Hi,



The previous trip report part:
India 2012 - 25: Mumbai - Vaitarna Western Railway Morning (50 p.)
http://railroadforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=40897



The accompanying video:




Now the final "proper" travelogue part is following, as conclusion a retrospective with previously unpublished pictures and a gallery of the journey will be posted:


February 22 2012

At Virar I caught the 11:12 fast local to Churchgate terminal.

Code:
92006 VIRAR CCG FAST

1	VR	Virar		WR	BCT	First S	11:12			0	1	 
2	NSP	Nalla Sopara	WR	BCT	11:17	11:18	1		4	1	 
3	BSR	Vasai Road	WR	BCT	11:23	11:24	1		8	1	 
4	BYR	Bhayandar	WR	BCT	11:33	11:34	1		17	1	 
5	MIRA	Mira Road	WR	BCT	11:38	11:39	1		20	1	 
6	DIC	Dahisar		WR	BCT	11:42	11:43	1		24	1	 
7	BVI	Borivali	WR	BCT	11:47	11:48	1		26	1	 
8	ADH	Andheri		WR	BCT	12:03	12:04	1		38	1	 
9	BA	Bandra Jn	WR	BCT	12:13	12:14	1		46	1	 
10	DDR	Dadar 	WR	WR	BCT	12:20	12:21	1		50	1	 
11	CCG	Churchgate	WR	BCT	12:37	Last St			60	1
For better orientation you can find an overview map of Mumbai suburban lines here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mumbai_Suburban_Railway

In the beginning first class was relatively empty but filled up after one or two stations, so people were even here hanging out of the doors - which stayed open all the time. On the whole route four tracks were leading parallel next to each other, a fast and a slow line into each direction. We overtook several trains and met a lot more. On the great Thane Creek crossing one could breathe some fresh sea air, other than that the smells at 38 degrees outside did not amuse the nose, I did not want to know what was deposited in the bodies of water along the line. From time to time you could spot corrugated-iron shacks lining the railway. At some point a ticket controller came by only taking a short glance at my Indrail Pass. The fast service was only stopping at few stations like Bandra, at the major junction Dadar the compartment emptied. We passed Mumbai Central, the main Western Railway long distance terminal, from where on only local traffic was operating, and went through to Churchgate. This pure suburban terminal, the southernmost on Mumbai peninsula (once artificially formed of several islands: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Mumbai ), consisted of a large, ventilator-rich hall. Every few minutes EMUs were arriving and departing.

Before reaching Churchgate we had to stop shortly resulting in a delay of 10 minutes. As you could move again in the compartment, I took a peek out of the door. The suburban train windows sadly all featured a very tightly meshed protection, so images while sitting were out of the question.




Having arrived at the platform the ladies from the women's compartment behind mine had to step out into the blazing midday sun, just as me. At Churchgate platforms could be found on both sides of the trains, in this case only on the other side for the full 12 coach length.




At the same moment another train departed, sadly on the Western Railway only EMUs in the new, ugly MRVC-design could be found.




View into the hall with sun spots.




Quite far out you could find a pedestrian subway, a rarity on Indian Railways where footbridges predominate. This has probably to do with monsoon floodings, but under a roof exceptions could be made.




As on many main platforms, also outside, rows of ventilators could be found. In tropical heat you were grateful for every tiny breeze.




Four minutes after arrival my rake departed again.




A view at the station hall being home to a curved track layout. In earlier times the line had continued down to Colaba, where I had spent the first night of the trip.




A Churchgate - Borivali local stood ready for departure.









Departing around noon - during rushhour I would hardly have been able to take that shot.




Now I had three goals left on the journey - despite fatigue and heat: catch old suburban EMUs, take a look around Central Railway terminal CST and see a few of the double decker busses soon to be taken out of service.




