City Life – Idiot’s Guide to a Relief Train and a Crane

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Amusing. A relief train and a crane is an integral part of railway network which keeps it ticking. Let’s put aside sombre stories of increasingly dysfunctional and disintegrating trains and engines and learn a few things about relief train and crane. The combination is used in wake of a train accident to help stranded passengers and clear the line for other trains. Crane is used to put derailed engine and/or bogies and relief train provides necessary tools and space for emergency staff.

On a day like today, we were roaming around cant. station platform area when a curious gentleman asked us if we were archiving the area for a university.

“Indeed”, I replied. It always works and saves time.

“Have you ever seen a relief train from inside”, asked the gentleman

Realizing a rare opportunity materializing effortlessly, we jumped onto it. The inside of first compartment had a comprehensive set of tools which could be helpful in different scenarios. It consisted of tools as basic as umbrellas and as sophisticated as wireless radios.

“We carry kafans too”, said the in-charge with an air of drama.

He took us to the next room which served as an office. It had a chair and table. There were two metallic paper weights on the table. Next were the resting rooms for the train staff and a small sitting area. A small drawing room smelling of cheap air-freshener. Golden curtains with red lining made sure that the overwhelming fragrance stayed inside. There were brown sofas and green carpet. Someone had took keen interest in designing the place.

“The fan works too”. The in-charge said and turned it on. It worked.

We stepped out of the compartment. Out in the lawn they showed us the fresh plantation which they have done. A kind gesture which should not and did not go unnoticed. See the picture below please. There was a shade near by. A flag was painted on it’s back wall.

The Crane is a complex mechanical marvel. Built in 1930s in Ipswich, It still serves its purpose. It runs on steam and can carry derailed engines and bogies.

This part of the station is unlikely refuge to trees. Tall eucalyptus, few Neem and good old banyan trees, the place is a spectacle for greenery deprived karachi walla.

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