April 30, 2014

A Day at the Station



Nagpur Station, 6 a.m.

Numb with cold and bleary eyed, I get off my train with a bag in hand, not quite sure what I should do next. I stroll to the platform's end where an engine is lazing around, undecided like me. But from the volume of smoke that issues from the funnel, it is clear this engine is shortly planning to get into action. You can never be certain about these engines. One moment it is standing idle, the next thing you will find this old beast chugging with haste into the yard with a row of wagons....



Picture courtesy of Narrow Gauge Railway Museum,
Nagpur


With half a day at my disposal, and feeling ravenously hungry, what am I to do?? I think I will ascend the steps to the refreshment room, and treat myself to omelette and toast and marmalade and ....  and coffee. Cups and cups of coffee from a grand old coffee pot, pouring out the brew at leisure, while contemplating my next move. . . 










With so much time on hand, I take a rickshaw and ride down to Motibagh. I found the South Eastern Railway Institute here. Snug and cosy to look at, but still, not so very impressive.





With several more hours still to go, I walk into the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum nearby. Nice place. Quiet, so very railwayish, so full of calm solitude...






I love those maroon red carriages, but they have all but disappeared from the railways here. Here is one, a first class narrow gauge coach dating back to 1958 stabled in a siding next to a goods wagon of 1925 vintage. Grand old stuff; and the older it grows, the better it gets.





This Italian make steam crane did some spectacular work shovelling coal into engines in the shed. What a great noise those cranes made while steamed up...  For this lucky machine, after all the activity is over, it has found a resting place where it will be admired by visitors. Squirrels may be found scurrying in and out of the boiler, and when I climbed onto the platform,  I found orange coloured bees buzzing around. I managed to get a few pictures of the works inside, when the bees came around. A few even stung me, so I hurriedly got off. 









This CC class locomotive seems thirty for a drink at the water column.







The yard in the museum has everything the rail enthusiast may want. Other than passenger coaches, you have goods wagons, oil tankers, brake vans...





Interior of the RMS Titanic lying underneath the ocean for over a hundered years?? By no means. This is the interior of a Railway Mail Service (RMS) carriage dating back to 1958. You can almost see those workers sorting out letters and placing them in the appropriate box as the train chugged on through the night. And below is the exterior of the same mail coach.









   Oh, but it is time I am back at the station. I can't remain at the rail museum forever...




A train has arrived at the narrow gauge platform. 





I get a ticket for myself. And soon I am on my way...





..............................................
Ravindra Bhalerao