In front of the station you immediately stepped into the world of Mumbai colonial buildings, this was the (old) Western Railway head office - very modest, isn't it? Churchgate had been rebuilt shortly before my visit, now the new administration building was housed in a modern office block above the station.




On east-west Veer Nariman Road I headed for CST, the desired double deckers were operating here.




Compared to the rest of India you noticed a little more order, despite a lot of traffic, but you felt the lack of trucks - which are not allowed to enter the centre during daytime - no three- and few two-wheelers. Also, judging by the people walking around it was clear that this was the financial hub of India.
The scenery was dominated by taxis, partly still classic Mumbai cabs of model Premier Padmini, based on Fiat 1100s and produced in India from 1964 to 2000: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premier_Padmini .









After few walking minutes I reached the central square Hutatma Chowk ("Martyrs' Square"), housing Flora Fountain from colonial times - the square had previously been named after it - , as well as a few memorials reminding of the formation of Maharashtra state.
Close to this square former "Churchgate" had been located, one of three city gates in the fortifications existing until the mid 19th century. Today this district of Mumbai still is called "Fort".









Next I followed Dadabhai Naoroji Road towards CST.




Apart from a few details you could almost forget which era you were in. Buildings and vehicles seemingly formed a complete ensemble - you might almost think from colonial times. Of course the latter had only started being constructed after independence, for example Ashok Leyland Titan busses.
The Mumbai city transport company B.E.S.T. (Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport) had beend founded in 1873, then under the name Bombay Electric Supply & Tramways: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brihanm...rt_Undertaking . Obviously they wanted to keep the favourable "B" even after the city had been renamed... ;-)









Despite many new vehicles sometimes you encountered a wall of "Millecentos".









On the next double decker ads for education loans could be found.




Of course cinema cannot be left out in Bollywood.




After about half an hour I reached CST.




Here you could also find many modes of transport, what might look like antique amphoras actually were gas canisters.




On taxis the home base often was proclaimed in big letters.




I approached the gigantic front of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, 1887 - opened during the queen's golden jubilee - until 1996 it had been called "Victoria Terminus" and became an UNESCO world heritage site in 2004. Today many Mumbaikars still prefer calling it VT.









The enormous gothic-victorian piece of architecture hardly could be classified as a station by its looks, unusually the platforms led away from the front in a right angle, you can spot the hall to the far left.




Only the flag indicated the modern power balance.




Via a subway I entered the hall from the frontside. 2,5 million people passed through here every day, the Mumbai suburban network alone transported about 8 million daily, which equals to the entire population of my home country Austria.
By the way, I did not show my photo permit to anyone, but no one was interested anyway.




Below the roof you could find seven Central Railway suburban tracks for traffic along the mainline and Harbour line, which still was entirely DC electrified.




That's why I could gladly enjoy the first classic suburban EMU arriving.









A shoe polisher sat perfectly below the only sunny spot.




Another train just left the hall.




Parallel departure with a modern EMU heading towards Andheri via the Harbour line.














Arrival of a new EMU, a ladies' compartment in front.









Soon afterwards another new EMU was appearing spot-on in the sun.




View out of the main entrance.




I took a quick peek at the long distance platforms being situated in a 1929 built part of the station with separate platform roofs. On the way you had to cross unmanned security barriers. Additionally you could find extra long platforms in the distant new station where I had embarked on my journey about three weeks earlier.
Sadly I did not find any express at a photogenic spot, this was the Janshatabdi rake from Aurangabad - we already know it from the brilliant morning at Ankai Killa near Manmad - with WCAM-3 21962 in the background. The mainline also still was DC electrified for the first few kilometres here.




I took a seat in the 1:37 Harbour-line train to Vashi, which takes a route away from the Central Railway mainline partly as an elevated railway close to the harbour. Formerly the Port Trust Railway had operated as a branch here, a freight railway to the harbour which had been abandoned. I only passed disused semaphore signals and old tracks.
Inside the first class compartment I travelled relatively alone, here an interior view.




