BENGALURU: Passengers delighted over the sturdy and stylish Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches on Lalbagh Express launched last week have now turned irate as the reality of a reduction effected in the number of general compartment coaches has begun impacting them. Nearly 100 passengers stormed the Krishnarajapuram Station Manager’s room on Wednesday morning demanding additional coaches and the Railways has now conceded to their demand.
An average of 2,000 passengers take the Lalbagh Express to Chennai. It departs at 6.15 am and reaches its destination in 5 hours and 45 minutes. On September 5, it had its maiden run with all its 15 regular coaches (ICF) replaced with LHB ones — for the first time since its launch in July 1992.
According to a highly placed Railway source, passengers rushed into the Station Master’s room at 7 am. “This was just after the departure of Lalbagh Express (Train No. 12608). They were shouting that unreserved passengers are boarding the reserved compartments citing lack of space in the new general coaches. The passengers insisted they be provided accommodation in an alternative train,” he said. The protestors also refused to allow the Station Manager to carry out any of his work for some time unless the problem was sorted out, the source added.
Asked about the issue, Divisional Railway Manager, Ashok Kumar Verma, told TNIE that due to demands made by passengers, the Bengaluru Railway Division will add two more unreserved coaches to the existing train composition from September 16. “Passengers at Krishnarajapuram were upset this morning. In addition to that, some have also raised the issue on social media pointing out the difficulties faced by general compartment passengers owing to the reduced number of coaches,” Verma said. The train has a composition of two AC Chair coaches, 11 regular coaches and 2 general coaches.
“The size of an LBH coach is 1.7 metres longer than the regular coach. This permits an additional 15% seating capacity in the reserved coach. Hence, the number of coaches were reduced in the new formation,” the DRM said. “By increasing the number of unreserved coaches from two to four, the seating capacity in these coaches will shoot up by 150%. So we have that decision today,” he added.