Year-end mini-vacation to Chennai – Part 2

I resume from where I had left off – regarding the account of my train journey by 11027 Mumbai Chennai Mail starting on Dec 23. Here is Part 1 . As always, refer to the legend right at the bottom for all technical terms and station codes (haven’t included all, again!). Our electric loco from Wadi upto MAS was AJJ WAP1 22068 (one of the remaining few P1s in the now-rare ICF Rajdhani rake livery).


The junction was busy as usual and full of people and sounds – including a Pune WDG4 70062 honking hard and reversing.

We left at 13 30, after a halt of 20 mins. The loop line speed was 15 kmph for passenger/express/mail trains and 10 kmph for freights. 22068 had 3 horns – 1 LT horn and 2 HT horn (including a whiny one). I then dozed off for a while. After I woke up, we reached Saidapur at 14 28, 34 mins late. There seemed to be a sleeper factory on the right – there were massive piles of sleepers, as fell as a few lorries! At the next station Chegunta, we briefly moved into Telangana. There were cows grazing, shallow ponds full of stagnant water, irrigated fields and a huge row of tent houses in the distant right. Also there was a TSR of 100 kmph! :O At Krishna station, we stopped for only 2 mins – since this is no longer the watering halt station; that status has been regained by MALM 🙂 . Anyway, the Krishna river had a decent amount of water as always.

A freight led by twin blue WAG7s (in WAP4 shells) crossed us on the bridge, partly blocking my view 😛 . At the next station Yadalapur, we had an unscheduled halt of a minute. There were gangmen busy with a trolley on the rightmost track; one of them was digging underneath. This station also marked our return to Karnataka. I then saw a pond, irrigated fields and a coconut grove before the factories began to show themselves on the right – there was also a TSR of 30 kmph. I had the vision of the iconic cooling towers of the Raichur Thermal Power Station before Chiksugur (as always). Then a highway crossed us as a car zoomed past. There was a small lake and more factories – including Balaji Warehousing. The sight of a lot of cottages, bungalows, buildings, a huge water tank, another highway across us, a mosque, a road underbridge, Vidya Pre-University College and an auditorium signalled the arrival of Raichur.

There was a PSR of 15 kmph for goods trains and 30 kmph for passenger/express/mail trains. As we pulled into the station at 15 13 (25 mins late), 11044 MDU-LTT express arrived at the same (45 mins late); hauled by KYN WDG4 12764. The rake looked old, dull and even battered! Then there was a ghost station called Marichethal, where we crossed a blue WAG7.  Matmari (an almost unheard of place) was a scheduled halt for us, but was anyway a scenic station with eucalyptus trees on the right. Then there was more scenery in the form of goats and lambs grazing, a pond in a pit, a rocky hill and a narrow canal. The Tungabhadra river (also the border between Karnataka and A.P) may not seem so full from this picture, but it had a lot more water than seen in the earlier months.


Since MALM is now again the watering halt, we had a halt of 14 mins. There was a BOBYN rake with MLY WDG3A 13239 towards Wadi. After Kupgal, I was treated to the sight of rocky man-made mountains and palm trees. The sight of VRL Logistics, Religare, Global Oil Industries, a wine shop, Hero Moto Corp Showroom and two highways across us signalled the arrival of Adoni at 16 53, 35 mins late. Again, we stopped after starting – a case of alarm chain pulling? After Nagarur, there was a TSR of 75 kmph. We then had another unscheduled stop for Aspari for a minute. There was another TSR of 75 kmph here and a lot of windmills in the distant right. A container rake crossed us led by a WDG4. There were bridges with TSRs before yet another unscheduled halt at Molagavalli. Then we crossed 57632 GTL – GR DEMU led by Pune WDM3A 16041R – yet another DEMU led by an engine: whatever happened to the DEMUs? :O

I saw a Plasser machine at Nemakallu and two Plassers with dull blue bogies (didn’t know for what purpose) at Nancherla. Then there were ponds, a young shepherd leading goats, sheep and lambs as well as a TSR on a culvert; before we were halted at GTL home signal for a solid 12 minutes – during this time I could enjoy a beautiful sunset! 😉 . There was a GTL ALCO with two bogies on the line to Bellary, and the Indian Oil factory loomed on the right. Spotted AJJ WAP1 22018 in a siding as we pulled into the junction (Platform 6) at 18 07, having made up 13 minutes of lost time in spite of all these unscheduled halts – indicating the slack on offer.  A very short SWR train with KCG-Vasco boards departed with KYN WDG3A ‘Shakti’ 13579 having a sharp HT horn. Any idea which train this could be? Meanwhile, I had a dal vada and cool Badam flavoured milk; as we had a typically lengthy stop of 20 mins – during which all the coaches were cleaned thoroughly. The station was bustling with a lot of activity and people as usual 🙂

Yet again we stopped at the outer for a minute or two, before passing a seemingly vibrant town with a lot of buildings, road underbridge and a brightly lit church. Now it was too dark to notice much outside the glass windows, except for some lights and dark shapes of trees. We had a decent run up to Gooty which was reached at 18 55, 31 mins late. Here a BCNA freight hauled by twin WDG4s left as we entered. I started reading a book of poems by Linda Ashok (a poet whom I had had the pleasure of meeting at a poetry slam in Mumbai a few months ago). Later, I had dinner of Veg. Biryani from the pantry; which was decent. Around 9 pm, it was time to call it a day and sleep as much as possible before the unearthly arrival at MAS (at 03 30). I woke up a few times in between, but then quickly closed my eyes. Eventually I woke up as we arrived 5 minutes early. I got an auto for Rs.250 (as per the driver, prepaid auto starts only from 5 am and government fixed rate is Rs.234). Reached home by 03 50. Thanks for patiently reading the two parts of this long blog post! 🙂

Technical Terms

ICF – Integral Coach Factory, Perambur (where most of the coaches are produced)

LT- Low Tone

HT – High Tone

TSR – Temporary Speed Restriction

PSR – Permanent Speed Restriction

DEMU – Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (or just diesel local train 😛 )

ALCO – American Locomotive Company (and a class of diesel engines of the 1960s)

Station Codes

MAS – Chennai Central

MDU – Madurai

LTT – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (Kurla Terminus)

KYN – Kalyan

MALM – Manthralayam Road

MLY – Maula Ali

GTL – Guntakal

GR – Gulbarga

AJJ – Arakkonam

KCG – Kacheguda

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