Double honour for Shatabdi loco pilot on 25th-year run

It was a rare honour for loco pilot H G Thimme Gowda, who was at the controls of the electric engine that hauled the Chennai-Mysuru Shatabdi on its 25th anniversary from KSR Bengaluru City station on Saturday. It was Gowda in the cabin of the diesel locomotive when the Shatabdi made its inaugural run in 1994. He was then the assistant loco pilot and had just completed four years of service with Indian Railways.

“I had never imagined I would get this opportunity. It is a coincidence and something to cherish,” says Gowda, who hauled the prestigious train to Mysuru and back on the special occasion.

“It’s a thrilling experience and a privilege to be honoured by rail users,” says Gowda, who, along with his assistant R Anand Kumar, was felicitated by a group of rail enthusiasts who received the train and crew as it pulled into the city station from Mysuru. Gowda also did the honours of cutting a specially designed cake. He and Anand were presented with mementoes, making it a memorable occasion.

A resident of Bengaluru, Gowda joined the railways after his graduation from National College, Basavangudi. He says he got the privilege during the inaugural run and Saturday’s silver jubilee run as a matter of routine. “It was the regular duty roster and a pleasant coincidence for me,” says Gowda, who still remembers his senior H Raja Mohammed during the inaugural run.

While the Shatabdi from Bengaluru to Mysuru during the inaugural run was hauled by a diesel locomotive, with the recent electrification of the Bengaluru-Mysuru stretch, the Chennai-Mysuru Shatabdi now runs with an electric engine, end-to-end.

A mail loco pilot, Gowda says one needs to clear certain tests to operate electric engines. He says express, super fast and mail train duties are assigned on the basis of seniority.

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