Delhi Trip Report
by S Kandan
On 28th Dec last year, I was asked to proceed to delhi urgently. Since I had to take my assistants too, who were not entitled to fly, we were asked to go by rajdhani at the earliest. We got confirmed tickets in AugustKranti on 31st Dec. At heart, I was very happy because I was travelling in Rajdhani after a very long time. However, I was furious that I had to go on 31st that too on a year end of all days. On 31st, we reached BCT at 5 p.m.. 2953 was already there at the platform with composition gc-h1-pc2-a5-a4-a3-a2-a1-as9-as8- as7-pc1-as6-as5-as4-as3-as2-as1-gc.The last generator car was in the shatabdi livery. Just when I was to go & see the engine no & make, a bunch of clowns from my office came with a big bundle of diaries & calendars to be distributed to sarkari babus in Delhi. My avoiding the establishment section in our office earlier that day was of no avail. The TC suddenly appeared from no where & demanded that we book this bundles in the parcel van. Since three people were travelling with minimum luggage, we told that these becomes part of our luggage. The Tc gave some dirty looks. Probably we had mashed up his new year eve. We were also not happy tagging along this bundle, but to our surprise a5 was virtually empty. A 50 rupee note to the attendant did the trick. In the midst of all this, the train departed and my dreams of seeing the engine went for a big six.
The service in the AKRajdhani has improved tremendously.So also the quality of food. I wanted to see the engine change at Vadodara. But thanks to my child who had kept me awake for the last three days, I was flat at Surat.Next day morning in the new year, around 6.45, when I woke up, the train was standing somewhere. I came to check the situation and opened the door. The full blast of the early morning chill and fog hit me and literally had my body freezing. There was thick fog everywhere. Somebody with a walkie talkie was rushing around frantically. On asking him what happened, came the reply "Power fail ho gaya". Then it struck me, that power means engine and not OHP. After nearly 1 1/2 hrs, the train started apparently with a new engine. In the meantime, I saw the kota janshatabdi overtaking us in the fog. The net result was our reaching NZM 2 hrs late. Surprise of surprise, was that the coach attendant telling that engine me kuch kharabi tha, sawai madhopur se koi aake teek kar daya. Isiliye gadi 2 ghante late hai. The engine was a WAP4 of BRC. Between mathura & faridabad, I could see a lot of trains flying by. the last train was the toofan express. As soon as we got down at NZM, my energy was more in spotting our office car and haul our luggage, than do rail bird watching.
On 2nd, me and my team decided to close shop at 6 p.m. and go to kashmiri gate to see the metro. Going from Connaught to Kashmiri gate by delhi buses in peak hours can be made into another AXN episode of who dare wins. Anyhow when we reached kashmiri gate, we were greeted by a huge concrete overhead structure and a long queue. There was just one person issuing tickets. The funny thing is that you do not get return journey tickets.Anyhow, after half an hour wait, we went up the escalator with a lalooland group for company.Apparently the distinguished gentleman before us forgot to take his shoes at the end and he almost tripped. Somehow we maintained our balance and came out reciting their ancestories in chaste tamil.
DELHI METRO: Kashmiri gate has four platforms on an elevated structure. 1&2 are to serve the real underground metro from Civil lines to Secretariat via CP.Platforms 3&4 are exactly above 1&2 are they are serving the overhead section from Shahdara to Barwala.The line ends currently at Tis Hazari. Probably this station will now enter IRFCA's record as the only elevated station with double storied platforms, serving two different sections. The platforms are now kept very clean and there is strict surveillance by security above. Penalties are also being levied for nuisance, littering etc. The funny thing is that as soon a train comes and the passengers get down, the security see to it that the platform becomes empty. The korean rakes are superb, fully airconditioned and vestibuled and sleek in stainless steel and acrylic. The trip to shahdara had three stations, shastri park, welcome(it is a name of the station- this can also enter IRFCA's records as unique named station) and shahdara.Shastri park has the sheds for maintainence. The line terminates at Shahdara, which is just a few feet away from the rly track at Delhi shahdara.A new bridge over yamuna has also been built and one has to peer into the darkness to see that we are crossing the water.
