Bangalore-Pune Trip

by Rajarshi Banerjee

May 2004

Hi guys,

Recently returned from Bangalore to Pune by the 6508 SBC-Jodhpur exp. I won't be going into the very long trip report but will be highlighting the major events.

--Bangalore city stn pf no 10 was in a mess! In fact except for pf 1-4, which are well illuminated, clean and maintained rest all other platforms don't have any indicators/display boards/bogie position etc. For a new comer, it is a real ardous task trying to locate the bogie position. When I descended down the overbridge the mass of humanity, I saw below was overwhelming. It was after 9pm, the train was moved out from the yard, though the dep was at 9.25pm. The empty rake was pushed back by a shunter at 9.15pm and there was a mad rush immediately for the bogies. None of the bogie doors were opened and not everyone like me is a IRFC fan, so I could roughly judge the position of the AC3T bogie by observing the train on the yard and the platform length. All passengers with heavy luggages were moving from one end of the platform to another due to the absence of any chart/bogie position indicator etc. Finally when I came near the coach, the door was locked. It was 9.20 when the door opened and AC was not operational. It was sweltering hot and even the fans couldn't be switched on, frayed tempers from the passengers, altercation with the attendant - who expressed helplessness since the battery was too low and unless the train started, niether the fans nor the AC could be switched on!! So I had no choice but to wait on the platform till the train started. Truly, I was thoroughly aghast and disappointed with the state of affairs in Bangalore Stn, the kind of picture I had in my mind of Bangalore from the IRFCA inmates in the city was completely shattered......

The only silver lining was 6508 being a 21 coach affair, twin WDM2s (SHL)from the KJM shed were going to do the honours till Pune. The twin tone of the leading WDM sounded and we started at 9.45pm and pulled out smoothly, as the AC was then switched on. The first crossing was encountered at Chikbanapur, couldn't make out the train. The pick up was smooth and quick almost as good as a WAP1, twin WDM2s obviously making all the difference.

In between bouts of speeding and slowing and another two crossings, pulled into Tumkur at 23.22, late by 25 minutes. SBC-Chikbanapur is MACLS, then onwards it is upper quadrant semaphore signalling. Tumkur dep was at 23.26 and then onwards it was high speed running till Tiptar at 00.18hrs. Since I was 62, inside upper, I had to find a vacant side lower to enjoy my viewing. I went of to sleep by 1.00am. Morning up around 8.00am. After a crossing, pulled into Londa at 08.45am, late by 35 minutes. Another crossing, this time with a tanker freight meant departure was 45 minutes late. High speed run till Belgaum, halt for 7 minutes again.

Belgaum-MRJB is a roller coaster and this time due to the twin WDMs, I could hardly feel the ride, which was so prominent 3yrs back by the 2780 - that time with a single WDM2 huffing and puffing - while on my way back from VSG. Two halts at Ghatprabha,Raybagh and a crossing with a passenger saw us pulling into Miraj(MRJB) more than 15 minutes before time at 12.18hrs. Drought hit MH state meant no stn after Belgaum had water, I was forced to buy the Bisleri water from the PC staff. Miraj dep was at 5 minutes late at 12.45, Sangli with a brief halt halt of 2 minutes, and then onwards it was a good run right till Karad. Only a single halt due to the parting of the brake pipes just one station before Karad meant a delay of couple of minutes delayed arr. at Karad.

I dozed off and awoke at 4.30 almost when we were stationery at Wathar. A WDM2A powered train sped past and we began moving out. Satara to Pune is also thru rocky,hilly terrain, but the twin WDM2s made light work of any slope and we slowed down only for speed limits. After Jejuri was crossed, I came out and stood against the door. The terrain was still rocky and we never managed more than 50-55kmph except for a couple of minutes when I timed the speed at 45 secs for 1km - 90kmph - we were slowing down at each of the stations, due to the precarious terrain and sharp curves. Then Ambale to Shindwane is the mini ghat section, this time we were going downhill so we touched the 55kmph comfortably, uphill too I believe twin WDMs would do the job coolly. We braked only due to the sharp curves and the precariously held bridges. The wind was surprisingly strong whenever we crossed any bridge, I held tightly to both the supports along the door, just in case!!! Shindwane was crossed as the driver sounded the melodious twin tone and black smoke billowed out of the exhausts of both the beasts. In fact the trailing WDM2 smoked much more than the leading one whenever we accelerated quickly. We hit close to 90kmph crossing Alandi with twin tone blaring, slowed down after that till Sasvad. We picked up again till Phursungi and reached Ghorpuri by 6.00pm. Then it was a 20-25 kmph crawl, as we made our customary halt at Pune outer signal. We started within a minute to pull into PF No. 1 at 6.15pm, 15 minutes before time.

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