New berths are not user-friendly, lament Rockfort Express passengers
THANJAVUR: Rail passengers occupying the third side berth of compartments in long distance trains are facing great hardship owing to space constraints.
The Railways recently decided to fix an extra side berth in the sleeper class coaches of all long distance trains.
“This berth is not passenger friendly and in fact very uncomfortable for all the three travellers allocated the side berths,” said many passengers who travelled in such coaches in the Chennai–Kumbakonam Rockfort Express.
The problem is that there is no easy access to the berth sandwiched between the upper and lower side berths. The person who has to travel in the extra berth has to squeeze in. Railway authorities said that the extra berth was introduced as a revenue earning measure without raising the fare.
Every sleeper class coach will have nine more berths taking the total number of berths to 81 from the present 72.
This will fetch 13 per cent additional revenue to the Railways.
“While we welcome the Government decision not to increase the fare and provide extra berths, it should be convenient to people. Convenient travel is the main objective of the Railways,” said a cross section of passengers.
With gauge conversion unduly delayed on the main line between Mayiladuturai and Villupuram, the people of Thanjavur are left with only one train now to Chennai _ that is Rockfort Express _ which has five compartments.
Local residents have been demanding an additional express train from Thanjavur to Chennai. Chamber of Industries and Commerce here has taken up the matter with Union Ministers S. S. Palani Manickam and G. K. Vasan. They also staged a demonstration before the railway station but in vain.
They demand speedy completion of gauge conversion from Mayiladuturai to Villupuram so that they may get the old trains like Cholan and Rameswaram.