDM2 had not been that bad a bowl!).

DepartureArrivalLocoLoco No.Train No.TrainDistance
Erode00.3500.50WDM216860623215.30Mysore Junction Thanjavur Junction194km
Thanjavur Jcn06.2019.10YDM2202361316.15Mayiladuturai Jcn Tiruchchirappalli Jcn18km
Budalur19.3319.38YDM46149670214.00Rameswaram Tambaram18km
Thanjavur Jcn20.20

Saturday 2nd December 2000

Another leisurely start, the extreme humidity put me off a morning trip out on the trains, something I regretted later when I found out I could have had a WDP2 on a local train covering for a WDM2. We had a taxi for the short distance to the station to save carrying our bags in the heat. There we joined the Nagore - Quilon fast passenger, ALCO built YDM4 6034 was a welcome sight, on a fairly small train of nine carriages. We were in the third coach, the first class (no AC sleepers on this train). The compartment was large, but very old and worn. At Tiruchchirappalli (Trichy) 6034 was removed for 6229 to continue, reason not known. As darkness fell three of us had a short cab ride, nice to see the "orange" glow out of the exhaust as the ALCO engine was worked hard. Fantastic sight during this journey was the sight of the Indian way of exchanging the tokens! The signalman not only holds the token aloft but also a flaming rag! The driver's assistant throws out the old token so that it lands at the signalman's feet and grabs the new one. At about 21:00 we attempted to sleep the best we could, though lack of supplied bedding that we attempted to order the previous night and terrible track, plus being over the bogie led to a very bad night. To cap all of this I was still feeling rough, and the compartment was roasting hot, and remained that way most of the night.

DepartureArrivalLocoLoco No.Train No.TrainDistance
Thanjavur Jcn13.00YDM46034676110.50Nagore Quilon Jcn50km
Tiruchchirappalli Jcn16.0516.15YDM46229676110.50Nagore Quilon Jcn375km

Sunday 3rd December 2000

I was more than happy to get off the train, certainly one of my worst journeys ever on a night train. We arrived twenty minutes early (as expected), ample recovery time being allowed in timetable. However we still managed to just miss the 04:30 stopper north towards Ernakulam with a WDM7. So we had close to a two-hour wait on the platform, taking WDM2C 14052 north on train 6302. Another huge train of twenty-one carriages, and the Loco was sounding superb. The line was of a very high standard, with lush green vegetation, certainly the best we had travelled on so far during our visit. On arrival at Ernakulam we got two taxis to take us to the Taj Residency Hotel on the coast. After a casual lunch and a chance to freshen up, most returned to the trains, I waited a while longer for the day to cool down a bit and then ventured out to sample a couple of the unique Ernakulam based WDM7's. Had expected to be joined by Dave and Alastair, after coming in on an inbound, but their plus twenty connection turned into a zero, Alastair only just managed to scramble in the rear coach, Dave missed it. I bailed at Kurikad Halt and was very surprised to see that Al had actually made it. We had about forty minutes there before the northbound appeared. The move involved 11009 and 11008, both sounded totally different, and not particularly what we had expected V12-251B's to sound like. This was followed by the procession of auto rickshaws back to the hotel, the feel of the cool air conditioning being tremendous after the extreme heat of the day.

DepartureArrivalLocoLoco No.Train No.TrainDistance
Quilon Jcn04.5006.25WDM2c14052630206.00Trivandrum C Shoranur Jcn156km
Ernakulam Jcn09.5518.25WDM71100935518.25Ernakulam Jcn Quilon Jcn14km
Kurikad H18.4618.56WDM71100834617.45Kottayam Ernakulam Jcn14km
Ernakulam Jcn19.35

