Shantipur to Nabadwip Ghat NG trip
by Saurab Basu
It was early in the morning of the 20th of November 2004, when we started for one of my favorite rail fanning trips, to enjoy the thrilling Narrow Gauge Ride of the Shantipur-Nabadwip Ghat route.
Started of from Dum Dum JN at 06:14 hrs by the S223 UP Sealdah-Shantipur EMU. A quick Loco spotting included the WDM2-16619 heading DN Barauni-Sealdah Hatey-Bajarey Express, followed by a WAP-22402 heading 131 UP Sealdah-Muzzaffarpur Fast Passenger.To follow it, was a WAG7-27088 (Kanpur) heading the DN Darjeeling Mail to Sealdah.
The EMU took us to Shantipur, covering a distance of 87 Km's, within two and a half hour. Individual Fares from Dum Dum JN to Shantipur JN is Rs.19.00 only. At 08:30 A.M., after we reached Shantipur JN, I hurried out for the ticket counter and got three tickets for my dream trip, the one's to Nabadwip Ghat, by the NS153 Shantipur-Nabadwip Ghat Passenger (NG). The Fare to Nabadwip Ghat, covering a distance of 28 Km's, is Rs.8.00 per head.
The Shantipur-Nabadwip Ghat is one of the three remaining Narrow Gauge Tracks in South Bengal. The other two include: Bardhamman Jn-Katwa Jn & Katwa Jn-Ahmadpur Jn The "toy" trains run three times a day, now a days, in this single line track. Starting from Shantipur Jn, the line goes north-east to Krishnanagar City Jn. We took the second train leaving Shantipur Jn at 08:45 A.M. There lies only one station -DIGNAGAR between Shantipur Jn and Krishnanagar City Jn.It took us about an hour to reach Krishnanagar, amidst the natural greens. The vintage rake and the village atmosphere touched my soul to the highest extent, and I felt close to my earth. This is the true flavor of life, I guess!
From Krishnanagar City Jn, the train took us towards the west, and went by the Krishnanagar-Nabadwip Dham Road. It was an enchanting combination of the paddy fields on one side of the track and traffic on the other. The rattling coaches of this tiny unit, reached AMGHATA, the third station after the source. People from far away interiors were all stacked up on the "Abandoned" Station premises to take this train on. These Stations no longer have any active ticket counters. And it is needless to mention, that you would not even find a single TTE in here. So it is the W/T Passengers delight!:-) The last station before arriving at Nabadwip Ghat is MAHESGANJ. This one is yet another Abandoned Station, with no ticket counter.Means there is no revenue for the Indian Railways from any of the stations.
We had taken the tickets for the NG trip, from Shantipur to Nabadwip Ghat, and on our return way, planned to drop down at Krishnanagar City. Nabadwip Ghat to Krishnanagar is a strack of 13 k.m's only and fares per person is Rs.6/-only. The Nabadwip Ghat station is just as one of the picture post cards, set up amidst the sub-urban environs. A small 'Model' station would be the best description for this one. A single platform, with a ticket counter and rest room, is all that can be found. At a stone throw distance away from the station area, I found the Turn Table, for this Narrow Gauge Terminal. We were in the rake adjoining the Loco. Basically, this loco constitutes of two ends. The front end is the driver's Cab and the back end is for passenger carriage.
The Rake Combination for the NG Train was like this:
|Shantipur Jn. - Nabadwip Ghat||Nabadwip Ghat - Shantipur Jn.|
|Loco Type - E Z Z S||Loco Type- E Z Z S|
|Tare- 9.9 t||Tare - 9.9 t|
|R II -2004||R II - 2004|
|7041 ER||7041 ER|
|7002 ER||7045 ER|
|7045 ER||7002 ER|
I took a snap of the Driver's Cab and walked around for a nice breather. The Turn table was a real fun to explore. Kids from around the place, gathered for a snap. I satisfied them, with a few shots.
After having a cup of tea, the Assistant Driver, came up and asked all of us to be all set for the return trip. It was already 11:05 A.M., and scheduled departure time. I asked both the senior and this guy, if I could footplate, but they readily denied. It was not to be.:-( We bid adieu to the picturesque station and went aboard.
I managed to stand on one of the door sides, and took some snaps of this 'Fairy Queen'. Something, which I dreamt for many years, was now fulfilled. My second Narrow Gauge Experience. The first one was from Neral to Matheran in Maharashtra. The train whistled and rattled through the natural countryside of rural Bengal, to reach Krishnanagar City JN at 11:55 A.M, dot on time.
It was the last few moments, before we parted with the 'old beauty', and took some final snaps before this separation. No one knows, how long this service would continue, because in reality, there is almost no revenue for the railways. The Ministry is now opting for a broad-Gauge track on this route. If that happens, then soon, these days would be in the pages of glorious history. Modernization would take us to a new zenith, but it all would for sure remain in our heart and soul.
Finally, we had our lunch at Krishnanagar, bought our Return Journey Tickets for Rs.19/. each and took the SK274 DN Krishnanagar City Jn-Sealdah Local, at 12:35 P.M, running 30 minutes behind schedule, to reach Dum Dum Jn at 03:00 P.M.
It is all like a dream to me, and I feel delighted to cherish them!
Our tour itinerary in a nutshell:
|STATION NAME||CODE||TRAIN No.||CLASS||DEP TIME||ARR TIME|
|DUM DUM JN||DDJ||S223 UP||II ORDY||6:05|
|SHANTIPUR JN||STB||SN 153 PASS||II S||8:45|
|NABADWIP GHAT||NBG||NS154 PASS||IIS||11:05|
|KRISHNANAGAR CITY JN||KNJ||11:55|
|KRISHNANAGAR CITY JN||KNJ||SK 274 DN||II ORDY||12:38|
|DUM DUM JN||DDJ||15:00|