Answering The Call Of Pune, Yet Again! – Part 1

Yes, you read it right. Yet another Mumbai – Pune train trip, after my first Vistadome journey 6 months ago: . The purpose of this trip too was the same – to meet my friend – railfan Omkar – and have fun with him; including a night stay at his house. It was planned at the eleventh hour – I booked the train tickets just 8 days before the onward journey – which was to be on Saturday October 15th; by 11029 Mumbai Kolhapur Koyna Express. The reasons for choosing this particular train in favour of the daytime Mumbai-Pune trains like Indrayani, Intercity or Deccan (the train by which I had gone to Pune in April) were:

  1. This was one of the two morning trains in which AC accommodation was available; the other being 11025 BSL – Pune Express; which you could board only at KYN or PNVL.
  2. It left Dadar at a convenient time of 08 52.

As always, please refer to the legend right at the bottom for all technical terms and station codes. On the day of the trip, I got up at 6 am, had a hot cup of filter coffee (prepared by my mother, as ever! πŸ˜€ ) and took a bath. Then I left my home by around 07 15 and took an auto to Vikhroli station. Purchased a First Class ticket and boarded a slow local to Dadar. On the way, our local and a nearly 4 hours late running 18030 SHM-LTT express (hauled by its usual WAP4) were overtaken at MPS by 12290 NGP-CSMT Duronto (led by Ajni WAP7 30696) just before Vidyavihar. Reached Dadar at 07 57. The local had arrived, as always, on Platform 3 and since Koyna always arrived on PF4; it means I didn’t have to climb the FOB to switch to another platform πŸ™‚ . The station was jampacked as ever and I couldn’t find any bench or slab where I could sit; hence had to settle for the floor πŸ˜› .

12810 HWH CSMT Mail (via NGP) pulled into PF5 at 07 59 – 4 hrs 2 mins late – behind an offlink; a dirty BRC WAP7. Thankfully, a significant portion of the crowd dispersed after the arrival of a fast local on PF4; hence I was able to find an iron/steel structure (where a few people were already sitting) to sit. Meanwhile, the poor HWH Mail had to suffer the indignity of being overtaken by a couple of CSMT-bound fast locals from PF6; since it had lost all priority due to running so late. I was feeling rather sleepy; obviously due to my inadequate sleep the previous night, having had to get up as early as six o’clock – when I am used to waking up as late as nine o’clock on weekends! πŸ˜› Hence, I closed my eyes and rested my elbow on my shoulder bag and my right fist on my chin; so as to get some rest – though I didn’t actually fall asleep.

At 08 46, 12534 CSMT-LJN Pushpak Express blasted through PF4, horns blaring; pulled by KYN WAP7 37274: . Koyna eventually arrived on PF4 at 08 59, 9 mins late; with KYN WCAM3 21963.

I boarded my AC 3 Tier coach B1; unfortunately, I had a Middle Berth (since the tickets were booked at the last minute); which meant no window seat. Koyna has been having an RSA with 11139/40 Mumbai Gadag Express in recent years; due to which it has 2 AC 3 Tier coaches as well as an AC First Class/AC 2 Tier Composite coach – in spite of being a daytime train. Anyway, my middle seat was occupied by a young man (who was sitting next to his mother); hence I had no choice but to sit in the aisle. It didn’t make much of a difference; because in any case I had no window seat! We departed after a halt of 2 mins. There was a flat wheel at the rear end of the coach. Our WCAM3 had a melodious LT horn; as well as 2 HT horns – one being melodious and the other being shrill; more like WAP5/7. However, I miss the diesel days of this train (the entire Mumbai-Kolhapur route being electrified now!) – you can refer this blog for my last diesel journey on Koyna Exp, back in February 2018: .

We reached Thane at 09 25, 12 mins late, pulling into the customary PF5. 17611 Nanded Mumbai Rajyarani Express was pulling out of PF8 behind GY WDP4D 40152. Usually, trains terminating at DR/CSMT are taken to PF6 of Thane; but 17611 had to be taken to PF8 (normally used by trains terminating at LTT) due to 11010 Pune Mumbai Sinhagad Express being taken on PF6 – it had apparently made an unscheduled stop. Meanwhile, quite a few people boarded Koyna Exp. We left after a halt of 2 mins. Had a packet of Poha (served by a passing vendor wearing a uniform) as breakfast – it tasted just ok. We crossed 12124 Pune Mumbai Deccan Queen behind a WAP4 before arriving at PF4 of KYN at 09 45, 12 mins late. 12110 Manmad Mumbai Panchavati Express was departing from PF5 behind its customary WAP7. My ticket was checked. Now, the lack of sleep the previous night was beginning to tell on me again and I wanted to stay awake and alert for the long outing Omkar had planned later in the day. Hence, I closed my eyes and tried to have a nap once more; was unsuccessful this time as well! πŸ˜›

We had a long halt at Karjat, where bankers were attached to our rear, for the climb up the Bhor Ghats. As we pulled out of the junction, I saw a triplet of KYN WAG7s 27397, 27218 and 27132 on the right. As the Ghat section started (from Palasdhari), there was a breathtaking sight – a vast valley separated our line and the bi-directional MID line from the UP line; on which 22731 HYB-CSMT Express (a supercrawler recently speeded up and converted to a Superfast!!) crossed us behind a WAP4. Unfortunately, my hand ended up spoiling the photo and thus I had to delete it 😦 . Usually the South-west monsoon ends in September; but this time there was a prolonged spell of rain in Maharashtra, which ensured that the Bhor Ghats continued to be enveloped in green πŸ™‚ .

