East Coast Railway yet to make arrangements to clear extra rush

It is the same old story. As happened during the Dasara festival, most trains from the city are running to full capacity and passengers feel let down by the railway authorities.

A senior citizen who planned to go to Bangalore to visit his daughter in December was snubbed by the railway reservation system two months in advance.

Though the railway authorities have introduced a few special trains, they have failed to meet the demand. “There is no room on any train to Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, and Delhi. Some berths are, however, available in trains to Hyderabad,” said a travel agent, who didn’t want to be identified. He attributed the present rush to the wedding season and pilgrim rush to Sabarimala. For instance, there are no berths available on Dibrugarh — Yeshwantpur Express till December 23, and in the case of the Howrah — Chennai Mail the waiting time is till the first week of January.

Adding to the passengers’ woes is the cut in the quota of berths from Visakhapatnam and their transfer to the quota for Bhubaneswar. Ironically, the authorities of Waltair Division of East Coast Railway (ECoR) are “helpless” when it comes to adding coaches even when there is a possibility. The plight of passengers travelling by AC coaches is the worst, as neither 3-tier AC nor 2-tier AC coaches are being added to trains starting from here though the waitlist is more than the capacity of an AC coach.

The problem in attaching more coaches at short notice is caused by the maintenance of the rolling stock at Puri, a good eight hours journey from here. In contrast, the South Central Railway has decentralised the maintenance of rolling stock by positioning coaches at stations from where the trains originate. Will the ECoR learn any lessons before Deepavali so that it can clear the long waiting list and redress the grievances of passengers?

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