Passengers hold unique birthday bash for Tumakuru train

Passengers hold unique birthday bash for Tumakuru train

Passengers and officials cut a cake to mark the fifth anniversary of Tumakuru-Bengaluru Fast Passenger at the Tumakuru railway station on Friday.

It was birthday bells for ‘Namma train’ on Friday morning, as the Tumakuru-Bengaluru Fast Passenger chugged into the railway station, florally decked up for the grand occasion. The stage was set for a sumptuous cake-cutting ceremony for a train like no other.

For hundreds of passengers lined up under the Tumakuru-Bengaluru Railway Prayanikara Vedike, a travellers’ forum, the train was their long-cherished baby. It was the product of their struggle for a convenient rail commute option to the state capital.

Five years ago, on August 3, 2013, the Namma train had begun operations in an emphatic fashion.

The excitement at the Tumakuru railway station on Friday echoed that first-day euphoria.

The sense of pride and nostalgia was palpable.

As loco pilot Neel Kumar Nag cut the grand cake, the applause was deafening. Gathered to celebrate were senior railway officers, railway police staffers, Vedike office-bearers and passengers in their teeming hundreds. Decorated with flowers, every coach of the train appeared to join in the celebration.

The Vedike has never missed marking the train’s birthday ever since the operations began.

Its honorary president, B M Ramakumari, offered this perspective: “The commuters of this train are a close community now. Over the past five years, they have developed a strong bond. In the history of the Indian Railways, it is the only train celebrating a birthday.”

Till 2013, thousands of Bengaluru-bound passengers in Tumakuru had no choice beyond the Solapur Express.

When the railways advanced timings of this train to 6.30 am in June 2013, the troubled passengers desperately looked for alternatives.

The second train at 7.20 am was not really a choice since it was always heavily crowded. Commuters approached the then railway minister Mallikarjun Kharge and the railway authorities, seeking a separate train.

To their surprise, the request was approved within one month and the new service chugged in a few weeks later.

The train has now emerged as a lifeline for thousands. Departing from the Tumakuru station at 8.15 am, it arrives at 9.45 am at the city’s Yeshwanthpur station. Passengers could not recollect a single day when the train arrived late.