I have been wishing to travel by this connection from NZM to BSP. Many reasons, first being I had never been to any other SK besides CGSK, second being I had never seen the JHS-BPL section in broad daylight, third I wanted to enjoy day time non stop run of SK. NZM-NGP with two commercial halts amply justified this wish.
As this was a hurriedly planned trip no time for any booking or anything. It was decided on Fri night that I have to leave for BSP on Sat. I first thought of Samta till R and then the first availabe train. But I settled for KSK-Shivnath link confident that even if I miss Shivnath, I can atleast catch Samta from NGP till R and proceed thereafter.
0530 on Sat reached NZM. Before this please allow me to describe Delhi so early in the morning. It had rained fully for the last two days and hence it mean a fresh surroundings. I strated from m place at Delhi Cantt to NZM. Barely managed to get an auto and he made full use of this opportnity for himself and charged 140 Rs! Left with no other auto in sight I obliged and w went through the green turned greener cantonment area.. through to Daula Kuan and it was jammed!! 5 in the morning is no time for a traffic jam but still Dhaula Kuan was jammed!! Lots of trucks n the closed left cloverleaf for Ring Road towards Motibagh was the reason. Finally the auto moved out and into the NDMC area. What a scene and what a run. Terrefic, the Delhi roads looked and felt awesome. The roundabouts the sodium lights all were really captivating.
Well finally touched into NZM at 0540 or so. Went to the "Current Reservation Counter" at pf 1 (old entrance, non-comesum one) and asked for accomodation in KSK. He happily gave me a berth without charging anything extra not even the Tatkal fare!! My name was listed in a saperate chart. The train was quite empty but I was not aware that such a facility exists, I just went for askance.
Then I went to UTS counter (near Comesum) to ask for a NGP-BSP ticket but I was denied!! I thought its possible to get a ticke from anwhere to anywhere under UTS. Anyways went in to catch the arivals. Prominently SBC Raj came in at Pf3 with LGD-P4 and few min later GT with a LGD P4!! (ED??) Thirukkural Exp to CAPE left with AJJ WAP1 and my KSK was to be hauled by AJJ WAM4..
I settled in a near empty train expecting a decent non stop run. We started on time and halted right on top of THE NALLAH!! Pillars are coming over it any idea what are they for? We moved after a good 10 min and stopped again at Ballabhgarh. Till then it was a decent run. After that we moved swiftly out of Palwal and other wayside stations. We crossed MTJ at a good speed (more than 20kmph), good speed coz CGSK crosses painfully slow and doesnt gives the impression of SKIPPING the station..:-) AK Raj was on pf2, i missed its loco but SAIL ads were prominently seen!!
Again a decent non stop run till AGC where we crawled. Met Kerela bound for NDLS with LGD P4! Where are all EDs gone?? Again I was wondering where it got this? ERS?
Chambal was crossed at a good speed and we went through GWL uninterrupted. Menawhile PC guys served Egg Cury Paratha for 50 Rs!! Saw beautiful curves which I had earlier seen only in moonlight. Crossed Punjab Mail somewhere led by a GZB P1 (guesing from the livery). Datia came and went. And so did other stations. We reached JHS on time at pf2. Chhattigarh Exp bound for ASR was leaving from Pf5 and APSK bound for NZM was entering Pf3. Chhattisgarh with a GZB P4 and APSK with a LGD P4. Crew change means I cud enjoy ever delicious Shreekhand. AJJ Wammie was doing well with (half empty) 23 coach load. Heap of HCPVs.
The station that interested me most was Babina. We halted there for a good 10 min and by the people standing around in the pf I could guess it has got a big cantonement area. An almost exclusive military siding confirmed this. Green liveried military train was standing there. Punjab mail (trailing us) and Jhelum (to NZM)
were announced. We crossed Lalitpur non stop which came later than I expected.
We proceded on our way to BINA and I could see the under construction Bina refinery at a distance on Right side. Crossed Bina with a halt and through the small ghats to BPL. I was expecting BPL Shat for NDLS in full speed when I saw a few greens on the other trck. But I was disappointed to see it standing midway!! The loco staff were down probably inspecting something.
We were 20 min late into BPL's pf 1. After BPL the run which I always enjoy the most. Ghats, green and curvy. Narmada, Hoshangabad all really make a mesmerising evening. Budhni Ghats are a treat always and so is Maramjhiri-Dharakho h. Before the latter we halted into ET. And as we were moving in Amarkantak to Durg (via KTE) was moving towards KTE. ET ELS was crowded with many locos. But distinct was one shining GZB beauty. I forgot its road number but it was shining and GZB for sure.
Encountered GT just before entering Hoshangabad thankfully with a ED P4 this time. Dusk and night settled in as I plugged in my MP3 player. We looked on course for a timely NGP arrival and I was confident of catching Shivnath. We pulled into NGP within 5-10 min of scheduled Arrival time. Aha good old NGP. A nice place to be always. The cute little NG train was ready for departure. Passengers were all set. First time I saw an NG train at night and it was a pretty sight indeed.
I moved to the UT counters for a ticket upto BSP. I asked a TTE at gate if I could find the staff for Shivnath (I hoped that a lot of berths d be empty). But it was not to be! The guy directed me to the Duty room of TTEs and the TTE there told me the train is packed! I asked him if any chance for a berth enroute. He asked me to check after Kamptee. As soon as I said OK he asked to give a fine amount 313 Rs. (SL price is 187 Rs around I guess). I asked what for and he replied I will be travelling SL with a UR ticket. I said I have not even stepped in the train!! He got busy with another passenger and I managed to sneak out. I didnt wish to get involved with him coz if UR is crowded I will have to ask for an SL once again.
So I thought let the train arrive and see the UR condition. If its manageable I will go in it otherwise go to TTE once again. The train arrived late. (It comes in as 2855 BSP-NGP i/c and leaves as Shivnath). The transition of crowd was noteworthy. like DMRC's Rajeev Chowk!! But strangely once the 2855 folks cleared the place the UR looked relatively empty!! I managed to get a window side seat although I entered the coach last! We moved out well after our scheduled departure time. Halted at Itwari.. (pf6??) I slept after that only to be awake at G and later Durg. But the passengers only alighted and noone boarded the train.
I doubt if even SL was this much empty!! Reached BSP around 45 min late. Loco was BIA Wam 4.
This was one of the trips taken at a shortest notice