SCR doubles carrying capacity, yet falls short

An estimated 15 lakh passengers are likely to avail of the train services during the Sankranti season, till January 25.

An estimated 15 lakh passengers are likely to avail of the train services during the Sankranti season, till January 25.   | Photo Credit: K.V.S. GIRI

Rush of home-bound passengers for Sankranti is so huge that 449 special trains run this season remain inadequate

South Central Railway (SCR) is carrying significant load of lakhs of homeward citizens for Sankranti festival, with an estimated 15 lakh passengers likely till January 25. Amid complaints of crowded compartments even in the reserved bogies, high ticket prices and insufficient special trains, the zone has been working round the clock pressing into service an unprecedented 449 special trains this season.

Though these trains, starting from last week, have begun to move towards places as diverse as Chennai, Kochi and others, the predominant routes are in Andhra Pradesh, towards Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam, Kakinada, Vijayawada and so on. Senior officials claim they are running trains beyond the carrying capacity as these are main trunkline routes for both passenger and freight services. “We are running trains to over 150 % capacity in some of the routes even otherwise. We put in extra personnel in all sections from booking counters, operations, maintenance, safety and security even curtailing leaves for officers too. These are the times we use all our infrastructure reserves like bogies, locomotives and so on, besides, giving priority to special trains over freight,” explain senior officials. This year, 330 special trains, 72 Jansadharan trains and 42 Suvidha trains are being pressed into service for another 10 days, at least other than the usual daily trains and those from other zones passing through. The magnitude of the operations can be gauged from the fact that last year only 242 special trains were pressed into service and up to 12 lakh passengers were carried during this period.

“Our entire workforce from officers are working day and night to provide convenient travel to the passengers. We are making maximum use of infrastructure to ensure a safe and comfortable journey. There are complaints because we want to carry as many as possible,” says General Manager Gajanan Mallya. Daily travellers at premier stations of Secunderabad and Kacheguda could be touching up to 4 lakh, nearly double the usual crowd. Senior officials insist that people prefer rail because of cheaper and comfortable travel. General ticket, sleeper, 3-tier AC to Vijayawada are about ₹120, ₹255 & ₹660 respectively and for special trains it is ₹385, ₹1,050 & ₹1,440. Towards Visakhapatnam — ₹410, ₹1,080 & ₹1,520 and special trains — ₹490, ₹1,370 & ₹1,890.

Cheap and safe

“We are the cheapest and safest mode of travel. All our trains including ‘Suvidha’ trains charging close to three times the tatkal rates are running full. We are not even charging special fare from general compartments for all trains and even the Jansadharan, wholly comprising unreserved bogies. We are trying to cater to all sections,” says Chief public relations officer Ch. Rakesh.

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Printable version | Jun 7, 2020 9:58:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/scr-doubles-carrying-capacity-yet-falls-short/article30569375.ece

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