Konkan Railway Trip

2001-04-25

by Sagar Tipnis

I travelled on the Konkan Railway from 4 April 2001 to 7 April 2001. Sorry 'bout writing so late but I simply couldn't get any time to complie my notes and wite it earlier. This is a brief account of my travel. Since this is my first time of writing a travel account please bear with me.

Part 1: Thane to Madgaon

I decided to travel by KR5 Diwa-Sawantwadi-Madgaon passenger tosavour the journey for as long as possible. I caught the 5:28 am Karjat local from Thane to go to Diwa. At the same time a WCAM-3 headed 1024 Siddheshwar exp. was on pf. 6 of Thane stn. reached Diwa at about 5:45. The scheduled dep. timing of Madgaon pass was 6:15 and it had not arrived. While waiting at Diwa the following through trains passed on the main line.

DN direction.... WCAM-3 hauled 1067 LTT-Faizabad Saket exp, WCAM-3 hauled 1353 CSTM-Bhusaval Pass and a WCAG hauled train with just 7 luggage coaches. UP direction.... WCAM-3 hauled 1064 MAS-Dr Chennai exp and WCAM-3 hauled 2138 FZP-CSTM Punjab mail.

KR5 arrived at Diwa at 6:10 as the panvel-Diwa pass hauled by a ED WDM-2. While it was at the stn. 0103 Mandovi exp to madgaon passed followed by 1021 Indrayani exp. KR5 left Diwa 15 min. late at 6:30. It had 12 coaches and was hauled by the same loco that brought it from Panvel, however now it was short-hood leading.

The train moved at a steady clip neither too fast or slow, halting at all the stns. between Diwa and panvel but for hardly 15 seconds. It halted for 15 min. between Kalamboli and Panvel due to unavailability of pf. at PNVL as Roha-Diwa pass (KYN WDM-2 headed, 8-coaches) was there; thus reaching PNVL 1/2 hr. behind schedule.

The rest of the journey till start of KR was normal. The train halted at thr first stn of KR i.e. Kolad for 1/2 hr. to allow crossing of goods train (which had trucks directly loaded on to it).

RN-DR pass hauled by WDM-2 of Erode shed crossed us at Indapur. Mangala exp to NZM hauled by ED WDM-2 crossed us at Karanjadi. Netravati exp to LTT hauled by ED WDM-2C (short hood leading) crossed at Chiplun.

The best part of the journey is of course between Chiplun and Rajapur Rd. where tunnels and viaducts simply seem to alternate one another. The views too are breath-taking.

ED WDM-2 hauled KR6 MAO-DW pass crossed our train at Ukshi. Ukshi is a unique stn. in the sense that it is exactly between two tunnels. Also, the Ukshi tunnel is the only tunnel in KR with two tracks. Rest all tunnels are single track tunnels. TVC-NZM Rajdhani hauled by Ernakulam WDM-2B(R) crossed at Vilawade. Maintaining the tradition it too had both the generator cars of Shatabdi livery. CSTM bound Mandovi exp hauled by ED WDM-2 passed us at Rajapur Rd.

And yet unbelievably we reached Sawantwadi Rd. at right time! One strange thing.... At Anjani and Bhoke stns., our train was on the loop line on the stn. The signals were red and yet the green flag was waved and our train allowed to proceed.

Entered Goa and reached Pernem 5 min. early, but left 5 min. late. Then at Karmali we reached right time at 18:19 but halted upto 18:50 to allow the crossing of MAO-CSTM Konkankanya exp. which was 5 min. late. It was hauled by a ED WDM-2.

I could not notice the bifurcation of the line to Vasco just before Majorda Jn. as I was on the wrong side and it was too dark outside. Reached Madgaon Jn. right time at 19:28.

Part 2: Madgaon to Mangalore

As recounted in the earlier report, I reached MAO rt. time at 19:28 by the DW-MAO passenger. Our train arrived on pf. 3 while the Madgaon - Karwar DEMU (3-coach train) was standing on pf. 2 to provide a connection for the KWR bound passengers.

I had booked a ticket by 2619 Matsyagandha Exp. from MAO to MAQ and the train was due at 00:40. So I decided to spend the time on MAO stn. itself. The stn. is fairly new and has almost all the amenities one could need.

