SBC - MAS by Lalbagh
This is the first trip report which I am filing in this forum. After putting up a lot of controversial posts it gives me immense pleasure to put up my first trip report. Like all good Dronacharyas I expect all of you'll to correct me if I have made any mistakes.
When I had planned my visit to Chennai from Bangalore I decided I will do it by train. It was an official visit, so I had asked my office folks to book me in Lalbagh and the return by Cauvery. This will give me the entire morning to observe and make my trip more memorable.
The Bangalore gang might be aware that there is a caution at BNCE due to the under bridge work which is happening there. With my house just beside BNCE I thought for a moment I will board Lalbagh from Bangalore East (trains during their journeys from Bangalore do not stop here while coming to Bangalore all express trains stop here not the super fast trains). After deciding against it I still landed up at BNCE at 6.15 in the morning only to catch the MAS - MYS Cauvery Express to the cantontment station. The 21 coach Cauvery Express was being hauled by an Erode WAP 4 22281. With no caution and clear signals the train reached Cantontment in about 5 minutes. What an easy way to go to Cant. (hell with the auto drivers). The sleeper class coach in which I went was a 1995 ICF one.
After reaching Cant just in time to see the Coimbatore intercity charging into the station from City with a Erode WDM2 18561 in lead. Standing between the two trains I waited till the 17 coach intercity cross by. This is the rake which is shared with Kovai. As I stood there watching I found that the CC coach was 1980 built (pretty old). Pity the passengers who would be traveling by that coach. While the intercity was waiting I crossed over the tracks to platform 2 to find out where will my CC2 in lalbagh come. Not bad 5th coach from engine.
Slowly the intercity started pulling out of Cant station only to stop near the cabin for a couple of minutes (not sure what the reason was). While I was trying to figure out what could be the reason for the stoppage the announcement for Lalbagh's arrival was made in the PAS. In came the Lalbagh with a 22584 ED WAP4. As I tried boarding into the train noticed that the Tuticorin - Bangalore Express was coming into the station with a ED WAP4 in charge (22258 was the no. I think but not sure). After a fairly long wait (courtesy the intercity's stop at the cabin) we embarked on our jouney. Cruising till BNCE where it had to stop for the caution. As I tried to see whether my wife was waiting outside my house to wave a TATA to me I saw the Kacheguda Express come in with my dream queen WDP 4 in charge (what a sight to see WDP4 from the front) courtesy Kacheguda express I could not see her nor my wife could see me. After a minute the train left BNCE to pick up speed straight away. Clipping at a fair pace with not much of caution and slow down except for the one near Channasandra Bypass we crossed KR Puram and were on our way to Bangarpet.
I decided to go through my other favourite "The Hindu" for some time before I move to the door. Sitting in the plush AC comfort (really cold mine was a '92 built coach, surprisingly the other CC was 1980 built). While I was going through the paper after KR Puram could see a light WDM pass us at good speed. After spending about 20 minutes I decided to shift myself to my favorite spot in a train, leaning out from the door. As we neared Bangarpet I saw Marikuppam passenger being hauled by a ED WDM2A towards Bangalore (this is one train which seem to run on schedule almost daily). Soon after I saw a WAM46P coming in the other direction, while I was wondering what it could be, realized as it passed me that it was the late running Tirupati - Mysore Fast Pasenger.
As we got into Bangarpet I caught a glimpse of the Railbus which runs between Kolar and Bangarpet, really a cute one. But the one which caught my attention was another cute one, one which moves on legs not on wheels, a well built Doberman being kept on leash by a police man in mufti (how would it be if I had it? Hmmmmmmmm sigh.. )
After leaving Bangarpet the train started to move at a reasonable pace. For those who may not remember Bangarpet - Kuppam is still a single line section (work is on at a furious pace I must admit). I decided to get into the coach again as the Masala Dosa brought by the Pantry attendant was too tempting. While I was enjoying my masala dosa the train was slowing down. Knowing very well that it could be a crossing as Bangarpet - Kuppam is a single line I gobbled what ever was left in my plate and rushed out. The train was standing in "Bisinattam" which is just before AP border with Karnataka. While I stayed out enjoying the journey I started to get on with my games which I used to always play whenever I used take a superfast express, calculating the train speed. Using my stop watch the crude calculation gave me a speed of about 92kmph… not bad. The train was moving at a fast clip and reached Kuppam in no time. After a short stop the WAP 4 started to show its true colours between Kuppam and JTJ with speeds touching 100kmph well and truly.
Still enjoying the ride I started realizing that there is a pretty long stretch where the up and down lines to run side by side in the mini ghat section between Kuppam and JTJ almost 8 km distance where both were on their own. After some cautioned run in the ghat section the train started to slowly pull into the MAS division just ouside JTJ station. As the train was pulling in I saw a BOXN rake with a "Ajni WAG 7" waiting for clearance while we were pulling ahead of the goods rake I could see the Bokaro Alleppey moving towards Salem on the next track being hauled by a AJJ WAM4 (could not notice the road number). Surprise - on the other side of our train I could see a double headed AJJ WAG5 (one was 23433 other could not notice) pulling into JTJ along side us. What a sight two passengers crossing each other with one goods moving while the other waiting for clearance. If this was not enough another goods rake with a Itarsi WAG7 27435 was waiting to move out of JTJ towards Salem.
We pulled into JTJ and after a very brief halt pulled out towards Katpadi, while I was wondering what has happened to the Chennai - Mysore Shatabdi there it came hauled by AJJ WAP4 6P 20505. After calling it quits for the time being I headed back to my seat not only because I had a long day ahead but the temperature was getting hotter to prove that we are now in Tamil Nadu. As I was flipping through the Hindu I could see Kovai speeding past us in the opposite direction. After some good run we stopped at Ambur. I took the opportunity to get to the door again as I love seeing the level crossing at Pachakuppam on the NH with the hillock just abutting it. While I as enjoying the scene a 23602 BZA WAM 4 sped past us with what I assume must have been the Sabhari Express.
Then I went back to my seat to catch up with some sleep before the train reaches Chennai. After a good sleep I woke up just in time for AJJ. While the train was at Arakkonam saw the Chennai Dadar express cross Arakkonam towards Renigunta (surprising to see it go so late any one has any idea why). Since the temperature was too hot I decided not to stand at the door. But it did not stop me from seeing some action. While we were crawling near Avadi saw a WDP 2 15302 of GOC over take us on the other line towards MAS only to see it back again after Ambattur when we over took it.
After a slow run between AJJ and MAS we crawled into MAS 15 minutes late not before I saw lot of WAP4's and a BZA WAM 4 at the Electric Loco Shed.