Passengers of two express trains running in the State had a harrowing time on Thursday as they had to put up with coaches other than what they had paid for.
Passengers on board two trains — the Trivandrum-Mumbai Netravathi Express and the Ernakulam-Hazrat Nizamuddin Mangala Express were forced to bear the ordeal of travelling in inferior coaches on Thursday. Passengers of the Netravathi Express who booked tickets for an AC coach were shocked to see a sleeper coach in its place. And those who paid for sleeper class had to travel in a general coach.
The train left Thiruvananthapuram on the promise that the passengers will be provided the coach that they paid for, at the earliest. With no solution in sight, passengers pulled the chain and stopped the train at Alappuzha. The situation turned worse as personnel of the RPF tried to arrest the passengers, as the train reached Ernakulam. Passengers who paid for an AC two tier coach had to travel in AC three tier coach on board the Mangala Express.
A senior Railway official said that an average of 23 coaches are sent every week from the Thiruvananthapuram Division to Chennai for repairs and overhaul. “But only an average of 13 coaches returns to Kerala. This is because of the unjustifiable turnaround time taken for repairs and coaches from Kerala being diverted to various places in Tamil Nadu. The situation is expected to improve once the Sabarimala season is over,” he said.