Next day, there was news in the papers that metro train has arrived from Japan. Metro train service in Ahmedabad is known as Metro link express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad (MEGA). The project was started when Shri Narendra Modi was chief minister of Gujarat. As it was back in news, it became the topic to discuss that morning. The news was that the engine and the car of the train has arrived at the port. With the arrival of metro train, there was lot of speculations about it in the local train. People started predicting about its route, speed, coaches etc. People started spreading rumours about its stations, extension and when it will be launched.
“Railways and trains hasn’t changed much since its inception. Thus metro is very important. There are no massive changes in its engines or coaches. We are having same diesel engines and wooden seats even in 21st century.” Dwarkesh Kaka provided some facts about Indian Railways.
To check these facts I googled Indian Railways. When I did that I discovered some unknown facts. I discovered that Indian Railways is the fourth largest railway network in the world. And it is the world’s eighth largest employer. It also own locomotive and coach production. Indian Railways run more thirteen thousand passenger trains daily. Most of those train run on broad gauge while other run on meter gauge. I came to know that there are four types of tracks. Narrow gauge, Meter gauge, Standard gauge and Broad gauge. Apart from that, I came to know that along with Diesel engines there are electric engines as well.
Wikipedia gave me that information and I passed it in the group. Dwarkesh Kaka knew about the type of gauges or tracks. He even informed me that tracks on the platform no. 12 are meter gauge. The difference between meter gauge and broad gauge is unidentifiable if one has no knowledge about it. I also came to know about when Dwarkesh Kaka told me about it. Before that discussion, all the tracks were same for me. I have had seen narrow tracks before that discussion. Not in Ahmedabad but in Nadiad (only tier – 2 city which comes in between Ahmedabad and Anand) but at that time, I had no idea about the types of gauges.
Dwarkesh Kaka knew about the types of gauges but he had no idea about electric engines. The train (Anand memu) in which we used to commute in the morning was running on electric engine then also we had no idea about electric engines in Indian Railways. In the month of May, there was one more addition in the group and that was of Sharma ji. Sharma ji was a mid aged man. His first name was Naren. He was an artist. He used to do engraving on the marble. Basically, he used to make marble name plates for the houses and temples. He was not new in the group. He was commuting with Dwarkesh Kaka and Mahesh Kaka even before I started commuting.
He stopped commuting because he stopped receiving regular orders in Anand. In May, he received an order of one temple in Anand. Thus, he started commuting again. Sharma ji’s elder brother was a train driver. So he had some knowledge about trains specially about the engines. “What is the full form of memu?” Sharma ji asked after informing us that memu trains run on the electric engine.
“Mainline Electrical Multiple Unit,” I replied after doing the google search. I never thought that there will be full form of memu. I used to think that there would be some other logic behind the name ‘memu.’
“Yes and it’s engine runs (or operates) on the electric cables above the train.” Sharma ji completed the information.
“Even in 21st century while sitting on the wooden seats, we are discussing about gauges and electric engines. On the other hand, people in foreign countries are commuting in hi-speed, fully air-conditioned, WiFi enabled metro trains.” Sharma ji drew our attention towards underdevelopment.
“After the launch of metro, our life will also change.” Dwarkesh Kaka commented.
“We will reach Anand early in metro train,” There was a speculation that this metro line will be extended till Surat. So Mahesh Kaka got excited.
“It will be in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar only. At the max it will be extended till the villages near Gandhinagar.” Sharma ji cleared the air.
“There is no need of metro if they make this train fast.” Mahesh Kaka delivered statement of the year in his defence.
“Okay. We are going to get metro train in our city but do we deserve it? Are we ready for maintaining the cleanliness?” Dwarkesh Kaka raised some serious questions.
“Yeah if people are going to behave like they behave in these local trains then there is no need of spending money on it. People will be spitting on the walls of station and in trains as well. People will throw filth everywhere. Ultimately, They will turn metro into house of dirt. So it is better that government don’t spend money on it.” I ended the conversation on a serious note.
Only time will tell the future of metro in Ahmedabad but the news of its arrival created a buzz in the local train.