This blog is about Part 2 of my first 130 kmph journey in Indian Railways – unless you count my journey by the Chennai Rajdhani way back in 1993; when I was barely four years old! Of course, I don’t remember anything about that journey; except seeing a few derailed wagons 😛 This was also my first journey by India’s fastest Double Decker – 12931/32 MMCT-ADI Double Decker Express. For Part 1 of this journey, please refer https://ashwinkumar1989.in/2022/11/20/double-decker-diaries-mumbai-to-vadodara-part-1/ . Also, if you are a fan of Double Decker trains in general, please go through this report of mine as well: https://ashwinkumar1989.in/2018/01/10/double-decking-it-to-bangalore-part-1/ and https://ashwinkumar1989.in/2018/01/11/double-decking-it-to-bangalore-part-2/ – this is the account of my journey by 22625 MAS-SBC Double Decker back in December 2017.
Like Part 1, this report is also going to be PACKED with technical jargon, locomotive spottings and train crossings; but again, there will be a fair bit of natural scenery too; after all, the Mumbai-Vadodara route is full of rivers 🙂 . Again, for all technical terms and station codes; refer to the legend right at the bottom. Where were we? Ah yes, at Platform 2 of Valsad. We departed at 17 09, 12 minutes late; with a typically strong LHB jerk. Overtook an Election Special hauled by RTM WDG3A 14722R on PF4. Then we crossed the Auranga river – it was 60-70% full – followed by the dry Kolai river. This was followed by small forests, an LC with a lot of vehicles and the dry Kampri and Bamm rivers; before we blasted through Dungri at 130 kmph. Forests and a mosque flew past us; before we ripped through Joravasan – more like a ghost station. After crossing a partly dry river, we thundered through Billimora.
As mentioned in Part 1, please wait till the end of this report for a video compilation of the journey as a whole; including all the high speed action post Virar, as well as some of the rivers. Coming back to the trip, we crossed a largely dry Ambika river; followed by the Vangri river, before zipping through Amalsad. At Vedcha, we overtook a BCNA freight led by a WAG9 at MPS. Then we crossed another dry river and some sugarcane fields before blasting through Gandhismriti. This was followed by a pond, as well as huts and cottages and an LC with lots of two-wheelers; before we pulled into PF1 of Navsari at 17 31, 6 mins late – having covered the last 39 km in 22 mins at an average speed of 106.36 kmph; no wonder 12931/32 is the fastest DD in India!! 🙂 19102 Surat-Virar MEMU Express arrived on PF2 and departed after two mins; we left at the same time with a big jerk.
After passing another LC full of two-wheelers, we crossed the Poorna river – the south side was dry and the north side was 60-70% full! Then came the dry Kharia tank, followed by the dry Sagra river. After passing some maize fields, we ripped through Maroli; there was a mosque on the right. This was followed by lots of neem trees, marshland, paddy fields and forests – the Gujarat countryside is underrated! After crossing the partly dry Mindhola river, followed by the dry Mithi Khadi; we passed through huts and cottages (as well as a temple) before thundering through Sachin. After a highway passed over us, we slowed down and crossed the dry Unn Khadi. Then there were more maize fields before we skipped Bhestan; crossing the stationary 09088 Surat-Sanjan MEMU special in the process. An LHB rake pulled by a WAP7 then crossed us.
There was a long boundary wall; beyond which there were forests. After another highway passed over us, we slowed down to a crawl and stopped at Udhna home signal. I was treated to a beautiful sight of the setting sun on the left; in contrast, there were heaps of trash on the right, among which buffaloes were searching for scraps of food! 😛 There were also two ponies 🙂 .We departed after a halt of 2 mins and passed through huts and cottages; there were more heaps of garbage 😦 Then came one of the highlights of the trip – 20902 GNC-MMCT Vande Bharat Exp crossed us at a great speed – my first ever live sighting of VB! 🙂 We skipped Udhna at a good speed; I saw TATA WAP7 30564 on the right. We also overtook a tanker train hauled by TKD WAG9 31482; along with another freight behind a WAG9. This was followed by eucalyptus and coconut groves; then yet another highway passed over us.
We crossed the main road over a bridge; after which I spotted Hotel Ashoka International in the distant right, as well as SNS Globale. There was a TSR of 30 kmph on the UP line. We were again stopped at Surat home for 2 mins. After passing the Surat Mahanagar Palika on the right, we entered PF1 at 18 05, 9 mins late. I observed BSL WAP4 22899 on a siding; while PF3 was occupied by BRC WAP7 39078. Then I was treated to a rare diesel sighting (in this electric jungle! 😀 ) in the form of 16507 JU-SBC Exp arriving on PF2 behind BGKT WDP4 20078 with a unique horn 🙂 . We left after a halt of 4 mins; once again with a big jerk. I saw that the station had a PSR of 50 kmph. By the way, the ride in DD felt comfortable at high speeds (definitely more comfortable as compared to ICF rakes); but there were a lot of jerks at lower speeds; especially while accelerating and decelerating.
