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India 2012 - 17: Angry Birds Pune (50 p.)

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19 Mar 2007
Vienna, Austria

The previous trip report part:
India 2012 - 16: Pune - I have been to Monkey Hill! (50 p.)

The accompanying video:

February 15 2012

Apurva, Lalam and I changed to Kamshet (here: http://goo.gl/maps/jtfO ), a small place along the Lonavla - Pune line, the second local station from Lonavla. This spot had been filmed several times already, for example you can see a train scene along Indrayani River here in "Around the World in 80 Days" with Michael Palin from 1988. The simple reason: the old National Highway was leading along the hillside with good views of the railway. Since it had been extended to multiple lanes nowadays we turned onto a smaller country road and subsequently climbed a hill.

First, the second maintenance vehicle of the day increased the quota. Indrayani River having its source near Lonavla had been dammed up close to Kamshet.

A view towards the station, to the right construction work was in progress as everywhere in this region. A new hotel was being built, we would visit the site late. A slice of Austria almost everywhere in the world: Plasser India Duomatic 08-32 tamping machine 8049 matched Apurva's Nano well in terms of colour.

Lalam, camera at the ready.

Washing clothes between riverside and railway.

Kalyan WCAM-3 21959 hauled 11008 Pune - Mumbai CST "Deccan Express", we had seen the train into the other direction in the morning. Catenary masts from the early days of electrification were preserved here, only for the last few years WCAM-3 dual current locos were using the AC pantograph, the double contact shoe DC panto was just reserved for the final few kilometres into Mumbai CST nowadays.

Past the laundry.

General second class.


We drove to the next hill, on the way we were met by 51317 Karjat - Pune Passenger, but it was too early for backlit images.

The next highlight followed with 16530 Bangalore - Mumbai CST "Udyan Express", we had seen the train into the other direction at Lonavla. Krishnarajapuram (KJM) WDP-4 20055, built in January 2008, thundered up the grade to Lonavla.

The panorama view, in the field to the left you can spot a shed at one end of the only active public metre gauge line in Pune district, my companions had previously discovered a tiny railbus there.

As we were close to the highway, we walked along it at first but then climbed back down to the railway.

Down at the side road sister loco KJM WDP-4 20056 followed with GM-thunder, pulling 11030 Kolhapur - Mumbai CST "Koyna Express".




Now we walked uphill through the hotel construction site, past the workers' barracks housing whole families. Although it was extremely dusty and not much could be seen of the buildings yet, already small palm seedlings had been planted along the future drive. Soon the site security guy came, but Lalam managed to ensure him that we only wanted to take pictures of the sunset. In the meantime Apurva was retrieving his car.

Lalam at the lookout point.

Soon the first local EMU from Pune came by, with new, yellow front, big windscreen and sadly the new, ugly purple livery.



Commuters from the EMU on the way home.

Builders' huts.

Around ten minutes later the next local followed.



The first EMU from Lonavla, an older class but also already in new livery.
As you can see many birds flew by, a fact that would prove to be my doom later on.


Loud ALCO chugging from behind announced 16352 Nagercoil - Mumbai Express. You can spot the "humps" of the two AC3 coaches well, an AC2 coach in front.

Tractor driver portrait.

We waited, the sun sank, but finally my train from the day before passed by: 11019 "Konark Express" came around the corner twenty minutes late.

Once more ALCO-hauled.


The sun already had disappeared behind the hill, but we caught it again at a level crossing.

We shortly took up position, WCAM-3 21953 hauled another WCAM-3 and 16381 "Kanyakumari Express" to the place with same name at the southern tip of India.

The next suburban service from Pune rushed past.


Then we embarked on the tough drive home, which took about 1 1/2 hours for 30 kilometres. We took the old highway into Pune, very congested at spots. Inside the city behaviour at red lights was especially funny, the crowd waited, but at some point - before the end of the red light period - it was collectively decided to move on. Still, we reached the hotel safely, and I immediately took a shower. Soon a further railfan from Pune, Rahul, called from the reception and we sat down for dinner in the hotel restaurant. We ordered chicken in creamy leaf spinach sauce which tasted well - of course Rahul would not allow to dispute hospitality, in India you can protest as much as you want. Now I was very tired and went to bed shortly after 10 o'clock.

February 16 2012

I woke up early according to my inner clock and decided to at least shoot "Deccan Queen" on the bridge shortly behind Pune main station. For that purpose I followed a wide street along the railway, although pavements existed they had been blocked by planted trees, so people preferred to walk on the dusty strips next to the driving lanes. I often saw vehicles driving around loaded with garden furniture, I would get to know the reason for it later. I reached the bridge in time and changed to the other river bank. What I did not notice: many birds of prey were in the air here, black kites to be exact. I had reached my spot and taken position, suddenly something hit me from behind at the back of my head. For one second I did not know what had happened, but soon it became clear that one of the birds hat attacked me. Not only using its claws, but ramming me with the full body in best Angry-Birds-style. I looked into the sky and saw them, constantly fighting with each other, a very aggressive existance. Still, I did not want to spoil the "Deccan Queen" picture and positioned myself close to a wall hoping to dodge further attacks. Indeed it worked, although from time to time a kite closely passed by. The train crossed the bridge beautifully during sunrise soon afterwards.

