Gomoh-CLW Trip Report
by Lakshman Thodla
Left SC at 17.45 pm on 3rd by falknuma 2704 WDM2c of VSKP 14014
Good hauling till VSKP which at 5.00 am changed over to a 18818R (have to check road no) to HWH from VSKP, saw some lovely 3 WAG5 mued frieghts, locos of VSKP shed and heavy traffic with rakes waiting. The line from BBS to KGP is almost ready for electric action, except a small part of which catenary has to be strung, poles are in place so another 6 months should do before all trains to HWH from MAS go electric then what would be the fate of VSKP diesel shed.
Pulled into HWH RT at 20.25 was found on the platform by our dear samit who came to our rescue from the strange atmosphere. we then gladly went over to our HWH trip shed samits house. sadly no WAP7 spotted in HWH that day.
Next day we were off at 08.00 hrs to HWH and went onto the platform where we met this wonderful gentleman Mr. Budhadebsaha from HWH and shared many light moments with him. Then the poorva rake shunted in with all 03XXX and 04XXX coaches came in, soon all the guys shouted that a WAP7 was on its way, I didn't belive them as I could not see it yet, then like a ghost from the mist, the white beast emerged from the mroning fog at 10 kmph with a red lining, stopping just short of the rake, was coupled up soon enough and we were at the loco, it was 30218 from GZB shed spanking clean except for a pan stain on the side of the door.
Main compressors went on soon enough and the shunter gave a all clear for Brake pressure check and at 09.00 hrs the driver came and took a look at the HT area, and we were in the coach, at 09.10 hrs sharp there was a throaty hoot from the WAP7 and we were off.
Smoothly pulling out at 15 kmph till HWH shed, I was upset as I thought this was all the WAP7 and felt very sad, but then we cleared points 10 min later and then a long HT hoot and I began to see why the WAP7 was the best passenger loco in India.
We were at 40kmph even before I knew it and smooth and jerk free accelaration was the hallmark as if a irressitable force was powering the rake forward, and as if it had no resistance due to its weight.hit 100 kmph soon enough only to be humbled by a caution order, down to 40 kmph again a big blast of the high tone(HT) by the driver indicating his irritation and with TE to max we were picking up like a main line memu and in a very short, while we were again at 100kmph, bharath was tracking the speed with his GPS unit, and the WAP7 made quick work of every caution order as if it were a hungry beast. Even a long 20 kmph caution order of 500m we were off real EMU style. Reached Bardhaman on time and durgapur also on time where we met Milan chaterjee. This EMU style running continued as we had lost time of 18 min at durgapur due to signals then after raniganj the driver was flooring it to the max and we were in ASN(asansol ) at 11.55pm.
Then after spotting at ASN we took the MEMU to Gomoh, saw the black diamond exp loco a gomoh WAP7 waiting no 30205.
Reached gomoh shed and saw an army of green IR soldiers the WAG9 locomotives getting ready in green battle fatigues, waiting to armed to battle brutal terrain and coal mines, soon found out that all were out retired hurt and waiting for the shed docs for a check up. Also lying were 2 WAP7 30203, 30204 for inspection and one WAP7 30214 I think waiting with axles out. there was also a ajni WAG9 in bad shape. Then we went to the station refreshment room for a superb meal,and heading to ASN to get to CLW in the morning.
The Dhanbad-kanpur intercity I think roled in with a shining WAP7 30213 gomoh and a 10 coach load what a waste!!!!!!!!!!
Quickly I called the others and we were in the first coach from the loco as we wanted to ride a WAP7 hauled train. Bharath's GPS was out and we started off and were at 110 kmph at no time. The speedo was jumping as if it was a light loco on the run, reached dhanbad in 22 min after a fast run at 110 kmph, and then got into the MEMU to ASN where we slept and left next day for CLW.
Left for ASN station at 9.00 am only to find the MEMU was retimed for CLW to 8.15 am, had no option but to hire a taxi with up and down fare to CLW, we then got on to the GQ road which was ready till dhanbad and we were at a steady 75 kmph no caution orders and we were in CLW township.
A liitle about CLW itself now, CLW was founded in the 1950 's and was actually planned at the time of partition at a place called kalyani near HWH, but the planners then were doubtfull if there was ever partiton of bangladesh then we would have to lose it, so they put in on the WB bihar border in a village called mirjhim, which after the loco works came up was known a chittaranjan, even now outside the CLW plant the boards indicate mihijam village. The chittaranjan railway station is in bihar and is flanked by jharkhand on one end. The factory wall and a small road signify the end of WB, and start of jharkhand, so we crossed three states on the way to the station.
The campus is a lovely place filled with greenery and hides the fact that it produces some very advanced locomotives. It is also a great place for lovely lakeside views with trees spread around and also very clean with no dirt or garbage, and also has many birds which migrate from europe and beyond to these area. Interesting TOT hahaha.
We were then guided to the Design and development centre (D&D) where we led into the office of our IR employed railfan Mr Sujeet Mishra, and his office is a railfan's delight with lovely A4 sizes photos of locos lining the walls, and the biggest thing for me a jumbo size blow up of the WAP7 30201 back view totally around 5 sq feet in size. we also saw the industrial computers which were used for the 3 phase loco programming and also the entire control unit of WAP5 and WAG9 were mounted up for testing, and in corner a photo of the WAP7 with a small floppy which held its control software. We met up Mr Sujeet Mishra who was very delighted to meet a groups of railnuts after Shanku Niyogi 's visit. soon we were into a deep technical disscusion about the locos etc, when Sujeet's Boss Mr Sadasivan came in and met us, and was happy and suprised that IRFCA had so much interest in railway working.
