An indefinite strike launched on Sunday by electricity employees working in the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, protesting against the Union Cabinet’s decision to bifurcate the State, crippled train services as power supply was switched off

An indefinite strike launched on Sunday by electricity employees working in the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, protesting against the Union Cabinet’s decision to bifurcate the State, crippled train services as power supply was switched off.

It forced the cancellation of several trains apart from diversion of some others on Sunday and Monday. Between 6 a.m. and 7.30 a.m., virtually every station was running on emergency power and express and passenger trains came to a grinding halt, specially on the Vijayawada-Gudur-Renigunta section.

Senior SCR officials swung into action, stopping the movement of goods trains and cancelling passenger trains in a bid to ensure smooth movement of express trains. Earlier, problems were experienced by Ongole, Venkatagiri and Tenali stations and power had to be drawn from other locations.

“Railways are accorded priority as far as supply from the grid is concerned. So when supply is hit at one particular station, we have systems in place to draw power from the next station,” said K. Sambasiva Rao, Chief Public Relations Officer, SCR.

Alternate plans were being drawn up to run diesel locomotives on high-speed trains and steps taken to have diesel reservoirs full to capacity, an official said.

Meanwhile, a Central Control Room was set up at Rail Nilayam here, the SCR’s headquarters, with senior officers manning it by turns.

Also, at the divisional level, similar control rooms were functioning. Senior officers of the SCR's Electrical department are working closely with their counterparts at Vidyut Soudha, the headquarters of the APTransco.

Late in the evening, the railways could restore power supply in Chittoor, Kadapa, Nellore, Prakasam, Guntur and Krishna districts.

Trains cancelled or diverted

Consequent to the agitation, several express trains were cancelled diverted.

Accordingly, Tr. No. 12712 Chennai Central-Vijayawada Pinakini express scheduled to leave at 2.05 p.m. on Sunday was cancelled, as was no. 12711 on the return, scheduled to leave Vijayawada at 6 a.m. on Monday. No. 12078 Vijayawada-Chennai Central Jan Shatabdi express leaving at 2.50 p.m. on Sunday and no. 12077 leaving Chennai at 7 a.m. on Monday were cancelled.

Five passenger trains were also cancelled.

They include no. 57242 Vijayawada-Bitragunta Passenger leaving at 3.15 p.m. on Sunday, no. 57241 from Bitragunta at 4 a.m. on Monday, no. 57240 from Vijayawada to Bitragunta leaving at 6.15 p.m. on Sunday, no. 57240 Bitragunta-Chennai Central Passenger departing Bitragunta at 5.20 a.m. on Monday and no. 57239 Chennai Central-Gudur passenger leaving at 4 p.m. on Monday.

Several more passenger trains including no. 66033 Tirupati-Nellore, no. 66036 Nellore-Chennai, no. 66035 Chennai Central-Nellore and no. 66034 Nellore-Tirupati were partially cancelled different stations. Also, no. 12764 Tirupati-Secunderabad Padmavathi express that left Tirupati at 5 p.m. on Sunday and no. 12733 Tirupati-Secunderabad Narayanadri express that left at 6.25 p.m. on Sunday were diverted to run via Renigunta, Gooty, Dhone and Kacheguda.

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