'Break' Journey on the KSK
by Vrijilesh Rai
Most IRFCAns must be thinking that the poster of this mail does nothing better than travel between Bangalore and Secunderabad. Well, bear on.. here's one more of those trip reports.. albeit a slightly different one.
My journey from Hyderabad to Bangalore on the 25th Nov was by private bus (S.L Travels, cost Rs 300.00) and our dear Lakshman was on hand to see me off from a spot very close to the 'soon-to-be-inaugrated' Lakdi-ka-pul MMTS station. And a few minutes after the bus departed, I got a call from Laksh who found himself at Lakdi ka pul and the info was that the station would be inaugrated on the 29th. Ah, at last.. was all I could say. (However, till the time of writing this report.. just 25 minutes left for the date to change to 30th... still no sign of the inaugration!)
Anyway, journey was good... the bus was a video coach and the latest movie to hit screens.. Veer-Zaara was being played. Yes, a pirated copy of course.. The bus was racing against the 7603 Kacheguda (KCG)-yeswantpur (YPR) exp between Umdanagar and Timmapur, whereon the train ruled. It is generally led by a Maula Ali (MLY) WDM2.
My destination in Bangalore was Pai Layout, which is between Krishnarajapuram(KJM) and Baiyappanahalli (BYPL). I got down at Hebbal, walked past the railway station only to find it deserted.. and then took a local bus to the destination. The place I was to be put up at is bang next to the BYPL-Hosur-Salem line, and as soon as I reached the spot, an early morning treat awaited me. The SBC-SA passenger, which is the latest entrant to the list of trains to be pulled by The Beast.. WDP4, screamed past led by the newest Beast, 20016! I wasn't 100% sure if it was 20006 or 16.. but the shining new paint job convinced me that it was the latter. Refreshed by the perfect start to a busy day, proceeded to work.
By late evening I had completed all my work. I had actually planned to stay over for that day and leave the next day by 7604. But then a call from HYB wanting me to be back the next day did not make things go perfectly by plan. It was 7PM and no train to SC. Had to think of going by bus. And then it rained.. well, it poured! I was stuck for almost an hour. Then my mind wandered to what threads must be active on the IRFCA mailing list.. and the KSK came to mind. Never mind getting drenched.. took a bus to YPR and reached there at about 10.15 PM. Soon my wish of travelling by the KSK would come true...
At YPR, there is no facility for issuing 'Reservation-after-charting' tickets. So had to buy a GS ticket.. of course to H. Nizammuddin (NZM)!! Cost was Rs. 318.00. The rake which had come in from NZM an hour ago was still on pf4. Sometime later, this was pushed into the yard by a KJM WDM2. A TNP WDS4B got the clean and neat rake onto the same platform then.
I had thought of upgrading my ticket to Sleeper class, but then after having a look at the GS, decided on not doing so. GS does have wooden seats, but was virtually empty. In fact, there were not more than 4 people per cubicle, making it just about 40 for the coach!! As for SL, that was half empty too. Although the AC coaches were almost full.
Soon it was 11PM and time for departure. But there was no sign of the starter turning green. It turned out that a couple for trains from SBC side were late and hence the delay. prominent was the Hampi exp, led by 20015 WDP4. 16 might have gone with the Rani Chennama exp.
At 11.45 at last, we were given the go. The KSK was on its way... Just before Yelahanka, there is a level crossing and we were made to halt befor it. Apparently, the gates were under repair (may have malfuntioned or might be getting upgraded) and the traffic was manually stopped on both sides with a STOP sign and a red flag, and then we were let go again. Just as we joined the line from Channasandra(CSDR) to Yelahanka(YNK), the Nagercoil-Mumbai exp led by an Erode (ED) WDM2 overtook us. But soon, we went past it as it had to halt at YNK. Now the run was good and it was time for me to crash. And crash I did.. till 6AM. The entire bench was there for me to stretch. This bench actually seemed larger than the berths in SL!! No one to disturb.. not even the TTE.
And after the sound sleep (getting up every couple of hours is sound for me when I'm travelling), woke up to find that we were travelling at speeds not exceeding 60kmph. Soon we reached Kurnool town(KRNT). As the sun rose, so did the acres and acres of sunflowers which lined the region right upto Gadwal and Mahbubnagar (MBNR) from KRNT. The sunflowers were interspersed with a lot of maize and also tobacco. Tobacco is grown more in the mid-coastal Andhra region (FYI, AP has a virtual monopoly of the famed Virginia Tobacco), but was also seen here. Paddy was rare and maize was also prominent.
We were still travelling at speeds of 40-50, not exceeding 60 at all. Reached Gadwal(GWD) and then MBNR on time. Since there is no commercial halt between Dronachellam(DNC) and SC, I was wondering where my breakfast would come from. The answer came at MBNr, where we were given a minute's halt, enough for the pantry walas to get into the GS with breakfast of Aloo-bondas, bread-cutlet and cheese and piping hot tea! Filled myself to last till SC.
The next stop was pretty soon at Balanagar. Guess what, this was to let the SC-KRNT Tungabhadra exp cross the KSK led by a shining MLY WDM2A.. remember that the KSK is the only daily SF train on the route. the weekly Kongu being the only other one. A container rake was lying on the side line here. No loco in sight. The halt lasted ONLY 25 minutes! A tempting plate of marvellous Idlis were drowned in a cup of tingling masala tea. Top class stuff.
The next stop again was at Shadnagar, this time to let our brother, the NZM-YPR KSK cross us. We were then given the go and again we were going at 60 regularly, and briefly the master showed us that the loco could touch 90 too. We were made to halt once befor Falaknuma(FM), once befor KCG and once after Sitafalmandi(STPD). And then we slowly approached pf 10 at SC. A few people who saw me alighting at SC were left wondering, what I was up to!!
Now for some info...
- In the KSK, GS was less than 50% full.
- There was hardly any luggage in the SLRs.
- SL was 50% full.
- AC coaches were more or less full.
- There is ample slack for the KSK between YPR-SC. It started 45 mins late, did not cross 60kmph for most parts of the journey.
- At least 80% of travellers in the GS were to get down at SC/BPL/JHS.. many going towards Mathura/Aligarh/Kanpur/Alwar.
- Only 3 people travelling in the GS coach which I was travelling in, belonged to Karnataka.
- The train can be speeded up by at least 2 hrs between YPR-SC, as it must surely be having enough slack between SC-JHS-NZM too.
- If someone can take his/her bedding along, the KSK GS can be heaven!
- 18546 KJM WDM2
- 18508 KJM WDM2
- 14028 KJM WDM3A Baldie
- 19313 TNP WDS4B
- 17751 KJM WDM2 KSK power
- 14043 GY WDM3A Baldie
- 20015 UBL WDP4
- 14042 GY WDM3A Baldie
- 17526 KJM WDM2
- 18451 ED WDM2
- 18794R GY WDM3A
- 17171 GTL WDM2
- 18646 GTL WDM2
- 17548 MLY WDM2
- 16294 KJM WDM2
- 17770 KZJ WDM2
- 20007 UBL WDP4
- 22598 LGD WAP4
- 22592 LGD WAP4
- 18886R GY WDM3A
- 18763R GY WDM3A
- 17508 KZJ WDM2 Raj special
- 20000 UBL WDP4
- 23768 BZA WAG5 with GHY-SC exp
- 14032 GY WDM3A Baldie
- 18696R VSKP WDM3A
- 22512 LGD WAP4 Raj Livery
- 18885R GTL WDM3A DMW livery.. new to GTL
- 22177 BZA WAM4