Close to Cotton Green on an elevated section I noticed an oncoming old EMU and quickly leaned out of the door Mumbaikar-style to catch it. Due to low speed and handle it was no dangerous untertaking.




This was the reason why it was impossible to take pictures while being seated.





At Kurla, where the Harbour line rejoined the Central Railway mainline, I got out. Behind my train an ALCO chugged past pulling an express, in the meantime I took an autorickshaw to the nearby appartement in Chembur. From now I only wanted to rest, the heat had reached its peak and I already had been on my feet almost since 2 a.m. - and the three weeks before…



February 23 - 24 2012

That day I had planned to shop and maybe explore the area a little, but since it was very hot again all outdoor activities were postponed till evening.


We drove a bit through the in-district Chembur, on the way I saw pillars of the new monorail (I hope nobody gets reminded of a certain cartoon... ;-) ).




A metro was also supposed to be built here, an enormous improvement of fast local traffic in this part of the city. We shopped in various stores, Anand explained a few spices to me and I took some packets. Then I bought a few of the snacks that had accompanied me during the journey, mostly western concepts, but Indian flavours. Now I could complete packing and we left for the international airport. It was situated a few kilometres from the domestic terminal, so you had to be careful to find the correct one. Another new international airport was being built outside Mumbai. We had to fight our way through evening rushhour and even crossed the largest slum in Asia. However, you hardly noticed it, only low brick buidlings with store fronts. After fifty minutes we had made it from Chembur to the terminal and I heartily said good-bye to Anand. The terminals were marked by the check-in gates of the airlines, so you immediately found yourself at the right spot. At the entrance you had to show your ticket or electronic printout. Inside you noticed that a huge workforce was available here, at every check-in queue 3-4 employees gave you emigration forms, tagged your handluggage or tried to sell you bonus mile programs. Overall I had checked in quickly and was asked to pass emigration soon. The control point was located on one end of the building - of course the other end for me - , and was blocked by several long queues as everyone at the international airport had to come through here. The form still had to be filled out, then I waited for about 45 minutes. On the other hand you did not have to stand in line at the following security check. You had to keep your boarding pass with you as it was stamped, as well as the hand luggage tags, to show that you had passed security. This was checked again when leaving that area and once more before boarding. Now I had reached the shopping mile, a few rupees still were left, so I looked around. At some shops horrible prices could be found, at others none were displayed, I spotted a tiny "I love India"-bear for 20 dollars. In the end I found something - shame on me - at WH Smith, where you could buy relatively Indian souvenirs for relatively Indian prices. So I purchased a wind-up Amby and tuk-tuk as well as several teas perfectly packaged as souvenirs. Afterwards I sat down at the gate, boarding was supposed to start at 0:25. Soon the Austrian Airlines crew passed by, and it was our turn shortly later. A bus brought us to the 767-300ER, at first I had the row with my usual seat 11D to me alone, then a few latecomers arrived. A young American of Indian origin sat next to me carrying a guitar, and a Sikh gentleman with accordingly large turban took his seat at the other corridor side. After a cold dinner I tried to snooze a little, listening to iPhone MP3s and of course always taking some walking exercise breaks, the flight attendants also dutifully served drinks from time to time. On the return we took another route through Iran to the Caspian Sea, past Baku to the Black Sea, Central Europe was reached at Romania, passing south of Krim peninsula. Punctually, after 8:15 h flight time – more than an hour longer than eastwards due to winds - we touched down at Vienna Schwechat. Only few passengers stayed here in Vienna, despite a full aircraft almost nobody showed up at the baggage conveyor belt. This flight was quite popular with transfer passengers, probably because of cheap AUA Redtickets. I caught the airport bus to Vienna Meidling at 6 a.m. and arrived at home almost as quickly and much cheaper than with a taxi.


Thanks a lot for your attention, as promised next time there will be a retrospective and a gallery of the journey! :-)