October 2016

A Narrow Gauge in Time Warp - Journey from Vadodara to Jambusar

Rail Enthusiasts' Society

Mr. Adrian Shooter documents his experience of visiting the narrow gauge line from Vadodara to Jambusar.

Pratap Nagar locomotive shed, in Vadodara, is where the locos from other lines were brought to, and from, the Pratap Nagar Shed on broad gauge transporter wagons every six months or so in order to receive its scheduled maintenance.

Pratap Nagar Shed had formerly been connected by narrow gauge lines to most of the extensive network which had existed in the area at one time.

By now, however, conversion to broad gauge and closure of some lines, meant that the Shed was only directly linked to the 30 km line to Jambusar Junction, which served as a terminus, rather than a junction.

In the picture: Maintenance of the 26 ZDM5 Diesel Hydraulic Locos is being performed at the Pratap Nagar Diesel Loco Shed.

These 22 ton B-B machines were introduced to replace steam engines, which last ran in 1995 in this area.

Depot Engineer Mr. Bremod Meena and Senior Section Engineer Mr. Sunil Kelkar are responsible for managing the shed and the staff of 95 people.

The Pratap Nagar Shed has the capability of repairing and rebuilding most parts of the loco including bogies, the cummins diesel engine and auxiliaries like the belt driven compressor and exhauster. The latter is required because this is one of the very few remaining sections in India, or indeed the world, that still uses vacuum brakes.

Mr. Adrian continued his journey and went to the Jamsubar Junction from Pratap Nagar. Despite of digitalisation, old card tickets are still in use at some station in India.

Mr. Adrian's cardboard ticket to Jambusar cost only Rs.10.

The Jumbusar platform has a full range of offices, including guards and drivers box rooms, a godown and a station master's office - but all closed. The one which was not closed was the First Class waiting room, despite the fact that it must have been 15 years since a train with First Class made an appearance.

Mr. Shukla, guard at Jambusar station
The guard, Mr. Rakesh Shukla, dressed in immaculate whites, worked on broad as well as narrow gauge trains.

The train was headed by ZDM 5 No. 537, which was driven by regular narrow gauge driver, Mr. Kalpesh Gandhi.

Two young passengers with their mother try to smile for the camera.

The freshly painted bright orange train coaches arrive at the Jambusar railway station at 9.49am.

The rear of the saloon offers a desk, a full width rearward window and the best view.

About Mr. Adrian Shooter
Mr. Adrian Shooter began his career as an Engineering Management Trainee with British Rail, in 1970. Mr. Shooter rose to become the Managing Director of Red Star Parcels, a customer facing organisation, in 1987. He was one of five Directors reporting to the Chief Executive of British Railways. From 1993 till his retirement, Mr. Shooter was the Managing Director at Chiltern Railways, and Chairman at Laing Rail Ltd. He even served as UK's representative on the Council of European Railways for five years, alongside CEOs of SNCF (French), DB (Germany) and other European Railways.

Mr. Shooter is the proud owner of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Class 'B' steam locomotive 778 (originally No. 19), which he operates on the Beeches Light Railway in the grounds of his residence, in Oxfordshire.

He has built a station that reflects the style of the stations of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in a generic way.

At the age of 69, Mr. Adrian Shooter is a non-executive chairman of two start up companies in the rail supply industry. Recently, Mr. Shooter has set up a new company, Vivarail Ltd., to create, sell and service low cost trains.

Adrian Shooter
Credits: Story

Author: Adrian Shooter

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.