Sunday Morning at Naihati Junction
by Anamitra Ghatak
I am going to narrate a cool rail fanning trip that was done by me and Mr. Rahul Biswas of IRFCA SDAH. It was the first such a session in Naihati surroundings and as predicted, Naihati never disappoints the rail fans. It was proved again.
The itinerary was fixed on the day before. At the same time we had to catch EMU locals from Kalyani and Sealdah to reach a midpoint in Jagaddal. This station is on the 4-track electrified section of Naihati - Sealdah mainline. The advantage was, very few trains stop at the mainline platforms (3 and 4) whereas sub lines through platform 1 and 2 cater to EMU services. However, there were exceptions today. But let's start with the morning blues.
I took the 6:02 EMU from Kalyani and arrived at Jagaddal. Before the EMU stopped, I could spot Mr. Biswas sitting on a bench in platform 4 under a tree. And before I could reach, he spotted the 3186 Gangasagar Express with a blue-yellow BWN WDM-2 #18679. Quite a lazy Sunday morning it was overlooked by a soft sun playing hide-and-seek behind the clouds.
I joined Mr. Biswas on platform 4 and within minutes a large glass windowed Jessop EMU charged into the platform 2. I didn't mention, Jagaddal is still kind of a halt station and many slow EMUs(Electric Multiple Unit) don't stop there. Meanwhile, 131 Sealdah - Muzaffarpur Fast Passenger pulled in behind an ASN based WAG-5A #23192. With a brief halt, it left for Kankinara, the next stoppage. A couple of more EMUs(Electric Multiple Unit) charged from both directions when we heard an ALCO horn from Naihati side. From the horn it was assumed to be a diesel. Mr.Biswas walked down the platform towards the adjacent LC gate. When he pointed the loco, he found it to be smoking like a 'rhino'.
When our cameras were on, the gateman asked us to stay away from track and so we did. It was smoking blue-light blue BWN WDM-2 #18788 hauling 3164 Hatey Bazare Express. Just after that, Mr.Biswas brought 2 kulhad cups of tea from a nearby tea stall. The tea got over in a jiffy. It was time for the star attraction 3108 Maitree Express. A blue/white Malda livery BWN WDM-2 #17821 cruised through the station with the beautiful white Indonesian rake to Dhaka.
The loco has lost its livery as patches of paintwork were completely scathed out. Can be called beauty behind a beast. All the carriages had some or the other Bangla markings of 'Bee Ar'(BR), 'Shovan'(2s class), 'Tapanukul'(for AC), 'Khabar Gari'(Pantry Car) and 'Anta Sahar'(Intercity) etc. For a video of this rake shot at KYI, please visit:
By the time we were on the LC gate, we attracted a lot of curiosity from the local people. So we decided to walk towards Naihati. Just before Kankinara (KNR), the main lines 3,4 merge and for a bi- directional track towards Naihati. At that point, a few flatbeds, that carry Army vehicles caught our eyes in the West Yard of Kankinara. A few BOXN-LW, BOST and other wagons created a consortium there which was captured with a lot of enthusiasm by Mr. Biswas.
At Kankinara, it was decided to take a stop rather than crossing like a fast train. An immediate refueling of Drinking water was performed there and the onward walking journey started. Immediately after Kankinara, we heard a lot of blows from both directions and announcements from the station about some through trains. We waited beside the bi-directional main line under the shadow of a BCN rake headed by a BGA WDS-6R. After that, a few things happened back to back.
A WAP-4 hauled express was found to be charging through the suburban line #2. It was HWH #22290 with GKP-Kolkata Express. A 22 coach load was taken by the mighty red beast. Within a minute, from the other 2 tracks, 2 expresses charged in.
Surprise! A TATA WAM-4 #20688 was found coming trough the bi- directional line from Naihati. When it came near, we found it to be an off link for 3112 Lalquila Express. But at the same time 1105 Pratham Swatantrata Senani express with MGS WAM-4 rumbled through the suburban line 1. All these things happened so fast that we lost the MGS beast's road number. I managed to take a snap of 2 locos crossing each other.
