by Vrijilesh Rai
Trips which happen at short notices do not generally have much in store for we railfans, but this one of mine had a few interesting moments. Here's an effort to put some forward.
I was intimated of some work at Bangalore on the Tuesday evening, and the first thing I did was to logon to the irctc website and check the ticket availability by 7685. And yes, as soon as 'Available' flashed on screen, I was Go to the Begumpet reservation centre at the RS. Booking done at the almost empty counter, oogled at an MMTS local going towards LPI.
The next day, 28th july, saw me at SC by about 6PM, and as I reached the PF8 on which my train was stationed, it started raining.. eh.. pouring would be a better word, and pour it did. It did so till we left SC at 6.40PM. The rain prevented me from even checking out the loco I was being led by. My railfanning gone for a Sehwag sixer, or so I thought.
- 15067 BZA WDP1 GOC livery
- 18769R GY WDM3A
The journey was uneventful with hardly any crossings and so, till we saw day-break, railfanning was a big zero. I tried hard to ignore the noisy Pantrywalas screaming at peak volume right from 5AM, but at 6AM, had to give in. I trundled to the doorway, and found myself staring at the well known location of CSDR bypass, with a bunch of health conscious elders and occaional youngsters engaged in drills by the track. We were stationed there for the better part of 20 minutes. I could see a KJM diesel led express move from BYPL towards KJM. The wait over, we were given the Caution signal and we proceeded towards BYPL. Happy memories of the BYPL ramp, and the Tamarind Tree were flashed in my mind. And I couldn't help remembering the Arnab-Ranganath-Raging Bull incident!!!
As we reached the station on the main line, the Sangamitra exp was at the loop line led by a KJM WDM2. We were again made to halt but that did not disappoint me. The CBE intercity passed us led by an ED WDM2. The surprise was on the other platform loop line though. A KJM WDM3D 11102, live and Mued to a PA WDG3a. The loco looks 'not so good' in its blue-white-blue livery with the standard red cow-catcher from the face, but the profile looks decent. And then we proceeded towards SBC. Just before BNCE we slowed down to let a ED WAP4 led Lalbagh bullet past us. We halted at BNCE and BNC and then slowed down again just before SBC to be late by 10minutes when we eventually landed on PF2 at 7.25AM. So much for the timing. Reach Yelahanka before 6AM, and take one-and-a-half hours to pull into SBC. Something needs to be done about this. It has become a regular affair. All this while, a couple of co-passengers were disgruntled by the same, and I was 'pacifying' them. So much that I forgot to see the loco number which had led us.
- 17471 KJM WDM2 Sangamitra exp
- 18418 ED WDM2A CBE Intercity
- 11102 KJM WDM3D
- 14818 PA WDG3A
- 14042 GY WDM2
That was the SC-SBC journey. I was put up at a friend's place close to SBC, and an hours free time in the afternoon was enough to lead me to the station. Went around the station and saw the regular locos doing the rounds, including the Shree 420, as I call the puny little 19420 WDS4B. The 20011 Baaz was at the sidelines, and as it was a Raj day, the 16501 KZJ Raj special was there too. The Raj was a dirty rake, and had one Shat livery and one Raj livery EOGs.
Then came the 36243 WDS6 which smoked like I have never seen before while shunting the Karnataka rake onto pf1. This was topped off by the ET twins stationed nearby.
The big surprise was when 2 WAM4s were brouht onto the PF5 line from the trip shed. The first was an AJJ regular in Raj livery. I expected the second to be an AJJ too, but was bowled to see it was an ET WAM4! Yes, ET, Itarsi, as itwas proudly written on the same. Prominent markings of "Air Brake" in English and Hindi were also present. Soon the 2008 MYS-MAS shatabdi came in led by a WDP4 20002, which was packed off to take the 7686 away. The ET WAM4 was brought in to take the Shatabdi. Now thats one new loco link. Don't know how the ET reached MAS, but it must have been free and SR decided to use it on the 2007/8.
3 ET locos beside each other at SBC are the rarest sight. How bad, no cam to capture them.
Another interesting thing happened immediately after. The 20002 was being shunted to PF2 to take the 7686. But somehow, it was put onto the line for pf3! the Loco Pilot started screaming the hell out of the DP4 at that. I was getting late for some more work, and so bade good-bye to SBC. Went up to the reservation complex to find no tkts for 7686, so took the 7604 readily for its last-but-one extended run.
