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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Trichy - trip report

The following is a trip report as well as some observations on the go, So please be patient as its gonna be a long one.Its the same Cholan express even this time to Trichy, so i got ready for another 401 KM of rail fanning session ahead of me, cant afford to loose a kilometer of it !!!

Started early from home..around 5:30 AM ...it was dark and the streets belonged only to dogs who barked at me taking me for stranger...reached egmore around 6:45 AM...asusual Rameswaram Express arrived at platform 4 with Ernakulam WDM3A..which will again power our Cholan till Trichy...I didnt see the WDP4 with Pandian Express..so the loco sharing arrangement might have changed, as Pandian might get WDP4 from Madurai till Trichy and loco changes to WAP4 from Trichy to Chennai, Even this happens with Vaigai in the morning and evening...getting WDP4 only in Madurai-Trichy leg.We will see the evidence later in this trip log,So gulped some idlies at refreshment room and started my journey through over head bridge to the rake ....where Manglore-Chennai-Trichy rake was stationed with our reservation charts pasted.Cholan Express shares its rake with Manglore express so Cholan being a day-runner still runs with its Sleeper coachs on.

WAP4 was parked near the rake which i saw from over head bridge, had a thought that it is too early for locomotive to be coupled as its only 7:15 AM...after couple of minutes WAP4 was pulled away... WAPpie must have parked itself till kanyakumari, pondicherry passenger to come, when lines were clear it was taken to pit lane to rest.Along with WAPs there were some WDS and WDM7 tondiyarpet shed which could do yard switching pulling emtpy rakes to yard from platform.

Just then Dadar Express from adjacent platform got the starter and moved slowly out towards Park- Vysarpadi-Arakkonam to Dadar...WAP4 must be the power for it....Asusual EMU trains running till tambaram and Chengalpet was arriving with bunch of commuters taking the dailies to their work.EMUs were only 8 coach before the IT corridor/ Indistrial Estate was started..due to huge liquid population coming in and out towards Chennai Central/ Beach has forced the railways to increase the commuter cars to 12 in number.

Our platform was empty as the passengers were moving in late for the 8:15AM train...as it was only 7:15 AM...only IRCTC vendors where roaming about the platforms selling coffee and breakfast.It was a fresh sunny morning show at the station i would say!!

I got settled in my seat Side lower with no fan as coach staff not turned the main switch as it was early and was listeining to all railway announcements as nothing much of rail action was going on except for EMUs...Just then around 7:45 AM Kanyakumari express pulled into plaform 5 behind Erode WDM3D 1111x ( I didnt notice the last digit) i hope most of the passengers got down at Mambalam station..there were only couple of 100 people taking the way out....soon the yard staffs kicked into action to close window shutters and lock down the doors...

What disturbed me is the way they take out and trolley up the pillows and bed spread from the AC coaches... coach attendents simply spread a bed spread on the platform floor and throw in the bunches from coach door... sometimes his aim goes for the spread and many a times simply get wetted by the water and all the dirt in the platform... Will Indian Railways take any action on it...as one can only keep his fingers crossed on this to keep him from possible infection.

Ernakulam WDM3A pushed Rameswaram express empty rake to the yard and i thought the same will power our train too...kill the demon! the same loco took incharge of ours too...Around 8 AM i can see flow of people increased 2 fold in the platforms all having their reservation tickets checking the location of coaches against their tickets....exhibiting a sort of hurry to get into their seats.

Our train moved on the dot 8:15 AM out of platform...it was a slow pick up till Mambalam and we gained speed as morning traffic as close to none.We blasted Guindy/ St. Thomas mount.... Airport and soon we are out of chennai towards Chengalpet...we were running close to right time and as we passed Melmaruvathur... we slowed down and put in loop line for around 20 minutes to Chennai bound Pallavan Express to cruise by...




Soon our WDM3A roared to pick up lost time...which gave me a hope that we would reach Trichy right on time...It was a pure Alco power which showed this strength till Villupuram(VM) and reached right time!!! inspite of our 20 minutes halt for Pallavan... Hats of Loco Pilot!
IRCTC staffs were in full josh for the lunch time business ...selling foiled food... and platform vendors doing samosa, Vada stuff... I quickly grabbed some masala vada for the lunch time action and settled in for the second lap of journey....it was only 10-12 minutes of halt against usual 15-20 mins halt at Villupuram...Since the stoppages increased in recently must have affected the halt time... Villupuram-Mayiladuthurai passenger was standing just by us with Green livered GOC WDM2 doing some marshalling duties attaching/ detaching coaches....

