CHENNAI: The decision of Indian Railways to increase rake sharing arrangements – using same rakes to operate more trains –and the inability to provide unambiguous name boards are putting passengers at discomfort. A case in point, Chennai division RPF has penalised 21 passengers between January 2018 and May 2019 for pulling the emergency alarm chain after boarding the wrong train, mostly at the Egmore station, says data.
The boards displaying multiple destinations – put up on trains which have rake links with other trains – are causing confusion among passengers. At times, passengers boarding wrong trains try to jump off, risking their lives, fearing consequences of travelling without a ticket. If you have no idea how complicated these name boards can get, consider this example.
“The Chendur Express between Egmore and Tiruchendur has a rake sharing agreement with Mannai Express between Chennai and Mannargudi. These two rakes are used for operating Mannargudi - Mayiladuthurai - Mannargudi and Tiruchendur - Tirunelveli -Tiruchendur passenger trains. Though the train was not going to Mannargudi, my family members who wanted to go there, boarded the Chendur Express on two separate occasions by mistake at Villupuram,” says rail enthusiast S Krishnan.
Similarly, the Chengalpattu - Kacheguda Express and Chengalpattu - Kakinada Port Circar Express, which have rake link with each other, have earned the dubious distinction of misleading a large number of passengers.
While the Kachegudu train, which departs at 4.45 pm from Egmore regularly, is received at platform 8, the Kakinada-bound Circar express handled at platform 7 reaches the station at 5.05 pm. The latter’s departure time is 5.20 pm.
“Both trains stop at adjacent platforms in Egmore bearing the same boards. Both trains display the name boards - Kakinada Port - Chengalpattu - Kachegudu express. Two weeks ago I boarded the Kachegudu express mistakenly for going to Nayudupetta and later jumped from the train,” explained another passenger S Kishore, who lodged a complaint to railways grievances cell.
A senior RPF official of Chennai division said: “Safety concerns over the confused name boards have been escalated to top railway officials. We have deployed additional force for a few trains on which complaints were received over name boards.”
The railway officials however washed their hands blaming it on the technological constraints.
“The issue being looked into by Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO),” said a senior railway official.