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True Story - The Army Hired Two Engines For One Train


Finally, the day arrived when we were all told to board the train for the big move from this small village to a city called Bhatinda. And this true stroy actually started unfolding. We all were very happy to board the train with all our luggage in the those huge ammunition boxes. Every family that reached the railway station to board the army hired train, had at least four or five large wooden ammunition boxes full of luggage.

When we reached the raiway station to board the train, we were told that all the personnel luggages will either be loaded into luggage railway wagons which will be attached to the train in the end or else they can be put inside the army vehicles. But the big wooden ammunition boxes carrying our personal luggage could not be loaded into the passenger compartments of the train despite my father making many requests to his army unit adjutant.

These army vehicles will first be filled up with all the wooden empty ammunition boxes converted into luggage carriers and then each vehicle will be driven and parked on top of open trailer train bogies which will also be attached to the same train later, just before the train starts from that railway station.

Both the hired engines and about fifty wagons were waiting for us to board, in the railway station. The first was the passenger train wagons for Officers, men and all the families travelling with them. The second train parked alongside on the second railway line was luggage wagons and trailers with all the army vehicles loaded on top along with the big guns. It was such a beautiful scene. Both army hired trains had one engine each. Thus the army had hired two engines for moving their hired train.

The Army Unit Was Ready To Move On A Hired Train With Two Engines- A True Story

The two long army hired trains parked alongside in a completely picture perfect railway station deep inside a jungle was a good sight and a photographers pleasure. It took the army three full days to board all their vehicles, luggage boxes, guns, ammunitions and the army unit men and their families on the train.

By the evening on the third day the entire men, families and vehicles etc were ready to move by 4 pm. In fact the entire unit had already been living and working for two or three days on the train. The Indian railways unaware of the true story that was going to happen in a few hours. Unaware of the future the railways had managed two railway diesel engines at Raiwala and connected them one each on the two trains for departure at 6 pm. One engine for the passenger train with all of us onboard and the second one for the luggage and vehicle loaded train.

But the Commanding Officer saw that the hired trains were separate and was not ready to accept that. He wanted that both these trains be combined in to a single train and these two engines be connected together in front to pull this unusually long hybrid train. The message was sent to the railway staff. But the railways was not under the army or army headquarters. So they refused to oblige the army unit commanding officer.

A True Story - The Hired Army Train Two Engines Goes Missing At Night

There was a lot of heated discussions between the Army unit bosses and the railway bosses. Finally the railway station bosses had to give in to the adamant army unit commanding officer's decision because the army had hired the train. They connected the luggage and vehicle bogies also behind the passenger train we had boarded and now our train was 50 bogies against a normal of 23 odd bogies of a passenger train. By the time all these events happened, it was already time for dinner. And here was our two engined train all ready to move. But there was a big problem.

Raiwala Junction
This is the place where we lived in Raiwala Junction. Our house was near the widest point of River Ganga vey close to the Sita Ram Mandir seen in the Google map screenshot. Click on the picture to view the place where we lived in Raiwala way back in 1985. River Ganges has its widest part of about 2.5 km near where we lived. It was a sight to see the river during monsoons flowing 2500 meters wide and cannot be described in words.

The train wagons given to the Army train were all independent and could not be connected for people to walk from one bogie to another. So the army had no choice but to stop the train from departing so that everyone can go to the Langar wagon and collect food. Langar is a term used for catering place or the army kitchen in Hindi Language spoken as the national language of India.

We all took an aluminium dinner plate the moment the announcement was made that everyone to have dinner before the train moved. The dinner plate was called mess tin in the army. The stewards went out of one of the four doors of the Langar wagon to serve the Officers and their families. But each army man went with their mess tins and a steel tumbler to make a long queue at the opposite door of the langar bogie. There were ladies and children also in a spearate line on the other two doors of the Langar wagon.

The serving of the dinner itself took about an hour and a half. The engine drivers were not ready for this. And there was another train coming on the route. So the railway bosses decided to remove the engines and send them for pulling some other scheduled train. The army bosses were completely unaware that the railway engines have gone missing and they were not going anywhere that night.

We were sad that we were going to miss this small village called Raiwala where we had lived next to the holi river called Ganges for about one year in a thick jungle. But we were all happy that we were going to finally move after dinner to big city from this jungle. We too were not aware that the two engines are missing and we were going to spend another night at the train in the same railway station, where we had already spent two nights on the train . This true story was about to take an ugly turn that night.

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