Trip to Bolpur
by Samit Roychoudhury
This morning we had to go to Shantiniketan (Bolpur) to attend the housewarming ceremony my uncle was having.
Had to take the Ganadevata Exp from HWH at 6.05. (resulting in me having to wake up the earliest i have in a year) We had reservations for 6 of us and the other four (uncle, aunt, cousin and his wife) were to board from Seoraphuli. We found out coach S1. Strangely the coach wasnt the first which makes no sense since the coach number is changed on the reverse direction (says so on the coach board)... still makes no sense as it would still not make a good order. Didnt get a chance to see the loco but it was a WDM2. The train had a solitary CC coach too.
We boarded and the train left on time. The rake was pretty clean, airbraked and had tubelights. The seating was the standard 3x3. We didnt have the tickets since uncle had booked and he was carrying them. The TTE did come checking before but he didnt ask us. There was a big rush and a lot of unreserved passengers. First stop was Seoraphuli where my relatives boarded. Next stop Bandel and then Bardhhaman.... Then it went off the main line and took the left hand line which gained height and crossed over the main line. The train stopped at Guskara and then Bolpur and finally at Prantik where we alighted. Bang on time and ride was pretty decent. The train went on to Rampurhat. Noticed at the Prantik station that it has only one platform and there are three tracks. The one furthest from the platform is least used. The centre one is in a good condition but the one next to the platform is not too good and overgrown... The lines are uneven too. This station is the end of the double line section from Khana Jn. Its all LQ territory.
Return journey as the pits. We got to the station well on time. The train pulled in and left about 6.30. It was horribly crowded and we almost couldnt get in. The crowd was way bigger since it was a weekend and also Amavashya when people go to the temple at Tarapith up the line. Anyway we had to stand the entire 3 hour trip back. Luckily dad got a place to sit. People were creating a ruckus. We had of course entered a reserved coach and we didnt have return reservations since we were told it wasnt necessary. Somehow we survived the journey back. There was no scope of railfanning at all. All i can report is the train drove well and we were in Bandel about 16 mins before time so were made to wait. Ran well till HWH but stopped twice at the outers and pulled in about 9.40. Rushed to get a cab and back home :-)
On the outward journey the Ranchi Shatabdi pulled out alongside us. Noticed the coaches were dirty looking. There ws one NR coach in it. It was stopped at Bally for no reason.
Also caught a glimpse of an unusual colour combination rake whizz past. The top was blue (dull blue) and the bottom off white. Looked interesting but couldn't spot what it was. My cousin told me it was the Intercity (presumably Rampurhat) which has (older) German coaches. Is that true? Any one know about this rake?