For the third time this year, the Chennai-Coimbatore Duronto Express is in the news for all the wrong reasons.
On Monday, malfunctioning air-conditioners in two compartments of the Duronto Express forced infuriated passengers to halt the ‘non-stop’ train at two places delaying its arrival at Coimbatore by over 40 minutes.
Passengers, who had boarded the train from Chennai around 6.15 a.m, were dismayed to find that the air-conditioners in compartments C-4 and C-6 were not working and informed staff on board.
However, no one attended to the problem and the train departed at 6.50 a.m, its scheduled time. Around 40 minutes into the journey, when complaining to the Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) did not help, some passengers in C-6 compartment pulled the emergency chain and stopped the train. The guard then assured the passengers that the air-conditioning system would be repaired in Arakkonam Junction. Buying his word, the passengers agreed to resume their journey after a 10 minute break.
However, when the train did not stop in Arakkonam, angered passengers tried pulling the chain again, but to no avail. By then some passengers including senior citizens were sweating as all windows were closed. The TTE intervened and communicated to the engine driver to halt the train after a few passengers threatened to break the emergency window to allow air circulation. The train was stopped for around half an hour and the guard this time assured to solve their problem in Katpadi Junction. At Katpadi two electricians boarded the train but were unable to fix the air-conditioners.
Hassled passengers of the two compartments arrived in Coimbatore around 2.10 p.m., as against the scheduled 1.50 p.m. and lodged a complaint with the TTE.
While Southern Railway Chief Public Relations Officer in Chennai V J Accamma denied knowledge about the complaints, Coimbatore Junction Railway Station Manager D Chandrasekar confirmed that the train had arrived late. But he said no complaint was received from the passengers.