BENGALURU: Chaos broke out at the Yeshwantpur railway station on Wednesday when 155 passengers waiting on Platform 4 realised their train had departed six hours before the time printed on their tickets.
Tickets for the Yeshwantpur-Secunderabad Garib Rath Express mentioned 7.15 pm as the time of departure, and the electronic boards kept reiterating the time, but the train was nowhere in sight.
As tension built up, passengers learnt from hawkers and porters that their train, No 12736, had left at 1.30 pm.
In panic, they rushed to the enquiry counter and the station master’s room, only to learn that the train had indeed left long before they had even arrived at the station. The irate passengers then mobbed railway officials, demanding an explanation. The Railway Protection Force rushed in, and top officials dashed to Yeshwantpur from different parts of the city. They gathered at the waiting room on Platform 1 to manage the crisis.
The railways had taken a decision to change the time of departure two months ago. The change was communicated to the public through the media, according to Additional Divisional Railway Manager Sunanda Arul.
However, the Indian Railway Catering Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) website, on which tickets can be booked 60 days in advance, had not incorporated the change.
The first lot of tickets had featured the old time of departure.
Later tickets showed the time correctly, and 75 per cent of the passengers had boarded the train at the right time.
The confusion caused the passengers much anguish: a mother was making an emergency visit to see an ill daughter, a student was going to seek admission to a coaching centre, a graduate had an interview lined up, and an elderly North Indian couple, after visiting Bengaluru for the first time, was leaving for Secunderabad.
Railway officials put the blame on IRCTC, saying it had not incorporated the update in time.
Arul and her team made alternative arrangements for all passengers. Three air-conditioned coaches were attached to the Sampark Kranti Express, scheduled to leave for Delhi at 10.10 pm. It goes via Secunderabad and helped accommodate 140 passengers. Ten passengers cancelled their tickets and took refunds.
Five passengers heading for Yadgir and Raichur were accommodated in Sholapur Express, scheduled to depart at 8.50 pm.
Dr Anup Dayanand, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager, said it was the duty of the Centre for Railway Information System to keep the IRCTC posted about changes. The technical reasons for the confusion will be identified soon.