TUMAKURU: A festive atmosphere filled with chanting of slokas reverberating on Platform No. 1 of Tumakuru Railway Station on Saturday morning. Reason: It was the birthday celebration of Train No. 56926 Tumakuru-KSR Passenger train. At 8 am, a cake with a chugging train on it was cut by its loco pilot V N Prasad, co-pilot Vishweshwar Singh and guard N K Nirala.
August 3 is a red-letter day for most of the nearly 1,800 passengers who hop on board this fast passenger to commute 70 km to Bengaluru for work daily. The train began its operations on this day in 2013.
Not just the train, but the VIPs for the occasion too were unusual — Station Manager Ramesh Babu and Railway Protection Force Inspector Kuberappa.
The Tumakuru Bengaluru Railway Prayanikara Vedike has been celebrating the train’s birthday making it the only one in Karnataka to be feted this way. One of the vedike directors, Nagaraj, who works at a bank in Bengaluru and commutes daily on this train, was seen distributing chocolates along with other members to the passengers of the nine-coach train as soon as it chugged off at 8.15 am.
Rail buff Krishna Prasad, who had travelled from Bengaluru to Tumakuru for the event, said, “The only other train I know to have such a celebration is the iconic Deccan Queen.”Indian Railways Fan Club member Pramodh Kommattil, says, “The golden jubilee year of Brindavan Express and Howrah Rajdhani Express and the Silver Jubilee of Lalbagh Express were celebrated grandly. The Punjab Mail, Deccan Queen and the Vaigai Express have such celebrations.”
So what makes an ordinary passenger train such a hit?
“This train helps us commute to work daily and plays the role of a breadwinner in our lives. We are merely expressing our gratitude today,” says Karnam Ramesh, founder secretary of the vedike.
D S Bhagya, who works as first division assistant in the Fisheries Department, was on her way to Bengaluru for work. “This train is perfect to reach my office on time. It departs at 8.15 am from Tumakuru and reaches Bengaluru by 9.55 am,” she says.
B H Ramakumari, vedike president, who travelled by this train till her retirement, is particular that former Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge be given due credit. “We met him once and cited our daily problems in commuting to Bengaluru. Within one month, he ensured the operation of this train,” she says.