Kanpur - Chennai Trip, part 1
Here is a long delayed trip report. On 18th June, we started from Kanpur to go to Madras (and then upto Vellore). This is my first attempt in writing a formal trip report. So, feed backs welcome.
Travel plan: 18-06-2004 2134 Pushpak Express CNB D: 21.40; BPL A: 06.00 (19-06) Connection: 2622 Tamilnadu Express from BPL at 08.00 Hrs
On the date of the travel, towards the evening the sky was overcast. We reached CNB quite early, at about 20.45 hrs. Strangely, not much traffic was there at CNB. 2420 Gomti was strangely on time and it came at 21.10 hrs behind WAP-4 22282 of CNB. Almost simultaneously 4517 Unchahar Express came from ALD behind the customary ET WDM-2 17257. It changed over to a brand new top headlight CNB WAP-4 22579. 30218, WAP-7 of GZB was loitering at the end of PF #5 of CNB and was the designated power for that nights 2451 Shramshakti Express. In the mean time the arrival of our train was announced. It came to the platform on the dot at 21.20 hrs. I was expecting a WDM-3A from JHS as the power. But as the train was entering, I was rather surprised to find a maroon coloured diesel loco from a distance itself. Later it turned out to be 16527, NE/GD. No doubt, an one off day.
The JHS power broke down at LJN itself and this was a last moment replacement. It wasLHF. I was relieved to find the train arrive on time,as we had to take TN from BPL the next morning and the margine was only for two hours. So, we tried to settle in quickly. And came the first shock. In the second bay of AS-1, there were 9 people with only 4 confirmed tickets. Plus a couple was there who had valid tickets. So, that was Pushpaks' Mumbai bound heavy traffic was all about! And man, this group had atleast twenty pieces of luggage. So, as expected, the bottom of our side bearths were all filled with huge boxes and three people (two ladies plus one middle aged person) were sitting on our seats (15,16). When we asked them politely to vacate our bearth, the reply was a typical north Indian 'Adjust ho jayiye!', and as for the luggage space the arguement was 'it was first come first serve'. I soon found that politeness is certainly going to take a back seat, and heated arguement started. And one person threatened me to call up some 'DSP' nad some 'MP'. Since I know the tricks that these so called upper class people (travelling in AC, to be precise!) play here, I said 'carry on' and removed all their luggage and coolly placed ours. My wife (who was in any case unwell) was very upset. In the meantime the TTE arrived and he also said that 'one should adjust....'. But a lot of confrontation somehow got another checker from 2AC and a couple of RPF guys and somehow he came in to my rescue! This new TTE told that man to call up 'his MP friend' and.... as expected, the 'MP's' mobile was switched off and we finally settled down with a threat of 'facing the music' next morning!
In the mean time there was lot of action at CNB. 2440 Ranchi Rajdhani came behid WAP-1 of GZB, 22002, at 21.35. Soon to follow was SDAH Rajdhani, behind WAP-7 30206 (most likely the loco is still at GMO). And during all this time, Pushpak was standing at CNB. It comes at PF # 7 and it has to cross the down main line from Delhi to proceed. So, Kanpur controllers thought of letting in all the Rajdhanis before they gave the signal to a train running on time! Any way, next to come was 2306 HWH Rajdhani via PNBE behind WAP-4 of HWH 22311!! (As I did not know about WAP-5 POH then, so was quite surprised!!). And by now I knew that our train will only leave once all the Rajdhanis cross. So, we were finally cleared at 22.20 after BBS Rajdhani Express came in behind CNB WAP-4 22227. We stopped a couple of times, as we crossed Govindpuri and took the track towards JHS. Just beyond Bhimsen, I could spot 1528 Manikpur-CNB Passenger waiting for our train to cross on the Banda-CNB line (which actually veers off at BHimsen). 1528 was behind JHS WDM-2 17272. Not expecting much of rail fanning action left and also the urge to get up early, we decided to call it a day. Outside, all hell broke loose, and I caould feel even from with in the AC compartment that it was raining very heavily.
Next morning (19-06) I woke up at around 5.20 AM, only to find that we were cruising very well. I could feel the silk smooth run with a WAP-4 in charge. I checked the speed, we were doing about 107 KMPH. Good enough. Soon we crossed a small station called Sumer. I found a goods train on the loopline, headed by a vintage WAG-5 from ET 21112. We crossed Vidisha at 05.31 and I knew we would be in BPL with in an hour. We cruised on, overtaking 1266 Rewa-BPL Express at Salmatpur at about 6-20 hrs, headed by 20699 of ET. We were now close to BPL and soon pulled in at PF - 1 of BPL. After disembarking, fist thing I did was to run to spot our loco, and it was 22204 of JHS in charge.
Soon after Pushpak left, there was lot of traffic to BPL from ET side. First a long freighter came behind BRC WAG-5 23995. It was followed by 524 LTT-GKP holiday special (VB) with BSL WAG-5 23528. Then it was the turn of 8237 Chattisgarh Express behind BIA WAM-4 20681. In came 2627 Karnataka at 07.35 behind CNB WAP-4 22266. PF - 4 also saw the arrival of 2968 JP-MAS Super fast behind WAP-4 22075 of BRC. TN was delayed by 20 minutes, but the train came in at 08.15 hrs (25 minutes late), in charge was Erode King 22380.
We were in AS-1, again. The compartment was SR03121A, a brand new 3AC. We settled in comfortably, in stark contrast to 'Adjust ho jayiye' of the night before. TN picked speed soon enough. We were doing 75 KMPH even before crossed Habibganj. Spotted a TKD WAG-5 there (22380), with a goods rake from the opposite direction. Sometime later, 21399 of BSL crossed us with JBP-BPL Jan Shatabdi Express. By this time, every body in our bay were settling in their berths and we also decided to stretch a little. I somehow persuaded my wife for the lower berth, as we were to cross the vindhyas, in a short time. The landscape at the Vindhyas was usual, as it was early monsoon the ambience was still a little dull, not that much greenery around. We crossed the much photographed mid ghat cabin. Spotted a BCNA rake behind ET WAG-5 23870. It was banked from behind, by a couple of BSL locos, 23276 and 23572. Does long goods trains get bankers in Vindhyas too? As we finished crossing the mountains, we crossed the bridge on Narmada. We speed past Hoshangabad, Powerkheda towards ET. As we approached ET, we were greeted by a host of electric locos waiting on the left side of the NDLS-ET track (most likely this is a sort of electric trip shed at ET). The powers that were stationed there included 21367 and 20695 (ET), 23752 (BZA), 21395 (BSL), 22030 (GZB). As we were stationed in PF No. 3, at train came in behind PUNE WDM-2 16053 from the opposite direction, and it turned out to be 1037 PUNE-PNBE Express. So, this train runs diesel hauled under wires from MMR to ET.