Chugging along to Pune on a midsummer afternoon

Kayani Bakery is a famous bakery in Pune; one that is renowned for its lip-smacking Shrewsbury biscuits and Mawa cakes, as well as other delicacies such as Brazil Nuts, Chocochip cookies, Choco Walnut cakes etc. Kayani has many franchises in Mumbai as well; but it’s the HQ in Pune that is the most widely sought after. Still, who would go all the way to Pune just to buy some biscuits or cakes? Well, a railfan would; not just any railfan, but one with a sweet tooth πŸ˜› . The train of choice (17031 CSMT-HYB β€˜supercrawler’ express, which reaches Pune at 16 30) would seem unusual by all accounts, but there was a reason: to meet my friend and ex-colleague after office hours (the date of journey was Saturday 20th April; my friend works on Saturdays and I don’t!) i.e. after 7 pm. My return train was 51034 SNSI-CSMT fast passenger; leaving Pune at 23 05 and reaching Mumbai the next day early morning at 04 10. Again an odd choice, but everyone who knows me would have got used to my train choices by now πŸ˜› .

On the day of the journey, I left my home by around 11 45 and took an auto to Vikhroli; whereon I boarded a local to Dadar. On the way, I saw 13202 RJPB-LTT β€˜Janata express’ waiting at LTT outer at 12 12. Spotted KYN WDG3A 13308 and another β€˜Shakti’ outside CLA DLS. There was hardly any action, though, while I waited at Dadar (Platform 5) for my train. 17031 chugged and smoked its way to the platform at 13 00, 3 minutes late, behind KYN WDG3A 13571. My coach S5 was reasonably crowded. We departed after a halt of 3 mins; with the LP blowing a long blast of the LT horn, followed by a short one. The coach was of a 2011 make; and thus had mobile charging sockets in all bays, as well as biotoilets πŸ™‚ . I had a trackside window seat (side upper berth); though facing against the direction of the journey. At Matunga, we crossed our counterpart (17032 HYB-CSMT express); hauled by KYN WDM3D 11383.

After the characteristic transition jerk around 40 kmph, our WDG3A started chugging hard; with the turbocharger kicking in. We had a blasting run (occasionally honking) from Sion home signal till Kurla; slowing down as we passed the DLS. After clearing the PSR of 65 kmph at Vidyavihar, our ALCO opened up once more with furious chugging and acceleration; as we sped through Ghatkopar – following which; Vikhroli, Kanjurmarg, Bhandup and Nahur were dispatched at MPS. In between, I spotted 12118 MMR-LTT Godavari express waiting for clearance at Ghatkopar home; while 11042 MAS-CSMT express crossed us with another Shakti before Vikhroli. Here is the video of the acceleration to MPS from Vidyavihar home to Vikhroli; enjoy the chugging and acceleration of our diesel and the rhythmic track sounds:

We dropped our pace at Mulund home; but then accelerated quickly to skip Thane at MPS (at 13 25), maintaining the same speed till the PSR of 50 kmph before Diva. In between, I noticed a light KYN WDG3A 13307 cross us on the UP fast line just before Thane; while a transharbour local crossed us after the station. PFB the video of skipping Thane as well as crossing the Creek almost immediately later:

11202 Ajni-LTT express ripped past us behind a WDG4D before Diva. After crossing the aforementioned PSR, our WDG3A notched up again, accompanied by the turbocharger sounds that were like music to my ears πŸ™‚ . We crossed a WAG9-headed BCNA freight going towards Panvel on a line exclusively used by goods trains. On the UP fast line a weird pair of a WAG9 and a WCAM3 thundered past; the WCAM3 was most probably dead! We slowed down to a crawl from Kopar onwards; and a slow local overtook us as we entered Dombivli. Then we overtook the local as we accelerated. At KYN home, an LHB rake (having a Humsafar EOG) led by a WAP7 crossed us; probably a more than 1 hour late running 12812 HTE-LTT superfast.