Slowly we pulled out of VM and i would see the Villupuram-Vikravandi-Ariyalur- Srirangam-Trichy track that Vaigai,Pallavan and most of south bound trains take; diverge away from us on the right with a very sharp curve....this used to be the shortest route to Trichy as distance is only 330+ KMs, previsouly this track had a rail-road crossing at Ullundurpet.As most of the night buses heading towards South will have to stand at the level crossing for night trains bounded towards Chennai and South to cross by...this place was once heaven for night commuters as they would take a leak during the wait time...Now this road streach is converted to over head road bridge avoiding rail-road level crossing... Also this streach is electrified till Trichy as Vaigai is getting WAP4 right from Trichy(TPJ) till Egmore (MS).As we passed some 2 kms the electrified territory was over on our way as we took the left side route to Panroti-Cuddalore Port Jn- Chidambaram...which 70+ Kms more ( Reading 401 KM from Egmore till Trichy) than the route discussed above...It was all land of diesel gods from now!

We encountered Chennai bound Cholan powered by WDM3A...




It was a good cruise till Cuddalore Port Jn... a crisp halt as well....by the time i had done my lunch and took a nap as green fields were starting to make a good scenary here...It was during Meter guage times we used to see the sea at Cuddalore Port Jn...and light from light house used to shed light on our coach.. now a days tall buildings have filled the view and nothing much to see now.By this time IRCTC vendors were delivering the food for which they took order before VM...after some 20 mins of commotion everybody opted to close their eyes after lunch ..it was only clag-clag noise of tracks that filled the train!




Soon we reached Sirkazhi...one minute halt there and i quickly reached out to my mobile and started video...It was quick run till Vaitheeswaran Kovil ( V Kovil)... there is a new halt in V Kovil...as i have given in my previous post our train thundered past V kovil last time... this time we had a halt... V Kovil station is complete now with good platforms and over head bridge...I would say small stations such as this has lost its charm.any way this is part of change we have to accept it.

From V kovil is was a decent run till Mayiladuthurai Jn. we were greeted by Mayiladuthurai - Coimbatore Janshatabdhi express with Jan Shatabdhi livery coaches headed by Golden Rock WDM2 16882.

Janshatabdhi coach at Mayiladuthurai Jn



Janshatabdhi powered by GOC WDM2 16882...







Had a hot coffee at the station and boarded into train...a quick horn and soon we got out junction and picking up speed for Kombakonam Jn...I could see the lush green paddy fields of south ....smell of fresh paddy fields filled the train for a short distance ....Soon we reached Kumbakonam Jn... there was Mysore-Mayiladuthurai-Trichy rake stationed just by... There was not much action here... we started to Tanjavor Jn...

Our train negotiated couple of points out with furious chugging of Alco, that looked like an angry anaconda out for a kill ! It appeared that Loco pilots have decided to reach before time and finish up the job :)

Soon we crawled out of points and picked up 100+ pretty fast...Impressive pick though.It gives you a real josh to see sound of alco locomotive thundering up...I could clearly hear the cylinders pumping huge power to the steel wheels... Speechless!

Tanjavor Jn came in no time and my journey to Trichy is nearing as we have reached the last junction in the journey...Most of the train is empty now and only 10 persons were present in our coach...mostly i can see daily commuters taking this train from Tanjavor till Trichy...can see the office bags and formal dressing portraying they are usual runners between the points.

DMU ( Diesel Multiple Unit) at Tanjore Jn





Adjacent was an unknown rake with no name plate...but passengers were sitting and getting ready...some IRCTC vendors were selling theirs on it...must be a passenger from Mayiladuthurai, a daily.Coupled to it was WDP3A 15502 Golden rock shed, Loco pilot was curious enough to give me a pose.






Soon we blasted out of Tanjavor and headed out to Trichy..we picked up speed so fast i cant imagine that an 24 coach train with 3100 HP could do this much... we were easily doing 110+ KMPH and literly the empty train was shaking out as we thundered through Thiruverambur and Aduthurai....

