IRFCA Mailing List Archive

Messages 201 - 220

From: RAO <

Subject: Intro

Date: 04 Apr 1990 13:14:00 -0500

Hello members,
Let me introduce myself to the club.

NAME: Mulpuri, Pitcheswara Rao ( Called Rao though it is my middle name )
AGE : 21.
AT: Boston University - M.S. Manufacturing Engineering
QUAL: B.E. - Mechanical - Manipal Institute of Technology
NATIVE: Vijayawada - A.P.

Well, let me tell you a little bit about my train experiences.
Train used to be the best way to get to Manipal and back for me.
It used to take 26 hours to get to Mangalore and an hour's drive from there.
When I was in my first year, it was JJ that used to take us there.
It was renamed as Mangala Express later.
Later during my study there, Mangala was cancelled and we had to go by
KK upto Shoranur and take the link from there.
The journey from Shoranur to Mangalore used to be great.
It is a single lane. It used to be afternoon by the time we start from
Shoranur and by 7 we used to reach Mangalore.
Beleive me, the countryside in Kerala is just fantastic atleast in that part
of Kerala that I know.
One thing you find a little funny is that you see that paddy being at all stagesIn one farm they will be cutting and right next to it you find some one plantingand the next one just about half the height.
There is a tunnel that we used to get into some time around 5:30, just before
the lights in the train go on. It was for around 2 mins. Since we generally
used to travel in groups, we all used to aim someone and tease him in the dark.
That used to be a lot of fun.
On the way back home most of the time it used to be Westcoat Express because
the timings were convenient.

My best journey probably is from Mangalore to Bangalore.
Myself and my cousin travelled on train though bus was more convenient
( 17 hours by train against 8 hrs. by bus )
It's a meter gauge train.
I think going by train in the ghats is a lot of fun.
There were roughly 60 tunnels.
There were times when the speed was so low, people got off the train
and started walking. We could touch the clouds .
Some times it is a little scary too with a steep hill on one side and
a deep vally on the other and this little train in the middle.
It was good at that time because it used to start roughly around noon time
and reach there by next day early in the morning.
The journey beyond Hassan isn't all that exciting.
The timings have been changed and You pass all the fun places in the night.
I think I bored you guys enough for the first time I came on this.

I appreciate any comments on this.
My e- mail address:

- Rao.

From: Manish Malhotra <

Subject: Re: Chumma ?????

Date: 04 Apr 1990 14:20:00 -0500

Let me guess.

JJ -> Jayanti Janata

KK -> Karnataka exp.

What do you think of the question now ?

:- Manish

From: Mukunda Kantamneni <

Subject: Re: Chumma!

Date: 04 Apr 1990 12:30:00 -0500

JJ: Jayanthi Janatha
KK: Karnataka/Kerala

Will post a followup for M. P. Rao's article in a day!


From: Vijay Balasubramanian <

Subject: Trains in films!

Date: 04 Apr 1990 13:08:00 -0500

Hi Folks,

I seem to recall a La Sholay train scene from the film, The Professionals,
in which Lee Marvin, Burt Lancaster and Co. are in the act of rescuing a damsel
in distress from the clutches of crazed bandits.

How about compiling a list of Hindi films depicting scenes from Indian
Railways? Two that immediately come to my mind are:

1. Coolie:- Shot in Bangalore(?). One can spot the Brindavan Exp. and
Karnataka exp. rakes.

2. The Burning Train:- Used the nine "Old" Delhi-Bombay Rajdhani Exp. rakes.
Incidently, I remember having read that B.R. Films was
sued by Indian Railways for having destroyed two precious rakes in the movie;
this is kinda funny because I was under the impression that these disaster
scenes were usually performed on prototype models.

This film had a number of major flaws (not surprising). Some of them had
been pointed in some film magazine at that time:
1) Mr. Villian blocks the locomotive hosepipe at Mathura. Such an act would
prevent the creaton of vacuum, forcing the brakes to be clamped on. But
wonders of wonders, the train moves ahead.......
2) The train is shown speeding into the night with the locomotive lights on,
although the driver is supposed to have croaked.
3) The train is finally brought to a halt using an incline. A much effective
way would have been to dump sand on the tracks.
4) The train whizzes past Ratlam without stopping. The presence of electric
traction is puzzling, as the Vadodara-Ratlam section had not been electrified
at that time.

Such absurdities are often present in most of the Hindi films having train
scenes. Ever wondered why:

1. A speeding train is invariably indicated by a steam locmotive whistle
irrespective of the actual locomotive being used?

2. A train approaching, say, Lucknow, is shown goin thru' a maze of tunnels
and traction structures typical of the Ghats around Bombay?

3. Most of the trains are hauled by WDS diesel shunter locomotives?

Raja writes:
> There was a Hindi film in which Rajesh Khanna, the stationmaster,
> is wrongly accused of murdering a young lady who takes refuge in

I believe it is Ajnabi, with Zeenat Aman as the heroine. Had some nice
songs. In fact, one of them was on a train ("Hum dono do premi......").

Rao writes:
> When I was in my first year, it was JJ that used to take us there.
> It was renamed as Mangala Express later.
> Later during my study there, Mangala was cancelled and we had to go by
> KK upto Shoranur and take the link from there.

The cancellation of the Mangala Exp. meant that there was no direct train
between Cochin and Delhi anymore. The sitation has not changed (?), which is
surpising because railway politics over the years has ensured that Delhi is now
rail-linked to every nook and corner in India.

Weren't the Tamilnadu Exp., Andhra Pradesh Exp. and the Kerala-Karnataka Exp.
introduced at the same time? They shared a common schedule but differed in the
days of operation. The KK Exp. used to initially be a 21 coach train till
Jolarpettai, where a portion used to be sliced off all ready to proceed to
Bangalore; the rest used to go to Trivandrum. Then the KK Exp. was replaced
by its two "children", the Kerala Exp. and the Karnataka Exp. These four
trains averaged out two trains per day (two of them shared a common schedule).

A few years later, the Kerala Exp. had a portion being cut off at Palghat
destined for Mangalore. The H. Nizamuddin-Bangalore weekly exp. was introduced
sometime in '84(?) and used to go via Bhusaval-Manmad-Daund-Wadi. The
subsequent cancellation of the Mangala exp. (the former Jayanti Janata exp.)
was followed by the renaming of the Kerala Exp. as the Kerala Mangala Exp. and
an increase in its number of halts. At present, the TN, AP, Kerala and
Karnataka exps. are all daily trains, and the Karnataka exp. now uses the
Bhusaval-Manmad-Daund-Wadi stretch.

Sorry if I bored you with gory details.

Pitch in your contributions regarding train scenes from Hindi Films.



