IRFCA Mailing List Archive

Messages 501 - 520

From: aravind <

Subject: misc

Date: 02 May 1991 15:36:00 -0500

I was watching the amount of mail go by in the past day, and it must be
a record for IRFCA ... yes, as Vijay points out, Gorakhpur and Cochin
strike me as a rather unique pair of terminii for a train ...

Question: Are the other "superfast" trains leaving Bby Central hauled
by diesels for some portion of their runs? (for the same reasons as the
Rajdhani). If the currently available DC/AC engine is inadequate to
haul the Rajdhani, how 'bout the Frontier Mail or the others?


From: Vadivelu Elumalai <

Subject: Number of bogies

Date: 02 May 1991 13:38:00 -0500

Hi there!

Any of you guys know, which train is longest in terms of compartments.
I remember Tamil Nadu and GT having 24 bogies. I still remember, how
TN and GT are signalled at Nagpur Station. Nagpur platforms are not
straight and they are curved. So the driver can't see the guard's signal.
The guard signals the station master and he inturn signals the driver.
Even Brindavan is long. When Brindavan stops at Jolarpet junction, you
can see the first and last few compartments outside the platform.

Yesterday someone posted that he had to change trains at Sivakasi.
As for as I know, Sivakasi is a small station (MG) in the Madurai -
Quilon section. Are you sure that you changed trains at Sivakasi?

Vadivelu Elumalai, U.Snail : 813, Wilson Avenue,
B-20, Atanasoff, Ames, Iowa - 50010.
Iowa State University, AT&T : (515) - 232 - 7220
Ames, IA - 50010 E-mail :

From: Siva. Hari <


Date: 02 May 1991 14:03:00 -0500

By the way, is the Secunderabad-Express have a
loco as the same color as its bogies.

Just curious.
The Secunerabad Exp runs between Bombay and Hyderabad

Sivaram. H
A Rly buff

From: Harsh Potlapalli <

Subject: 89/90 BKSC-MAS

Date: 02 May 1991 16:16:00 -0500

RE Sudarshana Bhat's query, yes the Bokaro-Madras Express still
runs its weird route. Before 1981(?) the entire train started
from BKSC (Bokaro Steel City) and got to Rourkela via Muri and
Tata. Since (1983) the train starts as 2 segments: one that
starts out of BKSC to Rourkela via Muri, Ranchi and Hatia. The
other half leaves Tata for Rourkela (via Bundamunda). The
joint train then leaves for MAS. Somehow the Tata coaches were
always better maintained than the BKSC coaches.

89/90 went through some of the desolatest (?) parts of Orissa -
Balangir, Titlagarh, Kesinga and Rayagada (lunch stop). One of
the most frustrating things about this train was that it would
invariably be just late enough into WAT (VSKP) so that it
would wait at the "outer" while my connection (7/8 Godaveri)
pulled out! Oh, yes, WAT = Waltair, VSKP = Vishakapatnam.

Then, one could continue till BJA (Vijaywada, or Bezawada),
change to GT (MAS-HWH) till KZP (Kazipet) and then catch a
morning express to SC (Secunderabad). Boy, what fun.

Eastern Railways took great care of us passengers: where else
could you get sten-gun bearing escorts from HAT to Rourkela?

-Harsh (yes, there are (at least) 2 of us).

PS to Sudarshana: so where did you live in RNC?


From: vijayb <

Subject: What else?

Date: 02 May 1991 16:35:00 -0500


Some more comments on recent mail....

Sudarshana writes:-
>correct - I meant the Sealdah/Howrah Delhi/ND route). The Tata-Amritsa went
>to Mughalsarai, whereas the Ranchi-Chandigarh took the Chopan-Chunar-Luknow-
>Kanpur route - again, DO correct me if I am wrong.

Not quite true. The Ranchi Chandigarh Exp. was introduced in the early
80's as a tri-weekly exp. It shared the Ambala-Muri portion of its
journey with the Tata Amritsar Exp. It was then extended to Kalka from
Chandigarh, and Hatia from Ranchi.This
was faster than the Tata exp. due to less no. of halts. A few years
later, it was canceled. The Tata exp. was then speeded up and some
halts (such as Bindki Rd., Mandah Rd., etc.) removed from its list.
The next step was to have one portion of the train detached at Muri
and bound for Hatia. The final step was to link it with
Kalka via Ambala.

