Hi,



The previous trip report part:
India 2012 - 17: Angry Birds Pune (50 p.)
http://railroadforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=40384



The accompanying video:





February 17 2012

We return to 12780 Goa Express, on the way to the tiny state of Goa on the Indian west coast south of Maharashtra, a Portuguese colony until 1961 (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goa ). In the morning I reached Madgaon Junction - more about the main traffic arteries of Goa in the next report - with only a slight delay, but continued to Vasco da Gama terminal station since it would have been unnecessarily early otherwise. One of the police officers in my compartment asked me, if I did not want to get off here, but I still was too tired.

Code:
28	MAO	Madgaon		05:40	05:45	5	KRCL	2174	3	 
29	VSG	Vasco Da Gama	06:30	Last Stn	SWR	2202	3
Gooty WDG-3A 14580 had hauled the Goa Express to Vasco da Gama (short: Vasco or locally: Vasku). Palm tree silhouettes greeted me in Goa's largest and rather industrial town (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasco_da_Gama,_Goa ).




Crowds left the train using various paths, to the right on platform 1 the express to Kolkata stood ready to depart. Behind it waited the rake of the local passenger train I was about to take next.




Disembarking passengers on the platform and footbridge.




I walked to the front of four times weekly running 18048 Vasco - Howrah (Kolkata) Express, which was pulled - as all passenger trains spotted by me on this line - by Gooty class WDG-3As. Leading ALCO 14571 sported the more elegant "baldie" hood form.









I immediately noticed the first Europeans I had seen in a week. They were equipped with cameras and notepads. I greeted them and asked where they were coming from. From England, they replied and asked me the same. Were they railfans as well? – Sure. Do you know *a railway enthusiast from Austria*, he is a good friend of ours? – Sure! We had to laugh, it is simply a small world... ;-)
They had to catch the express, in the meantime I was filming the double headed departure.




Departing towards palm trees, the second class general coaches were well frequented by commuters to Madgaon.









View at the long snake of coaches.









Sunrise behind palm trees.




My 56962 Vasco - Kulem passenger entered the platform.

Code:
56962	VSG KULEM PASSENGER

1	VSG	Vasco Da Gama		07:35		SWR	0	1	 
2	DBM	Dabolim H	07:39	07:40	1	SWR	5	1	 
3	SKVL	Sankaval	07:44	07:45	1	SWR	8	1	 
4	CSM	Cansaulim	07:49	07:50	1	SWR	13	1	 
5	MJO	Majorda		07:59	08:00	1	KRCL	17	1	 
6	SRVX	Suravali H	08:05	08:06	1	KRCL	21	1	 
7	MAO	Madgaon		08:09	08:11	2	KRCL	28	1	 
8	CNR	Chandar Goa	08:19	08:20	1	SWR	37	1	 
9	SVM	Sanvordem Chuch	08:28	08:30	2	SWR	44	1	 
10	KM	Kalem		08:44	08:45	1	SWR	54	1	 
11	QLM	Kulem		09:10	Last Stn	SWR	62	1
On the displays the coaches of the departed express were still shown.




The last freight of Goa Express was being transported away - of course always using the straightest line!



Now I took a seat inside the passenger train right behind the loco. The train remained relatively empty, it did not seem like "real India" here, only some commuters joined me. As well as a few Indian Railways workers lifting some heavy replacement parts into the compartment next to me, almost striking me on the head in the process. The responsible labourers were reprehended by their boss right away, but it would have been too late for me...

Sleeper S6 of Goa Express.




The departure was spectacular, WDG-3A 14580 had shunted to the other end of Goa Express and accelerated with the full rake at the same time as the passenger train, resulting in double ALCO-sound. At the same time a Gooty class WDG-4 pair lead by 12493 waited with a freight, and schoolchildren walked on the tracks. We left Vasco through lovely palm tree groves, past a shrine and under constant ALCO-chugging towards the morning sun (see video from 1h 31:45).




Tired morning commuter.




Departure from Sank(a)val, we will get to know this place in future reports. You can already spot the Indian Ocean sparkling through... :-)




The next station, Cansaulim, proved to be the ultimate tropical jungle halt (of course only seemingly, there was no jungle near the beach) in fantastic subtle morning fog mood!














The train into the other direction, 56961 Kulem - Vasco passenger with Gooty WDG-3A 14625, was crossed here.




As mentioned, Goa was not typical India, the mansions showed colonial Portuguese style.




Camaraderie on the way to school.




My station, Majorda Junction, was reached. Here the branch line to Vasco joined the north-south Konkan Railway mainline, more about it next time.




Morning mood.




My passenger continuing from Majorda to Madgaon and Kulem.




Next I called my "Coconut Grove" resort in Betalbatim for a pickup, I had booked in advance which proved to be a good idea after two weeks of constant travelling.
At first I was not sure at which side of the station to wait, so I could catch a brief preview of Konkan traffic. At the moment a class WDG-4 departed north pulling a "rolling road" train, another southbound "Roll On Roll Off" (RORO) service had entered the station, a loco-less freight rake stood in the middle. Still, I did not want to miss the taxi and could not wait on the platform.




"No experience needed" - at Majorda station entrance.




The taxi took a little longer than expected, but soon I was sitting on a couch under a canopy outside inbetween beautiful tropical vegetation. Around noon my bungalow room was ready and I could take a short rest. In the afternoon I walked to the beach separated from the hotel by an additional dune.
Karte: http://goo.gl/maps/BBbK

Goa fishermen coexist here with western tourists, or rather eastern. My resort was specialized in Russian guests, many writings on beach cafés were Cyrillic.




The beach stretched out over more than 20 kilometres, still I seldom had encountered any better guarded seaside with a lifeguard every few metres.




Of course the Indian national sport was popular here, but Goa had to offer other sports as well...




On the beach you could find rustic outrigger fishing boats, the crew was just taking in the nets after drying them.




The Indian contrast club was hitting hard again, it cannot get much more extreme!




Some tourists had adjusted to local bird behaviour.









I was wrong, contrasts could get more extreme! ;-)




Of course you could find poorer huts in Goa, but almost all with satellite link.




The red "Mahindra" jeeps belonged to beach patrol, in the distance, about 10 kilometres away, you can spot a factory at Sankval (see morning photo out of the passenger), which would provide me with a lot of unexpected joy later on...




Back to the cricketers, by the sandbags at the bar in the background you can judge that the sea probably was not as peaceful outside the dry season.














Fishing boats at sea.









And these were the instruments of propulsion for the primitive fishing boats on land.




First I laid down in the sand, later I moved to a seat at the "Fishermens" "Kafe" and waited for sunset.




Fitting for the Euro football championship 2012 start: Goa probably is the only football-crazy region of India! :-)




The lifeguards also called it a day and joined a kickabout around the outrigger boat.









Somewhat larger boat at sunset...




And a last kick on the first, relaxing day in Goa. The sun never completely set at the horizon because of constant haze.


After sunset I returned to the hotel and ordered a Goan prawn dish at the restaurant. This did not seem to happen often in an all-you-can-eat-buffet-world, at least the waiters seemed to be pleased. The seasoning clearly was different than in the Indian kitchens experienced until now, it reminded me a little of south-east Asian dishes.

The following day and within the upcoming trip reports we will explore the railway and natural wonders of Goa! :-)