Monday 4th December 2000

We all headed out for an early start as the temperature was a lot cooler early on, took WDM7 11015 north to Alwaye, the first inbound was 11008 which was already dud. So most of us waited for the express ex-Bangalore, it was a pair of WDM2's in place of the booked single WDM2C. By the time we got back to Ernakulam Town the temperature and humidity had reached the limit that I was prepared to travel in packed and non-air-conditioned trains, so I returned to the comfort of the hotel. I had a quiet lunch, followed by use of the very slow Internet access provided in the hotel. Once the afternoon started to cool down I walked to the nearby quayside to take one of the frequent ferries over to Cochin. I was looking for Cochin Harbour Terminus the first stop off the ferry was described as the "Island", so I remained on to the terminus of the ferry. Eventually after a while I was told I needed to return to the "Island" where I could find the station. This proved to be a good long walk, still in the extreme heat! I found the stock for the 17:00 local "passenger" eventually WDM2 16080 arrived light engine, but had a late start. Once at Ernakulam I made a visit to the shed to arrange collection of some info and to find the chief. After this I made a quick return trip to Tripunittura on two of the WDM7 hauled local trains, had 11014 for 11006. Got back to Ernakulam about 20:00 and myself and Alastair returned to the hotel by auto rickshaw. Most of the others then did the line to Cochin Harbour Terminus before joining us back in the hotel.

DepartureArrivalLocoLoco No.Train No.TrainDistance
Ernakulam Jcn07.30WDM71101531207.00Cochin Harbour TShoranur Jcn19km
Alwaye08.0309.25WDM217601652621.00Bangalore City Kanniyakumari17km
WDM217482652621.00Bangalore City Kanniyakumari17km
Ernakulam Town09.50
Cochin Harbour T17.00WDM21608031417.00Cochin Harbour T Shoranur Jcn8km
Ernakulam Jcn17.3018.25WDM71101435518.25Ernakulam Jcn Quilon Jcn10km
Tripunittura18.4019.02WDM71100634617.45Kottayam Ernakulam Jcn10km
Ernakulam Jcn19.35

Tuesday 5th December 2000

As it was our final full day at Ernakulam I decided I really ought to suffer the heat and have a full day out. Luckily there were clouds most of the day, which reduced the direct temperature slightly. Started off with another round trip to Tripunittura with WDM7's again. Dave, Al and I then took 11009 on the 10:30 departure to Kayankulam Junction, we deliberately chose this train as it was one that was not especially busy, and therefore much more comfortable for us. On the return we got off at Alleppey so we could continue forward with "Jumbo" WDM2 17803 to Ernakulam. We then returned back down to line with WDM2 17677, as it was the first of the two evening commuters the train was packed as expected. We got in the van in the front coach, unfortunately we were joined by some idiot who stood next by me, and seemed quite happy to push people around, and as I was next to the sliding door with nothing decent to hold onto, and any heavy braking resulting in it heading in my direction, I decided to bail off at Kumbalam and as the remainder off the train was packed I abandoned the run and settled down on the station bench. The second commuter arrived an hour later, even more packed, so I had another hour on the platform bench! Eventually got away with WDM7 11004 on the passenger to Ernakulam Junction. Once back we took auto rickshaws back to the hotel where we still had use of a room so we could freshen up, then have a meal before returning to the station. We asked the hotel if we could have two cars to run us there, despite having some available they would not let us have use of them, and the travel desk in the hotel seemed totally useless. As time was now starting to run out it was time some auto rickshaws came to the rescue, we managed (somehow) to cram three of us into each complete with all our bags! We got to the station with about twenty minutes to spare, and then joined the northbound "Rajdhani Express" for the run north to Goa. Despite being a higher status the interior was identical to that of all our other night journeys.

DepartureArrivalLocoLoco No.Train No.TrainDistance
Ernakulam Jcn07.50WDM71100234107.50Ernakulam Jcn Kottayam10km
Tripunittura08.0508.23WDM71101435204.30Quilon Jcn Ernakulam Jcn10km
Ernakulam Jcn09.0510.30WDM71100933507.50Ernakulam Jcn Kayankulam Jcn100km
Kayankulam Jcn12.4513.15WDM71100933613.15Kayankulam Jcn Ernakulam Jcn43km
Alleppey14.1015.00WDM217803604215.00Alleppey Chennai57km
Ernakulam Jcn16.0516.30WDM21767733716.30Ernakulam Jcn Alleppey8km
Kumbalam16.4118.40WDM71100433817.30Alleppey Ernakulam Jcn8km
Ernakulam Jcn19.0522.55WDM2c18697R243119.15Trivandrum Hazrat Nizamuddin729km

