BENGALURU: Long-distance passengers from Bengaluru can finally heave a sigh of relief as normal train operations have resumed from all stations in the city after a spate of cancellations during the last one month in light of the fire accident at Itarsi Railway station in Madhya Pradesh. A total of 74 trains were cancelled disrupting the travel plans of countless passengers.
“Nearly one lakh train tickets were cancelled between June 21 and July 25 in the Bengaluru Railway Division, resulting in a loss of `10.52 crore,” Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Sanjiv Agarwal told Express. A fire broke out on June 17 at the Route Relay Interlocking (RRI) cabin (signal controlling system) at Itarsi station, which falls under Bhopal Division of West Central Railway Zone, causing damage to vital equipment.
The wiring of the signalling panel in this RRI cabin was totally destroyed. Since it was connected to around hundred signals, the signalling system along this sector collapsed. Itarsi is one of the country’s biggest junctions, connecting Central and Western India to North India.
The mishap, was billed as “the biggest in the history of Railways” by Railway Board Member (Traffic) Ajay Shukla at a news conference in New Delhi. Train services on the North-South and East-West routes were disrupted affecting the services of 200 trains across the country on a daily basis.
All long distance trains from Bengaluru passing through this route for over a month, including Sangamitra Express, Sampark Kranti Express via Hubballi as well as Dharmaravam, Karnataka Express, were cancelled as a result, Agarwal said.
The old panel was finally replaced with a new RRI panel on July 24 while full train services across the country were restored a couple of days later.
“We faced a tough time finding stabling lines (places where trains that are not running are housed) for the trains which were not running,” the DRM said. Whenever any long distance train runs, we have three or four rakes (trains) ready for it to undertake the same route journeys on the subsequent days.
Since the City station did not have enough space to house all the cancelled rakes, we had to make use of Byappanahalli, Chikkabanavar and Whitefield stations to stable the trains, he added. Agarwal said they did not face any public ire over the sudden cancellations as it was given wide publicity through the media.