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Railfanning Report - Part 3
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Joined: 09 Sep 2008
Age: 31

Posts: 58
Location: PMK/TPJ

PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:09 pm    Post subject: Journey in 16617 If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

A Journey in 16617/18 is a long cherished desire for me as the train is one of the very few (three?) non capital train confined exclusively to TN. Glad that my desire got fulfilled last week.

Ticket was booked in 16617 two weeks before the journey date in SL class with more than 200 berths showing as available. I got a side lower while my wife got a lower one too. We were in station by 18.20 for a train departing at 19.00. RMM resembles MAS in its layout and it was a long walk to our coach S8 stationed in PF4. But it didn't take a lot of time to understand the rising popularity of this train - 2 UR + S14 + 3*3AC + 1*2AC + 1UR + 1 SLR making it a 22 coach affair. That's not just good but terribly awesome considering the day of operation, no chennai in picture and the roundabout route. No chart was pasted, was thinking could it be a new policy, err no, I could see the chart of 16618 clinging to the coaches against the evening gentle breeze. Well occupancy - All UR, 2 B1, S1-10 had very good patronage and rest were occupied sparsely.

I left my luggage in the berth under the supervision of my wife who was quite puzzled to see her husband sprinting across the platform frequently for no good reason. I took a leisurely stroll to the other end of the platform only to see a cranked up ED WDG3A in SHF avatar doing honours for the day. You know, you can't just ignore the melody of a diesel anyday anytime. Pitline in the distance had the rake of 8 pm sethu while the rake of RMM-TPTY/CAPE was stabled in the adjacent line. PF2 had the rake of MUV-RMM train and interestingly most of the coaches didn't have name board in Tamil.

Darkness engulfed us and soon it was time to depart. Any train journey, more than 50% of the traveling time, I will be at the door but not this time. Order was obeyed scrupulously and the availability of SLB made things somewhat easy. I was quite worried because we have two lower berths which is a premium affair and can be confiscated anytime. But what diverted my attention was a creepy noise coming from the wheels similar to that of coming from a flat tyre in car. Maybe, I was taking a train after a very long time but thought of updating the same to TTE on his arrival. And I waited for eternity.

We slowed down at 19.20 and that was a moment of inner joy. The mighty pamban rail bridge beckoned us in the moon light backdrop. There was a teenager along with his mom in our coach who was standing at the door and was amazed at the scenery. But his mother was scared that he would fall down. He was in no mood to care about her repeated warning. What she then did was amazing, she then hugged her from behind with one hand and firmly held the door bars with another hand as an attempt to protect him from falling down. No matter what, mother's love is unconditional and unparalleled. We crossed the sea track at slow speed and came to a halt at Mandapam station.

The run from Mandapam to Ramanathapuram(20.15) was brisk with no interruption. After RMD, it was time for dinner with home made prawns. Ask people hailing from coastal district and they will vouch for the fact there is nothing that can beat the seafood on taste. Tastebuds yearned for more but have to contain with whatever is available. Next halt was Paramakudi at 20.50. There was decent crowd to board the train at both RMD and PMK.

Both of us decided to hit the sack before someone raises a request to interchange the berth. However it became difficult for me to sleep as I was suffering from severe cough. So decided to counter the cough by watching a fairly recent movie (weird idea, isn't it?). Manamadurai, Sivaganga and Karaikudi came in a span of 30 minutes in order and I continued with the thriller.

There was again a halt at chettinad by 22.50 where we encountered a ghost train with minimal headcount. My ego was taken for a beating as I couldn't remember which passenger train this could be in all possibility. But wait, the ac coaches - it is the pallavan. The train was almost desolate and scary. Hope better sense prevails for the top bosses in IR for not to be influenced by politicians.

I was deeply engrossed in the movie to an extent that I realised the halt at PDKT only after crossing the city. Sleep then got the better of me but was intermittent. When I woke up, we were about to reach Erode (04.30). A good crowd alighted here. Seems contribution of Erode in the overall occupancy is significant. I refreshed myself in the meantime as we approached Tirupur (05.25). The climate was pleasant yet I couldn't doorplate. After tirupur, we crossed few trains on the opposite direction and finally reached Coimbatore north by 06.10 from where we proceeded to home.

The train provides a very good connection between the two southern districts and the second largest city of TN in addition to Erode and Tirupur (the industrial belt that generates lot of employment opportunities for the whole state). Also I did see a lot of Malayalis in the train who must be using the train from Northern and Central Kerala. Hope the frequency gets increased either in the same route or through MDU-POY.
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Joined: 17 Jul 2007

Posts: 3287
Location: Mumbai, Hyderabad, CBE

PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 1:35 pm    Post subject: If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

Hi Soundar !!

Nice report of yours narrating your experience of yet another 'Non Capital' trains of T.Nadu linking the temple town of Rameswaram with the Industrial City, CBE.. This train 16617/18 provides a good link between so many districts of West, Central and South TN, viz., CBE, TUP, ED, KRR, TPJ, PDKT, SVGA and RMM districts.

Sharing its rake with CBE - Rajkot express, 16613/14, this train has somehow, lived up and earlier, the reservation pattern was bit harsh to people of PDKT, KKDI, SVGA etc as they were in Pooled Quota !!!!! With 14 Sleeper class coaches, this can be an all General Quota affair and I think now, PDKT, KKDI etc have GQ. Good to note that 3 AC and 10 SL coaches had decent patronage for this train.

Good report overall.

P.S. :- Even if the legendary CBE - RMM overnight express is introduced at some day, by SR, I am sure 16617/18 RMM - CBE weekly express would CONTINUE to be operated in this route, WITHOUT any change as this train is the ONLY connectivity, for people from Pudukottai, Chettinad, Karaikkudi, SVGA with Karur, Erode, Tiruppur and Coimbatore.

As I had earlier opined, SR, can relieve this 16613/14 rake for 16618/17 and can break the full rake of 16616/15 CBE - MQ, Chemmozhi (செம்மொழி ) express, and at Tiruchchirappalli jn, half portion of it can be split with one portion going to Thanjavur (TJ) towards Mannargudi. From TPJ the other half portion can go via PDKT, KKDI, CTND, SVGA towards RMM. And same can be done vice versa. Thus, a daily link ( with half rake is not at all a problem) between the Chettinad, Pudukottai region with Western TN can be achieved and 16613/14 rake can be relieved.

bye & cheers,
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