>the Guwahati-Trivandrum and the other novelties!! BTW, almost all the rains
>stop for at least 10 minutes at Berhampur other than the Coromandel, thugh I
>seem to faintly remember that the Konark had only an 8-minute stop ther. I

The Guwahati/Howrah - Trivandrum/Cochin/Bangalore Exps. also halt at
Berhampur for a mere 2 mts. I believe the East Coast exp. stops there
for 5 mts.

Vadi writes:-
>Any of you guys know, which train is longest in terms of compartments.
>I remember Tamil Nadu and GT having 24 bogies. I still remember, how

Are you sure about this? I thought the number was more like 21. In my
last trip to India (Dec. 89), I observed that most of the trains now
have 17-18 coaches. Exceptions are trains hauled only by twin-diesels
or an elec loco. Electrification of major trunk routes has
resulted in an increase in the average no. of coaches per train;
a WAM-4 loco. (3600 hp.) can handle more coaches (~22) than a WDM-2.
In fact, the railways are planning to increase the max. no. of coaches
to 24 for trains such as the Prayagraj Exp., since these are hauled by
an elec. loco all the way.



From: Shankar Subramanian <

Subject: AC-DC traction

Date: 02 May 1991 12:44:00 -0500

I'm a newcomer to this group. I had always wondered why the Rajdhani
from Bombay Central had diesels and not electrics, I was under the impression
taht the whole route had been electrified. Is there any proposal to do away
with DC on the Surat-Pune section? Do any of the AC locos have regenerative
braking - by which the energy of the speeding train is converted back to
electricity and fed back into the power line?
I must say that we in India seem not to care for the railways at all.
The amount of investment barely covers depreciation. I read the other tday
that the Dadar-Madras Express's average speed hasn't changed since 1935.
There doesn't seem to have been any investment in developing new passenger
coaches either.
Lastly, on MG/BG, I notice that gauges in Europe are closer to MG than
to BG, so it doesn't appear that the narrowness of the track should restrict
speeds as much as it does in India. What are the real reasons?

shankar subramanian

From: Siva. Hari <


Date: 02 May 1991 15:44:00 -0500

I should thank Vijay for the explanation
regarding diesel and elec locos and about
the AC and DC shifts in elec loco, which
I was unaware of.
I have a question
Which can haul more among the locos we
presently possess.
All the while I assumed that Diesel locos
haul more than elec locos.


Sivaram. H
A Rly Buff.

From: Siva. Hari <


Date: 02 May 1991 19:10:00 -0500

Being a resident of Bombay, I've travelled a lot
on the Bombay-suburban trains(locals).
There are 2 main lines Western & Central
and the 3rd one is the Harbour-line which
is an off-shoot of the Central main line.

The Harbour Branch is an engineering marvel
and I always took the Harbour line when
ever I had to go to the Victoria Terminus,
in spite of the Matunga Central Rly station
being close to me.

One particular section of the Harbour Branch,
the Bridge station on Sandhurst road, followed by the
long bridge never ceased to impress me.

In my next posting I'll talk more about the
Harbour branch .

I wish some Calcuttans on the net speak
about the METRO!. It'll be greatly appreciated.

Sivaram. H
A Rly Buff.

From: R. Anand | School of Computer and Information Science <

Subject: Re: AC-DC traction

Date: 03 May 1991 07:59:00 -0500

The Railway Gazette International had a nice piece about high speed
passenger trains a while back. The main problem is that high-speed
passenger service and slow goods services do not really belong on the
same line. In the case of goods trains for example, superelevation on
curves can not be very high. For passenger trains on the other hand, we
need relatively large superelevation inorder to avoid causing the
passengers too much discomfort. On the the other hand, passenger
trains can start up steeper slopes as they are generally lighter than
goods trains which means that the maximum gradients can be higher on a
passenger-only line. This is why the TGV lines in France are reserved
for passenger traffic exclusively. The other requirements for higher
speed servce include the use of heavier rail, welding rather than
fishplates and better communication.