VIEWS: Vaibhav & Co nay not like this, but strictly this Delhi Metro is not a metro. The stretch that has been opened runs entirly elevated from shadara to barwala. The traction is 25KV AC and the gauge BG. This is akin to the Chennai MRTS from mylapore to beach station. We had the technology and the equipment. Like KRC which went public to raise funds on a govt guarantee, DMRC could have also done the same. Foreign money comes at a tag, which one later realises. Anyhow, what harm would have come if our own EMU's plied between shahdara and barwala. Probably had the tracks been extended right upto the main shahdara station, ghaziabad locals could have gone right upto barwala. I have one more question. The Korean rakes have their pantographs above when plying this section. Will the same rakes ply the underground section also or new rakes be introduced? I personally do not think that this is possible, because in case of underground metro, the traction has to come from below. Can somebody clarify this.
TAILPIECE: The Metro is really now a prized asset of Delhi's skyline. One only wishes that people of Delhi maintian the same with pride like Calcuttans.
New delhi station visit: On saturday, my assistants promptly vanished in the afternoon leaving me alone for the evening. So I went to New Delhi railway station. I was in for a bumper bonanza, The fog had screwed up the schedules of almost all trains and lots of trains were rescheduled. Platforms 7-12 were packed with people. I saw the incoming Vaishali express, Gomti express and the outgoing sampoorna kranti exp, shivganga exp, north east express, magadh exp, the two rajdhanis to hwh and sealdah and the good old GT.A chick and her old mom(or granny) came frantically to catch the GT, just when it was leaving. The chick was imploring the Gods to help her in reaching Chennai.The porter offered to put them up in the andaman express after making this comment"probably you may reach after tommorows GT arrives at Chenai". God knows what happened to them. But I found some 8-9 parcel vans attached (with or without the chick and mom) to the andaman exp later.
The shivganaga & samporna kranti express are just running empty both 18 caoches). It is time that somebody object to reckless introducion of trains, without bothering to make a traffic analysis. After having a cup of tomato soup in the bitterly cold weather, I headed for my hotel.
NRM: Next day being sunday, I headed straight for the National Rail Musuem. After seeing all these things in our site, the happiness of seeing these objects in real is simply stupendous. As clint eastwood remarked " Make my day", that day was simply paisa vasool. One sees a lot of erstwhile NWR rolling stock in the site, I am constrained to say that the pakistanis got the best of everything at time of partition (including the magnificent beasts XG & HG), but they screwed up their own scene. Can somebody tell me what was the power of the XG and what capacity it could take in those days. From NRM, I came to National musuem which was closed temporarily because of some sarkari function.Then on to India gate & to the Zoo. I thought that discretion is better than valour. Rather than the four legged creatures getting exicited in seeing a two legged creature with a monkey cap and a railway orientation, it is better to buzz off. A bus promptly took me to Old Delhi main.
OLD DELHI: Even God will lose his direction if he comes to Old delhi. What chaos and what crowd. As ususal fogs had upset the train schedules. The platform sequence in Delhi main is a bit of miracle and some theory has to be devised to decipher the same. To add to this, a new platform 1A has also been built. I saw the sapta kranti express with a near empty AC ist class coach set to depart.Then in one of the scenes that will do Arnold Schwarzengger proud, an old lady was lifted bodily and tossed into an unresrved coach, then two huge gunnybags tossed over and finally the man made a perfect dive into the train, all in a minute. The Indian cricket team can literally get lessons in fielding if they try to enter an unreserved coach at Delhi main.The trains going to the North East have the worst rakes(Assam awadh exp, NE exp). Probably they are not claened at all, because they are perpetually late. Then I came over to the new section (previously MG) and found the Mandore exp. Then back to hotel. My rendezvous with all the trains left me witha severe cold and I was totally exhausted when I took the AK raj on 6th from NZM. I only noted the engine WAP4 from BRC no 22048. It started late from NZM and reached BCT late the next day.