An Evening Parikrama
by Abhishek Gopal
I was out of railfanning for almost an year now. So much so that yesterday was after 9 months I went to a railway station! Not that it was the last option to spend the weekend but perhaps it was the desire to be on the rails that took me there! I was planning it the last weekend itself but somehow things didnt turn up as desired and it was postponed until yesterday.
So the plan was simple. Go to Brar Square Railway station from my home in Delhi Cantt on Delhi's Parikrama Rly service and have a Parikrama and come back. The 1710 hrs train seemed ideal. It was just the second time I was doing this ride. Somehow the plan got altered and I decided to head to SP Marg station near Dhaula Kuan instead of Brar Square. 1630 I reached SP Marg station only to find an obsolete ticket counter!! No place to buy a ticket!! The ticket counter looked older than the Purana Quila!! Anyways I too was determined but dint want the ride to be ruined by being caught ticketless! Hence hopped across the road in the look out of an autorickshaw. I decided to head to much-familiar Sarojini Nagar stn where I was asolutelely sure of getting the ticket. By the time I reached SOJ counter it was already 1702 hrs in my watch as against scheduled arrival time of 1705 hrs at SOJ.
And by the time I reached on the pf, I could see the face of the EMU (Electric Multiple Unit)at a distance. Another change to the plan in the meantime.. I decided to get down at Tilak Bridge, TKJ and enjoy whatever possible evening departures. All set and the EMU (Electric Multiple Unit)finally arrived and I hopped in. It felt so so good to be inside the train after a long time. Immediately I positioned myself at the empty door. The Parikrama Rail is not the favoured mode of transport here and especially being a sunday one can expect desired seat.
We marched off and the soon the typical sound of rails started which I was dying to hear!! The immediate halt was the elegant Delhi Safdarjund besides an imposing new building coming up. The rake of Shram shakti express was parked in the station. Few people alighted and a few boarded and we were off again. Passed through another halt at Chankyapuri, the boundary wall of Rail meuseum and the (beautified due to the rains) ridge near SP Marg station. Through the woods we sped to Brar Square. A lone TKD WDM 2 crossed us. Next halt was Inderpuri halt and the station looked like a backyard of a village!! A huge slum has spread there and the life extends on both side of railway tracks.
As we were at Inderpuri I craned out to find a pretty bizarre sighting. A caboose that is a goods train was right ahead of us in the same track as ours!! Ring railway being a predominantly single lined for both sides and loop lines on very few stations I could sense that I was goin to miss GT departure at TKJ.. :-(. The next possible loop available was at Patel Nagar a good 10 min away as per the scheduled time but the caboose made no signs of moving. Meanwhile an ASN WAG5 lead freighter went towards Brar Square with a goods rake. We spent a loong time waiting there. The slum around made everyone wish the train to start as soon as possible. But perhaps that was not to be. I left the gate and sat inside. After a looong wait what looked like an eternity we finally crawled out. The caboose was still just in front of us and didn't look in any hurry. Somehow we managed to reach Naraina Vihar but surroundings were no better than Inderpuri. Again a looong wait there. I again came back to sit. After a while I went to the door and was surprised to see that caboose ahead was gone!! No signs of it.. was glad to see that.. but wait a min.. why on earth were we not moving then?? As soon as this thought came the much awaited horn also came and we started. Picked up speed but as soon as we crossed the overhead lines to Rewari, we braked again. We halted again before Kirti Nagar. But this time was for some action. A huffy-puffy noise dopplered in and soon presented intself in a forrm of mighty diesel with a passenger train. The train sped off towards Patel Nagar from the Rewari bound lines. This sight was enough to forget the agony of last 30 min!!
We somehow inched into Kirti Nagar. And again a huffy-puffy sound dopplered in. This time it was Shalimar Exp towards Delhi Cantt.. Again good speed and lightened up the evening for me. And if I recall right the loco incharge was from ET shed!! I was surprised but am not sure if it ET. As soon as the train left we too were off. And this time we notched up in a hurry. Passed beneath the Dwarka-CP Metro lines at Shaadipur and two swanky sets headed in each direction over the bridge. At Patel Nagar was a pleasant surprise. First time I spotted a WDG4 in Delhi!! Sorry couldn't see the number and the door plating didn't allow me to handle a pen and paper either. As we were again snoozing at Patel Nagar a diesel hauled freighter smoked its way towards Kirti Nagar. On the adjacent lines, a WAP4 styled WAG 7 was shunting to head a freight.
We marched ahead and this time the EMU (Electric Multiple Unit)showed the real muscle. We had a pretty high speed run till Daya Basti. Very stiff deceleration. And looked as if the train might miss the halt!! Lots of people disembarked here and the train became even more empty. We quickly moved ahead past the Sarai Rohilla Coach Care Centre and there parked was the DEE-Bandra GR with both the generators up and running. Behind it was stabled some Duronto coaches and some coaches of Uttar Sampark Kranti. As we were passing the centre, we again came to a halt. Loong wait again. But this time a WDP3A gave me company as it passed us in the opposite direction with a passenger rake. At a distance a WAP1 moved light towards the Coach care centre. After a wait of good 15 min or so finally moved.
Spotted a dirtly looking NR rake of Kaifiyat Exp too…
Our next halt was Delhi Kishanganj. And here I spotted my second WDP4 (first was with Chhattisgarh Exp 9 months back!!).. Aravali 20058 if I recall right was its number. After a loongish halt again we moved ahead towards Sadar Bazar. And by this time soo many lines left us tangentially that I lost the count… A light WAP7 greeted me as we were entering Sadar Bazar. Spotted a few LDH locos doing rounds here and there in this area.
After Sadar Bazar it was the turn of the Big daddy the NDLS yard which had 5 or 6 24 coachers lined up for the evening. In front being the Karnataka Exp rake. In the trip shed were all sorts of WAP4s and a WAM4 as well.. Sorry again for not noting down the numbers. But one was 22224 from ED perhaps for the TN at night. We were taken into pf 2 and nothing substantial was going on…:-(.. In the pf 1 side siding the Swarna Jayanti Rajdhani rake was all decked up with its generators humming. Pf 15 was occupied with Shivganga Exp and GT had already left. Gomti Exp rake was also parked in one of the platforms. LKO Ac Spl was parked in the pit lines and the rake included a duronto coach and all kinds of Rajdhani coaches. The halt at NDLS was hardly for 3-4 mins.
Moved into Shivaji bridge and finally to Tilak Bridge at 1915 or so!! A good 2 hours after having started from SOJ!! Waited there till Shivganga sped towards Varanasi…
Feeling content after having seen all the loco variants except WAP5 and lots of action I headed back home.
The whole account has been written out of memory so kindly excuse me for any errors that might have crept in. And the ticket was priced at Rs 4!!