Thane to Panvel on Netravati Express
Railfanning at Thane & Trip on 6345
It's been a long time since I went for a rail fanning to Thane! I decided to accomplish my target of Rail Fanning at Thane on November 29, 2005 itself, because I had to go to thane for some personal work (a visit to my college!). After a ‘visit' to my college, I came to Thane and purchase an unreserved ticket to Panvel on the Netravati Express, and found my way across to Platform 7. Thane's Platform 7 is long enough to accommodate 24 coaches, while other platforms can handle 9-18 coaches only. To be more specific, Platforms 9 & 10 can handle 9 coaches while Platform 1-4 can handle 12 coaches and Platforms 5 & 6 can handle 18 coaches.
Platform 7 is a very convenient platform from a railfan's view! This platform being the longest at Thane, gives a clear view of what's coming up on the other lines. It's a perfect place for photography, and the absence of RPF adds up to the convenience!
My rail fanning begins… The first train I spotted was the Dadar bound 2140 Sewagram express from Dadar. The loco was WCAM3 #21889. Soon after the Sewagram left, announcements regarding the arrival of Sahyadri Express was made. At about 11.10, CSTM bound 1024 Sahyadri Express from Kolhapur made her appearance. The loco was WCAM3 #21896. The loco came in with her Headlamps and Markers on! While this train was on Platform 7, the Gorakhpur bound 1055 Godan express from Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) went by. The loco was a WCAM3, but could not see the road number. Even after Godan left, there were no signs of the Sahyadri leaving!!! Sometime later, the CSTM bound 2322 Kolkatta mail (Via Allahabad) from Howrah overtook the Sahyadri. Soon after overtake, the starter was given for Sahyadri and the train pulled out. Sahyadri had one Sleeper and one 2A coach extra just behind the loco. These coaches had markings “Booked to MTN shop for POH”.
At about 11.29, The LTT bound 1014 Express from Coimbatore pulled into platform 7 at thane with WCAM3 #21882 at her helm. This train had 21 coaches, including an Extra sleeper coach marked “ES1” and the rake was homed by WR! This train had one NER Sleeper coach (Base: GKP) and one SR sleeper coach also (Base: MDU). While this train was at the platform, about 3 WCAM3s (Two towards KYN & One to CSTM; All light.) passed by at great speed.
At about 12.00, the Trivandrum bound 6345 Netravati express pulled in with Erode WDM2 #16557 doing the honours. I was surprised to see that Netravati got new destination boards on all coaches. I boarded the General compartment at the rear end of the rake. The train left at about 12.05. The General compartment in this particular rake had a Second Chair Car coach which is usually used as Reserved Second sitting coaches in Day-Expresses. The coach was vestibuled and the vestibule door was openable from the next coach. Waiters from the pantry car used this door to enter the coach and they did brisk business in the coach!
The loco picked up speed rapidly and we were soon on the main line and were comfortable travelling at close to 60-70 kmph! We entered the Parsik Tunnel at 12.11 and exited the tunnel at 12.14. The tunnel has a speed restriction of 20-30 kmph at various places. We crossed a CST-bound local train inside the tunnel. After Parsik tunnel, the train slowed down and we slowly approached Diva. We reached Diva at 12.20 and the train crawled through the platform. I was seated at the door and took enough care so that I don't stretch my leg by mistake since the platform had poor clearance. The platform was built keeping in mind the convenience of people boarding & alighting EMUs. After we left Diva, the train joined the line to Roha. As the train entered the branch line, I saw a BOXC rake hauled by Twin WCG2s passing through Diva. A Kalyan WDM2 went towards kalyan with a dead KJM WDMx loco!
The train kept good speeds as we sped through the branch line. This section is doubled and is electrified to AC traction! At about 12.30 we crossed a WCAG1 hauled ConCor rake. We pulled into Panvel at 1240, early by 10 minutes. I got down from the train, and as I was walking towards the FOB, the Dadar bound KR4 passenger made her appearance with Kalyan WDM2 #16097 at her helm. I came out of the station and took a bus home! A short & well-planned journey thus came to an end!!!
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©2005 Binai Kochunni Sankar