We crawled into PF5 of KYN at 13 48, 11 mins late. Quite a few people got down here :O . A huge amount of people boarded, and the coach was packed to the hilt now! 11071 LTT-BSB Kamayani express left from PF4 (the EOG was very noisy! 😦 ); and we had a parallel run with Kamayani briefly after departing. There was a PSR of 25 kmph over the turnouts; followed by a TSR of 30 kmph as we switched to the Karjat line. Then we curved sharply to the right, tilting as we did so! Soon our ALCO beast started chugging and we had a fast run from Ulhasnagar home onwards; with occasional honking. Badlapur was skipped at MPS with continuous honking. Then we slowed down to a crawl, tilting on a big curve to the right; with a TSR of 30 kmph. After the TSR was passed, the chief notched up once more, accelerating slowly and steadily to zip through Vangani; here is the video of the same:

The HT horn was used for the first time after we thundered through Bhivpuri Road! Pulled into Karjat at 14 35, 17 mins late. On the right were a trio of bankers – Tigerface WAG7s 27110, 27124 and 27125 of KYN. Ahead on the same track were KYN WCAM3s 21941 and 21945! :O Then I heard pure EMD honking, before 11014 CBE-LTT express belted past; headed by KJM WDP4D 40387. The train was about 2 hours late; as usual! πŸ˜› We left after a stop of 4 mins; with a long blast of the HT horn, followed by a short one. Crossed a BCNA rake hauled by twin BSL WAG5s (leading – 23060) as we started accelerating after clearing the points. My ticket was checked finally i.e. the TTE just asked my seat number and moved on! πŸ˜› The Bhor Ghats were barren, but managed to provide some panoramic views nevertheless πŸ˜€ ; here is one such view near Jambrung:

We crossed a lone WDM3D somewhere; don’t know what it was doing! :O The HT horn was used mainly now. We slowed down to a crawl before Thakurwadi; after picking speed, our WDG3A belched out clouds of grey smoke! As we then rounded a curve, I noticed that we were being banked by twin WCAM3s. Later I saw CLA WDS6 36142 looking lost on the Midline! :O Before Khandala, we passed through the longest tunnel in this section; I saw some red laser lights inside and water was gently dripping from the rocks as we exited! For some reason, there was an unscheduled halt of 4 mins at Khandala. In the meantime, WCAM3 twins 21948 and 21943 crossed us on the UP line. After we left, I could feel the ALCO transition jerk even when we were being pushed by the bankers; this is probably unusual! The engine traffic in the UP direction continued, as we crossed a Tigerface WAG7 triplet before Lonavala.

Pulled into PF2 of Lonavla at 15 22, 15 mins late; on PF3 was a local to Pune. We departed after a stop of 3 mins, and overtook a stationary freight consisting of stacks of sugarcane loaded on flatbeds; led by Pune WDG4D 70398. After crossing over the points, we passed a Plasser machine attached to a flatbed; on the Midline (there are 3 lines till the point where the Mumbai-Pune Expressway joins). As we accelerated with the characteristic ALCO jerk, followed by chugging; we crossed a stationary Concor rake headed by WAG9 in the distant right. Soon we were racing vehicles on the Expressway; accompanied by melodious turbocharger and track sounds. Slowed down before Malavli; allowing cars to overtake us. I saw huge billboards of New India Assurance and Bank of India contrasting with the might of the Sahyadri mountain range in the distant right, with the Expressway in between! πŸ˜‰

We again accelerated to MPS, accompanied by HT honking; before slowing down at Kamshet home. Now there were some buildings nestled around this picturesque setting πŸ™‚ .

There was an unscheduled halt at Kanhe for half a minute, followed by a huge curve to the right; tilting just like between Badlapur and Vangani! A clump of eucalyptus trees provided shelter from the searing heat of the summer.

