Passengers travelled ticketless, Government railway police were alerted about the situation

Rail passengers who came to the Manjathidal Railway Station here to board trains on Friday morning were in for a surprise when they found the station closed.

The lone clerk in-charge of this flag station, who does the additional work of showing signals using flags, went on “sick leave” with no one to replace him for sometime.

On finding the station closed at around 8 a.m., passengers who came there to board different trains could not buy tickets.

The Manjathidal station which falls in the Tiruchi – Thanjavur broad gauge section is situated a few kilometres from the Tiruchi Junction.

Unable to wait for long, passengers boarded two passenger trains – one that was proceeding to Thanjavur from Tiruchi and the other that was on its way to Tiruchi from Mannargudi — at Manjathidal without buying tickets. They boarded the trains after duly intimating the train guards, it is said.

Railway sources said usually two railway employees from the commercial department are posted in the Manjathidal station to work in shifts to issue unreserved tickets to travellers.

As one of them had availed sick leave a few days ago, the other clerk had been working in both shifts continuously for 10 days apparently with no replacement, the sources said.

The clerk reported sick on Friday to his superiors and went on sick leave leaving the Manjathidal station closed. As news spread, Government Railway Police and local police reached the spot.

A Commercial Inspector was deputed for the station at around 9.15 a.m.