BENGALURU: The Mysuru-KSR-Kacheguda Express finally chugged into Kacheguda around 2.30 pm on Saturday, a good 24 hours after it departed from Mysuru. The scheduled arrival was 5.40 am.
The nightmare experienced by nearly 2,000 passengers on Friday night is not something they will forget soon. After being stranded on the railway tracks near Channasandra railway station for over three hours after two AC bogies uncoupled, passengers on board Train No 12786 were relieved when the train finally started moving at 10.15 pm to two different destinations to carry out repair works. Little did they know more misery was in store for them.
Passengers on board 16 coaches of the train were taken to Baiyappanahalli railway station and made to alight there before the train moved to its yard to remove a damaged AC coach. Two new AC coaches were attached there. Those in the remaining eight coaches were taken to Channasandra railway station for the other damaged AC coach to be removed.
Among the hundreds of people left to fend for themselves after 10.30 pm at Baiyappanahalli railway station was Shiva Krishna. “With insufficient chairs, most passengers were seated on the platform floors. The few toilets available were locked. Two stalls selling bottled water ran out of stock. Though the railway taps had water, many passengers were not willing to take a risk by drinking them,” he told The New Indian Express.
Another passenger Vishnu Priya asked, “Why were no basic arrangements made? Many women, including myself, really suffered without washrooms. Some passengers walked over 1 km outside the station to buy water or food for their families.”
Instead of heading to Kacheguda to attend his friend’s daughter’s wedding, senior citizen K Jayasimha Rao opted to leave the station, take an auto and go back home to Cooke Town. “I heard from other passengers that the train might reach Kacheguda only on Saturday afternoon. There was no point in reaching after the wedding, so I went back home,” he said.
Some passengers were spotted heading to Baiyappanahalli Metro station to get back to the city before the Metro services closed, said a railway official.
Meanwhile, at the Channasandra station, over 500 passengers opted to sit inside the compartments for nearly seven hours rather than at the station which also lacked facilities. A software engineer Venkatesh Narulu found himself in a bizarre situation. “When the train stopped on tracks for a long time, my friend and I walked out of the station with our luggage to look for food nearby. When we came back to the spot, there was no train! My coach had gone with one half of the train to Baiyappanahalli. A railway staffer told me to walk upto Channasandra station and sit in one of the air conditioned coaches. However, when I reached there, I saw that the AC had been shut off and passengers inside were struggling,” he said.
‘Where is trouble shooting by railways?’
Retired Regional Manager from LIC, Hyderabad, K Jayasimha Rao is indignant over passengers helping a few railway employees to clear the debris on the tracks caused by a toilet that had been ripped off a coach. “It weighed around 4 to 5 tonnes and had blocked the tracks. So much time was lost in trying to remove if off the tracks physically. There appears to be no trouble shooting at all on the part of Railways. Imagine if someone had been seated on the toilet of the train which fell onto the track, or if the damage had been more. Then, lives would have definitely been lost,” he added.