For hundreds of tourists, the extended stay at Rameswaram was just an inconvenience and not a bitter experience.
Some of them felt their overnight stay in the railway station was a demonstration of solidarity with fishermen. They left the island after the first train chugged out at 10.55 a.m. Friday.
More room rent The removal of the track at some places near Thangachimadam meant they had to spend more money on room rent even as 200-odd passengers spent the night on the railway premises. With the road link to the mainland also severed, tourists and pilgrims were stranded at Rameswaram and Ramanathapuram.
The family of S.G. Taliwal, a scientist from Baroda, had to rework their tour plan to catch the flight to Mumbai on October 2. He said the sudden development was only an inconvenience and not a bitter experience. His wife, Lakshmi, a political activist, said she was overwhelmed by the support of hotel staff at a difficult time. “They did not charge us anything extra for additional hours of stay and also kept us informed of the developments.” By staying back at Rameswaram, her family had expressed its solidarity with the fishermen, she added.
Railway officials ensured water, toilet and electricity to those who slept in the waiting and circulating halls and on the platforms.
Track restored A few senior railway officials and 60-odd men restored the rail link between Ramanathapuram and Rameswaram on Friday. It took only 53 minutes for them to fasten the left rail that was pulled off to 850 metres at Thangachimadam.
“The Railway police gave us clearance for starting the work at 8.02 a.m. We began the work at 8.05 a.m. and completed it by 8.58 a.m.,” Senior Divisional Safety Officer A. Ravichandran said. The work was coordinated by Senior Divisional Engineer (Coordination) S. Kannan.
Traffic was allowed after Divisional Engineer (North) Pannerselvam gave a fitness certificate after an inspection between Mandapam and Rameswaram.
The Rameswaram-Chennai Egmore Express, one of the three express trains stranded on the island, left at 10.55 a.m. The railway employees also repaired the gates at the Thangachimadam level crossing.
The Tamil Nadu Railway Police have registered a case of rioting, sabotage and trespass under the Indian Penal Code and the Indian Railway Act, 1989, Railway Deputy Superintendent of Police V. Karthikeyan said.