What are the important dates that I need to keep track of?

Date Details
January 27, 2007 Convention
October 31, 2006 Registration Last Date
November 30, 2006 Reg. Payment Last Date
December 31, 2006 Full Refund – Cancellation
January 15, 2007 50% Charge – Cancellation
November 30, 2007 Speaking/Presentation Request
January 1, 2007 Presentation Material Submission
December 15, 2006 Accomodation Request

How do I make payments?
Fees can be paid vide demand draft in the name of “Brahmma Features”

You can also transfer money electronically to:

Brahmma Features
A/c no 791
Bank Of Baroda (Kolathur Branch)
Chennai 600099

Address for sending Demand Drafts:
Mr. Sridhar Joshi
Flat No 204
Premier Grihalakshmi Apartments
71/42, Perambur High Road
Chennai – 600012

You can combine all fees into one demand draft. But please register separately for each.

Can I cancel my registration?
Yes, of course you can. If you have made a cancellation request before 31st of December 2006 then you get a full refund. After 31st of December there is a 50% cancellation charge applicable. However, if you transfer your registration to another member, then you are entitled to a full refund. Please note that refunds will be sent on or after 28th Jan 2006.

I need accomodation. Are there any budget hotels near the venue?
There are plenty of budget hotls and lodges within a short distance of the venue. Limited accomodation is also available at Hotel Metro Manor, the venue on a first-come-first basis. Read the Accomodations page for booking your room at Metro Manor.

I want to speak at the convention. What should I do in this case?
Please contact the organizers at Chennai before November 30, 2006. All talks and presentations to be limited to half-hour slots. The final decision on accomodating speakers would rest with the organizers. Read Speaker Slot.

I will not be able to attend the Convention, but I would like to have the T-Shirt and/or Delegate Kit as memorabilia. How can I get them?
You can avail the T Shirt and Delegate Kit by registering separately and making the required payments. However, you must also specify which participating delegate will collect your package on your behalf. To register separately, send across a mail to mas2007.memorabilia@gmail.com. The cost of the T-shirt remains the same (Rs. 250) while the cost of the Delegate Kit is Rs. 300. Please refer the payments section for modes of payments. The last date for registration and payments will be same as it is for the attending delegates.

Will the convention include any out-door rail fanning trips?
The Convention program would not include outdoor trips or sessions. Also, some of the organizers might be tied up with the arrangements and logistics and may not be able to accompany you. However, the other members of Chennai gang would love to take you around on the days preceeding and succeeding the Convention date. Read the railfanning options listed below.

What are the railfanning options around Chennai?

The Convention is being held on a Saturday just after the Republic Day. That means three days of holiday and fun! To help you plan better, here are some suggested rail fanning options in Chennai:

  1. Chennai Central – One of the largest stations in South India. 11 Mainline platforms and 3 Suburban platforms (Separate, in MMC Building). WAP-4 locos are abundant in early mornings and late evenings. Best time to visit – 6 AM to 9 AM and 6 PM – 11 PM. Mid afternoons also see some Intercities coming in and going out. Has all facilities including Dishnet Internet café and the ubiquitous Saravana Bhavan restaurant — overlooking Pf 8 – 11. Shunting duties normally shared among WDS-4, WDS-6 and WDM-7 diesels of the Tondiarpet shed.
  2. Chennai Egmore – Second largest station — HQ of the erstwhile South India Railway. Departures after 1730 and arrivals before 0930. The only trains during noon are Vaigai , Pallavan and KCG Expresses. Good mix of electrics and diesels — ranging from ERS, GOC WDM* and WDP-3A diesels to Erode and AJJ Wappies. Vasanta Bhavan to fill our tummies. VLR on Pf 3 is the place where the meetings of Chennai gang often happen. There is no trip shed but you can have a ring side view of stabled locomotives on Platform 1. A Good food court just outside the station with the famous Anjappar Restaurant known for its Chettinad non vegetarian dishes.
  3. Basin Bridge Jn. (BBQ) – Diversion spot for AJJ and Gudur bound trains. Favourite place for all long trains to snake around. Two ways to reach it…hire an auto for a short ride from Hotel Metro Manor (Convention venue) or the rail fan way…catch ANY suburban train out of Chennai MMS. the next stop is BBQ!
  4. Villivakkam – Best place to watch high speed action of over 100 kmph. Stations on BBQ-AJJ section offer vantages for observing high speed and freight action. Some vantage points are available off railway property for filming or photography, notably the over bridge at Perambur Loco Works and the Villivakkam Level Crossing.
  5. Trip Shed, Basin Bridge – Official Permission required. Electric AC loco care center plus stabling yard for locos and rakes with shunters performing their duties. You can watch froma distance however….an enviable stable of WAP4s from AJJ, ED, LGD and even HWH; WAM 4 from AJJ, BZA and even some unusual places.
  6. Mambalam – Check out for crowded Ranganathan street from the FOB. Good platform eateries. Easy entry/exit point for “Pondy Bazaar Shopping”…Pondy Bazaar/T.Nagar is a shoppers paradise…impress your spouse with that Kanjeevaram Silk Sari.
  7. Tambaram – Check out for the odd YDM-4 locos of GOC (Consult Timetable before venturing out). Chance to see MG rakes, freight wagons and the home of now-extinct YAM-1 locos — Yes..electrified MG line (though defunct as of now). Tambaram Station is impressively big.
  8. Greenery on platforms in Pazhavanthangal, Tirusoolam and Sanatorium. Catch B747s and other aircraft taking off into the evening skies as you wait fo a speeding WDP3A led train sitting under a tree at Pazhavantangal. Nice place to spend an evening. Nanganallur is just by and has a famous Hanuman temple (Anjaneya) with an impressively HUGE idol of the deity.
  9. MRTS – Trains ply upto Tiruvanmiyur (TIDEL Park) on weekdays and upto Tirumailai (Mylapore) on weekends and holidays. Elevated section with three stations on ground level and eleven stations on elevated level. Trains start from Chennai Beach. Excellent aerial view of the Marina Beach between Chepauk and Thiruvallikkeni stations. Other views include Central, Ripon Buildings, Mount Road, Chepauk palace and Cricket stadium, Parthasarathi and Kapaleshwar temple towers, Santhome church tower, Light House, Luz corner, Greenways Road, Chennai City Center Shopping mall, Madhya Kailash, SV Patel Road, Infotech Highway and the Tidel Park. Not to miss attraction. Preferably mornings and early evenings. Suggestion: take the MRTS from Park Town and get down at Tirumailai (Mylapore) for a walk through the real Chennai…temples, narrow streets, market, smells of jasmine and other flowers, old world charm, colours, heritage and filter coffee.
  10. ICF / Loco Works, Perambur – Permission required. View of how coaches are made and locos are serviced.
  11. Royapuram Station Building – This station is on the Beach – Korukkupet / Vyasarpadi line. Recently renovated. Once the terminus for Madras and Southern Marahtta Railway Co.

Chennai Suburban Services:

  1. Central / Beach – Avadi – Tiruvallur – Arakkonam Jn. – Tiruttani
  2. Central / Beach – Tiruvottiyur – Ennore – Minjur – Gummudippoondi – Sulurpet
  3. Beach – Park – Egmore – Mambalam – Mount – Tirusoolam – Pallavaram – Tambaram
  4. Tambaram – Chengalpattu Jn. – Kanchipuram – Tirumalpur
  5. Beach – Park Town – Chepauk – Tirumailai – Kasturba Nagar (Adayar) – Tiruvanmiyur (MRTS Section).

For Photography lovers:

Buildings – Royapuram, Central and Egmore
Trains – Villivakkam, Vyasarpadi, Guindy SPIC curve, Tirusoolam (from GST Road), Tambaram
Other – Hills after Tambaram (Select your place well in advance), Ennore creek, Marina Beach (MRTS).
Have a local fan to guide you for that exclusive WDP3A speed snap.