From: aravind <

Subject: KK

Date: 04 Apr 1990 17:03:00 -0500

Original-From: vax135!aravind (Aravind)
To: att!!irfca
Subject: KK

Actually, KK stood for "Kerala-Karnataka" express in the old days when
they used to be a single train between New Delhi and Jolarpet.

The two trains are now fully independent of one-another. In fact, the
"KK" train thru Vijayawada is the "Kerala" express since the "karnataka"
express goes via Sec'bad to B'lore....

I believe it was the Karnataka express that derailed last year near Bina,


From: Pushkar Apte <

Subject: Why Load a Single Line

Date: 04 Apr 1990 13:59:00 -0500

The discussion on the Kerala-Karnatak-T.N.-A.P. expresses brought out the
point that the Karnataka Exp. now runs via Manmad-Daund-Wadi-Guntakal to
Bangalore. This brings me to the question that has always bugged me. To the
best of my knowledge, the major part of the Pune-Wadi-Guntakal-Madras track
is still a single line. Under these conditions new superfast trains have been
started between Bombay-Madras, Bombay-Cochin and Bombay-Bangalore. I am
completely in favor of providing fast trains between these important places -
what I fail to see is why they have allowed this major-city link to stay
single line? And given the fact that it is a single line, what is the point
in bringing trains from Delhi and Ahemdavad all the way over this line when
they have alternative routes via Wardha and Kazipet? Anyone shed any light
on this?


From: Manish Malhotra <

Subject: Re: KK

Date: 04 Apr 1990 21:09:00 -0500

I think it was Tamilnadu that was derailed near Bina.

From: Mukunda Kantamneni <

Subject: Re: Rao's "Intro" and Hassan/Mangalore route.

Date: 08 Apr 1990 16:46:00 -0500

> Hello members,
> Let me introduce myself to the club.

> NAME: Mulpuri, Pitcheswara Rao ( Called Rao though it is my middle name )

I am Mukunda Rao Kantamneni. I usually go by my first name, Mukunda.
Some people call me RAO too. Nice to meeting you and welcome to the

> AGE : 21.

I am not very comfortable to disclose this. However, you may guess!

> AT: Boston University - M.S. Manufacturing Engineering

Graduated with M.S in mechanical systems design at The Univ of Iowa.
Now working as a software engineer at the same university.

> QUAL: B.E. - Mechanical - Manipal Institute of Technology

I too had my B.E from the same school!

> NATIVE: Vijayawada - A.P.

Native of Challapalli, 40 miles South-East of Vijayawada.

> Well, let me tell you a little bit about my train experiences.
> Train used to be the best way to get to Manipal and back for me.

Certainly it is. I think it is the *only* convenient way to goto
M'pal from Vijayawada.

> It used to take 26 hours to get to Mangalore and an hour's drive from there.
> When I was in my first year, it was JJ that used to take us there.
As I already clarified it is Jayanti Janata exp. This particular
JJ exp (Mangalore/Cochin - New Delhi 131/132) is the first of the
JJ series of trains and was introduced when T. A. Pai was railway
minister. There was a rumor that Jayanti was his wife's name!

At the begining this train used to have a kitchen car and a dinning
car. Later, they removed dinning car. I am not sure about the reason!

Rao said the journey from BZA to Mangalore is 26 hours. It is about
same in those days. But, in one trip it took little over 48 hours
because of Samosas! Fighting broke between a group of MIT students
and the catering people because they asked the students to leave the
dinning car after the snack time to cleanup and prepare for dinner.
These students didn't and wanted Samosas to eat with their beers!
The train was held up after Renigunta (near Thirupati) for several
hours and the train took 24 hrs to Erode from the pt where the fighting
started. Passengers were starving, no water and bathrooms were mess!
The journey was smooth after the students were arrested by the RPF.

> It was renamed as Mangala Express later.

Is it another railway minister's wife's name! (Just kidding)

> Later during my study there, Mangala was cancelled and we had to go by
> KK upto Shoranur and take the link from there.

I am sorry to learn that JJ is cancelled.

> The journey from Shoranur to Mangalore used to be great.
> It is a single lane. It used to be afternoon by the time we start from
> Shoranur and by 7 we used to reach Mangalore.
> Beleive me, the countryside in Kerala is just fantastic atleast in that part
> of Kerala that I know.

Sure it is.

> There is a tunnel that we used to get into some time around 5:30, just before
> the lights in the train go on. It was for around 2 mins. Since we generally

It comes few minutes before Kasorgode (sp!).

> On the way back home most of the time it used to be Westcoat Express because
> the timings were convenient.

If I remember correctly it used to leave Mangalore around 7:30 p.m and
the Mangalore/Madras mail in the morning. In the very begining JJ used
leave around 5:30 in the morning.

> My best journey probably is from Mangalore to Bangalore.

> Myself and my cousin travelled on train though bus was more convenient
> ( 17 hours by train against 8 hrs. by bus )
> It's a meter gauge train.

Yes, it must be a meter gauge. The Hassan/Mangalore route is designed
for broad gauge for quick conversion. The reason that SR built a meter
gauge now is Hassan/Bangalore and Hassan/Mysore routes are meter gauge.
Also, If I remember correctly Hassan is not connected by any broad gauge

> I think going by train in the ghats is a lot of fun.

I love the scenic beauty of this route. If possible(!), I would very
much like to drive my car (after making modifications to use it on rails)!
on this route.

> There were roughly 60 tunnels.

About 56 if I remember correctly!


H*A*S*S*A*N - M*A*N*G*A*L*O*R*E railway project

I wanted to post the following article ever since Manish referred the
Bangalore - Mangalore line in his article dated March 15th. Here it
goes now.....

Sometime in 1975/76, immediately after monsoon season our civil
engineering batchmates decided to go for a three field trip to this
exciting railway project, then in construction. I decided to go with
them skipping my classes (please note I am a mechanical engineer) and
got a special permission from the civil eng professor(s) who was
organizing the trip.

History of the Project:
This project was originally planned to transport iron ore to Iran,
Japan and other countries through Mangalore harbor. When this project
was half-way, engineers abandoned the idea of transporting the ore
by train infavor of transporting the ore in slurry form by building
a pipeline, which they claimed would be more economical. I am not
sure what method they are using to transport the iron ore.

