My first journey by Pragati express

12125/26 Mumbai Pune Pragati express is one of the regular daytime intercity commuter trains serving the bustling Mumbai-Pune route. However, it is a train in which I had never travelled; until yesterday (from Pune to Mumbai). 12126 was parked on its customary platform 5; behind chocolate brown KYN WCAM2-6P 21864.


My coach C2 was of a 2011 make (C1 was of a 2014 make), and thus had plug points in all bays πŸ™‚ . My seat 36 was right in the middle of the coach, and was a non-trackside window facing towards Pune 😦 – across us was a table; on the other side of which were Mumbai-facing seats. Unfortunately, the glass was frosted; due to which the view was a bit blurred 😦 . The seat cushions were of a pleasant maroon brown hue. 71408 Daund-Pune DEMU arrived on PF4 at 07 47, 17 mins late. We departed right on the dot at 07 50. To my pleasant surprise, there were regular announcements in the coach, in English, Hindi and Marathi! πŸ™‚ For example, “Welcome to Pragati express”, “We wish you a very happy and comfortable journey”, “Next station – Lonavala” etc. This is something I had never heard of, i.e. in other than the Rajdhani/Shatabdi/Duronto class of trains! :O

After slowly crossing over the points and picking up speed just before the Sangam bridge, we had a blasting run till Kasarwadi; before slowing down and overtaking a rake full of parcel vans hauled by a WDG4 (SHF) at Chinchwad. Then it was again a fast run till Dehu Road, after which my ticket was checked. We reverted to a sedate pace once more before blasting through the ghost station Begdewadi, where a shelter was being constructed. I had 2 bread cutlets (stuffed with beetroot) for breakfast. Then we overtook 11024 KOP-CSMT Sahyadri express led by a KYN WCAM2P at Talegaon, at 08 20; after a slight drop in speed. We started ripping again after crossing the station limits. It was very cloudy now. Also, I noticed the TTE having a heated argument with a passenger at the rear. Meanwhile, we crossed Kamshet at MPS at 08 28; having covered the last 36 km (from Kasarwadi) in 25 mins at an average speed of 86.4 kmph – very impressive, given the slow downs! πŸ™‚

The aforementioned passenger was asked to get down at Lonavala and travel in one of the unreserved coaches thereafter! :O In the meantime, we were ripping through greenery – fields watered by rain, many stagnant ponds, and mountains covered completely in green! πŸ˜‰ We also raced vehicles on the highway in the distant left, before a slow down from Lonavala home signal onwards; as we crossed over from Pune to Mumbai division. Overtook a stationary ACC Cement freight behind KZJ WDG4D 70365 and WDG4 12754 in the yard. Then we picked up the pace to enter the station at a decent speed, arriving at 08 42; 3 mins late. We had covered the 64 km from Pune in 52 mins at 73.85 kmph πŸ™‚ . Some people got down and many people got in here. We departed after a halt of 2 mins. There was a PSR of 25 kmph; after which we took the UP line to begin our descent down the Bhor Ghats. The view as we neared Khandala was magical, thanks to the monsoon! πŸ™‚


Khandala station was green, rain-drenched and scenic! πŸ™‚


The view grew even more breathtaking as we neared Monkey Hill, Khandala! πŸ™‚


There was a creepy little crab crawling on the rocks as we stopped due to a red signal! :O


We were diverted to the Midline after this stop! :O


In the 2nd pic, you can see the steep catch-siding; to which trains are usually diverted in the rare event that a runaway occurs. There was a PSR of 25 kmph at Monkey Hill, followed by another PSR of 30 kmph after the signal. There was yet another PSR of 30 kmph at the Thakurwadi brake-testing halt. The vistas continued to be scenic as ever, as we descended further down the ghats! πŸ™‚

Meanwhile, I noticed that there was a fan (apart from the exhaust fan) in one of the toilets! :O We stopped at Karjat home signal for a minute, before overtaking a stationary BCNA rake headed by Pune WDG4D 70371 in the yard. We also crossed a local to Khopoli before entering the station at 09 41, 22 mins late. We had taken 57 mins for the 28 km from Lonavala, mainly because of the MPS of 55 kmph while descending the Bhor Ghats; as well as the brake-testing halts at Khandala and Thakurwadi. Besides, there was also the halt due to a red signal at Monkey Hill; after which we lost further time due to the many PSRs as well as the diversion to the Midline; not to mention the halt for clearance before Karjat! πŸ˜› Given all this, the allotted time of 39 mins (at 43.08 kmph) for the distance between Lonavala and Karjat seems too tight! We departed Karjat after a stop of just 1 minute.Β Β The loopline speed (as we took the line to Panvel) was only 15 kmph. We slowly veered away to the left; away from the main line to KYN.Β Then there was a very long tunnel, inside which there was a lot of water seeping inside due to the monsoon.