Luckily for me, I had arrived just when the train traffic through MAO is fairly heavy. 2620 Matsyagandha Exp. bound for LTT soon arrived at 20:15 on pf. 1. It was a 15 coach train hauled by an ED WDM2 and it left at 20:30. Then 2618 Mangala Exp to Ernakulam arrived at 21:15 (scheduled 20:40) and left at 21:30 - 18 coach train hauled by ED WDM2. 6345 Netravati Exp. with 21 coaches (longest train on KR) bound for Trivendrum arrived rt. time at 22:40 with an ED WDM2A in charge. It left 10 in. late at 23:00.

Then it was a fairly long wait for my train. In between, a pair of ED WDM2 locos shunted in and out from pf. 2. Matsyagandha Exp. (2619) came in 15 min. late at 00:55 hauled by another ED WDM2, short hood leading. It was a 15 coach train (1-2A, 1-3A, 9-SL, 2-GS, 2-SLR). My berth was in S-4 and it was the upper berth, so no chance of looking out of the window. Anyway, I was too tired and dropped off to sleep as soon as the train left MAO.

Woke up directly at 6:00. Found that more than half the coach was empty (must've been the coach where quotas for intermediate stns. are alloted). The train reached Kankanadi at 6:10 where it made an unscheduled halt for about 2 min. Reached MAQ at 6:30 ; 15 min. late on pf. 3. Met my brother who had come by the same train directly from LTT. He was in coach S-1. MAQ-MAO pass. was on pf. 2 ready to leave for MAO at 7:10. Even before we could move out of the stn. bldg. West Coast Exp. from Madras arrived on pf. 1 with a ED WDM2 in charge.

Part 3 : Mangalore to Madgaon

I had as yet not covered the MAQ-MAO stretch of KR during daylight and so decided to take the MAQ-MAO passenger. Now I also had my brother for company for the rest of the trip. This was an added advantage since he may not be as train crazy as me but he is a definite fan of railway tunnels and bridges. (Infact he had made a note of the exact position of tunnels on KR, the time at which 2619 had passed them as well as the time taken by 2619 to cover some of the longer tunnels -- The longest tunnel, Karbude, 6.589 km. was traversed by the train in 5 min. 34 seconds).

The MAQ-MAO passenger which earlier was numbered as KR1/2 has now been renumbered as 593/594. Reached MAQ stn. at 6:15. The train was not scheduled to leave before 7:10 but had already arrived on the pf. 2. It was a 10 coach train in typical KR livery of blue with red bands just above and below the windows. The ED WDM2 which was supposed to haul the train had also been already connected with the long hood leading.

While we were in the train, the West Coast Exp arrived from Madras with an ED WDM2A in charge on pf. 3 at 6:25. The 2619 Matsyagandha Exp from Mumbai (LTT) was late and arrived on pf. 1 hauled by WDM2 of Erode shed. Incidentally this was the same rake as the one I saw at MAO going towards LTT. Saw a KJM WDM2 loco shunting at MAQ. Surprisingly, instead of the usual navy blue-light blue livery of KJM shed, this loco had the same livery as ED loco (red-white-bluish gray). Have a feeling that the loco might have belonged to ED shed and must have been transferred to KJM shed.

The pass. left 10 min. late at 7:20. Kankanadi was the first halt at 7:35. Entered the first tunnel just after Kankanadi at 7:43. Howeer this is not a KR tunnel since KR territory begins from Thokur. Just before Thokur, a line branched off to the east. Must have been the Mangalore-Hassan line. Thokur arrived at 7:55. Now we were in KR territory.

At Mulki we halted for half an hour from 8:16 to 8:46 to allow TVC-HNZM Rajdhani to overtake. This time the Rajdhani was hauled by a same liveried Ernakulam WDM 2B. The generator car next to the loco was however of the Shatabdi livery.

At Padubidri stn. I noticed that someone had put black crosses on the station name boards and painted Paniyavur over it. Is there some kind of name dispute??

Byndoor tunnel which is the first on KR from MAQ-side was passed at 10:34. The train kept up a steady pace throughout and the Sharavati bridge which is the longest on KR was crossed at 11:35.

We reached Madgaon at 14:15 (25 min. late) on pf. 1 and since the same passenger returns almost immediately, there was a huge rush of boarding passengers who didn't even allow us to alight properly (was thoroughly reminded of the Mumbai local trains at peak hours !!).