Our trip to the project started by visiting couple of important
bridges near Mangalore where we were exposed to some bridge construction
techniques such as making pier wells, girder launching etc. Then
we proceeded to the main camp for this project in the Western ghots
(I can't recall the name). By the time we reached the camp in the
evening around 5:00 p.m we all were tired and hungry. We were delighted
to find that delicious (may be because we were so hungry) snacks and
tea were waiting for us at the camp (courtesy of one of the major
contractors for the project). We were then assigned guest houses and
told to refresh and assemble back around 7:30 for dinner and to
attend briefings by the engineers about project highlights, challenges
they faced, where they will take us next day etc. They told us that
we are not going by our bus, instead they are suppling us a four
wheel drive Mercedes truck and three Jeeps because the service roads
they built were very steep and slippery. After the dinner and the
briefings we went to our assigned guest houses.

There at the guest house, an engineer and a peon joined us to stay
with us for the night. We were talking till mid night -- we were
asking them many curious questions and they were telling their
adventures etc.. When the topic went to wild animals etc, in the
forest, the peon talked about the giant size wild insects which we
normally don't come across. Most scary (particulary for me) among
them are leaches. He went on to say those leaches which are normally
found on wet leaves and mud, would get on to our legs without
our knowledge and creep upwards, often like to get in to underwears
etc... and you know what leaches are famous for! I didn't believe
the whole story at first but I was scared to death about this particulary
since I was assigned the duty of taking pictures! So much so the
leaches were in my thought and didn't get good sleep for the night.

Next day morning after our breakfast we were to leave for the sites
around 9:00 a.m. Couple of my friends and I finished our breakfast
early, started walking around the guest house and enjoyed the
natural beaty of the place. There was a concrete boat built by the
engineers in a lake infront of one of the guest houses.

The truck and the three buses were ready by 9:00 a.m and we left for
the sites. It was really scary to go up the hills since the service
roads were very steep, muddy and often unprotected. If the drivers
lose control of their vehicles, we will plunge to hundreds or
even thousands of feet! The truck we were traveling is a special
version (short wheel base and four wheel drive) of regular 10/12
tonne Mercedes 1210 D (now Telco) truck which they can hardly use
to transport one to two tonnes of material on these roads. We visited
couple of construction sites on the ghots and then headed for a
longest tunnel in the project and a tallest bridge in Southern railway
which are also happen to be at the almost highest point of the
route! Then came the problem, our truck got stuck in the mud. The
driver requested us to get down push the truck. Right away I remebered
the leaches. The roads are very narrow, barely enough for a truck
and covered with the wet leaves. I didn't get down the truck, though
most of them started pushing the truck. Meanwhile, one of our friends
wanted to record the event and asked me to get down the truck and
take a picture. Quickly, everyone learnt that I am scared about the
leaches and started teasing me, even some used force to pull me out
of the truck. I didn't yield for them and a friend came to my rescue
and agreed to take the picture. (As I write this article, I am
reviewing of the pictures that I took to recollect the events). This
picture is one the most memorable of the trip! Then finally the truck
came out of the mud and we again headed for our destination. We were
worried that we lost about an hour and half and may be missing
some places. Then all of a sudden our friends were screaming from the
back to stop the truck (I was sitting in the cab). Upon stopping I
realized that two people pulled the leaches from their legs and my
friend who took the picture hurridely removing his pants and found
a 6/7 inch bulged (seem to have sucked lot of blood) leach on his
thigh. Then we realized that the peon didn't exagerate the things!
In about ten minutes, we reached the destination where our professors
and other classmates were waiting for us with lot of anxiety.
Though the engineers and the workers at the site were explaining them
that this sort of delays are not uncommon, there were still worried
about our safety. Then we went to see a tallest bridge in Southern
railway. In addition to couple of pictures of the bridge, I also
took a snap shot of a bulletin board that gave the salient features
of the bridge which I will give in this article. On either side of
the bridge were two tunnels -- one of them is longest in the project
which is horse shoe shaped.

Bridge details: The following is what exactly the photograph reads.




BRIDGE No. 162 AT CH:- 55803

2x40' 3x100' & 1x80' SPAN GIRDERS.


1. Tallest Bridge in S.Rly Height 133'-7 1/2" Bottom of Found
to Rail Level.
2. Full lenght on 8 degree curve & Fall 1 in 50.
3. Lowest bed level+2015.58.
4. Rail level at centre+2144.09

Qtty of Works in Pyllon Piers & | 1. RCC ... 65,000 CFT
Pier Abutments | 2. Mass concrete 27,000 CFT


1. Steel Girders...... 210.00 tonnes
2. Steel.... 155.00 "
3. Cement... 775.00 "

Total Cost 14.10 Lakhs.


Around 6:00 p.m we returned back to our base camp had dinner and took
a walk to nearby highway that connects Mangalore-Mysore/Bangalore.
After sometime took a control of security post and helping the guard
to check for illegal items such as sandal wood etc in the trucks.
Actually the security guard was just stopping the trucks and checking
*only* the supected vehicles. However, we were more thorough to the
surprise and dismay of many truckers!!!

Next day, we visited couple of important sites on the project and
learned more things about the project. Later in the after noon
after driving couple of hours we reached platea part of the route,
where we concluded our trip. We didn't continue our trip until
Hassan for the reasons Rao already mentioned -- boring. There is
nothing interesting going on after that point. Infact, the route
was finished and the trains were running from there (I can't recall
the name of the town, It looked like a town of 20,000 or so pop.)
to Hassan. Around 3:00 p.m we conclude our trip and headed for
M'pal. On our way back we were singing (including one of our
professors who was good at it.), occasionally shouting at the passers-
by. Then all of sudden a smart idea stuck to one of us -- ask the
professors to take rest (!) since they (professors) are very much tired!!
But none of them came forward to do that, instead they thought I
am the right person to do that. After initial hesitation, I asked
them and after some deliberation they agreed! Everyone was very
was happy and shouting with joy. Then I slowly asked the professors
"what about me?" They said they are sorry, they can't do anything.
However they inquired if I have lot of assignments due etc. and
appreciated me forr going with them and showing lot of interest and
asking many questions even though I am not a civil engineering student

We reached M'pal around 9:00 p.m and after dinner most of them
apprently hit the sacks while I had to work on a home work or
two. However, the trip was hair raising experience for me and
never resented for skipping classes etc.. after all I lost a class
on design of ball bearings, two lecture on sub/super square engines
and some specifications on my professor's Vaxhaul and some other
less significant things.


> There were times when the speed was so low, people got off the train
> and started walking. We could touch the clouds .
Well, people in my town didn't beleive me when I told them that
I *ate* couple of clouds! Because they thought clouds are as high
as stars!

> Some times it is a little scary too with a steep hill on one side and
> a deep vally on the other and this little train in the middle.

Yes, I can imagine.

> It was good at that time because it used to start roughly around noon time
> and reach there by next day early in the morning.
> The journey beyond Hassan isn't all that exciting.
> The timings have been changed and You pass all the fun places in the night.
> I think I bored you guys enough for the first time I came on this.

