Tuesday, January 26, 2016

First Mumbai visit in 2016

My first visit to Mumbai in 2016. Presented as a photo feature.

1) Date: 22/01/2016 to 23/01/2016

Travel: Shirpur to Mumbai (Thane)

Bus No: MH-18 / AP 8055, Ashok Leyland, Viking Model

Seat / Berth no: 5 (Upper single berth on the left in first row. In all 5 rows of berths for passengers. One row of two berths perpendicular to the motion of the bus for Drivers rest)

Bus operator: Sai Abhishek Travels, Shirpur

Body built at: Azad, Banglore.

Travel Time: 9 hours 02 minutes (22/01/2016 20.45 to 23/01/2016 05.47)

Distance: 380 kms. (Approximately)

Ratings and reviews

Legend:  5- Excellent          4-very good           3-average              2-below average
1- poor

1.    Seat or berth comfort:  
(The seat near the coach door is never comfortable. A lot of commuting by other passengers make it a busy area and quite a lot disturbance.)

2.  Air conditioning:  
(They shut it off during night and it was causing suffocation inside as the windows are of fixed type. Despite of request to start, staff made excuses of being cold outside.)

3.    Suspension:   
(This time I felt that the suspensions for this coach needs overhaul.)

4.    Cleanliness: 3  
(Nothing special to mention. Nothing to criticize, too. )

5.     Staff behavior with passengers3

6.     Driving: 3
7.    Punctuality in timings:  
(A lot of buffer time is provided. 380 kms in 9 hours is a lot of slag considering that all the stretch of this road is a 4 lane road)

8. Essential amenities inside bus: 1
(Charger points were in non working condition. Now a days, looking at the smart phone users and their usage throughout the day, charging point is an essential commodity. Blankets were not provided.)

9. Inside ambiance of the coach3
(Nothing special to mention.)

10.   Selection of Places to stop for dinner / morning tea etc2
 (Unnecessary stop at Malegaon for about an hour. They could start late from Shirpur at around 22.00 and reach Mumbai at the same time if this stop is dispensed with. May be due to head quarter at Malegaon, they prefer to stop but it is unwanted. Another stop near Kasara, too was at very uncomfortable time of 03.15 hours in the morning. This is the time passengers are in deep sleep. If at all there is crew change, the activity should be restricted to cabin part only. No need to call passengers from coach part to get down for tea and snacks at such an odd hour.)

Overall ratings: 25 /50 (50 %)

Commenets: Decided not to try this operator because of inconvenient timings, stops and service inside the bus especially lack of charging point and blanket.

Copied from KSRTC. " Sleep Like a Baby " Not so comfortable here as claimed.

23/01/2016 : 08.15 a.m.: Got refreshed up at my elder sister's place in Thane and reached Mulund depot for bus to Andheri. Mulund check naka bus depot was full with activities and fortunately BEST gave me 20 minutes before I boarded the bus AS 422. Lot of bus fanning.

Comparatively new bus from BEST undertaking on 512 Ltd. route (Mulund to Nerul, Navi Mumbai). One of the first routes introduced to Navi Mumbai by BEST.

Kinglong Cerita mark 1

I suspected this to be the bus I would be travelling. AS 422 and it turned out to be as per my expectations. Started at 08.40 instead of its scheduled timing of 08.30. After enquired upon, the conductor told me that on Saturdays, these buses ply 10 minutes behind their regular schedule. (Reasons unknown)

BEST undertaking bus with Safety Motto livery. There are quite a few painted in this livery. This was with Mulund depot and had some serious engine problems. BEST persons tried to bring it to normal and ply on the destined route (512 Ltd) but it did not respond well and they had to send an alternative bus on this route. Bus belongs to Mulund depot.

461 Ltd. seemed to be a popular route operated by Gorai depot. There were 3 buses in the span of 20 minutes on the same route. This old beauty is one of them.

In another 10 minutes, Mulund was flooded with Kinglong Cerita buses. The left one is mark 1 (MH-01 / L series) with single door at front and the right one is mark 2 (Mh-01 / AP series) with curved end window and two doors. (One at front and another in the middle) The seating arrangements are also a bit different in these two though I like the ambiance and the seating arrangement in the mark 1 model. Kinglong Cerita (Chinese Volvo) had a lot of problems with its engine. I wonder what made BEST to think of this option instead of going for Volvo 8400 models.

23/01/2016:  08.40:  Started journey by AS 422 Mulund to Andheri (E). As usual there were only a few passengers (5 this time). The journey was speedy. Expected time of journey according to M Indicator is about 1 hour 30 minutes but as promised by our conductor in our casual discussions, it took 20 minutes less. Less traffic for Saturday being a holiday and less traffic on roads.

