AK Rajdhani Borivali Halt Inauguration

by Vivek Manvi

August 2004

Had been to BVI to witness the inauguration of the halt at Borivali for the 2953/54 August Kranti Rajdhani Express.

Sachin and I reached BVI station at about 17:15. We were hoping to catch the passing of the 2951 Mumbai Rajdhani Express. BVI station had a fair number of RPF and other security personnel stationed on platform no. 4. Seeing them, we could make out that a senior official or maybe Mr. Govinda himself was going to flag off the train from BVI.

Anyway, at exactly 17:25, the Mumbai Rajdhani arrived, headed by a WCAM-2P # 21873. The rake looked really clean and had 03xx coaches. The Rajdhani passed us at around 40kmph.

With around 45 minutes to kill before the arrival of the AK Rajdhani, we decided to grab something to eat..We returned trackside at around 18:00. There was now a fair crowd on the platform and the number of security personnel had atleast tripled!!! There was even a band playing some indiscernible music.

Suddenly there was chaos all around as Mr. Govinda arrived at the platform for the flagging-off ceremony. People, mediamen with cameras and security personnel were seen falling all over each other to get a glimpse of the star turned MP. Sachin and I decided to keep a safe distance to avoid getting caught in the mayhem. A packed Virar bound local arrived at about 18:05. The poor motorman had a hard time to steer the train out of the station as there were people all over the platform and on the tracks.

Soon, we saw a WCAM-2P arrive and the crowd went haywire. People started running like crazy and the police had to resort to a mini lathi charge to restore some order. The AK Rajdhani arrived at 18:11, headed by a WCAM-2P # 21877. We had half anticipated the loco to be 21872, WR's hot favorite Rajdhani loco!!!

Anyway, the band went into a frenzy and the music started becoming louder and louder. This is when we met fellow Mumbai IRFCAn Jarvik Pandya. After clicking a few pics, we proceeded to the starter signal. At exactly 18:16, the WCAM-2P let out a long blast of its melodious twin-tones. We could see two green flags being waved from within a sea of humanity. The mediamen went crazy with their flashbulbs. The loco slowly glided out and away from the maddening crowd. I was ready with the camera to shoot a video clip of the poor AK Rajdhani departing BVI station.

The AK Rajdhani gathered speed and was gone in about a couple of minutes.

Suddenly, everything felt silent. The band stopped playing, the mediamen beat a hasty retreat and Mr. Govinda departed....

We could make out a jam-packed Virar local with weary homeward bound commuters waiting at BVI outer. There must have been another equally packed Virar local waiting just behind this one.

As we walked out towards the road, the packed Virar local arrived. It was bursting at its seams with people all over. Quiet a contrast to the luxurious Rajdhani which departed just five minutes earlier.

My views: The entire event was made into a Bollywood muhurat like event complete with a filmstar, police, junta, music, etc....

Another halt introduced for the poor AK Rajdhani. My heart goes out to the train!!! How much more will it continue to suffer??

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