This is stupid! This route is certainly an exciting route. IR should
give publicity and encourage tourists. Infact, I was sharing my above
experiences with my family and telling them that we must travel in that
route when we visit India next time. I am wondering if the route is as
beautiful as it was when we visited in that now they may be cutting the
forest and transporting the wood by train!

> I appreciate any comments on this.

I appreciate any further information on this one of the most beautiful
routes that I have ever seen and your comments are welcome.

> - Rao.

Thank you.

mukunda rao


From: RAO <

Subject: comment

Date: 10 Apr 1990 11:50:00 -0500

I just wanted to add a little to what Mukunda was talking about
when he was referring to switching the idea of transport by rail
to transporting ore by pipe line.

This is one of the rare things I have seen.
The ore is transported from Kudremukh Iron ore Project to \
Mangalore Port.
This is India's largest mining company ( about 80 miles from Manipal )
in the Chickamagalur district , one of the most scenic places in
Unfortunately, there is no train route to this particular place
but I visited this place thrice during my stay at Manipal.
We used to go on bikes ( not in the American sense ).
It used to fun on the steep roads going in the first and second
gears for 10 to 15 kms.

This company is an open air mining company.
They produce 15,000 tonnes of ore everyday.
It is a totally automated facility.
If they use trucks to carry this ore, they would need atleat 1500 trucks
a day. The pipe line is a brilliant idea.
In the roughly 60 kms it runs through , the ore should be pumped up
only for the first 1.6 kms. It goes by gravity the rest of the distance.
The ore is mixed in water and the pipe is about half a meter dia.

This is one of the most advanced tech. in iron ore in India but it is
running in losses because the quality of the ore is not good.
This was actually started for pure export of ore.
This was started in 76 and in full production by 80.
Beleive me, the coffee plantation around is simply great.

- Rao.

From: Vijay Balasubramanian <

Subject: Rail budget

Date: 11 Apr 1990 15:33:00 -0500

Please welcome Sudeep Chandra ( to our net. We now
have 26 IRFCAites; a good sign, no doubt!

Following is the 1990-91 railway budget, reproduced from the Times of India,
March 14 issue (which I managed to dig up from the library late last night):



The railway minister, Mr. George Fernandes, today proposed a steep
increase of 17 percent in upper class air-conditioned and first-class travel
and a freight hike of 10 percent.

Increases are also proposed in second class mail and express trains,
second class monthly season tickets, parcel and luggage rates and the sleeper
surcharge for second class is up by Rs. 5 to Rs. 10 depending on the distance
travelled. Long-distance travelling is going to be far more expensive now with
the hike in the sleeper surcharge.

The minister was presenting his maiden Railway budget for 1990-91 in the Lok
Sabha. The new proposals are aimed at fetching the railways an additional
Rs. 892 crore. After paying a dividend of Rs. 932 crore to the general
exchequer, the railways would close at a surplus of Rs. 186 crore.

The outlay for the 1990-91 railway plan has been fixed at Rs. 5,000 crore as
compared to Rs. 4,450 for the current year, Mr. Fernandes told the house.
This means an increase of only Rs. 550 crore. The budgetary support works out
to 28.4 of the total plan outlay, the lowest ever in the history of the

INCREASE IN FARES: The fares for upper class - AC first class, AC sleeper
class, first class and AC chair class, - will be up by 17 percent. The fare for
second class mail/express is to be increased by one rupee at the lowest slab,
progressively increasing to a maximum of Rs. 20 for distances beyond 1400 km.

Ordinary second class fares is to be increased by 50 paise at the lowest
slab, progressively rising to a maximum of Rs. 4 for distances beyond 300 km.
The price of platform tickets is to be increased from Rs. 1.50 to Rs. 2.

For second class monthly season tickets, the increase will vary from Rs. 4 to
Rs. 12 per omnth according to the distance. The increase in first class
monthly season tickets is to range from Rs. 16 to Rs. 48.

The sleerp surcharge in second clas will be raised from Rs. 10 to Rs. 15
for distances upto 500 km., from Rs, 15 to Rs. 20 for distances from 501 to 1000
km. and from Rs. 15 to Rs. 25 for distances beyond 1000 km.

INCREASE IN FREIGHT RATES: While freight rates would be hiked by 10 percent,
the increase would be 7 percent during the slack season from April to September,
the minister said, as an incentive to rail users to offer more traffic between
April 1 and September 30 this year. Also, keepin in view the interests of the
common man, certain essential commodities would be exempted from the hike.
These are foodgrains, pulses, salt for human consumption, edible oils, fruits
and vegetables, sugar, gur, and jaggery. Rates for parcel and lugage would go
up by 10 percent.

The freight rates would come into effect from April 1 and the passanger
fares from May 1. Compensation for death in an accident was being increased
from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 2 lakh and the amount payable to the injured would be
doubled, the minister said.

While retaining the emphasis on acquisition of rolling stock,
electrification and rehabilitation of assets including track renewal, Mr.
Fernandes announced that the computer reservation system had proved a success
and would be extended in the third phase to cover nine cities including Pune,
Jammu Tawi, Guwahati, Gorakhpur, Patna, Jaipur, Trivandrum, Bhubaneswar and
Cuttack. This would bring nearly 66 percent of the Indian Railways' train
reservations on the computer.

Mr. Fernandes commended the downward trend in accidents which he said had
dropped by 46 percent from 1,013 in 1980-81 to 545 in 1988-89. This improved
position had been maintained this year also. To minimise the risk of human
failure which was the major cause of accidents, he said the railways are going
in for safety aids such as auxiliary warning system, track circuiting, panel
interlocking, installation of axle counters, route relay interlocking and
train-actuated warning devices at level crossings.

Stating that the Planning Commission had approved the inclusion of the
direct broad gauge West Coast Railway Line from Bombay to Mangalore in the
budget, Mr. Fernandes said that it would cost Rs. 969 crore at present prices
and would be completed in five years. The modality of financing this project
which has been the dream for people on the West Coast would be discussed with
the finance ministry and he would approach the House separately on this issue.

Just as the governments of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala were being
associated with in setting up a separate authority for construction of the
Konkan Railway, he said, the possibility of associating the governments of
Gujarat and Rajasthan in the construction of the broad gauge track from Kandla
to Bhatinda was also being explored. Already, positive responses had been
received from both the state governments.

An important announcement made by Mr. Fernandes was that from now on, only
second class coaches would be manufactured and luxury coaches (First-class AC
and First-class) dispensed with except those on the assembly lines. This would
provide an additional 15,000 seats in the next two years.