Wednesday 6th December 2000

Our intended late get up was soon spoilt as the attendant decided to give us our early breakfast just after six o'clock, therefore forcing us to be woken up. As soon as we starting running over the newly built "Konkan Railway" the speed increased and we had a good run north to Madgaon, though extended stops in stations caused us to lose about forty minutes. On arrival there it was scorching hot, but we had lost the humidity due to being much further north. Rob, Peta and Richard decided to take a taxi to our pre-booked hotel in Vasco de Gama. The remainder of us staying to view the passing "passenger" trains just to make sure they were hauled, as some self powered DMU's are based in the area, as suspected they were not seen and both locals were hauled by Gooty based WDM2's. We decided to take the "Goa Express" up to hill to Kulem, we found Richard and Rob on the train, I was near the front door where I got stuck in a mad scrum of people as someone who was already on the train, then someone who was already the train decide to get off. During this scrum I noticed that someone had managed to get hold of my wallet from my trouser pocket. Once I had got free of the crowd I managed to alert a couple of policemen who were nearby and within a few minutes my wallet amazingly appeared from within the train, much to my relief. This almost appeared to be too coincidental, and as a precaution I phoned to get my credit card cancelled just in case the card number had been written down, although it appeared intact. After this excitement we set off for the run up to the base of the "Braganza Ghat". At Kulem the single WDM2 on the train was assisted by a further three WDM2's being attached to the rear! We returned on the 17:10 passenger back through Madgaon and on to Vasco de Gama. The hotel was walking distance from the station and we had an excellent meal there.

DepartureArrivalLocoLoco No.Train No.TrainDistance
Madgaon11.4013.55WDM217960277914.00Vasco de Gama Hazrat Nizamuddin24km
Kulem15.0517.10WDM21769536317.10Kulem Vasco de Gama34km
Vasco de Gama19.00

Thursday 7th December 2000

We had a reasonably late start as neither Dave nor I chose to do the possible early morning out and back move on the two passenger diagrams. We arranged the hotel minibus to take us to some of the tourist sights in "Old Goa", however very slow traffic took up most of the journey. After checking out from the hotel, we were surprised to find a pair of WDM2's on the stopper, three of us took these to Madgaon, and then continued with the "Goa Express". The highlight of our triple headed WDM2 bankers was shattered when the pair off the previous train were attached to push up the hill. There were two extra empty coaches on the rear, making the train load eighteen. Much of the climb was very impressive all three Loco's had to work very hard on certain sections. Two sets of Gooty based "triple" bankers were passed during the climb and also passed a single WDM2 that was going back to Kulem to work the 17:10 passenger. During one of the stops a large group of Monkey's were on the rocks beside the train, Vic threw a couple of biscuits on the track, which were soon found, one of the Monkey's then proceeded to sit on the rocks directly in front of us while eating. The bankers were detached at Castle Rock, and therefore 17960 continued alone to Londa Junction. Our train reversed and continued with a different WDM2 for the run north to Pune.

DepartureArrivalLocoLoco No.Train No.TrainDistance
Vasco de Gama13.10WDM21671536613.10Vasco de Gama Kulem24km
IRWDM236613.10Vasco de Gama Kulem24km
Madgaon13.5314.31WDM217960277914.00Vasco de Gama Hazrat Nizamuddin111km
Kulem15.2015.35WDM2167152779Bankers Kulem - Castle Rock25km
(CR 16.45/16.55)WDM2177742779Bankers Kulem - Castle Rock25km
Londa Jcn17.4518.05WDM218649R277914.10Vasco de Gama Hazrat Nizamuddin469km

