Okha-Ernakulam train diversion leads to chaos

Okha-Ernakulam train diversion leads to chaos

The diversion of Okha-Ernakulam Bi-weekly Express train on an alternative route following the derailment of a goods train in the tunnel along the Konkan route near Ratnagiri led to chaos and confusion, with the Mangalore-bound commuters forcibly stopping the train in Gulbarga and taking the driver and railway authorities to task for leading them on the wrong route on Tuesday.

The Train 16337 had left Okha in Gujarat at 2.30 am on Monday and the derailment of a goods train had occurred near Ratnagiri on Monday morning. Consequently, trains on this route were either cancelled or diverted to other routes.

The Okha-Ernakulam Express was given the alternative route from Panvel-Karjat-Pune-Wadi-Shornur-Ernakulam.

Passengers going to Mangalore and other places in Karnataka and Goa, on learning they were travelling on the wrong route, pulled the chain on the outskirts of Gulbarga. The irate passengers not only abused the driver but also pelted the loco with stones. Later, the train was brought back to the railway station.

Railway authorities in Mumbai told Deccan Herald that the driver had steered the train on the diverted route.

According to the diverted route, the train was to go from Panvel, Karjat, Pune, Wadi, Shornur, and Ernakualam. Before it could go to Wadi, it was stopped in Gulbarga.

However, railway authorities had no answer when asked about commuters travelling to Mangalore and other places in Karnataka and Goa, as the diverted route does not touch these destinations.

An announcement was made in Gulbarga Railway Station that the train would proceed back to Hutagi, Bijapur, Bagalkot, Hubli, Madagaon, Karwar, Honnavar, Bhatkal, Kundapur, Udupi, and Mangalore.

However, a few commuters boarded buses to Mangalore, while others hired taxis to Goa. Official sources said the train left Gulbarga around 1.45 pm after halting for about three and a half hours.

The question though remains as to why an alternative route was suggested wrongly to the driver and why another route when the train was stopped forcibly by angry commuters.

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