Discussion in 'Travelogues' started by koolharry, Feb 22, 2010.
Getting great !!
I head for the door as we enter the Satpuras. The low hills of the Burhanpur Gap that prevent the Tapti from flowing into the Narmada borders the railway line on both sides. The same dry, deciduous forest that covers the Vindhyas is seen here as well. The hills become higher the farther south we go, and soon we are in a genuine ghat section with gradients approaching 1:100.
Just after Amala Khurd Halt, a wayside rural station, we crossed the bridge across River Tapti. The river, as I observed was around half the width of Narmada and with much less water. Though the river bank bears a tinge of green in the otherwise dry, lifeless forest.
In the distance I see a range of higher hills of the high Satpuras. These are the Gawilgarh Hills, also know as the Melghat Range, basically part of the Satpura. Somewhere up ahead is the famous spiral. This is the only MG Spiral in India, though there are few in Myanmar.
At Dhulghat station the passenger towards Khandwa waits as we enter the look line. The train was much more crowder than ours. There were plenty more roof top travellers than ours.
Crossing at Dhulghat station (Shot in mobile phone)
The landscape lived up to what I had read somewhere. The forests here are of the same species and there there is no undergrowth worth the name. The entire forest areas of Satpuras and the Vindyas looks as if humans have replanted the forest after clearing the brush.
Got ready with handy cam and we were now rounding towards left and I was sitting in the wrong side of the cuve. The upper portion of the spiral came without warning and I made a mess out. Not really a great person behind the camera, I fiddled around to catch the action the train taking the spiral. We pass beneath the bridge and go beyond it for several hundred metres, round a hill in an ever ascending 1:100 curve, straighten out a bit for the bridge, crossed the wan river and the lower portion of the spiral, continued turning till we resume the original southernly direction we were heading before the spiral. The circumference of the spiral is approximately a km, and it is nowhere similar to the tight curving Bhatasia loops in the DHR, but still is an impressive piece of engineering.
The loop is behind us but the Gawilgarh Hills are not so easily conquered. With scarcely a warning, we are into a tunnel, across a viaduct and immediately into another longer one. I wasn't expecting the tunnels here, so naturally I was impressed by this Ghat section. The ghat section of the Gawilgarhs extends for little over 20 km, forest covered and largely unpopulated.
Best way to experience rail journey... right there at the doors (Shot in mobile phone)
General compartment was too crowded and they settle down there... (Shot in mobile phone)
Near Adgaon Buzurg, the greenery of Purna River Valley provides a welcome relief from the golden hues of Gawilgarhs, where it was difficult to spot a single green tree. Now we are greeted by banana & papaya groves and paddy and potato fields. And in the midst of this fertile valley is the town of Akot, where the train almost emptied out. After Akot, the sun goes down and we proceed at a steady pace through this verdant plain till Akola Jn, which we enter from the West. The time was 19:40.
Window view.... the not too clean platform at Akot (Shot in mobile phone)
We were put on the platform-less yard line. Not much of a trouble to me, but did they spare a thought for the elderly. MG at Akola wasn't given proper treatment. The crowd heads towards the lone foot over bridge which was overly crowded at this time with another express train arriving on the BG side. Took around 15 minutes to go across to the town side of Akola, where I find a hotel and get myself a double room for Rs.400. A much needed rest after a action back 4 days of non-stop journeys. After a hot water bath, I head out for dinner. There was a dhaba right next to the hotel I stayed but decided to take a stroll down the road before dinner. Most of the shops / hotels / signboards read only on Marathi. Plenty of Bar / Restaurants.
Back to hotel, watch TV for sometime and crashed down!
06:00 am the next morning would be onboard on yet another train, heading east!
Harish, you are getting better each day...
Thank you Sir!
Route 5: Akola Junction - Vijayanagram
Train: 2844 Ahmedabad - Puri Express
Distance: 1020 kms
Time on the move: 18 hours 40 minutes
06:15 hrs, I was once again struggling across the narrow foot over bridge, which was equally crowded as the previous evening. The board indicated my train arriving on platform number 4 at 06:40. Enough time for me to have a look at the MG section of Akola in day light. The morning passenger towards Ratlam is getting ready for departure.
The classic dome light illuminated rake of 458B Akola - Ratlam Fast Passenger waits at Akola, while garbages being burned in the pit right on the platform.
The easternly sky sprinkels off crimson rays and the old mg cranes and inspection cars stabelled at the yard, made a perfect silhautte in the forground.
Announcement of a train towards Nagpur caught my attention and I hurried over the FOB just in to time to see the late running Mumbai CST - Howrah Mail, hauled by a WAP-4, arrive at PF4. Very shortly after the departure of the Mail, arrives my train, the Ahmedabad - Puri Express, hauled by another WAP-4.
My next train, Ahmedabad - Puri Experss in which I would travel upto Vijayanagram arrives with the headlights still on
We would follow the mail right upto Raipur, where we deviate into the southernly, non-electrified line towards Titlagarh, while the mail cuts northwards towards Bilaspur.
