My trip to trichy was planned just a week ahead and all preparation was going as per our family style.Usually i was the person who used to provide ticketing solution to these type of family journeys and I was quite thrilled about our journey to Trichy. My parents were busy in some purchases and as usual I was busy booking the ticket and what made me to jump out of the chair was this name Trichy Express(6854/6853) the BG version of old Cholan express.Which made me to go into a nostalgic feeling of my school days as we used to travel by the Meter guage Cholan and return by Sengottai fast passenger,which was golden days of my school life.
Okay back to present!! As i saw this Trichy Express has got reseanoble number of vacancy also the train was a day train starting at Egmore by 8:20 AM and reaching Trichy around 4:30 PM further my intention to do serious rail fanning also pushed our travel by this train;(Attention: This train though being a day runner still has got Sleeper coaches).We got Side upper and Side Lower and the adjacent cabin for the onward journey, Viola!!! what else, I was jumping even before printing my tickets having in mind the serious rail fanning duty awaiting me!!.
Well, Since our train was a morning train we started around early and reached Egmore early by the time Pandian Express has arrived and the incharge KJM WDP4 20039 was shunting switching lines, What else! a click on that, Loco pilots were busy with their walkie talkie to guide the loco around the switches.
As we entered into the station, Rameswaram express greeted us with WDM3D which did the honors for pulling this train,We saw this train from the bus enroute to Egmore and this was halting at Chetpet, It must have reached just minutes before we entered into the station.This loco has connection later in this. Our rake was already stationed on PF No:8 and there was no crowd on the platform.Only the railway personnel was pasting reservation Chart just in time we pulled from the Over head bridge he was pasting chart for our coach.Our coach was last but sixth from engine so I can get a good view of the train when negotiating curves!!! After checking our names in the reservation chart we settled onto our berths and had Coffee/Idly-vada from IRCTC vendor.
I was roaming around the platform hoping to catch that WDP4 20039, but still that loco was way up in the front.Cant get a clear shot at it, Dadar express was about to depart from adjacent plaform, as it was going towards park station and taking the Arakkonam route. After the Dadar Express departure came the Pondicherry chennai express behind WAP4.As only suburban trains were passing it was not a active rail fanning session :(
Our train moved on the dot 8:20 AM out of egmore and it was a slow and steady run,I had a premonition that our train will get an electric locomotive till Villipuram(VM) most probably WAP4 or WAM4 and then might be a WDM3 or WDM3A after that, thought that horn belonged to WAP4 when it honked from egmore and way around,But later after hearing the furious chugging, my BP went almost to the upper berth!!! as our train got a Diesel locomotive right from Egmore and now it is chugging its way!!!.As our coach was long way from the engine i would not clearly enjoy the view of the engine and its sound in full volume. As a matter of fact is that when you are long behind the engine, and you need to have a good look then approaching Trichy Jn will be a visual treat as the track laid is so curvy that you can view your train.It is not the case while running as you sense the train is negotiating a curve as you feel the slight pushing to your sides inside in your seat and when you look by the time engine would have gone straight,If you are near to engine more lucky ;)
This train has a stop at Melmaruvathur and there was little crowd boarding into our train all dressed up in red colour dress symbolising they are devotees of Adhiparasakthi goddess.Some local vendor with fried peanut/cashew was roaming in the platform apart from that there was not a big population around.Till Villupuram (VM) our run was smooth and steady, the train took the left side track that goes to cuddalore, chidambaram, by the time we finished our lunch and i was peeping in-between to take a look and it was the same WDM 3D Loco that powered Rameswaram Express!!! pulling our train.Loco pilot must have thought to gear up and we picked up good speed blasting through Panroti, Cuddalore etc. there were homes just near by tracks near cuddalore and people were waving at our trains( What more can a railfan need except a dose of encouragement like this!!), we were running close to right time and talks were going on that at this rate we might reach Trichy around 4:15 PM.
We reached Sirkhazhi 1:30 PM a crispy 1 minute halt; after that what came to Loco pilots mind I dont know he started to blast like rocket and we thundered through Vaitheeswaran koil at 1:40 PM surely the train must have done around 90+ KMPH, the whole station went around in 30 seconds, I looked back a second later to take a sneek peak at it, but the station was gone out of sight;another 5 minutes Anandathandavapuram next station after vaitheeswaran kovil, our train gave the same treatment to this station as we blasted through it.We slowed down after 5 minutes passing this station as we were approaching Mayiladuthurai Jn, By road Mayiladuthurai is 15 Kms from Vaitheeswaran Koil as the road is very narrow and many curves close to 90 degree are making bus journey very cumbersome. We were passing by a passenger halting at Tittai,I could not make out the name of the train as our train was doing a good speed.