Soon we were on our way to the store area, where Mr Sadasivan was kind enough to show us what has become the greatest road block in the p5 production. The ZF hurth coupling assembly, I will post a detailed explanation on the hurth coupler in a seperate report as it is very technical in nature and would divert from this report totally.
Then we went over for lunch which has been covered in other reports, and then after required security procedures we then went over to the production area, the whole production area is nicely wooded with trees all around providing a superb work place. then we went to fitting shop where we saw many locos lying in different stages of production, they included 5 G9 locos in various stages 1 WAG7 loco in shell stage and 2 WAP4 in shell and unpainted stage also one p5 shell no 30015.
Then a green beast caught our sight a spanking new WAG9 no 31068 which bharath has posted, we railfans went into a frenzy and started clicking over much to the amusment of the staff who gathered round us. we then climbed into the G9, and eagerly went round the cab as the loco was being switched on and off, we were then showed the HT area where open panels of the traction converter with 3 KV of voltage very very scary, we also noticed some ballast wieghts for adding to bogie to meet the standard G9 weight as the bogie was born underweight in the foundry. we then saw a WAG7 27698 loco being tested out. CLW has a low speed test track around 10 kmph long where locos are moved up and down for testing.
We then moved over to the furnishing and finishing shops where we saw many locos on dummy bogies and wheel sets. Being fitted with seats and other stuff in the cab like speedo etc. we saw a WAG7 without a no being fitted up with buffers and speedos, we also saw 30221 WAP7 which was with orginal bogies and seats and other stuff was being put into the cab, of which I took a shot of a loco without seats. also another WAP7 was in finishing stage but without paint etc. 30221 was painted and also the control electronics were ready.
As the foundry and paint shops were closed on a sat, we headed back to Mr.Sujeet 's office, where me and bharath had another massive tech disscussion, on the hauling capabilities of locos.And with a MATLAB software on Mr Sujeet's Laptop which was being used by RDSO for virtual trials, we fed in the data on HP of the WDG4 and WAG9 locos and ran the simulation with 58 BOXN load to reach 60kmph.
These are the figures achieved WDG4 took 21.22 min and the WAG9 took 8.22 min to reach 60 kmph on level track in a simulation. for those who doubt the simulation accuracy, we then fed in the WAP7 data and poorva load of 1450 tonnes, and we achieved exactly 238 seconds on level track to reach 100kmph, which was the same time bharath clocked that day morning on poorva with a GPS and stop watch. Right down to last second and even when we fed in a caution order simulation from 20kmph to 100kmph it was also right, sorry don't remember the timing.
Then we went over to over guest house accompanied by the toots of locos being tested and crashed for the day.
Next day after a lazy morning we headed out the station, we could not meet Mr Sujeet as he busy in some office work, we found poorva was late by 2hours, and we missed the danapur exp to ASN. Then we hired out a Sumo to ASN, where again we reatreated to the refreshment room for some wonderful Veg cutlets and then we spotted the HWH-NDLS raj with a BRC WAP4 passed through at 30 kmph, then the poorva came in with a CNB WAP4 quite late, me and bharath were quite in glee that the WAP4 made it late hahahahha.
Then after a lot of deliberation we decided to take black diamond to HWH with my fav on heading WAP7, the black diamond arrived around 20 min late at ASN and was a 18 coach load, we pushed ourselves into the GS, then a mighty toot and the WAP7 30208 (got to check loco no ) was off the driver was driving text book style as some officer seemed to be footplating that day, and no sooner were points clear we could feel the g force in the seat as the driver went to max TE using the brute power of the WAP7 to the max and we were off like a EMU again and smoothly at 100 kmph, after the next station the driver seemed to drop off the officer, and he set it to 67% starting make us get a solid jerk in coach like a mumbai local and then after clearing a bit of the platform again went max TE and train was whizzing past the cabin and other buildings at high speed, more than poorva this really worked me up, and I lot all the tiredness which had overtaken me so far in the GS, as the WAP7 was making short work of the stretch. in front of it.
We were off at bardhaman due to extreme rush in the coach and inspite of so many halts we made up over 12 min with all stops and TSR and PSR, it showed that this variant in existing form itself is a super loco which me and bharath agreed hands down just waiting to see how the next version would be with enhanced software and TE. Then we took a EMU to HWH and crossed a few loaded WAG9 rakes at 100 kmph, reached HWH at 22.00 hrs.
Next day we were out to HWH to drop bharath for the HWH-NZM raj, he was in bad mood as the last 2 days the train was getting a WAP4 and not his dream machine.
We were late that day and rushing into the station and bharath was just able to catch the train at 16.12 pm then I spotted the white beast at the head of the train, and it has already started by then bharath was eagerly at the door and hands waving I shouted "seven seven " he was super thrilled with a big grin on his face and went it to the coach.
Next day reached the station well in advance and caught the 2703 falknuma well in time with samit to see me off, we got a vskp WDM3A no 14014 and we then pulled out of hwh with a raj driver at the throttle, he was frusterated that we got caution signals all the way 20kmph out of HWH and then he opened, up the throtlle and expertly made the 23 coach load pickup effortlessly,which showed the driver's skiill at getting the max from the loco, we were at KGP on time but here there was driver change and again back to old alco style, slept for a while and had a good lunch from the pantry, which is almost as good as 7085/86 SC-SBC express, then again crashed reached VSKP on time and had a superb dinner, up again at BZA before the bridge saw lots of WAM4 and WAG5 locos in the shed, crashed again and after a 2 hours run in the morning after I woke up reached SC on time at 09.30 hrs.
That fulfilled a long standing dream of visting CLW which had been there for over 10 years now ever since I saw a article in business India on CLW which was the first time I saw a WAM4 loco, and given a chance yes I would love to do it all over again.