From: vijayb <

Subject: This and That

Date: 03 May 1991 08:51:00 -0500

Hi Folks,

Siva writes:-
>By the way, is the Secunderabad-Express have a
>loco as the same color as its bogies.

The Bombay-Secunderabad Exp. started running from/to Hyderabad more
than 15 years back. It used to have a blue color with a white strip
but that's all gone now. It's not even vestibuled anymore.

The Minar Exp. (B'by-S'bad) has also lost its blue-with-white-strip
color. At least, it has its vestibule intact. Used to be a classless
train, but now has a lone AC 2-tier sleeper coach.

Aravind writes:
>Question: Are the other "superfast" trains leaving Bby Central hauled
>by diesels for some portion of their runs? (for the same reasons as the
>Rajdhani). If the currently available DC/AC engine is inadequate to
>haul the Rajdhani, how 'bout the Frontier Mail or the others?

No. The Rajdhani is the only diesel hauled train to leave Bombay (as
pointed out earlier). Other superfast trains such as the Frontier Mail
and the Jammu Tawi Exp. are hauled by a WCAM-1 till Vadodara, after
which a WAM-4 takes over. The max. speed of the WCAM-1 is 90 kmph.,
which is insufficient only for the Rajdhani.

A new shed for AC-DC locos was being constructed at Valsad (between
Bombay and Surat). I wonder whether the loco. changeovers have been
shifted to Valsad from Vadodara.

Kottavalasa-Kirandul line (a question)

You might be aware of this electrified single BG line which runs from
Kirandul and joins the Howrah-Madras trunk route at Kottavalasa on its
way to Visakhapatnam. This line is an engineering marvel and had the
distinction of possessing the highest BG station in the world, before
the Rayagada-Koraput line was completed (recently). It has umpteen
bridges and tunnels.

What my question is:-
What is transported in these goods trains? Minerals from Kirandul
to the port of Visakhapatnam? If so, it is Manganese?
Or is Kirandul an industrial town, which indicates that raw materials
might be transported in the other direction?



P.S.: The Bombay-Bangalore Udyan Exp. is now double-diesel hauled
between Solapur and Bangalore, due to four extra coaches
hauled in this stretch.

From: aravind <

Subject: Kirandul line

Date: 03 May 1991 09:13:00 -0500

I believe this line is operated solely to provide "raw material"
for Japanese (maybe others too) industry. I forget what this
"raw material" is. Is there even a single passenger train on
this line? If so, it sure sounds like an attractive ride!

Maybe this line has the highest BG elevation in India. But if one
considers the U.S. of A., many rail passes (of the mountain kind)
in the Great West get up to 7k-8k feet. Does anyone know the max.
elevation of the Kirandul line?


From: Harshavardhan <B645ZBH@UTARLG.EMAIL

Subject: Regarding the local trains in Bombay.

Date: 03 May 1991 09:22:00 -0500

Being a resident of the suburban area of Bombay, Siva's article on locals
set me thinking about the railway branches there. There are a couple of
local trains running from Victoria Terminus to Bandra. These trains are the
only locals which run from the Central Railway system to a Western Railway
system in the city. They have a crossing point at Parel, I presume.

These locals run twice a day to ferry passengers working in the Fort area and
living in Bandra/LowerParel area and Vice versa.


From: Siva. Hari <


Date: 03 May 1991 10:14:00 -0500


The Harbour branch, of the Bombay Suburban Rly Network
never ceased to impress me. Being a resident of Bombay,
I used to regularly commute by it and that too by
second class. In spite of the intolerable crowd, I used
to have great fun hanging out from the door and looking
down as the train went over elevations and bridges.

The Harbour branch starts from Bombay-VT and goes along
the Central rly main line till before Sandhurst Rd,
where it takes a steep turn cum elevation to the right
and crosses the main line to the Sandhurst Rd Bridge
station. This station, I consider an engineering marvel.
I don't know whether there are any other bridge stations
in India.

Most of the Harbour branch was built by the British and
some of the bridges on the route are reminders of that
period(Fine archetectural pieces).

