Passengers who missed train in Chennai Central to get berths under Emergency Quota 

Southern Railway says rush to board Howrah Mail was probably due to festival holiday 

Updated - June 12, 2024 09:43 pm IST

Published - June 12, 2024 05:41 pm IST - CHENNAI

File image for representation.

File image for representation. | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

Southern Railway has offered to help some passengers who could not board Train No. 12840 Chennai Central-Howrah Superfast Mail in Chennai on June 11 to get accommodation under the Emergency Quota.

According to railway sources, a senior official of the Chennai Division got in touch with Vinay Yadav of West Bengal and his family members who had confirmed tickets in Coach S-3 but could not enter the train after unauthorised persons barged into the compartment and occupied reserved berths. Assuring them refund for the tickets that could not be used for travel, the official asked them to book fresh tickets in Train No 12842 Chennai Central-Shalimar Coromandel Express departing Chennai on June 12 and offered to help them in getting berths confirmed under the Emergency Quota.

On June 11 night, many passengers with confirmed tickets could not board the Chennai-Howrah Superfast Mail after unauthorised persons barged into the Sleeper Class compartments even as the empty rake of the train was being brought on to the platform. Despite complaints to the Travelling Ticket Examiner, Station Manager and Station Inspector, there was no change in the situation. Several families were stranded in the platform after the train left, Mr. Vinay Yadav said.

“In no time, many coaches were fully occupied, mostly by ticketless travellers or those with waitlisted or unreserved tickets. The entire coach was full and many were sitting or standing with luggage along the pathway. The doors were either locked or jam-packed with no scope for anybody to enter. Even if senior citizens, women and children manage to push through the crowd, they would not be able to move, lie down and use the toilet through the long journey. There was no assistance from the railways. We booked rooms in a lodge and will have to stay here till June 11 morning. I have already spent more than ₹25,000...,” he said.

Railway’s response

The Division Railway Manager of Chennai Division chose to respond in social media. In a reply to this correspondent’s post on ‘X’, he said Southern Railway was operating four weekly holiday special trains to Howrah connecting Chennai area in addition to the existing seven regular train services. The June 11’s rush was probably due to the festival holiday. Necessary steps had been taken to reduce crowding in the coaches. The number of Sleeper Class coaches in Train No. 12840 Chennai Central-Howrah Superfast Mail and Train No. 12842 Chennai Central-Shalimar Coromandel Superfast Express trains were increased.

Expressing shock over reserved coaches in the Chennai-Howrah Superfast Mail being taken over by unauthorised travellers, Chennai Central constituency MP Dayanidhi Maran of the DMK said this was not just unfair to travellers with confirmed tickets, but a major security concern as well.

“Southern Railway needs to investigate why no action was taken at the station to resolve the issue and also ply more trains along such corridors to help ease the plight of workers,” he said.

The Ministry of Railways has to create a comprehensive roadmap for the modernisation of stations, and security mechanisms and do a thorough study of passenger traffic and requirements along all lines at the earliest, Mr. Maran said.

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