- 18770 ET WDM2A
- 17802R ET WDM3A DMW/ED livery Horribly dirty.
- 16585 KJM WDM2
- 14026 KJM WDM3A Baldie
- 17137 GTL WDM2
- 16501 KZJ WDM2
- 20011 UBL WDP4 Baaz
- 17176 KJM WDM2A
- 21363 AJJ WAM4 6PE Raj Livery
- 20411 ET WAM4 Raj Livery.
- 19420 TNP/BNC WDS4B
- 36243 KJM WDS6
- 18561 ED WDM2
- 17109 KJM WDM2
- 20002 UBL WDP4
Now for the last leg of the trip. Reached YPR at 2PM, an hour before departure, as I had nothing much to after lunch. Checked out the MLY which was to lead us, a couple of KJMs and a GY 3A Baldie doing shunting jobs. The UBL-SBC intercity had just passed as I had entered the station, but it returned with the 20012 Baaz. A loaded BCNA freight led by two MUed GTL beauties came in and these reversed and probably went towards BYPL. It was 3PM and at the stroke of the hour, our Chief, who was another 'chain-smoker' led us out. Reached YNK in no time and had to wait there for sometime before we smoked out again. The run upto Dodballapur was fast and uneventful.
Now came the best part of the route. The Makalidurg section. It had become cold and overcast by then, and just as we crossed Oddarahalli, it started raining. There was dense mist and the scenery was fantastic. I felt as if I was doing the NMR! Makalidurg was passed in rain slowly, the chief smoking at will and whetting my appetite. It rained hard continuously till we crossed Thondebhavi, and then it settled down. Man, I thoroughtly enjoyed the scene. Overcast skies, rain, Makalidurg, and a smoking WDM2 make a wonderful combination indeed.
Journey was dull and slow till SSPN and we reached there half an hour late. There we were crossed by a superfast freight led by twin KZJs (or so I thought, couldn't see the markings, KZJ livery). Now why does a freight need to do the SSPN route when it can do the direct one between PKD and DMM? Stumped me, as there was no crossing scheduled too.
DMM was reached at 7PM and my tummy got to feel some tasty Poori-bhaji. Just before Kalluru, we were crossed by an MG passenger led by a GTL YDM4, 6372 (?). Just before GY, two expresses were seen, one towards GY and the other towards RU on the GY-RU track. GY was pretty dull, only a WDG4 12004 was seen, but the GY-GTL section saw three WDG4 led freights. GTL too was dull,and as the train was late by half an hour, the halt was reduced to 15 minutes incluing the reversal. We negotiated the fantastic U-turn curve enroute to DNC and the scenery past GTL was stark blank, desert like. At DNC, the 7685 led by a WDP4 passed us, and after that, I was asleep, and woke up to find myself at Umdanagar. Reached KCG at 4.40AM, 20 minuted ahead of schedule, a testimony to the copious slack time the train has. Was still sleepy, and hitched an auto-rickshaw back home.
- 18974 MLY WDM2
- 17589 KJM WDM2A
- 14021 GY WDM3A
- 17176 KJM WDM2
- 17930 KJM WDM2
- 16336 GTL WDM2A
- 17944 GTL WDM2A
- 20012 UBL WDP4 Baaz
- 16201 GTL WDM2
- 14818 PA WDG3A
- 13051 PA WDG3A Shakti
- 16200 GTL WDM2 Beauty Queen, with GTL-HUP pass
- 18694 KZJ WD?
- 12004 UBL WDG4
- 12048 UBL WDG4
- The SC-SBC exp is still referred to by 7685/6 number in the PRS as well as the announcements, but the boards on the train are labelled 7085/6. Confusion for the uninitiated!
- Haven't seen an SCR coach which is past-2002. SWR gets the best coaches, many trains including the Tippu exp, even the ASK passenger get 04xxx coaches, not to mention the KSKs, KK, etc. Is it the same with other new zones too??
- My coach on 7604 was 90216AB, was marked SCR, but had Base at KOP!!! No markings about POH, etc... Interesting!
- SWR has probably started the SC policy of using any available loco for shunting. Saw a GY 3A doing so at YPR and a GTL and a ED WDM2 at SBC shunting.