My first tryst with LHB Panchavati – Part 2

Well, much to my pleasure (being my first ever ride by this train 🙂 ); 12110 MMR CSMT Panchavati express had a swimmingly good run in BSL division i.e. upto IGP – here you will see how it fared in Mumbai division. Please don’t forget to check out Part 1 before reading on! We departed at 08 01 (a minute late) with a big jerk and a long LT horn, only to stop for half a minute; before moving on with another blast of the LT horn. The loopline speed was just 10 kmph. On the main station board it was mentioned “Alight here for Dhammagiri”. I observed that KYN triplet of WAG7s 28557, 27320 and 27260 had banked 11067 LTT-FD Saket express from Kasara. Meanwhile, we began our descent down the Thull Ghats.20180602_080631

Though it was not as green as it would be during the monsoons, the view around the viaduct on the DOWN line was still breathtaking!


We came to a halt halfway in a short tunnel. On the right was 12618 ERS-NZM Mangala Lakshadweep express; which had departed ahead of us at IGP. Its diesel engine honked twice before pulling ahead of us again. Our WAP7 also sounded its HT horn and we were off again – so it was a parallel run in a ghat section; that too partly in a tunnel! :O

There was a PSR of 20 kmph before Mangala diverged to the right and we never saw it again; meaning it must have been stopped for us to overtake! 😛 Anyway, we had passed through 7 tunnels so far and the views of the valley were gorgeous! 🙂 Here is one such view:


Then there was another PSR of 30 kmph before we crossed 12859 CSMT-HWH Gitanjali express led by SRC WAP4 22503. After the 8th and last tunnel, we crossed 17617 CSMT-NED Tapovan express hauled by chocolate brown KYN WCAM2-6P 21865. It was banked by KYN WAG7 triplet 27111, 27110 and 27125. After yet another PSR of 15 kmph, we passed over the Rotanda bridge; under which were stagnant patches of water in which some women were bathing. Reached Kasara at 08 36, 8 mins late. We departed with a HT whine after a stop of just a minute. As we exited the station, I saw Panchsheel Nagar (with Jai Bhim flags flying high) in the right. Now the view was rather barren 😦 .


We soon started blasting away; accompanied by HT whining of the P7 and the unique LHB track sounds (occasionally flat wheel sounds as well! :O ).

There were huge curves all around, and I saw Lalit Pipes & Pipes Ltd factory in the distant right. The DOWN line was below us for a while. We slowed down at Khardi home signal, before picking up the pace again and crossing 51153 CSMT-BSL passenger with KYN WCAM3 21934; just as it was departing from the ghost station Thansit. There was a TSR of 85 kmph before we passed Atgaon at 08 57 with continuous whining. I saw a board stating “Welcome to Poddar Navjeevan” in the right. Then there was another TSR of 80 kmph followed by a Govt English Medium Ashram School. We slowed down again and never quite recovered since. After passing Bhairangi Bridge (over another dry river with a few stagnant patches of water) , we crawled through Asangaon. I was shocked to see an overturned and damaged Ajni WAP7 30270 – was it a recent accident; and how did it happen ? :O

Anyway, it seemed we had entered a graveyard territory; as there was yet another TSR of 80 kmph before Vasind – where we actually made an unscheduled halt for a minute! 😛 There were container wagons parked on the lines to the JSW factory. After departing, we continued to maintain a speed of around 50 kmph for a while. While there was a jerk every now and then, I would anticipate a burst of acceleration; only to be denied – it was a frustrating run. We passed over the rather murky Bhatsa river before crossing an almost spotless 15645 LTT-GHY express (via Barauni-Katihar) behind a WAP4. Predictably there was another TSR of 50 kmph, while our LP kept honking hard (in vain, it seemed! 😛 ). We crossed KJM WDG4 twins 12148 and 12016 with a tanker train at Khadavli – here we also crucially overtook the culprit that had been holding us back till then; an LHB special behind TKD WAP7i 30624.

There was yet another TSR of 90 kmph before we finally started blasting again! Crossed the Kaloo river before (yep, you guessed it! 😛 ) a TSR of 85 kmph at Titvala. We crossed 12534 Mumbai Lucknow Pushpak express with its customary WAP7 over the Ulhas Creek. Then there was the Waldhuni river which was in a desolate black and full of sewage – UGH!! As we crawled through the KYN yard, I noticed that Platform 3 had a PSR of 65 kmph; while the track cross-over speed was limited to 15 kmph. We limped into the junction (PF5) at 09 49, 11 mins late. 11029 CSMT-KOP Koyna express chugged into PF4 behind APU-fitted Pune WDM3D 11457. 12124 Pune Mumbai Deccan Queen overtook us through PF7, hauled by KYN WCAM3 21900. We departed at 09 52, but the drama was not over yet; for we came to a halt after a minute. Then, to add insult to injury; a fast local to CSMT overtook us from PF6! 😛 We finally left at 09 57, 17 mins late.

To add to the irony, an announcement was made for 12618 Mangala express to arrive shortly on the platform which the local had vacated! To think that the beleaguered train had almost managed to catch up with us, after we had overtaken it more than 70 km back! 😛 Meanwhile, I spotted Pune WDM3D 11382 in the yard on the far left. There was a PSR of 55 kmph on the rightmost line used by DOWN slow locals. We crawled till the Dombivli starter, before breaking free of the shackles; and racing away till the PSR of 50 kmph before the Diva LC. The crossover speed at Diva was 30 kmph. Reached Thane (where the train has a ‘temporary’ technical halt) at 10 18. I got down here and took a local till Vikhroli; where I took a share-auto to reach home by 11 05. Thus ended a maiden journey by the LHB Panchavati express – a mixed bag overall. Thanks for reading patiently!! 😉

Technical Terms

LT – Low Tone

HT – High Tone

LP – Loco Pilot

LHB – Linke-Hofmann-Busch (a modern French company which manufactures coaches with high speed capability and anti-climb safety features; used in Rajdhanis, Shatabdis and many Durontos)

LC – Level Crossing

PSR – Permanent Speed Restriction

TSR – Temporary Speed Restriction

APU – Auxiliary Power Unit (specifically for charging the loco batteries when it is idle)

Station Codes

MMR – Manmad

CSMR – Mumbai CST

BSL – Bhusawal

KYN – Kalyan

IGP – Igatpuri

LTT – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (or just Kurla Terminus)

FD – Faizabad

ERS – Ernakulam Junction

NZM – Hazrat Nizamuddin

HWH – Howrah

SRC – Santragachchi

NED – Nanded

GHY – Guwahati

KJM – Krishnarajapuram

TKD – Tukhlaqabad

KOP – Kolhapur

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