Nearly empty AS 422. Captured near SEEPZ.

One of many DD plying on Andheri (E) - Kurla (W) route.

Western Express Highway Junction.

TMT's VOLVO 8400 on Thane (Kasar Vadavali) - Andheri East route. TMT charges less than BEST undertaking.

                          TMT's VOLVO 8400 on Thane (Kasar Vadavali) - Andheri East route.

Completed my work at Juhu and decided to return as per the plan. 

23/01/2016 : 15.30 : Vile Parle Station. 12926 ASR / KLK - BDTS Paschim Express went pass at a sedate pace with GZB WAP 7 leading. Could not capture it.

5 minutes later 59440 ADI - BCT passenger was also seen approaching Parle at sedate place. No mistakes this time. Was ready with camera to capture it.

BRC shed WAG 5 leading the train. The second coach in Karnavati express livery.

SLR coach of this train. A modern one.

Karnavati liveried GS coach. 6 digit numbering system for coaches for WR.

  59440 ADI - BCT passenger with a long rake of 14 coaches. 3 Sleeper coaches in the consist.

23/01/2016 : 16.00 : Reached CST Mumbai. My 12109, Panchavati express to MMR was to depart at 18.15, so I have decided to gift myself the much awaited bus fanning near CST station.

BEST MUTP mark 1 bus. Ashok Leyland.

                                                        BEST MUTP mark 1 bus. Ashok Leyland.

Buses parked outside CST station. The middle one is TATA Low Floor Starbus. Poor maintenance by BEST or step motherly treatment to TATA fleet ?

TATA Starbus Low Floor bus departing CST towards its destination somewhere in Kolaba.

Another TATA Starbus Low Floor bus. The rear half seems to be welded later in the BEST workshop.

                                               BEST MUTP mark 1 bus. Ashok Leyland.

MIDI bus is a popular and thoughtful experiment by BEST undertaking.

       Up close with TATA Starbus Low Floor bus. The rear half seems to have some problems.

23/01/2016 : 17.00 : Decided to return to CST and have some railfanning. To my surprise, 12109 was already shunted on PF 16. Deccan Odessey departed from PF 18 with GOC shed WDP 4D. Wasn't able to capture it though.

Original KYN shed WCAM 3 that shunted the rake. I have seen most of WCAM 3 locos marked as " D. C. unfit " at CST station and yard.

These locos served for almost 18 to 20 years from now. Since we get AC power now till CST, LTT, BCT and BDTS, they seem to have lost their glory.

Technical instructions on the loco.

My train to MMR. Travelling by this train twice in row.

Had a round till loco. Loco was not yet attached. The rake was SLR (reserved for ladies), 6 GS coaches, D-7 to D-1, (Reserved second class coaches), MST 2S coach, MST 2S coach, C-1, C-2, C-3 (Reserved for First Class MST holders), GS (Reserved for Ladies), SLR (Reserved for Ladies).  The First Class MST coach (C-3) was designated as the " Adarsh Coach" by MMR-CSTM Trvaellers association. The inside pics of the ex Deccan Queen coach can be seen here.

It seems that all CR CC coaches are have a standard seating configuration of 75 seats. (Except seat No. 3 and seat No. 73). Or is it adapted throughout IR ? 73 seats create a bit confusion about whether the seat is a window seat or not ? 

C-2 coach. I always wonder about the extra length near the end. Two windows for the toilet instead of regular one. 

C-2 also has 1 to 75 seating configuration.

C-2 coach.

C-1 coach is Jan Shatabdi liveried coach. 15151. On 23/12/2015, I travelled by the same coach from Dadar to Manmad. Clearcut description about the seating arrangement near every window.

JS Liveried C-1 coach.

GS coach for Monthly Season Ticket Holders. This is Central Railways' standard day train livery.

My coach D-1. Made 21 years ago. I always compare my life history with the coach life history. This is the year I joined Datta Meghe College in Navi Mumbai. It would had been a brand new coach at that time. Most probably allotted to Deccan Queen at that time.

Coach had a capacity of 108 seats. Mine was 49. Window seat on special demand.

D-1 coach. Its age started showing up on it.

Even the coach indicators badly needed some paint job.

Since I was an hour early in the train. It had a deserted look. Tried to capture the view of 13 interconnected  coaches through the vestibule.

The first thing I realized that I am travelling on a 6 doored coach after many many years. The 2S seats are not very comfortable to seat for 3 adults. 