The "socialist" minister also announced the introduction of "kullars"
(earthen glasses for tea or coffee) in catering establishments of the railways.
This, he said, would generate employment opportunities for thousands of potters
all over the country without a single rupee of new investment. The use of
handlooms would be encouraged for upholstery material, linen in railway
offices, guest houses and for uniforms to provide more jobs to weavers and
artisans. Railway land alongside villages would be identified for gorwing
vegetables and for tree plantation.

On the public sector undertakings under the railways, he said that the Indian
Railway Constrcution Company (IRCON) had recorded a turnover of Rs. 175 crore
with an after-tax profit of Rs. 13.77 crore and earned foreign exchange of Rs.
32.3 crore. It was functioning in nine countries and had bagged three new
contracts in Indonesia, Iraq and Nepal. He also commended the performance of
the Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) which had earned foreign
exchange of Rs. 18.35 crore and a proft after tax of Rs. 6.95 crore. RITES, he
said, secured new contracts in the current year in Algeria, Zambia, Mexcio,
Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, Nepal, Botswana, Indonesia and Swaziland.

The Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) and the Container Corporation
of India (CONCOR) were also contributing to te effort to raise funds through
market borrowings and in giving a fillip to the country's foreign trade, he

On the aspect of housing for railwaymen, Mr. Fernandes said that the Indian
Railway Welfare Organization (IRWO) had been set up and registered as a
soceity to start its activities with a loan of Rs. 3 crore from the finance
ministry. It would also get Rs. 10 crore by way of seed capital from the
railway budget. IRWO would help railway employees in constructing houses on a
self-financing basis.

Track renewals, he indicated, would be carried out at the rate of about 325
km. per month or 3,900 km. in the year. This would bring down the incidence
of rail fractures. Electrification of two major trunk routes, Delhi-Madras
(Grand Trunk route) and Howrah-Bombay via Nagpur would be completed this year.
Another 623 km had been targeted for electrification in 1990-91.

The minister also spoke about gauge conversion plans, technology upgradation,
metropolitan transport projects, maintenance units, production units,
medicare, productivity linked bonus, industrial relations and manpower
planning and development in his budget speech lasting about an hour.

Mr. Fernandes said that at the end of the current financial year, the
railways would have on their hand 27 new line projects involving a length of
2,829 km. requiring Rs. 1,695 crore. To study future need of the railways for
networkk development, he said that the Planning Commission had apponited a
committee for expansion of railway network (CERN). In their report in 1989,
the Committee had recommended a further growth of network through a combination
of new lines (2,902 km) and gauge conversion (2,306 km) aiming solely at
capacity generation. The estimated cost of the recommended projects was Rs
4,400 crore. The Committee said that this was the minimum funds required by
2000 A.D. While the recommendations of the committee were under examination,
the House would appreciate the magnitude of the funds needed for expansion of

In view of the resource constraints for new lines, he had asked his ministry
to explore possibilities fo some non-traditional sources for financing new
projects. One of the approaches would be to get the financial participation of
state governments. In the case of the Chitauni-Bagha rail-cum-road bridge,
both UP and Bihar governments were contributing towards the cost.

With the decision of the National Front government to allocate 50 percent
of resources towards rural development projects, Mr. Fernandes said, it should
be possible to dovetail some rural developments into the railways construction
programme, particularly earth work for new lines. "We are so examining the
possibility of local administrations and social organizations coming forward to
provide labour on a voluntary basis," he said. He made no reference to the
proposal being discussed earlier in the Rail Bhavan about the launching of the
Bharatiya Rail Shramik Sena to provide employment to unskilled rural labour in
the earth work.

Observing that the year 1988-89 was the fourth year in succession when the
railways discharged their dividend obligation in full and also ended their
surplus, he said that in freight traffic, the target of loading 316 million
tonnes could not be reached because of the lower offer of foodgrains (4.40
million tonnes) and coal (4.11 million tonnes) over a 10-month period. Such
losses were difficult to make up if the traffic offered were not upto the
target. Performance was also affected by the frequent bandhs and agitations
in the north eastern region, public agitations against the reservation policy
and the like. The revised estimate in the current year was placed at 311
million tonnes.

There was healthy growth in the increase in passanger traffic in the last 10
months from 2 percent to 5.3 percent. In terms of passanger amenities, he
said he was continuing with the experiment of providing cool drinking water to
passangers in trains through water coolers in each of the coaches in two pairs
of express trains. The Rail Yatra Niwas in New Delhi and Howrah have proved
quite popular, he said.

For improving the system of passanger enquiries, Mr. Fernandes said that the
railways are providing additional telephones, electronic display boards and
"hot" lines between the enquiry office and the control room. The allocation of
passanger amenities had been increased from Rs. 15.6 crore to Rs. 28 crore.

The minister also told the House that an expert committee was being set up
to examine the fare and freight structure of rail transport and to go into all
aspects of costing and pricing of rail services after ascertaining the views
and problems of railway users.

On the Plan outlay, he said that the amount for the seventh plan was
originally fixed at Rs. 12,234 crore.


The southern states seem to have been ignored in the matter of introducing
new train routes as well as increasing the frequency and extending the run of
existing trains.

Only one new train route has been started to south India and only one train
route has been extended in that direction. Mr. George Fernandes, as is the
wont of railway ministers, has started a new train route from his own
constituency Muzaffarpur to Bombay.

Fifty precent of the new train routes either originate or terminate in Bihar.
Three of the four trains whose frequencies have been increased also originate in

Mr. Fernandes announced that in the summer time-table, there would be 12 new
trains, the frequencies of four trains would be extended and the runs of seven
trains would be extended.

UNI adds: The new trains are:
Surat-Varanasi Exp. (bi-weekly), Jammu Tawi-Nizamuddin-Mangalore/
Tiruchirapalli Exp. (weekly), Gorakhpur-Howrah Exp. (weekly), Hatia-Varanasi
Exp. (bi-weekly), Jammu Tawi-Guwahati Exp. (bi-weekly), Gorakhpur-Gondia (MG)
Exp., Katihar-Siliguri Inter-City Exp., Garva Road-Bilaspur Passanger, Jasidih-
Baidyanathdham Shuttle, Bombay-Muzaffarpur Exp. (weekly), Sahibganj-Rampurhat
Passanger, and Chopan-Dhanbad Exp. (weekly).

The frequency of the following trains will be increased:
Chhapra-Bombay VT Exp. and Chhapra-Sealdah Exp. (both from bi-weekly to
tri-weekly), Ahmedabad-Rajkot-Hapa exp. (from three days to six days a week),
and Tata-Patna Exp. (from six days a week to daily).

