Pulgaon-Arvi NG trip
by Vikas Singh
Pulgaon is around 110 kms from Nagpur on the Nagpur-Bombay BG line. Reached Pulgaon by cab at 0715 hrs. The 643 passenger leaves Pulgaon at 0845 hrs. Since there was ample time, I decided to look around the station. The NG section is on far end of the station. A foot over bridge connects this part with BG platforms1 and 2. The NG section has no raised platform nor does it have any covered area. 2 ZPs were spotted at one end 2ZP (4-6-2) and 3ZP (4-6-2). Though the engines have been kept "reserved" as per Railway board orders, they are in terrible shape. Most of the fittings have been taken away. The builder plates were missing. The two desperately need a fresh coat of paint. The diesel loco shed was located at other extreme. Two ZDM 4 are based out of this shed. No 214 and 199. The Pulgaon-Arvi stretch was dieselised sometime in 1997. The POH for the two locos is done at Kurudwadi. I failed to understand why the POH couldn't be done at the nearby Motibagh shed. Perhaps it has got to do with the bizarre zonal allocations. The Pulgaon -Arvi stretch falls in CR while the Motibagh shed is in SECR. A third steam loco 5ZP (4-6-2) was spotted inside the shed. The loco has been condemned and is likely to be sold off as scrap
The three-coach rake was at the station. Two coaches were of 1987 and 1988 make manufactured at Mysore. M/S K.T steel Industries Pvt.Ltd had manufactured the third coach in 1961.ZDM 214 was soon attached to the rake and the train started on time. Many people working in Arvi use this train to commute daily. There is no service on Sunday. Compared to bus fare of Rs.21, the train fare is only Rs.9. Though the road runs parallel to the rail and bus services are frequent, the train seems to be well patronized by locals. There are 8 stations on this 35 km stretch. No station has any staff. Save the customary board with station's name, there are no permanent structures at any station. The guard sells tickets from his coach. I could see that most people purchased tickets.
CR works the Pulgaon-Arvi stretch under agreement of IR with The Central Provinces Railways Company limited. Contrary to popular perception, this is not a British company registered in London but an Indian company registered in India. As per the agreement IR retains 45% of gross earnings and 55% goes to company. Further central government has option, recurring at intervals of every 10 years to purchase the lines. The current agreement lapses in 2006.
The track is in excellent condition. Save two bridges where cautioned speed was 10kmph, we averaged 25-30 kmph. We reached Arvi 10 minutes before time at 1005 hrs. Arvi station has a stationmaster and a points man. The old water column and washing pit can still be seen there. Remains of the old godown can still be seen. Arvi was once an important goods yard. An old man at nearby tea stall told me that 6-8 wagons used to be loaded everyday from Arvi. Now the road had taken over.
The loco was reversed and we started back at 1040 hrs. The train was less crowded now. We reached Arvi at 1205 hrs