Passengers were puzzled to see the engine arriving at station sans coaches. The 35 passengers of a private Volvo bus, going from Visakhapatnam to Hyderabad which developed a technical snag near Kasimkota last week, must have cursed themselves for not choosing an RTC bus.

Passengers of the Visakhapatnam-Secunderabad Janmabhoomi Express on Friday rubbed their eyes in disbelief as the train stopped well before reaching the Duvvada Station.

Some of the passengers got the shock of their lives, to find the engine missing, as they craned their necks to see what had happened. Those awaiting the arrival of the train at Duvvada were puzzled to see the locomotive arriving at the station without the coaches.

Reacting to the reports that the coupling, which joins the locomotive and the coaches, gave way, B. Venkateswara Rao, retired railway employee, recalls how his father Surya Rao, railway guard, refused to give the green signal until the train met all aspects of safety. On one occasion, Surya Rao had refused to allow the train to move as the lights in a coach were not functioning. A railway official tried to convince him that it was not yet dark.

The guard refused to budge from his stand, saying by the time the train reached its destination it would be late in the night. The officials had to arrange lanterns.He used to personally inspect the coupling and other safety aspects and had the admiration of the then British officers and the support of the travelling public. There used to be many other upright officials and employees like Surya Rao, who used to go beyond the call of duty.

This, perhaps, explains how the railways used to function despite the technological handicaps in those days.

Private bus travel

The 35 passengers of a private Volvo bus, going from Visakhapatnam to Hyderabad which developed a technical snag near Kasimkota last week, must have cursed themselves for not choosing an RTC bus. It was around midnight and the driver of the private bus stopped the vehicle after noticing smoke emanating from the radiator. The bus operator, who had charged high fares in view of the peak demand, failed to make alternative arrangements and the passengers had to spend the night on the road. The Kasimkota Police made arrangements to send them back to Vizag the next morning.

While any bus, be it RTC or private, can develop a technical snag, one can be sure of prompt ‘breakdown relief’ service and operation of an ‘alternative bus’ during such unforeseen incidents.

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