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India 2012 - 21: Goa - Diesel in Paradise IV: Railway Dream Beach (50 p.)

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19 Mar 2007
Vienna, Austria

The previous trip report part:
India 2012 - 20: Goa - Diesel in Paradise III: Dudhsagar Falls (50 p.)

The accompanying video:

February 18 2012

I rode further than Majorda, to Sankval, where the railway touched the sea. However, a big fertilizer plant sat enthroned on a hill above it. After I had filmed the departure of my passenger train towards Vasco, I walked past the industrial sidings. Two express trains, one into each direction, were supposed to pass Sankval shortly. I searched for a spot to capture four times weekly "Amaravati Express" from Kolkata, soon to arrive at Vasco, after which "Goa Express" to Delhi would leave the terminal into the other direction. I discovered a viewpoint where you could include the beach using the virtual machete. With a real one it would not have been a problem at all, only a couple of lianas blocked the view. Here I also had the Vasco-side signal in sight but it stayed red past the departure time of "Goa Express". This meant that it probably would come first as it only had a few minutes to travel from its starting point. As there was no good vantage point into the other direction in safe vicinity to switch back, I sacrificed a better frontal picture and kept waiting for "Amaravati Express".

12779 "Goa Express" Vasco da Gama - Hazrat Nizamuddin (Delhi) was hauled by Gooty WDG-3A 14580, which had taken me to Goa the day before, with slight delay at 15:30. The line had to climb a hill from Vasco, here the summit had already been traversed.

Now the railway reached the beach, only a few metres down the hillside. Also notice the green flag at the loco.

Next the question was posed how long to endure for "Amaravati Express"? The train was already on the way for more than 2000 kilometres, potentially it might have taken hours...

But the decision was soon taken off my shoulders: As a matter of fact, soon after "Goa Express" had passed, the signal switched to green! 18047 "Amaravati Express" Howrah (Kalkutta) - Vasco rushed by 15 minutes later pulled by a pair Gooty engines in my favourite livery lead by "baldie" WDM-3A 14045 - all in all for me the prettiest diesel form and colour combination on Indian rails - , again with green flag. Both express trains must have crossed at Cansaulim or at the junction before Majorda.
In front of the train a monkey shot across at insane speed - so this had been the cause of rustling in the shrubs...

The prettiest train at an amazing spot!


Factory hall sidings, hard to believe that a glance to the right ...

... looked like that!

Sankval station: the embark shed, which included loading by conveyor belt, had been interestingly adjusted to the line curvature.

Now I could once more highly satisfied walk down to the beach straight from the station sign through a cocos grove. The seaside turned out to be a lovely cove featuring a sheltered basin bordered by rock formations with soft sand inbetween.

Separated from the neighbouring inhabited cove by a stone barrier I almost stayed alone.

Dark rock, probably of volcanic origin, covered in seashells.

My cove, to the left the railway line. You did not notice the factory at all.

Only a fishing girl and a mother with two dogs were in sight, otherwise I did not meet anyone for the whole time.

I believed I dreamt of loco whistling, but actually another train was approaching! I looked for a spot from where you could see the tracks through a gap between trees and soon a freight coming from Vasco thundered past hauled by a pair of class WDG-4s.

Panorama #1, the fisherwomen to the right, behind them started the kilometre-long beach leading to my hotel. I virtually cut the oversized GM-monster-locos a little clearer.


Panorama #2 with the small enclosed basin in front.


The mother-daughter-team, large beach in the back.

But that was not all, I had made myself comfortable when I registered once more GM sounds from direction Vasco - and soon enough another, almost identical train rolled into the station! This time it stopped on siding number two, so it was not as well visible from the beach, I filmed the arrival.

Some impressions after lying on the beach and splashing about, Goa really was a bird haven.

Journey's beginning or end for this coconut?

As the time for my passenger home drew closer I walked back uphill gathering more impressions from the cocos grove.


The path out of the cove ended here, a few youngsters returned home after visiting the more populated beach. The second freight rake was still standing on the siding.

Quickly, the passenger is coming!


Made it!

Gooty WDG-3A 14625 served me well for the final time.