It was enough of passengers, so we decided to walk through the huge yard of Naihati to take a look at the freight wagons. While walking, the sick line with a hump was found. There are many rickety BCXC and BOXC (VB) wagons awaiting a repair for export duty to Bangladesh. Spotted a green BCN and 4 wheel tanker wagon on one of the tracks. As we walked through the western end of the yard, we could spot the parked new wagons. But due to heavy presence of freight rakes, we could never see through the eastern side of tracks. But anyway, managed to have a look at some prime attractions of the yard in the form of brand new BOXN HS, BOXN LW and BOST HS, make of Texmaco and Burn Standard.
Oh, by the way, overtaking action of a 9 car EMU (Electric Multiple Unit)by a 12 car RHA-SDAH EMU was witnessed by us from the yard.
From Kankinara to Naihati we walked down the green grassy tracks with very little presence of ballast. In Naihati station, again we hopped on to the main line and crossed bi-directional platform 5. When we were about to walk on the tracks again, it was announced that Lalgola Fast Passenger was coming on platform 4. Mr.Biswas again took a good snap of it coming behind ASN WAG-5A #23582. The sun was getting stronger and we walked faster to reach Baroda Bridge where the double tracks to Bandel (BDC) take a huge left turn, leaving the straight double tracks to Ranaghat (RHA).
From a distance, we found a coal loaded BOXN rake was standing in the home signal hauled by a lonely ASN WAG-5 #23563.
We were under the Baroda Bridge and taking photographs of it when we heard a sharp horn of a WAG-5 from Sealdah end.
Now, there was a surprise entry of 103 Sealdah Lalgola Passenger with ASN WAG-5A #23193 taking turns from platform 5 to Ranaghat main line.
Due to this turn, 3104 Bhagirathi Express was stuck at Naihati home signal behind a WAG-5A #23075.
Again, the freighter from Bandel line had to wait for both the passengers to pass before it could get the starter. Within 100 yards, ASN beasts were competing for starter. And we had our day hopping from one side of the track to the other.
With the departure of the passenger and the express, we thought of giving the freight some attention. She was on a magnificent curve. We started taking every possible snap of the loco when IRFCA Kolkata superstar Shubhabrata called and asked to snap the CLW logo. Here, Mr.Biswas heard it as CLW loco and was quite confused. When we got the requirement, we were stunned to find that the loco #23563 has been stripped off a logo. But the freighter had received the started very soon towards Baroda Bridge.
At that location, between two diverging pair of tracks, there is a cool Hanuman Temple where we sat for some time to get rid of the rising heat. With a small rest we thought of bidding goodbye to Naihati and returning to the station. The continuous movement of SDAH Division EMUs with 'V' shaped whiskers and HWH Division EMUs with '- - v - -' shaped whiskers waned our fatigue. After all, walking 6 kms on tracks was no child's play.
Taking the temporarily closed LC gate, we went into the town and hired a pedal rickshaw for Rs.6 to Naihati station. While we were on the foot over bridge, a BWN WDM-2 #16360 in classic Erode livery brought a BCN rake and parked it at one of the tracks designated for the freights. Our BOXN friend with the coal load was parked beside this rake.
From a distance we spotted a GMO WAG-9 #31009 peeping out of the yard we walked through. Where has she been then? Here, an announcement of the Kalyani Simanta EMU local was made. I had to leave Naihati by this northbound train. And Mr.Biswas went to platform 4 for a Sealdah bound EMU. My train picked speed from Naihati outer when it crossed a WDS-6R #36092 hauled BCXC rake from Bangladesh. Due to the shortage of VB compatible freight locos, ER Sealdah Division runs mainline freights with WDS-6Rs. Now, the EMUs running behind are screwed for obvious reasons. So no wonder, poor Mr. Biswas had to wait for quite some time to get a southbound EMUtrailing the ill fated freighter. In the mean time, he managed to snap a strange departmental rake. It was a MGS WAM-4P #20440 hauled 2 coach rake. It was most probably an optical fiber communication equipment inspection car that came from Sealdah direction and stopped at platform 2. I returned to the base Kalyani Ghoshpara and sneaked into a retail mart for shopping in AC (Air Conditioned) mode. A Limca pet jar tasted like Panacea.
That's all folks!