The name is Bond, James Bond. The venerable WAP1 #22007 of Arakkonam is seen braving a hot sun under clear blue skies hauling the 12081 Kannur-Trivandrum JanShatabdi Express on the newly opened double line between Changanasserry and Thiruvalla in Kerala. As the 7th WAP1 ever produced, almost 25 years old and nearing the end of its eventful service life, the 22007 is one of the oldest dedicated passenger electric locomotives in operation today. This veteran has seen much of Indian Railway’s growth, and even in its twilight years has he honors of hauling prestige trains.
The 12640 Brindavan Superfast Express from Bangalore City SBC to Chennai Central MAS is seen near Bayyappanahalli at Sadanandanagar hauled by Royapuram electric locomotive shed’s WAP7 electric locomotive #30379, seen in its full 24-coach length glory. It was an unbelievably hot and sunny day, as can be seen from the photo, and to catch the legend I was almost fried to a crisp. It was on the same day I captured the Double Decker and the Howrah Duronto in their full lengths as well.
On a wet and overcast day with rain threatening to fall any minute, the 16650 Nagercoil – Mangalore Parasuram Express passes over a rust-stained girder bridge in central Kerala, just after Aluva and the famous bridge across the Periyar river with the view of the Aluva Manappuram, hauled by a mud-splattered bright orange-red and yellow Erode 5350 hp WAP4 class electric locomotive with road number #22580. The waterbody across which this bridge is built is a small overflow channel of the Periyar. The locomotive sliding majestically across the girder which has no side rails, the rails on the edge of the bridge which is in all lesser in width than the train itself, has always fascinated me. These bridges are however becoming increasingly rare.
On an insanely sunny afternoon, under a brilliant blue sky, SER Santragachi SRC shed’s brick red WAP4 #22398 cruises towards Baiyyappanahalli in Bangalore with the 12245 Howrah-Yeshwantpur Duronto Express on the very final leg of its journey with its characteristic Duronto-liveried hybrid-LHB coaches. The WAP4 is painted brick red with a white stripe, unlike most WAP4s which are orange-red with a cream stripe. This 5350 hp electric locomotive hauls the train single-handedly for its entire 2500 km, 34-hour journey. This is also one of IR’s most successful Durontos, running on waiting lists the year round. See more pictures of the Howrah Duronto here and here.
Freshly painted SR AJJ WAP1 #22041 in full WAP4 livery rests at Kottayam with the 12082 Trivandrum – Kannur Jan Shatabdi Express. The first two coaches are in regular Jan Shatabdi livery while most of the remaining are pasted over with advertisement wraps of different colors for Joy Alukkas jewelers, Madhyamam newspaper and others. The WAP1, with mid-mounted headlamps no less, is a not rare but less regular link compared to the WAP4 it usually hauls. The train has comparatively limited stops, a rarity for Kerala, and is the fastest between Trivandrum and Kannur.
The 12625 Thiruvananthapuram – New Delhi Kerala Superfast Express seen in its full 24-coach length just outside Aluva in Kerala. It is so long that the rear end is reduced to a blur! Here it is seen with its regular link – an Erode WAP4 – the gleaming #22904 this time, which will be detached at Erode. The legend holds a couple of records in its name, including being the longest distance-running superfast train in India and the electric locomotive that runs the longest distance (12626 – New Delhi to Ernakulam) – a WAP4 from the Erode shed. The Kerala Express which started as the KK Express in 1977 still runs full packed year round and is Trivandrum division’s most premier train, which sadly has lost much of its former glory thanks to nonsense stoppage politics.