>From Sandhurst Rd the train proceeds to Dockyard Rd. One
of the reason why this off shoot of the Central Rly got
named Harbour Branch is due to it passing near the Bombay
harbour. The next station along the line is Reay Rd. Then
it passes via cotton-green to Wadala station. All along this
route there are a maze of bridges as the train winds through
residential sections. The Wadala station is accessed by many
industrial lines which join this line to Kurla.

>From Wadala, the Harbour bifurcates, one line going to
Kings-circle to Bandra on the Western main line. Now
a new railway flt-over has been built from Bandra to
Khar, to help the Harbour trains to cross over and go
right upto Andheri. I personally like travelling the
section between Wadala and Kings-circle, where the
line passes over Main-roads and streets over cute bridges.

The other section from Wadala bifurcates to Kurla, via
Kolivada and Chunnabhati. There is a great bridge here
before the Koliwada station passing through residential
areas. I wonder, how people sleep there at nights with
trains constantly roaring by. What if there is a derailment.
Thank God, nothing of that sort has happened yet. Kurla is
on the Central main line and from there the harbour agian
deviates to Chembur through to Mankhurd. Last, I heard was
the line was palnned to be extended beyond Mankhurd.

In spite of the crowds, The suburban Rly Network of Bombay
(Central, Western and Harbour) are the lifelines or in
other words the arteries of this burstling city.

Sivaram. H
A Rly Buff

From: C. S. Sudarshana Bhat <B536HIND@UTARLVM1.EMAIL

Subject: Locals

Date: 03 May 1991 10:52:00 -0500

While talking about the local trains, I guess it would be fun if the others
[= non-Bombayites :-)] also share their experiences, if any, on locals in
and Kharagpur, with the the main stations in between being Panskura, Ullubaria
Santragachi [lots of oranges, eh?? :-)] and one other which I don't remember.
I must confess that all my info in this matter is from memorizing :-) the
time-tables. Panskura was my favourite, and I used to look out for trains
not stopping at other above-mentioned stations, but stopping at Panskura. BTW,
the now-defunct Janata Express used to have a stop at quite a lot of these
stations!! Also, I believe there is a network of local trains in Madras too,
as there are, if I am not mistaken, three main stations in Madras, though I
remember only Madras Central and Madras Egmore:-(. And how about the ring
routes in Delhi? Do Hyderabad-Secunderabad-Kacheguda have anything similar?

More on locals in Bombay : the Harbour route to Bandra branches off over
Matunga if I recollect correctly, i.e., it runs Westward from the Central
Railways (Harbour) branch and crosses over the Central Railway (V.T. - Thane
section) somewhere between Sion and Matunga, and joins the Western Railway
"I don't know where" :-(.

The book on railways I was reading yesterday mentioned the Palace on Wheels,
but added that it was not equal to the hype. The book mentions the Blue
Train in South Africa as the best one!

On the two-minute warning : Vijay, it was, I guess who added that part about
the other trains stopping for only two minutes at Berhampur. It reminded me
of the scare I had when we [my family] were moving/shifting/transferring :-)
from Berhampur to Ranchi. After getting off at Kharagpur from the 4Down
Madras-Howrah Mail in the morning [~~ 5 am], with hordes of luggage [travelling
desi ishtyle :-)], we had to get the Ispat Express to Tatanagar. The fright
was that the Ispat stopped only 2 minutes at Kharagpur, and I was afraid that
we might miss it :-(. Anyway, that is a different story about how one platform
in Kharagpur accomodates two LONG passenger trains and how different trains
stop at different regions of the same platform [this recolloection, thanks to
a book on railways I was reading last night which mentioned that in Japan,
BOTH the bogies AND the platform are marked with the same number, and the
trains are EXACT in stopping : of course, in India too, this exists but in a
very limited extent, right??].

Also, keeping the string on bypasses running again, there IS one somewhere near
Kazipet and Warangal, isn't there? I remember those premier trains - TN, AP,
and K/K - taking this bypass and not stopping there [whichever one was the main
station :-) :-) - alas, I haven't taken this route either :-(], on the
Balharshah-Vijayawada route. Oh wait, I don't think the K/K took this route at
all, and the AP must have had to stop, to change direction(?) :-), towards
Hyderabad/Secunderabad. Someone come to my rescue :: I'm getting totally
confused :-( :-(.