Towards the end of the tunnel, we picked up speed and started blasting through rock cuttings, a lot of greenery with many trees; and a dam built by the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation in the distant right. I loved the clickety clack track music! πŸ™‚

Then we had an unscheduled halt at Chowk for 10 mins, as 11025 BSL-Pune express came slowly behind BSL WAP4 22361; and made its scheduled stop on the loopline. We departed at the same time 11025 arrived, and started blasting away soon; since we were on the mainline. There was a medium-length tunnel, followed by many Hiranandani style high rise buildings (some of them under construction) in the distant left. There were also more rock cuttings before we blasted through Mohope, crossing a tanker train with a WAG9 in the process. Then we slowed down due to a TSR of 50 kmph. The effect of the monsoon was there for all to see; with greenery everywhere, stagnant ponds and flooded fields. We ripped across the Mumbai-Pune expressway in style and blasted through Chikhale at 10 18. However, like all good things; our fast run soon came to an end! 😦 We started crawling, as the lines from Roha joined below us.

Then we had a stop of 4 mins for clearance to Panvel, as 12618 NZM-ERS Mangala Lakshadweep express crossed below us behind a buzzing GOC WDP4D 40405. As we then limped towards Panvel, I saw the Reliance Industries Plants on the left. We also crossed a stationary freight hauled by UBL WDG4 12325 in the right, before pulling into Panvel at 10 33; half an hour late. We had covered the 28 km from Karjat in 51 mins at 32.94 kmph! πŸ˜› Thanks largely to the 10 minute halt for the crossing with 11025 (ah! a superfast Mumbai-Pune intercity has to suffer the flip-flops of a single line section! 😦 ) and the 4-minute stop for clearance before Panvel. Anyway, it was good that we were received on PF5 at Panvel; as I got down here, and could cross over to the local train platforms without using the FOB! πŸ˜€Β I boarded the 10 45 slow local to Andheri.Β As we exited Panvel, I saw KJM WDP4D 40278 and BRC WAP5 30092 on sidings in the right – with which KR trains (having an electric-diesel change and vice-versa at Panvel) could these locos have come with? πŸ˜‰

At Kurla, I took another slow local to Vikhroli; whereon I took a share-auto and reached home by 12 10. Thus ended an eventful first ever journey by 12126 Pragati express – a mixed bag overall; the positives being a newer C2 coach with facilities like plug points in all bays as well as fans in toilets, the announcements inside the coach, a fast run from Pune to Lonavala, the scenery of the Karjat-Panvel route; and of course the famous rain-drenched Bhor Ghats! πŸ™‚ On the flip side, it was a disappointing run overall from Lonavala onwards; thanks to the numerous PSRs and the diversion from the UP line to the Midline in the Bhor Ghats, as well as the long crossing halt in the single-line Karjat-Panvel section. It is high time CR thinks of doubling it – we can’t afford a daytime intercity superfast (that too covering a distance of less than 200 km) to traverse a 28 km long single-line section! :OΒ Finally, thank you for patiently reading this long blog post! πŸ˜›

Technical Terms

DEMU – Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (or just diesel local train πŸ˜› )

SHF – Short Hood Forward

PSR – Permanent Speed Restriction

TSR – Temporary Speed Restriction

MPS – Maximum Permissible Speed

FOB – Foot-overbridge

Station Codes

KYN – Kalyan

KOP – Kolhapur

CSMT – Mumbai CST

KZJ – Kazipet

BSL – Bhusaval

NZM – Hazrat Nizamuddin

ERS – Ernakulam Junction

GOC – Golden Rock (Ponmalai)

UBL – Hubli

KJM – Krishnarajapuram

BRC – Vadodara

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