I visited Matheran in late February 2005. As I reached platform # 4 at Dadar station, Udyan Express toward Bangalore was entering in. Since I had IndRail pass, I went to AC2 coach and asked TTE if there is a room. He looked at me, a guy wearing shorts and T-shirt in winter, trying to check if there is a seat available in AC2 without showing a ticket and without carrying any baggage. He thought he dealing with a nut.
Nevertheless, he showed me a seat. After the train started, he came and asked me about my destination. "Karjat" was the answer. Now he was convinced that I was a "Real Nut". Why would a sane person going to Karjat (which is a next technical halt) board Udyan Express going to Bangalore?
I showed him my IndRail pass. He said, he cannot make a reservation for Karjat in this train. I understood his dilemma. I suggested that he make a reservation up to Bangalore but let me get down at Karjat.
Finally, he gave up. He let me travel without any formal reservation and get down at Karjat. From Karjat, I reached Neral by EMU.
Train to Matheran was on the platform minus the locomotive.
Many of the coaches have air brake mechanism for a few years now. I am not sure if CR plans to use air brakes in future or not. (Labor Union issues due to lay off of brakes men standing between coaches???)