CHENNAI: While rail passengers are demanding the restoration of reservation charts on trains at Chennai Egmore and Chennai Central stations, the railways has decided to do away with the practice.
From March 1, zonal railways will discontinue pasting reservation charts for all trains originating at A1, A and B grade stations for six months, said a directive to Southern Railway on February 13 by Shelly Srivastava, Director, Passenger Marketing (Railway Board).
This means, Express, Mail, Shatabdi, Humsafar, Duronto, Rajdhani and Garib Rath Express trains originating at Nagercoil, Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Sengottai, Salem, Erode, Tiruchy, Nagapattinam, Nagore, Velankanni, Karaikal, Villupuram, Tambaram, Coimbatore, Chennai Egmore and Central, Chengalpattu, Rameswaram, Virudhungar, Thanjavur, Mayiladuthurai, Kanniyakumari, Tiruchendur and Puducherry will be operated without reservation charts.
The decision to discontinue pasting of reservation charts for all trains was introduced on October 2nd as a pilot project at Chennai Central, New Delhi, Nizamuddin, Bombay Central, Howrah and Sealdah stations for three months.
Even before the railway board extended its decision to stop pasting reservation charts, Southern Railway had already stopped the practice for select trains at Chennai Egmore and other parts of Tamil Nadu.
The railway board directive said the decision was taken based on feedback from the zonal railways.
“Displaying of physical reservation charts at the entrance of stations also will be scrapped at stations which have electronic display boards,” read the communication.
The decision has drawn strong opposition. G Aravind Kumar, a member of Nagapattinam Station consultative committee, said when RAC tickets get confirmed, passengers receive SMS alerts with the berth number only if the tickets are booked through IRCTC or mobile app.
“For those tickets booked at reservation counters, the alert message will have code ‘CNF’ indicating that the berths are confirmed, but not the berth numbers. If no charts are pasted on trains, we have to run behind each and every TTE and travel will become a nightmare,” he said.
The move would create chaos at railway stations, making the elderly run from pillar to post to find the berths, lamented K Padmanaban, a former zonal railway consultative committee (ZRUCC) member of Southern railway, who is also general secretary of Southern railway passengers welfare association.
“A large section of elderly people still do not know how to unlock mobile phones and read the messages. We are not upgraded enough to go paperless. Railways should immediately drop this proposal,” he said.
Tamil Nadu has 40 stations under A1, A and B category, out of which four stations are A1 stations — Chennai Central, Chennai Egmore, Coimbatore and Madurai stations. Twenty four stations, including two stations under Thiruvananthapuram division, are categorised under A category.