Indian Railways’ AC First Class Cabin (on the Island Express)

This is how the interiors of an AC First Class cabin on an Indian (Railways) train looks like. A cabin can seat/sleep four people as opposed to a coupe which is for two people only. Both feature lockable doors ensuring complete privacy along with wardrobes etc. This cabin is from the 16525/6 Kanyakumari – Bangalore – Kanyakumari Island Express. The Island got AC First Class albeit only half a coach (the other half of the coach is AC 2 tier) for the first time in its history from September 01 2014 and predictably is sold out the year round, being the most preferred train from Bangalore to Kerala. It has two cabins and one coupe. The berths are a meter wide and the cabin is squeaking clean. This is the old type ICF coach with steel frames. The new LHB coaches feature aluminium frames and larger windows which make them more airy and pleasant. But this is not bad either. Note the curtain rods.

The Island Stretches out at Kottayam with 22391 in the Lead

The 16525 Island Express to Bangalore stretches out in length at Kottayam railway station with all of its gleaming 2012 and 2013 manufactured coaches on a hot, cloudless sunny afternoon. Erode’s newly overhauled workhorse WAP4 #22391 heads the train standing tall looking all majestic and powerful though a bit splattered with dirt. The ERS-KYJ MEMU waits at the end of the other platform, whose blue and red colors can be seen reflecting on the coaches of the Island. Despite its “supercrawler” status, the Island is one of my favorite trains mainly because of all the nostalgia associated with since I have been regularly traveling on it since 1999 🙂 And this is the second time I have captured the Island behind the #22391! Here is the first.

Two WAP4-led Trains Wait Side-by-Side at Ernakulam

Royapuram WAP4 #22887 and Erode WAP4 #22258 wait side by side facing in the same direction towards Ernakulam Junction at Ernakulam town with their 13351 Tata/Dhanbad – Alappuzha “Supercrawler” Express on the mainline and the 12516 Guwahati – Trivandrum “Forever Late” Express at the loop line on Platform 2 respectively as the 16525 Kanyakumari – Bangalore Island “Passenger” Express crawls on to Platform 1. These two trains were held up at ERN thanks to the singaling and doubling works going on between Ernakulam Town and Ernakulam Junction.

The Island Express Meekly Gives Way to a Frieght Train

The 16525 Kanyakumari-Bangalore Island Express was pulled onto the loop line at Kalamasserry and barely five minutes later came the double-headed freight consist of Tankers and Wagons thundering down the mainline headed by Erode’s WDG3A #13536. The Island does not have a halt at Kalamasserry but being the least-prioritized train in Kerala is routinely pulled aside to give way for other Expresses, often Passenger trains and once in a while even for freights! That day, the TVC-Kozhikode JanShatabdi also passed the Island 15 minutes after the freight passed and only then was it allowed to move on its pathetic journey after an unscheduled halt of more than half an hour.

WAP4 #22580 at Aluva with the Island

WAP4 #22580 of the Erode (ED) electric locomotive shed of the Southern Railways stands at Aluva Railway Station (AWY) late one evening heading the legendary supercrawler, the 16525 Kanyakumari – Bangalore Island Express. It was held up there to let the Trivandrum – Kottayam – Kozhikode JanShatabdi Express overtake it, the low priority train it is.

WAP4# 22391 at CGY With the Island Express!

Legendary 16525 Kanyakumari – Bangalore Island Express arrives on platform 2 at Changanasserry Railway Station headed by one of Erode’s workhorses the WAP4 #22391. WAP4 engines are Indian Railways’ workhorses.