More later. Ciao.

From: vijayb <

Subject: Bombay Suburban Service!

Date: 03 May 1991 13:21:00 -0500


Siva's description brings back memories of the Bombay local trains.
One of my
frequented routes was from Ghatkopar (where my house is) to Sion during college
days; I was studying in S.I.E.S. (popularly known as Sambar Idli Eating
Society!) college at that time. Ghatkopar is (in)famous for crowd swarms
during rush hours. There are well-established techniques of entraining/
detraining which hinge around the phrase "move with the crowd, or be swept
away". Fortunately, the orientation of platforms in Sion was the same as that
of Ghatkopar so I just had to stand near the door. But I sure felt sorry for
those Ruia guys (Ramnarain Ruia College is in Matunga, one stn. away from
Sion) who had to tackle the crowd to cross over to the other door!

The Mankhurd Belapur link is an ongoing project. One of the key phases is
the construction of a long bridge over the Thana creek. Once completed, this
would provide a direct suburban link between New Bombay and the island of
Bombay. I am not sure when the line is expected to be opened to traffic.
Maybe 2-3 years from now?


From: Shaibal Roy <

Subject: Short-and-fast runs.

Date: 03 May 1991 08:26:00 -0500

Hello everybody. It is great to see so many interesting messages
on irfca. My thanks to the contributors.

One one the features of the time tables that I found very
fascinating is high average speed on short (< 25 km) runs.
Not too many trains in IR have schedules which better 60kph
on such short distances. Longer runs are a different story
(eg: Rajdhani from New Delhi to Kanpur: 435km in 4.5 hours).
Short-and-fast runs impress me more because accelaration is
at a premium for trains. If I remember correctly, most trains
need over 90 seconds to accelerate to the operating speed.
Maybe EMUs can do better.

The most impressive short-and-fast run I remember is one by the
Flying Ranee (that's the commuter express that goes north from
Bombay Central). It was scheduled to cover 16km in 13 minutes.
Another impressive one was the daytime mail (name?) between New
Delhi and Amritsar. It had a couple of very short >60kph runs.
This is impressive since (in 83) it used to be hauled by a steam
locomotive. Some EMUs in Howrah-KGP and Howrah-Bardhwan sections
did better than 60 kph for < 20km runs. This is not bad considering
that the maximum speed for EMUs is only 90kph.

Anyone know of any other short-and-fast runs?


PS: Anyone have a copy of a recent IR time table that I can borrow
for a few days? I will pay the postage.

From: Harsh Potlapalli <

Subject: Kazipet Bypass

Date: 03 May 1991 13:33:00 -0500

IMHO, the bypass is more like a terminus. That is, a train,for example MAS-DEL GT,
would pull into KZP and leave in the same direction. The track splits like a Y
one fork goes to Sirpur-kagaznagar (and to Nagpur) and the other to Khamman and
BZA. This is as far as I recall but it _has_ been a while since I travelled to
the Kazipet-Nagpur route.