Runs of the following exisiting trains are being extended:
Ahmedabad-Gwalior Exp. to Gorakhpur, New Delhi-Chandigrah Shatabdi Exp. to
Kalka, Ganga Yamuna Exp. to Danapur, Tirupati-Kakinada Tirumala Exp. to
Visakhapatnam, Rampurhat-Tibhita Passanger to Barharwa, Asansol-Jasidih
Passanger to Simultala, and Porbandar-Kanalaus Fast Passanger to Hapa.

Five new lines will be commissioned during 1990-91, Mr. Fernandes announced.
They are:
- Machaliguda-Rayagada section (144 km) of the Koraput-Rayagada project.
- Kolaras-Shivpuri (25 km) and Gwalior-Panihar (23 km) sections of
Guna-Etawah project.
- Chittaurgarh-Nimach section (56 km) of the Kota-Chittaurgarh-Nimach project.
- Sambhalpur-Maneswar (16 km) and Talcher-Angul (18 km) sections of
Talcher-Sambhalpur project, and Jamira-Bhairabi (18 km) section of
Lalbazar-Bhairabi project.



From: aravind <

Subject: Tamilnadu express ... etc

Date: 12 Apr 1990 12:18:00 -0500

Vijay asks:

>Weren't the Tamilnadu Exp., Andhra Pradesh Exp. and the
>Kerala-Karnataka Exp. introduced at the same time?

Yes, they all date back to the emergency days when Kamlapati Tripathi
was the railway minister. The TN express was the first of the three
to be inaugurated, sometime in August 1976. I remember being very
impressed by a train that could go to New Delhi in 29 -30 hours.

I even got up at 5:00 am to go
to Madras Central station to see the flag-off ceremony of
the first TN express run. Mr. Tripathi was there
to give the "green light" and travel on the inaugural run to New Delhi.

The whole platform
was cordoned off. Claiming that I had relatives coming on the
Bangalore Mail (the big event was to happen at 6:15 am sharp), I made
my way up an adjacent platform, and then crossed the tracks to see the
engine of the New Train. It was all covered with banana trees and
other auspicious icons. There was a TV crew covering the event (this
was the second year of TV in Madras).

I was actually allowed to walk down the "forbidden" platform almost
all the way to Mr. Tripathi's podium. This area, however, teemed with
police and some other onlookers who wanted to catch a glimpse of the
Great Man. Soon tiring of the crowd, I made my way back to the engine
to wonder at how completely it was covered with greenery.
I believe they even had a priest come out to crack a coconut and offer
some prayers (though i won't swear to this one).

Eventually, the anointed time arrived; the crew climbed up into the
engine, saw the green light that Mr. Tripathi was waving at them,
pressed the horn, and the train was off ...

The AP express was the next to make its debut. The Kerala-Karnataka
train was introduced in Feb. 1977, after it was adjudged that
fast trains could be run on the newly converted Ernakulam-Trivandrum
track. The first KK express had only 14-15 coaches; the 21 coaches
arrived in 1980 or so. Roughly half the train was disconnected at
Jolarpettai to proceed to Bangalore.

Until 1983, the KK express ran in its original form. After the
conversion of the Bangalore-Guntakal line to BG, a separate Karnataka
express was introduced via Sec'bad. Apparently this train now runs
via Daund/Manmad.

It really is too bad that the Bombay-Madras corridor continues to live
the single life for a large portion of its length. One would
think that the powers-that-come-and-go would do something about this
deplorable situation. Why is this particular line the step-child of
the region? I have asked this question before, with no good answer.
Vijay, did you find out from any of your connections on your recent
visit why this is so? And why run the Karnataka express via Manmad?
Is it to avoid overloading the Nagpur-Itarsi link? Like Pushkar, I
too find this somewhat intriguing and would appreciate anyone shedding
light on this ...



From: Dheeraj Sanghi <

Subject: Subscription to "Indian Railways"

Date: 12 Apr 1990 17:31:00 -0500

I had sent a letter to the public relations officer of IR for
information regarding subscription to the monthly magazine called
"Indian Railways." Here is what one has to do for the subscription.

Send $7.00 (or Rs. 100/-) as the annual subscription to:

The Editor,
"Indian Railways"
Post Box No. 467,
New Delhi 110 001.


From: Vijay Balasubramanian <

Subject: Bombay-Madras line

Date: 12 Apr 1990 16:12:00 -0500

Hi Folks,

On my recent trip on the Chennai Exp. from Bombay to Madras, I confirmed the
fact that the Daund-Renigunta section is predominantly single line, except for
the short Gulbarga-Wadi and Guntakal-Gooty sections, and isolated patches in the
Wadi-Guntakal and Gooty-Renigunta sections. My conjecture that this is a
result of political callousness is reinforced by the fact that, in stark
contrast, the Renigunta-Madras stretch is not only double-lined but also
electrified. Isn't it true that the electrification of the Renigunta-Arrkonam
section is part of a plan to uniformly electrify the route adopted by the
Kerala Exp. (and other trains from/via Delhi to Kerala)?

On the other hand, is the volume of goods traffic handled by the
Daund-Renigunta line comparable to that on the other trunk routes?
Except for Solapur, there dosen't seem to be any industrial cities/towns
located on or near this route.

The rerouting of the Karnataka Exp. has resulted in a direct daily train
between Solapur/Gulbarga/Wadi and Delhi/Agra/Gwalior/Jhansi/Bhopal/Itarsi/
Khandwa/Bhusaval. If you recall, the "intermediate" Karnataka exp. used to
go via Secunderabad and bypass Wadi on its way to Bangalore.

More later,


From: Shriram Revankar <

Subject: Re: Rail budget

Date: 13 Apr 1990 09:06:00 -0500

- - ->From Wed Apr 11 17:40:36 1990
- - ->Date: Wed, 11 Apr 90 16:33:23 CDT
- - ->From: (Vijay Balasubramanian)
- - ->To:
- - ->Subject: Rail budget

- - ->Hi Folks,

- - -> Please welcome Sudeep Chandra ( to
Welcome Sudeep!!!!
- - ->our net. We now have 26 IRFCAites; a good sign, no doubt!
you mean 26 FACIRs(Fakeers?) (doesn't that sound better? not a big issue,
just trying to blow my own "horn" :-)

- - ->The price of plattform tickets is to be increased
- - ->from Rs. 1.50 to Rs. 2.

The platform ticket always bothered me a lot. What is its purpose?

Is it a cheap way of making relatively insignificant amount of money
-- exploiting (mostly) relatively poor people who can afford to travel
once or twice a year -- and their whole family comes over to stations
for emotional (some times more dramatic than in movies) send-offs?

Is it to exploit social behavior in cultural and religious ceremonies
that involve travel and are deeply in-built into the Indian culture?