We had a dose of Coffee at Mayiladuthurai Jn which made me brisk for the lap of journey left.We arrived bang at Kumbakonam Jn where ED 16671 WDM2 was waiting behind Mayiladuthurai Express, Loco pilots were standing near the Loco waiting for the starter,as they must be waiting for our train to pull into the station as it is a single line all the way.
we again started to blast out of Kumbakonam and really the train pissed off at the speed restrictions and we were doing easily 90+ KMPH for another 15-20 minutes and we were approaching Tanjavur Jn there was a long goods train with BOXN rake standing incharge was 2 Multiple unit of WDG3A ED 13493 and 13511.
From then on it was a good run touching 90+ KMPH and we reached Trichy Jn around 4:30PM.Wow! what a journey it was and i really enjoyed travelling on this train.Hope I would get a close view of our Loco atleast while return :) Cheers!!
Our return journey was with the same train and same coach; this time 6th from engine!!! and I had a pep talk with Loco pilot and he told that we could reach Chennai by 5:45PM, further i asked which loco would haul us and he told it is WDM3A as the loco brought into platform was taking lot of time, he was sitting in the platform,I left to my coach as even past the scheduled departure of 9:20 AM loco was not coupled to our rake. By the time i was photographing some locos and found WDP3A 15524 GOC livery, driver was checking all the bogies and looked around for any debries in the wheels etc. after a while he pulled a wedge from the cabin and placed under the wheel to avoid runaway, The side doors of the loco was open through which he jumped outside to do this;loco was soon turned off and remained there till a shunter pulled this away.
Vaigai express arrived into PF NO:1 with WDP4 20039 from Madurai, It was surprising to see that WDP4 was uncoupled and drove to pit line, some WDMx was then coupled and started off, I donno whether WDP4 has some other plan for that day.I am not sure whether WDP4 20039 was regular link for Pandian Express from MS to TPJ or MS to MDU, as i told you i have taken photo of this loco at egmore the day before i came here. It was after 9:30 AM we felt the jolt of a loco getting coupled and we moved out of trichy around 9:40 AM, I was very happy to see that i am close to loco and can hear the chugging clearly
we pulled put of trichy soon blasted till budaloor, where we slowed down and stopped for about 15 minutes at the Budaloor station.
Then came a furious KJM WDM3A with Mysore-Trichy Express blasting past us.It was doing a good deal of about 100+ KMPH.
Afterward it was a good run till Tanjavur Jn where the smell of paddy fields were very pleasant in the morning sun.At Tanjavur we had Vada from IRCTC vendor and it was hot and worth for the money paid.Compared to Chennai IRCTC eatry, those from Tanjavur Jn was much better and worth for money.
Our Loco pilot Mr.Ramanathan/Xavier did a fantastic job, we were arriving all stations almost right time, There was a rake without any nameplate coupled to GOC WDM2 16858 welcoming us at Mayiladuthurai Jn.
We blasted again through Vaitheeswaran kovil at good deal of speed, The station is reopened after the MG to BG conversion and has a very different look with the over head bridge and additional platform.There used to be a big tree in that station and now it seemed to be uprooted due to the height of platform being raised for BG trains,Many times i have spent my summer vacation at this place and it is kind of real shift in the scenary for what was once a peaceful small station and i captured some video though my finger unknowingly covered the part of lens,as the train was travelling fast i had to hold the mobile so tight as the oil from the vada i ate was still present in my fingers!!! i thought my mobile could slip off.
We were running bright through Villupuram and then the worst part of the journey struck the train as we had to wait for more than 45 mins as there was repair going on the tracks near Olakur station.
As you can see the ongoing Vaigai express was running 1:30 mins late behind WAP4 22764 ,crossing us at Olakur station.
As you can see in the picture,the middle line where the maintainence is going on used to be the high speed line where trains pass through that station run along.
There were multiple sections of track being replaced, Vaigai Express went past us around 4 PM.That fellow must have gone past Villupuram by that time but he was running late.From then on it was kind of riding the yellow as we accelarated and decelerated through out till Egmore and reached 1 Hr 30 mins late.
By and large this trip was a good experience and i could take good snaps and look at it to keep the memory.