Fear makes way for cheer as trains chug out of City

Fear makes way for cheer as trains chug out of City

The huge crowd of passengers erupted in loud, long cheers until the second special train bound for Guwahati departed Platform 4 of Bangalore City railway station at 9.26 pm on Thursday.

heading home: A crowded train compartment, destined for Guwahati, at the City Railway station on Thursday night.  dh PhotoJust an hour before, another train, equally jam-packed, had left for the capital of Assam.

Platform 4 remained crowded to the gills as North-East- bound passengers, mediapersons, and police personnel jostled for space to walk.

 The travellers were waiting for train no 12509, a regular train also bound for Guwahati, to arrive. The train departed from the City railway station at 11.30 pm.

The first special train that departed at 8.15 pm had 17 bogies. The second had 16 coaches and the regular train had 23. There were no sleeper coaches in the special trains and every coach was crammed with passengers. The remaining crowd appeared too large to be accommodated in a single train.
 
Railway officials say 5,725 passengers booked 2,275 tickets for Assam-bound trains. The chances of huge number of people travelling without tickets could not be ruled out.

 According to Anil Kumar Agarwal, Divisional Railway Manager of Bangalore Division of the South Western Railway, it’s humanly impossible to check for tickets when such a huge crowd was involved. 

The special trains were arranged by summoning coaches from Chennai, Mysore and spare coaches from Bangalore Division.

If the situation of panic continues on Friday, too, it might be a huge challenge for railways to accommodate the passengers as more coaches are not available. “The special trains which have been arranged now will take at least five days to return,” Agarwal told Deccan Herald.  

On Wednesday, 6,832 people bought tickets for North-East-bound trains. The number was in addition to the tickets reserved earlier.

 The two special trains that left yesterday had 38 coaches, and the regular train 23. Sources in the SWR said the Bangalore division requested for more coaches and two sets are likely to come from Mumbai and New Delhi. 

“But we are not sure when we will get them,” a senior official said. Fifteen officers of the Railway Police and Railway Protection Force accompanied passengers in the trains that left Wednesday night. Similar arrangements were made on Thursday too.

The maddening crowd left many Muslims travelling to Bihar worried. With Eid-ul-Fitr expected to fall on Sunday or Monday, they had reserved tickets on the regular train. They hope extra passengers are not accommodated in the reserved coaches.

 “We might reach home on time if something goes wrong. In that case, we’ll have to celebrate Eid during the travel,” Muhammad Masoom, a cleric from Kishanganj, Bihar, said. 

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