We had our lunch at the Madgaon railway restaurant before venturing out to locate any suitable staying premises. The fare at this restaurant, esp. the non-veg. section is quite good. Even before we had finished our meal, the passenger moved off again back to Mangalore. By the time we had finished off our meal, the Goa Express bound for HNZM arrived on pf. 3 with a Gooty WDM2 (blue and orange livery), short hood leading.

Part 4: Madgaon to Thane

My brother and I reached Madgaon stn. at 11:00 to catch the 0104 Mandovi Express. Just saw the departing ERN-Rajkot Exp. hauled by ERN WDM 2 (don't know whether 2, 2A, or 2B; definitely not 2C). The rake of KonkanKanya Exp from CSTM was on pf. 1.

0104 Up Mandovi Exp. was already on pf. 2 (2-ACC, 5- Reserved SC, 1-PC, 3-GS, 2-SLR = 13 coaches). Our seats were in SC2 which was 4th from the engine. At exactly 12:30 the train pulled out of Madgaon with an ED WDM2, short hood leading. Noticed the now-abandoned Madgaon MG rly. stn. which I had failed to notice during my journey from DW to MAO. After Majorda Jn. a line went to the west towards Vasco.

The first stn. in Maharashtra -- Sawantwadi Road arrived at 14:00. We crossed the 0103 Mandovi Exp. towards MAO at Sindhudurg. Then at Vilawade, the DW-MAO passenger with a double-headed ED WDM-2 was crossed. My brother decided to time our train through the Berdewadi tunnel. Amazingly, our train crossed the 4 km. long tunnel in just 2 min. 33 sec. thus averaging 94 kmph. (Didn't seem it was going that fast).

Just before Ratnagiri, there is a tunnel which the KR authorities have seemed to leave out while numbering. My brother, who I earlier had said was a tunnel-freak, had been carefully noting down the tunnel nos. and found that there is an extra tunnel between T-37 and T-38. I would be glad if anyone of you has also noticed the same.

We arrived at Ratnagiri at 16:47 and left at 16:55. In the station yard there was a strange vehicle on the rails. It was a diesel firefighting loco. It seemed to be self propelled and had a drivers cab in the middle while on both the ends there were fire tenders; it was a single unit. (Had noticed it during my trip towards MAO but forgot to mention it in my report). This is the first time I've seen such a vehicle on IR and I would like more info on it.

The train was indeed going at quite some pace. The longest rail tunnel in the country, Karbude (6.589 km) was passed in a mere 4 minutes with an avg. speed of almost 99 kmph. (Infact the train slowed down halfway through the tunnel). The ballastless tracks inside some of these longer tunnels make the ride much smoother though the noise or echoes of the train is much louder than in the normal tunnels. Also most of these long tunnels are ventilated, and you can actually feel fresh air inide the tunnel which otherwise might hve filled up with diesel smoke.

The train halted at Ukshi at 17:22 to allow the ERN-bound Mangala express (with ED WDM2) to cross in the opposite direction. We crossed the 6345 Netravati going towards TVC at Sangameshwar Rd. at 17:40. We halted at Chiplun at 18:14. Then crossed the 2619 MAQ-bound Matsyagandha express at Diwankhawati at 19:05. It was now almost dark and one could hardly see anything outside. After we had crossed the Natuwadi tunnel, the second longest on KR at 4.389 km, (albeit at a slow speed) there was a sweet smell of rain having just fallen (in the month of April??). The last tunnel on KR from the MAQ-side or the first tunnel on KR from the Mumbai-side is Dasgaon (0.3 km) and our train crossed it at 19:30.

The train arrived exactly on time at Panvel at 21:15 and left on dot at 21:25. We were at the outer signal of Diwa Jn. at 21:55 and it seemed that we would be reaching Thane before time !! But alas, it was not to be, as we were halted at Diwa stn. upto 22:15 to allow the NED-CSTM Tapovan Exp and a fast local train to pass first. Finally we reached Thane at 22:25 (well, only 5 min. late).

Thus, came to an end one of the best journeys I ever had on IR. Hope to continue these journeys and continue to write down such travelogues.

Material provided by Sagar Tipnis, Copyright © 2003.
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