Soon i could see BHEL line electrified running along gave me a hint that we are soon approaching Trichy...I could also see more lines pointing out to make sidings...Yes! Ponmalai place of diesel gods....I could see WDM3D Erode shed being waiting for us to pass by and clear the point outwards....what was strange was there was a lonely diesel locomotive with its engine running on top notch but not moving a single inch.... was this an engine test? Sound test? i dont have the answer this time.

I could see the line from Villupuram- Ariyalur- Srirangam - Trichy ( the short line ) joining us to converge into Trichy Jn...We hit Bang on time ... infact 5 mins before time to reach Trichy Jn and a smooth happy journey came to an end... I kissed the train good bye hoping to catch more on the return...



Trichy Jn some observation while the day return...

I reached Junction early and went straight to the coach and by the time Ernakulam WDM3A 17968 powered our coach from yard into the platform just before my eyes..WOW!!! i quickly settled on my seat and went out to venture the junction hoping to catch some action...I know that Vaigai will come around 8:45 AM with the monster WDP4... i had to go to the front of the platform to capture the action...

Unknown rake with no name plate was standing with WDP3A 15524 was parked next to it.soon the loco was moved out to yard...




Our loco's driver box was brought to our loco and soon i thought our Loco pilot soon will take the charge....

Cholan's power of the day Ernakulam WDM3A 17968 at Trichy Junction




...after all that Monster WDP4 brought the Vaigai super fast onto 1st platform....i can very well hear the EMD 16 cylinder fine whine sound which gave me vibrations till by brain and automatically my hands took to my camera...

KJM WDP4 20029 bringing Vaigai Express from Madurai to Trichy.



Yes! it was KJM WDP4 20029 monster which banged into junction right on time!!! soon the loco was un coupled and pulled into the siding... there was WAP4 ready to attach it self to Vaigai... thats what i told you that Vaigai getting electric power right till Egmore since the route its running is electrified...after some 2 mins the monster showed its head from the siding and passed me at a good distance to the pit lane...


WAP4 22764 coupled to Vaigai to take charge from Trichy till Egmore...




You can see the WAP4 getting coupled and WDP4 going to pit lane.







In the middle clock struck 9:10AM and our Loco pilot Mr.Sugumar was onboard the Locomotive checking all the guages and i had a little chit-chat with him...


Loco pilot Mr. Sugumar quickly checking the engine around for the start...




It was time for me as only 5 minutes left for departure and i greeted him and headed to my coach...as my coach was only 6th from engine it was a quick run!

It was bang on the dot a shot horn blast and we started to Chennai from Trichy Junction... As usual we negotiated the golden curve just outside the Trichy Junction where all railfan's dream is to catch his train negotiate it... I am no different and here is the video for your viewing pleasure...



It was steady chugging start for our train soon we reached Ponmalai station an unusual halt there for about 10 minutes and i thought Mysore-Trichy Express behind WDM3D would thunder, but it was slow GOC WDP3A pulling punny 10 coacher Mayiladuthurai-Trichy passenger into Ponmalai...This is a life line for persons outside Trichy on the Tanjavur-Kombakonam-Mayiladuthurai route taking this daily for their work into the city...

Mayiladuthurai - Trichy passenger with GOC WDP3A at Ponmalai station...




Soon we pulled out of Ponmalai and we into Tanjavur Junction...not much action there as we were half hour late running slowly in between...not a good sign at the beginning of the journey as 350+ Km of running left and already we are late...anyways it is safety that is important so lets enjoy speed when it comes and respect the delay when it happens...after Tanjavor Mr.Sugumar charged the bull and we were doing 100+ KMPH all the way till Cuddalore Port Junction except for the halts at Kumbakonam, Mayiladuthurai, V Kovil, Sirkazhi, Chidambaram...Since i was only 6th from engine i can clearly hear the switch over noise ... with WDM class locomotives, at increasing speeds the traction motor changes the circuit from serial/parallel we can clearly hear and feel the silence for a second as if the engine stopped in the middle and throttling again, before it begins to chug really bad a symptom of increasing speed...

In the middle we had Trichy bound Cholan crossing... we cruised past them.





At Cuddalore Port Jn I saw a large double-decker container goods headed by GOC WDM2



Soon we reached Villupuram and same lunch time party ....as there is not much action in the leg of journey i took the upper berth streached my legs till tambaram and got see we reached Egmore 40 mins. late...It was pleasant experience this time without any hickups...smooth running and good video/pic session as well...Its time to pack this trip report...


Chalo! Thanks for reading, hope to write more :)