12010 ADI-MMCT Shatabdi crossed us with its customary WAP7; after which we crossed the rather breathtaking Tapi river. Zipped through Kosad and overtook a Container rake hauled by a WAG9. Then we crossed a canal and hurtled past Gothangam and Sayan; overtaking a BOXN freight led by another WAG9 in the process. The freight action continued; as we crossed another Concor freight. After passing through some small forests, we ripped through Kim. Then there was a slowdown as a town appeared. At Kosamba, we crossed another LHB rake pulled by a WAP7. Seeing WAP7s hauling LHB rakes has become very common nowadays; to the point of monotony! 😦 Anyway, we overtook an ICF rake led by a WAP7 at Hathuran. Another town appeared in the distant right and an electrified double line crossed us from above.
After crossing yet another freight pulled by a WAG9, we skipped Ankleshwar at a sedate pace; then the Container Terminal came on the right. 16337 OKHA-ERS Exp crossed us with its customary EMD; after which we passed an Engineering Company and Four Seasons Hotel on the right. The highway came up on the right; with a dirty river (carrying stagnant water) in between. This was followed by another highlight of the tour – a long bridge over the Narmada river in all its glory; with a parallel road bridge on the right. We reached Bharuch at 18 50, 11 mins late. A freight hauled by a WAG9 skipped the junction at a good pace on the right. We departed after a stop of 2 mins. Soon it became impossible to see even station names; thanks to the darkness and the sheer speed which we were doing 😉 .
After a brief drop in speed, we skipped Palej at MPS. After passing factories in the distant right; we again slowed down and crossed yet another LHB rake led by a WAP7. However, we quickly accelerated once more and skipped Miyagam Karjan at MPS; there was a Plasser machine on the rightmost track. Unfortunately though, we suffered a dip in pace again after 5 mins; before accelerating and skipping Varnama at a decent speed. Nevertheless, we were forced to drop our pace yet again; it seemed like we were tailing a train. After Makarpura, factories showed up on the right once more. The town of Vadodara soon appeared and we skipped Vishwamitri – overtaking 19217 BDTS-VRL Saurashtra Janata Exp in the process. Surprisingly, the train was behind a WCAM2/3 and what’s more; it had an ICF rake instead of the LHB rake it was supposed to have!! Anyway, 19217 was the culprit due to which we had to slow down four times after Bharuch!
We pulled into PF2 of BRC at 19 43, 10 mins late. So, we had covered the last 129 km (from Surat) in 1 hour 34 mins – at an average speed of 82.34 kmph 🙂 . Along with me, a lot of people got down here.
There were quite a few families.
A MEMU occupied PF5 and on PF3 you can faintly observe a three-phase MEMU in the distant background.
The junction building was simple and yet charming; when seen from the outside.
I loved the entrance to the station even more 🙂 .
Thus a rather memorable journey by India’s fastest Double Decker had ended; the overall speed didn’t disappoint me despite reaching the destination 10 mins late – I would put this down mainly to the slow runs between Vapi and Valsad and between Navsari and Surat. There were also quite a few occasions where we hit 130 kmph 🙂 . As promised, here is the video compilation of the journey as a whole: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ID8U8KFEJzg&t=936s . Please KEEP ENGLISH SUBTITLES ON for a description as the video runs!! Hope you have enjoyed both Part 1 and 2!! 😀
- LHB – Linke-Hoffman-Busch (a modern Swiss company which manufactures coaches with high speed capability and anti-climb safety features – seen in majority of the trains nowadays)
- LC – Level Crossing
- MPS – Maximum Permissible Speed
- MEMU – Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (like a local train; except that it runs on non-suburban routes, has vestibules and is narrower than a local)
- TSR – Temporary Speed Restriction
- PSR – Permanent Speed Restriction
- ICF – Integral Coach Factory, Perambur (Chennai) [used to manufacture most of the coaches in Indian Railways]
- EMD – Electro-motive Diesel (and a modern class of diesel locos)
- MMCT – Mumbai Central
- ADI – Ahmedabad
- MAS – Chennai Central
- SBC – KSR Bengaluru (Bangalore City/Majestic)
- RTM – Ratlam
- GNC – Gandhinagar
- TKD – Tuqhlakabad
- TATA – Tatanagar
- BSL – Bhusaval
- BRC – Vadodara
- JU – Jodhpur
- BGKT – Bhagat Ki Kothi
- ERS – Ernakulam Junction
- BDTS – Bandra terminus
- VRL – Veraval
For all of you who have read so patiently till here, I have a small surprise below 😉 .