Chaos at Dehradun station as railways implements 36-day traffic block

DEHRADUN: Confusion and chaos prevailed at Dehradun railway station as the 36-day traffic block announced by the railways late last week was put into place on Monday. Railway officials had announced that construction and maintenance work at the station from April 17 to May 22 will affect the schedule of 16 trains including the New Delhi-Dehradun Shatabdi , Indore-Dehradun Express, Ujjaini Express, Madurai- Dehradun Superfast Express and Howrah-Dehradun Upasana Express which will not come till Dehradun but instead terminate at Haridwar. Passengers from Dehradun wishing to board these trains will also have to travel to Haridwar, the officials had said.

Many passengers who reached to catch their trains on Monday were oblivious of the change in schedule. Kartikeya Pathak, an investment banker from Gurgaon who had come on a holiday to Mussoorie along with his wife and was scheduled to catch the Dehradun- New Delhi Shatabdi Express, told , “I wasn’t aware that the train will not depart from Dehradun. Usually, we get updates from the railways through text messages in case of train delays but nothing about this change was informed to us. It was only on reaching the station that we got to know about this. Now, I have to pay Rs 1400 extra to reach Haridwar.”

An infuriated Pathak also took to Twitter to vent his views. Tagging railway minister Suresh Prabhu, he wrote, “DDN-DLI Shatabdi routed from Haridwar without any notice? Had to pay 1400 to reach Haridwar! Very Disappointed! “

Many other passengers, too, were seen making last-minute arrangements to travel to and from Haridwar railway station. Some had come with small children and had a tough time arranging for conveyance to reach Haridwar station in time. “We are a family of six, including two young children. At the last minute, it is very difficult for us to arrange for transport and travel with children especially in the sweltering heat. The railways should have made proper arrangements so that passengers are not inconvenienced in this manner,” said Sheela Rawat, a homemaker who was booked on the Shatabdi Express.

Meanwhile, Kartar Singh, Dehradun railway station superintendent claimed that adequate arrangements had been put in place. “We are trying to assist passengers by whatever means possible and accommodate them on trains which are on the Haridwar route. Only a few trains have been affected and trains like Link Express, Janshatabdi Express, Bombay Express and Janta Express are going as usual. Roadways has assured us that they will increase buses between Dehradun and Haridwar and I believe 30-40 buses have been increased too, which should help passengers. If still somebody is not able to catch their train due to this change and not reach Haridwar on time, their fare will be refunded.”