Friday 8th December 2000

We arrived Pune about forty minutes early and the awful time of 03:20, and we walked over to the luxurious "Le Meridian" hotel close to the station, hoping to at least leave our bags and get a wash. We were allowed to check in and have full use of our rooms, leaving at about 05:30, having met up with local IRFCA enthusiast Apurva Bahadur in the process. We again headed back down the diesel route towards Miraj we had a local traction inspector from Pune depot with us who proved to be very helpful during the day. Rather than go to the crossing point with the next northbound we managed to explain that we preferred to get off short and try to photograph the train leaving. The location at Jarandeshwar was perfect, sadly the driver did not open up quite quick enough, and most of us missed a classic ALCO departure with clouds of black smoke. However this gave us chance to explain to the traction inspector what we were after! We returned north to Adarki where the line doubles back on itself, therefore managed a good departure shot, followed by more pictures a few minutes lates heading in the opposite direction. Once parallel to us the driver starting making clouds of black exhaust for our benefit. The balancing northbound train appeared about thirty minutes later, the crew having already been advised of our "requirements". The approach to the station being virtually continuous black smoke. We took this train as far as Wathar where we had an excellent lunch stop before returning north to Pune. The descent towards Pune saw tremendous use of dynamic brakes on the WDM2, refreshing lost memories of a typical day in Greece on the MLW's descending into Athens. We got off at Gohpuri so we could go directly to the depot there that serves Pune. We were introduced to the depot chief and eventually we set off on a walk around, though the sun was rapidly setting. Best picture was getting red-liveried WDG2 freight loco moved out the shed for us to photograph it. A line-up of withdrawn ALCO built WDM2's was partly obscured, but the chief would not allow us to take pictures of them. Once we were back in his office, a press photographer from the "Times of India" newspaper arrived to take some pictures of us he had been contacted by Apurva in relation to our "strange" and unique visit. After a question and answer session in the chief's office we returned to the hotel in a couple of railway vehicles. The photographer returned with us to continue his interview. Afterwards we freshened up then had an excellent meal in the hotel.

DepartureArrivalLocoLoco No.Train No.TrainDistance
Pune04.0006.20WDM218976738408.00Gondia Kolhapur138km
Jarandeshwar09.1009.2WDM21892531606.05Miraj Jcn Sasvad Road28km
Adarki10.1811.20WDM21745131507.15Pune Kolhapur10km
Warther11.5012.30WDM217477730807.50Kolhapur Mumbai117km
Gohpuri14.58

Saturday 9th December 2000

We were able to have a good breakfast before we checked out and continued our journey northbound. Took a WDM2 on a passenger train from Pune - Daund, we had about an hour there before heading north on the "Karnataka Express" which was worked by a pair of WDM2's. Much amusement a Daund with a cow easing the contents of the rubbish bin on the platform. It was our method of avoiding a large lump of Electric mileage, much preferring to travel with diesel power! We were on load twenty-two, and close to the rear, so had some amazing views of the pair going round some of the curves. Only at 23:10 did the diesels come off the train for an electric (WAP4) forward. By then most of us were fast asleep, Rob doing the honours of getting the identity of the new loco.

DepartureArrivalLocoLoco No.Train No.TrainDistance
Pune07.30WDM217910155107.30Pune Daund Jcn76km
Daund09.1010.35WDM218737262718.25Bangalore City New Delhi723km
WDM218544262718.25Bangalore City New Delhi723km
Itarsi23.1023.20WDM222306262718.25Bangalore City New Delhi597km

Sunday 10th December 2000

We arrived about thirty late into Agra Cantt station, immediately we were chased by taxi touts who in turn were chased by local police, we could soon tell we were back in the tourist areas. Finally we had cars sorted out to take us to the pre-booked hotel. We were in the "Clarke's Shiraz" hotel, quite clean and comfy, but the plumbing was in need of a major overhaul in our room. We then hired two cars to take us to the Taj Mahal, the entry procedure being most complicated. First we had to park and change into a battery-powered shuttle to take us to the gate. Then we had to pay the expensive entry fee ($ 10 + 500 Rupees). Trying to get in we had penknives, mobile phones, camera tripod and any food removed before we were allowed any further. We had a guide who was determined to tell us what to do despite us telling him we wanted to walk around at our own pace. I was pleased to find a couple of Chipmunks running around on a nearby tree, and got a number of close up pictures of them. Once we got closer in we had another search, though they still failed to find much of our "forbidden" goods! We managed a number of good photos before we left, collected our goods and continued to Agra Fort. Despite being told we had a valid entry ticket for this already, we found we still had to pay more to get in, as we only were going for a quick visit anyway we settled with taking photos from the outside. Afterwards our cars took us to Agra Fort station where we were able to make a few moves with metre gauge YDM4 ALCO's. We took 6442 as far as Achnera Jcn where there were an amazing selection of semaphore signals, and two trains ready to depart. However we had drawn a considerable amount of attention from the local children, and they decided to follow us, at least fifty were with us at one point. During the wait for the second train Dave and Rob joined them in a game of cricket! The second YDM4 appeared about twenty late, but still just gave us time to comfortably get to Chikasana for a third one back to Agra. This train managed to totally stagger and lose about forty-minutes as we headed back. Took a procession of rickshaws as we went back to the hotel. Four of us went out to the local Pizza Hut for a meal before returning to the hotel.