Is it done with a naive hope that 'ticket-less travelers that pass through
the onboard TC screening could be caught on the platform'? (Only people
who get caught that way are honest travelers who lose their tickets)

Is it a symbol of failure of station management and railway police to deter
the homeless from railway platforms?(well then they have failed miserably)

I think, it is time we scrap platform tickets. May be some of us have a
better insight in the matter -- we hope to hear from you.


From: Dheeraj Sanghi <

Subject: Platform tickets

Date: 13 Apr 1990 09:36:00 -0500

I think there are many good reasons for having a platform ticket.

1. It does mean less crowding on the platforms, and looking at platforms
on any major city railway station, I think it is a laudable objective.

2. It is done because otherwise there is no way you can distinguish
between ticketless traveler and the one who has just come to see someone
off. Remember, not every train has an onboard TC, and even in trains,
where they do, they generally check for reservations in the beginning
of the journey only.

The only alternative I can think of for the platform tickets is to ban
ALL non-passengers from platforms.


From: Manish Malhotra <

Subject: Re: platform tickets

Date: 13 Apr 1990 10:12:00 -0500


I think the platform tickets are meant to compensate for the cost
of maintainence and improvement of the platforms. And they do act
as a deterrent to the homeless to use it as a shelter. (I mean
, are meant to, though they don't). Tickets are required even for
the airports and I believe that the money earned this way goes to
improve the conditions at the platform/airport. It is more
considered a form of tax than anything else and can be equated
to the entry ticket at a zoo/amusement parks.

Unfortunately people don't buy tickets at platforms (though they
do because they have to at the airport) and then complain about
the poor facilities at rly. stations. I would guess that not more
than 30-40% of the people who enter the platform buy a ticket.
This percentage varies from places to places and i would expect
it to be high in Bombay/Delhi/etc. and much low in UP/MP/Bihar/
Rajasthan etc.

:- Manish

From: Vijay Balasubramanian <

Subject: Catching up!

Date: 18 Apr 1990 10:57:00 -0500

Hi folks,

It's high time I responded to Kumar's thought trains (communicated over the
net, late last year).

>11) Haldia - Visakhapatnam Express:
> Purpose: To provide a moderately fast day time train for coastal
> Orissa and North coastal A.P. for short and medium distance passrs.
> Should enable the speeding up of the Hwh-Hyderabad East Coast
> Express for the benefit of long distance passrs.

The Tirupati Puri exp. has been "converted" to start from Howrah instead of
Puri. Maybe, one can have some coaches from Haldia added at Panskura.

> 12) Jabalpur-Jagdalpur "Bastar" Express:
> Purpose: Links S.E. Madhya Pradesh with Jabalpur. Link to Bhopal
> and Indore provided on the Jabalpur-Bhopal-Indore "Madhya Bharat"
> super express (to be described later).

The Koraput Rayagada line is still to be completed, so I guess this train
will have to be routed via Kottavalasa-Vizianagaram till that time.

> 13) Agra Cantt. - Itarsi Express:
> Purpose: For short & medium distance passengers.

Why not have a Delhi-Nagpur Exp. instead? Attach coaches at Agra Cantt.

> 14) Indore-Jabalpur "Madhya Bharat" Express:
> Purpose: To provide superfast connection between the three largest

The Howrah-Indore Shirpa Exp. goes via Jabalpur-Bhopal, thus, providing
direct service between Indore, Bhopal and Jabalpur.

> 15) Nagpur - Pune "Vidharbha" Express:
> Purpose: To provide a superfast connection between Nagpur and Pune.

The Nagpur-Kolhapur Maharashtra Exp. goes via Pune. One of my thought trains,
the superfast weekly Pune-Guwahati exp. goes via Nagpur. These two directly
connect Nagpur with Pune.

> 17) Bombay VT - Panaji "Mandovi" Express:
> Purpose: To link Bombay with Goa.

There is a Miraj-Vasco Mandovi Exp. which provides connection to Bombay via
the Sahyadri Exp. (at Miraj). As far as I know, Panaji doesn't have a railway
station, the nearest being at Vasco-da-gama.

> 18) Bangalore City - Panaji "Garden Beach" Express:
> Purpose: To provide a superfast link between Bangalore and Goa.
> Halts: Hubli, Londa.

There is a slow exp. train from Vasco to Bangalore. The Konkan Exp.
(another of my thought trains) goes weekly from Bangalore to Miraj/Bombay V.T.,
and bi-weekly from Mysore. Maybe one could have the Garden Beach Exp. in
operation with the same time schedule but on a different day. The halt pattern
could be Tumkur, Birur, Harihar, Hubli, Dharwad, Londa,..., Vasco.

> 20) Madras - Secunderabad "Hussain Sagar" Express:
> Purpose: Superfast train between the southern metro areas.

The Charminar Exp. is a fast daily train between Madras Central and
Secunderabad. It halts at Gudur, Nellore, Ongole, Vijayawada, Khammam,
Mahbubabad, Warangal and Kazipet.

> 22) Bangalore - Mysore "Kaveri" Express:
> Purpose: Non-stop service on the heavily travelled B'lore - Mysore
> line.

There is a Bangalore-Mysore Kaveri Exp. Intially, it had just one halt at
Srirangapatna. The Tippu Exp. used to be the only non-stop train. Now, all the
trains stop at Maddur, Mandya, besides others.

> 25) Mangalore - Trivandrum "Monsoon" Express:
> Purpose: To provide superfast service on the southwest coast.

The Parasuram Exp. is decently fast. I believe they have recently
introduced AC Chair Car service on this train.


From: Vijay Balasubramanian <

Subject: Why the lull?

Date: 18 May 1990 14:52:00 -0500

Hi Folks,

I hope Spring semester was a smooth one for you. Now that the summer vacations are here, how about increasing the IRFCA traffic once again?

I, for my part, will be continuing on Bombay-Bhusaval(III) very soon.

Incidently, I received an acknowledgement-cum-receipt from Indian Railways,
about a month back, indicating that they had started my subscription from March. The magazine must be snailing its way thru' the Atlantic (via sea mail) before
it reaches Champaign (God knows when!).


From: aravind <

Subject: Great Railway journeys of the world

Date: 21 May 1990 12:19:00 -0500

PBS is currently re-airing this old series. Last Sat I watched the
British writer Brian Thompson on his trip across the Deccan from
Bombay to Cochin. The episode was filmed with reasonable sensitivity
to Indian conditions, except for a few shots that I found jarring.
I would date this trip at approx 1980... (Guntakal-Bangalore was still

There were some unnecssary and ridiculous shots of Rajneeshis in Pune -
white women delicately negotiating Pune roads on bicycles - totally
irrelevant to a railway journey. Also a conversation with an retired
British Army officer in Ooty over a game of billiards that was
unnecessary. I mean, if the guy wanted to ferret out this
aging Englishman, that's perfectly OK, but why devote precious minutes
of program time to him?