Soon the starter was given and we accelarated out of Akola, while negotiating a huge curve to the right.
We accelarated out of Akola, while negotiating a huge curve to the right.
After an hour of not too exciting run, we crossed sewagram and the grand daddy of all curves, stood right across us. How many times I had been on a train negotating this awesome curve, but never really managed a decent shot showing the train on the 90 degree sharp curve.
The grand daddy of all curves, just outside sewagram
While the loco pilots involved in a serious discussion, the WAG-9 from Ajni shed strikes a pose... the sleeper laying machine is also seen to the left of the loco
Freights at Ajni yard
Another monster from Ajni running light in the yard
After sewagram, I decided to be at the doors upto Nagpur. Plenty of freight actions as we crossed Butibori and Ajni. We were running way ahead of schedule and Just as I thought about this, we slowed down and were put on the loop line. The late running Azad Hind Express over took us and we swiftly followed it and reached Nagpur at 11:22 hrs. Still early by 3 minutes.
We pull into Nagpur, a good 3 minutes ahead of schedule...
Seen here are couple of shunting locos based at Itarsi shed performing what they are designated for...
Now we have to trail 2 trains heading in the same direction upto Raipur.
First to leave Nagpur was the Howrah mail, then it was Azad Hind and finally we were cleared at 11:55, delayed by 10 minutes. Out of the station, we took a sharp right curve and negotiated the unique diamond crossing and swiftly accelarated out of Nagpur.
The unique diamond crossing at Nagpur
Do not know exactly what these are... some kind of silk weaving?
The railway line below, to the right of the picture is the Chindwara - Nagpur - Nagbhir narrow gauge railway
After this, I go back to my seat, only to find it was occupied a pregnant women and her husband. Reason was obvious, but they could have atleast asked my permission before they put off my bags, books and other stuffs on the floor. Felt really bad!
They had already pulled in the curtains and I shifted my stuffs to the vacant upper berth. Lunch was served at around 13:00 hrs and you know what is for the lunch, by now.
After lunch, I was at the doors again to see the train slowly moving past Tumsar Road. A fresh looking diesel loco from Raipur shed was shunting the Tirodi - Itwari Passenger. Immediately after the station, the newly built line towards Tirodi takes off to the left.
At Tumsar Road Junction, I find this fresh looking WDM shunting the passenger rake
The new line from Tumsar Road towards Tirodi branches off to the left
Charging into the massiv girder bridge across River Waiganga
On my right I find the relics of Maneck Nagar Exchange yard and the line going into the factory there.
I waited at the doors, expecting the Girder bridge across River Waiganga and soon we crossed it in high speed. 13:30 hrs we reached Gondia Junction. In the adjacent track was the nice looking MEMU with neatly furnished seats and railings. While there, I noticed the Raigarh - Gondia Jan Shatabdi hauled by a smart looking WAM-4 from Bhilai Shed. 13:40 hrs, we moved out of Gondia and I went back to berth to catch some sleep.
Gondia - Durg - Dalli Rajhara MEMU at Gondia
Raigarh - Gondia Jan Shatabdi arrives at Gondia
Just when we were off, the MEMU follows us out of Gondia Junction
Woke up at around 16:30 and found that we were slowing down for the halt at Raipur. Just before the station, we crossed the Howrah - Mumbai Mail hauled by WAP-4 from Santragachi shed and at the station I found the Amritsar bound Chhatisgarh express waiting at PF1.
Howrah - Mumbai Mail hauled by a WAP4 class loco from the Santragachi Shed accelerates out of Raipur Junction
Amritsar bound Chhatisgarh express waits at PF1 and it would follow the Mail upto Nagpur
An almost empty DMU waits at Raipur
After the loco change we were off and took the sharp curve to the right and enter the non-electrified line
The train have a longish halt at Raipur as there is a loco change here. The WAP-4 gives way to twin diesels from Raipur shed. I was really looking forward for the performance of the twin diesels and the lines through the rural Orissa.
Out of Raipur at 17:00 hrs, delayed by 5 minutes, took the sharp right turn to enter the non-electrified semaphore territory. Few kms into the territory, we were made to stop at a defunct level crossing for over 40 minutes and then slowly moved along the dusty roads of Raipur town.
Some shots during the longish wait at the outer of Raipur
The slow run continued upto Mandir Maskud, a small way side station. Here we were again put of wait for another 30 minutes. Don't know the real reason. There was no crossing or overtaking...
Couple of temples near Mandir Maskud station
The twin diesel powered train slows down for another longish halt at the station
...and the sun goes down
Anther Raipur shed twin working at the freight yard nearby
We are already delayed by an hour and I have only 45 minutes gap at Vijayanagram to catch my connecting train to Vishakapatnam. I was getting worried now. 17:59, we finally got going...
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