From: Shankar Subramanian <

Subject: bombay suburban

Date: 03 May 1991 08:34:00 -0500

Yes, the Bombay suburban lines are quite something. If it weren't for them
the city would stop. What's more, there have been virtually no capital
improvements on these lines for a long time, so it's a marvel the system
continues to work. Unfortunately, the Railway Board doesn't seem to think
that locals are important and the city and state governments bear none of
the burden either. The system was electrified in 1928. At that
time the WR line ran all the way to Colaba. Over time, most of the
suburbs came up along the old GIP and BB lines. So in that sense, the locals
are really an afterthought, the lines were never planned for intra-city traffic
and have to be shared between goods, express and intra-city trains.
As a result, express trains take a long time to leave the city and
are often delayed.
The only recent improvement has been the installation of tubelights in 2nd
class compartments. The railways suddenly realized that it's quite inexpensive
to substitute tubelights (they run off inverters from the batteries) and that
2nd class travellers also need light. The curious thing is that it took them
so long to do it, the buses in Bombay have had tubelights for a long time and
the technology (if one can call it that) is quite old.
The Harbour line has only slow trains whereas the others have both fast
and slow (which stop at all stations). The harbour line was extended to
Andheri from Bandra some years ago. But from what I remember the CR
trains don't run on the WR tracks. At Bandra the harbour line comes in on
the east from Mahim and after Bandra there is a flyover that carries the
line over the WR lines because the terminus at Andheri is to the west of
the WR lines. Strangely enough, the frequency of service from Andheri is
quite low and the flyover is underutilized.
In my opinion, the suburban service is outdated - nowhere else
in the world do they continue to use the same kind of rolling stock
for intra-city service as for inter-city. We have yet to develop
light trains for intra-city use. These are safer and can accelerate
faster and are more energy-efficient. The average speed of a fast
train is a mind-boggling 30 km! In addition, because of the system
of fast and slow trains, trains often have to overtake each other,
which leads to frequent delays that cascade. What Bombay needs is a proper
metro, one with several lines criss-crossing the city. There are
too many new areas that are not served by train and are 5 to 10 km
from a train station. There was at one time a proposal to use the
same design (the French one) as in Calcutta, but nothing has been done
about it. The line to Mankhurd and new Bombay is another piece of
idiocy. It is like reaching around your back to touch your nose.
New Bombay is across the sea from VT and there has been a proposal
to conncet the two with a tunnel. This would have been a wonderful
opportunity for the railways to do something unique inIndia and they
did nothing. The line to Mankhurd is about 20 km while the direct
route is about 7 km.

But still, Bombay is the only city in India to have a proper
train service. The others don't count.

Shankar subramanian

From: C. S. Sudarshana Bhat <B536HIND@UTARLVM1.EMAIL

Subject: Sambar Idli Eating etc.

Date: 03 May 1991 11:41:00 -0500

To Vijay:
So you are/were at Ghatko, eh? Great!!
Everybody :
Vijay's posting reminded me of Idli-Sambars. It's beem quite sometime now,
since I last ate those items :-(. That reminded me of the food served in the
Indian Railways. I was the only one in the family to have the ability of
Agasthya, i.e., "Vaataapi JeerNo Bhava" [touch wood :-) :-)]. I used to
Hajam whatever was served [so long as it was vegetarian :-)] on the trains,
though my mother, and sometimes my father and sister, would have problems
doing the same! Of course, the "Chai-Chai" and the "Coffee-Nescoffee-Coffee"
(sic) was a must for everybody on those long hauls.

More on locals : It is irritating that the platforms at which the locals stop
in Bombay are not standardized, insofar as the side of the local which faces
the platform is concerned - thus sometimes necessitating a quick switch,
across the width of the bogie, in some cases :-( :-(. Vijay, you lucky Sonofag
un :-) :-)!!

Fast speeds on short sections : I feel that almost all trains with Electric
locos ought to have this ability. One certain example I have is Ispat [oh, not
again :-) :-)] Express, between Kharagpur and Tatanagar. The total distance is
~ 135 km., and Ispat has two stops in between - Jhargram and Ghatsila. I am
almost certain that the average speed on those 3 stretches exceeded 50 kmph.
Would have to think again regarding 60kmph, though :-(.

The Ranchi-Raurkela route : I don't quite remember where this topic had last
been left off. I wanted to ask about the change from one-link to two-links
of this stretch. I am not sure if it is complete/only just underway/not yet
underway ...???!!! Also, has anybody travelled on the Ranchi-Lohardaga NG
route? It is a 63 km journey, which I wanted to undertake, but somehow I
did not manage to muster enough courage to do it alone [then :-)], and we
[as a family:-)] did not manage to get enough vacation time for it:-(.

More later. Bye.

From: Harsh Potlapalli <

Subject: Cal Metro

Date: 03 May 1991 14:35:00 -0500

The Calcutta Metro is one excellent train. It is cheap (in terms of
time saved), fast and clean. They have painted some (very) beautiful
murals on the walls. Back in 1988, the construction on the 2nd phase -
Esplanade-DumDum had just started. I hadnt been in an underground rail
before but I felt that the train was quite noisy.

The cleaniness is quite something else - spotless platforms and sharp-as-a-
card staff. And I dont think I even saw "paan" spittle anywhere (but that
is a topic reserved for sci).