Bhopal Trip

by Mayur Shinde

June 2004

Part 1

4th June was a day I was waiting for since a long time, because this was the day I was to go for an over night train journey after almost 3 years. Me and my mom had reservations on 2137 Punjab Mail. We reached platform 14 of CSTM at about 6:10 PM. a KYN shed WDS6 brought the 18 coach 2137 rake at about 6:30.Just then MMR bound Panchvati express left from platform 15. 2137 had majority of 04 coaches however my AC3 was a 98 coach. Soon enough I went up ahead to see the loco coupling ceremony. It was a very obvious WCAM3 21896. It had a kind of a rear view mirror attached to one of its front windows looking upwards where pantograph assembly is located. I had never seen anything like it before. The train left on time that is 7:05 PM. My last few trips on IR had been on the 2165 BBS superfast which is a 24 coach affair and seeing the WCAM3 perform splendidly with it, I had really high expectations from our WCAM3 with a 18 coach load. Sure enough it didn't disappoint. Pick up was fantastic. Soon after the mandatory stop at Dadar, Kurla Ghatkopar, etc., were passed in a blur. I was standing at the door from Bhandup to see the new Mulund yard where a long container rake was standing

with a wcam2p at the helm. Just ahead of Diva I saw a WAG7 27049 with a long freight and WDG3A Shakti standing light. Kalyan was reached in exactly 50 mins. At Kalyan saw a long freight with with WDM2 18041 and 16049.

After KYN we were doing MPS till we were stopped by a red on an up gradient before Kasara. This was a real test for the WCAM3. Soon we got a green and WCAM3 started pulling, the acceleration was as if we were on a level terrain.The WCAM3 keeps impressing me more and more everytime. Kasara came on time and 2 howling wcg2s were attached at our rear end. The ascent on the ghats was the fastest I have ever seen, and I have been travelling on this route for the last 25 years... IGP was reached on time and again I went to the front to see the loco change. The WCAM3 had already been detached. Nothing came from Nasik side for about 10 mins. I was really praying for a WAP1 instead of a WAM4, because I have travelled by WAM4 hauled trains all my life. Then I saw a waist level headlight coming towards our train...and I was so happy. It was a WAP1 22023. A clean one too. AC locos are definately much more silent than AC/DC and pure DC locos, including WCMx locos.

IGP was left 10 mins late and the WAP1 seemed in no hurry at all. Only after the AC trip shed was left did it start pulling good. I stood at the door till Nasik and boy was it good. It was almost 11, so I went in and slept peacefully only to awake some where near ET. The WAP1 was showing why it still is used to haul many a Rajdhani across india. It had been a long time since I had enjoyed such a high speed train ride. ET was reached on time. At ET I saw a RAJ liveried AJJ WAM4 haul an empty BOXN rake. This was a scene I was seeing after a long time.

Now I was looking forward to the ghat section between ET and BPL. I haven't travelled on this section at day time for a long time so was even more curious. Soon Powarkheda was passed and Hoshangabad was reached. At the Ghat I saw a ED WAP4 hauled south bound train. probably the TN. Before Habibganj another ED WAP4 hauled south bound train was passed, probably the GT. So I had seen both the super expresses within a span of 2 hours. Habibgang was reached right on time where a BRC wam4 hauled Jabalpur-Rajkot exp was standing. BPL was reached 5 mins late and thus ended my very very enjoyable trip.

Part 2

This trip report is in conclusion of my BPL trip. Actually I took an MPRTC bus upto Indore(MHOW to be exact) to meet some relatives. I had my return journey to MCT on the 09/06/2004 from Indore on the Avantika.

The day came when I had to go back to Mumbai, and though I was a little wary of going back to office and all the regular routine, I was looking forwrd to it because for the first time I was going to travel in MG train from Mhow to Indore. In fact that day was the first time I saw an MG train. The train was a MHOW-Indore shuttle which was to depart at 12:45 PM. The rake was quite dirty with very low patronage. We were on platform 2 and our loco was a Sabarmati YDM4. Just then a blue Sabarmati YDM4 6660 (I think) pulled in with the Jaisalmer-Akola Fast Passenger. I was really quite amazed to see an AC sleeper coach on it.

Our train departed at 12:55. I saw that the trains acceleration was quite good and so were the speeds. The coach did not jerk or oscillate too much, as I was expecting it to, reading others people's experience with MG. Any way I saw the token exchange ritual when we were sidelined at RAU for the Ujjain-Mhow fast passenger to pass. I observed that most of the people travelling in my coach were ticket less travellers and were always on the look out for the TC, in case he appeared. 1 local passenger travelling with me said that a TC hardly ever came to check. In about 50 minutes we reached Indore. Our train Avantika was already on platform though the AC coaches were all locked.The train was a WR rake with not so new coaches as compared to the Punjab mail rake I had travelled in a few days earlier. The coaches were mostly 98-99-00. Mine was a 00 AC3.We sat on platform and sipped kullad wali chai. It sure gives a nice earthy flavor to tea. I then went up ahead for my regular loco inspection ritual. Our loco was a RTM shed WDM2A 17357. There were other trains too scheduled to depart at about the same time. One was the Indore-Bilaspur Narmada exp, which is still a vacuum braked rake. The loco in charge was an ET WDM3A 14114, dual braked loco. The other train was the Indore-Nizamuddin Intercity with a RTM shed WDM2a 16199 having a 1990 manufacturers plate. Exactly at 3:50 PM our train started to move. It had been a long since I was travelling by a diesel hauled train. So I took up my position at the door to hear and see the magical wdm2 sounds and smoke. Indore to Ujjain is a single line track which I would say is in a very bad state as our train sure was shaking much more than the MG train I had travelled earlier in the day. In about 2 hours we reached Ujjain. At Ujjain I saw many BRC wap4 and wam4 locos. Our train got a very very new, clean looking BRC WAP4e 22553 in the Red livery with a yellow panto. Rabi da's latest WAP4 list, lists this loco as an ED loco. However this is a BRC loco along with 22554 which was standing right next to it.

Soon we departed, actually I had to hurry back to my coach as the loco coupling ceremony here is much faster than that at IGP, to which I am used to. I was looking forward to comparing a WAP4 accleration to a WCAM3 acceleration with a same coach load i.e 18 coaches (I came to BPL on punjab mail a few days back). However the WAP4 seemed in no hurry at all. It took its own sweet time to come to speed. Even though the Ujjain Nagda section is double electrified, the sppeds are not very high, and also the track condition was not so great though much better than the Indore-Ujjain section. Also I observed that the tracks still had the old iron Sleepers instead of the new concrete ones. The only train that passed us was some RTM-BINA express headed by the BRC wap4e 22279.

At Nagda the mainline from delhi joined us and I saw that the track now has concrete sleepers. As soon as we departed from Nagda a late Golden Temple Mail snaked in behind another WAP4E from BRC. Now the track was very smooth with literally no jerks at all and the WAP4 also opened up. We were easily doing 100+ and the WAP4 was toying with our 18 coach load. The only train to pass us was some WAP4 hauled train along with a NKJ WAG7 hauled container rake.

RTM was reached on time where some very smartly uniformed cleaners cleaned our coach very throughly and also handed out some questionnaires regarding the improvements we sought with regards to cleanliness aboard trains. After this RTM the train really was running hard and fast and since it had got dark outside standing on the door was also useless. So I went off to sleep only to awake next day at Andheri.

We reached MCT on time and behind us came the Golden Temple Mail. Ours was a WCAM1 and the Golden Temple had a WCAM2. Thus ended a very enjoyable trip on the IR for me.

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