August 04, 2009


Guntakal (GTL) is an important railway junction on the intersection of three busy routes in South India. The Chennai-Mumbai, Bangalore-Hyderabad and Hubli-Vijayawada routes pass through this place. In fact, this place was hardly a village till the Indian Railways brought it to limelight. Today, it is the HQ of the Guntakal division of South Central Railway, has a major Zonal Training Centre, a large Diesel Loco Shed and important workshops to name a few establishments. It provides a home to more than 5000 railway employees.

The sun sets behind the Guntakal station. The lines on the left come from Gooty,
while the line on the right, climbs down a steep gradient and veers in a sharp curve from Dhone!

More than the history and geography, its uniqueness lies in some very unique train operations that happen from the evening to late in the night.

  • The Rayalaseema / Haripriya expresses run between Hyderabad-Tirupati and Kolhapur-Tirupati respectively. However, these trains run combined. In fact, they run in 6 parts from 3 destinations. The train starting from Hyderabad has coaches to Tirupati and Kolhapur. The train starting from Tirupati has coaches to Hyderabad and Kolhapur. The train starting from Kolhapur has coaches to Hyderabad and Tirupati. All these three meet at Guntakal just after midnight and a mix and match happens and the coaches are combined and sent to their respective destinations of Hyderabad, Tirupati or Kolhapur.

    The moon rises over the Guntakal-Gooty Line

  • The Hampi express from Bangalore to Hubli has a part of it running to Nanded. This portion is detached at Guntakal, a single guard cum luggage cum second class coach is attached and a new loco takes this combination as the Bangalore-Nanded Express to Nanded. In the return direction, when the Nanded portion arrives at Guntakal, the guard coach is detached and when the consist from Hubli arrives, the loco comes and attached itself to the Nanded portion and goes back and attaches itself to the main train making it a 24 coach train. This then goes to Bangalore.

  • The 4 days a week Vasco da gama-Howrah and its slotmate 3 days a week Hubli-Vijayawada Amaravathi expresses carry 4 coaches from either Vasco/Hubli which are destined to Kacheguda(Hyd). At around 5pm, these trains reach Guntakal, and are detached there. They wait till around 10pm when the Yeswantpur-Kacheguda express arrives from Yeswantpur. These coaches are then attached to this train and sent to Kacheguda. In the other direction, a similar procedure is followed but the wait is not 5 hours but a little close to an hour.

Apart from these mixing and matching of train rakes, quite a few trains passing through this station undergo a change of loco and almost all trains passing through undergo watering, cleaning and also have a change of loco crew, TTEs and the guard.

With a new Electric Loco Shed scheduled to come up here in a couple of years, expect this place to become busier! Nevertheless, its fun to be at Guntakal.. esp, in the evenings!


Kachra said...


Wonder ever these coaches miss matched ... but never new so much about guntakal before .. :) thanks for sharing

Sriram said...

Awesome.. really interesting to have a good ol' IR post after long!

Ria said...

hey so good to c a post from u after a long long time that too on ur favorite subject. I must say the pics were as good as the post. :)

Nandhini said...

Interesting stuff there... Someday I'd do some off-road travel and do only trains from kahmir to kanyakumari.. :) Some day that is! :D

Shruti said...

Guntakal, Gooty and Reni Gunta.. somehow, all these 3 have caught my attention everytime I used to travel as a kid. Its in these plaes where the train halts for lunch.. or breakfast :) And I have always got confused about which is which.

Anjuli said...

finally u are back!

Vivek Mathur said...

Very informative Vrij Bhai... I knew abou the trains but the mix and match was news to me. Good post!

Prasad said...

man how do they do it perfectly!!!!! wonder if they ever mis matched :P

Vrij said...

KK.. boss, they do it ever so perfectly!

Sriram.. Thanx :)

Ria.. Thanx. Its been almost 2 months.. will get more regular now..

Nandini.. a couple of railfans did the Udhampur-Kanyakumari trip a couple of years back. They covered all three guages on IR and travelled entirely on diesel hauled trains.. no electric!

Shru.. u get amazing masala wadas at Renigunta!

Anjuli.. Yep. Ran outa tea leaves for sometime, the stock has started getting replenished now!

Viv.. C'mon.. I thot u knew abt the complicated stuff that happens at GTL.

Pras.. I don't think they ever messed up!