Day trips

  1. Central – AJJ – Renigunta – AJJ – MAS
  2. Egmore – Villupuram – Egmore
  3. Central – AJJ – Chengalpattu – Egmore
  4. Central – Gudur – Nellore – Gudur – Central
  5. Central – RU – Gudur – Central (the Sapthagiri Express with its unique livery and push-pull arrangement).
  6. Early morning round trip: on Jan Satabdi Express till Nellore and return by Pinakini Express (note: if the Pinakini is not habitually late, this might not be an option. no problem…have an ice cream at Nellore’s famous Babu Cool Drinks close to the station and get back for another train).

Park and Park Town stations are the connection point for Central on the suburban route. Egmore is just a station (about 1KM) away from Park.MEMU services to Nellore and Melmaruvathur. Nellore has two services. One early in the morning and other one around noon.

Many through services are available from Beach to Chengalpattu and Tirumalpur (Mostly Fast locals).

Regional Rail Museum:

Like all regional museums, this one too falls well short of being impressive. But to rail fans, there would always be something. For example this would be one place to check history of coaches. I bet none of the other regional museums have this as exhibits. Also on exhibit are a fully loaded (non cannibalized) WCM2 loco, rare YDM1 loco from Gandhidham (both locos have facility to enter the cab), a fully restored YG and even a DHR saddle tank Bagnall fully restored. Interiors have some good scrolls and photographic exhibits of coach history (even a pic of the elusive Boat Mail on the Dhanushkodi Pier station) and scale/see-thru models of coaches and even scale models of VB and AB wheel bogies! Contact local fans for visits and directions. bets option would be to tag along a localite as a guide. The museum is located off New Avadi Road close to Anna Nagar.

For Photography lovers:

Buildings – Royapuram, Central and Egmore

Trains – Villivakkam, Vyasarpadi, Guindy SPIC curve, Tirusoolam (from GST Road), Tambaram
Other – Hills after Tambaram (Select your place well in advance), Ennore creek, Marina Beach (MRTS).

Some notes and tips

  1. Please plan your trips and photo sessions such that you do not invite unnecessary attention. This might create trouble.
  2. Respect the law of land with regards to photography and filming. Railway authorities down south tend to be upright and duty-minded, if you are thinking of seeking ‘other means’. Be polite with officals.
  3. Buy platform tickets at MAS, MS or TBM even if there is no TC. Take care to retain tickets with you wherever required. Tickets tend to be small in size and can be lost easily.
  4. Avoid the automatic ticket dispensers. They have given acidity to a lot of people.
  5. Standing by the door of suburban trains is risky with the crowds moving in and out.
  6. Weekends can also see crowds on suburban trains during peak morning and evening hours due to reduced number of services.
  7. Chennai is not exempt by any facility of pick pockets and swindlers from rest of India. MAS, MS, Tambaram and Mambalam are crowded places. Take additional care of your money and equipment.
  8. Auto drivers of Chennai have their own economic theories. Bargain well. Have a local guy to accompany you. And good luck!
  9. Remember to take adequate safeguards while travelling and taking photos / videos. Visit IRFCA .org for tips.
  10. Personal safety comes first before passion for railways.
  11. A bottle of water and some snacks will be handy during the outings.

Plan your trip and enjoy the best!

For more details contact the author of this article: S. Aravind. Phone numbers and email id will be circulated from time to time on the mailing list.

Is there a code of conduct or some special guidelines that are to be followed during the conference?
There might be officials from IR who are likely to attend. Standard IRFCA conduct guidelines apply when interacting with them. Please do not force them into situations where they are uncomfortable and in particular, do not ask favours like footplating chances and loco shed visits!


One response to “FAQ

  1. Pingback: Update#2 « The 2007 IRFCA Convention