Passengers 'Chase' Train as it Leaves 30 Minutes Early from Chennai Central Station!!
07th October 2015
CHENNAI: You have certainly experienced trains pulling out of stations behind schedule, but a train leaving before the schedule? Unheard of, right? But that is exactly what happened to a special train from Chennai Central to Hubli. It left 30 minutes before its scheduled departure on Tuesday afternoon.
At least a hundred passengers who had no information about the abrupt and inexcusable change in schedule were caught unawares.
Train number 07323, a bi-weekly special train, was supposed to leave at 1:45 pm, but it pulled out of Chennai Central station at 1:15 pm sharp.
Enraged passengers gathered at the Station Manager V Umashankar’s cabin insisting on a solution. They were visibly irritated as the train covers the 710 km journey over 16 hours and not a short one which could be arranged through an alternate mode of transport.
“I was told by the station officials that it was not the Railways duty to inform passengers about the changes in schedule as they didn’t have our contact numbers. But we complete all the details while booking an e-ticket. They could have informed us in advance through an SMS,” said 32-year-old Prabhu Prasad, a defense personnel and resident of Pattabiram who arrived at the station at 1:30 pm with his wife, six-month-old baby and two heavy suitcases to board the train.
Prasad, who had paid `3,000 for two tickets, was told that a refund would not be possible as it was not the Railways’s mistake. Money was not his primary concern and he wanted to know if any other solution would be offered by the railway officials.
“I was told to catch a suburban train to Thiruvallur, where the train would be waiting. Since we were travelling with a baby, I did not want to take the local train and booked tickets for the next express train available,” he said.
“I had to go to Cuddapah urgently and hence took the next train. But I filed a written complaint with IRCTC and the Station Manager,” he said.
Southern Railway insiders said a communication kink between Operations and Commercial departments had caused the confusion. However, a senior official in the Operations department pinned the blame on station officials who had run the train according to the old timetable.
Around 100 passengers were then herded into the Tirupati passenger and taken to Thiruvallur where the special train to Hubli was waiting, the official added.
“We will officially probe who committed the mistake,” the official told Express.
A cursory glance at the ‘Spot Your Train’ facility of Indian Railways, which maps the train through its journey, shows that the official departure time remained pegged at 1:15 pm. But the railway charts on other websites had updated the altered departure to 1”:45 pm.
One is left wondering if it would be appropriate to blame railway employees such as the Station Manager and loco pilot for the disaster when the official time table and the Indian Railways software seem to be in a mess, said a railway staff.