To compensate, there were some great shots of steam locos in Guntakal,
of the Nilagiri Railway, ... An overall enjoyable hour ....


From: Vijay Balasubramanian <

Subject: Bombay-Bhusaval III

Date: 06 Jun 1990 14:39:00 -0500


Looks like the IRFCA activities have come to a grinding halt. Let's revive
it folks! I am still patiently waiting for my issue of Indian Railways magazine
to appear in my mail-box; God knows where it is now (probably somehere
in the middle of the Atlantic). It should provide us with fresh news about the
railway scene in India.

In the meantime, let me continue with my loco. trip to Bhusaval. I had
left off at Igatpuri stn. in my earlier episode.


I sauntered across the platform to have a closer inspection of the "other"
train which was all set to depart towards Bombay with a DC loco. in charge.
A quick look at the "Howrah-Bombay" indicators on the coaches told me that it
was the Howrah Bombay Mail via Allahabad, which meant that this train was late
by nearly three hours. I hurried back to the front end of the Pushpak Exp.
where a WAM-4 loco. with its quaint single pantograph, was being attached;
this was supposed to be my "transporter" till Bhusaval.

A few moments of uncertainty ticked away after which I was escorted inside
the loco. by the drivers; my uncle had kept his word. I took a few snaps to
make sure that this memorable event would be etched on paper. The
organization of the WAM-4 driver's cabin is different from that of a
WCM-1 loco. The seats are attached to the back wall, and so are somewhat away
from the front windows. This presents a more relaxed atmosphere. A narrow
corridor at the side to the other end of the loco.; this passes precariously
close to the transformers and rectifier equipment.

The signal changed to a welcome green and we were all set to leave the DC
traction behind us. I had always been fascinated with AC traction including the
locos. and numerous traction structures. I would learn more about them at the
Bhusaval zonal training school, the next day. The engine picked up speed as
we were crossing the Igatpuri marshelling yard and loco. shed. The 70-odd km.
stretch to Nasik Rd. is quite picturesque with the train playing hide'n'seek
with the Western Ghats. Brown soil, typical of mountaneous regions, dominates
the landscape. I would occasionally stick my head out thru' the open side
window to feel the cool breeze on my face and hands and also the catch a glimpse
of the 18 coaches behind us, not to mention the pantograph greedily licking the
overhead wires. Ghoti, Asvali and Lahavit passed by quickly. The train was
doing a cool 100 kmph.

The loco. runs on its own momentum (the current is not fed to the traction
motors), except when it encounters upward inclines or needs to accelerate.
During braking, current is cut-off from the traction motors in order to
prevent overloading. Relay switches in front of the driver help in executing
the necessary isolation/deisolation. Traction feeding posts separated by
~70-80 kms. feed in the 25 kv. current to the overhead wires. Neighboring
feeding posts usually feed in currents at different phases; hence, there is a
need for a neutral section somewhere in between, which essentially acts as
an insulated overlap. Neutral sections do not carry any current so that the
driver needs to switch off power to the motors just before the loco. crosses
this region in order to avoid sparking. In fact, I also witnessed a neutral
section at Igatpuri stn. which isolates the DC and AC currents.

You must have noticed an occasional set of four poles which seem to
"exchange" the original wire pair with a new one. This is the "overlap region".
This limits the length of (single) copper wires to a few kilometers, and
minimizes the effects of change in temperature on the wire lengths. A moving
pantograph creates a shear stress on the overhead wires, which are counteracted
by a set of three poles called the "anti-creep arrangement".

Coming back to the trip, the train speeded past Devlali, and I could spot
the artillary training school near the station. The train slowed down a bit
near Nasik Rd. but ignored it, much to my delight. A thin trail of rising smoke
at the distance was probably the site of the fertilizer factory. The co-driver
was busy showing me some sights which he would often relish on his frequent
trips between Igatpuri and Bhusaval, much to the chagrin of his fellow driver.
He pleaded with me not to engage his mate in constant conversation as this was
preventing the latter from discharging his duties. I went back to my position
beside the side window. But once in a while, I was sure to sound the

By this time, hunger had enveloped me and I took out the bunch of puris
spiced with mango "achar". The 20 mt. feast was followed by devoring some
oranges and throwing the remnants off the speeding loco. My repeated offers
to the drivers met with polite refusals. Odha, Kherwadi and Kasbe Sukene had
been left behind. A strong pungent smell signaled the proximity of the
Niphad gobar gas plant. I was quite to photo-capture the train on the
opposite track, 'twas probably the Punjab Mail. Ugaon, Lasalgaon and Summit
led us to Manmad Jn., where a single line from Daund meets the main track.
This, too, was given no respect as the train thundered past the platform.

It was nearly 2 p.m., when the train came to a halt in the middle of
nowhere. One of the relay switches in the loco. was causing problems. The
drivers repeatedly raised and lowered the pantograph. This gave me some time
to get off the train and take a few snaps of the Pushpak Exp. (including the
loco) bathed in brilliant sunlight. Half an hour later, the train was on its

To cut the description of the rest of the journey short, we crossed the
Varanasi-Dadar Exp. at Chalisgaon, and the Gitanjali Exp. near Pachora Jn.
Most of the Gitanjali Exp. coaches had now acquired a yellow strip across the
windows. Towards the end of our journey, we overtook the superfast
Dadar-Gwalior Laskhar Exp. at Jalgaon. Jalgaon district has a
flourishing dairy industry. Bhusaval is a big railway jn. about 20 kms. from
Jalgaon. Here the line splits into two, one going towards Itarsi and the
other towards Nagpur.
In fact, slower express trains like the Howrah-Bombay Exp. often tranport 1-2
milk vans between Badnera (about 150 km. west of Nagpur) and Bhusaval.
Bhusaval is also one of the Central Rly. divisional headquarters, and has the
zonal rly. training school. It signals the end of electric traction for
north/east bound trains, and has a electric loco workshop as well as a shed.

The train reaached Bhusaval around 4.30 p.m., an hour behind schedule. I
was given a VIP's welcome; after all I was the DRM's nephew!
I had exhausted nearly two film reels during the 8 hr. journey. I obliged the
drivers by "snapping" them up in front of the loco. Even as I walked towards
the overhead bridge, I could hear the whistle of MY loco. which would soon be
replaced by a WDM-2. Would I ever see it again?


That's all for now folks! Will be back soon.