Southern Railway’s Royapuram shed WAP4 #22841 stands at Krishnarajapuram (KJM) Railway Station in Bangalore with the 16316 Trivandrum Kochuveli – Bangalore City daily Express on a gloomy morning, looking all sleek and fresh, after a scintillating run, reaching well before time! The paint has started flaking around its edges. The infamous “hanging bridge” can be seen in the background. The WAP4 is a 5350 hp AC powered electric locomotive which is a direct descendant of the legendary WAM4. It is the current workhorse of the Indian Railways hauling most long distance express trains.
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.
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.
A long-range photograph showing the blue LHB rake interspersed with some unique white liveried coaches of the Prince of the Southern Railway, the 12007 Chennai – Bangalore – Mysore Shatabdi Express, as it glides past an open field after passing Jolarpettai junction hauled by Erode’s WAP4 #22549, at the point where the JTJ bypass meets the Chennai – Bangalore main line. This is also the point where Southern Railway and South Western Railway meet. I had captured the Shatabdi before with a WAM4 and a WAP7. The heavily patronized Shatabdi is the premier train between Bangalore and Chennai.
The full length of the 22626 Bangalore – Chennai AC Double Decker can be seen as it slides past the Benigannahalli lake (or what is left of it), under the Tin Factory flyover parallel to Old Madras Road in Bangalore, crossing what is known as the Channasandra triangle, framed by the flyover, the Gopalan Mall and the RMZ Infinity tech park. The train’s now somewhat fading red-and-yellow livery, the blue sky, the greenery and the gorgeous pink Tabebuia blooms now being seen everywhere in Bangalore make for a good clash of colors. The train was being hauled by a surprise offlink, a crimson Royapuram WAP4 #22960 instead of its usual RPM WAP7. Took a lot of work framing this full length shot of the train.
The average Indian (Railways) passenger train is so long that its other end cannot even be viewed properly. In this case, the 13351 Alappuzha – Dhanbad Express rushes towards Aluva in Kerala with the far end of the train shrouded in the early morning mist. The 13351 “supercrawler” isn’t even among the longest trains in India. It is headed by Erode’s WAP #22221, famously known for its Rear View Mirrors, possobly the only Indian Locomotive to have rear view mirrors! (Railfans, correct me if I am wrong).