I started praying for a half sized neighbour on either of the seats 50 or 51. (But it did not happen. We were 3 full size males on these seats trying to adjust our seats throughout the journey, at least till Nashik.)

23/01/2106 : 18.00 : 12105 Vidarbha Express rake shunted on PF 18. I must have travelled by this train at least for half a century times. Announcements were on for 11305 CSTM - Solapur express rakes being shunted on PF 17. The train departs at 21.25 from CST. I did not understand the logic behind keeping PF occupied for three hours.

Shiny Kurla WDS 6 Shunter shunting shining rake of Vidarbha Express. 

Second Class coach. 

HA-1. First AC cum Second AC coach. 2015 make.

First AC part of HA-1.

A-1 coach. Second AC coach. 2001 made.

A-2 coach. Second AC coach. 2003 made.

AB - 1. Second AC cum Third AC composite coach.  This is one of the non full AC train with one of the highest number of AC coaches. 8 AC coaches normally. H-1, A-1, A-2, AB-1, B-1 to B-4. During Nagpur Assembly meet, it gets one additional second AC coach for MLAs and MLCs. 

B-1 coach is also 2015 made. A new third AC coach.

Another quite a few AC coaches lined up.

This reminded me Millenium express livery. The blue colour below window and above window is just different.

The difference between two liveries evident.

23/01/2016 : 18.15 : Journey started bang on time.

CST                          0 kms                           --- / 18.15                       (No delay)

Dadar                      9 kms                     18.29 / 18.31                        (+ 0.01 / + 0.01)

Kalyan                   54 kms                    19.12 / 19.17                         (+ 0.02 / + 0.04)

Kasara                 120 kms                   20.20 / 20.23                       (+ 0.07 / + 0.08) 

Igatpuri              137 kms                   20.49 / 20.53                        (+ 0.01 / + 0.03)

Devlali               180 kms                   21.35 / 21.38                          (+ 0.12 / + 0.13)

Nashik Road    186 kms                   21.44 / 21.49                          (+ 0.06 / + 0.09)

Niphad              217 kms                   22.12 / 22.14                          (+ 0.07 / + 0.07) 

Lasalgaon         234 kms                  22.25 / 22.27                         (+ 0.05 / + 0.05)

Manmad           259 kms                  22.50 / ---                              (No delay)

Again the limitations of WCAM 3 (with max speed 105 kmph) were exposed on section between Igatpuri and Devlali. WAP 4 or even WAM 4 does it in flat 35 minutes since this section is fit for 110 kmph. WCAM 3 found struggling with 21 coach load to gain the MPS.

23/01/2016 : 23.10 :  Manmad MSRTC bus stand was with a few activities. My cell phone battery was getting drained at a faster rate. (no charging points in 2S coach.) So decided to click only a selected few shots.

Tarakpur depot (Ahemadnagar division) 2 x 2 pushbak seats Semi Luxury. Built by Central Workshop Dapodi (Pune). Route Ahemadnagar- Surat. Expected this to be a great travel if would had been Pune- Indore route. Unfortunately no MSRTC bus on Indore route at this time.

Gracious looking CWD semi luxury. It stole all the show at that hour on the bus stand.

Ahemadnagar - Surat (Via Shirdi - Manmad - Satana - Navaapur)

 23/01/2016 : 23.20 : The bus, I was waiting for, entered the bus stand. Almost full but I got my preferred seat besides the driver in extra long cabin . 

Pune - Indore schedule by MPSRTC. Via Ahemadnagar- Shirdi - Manmad - Malegaon - Dhule - Shirpur - Sendhwa - Khalghta - Julwaniya. 

Cabin was to accommodate two full sized berths. One along the length and another one across.  MP -11 / P 8555. Push Back 3 x 2 seating arrangements. It covered nearly 130 kms with two stops (Malegaon and Dhule) in just 2 hours 30 minutes. But just 10 kms from Shirpur, the crew decided to have dinner at a roadside Dhaba. And then total journey time was extended to 3 hours 10 minutes. 

First journey in 2016 was a good one and basically an economical one. (Mumbai - Manmad by 12109 2S reserved coach costed Rs. 147 and Rs. 140 for the bus journey from Manmad to Shirpur. Add rikshaw fare of 40 Rs.from Manmad railway station to Manmad bus stand.)

The hiked fares were about 1500 Rs (Regular fares range from  Rs. 750 to 900) by private operators for this journey. I had my share of tight slap on their faces by not patronizing them once again. I think, I have discovered this alternative way of travel whenever there is undesired and unjustified hike by the private operators on this route.

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