Nagpur - Jabalpur
by Viraf Mulla
I am back after my Diwali holidays in Nagpur, Kanha National Park and Jabalpur and have rejoined the IRFCA. Here is my breif trip report.
I need not write about our Mumbai gang's trek to the dead zone. I am sure it must have been covered by friends who attended it. I am also sure that in my absence Nagpur meet too must have been covered. May I have the reports of the Nagpur meet please.
On 13th. Caught the 2809 Howrah Mail Via Nagpur. I was booked in 3A/C sleeper and my coach no.was AS1. It was fifth from the locomotive. My coach S.E.998103/A had a plate which was painted over in blue. It took a real effort to read beneath the paint, as the lighting was very dim towards the platform end.
D-PETROCHEMICALS LTD DICAT_D TO THE NATION E ICA+ED TO GROWTH dication Ceremony. April2, 2000 Haldia.
The locomotive was WCAM/3 21888. Incidently this loco is featured on the cover of CR timetable.
The departure was on dot. Pillows, Blankets and linen were distributed free but we were charged for the mineral water. Now friends, in all my travels by AC sleeper never was I charged for mineral water as it is complementary. I have never been charged for it. Then why on this train. My dad had similar experience or should I say worst on his return by the same train. Mineral water, coffe/tea and orders for the dinner were not taken by the pantry staff.
Continuing with my journey, I slept after Karjat for I had to prepare myself for a footplating experience the next day. At Igatpuri we switched locos. Now our train was hauled by WAP4 22500 of Santragachi shed.
Zubin met us at Badnera with a basket load of breakfast and then introduce me to his loco inspector friend. From Badnera to Nagpur my son and myself footplated on the loco. It was the first time that I footplated in this section. Within a couple of minutes we touch 110Kmph. and that was an average speed all throughout. At Ajni we passed the southbound Rajdhani.We touched Nagpur 40minutes before time. I was pleasantly surprised to see a ZDM hauled Nagpur - Jabalpur passenger waiting to depart from the adjacent NG platform. It had a cute vintage 1st. class coach with green cushioned sofas on three sides and equally cushioned rack above (for sleeping?).
On 17th. before the Nagpur meet I walked it down to the Motibaugh shed and Guard's line. It was a trip down the memory lane for this was the place which kindled my love and passion for trains as a child. I felt sad that the BNR steam shed was gone. Unfortunately I couldn't click many pictures there because of the traffic jam at the two level crossings and people and the railway chaps staring at this crazy Bawa with a camera. There was a hectic shunting activity going on in the NG yards with 2 ZDMs doing their duties in full gusto. Rushed back to the station for the Nagpur meet of which you all must have read. This was one of my most memorable birthday.
Reached Jabalpur via Kanha from Nagpur. It was a road journey and believe me not a very pleasant one. But there was no choice since Kanha is not reached by rail. Ofcourse one can take a NG train from Nagpur to Nainpur Jn. and then by road to Kanha but then with a family its very difficult and a different story. From Seoni to Nainpur Jn. the ng line kept on criscrossing the road. We could see the line in a distant from our car. There were quite a few big bridges on that line. Between Nainpur Jn and Mandla Fort the track ran parallel with the road. At Chiraidongri we branched off towards Kanha.
Immediately on reaching Jabalpur I visited the station. A NG steam loco is plinthed in it's carpark. I flashed my photography permit to the authorities there but then they wouldn't allow me to take pictures. They wanted a permission granted by the DRM-Jabalpur. Same case was at Howbagh station of jabalpur. But then I did manage a few shots on sly in the fading light.
We had booked a II sleeper on Pawan Express for our return journey from Jabalpur. The coach was S5. It was filthy. The least said about the toilets the better. Lucky that our train was vestibuled for we had to scout for a clean toilet 2 coaches away.
The train left jabalpur on time. It was WDM hauled. Sorry couldn't note the shed and the no. on the loco. Almost immediately it picked up speed. We must be doing a 100. The train kept up to it's name - Pawan Express (Wind Express).
Narmada River was crossed between Bhitoni and Bikrampur. It was a massive bridge. The up & down lines had separate bridges. Dommer and Banganga rivers were crossed between Shridham and Karakbel. Between Belkhera and Ghatpindrai our double line went single to cross the Sher river. From Ghatpindrai it was again double track. Between Narsinghpur and Bohani there was track maintenance going on with two Plasser units and several inspection trolleys. There is a big bridge just before Gadawara station. We croseed the double headed Itarsi-Allahabad passenger here. Dudhee river between Salichauka Road & Junehta. A concrete sleeper factory at Bankhedi. After Bankhedi we crossed Anjan & Korni rivers. Rajkot-Jabalpur Express was waiting at Pipariya for the starter. There is a single line ghat section with a tunnel between Bagra Tawa & Sontralai. Immediately after the tunnel the train crosses a big bridge over Tawa river. Fantastic scenery. Now we were running almost an hour early. Our train was halted at Gurra station just 10kms before Itarsi. From 13.05 to 13.29 we were at Gurra. Itarsi was reached at 13.39 instead od 13.55 - still early. As we pulled into Itarsi I saw a row electric locos parked. Have clicked pictures.
In the passing loop at Itarsi station I saw a military train being attended to. It was heavily guarded. The loco was WAG5 23693 of WR Tuglakabad shed. There were 2 armed guards in the driver's cab. A couple of sleeper coaches followed the loco. Next to the sleepers were 2 A/C sleepers in Green with Indian Army insignia. A typical mobile generator was loaded on the flat car next to the A/C Sleeper. There were potted plants placed all around on the flat car. It didn't camouflage the generator. It looked like a garden on a flat car. Then came the mess car where the food was being cooked for the soldiers. It was in a 4 axle box car. And then a string of Box cars with Cimmco Birla markings. There was an army flag on the loco as well as on each coach of the train and every coach had 4 armed soldiers guarding it. It was impossible to photograph the train from the platform however I did it from my moving train. All the time there was an announcement for the various railway personnels to attend this army train. I think something was wrong in one of the green A/C coaches.
At 14.05 my Pawan Express pulled out of Itarsi right on time. As the train speeded towards Khandwa I observed sweeping curves between Singali & Sihora stations. At Khandwa we were 15 minutes early.
The Satpuras were crossed by a very scenic and lightly graded route between Dangargaon and Burhanpur. The ghats are not as dramatic as the Bhore Ghats but are quite scenic specially during the sunset. Burhanpur was reached at 17.50 and it was already dark outside.
Wasn't able to spot anything at Bhusawal and Jalgaon. Slept till Kalyan Jn. Lokmanya Tilak Terminus was reached at 3.30. After changing 3 EMUs reached Borivali at 5.30am.
Almost immediately I have started dreaming of my next journey sometime in January 2002 with Sarosh. THE LONGEST MG JOURNEY. Would anyone care to join us?