DepartureArrivalLocoLoco No.Train No.TrainDistance
Agra Cant./Fort08.1014.10YDM46442531614.10Agra Fort Gonda Jcn27km
Achnera Jcn15.2016.20YDM4654610115.25Agra Fort Bandkui Jcn9km
Chikasana16.4517.13YDM4652820814.00Bandkui Jcn Agra Fort36km
Agra Fort19.00

Monday 11th December 2000

Our final full day and a very early start. There was a 07:00 to Delhi, which we were hoping to be diesel hauled "under the wires", much to our delight it was, meaning we could be in Delhi and comfortably have time there for a few more moves before our flight home. On arrival there we walked to the nearby Hotel Gold Regency where we got a room to leave all our bags. This was followed by a very slow and rushed lunch, a last minute rush over to the station to do the 13:30 (the same train we had three weeks earlier) with a WDM2. Five of us got off at Ghaziabad and continued north with another WDM2 on a "passenger" train. As it was packed (as usual) we bailed shorter of where we intended at Guldhar. As it was difficult to jump off the train and see where I was going, I had to jump "blind", my left foot landing on a stone, and landing badly and twisting my ankle, agony! We found seats and I hobbled down to the entrance area As we waited for the late running southbound it became apparent the southbound platform was home for the local family of Chipmunks, Vic and I positioned ourselves on the bench and soon they returned and were quite happy with us sitting there taking pictures of them. Managed to get seven in one picture. The southbound appeared seventy-five late, luckily it soon had free seats so I was OK to sit down. At Delhi Junction I managed to get a lift on a porters trolley to avoid a painful limp down the platform. Al and I got a very slow (and painful) auto rickshaw back to the hotel, the driver not having a clue where he was going, despite being clearly told by the local police how to get there. Had three hours in the hotel before we had two taxis to the airport and providing we had just hand baggage we were able to check in very quickly. Those who checked in bags had a long wait while the bags went through the X ray equipment. Once in the departure area we had time to buy souvenirs, (many miniature elephants being bought).

DepartureArrivalLocoLoco No.Train No.TrainDistance
Agra Cant07.00WDM216385431715.00Indore Dehradun195km
New Delhi11.3013.30WDM217518425813.30New Delhi Varanasikm
Ghaziabad Jcn14.1014.17WDM2173541DS13.30Delhi Jcn Saharanpur Jcn9km
Guldhar14.3015.42WDM21735037206.40Risikesh Delhi Jcn16km
Delhi Jcn17.20

Tuesday 12th December 2000

We were surprised to find an Airbus A340 on our flight back to Wien, had expected the smaller A330 that we had flown out with, this gave most of us our first flight on this type of aircraft. Boarding commenced very early, and a punctual departure, prompt service made it an excellent flight, I managed about four hours sleep, helped by the fact that the plane was not too full. Arrival in Wien was an hour early, this gave us chance to relax and have a coffee (Richard had a beer and a tasty goulash soup!) before the flight to London. We had the same A321 Airbus back to London that we had flown out with, arrival there being about 09:00. Craig and I were the only two using the Underground, and we got away quickly. Meanwhile most of the rest of the party that had to check in their bags were not especially happy when none of the bags appeared on the carousel. Apparently the bags had been loaded into a freight cart and this was taken to the Cargo section at Heathrow. For Mark, Vic and Al it took another two and a half hours to retrieve their bags. Richard who had a connecting flight to catch to Glasgow arranged to have his bag delivered later that day to his home, a day and a half later it turned up!

DepartureArrivalAirctaftTail No.Flight No.FlightDistance
Delhi02.00A340OE-LALOS54202.00Delhi-Wien5548km
Wien06.0007.15A321OE-LBCOS45107.15Wien-Heathrow1255km
Heathrow08.45

"Storming Steel Stallions" is a phrase used in one of the timetables to describe a WDM2, a graphic picture and statement advises tractors drivers to stay out the way of trains, otherwise your tractor will be crushed like an ANT!

Many thanks must go to members of the IRFCA mailing list, and to all those involved with our visit to DLW.

Material provided by Phil Wormald, Copyright © 2000.
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