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May 2005

Belapur to Dadar via Thane

Belapur/Vashi to Thane by TV6

After a ‘long' gap of about a week, I had to go to my college for some ‘work'. My college is at a distance of about 39 kilometers by road. Since it was holiday, I decided to make my trip to my college a ‘Pleasure trip'. Accordingly, plans were made and I decided to leave by the half-year old Vashi-Thane suburban train service. My house is 12-Kms away from Vashi. In order to board the last departure towards Thane in the morning, I reached the station by 9.30 AM. The train, TV6 departs at 1000 AM. The queue for tickets weren't too long, but the person at the counter was too slow. I purchased necessary tickets and entered the Platform (#1), where the train usually departs from. Vashi station, a typical Mumbai Suburban station, was busy with regular passengers. Trains bound for Mumbai CST were leaving every 3-6 minutes. Vashi has 4 platforms and Mumbai bound trains leave from Platforms 3 & 4, while the ones towards Panvel or Belapur share Platforms 2 & 3. Platform #3 is bi-directional and only trains originating from Vashi (towards Mumbai) use this platform. Photography inside the station is quite difficult. That's not due to heavy police presence or something, but due to insufficient light. Vashi station houses an International Infotech Park above the platforms. The Incoming train from Thane hadn't arrived then.

By around 0953, the local from Thane pulled into Platform #1. The rake was #515-517 homed at the nearby Sanpada Car Shed. The rake emptied quickly and I decided to stand by the door. The train takes about 35 minutes to reach Thane. I boarded the first compartment and took position just behind the Motorman's cabin. A Panvel bound local pulled into the adjoining Platform #2. Many people alighted from the local and boarded this local. We ‘slowly' pulled out of the station at 10.02, delayed by 02 minutes. We next stopped at Sanpada, which was reached at 10.07. After Sanpada, the line towards Thane takes a sharp left turn while the ones towards Panvel turn right. The first station on the Vashi-Turbhe-Thane railway line is Turbhe. We reached Turbhe at 10.12, with a delay of 03 minutes. The train had a non-stop, high-speed run between Turbhe and Koparkhairane. We reached Koparkhairane at 1018. The train gets empty at Koparkhairane, thanks to the huge Reliance headquarters just opposite to the station. The run after Koparkhairane to Thane was uneventful. One thing which I noticed is that the train halts at each and every station for duration not less than 2-3 minutes, which is unusual for Mumbai's Suburban Network. We pulled into Thane Station's Platform #10 sharp at 1040. I later continued the journey to my college by a local Bus.

Thane to Dadar by KR4

I had some work at Dadar and decided to finish it off on the same day itself. Accordingly, I reached Thane by around 1300. The ‘serpentine' queues at Thane's booking offices gave a jolt to me. Surprisingly, one queue was quite short in length. That was because, the queue was the most innermost and the access to it was blocked by the huge queue outside. I quickly managed to reach this queue and in 20 minutes I took a ticket! Thane Station confuses a rare passenger, like me, a lot. Trains towards Mumbai CST arrive on Platforms #1, #3, #4, #6 and #7. I decided to sweat it out on Platform #6, on which the very next local was expected. Thane sees a lot of express passing by without stopping in the afternoons. Before each express, an announcement is made requesting all passengers to stay away from the edge of the platform. These announcements really help rail fans to get ready for some photography. By around 1323, a long freighter rake passed through the platform. The rake was hauled by twin Mu-ed WDM2s, led by Kalyan WDM2 #18378. After about 10 minutes, a newly-painted Kalyan WDM2 #17735 appeared at the platform hauling a 64-wagon long tanker rake single handedly. The train crawled into the platform owing to a red-signal. By the time the loco neared the signal, it turned to ‘double-yellow' or ‘attention required'. The rake took approximately 5 minutes to vacate the platform. The local train, on which I had decided to travel, pulled in. The rake was unusually crowded and I decided to leave it and wait for some more action. After about 10 more minutes, an announcement was made that a ‘fast train' would be passing through Platform #6 and all passengers are request to stay away from the platform. Soon, the ‘fast train' arrived. It was WCG2 #20134 from Kalyan hauling a dead WCAM3 towards Kurla. Immediately after this ‘fast train' passed, announcements were being made about another ‘fast train' due on Platform #5. The ‘fast train' was Kalyan WCAG1 #21974 hauled Freighter. After 5 minutes, a Kalyan WCAM3 #21959 hauled train pulled into Platform #6. That was the Mumbai CST bound 1094 Mahanagari express. After about 10 more minutes, another ‘fast train' was due on Platform #6. This time it was the Mumbai CST bound 6012 Chennai – Mumbai Express. The train was hauled by WCAM3 #21951 from Kalyan. There exists a rake sharing between 6010 Mumbai Mail and 6011 Chennai express and vice versa.

Soon announcements were made regarding the arrival of “0155 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Gorakhpur Holiday Special via Allahabad ”. This train is a pure “unreserved” train and has only sitting accommodation. This 13-coach train pulled into Platform #7, where elaborate queuing arrangements were made to ensure ‘first come first served' seats to ticket holders. Around 4 coaches were ‘opened' at Thane and this ensured a 15-Minute long halt for the holiday special at Thane. The loco hauling this special was WCAM3 #21897 from Kalyan. While this special was still on Platform #7, announcements were made regarding another ‘fast train' which will pass through Platform #5. The ‘fast train' turned out to be Light WDM2 #18134 going towards its home shed at Kalyan. At around 1425, announcements were made regarding the arrival of the Dadar bound KR4 Ratnagiri Passenger. This train pulled into Platform #6 with WDM2 #18163 from Kalyan. I quickly made up my mind and decided to board the passenger. I boarded a coach which was second from the loco and decided to enjoy the loco's screams. The Passenger had a very good run in Mumbai. Stations like Mulund, Bhandup, Kanjur Marg and Vikhroli just flew past. The train slowed down and crawled through Ghatkopar and quickly regained its ‘lost' speed. I am sure that the Loco Pilot was enjoying the section. He would have taken up duty from Roha. The train being a ‘passenger' stops at all station. After Thane, It skips all station and stops only at Dadar. We kept our speed going as we crossed Vidyavihar. The train slowed down and crawled through Kurla since some work was going on. The train then kept the speed low and Sion station was passed. After Sion is passed, the train enters a different line and starts approaching Dadar Terminus. As the train was pulling into Dadar terminus, WCAM3 #21938 from Kalyan was seen getting ready for hauling the Nagpur bound 1439 Sewagram Express. The train pulled into Dadar at 1455 bringing a 30-minute non-stop journey through Mumbai to an end. Exiting from Dadar terminus is not very easy. There were three different queues, all very long and reaching quite a distance outside the station, for purchasing “Unreserved computerized tickets”. Negotiating through the available space to exit the station was a mammoth task indeed! After I finished all my works, I returned to my home by a State transport bus.

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©2005 Binai Kochunni Sankar