We had a fast run from Vadgaon home onwards, accompanied by continuous honking (mostly HT horn used) and clickety clack track music. The pace dropped just before Talegaon, but we then accelerated superbly to skip the station at MPS; crossing a local that was pulling in. I spotted a Plasser machine on a track in the distant right. After Ghorawadi, we crossed the Utkrisht rake of 11008 Pune Mumbai Deccan express; headed by KYN WCAM2 21863. Slowed down at Begdewadi and had a sedate run till Akurdi home; from where we started ripping again. 22943 Pune Indore superfast crossed us with a WAP4. We crossed a local after Chinchwad, before dropping the pace once more at Pimpri home. After we accelerated through the station with some hard chugging, 11030 KOP-CSMT Koyna express blasted past behind a WDP4D with a pure EMD horn. The start-stop run continued as we maintained a fast clip till Dapodi, only for lethargy to kick in again πŸ˜› .

Meanwhile, one of my co-passengers (who was going all the way till HYB) was curious about my taking notes in my diary; I explained to him about my fascination for trains since childhood (which had matured into a hobby of railfanning after becoming an adult; including gaining knowledge about the engines pulling the coaches and generally the operations of Indian Railways through IRFCA) and added that I was noting down the observations for the purpose of writing a blog about the journey later. He was awed and wanted to know more about the blog; I told him that the blog included reports of my train journeys as well as poems, and wrote down the blog link in my diary. My co-passenger then browsed the website through his mobile; it took some time to load due to the substandard quality of the mobile data while we were in motion.

In the meantime, I noticed an SWR rake parked on a siding at Khadki; the SLR belonged to SR.Β  To which train this rake could have belonged? As we slowed down to a crawl while entering Pune yard, I bid goodbye to my Hyderabadi co-passenger and headed towards the door; for which there was a big queue! I saw LGD WAP7 30326 inside the ETS; outside were GZB WAP7 30209 and BRC WAP4E 22940 among various other electric locos. We arrived on PF5 of Pune at 16 30; right on the dot – which wasn’t surprising, given the slack from Lonavala onwards – 1 hr 20 mins for a distance of 64 km! πŸ˜› 16351 CSMT-NCJ β€˜Balaji express’ was just departing from PF6; about 40 mins late! This marks the end to a blog about yet another Pune trip; hope you found this one more interesting than some of the earlier ones! πŸ˜€


Technical Abbreviations

  • DLS – Diesel Loco Shed
  • LT – Low Tone
  • HT – High Tone
  • LP – Loco Pilot
  • ALCO – American Locomotive Company (and an old class of diesel engines of the 1960s)
  • EMD – Electro-motive Diesel (and a modern class of diesel locos)
  • MPS – Maximum Permissible Speed
  • PSR – Permanent Speed Restriction
  • TSR – Temporary Speed Restriction
  • LHB – Linke-Hofmann-Busch (a modern Swiss company which manufactures coaches with high speed capability and anti-climb safety features; used in Rajdhanis, Shatabdis , and many Durontos and AC expresses)
  • EOG – End-On Generator (a diesel generator attached to both ends of the train to power the coaches)
  • IRFCA – Indian Railways Fan Club Association
  • ETS – Electric Loco Trip Shed
  • SWR – South Western Railway
  • SR – Southern Railway
  • SLR – Seating Cum Luggage Rake (attached at the front and rear of every ICF self-generating rake)
  • ICF – Integral Coach Factory, Perambur (Chennai) [manufactures most of the coaches in Indian Railways]

Station Codes

  • CSMT – Mumbai CST
  • HYB – Hyderabad
  • SNSI – Sainagar Shirdi
  • RJPB – Rajendranagar
  • LTT – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (Kurla Terminus)
  • KYN – Kalyan
  • CLA – Kurla (station)
  • MMR – Manmad
  • MAS – Chennai Central
  • HTE – Hatia
  • BSB – Varanasi
  • CBE – Coimbatore Junction
  • KJM – Krishnarajapuram (KR Puram)
  • BSL – Bhusaval
  • KOP – Kolhapur
  • LGD – Lallaguda
  • GZB – Ghaziabad
  • BRC – Vadodara
  • NCJ – Nagercoil Junction

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