The train arrived punctally, quite crowded with commuters from Vasco. I still found a seat and only had a 13 minutes return trip anyway.


1	VSG	Vasco Da Gama		17:30		SWR	0	1	 
2	DBM	Dabolim H	17:34	17:35	1	SWR	5	1	 
3	SKVL	Sankaval	17:39	17:40	1	SWR	8	1	 
4	CSM	Cansaulim	17:46	17:47	1	SWR	13	1	 
5	MJO	Majorda		17:53	17:54	1	KRCL	17	1	 
6	SRVX	Suravali H	18:03	18:04	1	KRCL	21	1	 
7	MAO	Madgaon		18:13	18:15	2	KRCL	28	1	 
8	SJDA	Sanjuja Da Areyal 18:19	18:20	1	SWR	34	1	 
9	CNR	Chandar Goa	18:24	18:25	1	SWR	37	1	 
10	SVM	Sanvordem Chuch	18:32	18:33	1	SWR	44	1	 
11	KM	Kalem		18:46	18:47	1	SWR	54	1	 
12	QLM	Kulem		19:10	Last Stn	SWR	62	1

At Cansaulim we nearly had descended to sea level.

On the way I spotted this extravagant statue in front of a church, captured from the train.

I already had arrived at Majorda, people were just pedalling home from a saturday evening match.

At the church a wedding was taking place, including decorated cars and onlooker.

Now I had to take on the way to the hotel, unluckily once more no vacant taxi could be found. Only afterwards at my destination I came across one. I managed to stop the single autorickshaw I saw at Majorda, but the driver did not know the location of my hotel and drove away before I could explain it to him - what a contrast to the rest of India...

I could do nothing else but endure the walk three kilometres back home, although I was quite tired after a long day and had a blister from the bath slippers the day before.
At least I managed to capture a few street scenes along the way, here a bus stop.


Again and again touristic stuff was on offer, often it had something to do with Tibet, Kashmir or Ayurveda - the latter in every guesthouse even in the smallest village, I just wondered how everyone could suddenly have become an expert?

Already at the first cross country road section the sun set.

From now on only sparse street lights and shrines lit my way.

Once more you could compare the manner of practicing religion...

Finally arrived at Betalbatim: a "posh" Cafetaria!

At the main street junction the coffee-shop was naturally followed by the coffin-shop...

Playground on the other side of the crossroads.

It was weedkilling day in Goa, at several houses I saw the following scene.

Despite a large church right next to it a mass was celebrated partly outside under a canopy decorated with Christmas lights.

After such a tiring day you were glad about any towel animals on your bed...

Subsequently I indulged in the hotel buffet, only fearing that western hotel food would do more damage than all Indian meals put together. However, nothing happened, I even could enjoy some vanilla ice cream without harm, but OK, if families with little children managed to endure it daily…

February 19 2012

A complete resting day was scheduled, at 9:30 I walked over to the breakfast buffet where a cook provided the guests with individual omelettes. Other, mostly warm dishes were also on offer. Then I purchased a wickedly expensive bottle of sunoil, as I did not possess anything with lower sun protection factor and wanted to bronze at least a little. I left the bottle on the lawn next to me, and after an hour tiny ants (much smaller than their European cousins, by the way) had already almost built an anthill on it.

Next I took a quick plunge into the sea, you could hardly swim because of the flat beach and breakers. But a little splashing about was quite refreshing, a slight taste test showed that the water was very salty here. After resting during the afternoon heat I returned to the beach to lie in the sand and write my diary. On this sunday many Goans had come to the beach, primarily children, many played football and ran around in jerseys. I wondered why India did not have a better national team (currently 164th in the FIFA ranking behind Madagascar...), the northeast supposedly was football crazy as well...

A lifeguard captain with jet-ski.


On the dune behind the coconut grove resort you only could find pine trees reminding me of the Mediterranean. In the background around the hotel almost exclusively cocos were growing - as you can see - , so the name still was accurate.

With a view at Sankval factory to the left we say goodbye for this time - the next report will almost consist entirely of sunset and -rise! :)
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