The climb up the Bhor Ghats (between Karjat and Lonavala) begins
Breathtaking views and greenery even in the middle of October, thanks to a prolonged spell of monsoon in Maharashtra
You can never ever tire of the Bhor Ghats, especially during and just after the monsoon!
Trees standing tall amidst the greenery
Note the two shades of green πŸ™‚
The mighty Sahyadri mountain range in all its glory πŸ™‚
Green is the order of the day πŸ˜€
Green forests as well as mountains
Steep and precarious mountains, adding to the beauty. This is now my Facebook Cover Pic πŸ˜€
You can faintly make out a waterfall or two. This is now my laptop background πŸ˜‰

Special mention goes to a young man standing at the left side door; who saw me looking at the view beyond him (which was more gorgeous than the view on the right side) and thus decided to sacrifice his spot; moving to the right side door instead. It is thanks to him that I was able to take all these pictures πŸ™‚ . Meanwhile, a freight hauled by twin WDG4s and braked by a WAG7 triplet crossed us before Khandala. Lonavala was a perfect place for L&T’s Leadership Development Academy πŸ™‚ .

We pulled into the station at 11 27, 19 mins late. 11014 CBE-LTT express departed on the right. We left after a stop of 3 mins and started accelerating right away; since we were on the mainline. Spent some time near the door again, while we blasted through Malavli and Kamshet; with the beautiful Indrayani river giving us company for some time and our LP played with all three horns; sometimes s/he combined both the LT horn and the melodious HT horn to produce a beautiful double tone horn similar to the old WAM4 πŸ™‚ . After I returned to my seat, I could not see much out of the windows – either the ones in my bay (which were some distance away since I was sitting in the aisle) or those in the side bay – which were closer but had curtains drawn over them since the occupant of the Side Lower Berth was sleeping. Hence, I decided to have a brief nap once more.

At Talegaon and Chinchwad, quite a few people got down. At Chinchwad, the occupant of the Lower Berth on my right got down and thus I had the window seat for myself, though towards the fag end of the journey πŸ˜› . We departed at 12 12, 19 mins late; with the LP blowing the shrill HT horn, followed by the LT horn. On the left, a line from a freight siding joined us – it was above us. An LHB rake crossed us before Pimpri. We then passed an LC with a tractor; followed by some marshland where buffaloes were grazing. Observed the Pune Metro high above on our left (it was the first time I’d ever seen the Pune Metro!!) before we ripped through Kasarwadi. Then we passed through an industrial area; with Forbes Marshall, Alfa Laval and Sandvik Coromant factories flying past. Zipped through Dapodi, horns blaring; before slowing down, since Khadki, the next station, was a scheduled halt for us. Then came the Harris Bridge over the dirty Mula-Mutha river.

There is a road bridge parallel to the railway line and the Pune Metro above it

We reached Khadki at 12 24, 16 mins late. Exited after a stop of 2 mins and passed through some scenery in the form of lots of trees, coconut and eucalyptus groves and a pond. This was followed by a commercial area full of roads and buildings. Arrived at SVJR at 12 32, 16 mins late. After a minute, the LP blew the shrill HT horn; but we still didn’t depart. A minute later, the LP blew the shrill HT horn again; followed by a short burst of the LT horn, and we finally left. The Mula-Mutha river was even dirtier when seen from the Sangam Bridge.

The Pune Metro is now on the right side of the road bridge

On entering the Pune yard, we slowed down to an almighty crawl as there was a PSR of 10 kmph; which would continue till the junction limits were crossed. On our right, a Car Carrier rake crossed us behind a WAG9 412X7. The ETS came on our left; spotted TKD WAG9 32169, Ajni WAP7 39076 and KYN WCAM3 21957 on sidings to the left outside the shed. Inside the ETS were KYN WCAM2s 21864 and 21855. We then pulled into PF6 of Pune Junction at 12 45, 10 mins late. I made my way towards PF1 via the FOB and then came out of the junction. Had a cup of coffee before waiting for 10-15 mins near the 2-wheeler parking lot for Omkar to pick me up. On the way as well as at the parking lot, I had to politely decline quite a few pick-up offers from the autowallahs. Thus, it was a relief when Omkar finally arrived with his motorbike.

I was carrying a strolley; though it was not big, it still proved to be a challenge holding the strolley with my right hand – while my left hand gripped the rear grab rail of Omkar’s motorbike for support; as we heaved our way in and out of the Pune traffic. Thus, I was relieved to finally reach his house and get showered with the hospitality of his parents. Thank you for reading so patiently through yet another Mumbai-Pune trip report!! Here is a video compilation of the journey; including the Bhor Ghats as well as the fast run through Malavli and Kamshet (including the beautiful Indrayani river) – please keep ENGLISH SUBTITLES ON for a detailed description: . Also, please stay tuned for the return journey to Mumbai in Part 2! πŸ™‚


Technical Abbreviations

  • FOB – Foot Overbridge
  • RSA – Rake Sharing Arrangement
  • LT – Low Tone
  • HT – High Tone
  • LP – Loco Pilot
  • LHB – Linke-Hofmann-Busch (a modern Swiss company which manufactures coaches with high speed capability and anti-climb safety features; used in many of the trains nowadays)
  • LC – Level Crossing
  • ETS – Electric Loco Trip Shed

Station Codes

  • BSL – Bhusawal
  • KYN – Kalyan
  • PNVL – Panvel
  • SHM – Shalimar
  • LTT – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (Kurla Terminus)
  • NGP – Nagpur
  • CSMT – Mumbai CST
  • HWH – Howrah
  • BRC – Vadodara
  • LJN – Lucknow Junction
  • GY – Gooty
  • DR – Dadar (Central)
  • HYB – Hyderabad
  • CBE – Coimbatore Junction
  • SVJR – Shivajinagar
  • TKD – Tuqhlakabad

For those patient enough to read till here, I am presenting a small bonus πŸ™‚ :

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