12124 Pune - Mumbai CST "Deccan Queen" on Railway Sangam Bridge across Mutha River close to the central station (here: http://goo.gl/maps/UPK4 ).

I stood at the end of multiple lane Sangam Bridge.

The bird population seemed to be excessive - just as all other life forms in India. While birds of prey on European fields were loners, here they turned up in large swarms constantly battling each other.

Crazy birds.

A wide angle shot.

Next I took a rickshaw to the hotel and let the receptionists take a quick look at my head. Actually I only had two shallow, non-bleeding scratches from the claws on the forehead and probably a slight bruise. In the room I desinfected the scratches and laid down again in a somewhat groggy state. Apurva and his wife Shyama picked me up at noon, I was invited for lunch with their family at home. They previously had voted in local elections, but none of the candidates as they did not want any of those "goons" in power. You could state declining to vote during these elections, in the next ones it was planned to be an official option. The election was carried out electronically, but you had to register at a certain distance from the polling station - this explained the garden furniture which was needed for booths at many street corners. After an excellent meal Train Simulator-Guru Ranjit took me into his flat, where he showed me a few of the railway lines he had built.

As it fits thematically I know would like to show a few pictures from
February 21 2012.
Anand had taken me from Mumbai to Pune by car, more about this excursion at the chronologically correct spot. In the afternoon we had to spend some time before meeting other railfans in a restaurant and visited Shivaji Nagar station, the first inside Pune from the main station towards Lonavla.

Through pure luck we came across the following: a full "Inspection Special" with highest Central Railway officials currently inspecting the station! In India it was custom to regularly inspect lines using coaches such as can be seen here, but a full, about 18 coach inspection train was rarer. Notice next to panorama windows at the end of the coach also the Pullman-like window in the door.

The sparkingly clean train.

A guest from the north: Ludhiana WAG-7 27286 in blue-yellow, next to the "tigerfaces" another common livery of this class.

Past the Inspection Special.

There is always time for a portrait.


We walked along the main platform past the crowd that had formed around the officials. It was really interesting, the whole station had been whipped into shape and everybody wore his best uniform. We kept our distance from the bigwigs and passed the housings of the poor beyond the platform end. Here I saw people in high visibility vests cleaning the tracks for the first time in India - amazing! ;)

Tracks, train as well as people brightly polished, WCAM-3 21887 sported an "Inspection Special"-sign.

Noone harassed us because of photography, probably we were taken with our clothes and Anand's car as part of the troop. At the exit we passed the dog squad of the local railway police, their building at the station exit probably previously had been a ticket office.
Central Railways thanks for your visit - back into the global enterprise world of Pune.

Back to
February 16 2012.

Ranjit and Rahul took me to the station, where I was supposed to board Goa Express coming from Delhi at 16:30.

Mother and child waited just as me for some time on platform 2, in the background WDM-3D-like Pune shunter WDS-6AD 36258 paused between assignments.

In the end my usually on time train arrived at platform 1 with some delay, still we could walk over without hurry. I said goodbye to the friends in the rush at the door, finally the train departed an hour late. Because of that I already experienced sunset on the Shindawane ghat section, which we had planned to visit, but it was postponed to my next trip - surely soon! With two higher police officials - still wearing huge, rustic revolvers on their hips -, Sikhs and a family with a small child I had no snorer in the neighbourhood and could spend my first train night without earphones. Next day I was about to wake up in a completely different world, also the longest stay of my trip - expect many reports from the paradise Goa soon accordingly! :)

Goa Express from Hazrat Nizamuddin (Delhi) to Vasco da Gama (Goa):

1	NZM	Hazrat Nizamuddin Jn	15:05		NR	0	1
16	PUNE	Pune Jn		16:20	16:30	10	CR	1589	2	 
17	STR	Satara		19:15	19:20	5	CR	1734	2	 
18	KRD	Karad		20:18	20:20	2	CR	1793	2	 
19	SLI	Sangli		21:30	21:33	3	CR	1861	2	 
20	MRJ	Miraj Jn	22:25	22:30	5	CR	1868	2	 
21	RBG	Raybag		23:13	23:15	2	SWR	1919	2	 
22	GPB	Ghatprabha	23:43	23:45	2	SWR	1948	2	 
23	BGM	Belgaum		00:45	00:50	5	SWR	2006	3	 
24	LD	Londa Jn	02:05	02:15	10	SWR	2057	3	 
25	CLR	Castle Rock	03:05	03:10	5	SWR	2081	3	 
26	QLM	Kulem		04:35	04:40	5	SWR	2140	3	 
27	SVM	Sanvordem Chuch	05:03	05:05	2	SWR	2158	3	 
28	MAO	Madgaon		05:40	05:45	5	KRCL	2174	3	 
29	VSG	Vasco Da Gama	06:30	Last Stn	SWR	2202	3
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