Poor amenities on ECR’s Special Trains draw flak

PATNA: The railways has been running several pairs of special trains from Patna Junction and other major stations under East Central Railway (ECR) on different routes to clear passengers’ rush during and post Diwali and Chhath festivals. However, the special trains lack passengers’ amenities.

Jai Prakash, who recently travelled in the AC-III of the Patna-Mumbai special train with his family, said, “We suffered a lot as there was no catering service on this train. Even water was not available causing great hardship to all the passengers. Toilets, too, were dirty.”

Narrating his experience, RK Srivastava said his journey in the sleeper coach of the Puja special from Delhi to Patna Junction was no less than a nightmare. Though the train left Delhi in time, it took about 24 hours to reach Patna Junction. Besides, there was no light, water and other amenities available on the train, he said.

A Delhi University student, Neha, said she was forced to travel by a Delhi-Patna special train last week as there was a long waitlist in regular Patna-bound trains. Suddenly the light went off in the coach. Since there was no escort party on the train, passengers were apprehensive and remained awake whole night to protect their valuables, she said.

It was a harrowing experience for S R Singh of Saristabad locality in Patna, who travelled by a special train from Mumbai to Patna. Most of the passengers remained hungry as there was no provision of meals or eatables on the train. “Children suffered a lot for want of food and water while elders had to depend on bread and banana throughout the journey,” he said, adding that pantry car facilities should be provided in all long-distance trains to cater to the passengers’ need. The same holds true of passengers travelling by special trains on different routes from Patna Junction. They felt that railways must ensure basic amenities to passengers on these special trains. They were more apprehensive about drug menace on running trains.

According to an ECR official, railways had introduced several pairs of special trains to clear post Diwali passengers’ rush. Railways would, however, ensure that passengers travelling by special trains get proper amenities, he said.

Meanwhile, several passengers urged railway authorities to provide information about special trains on the integrated railway inquiry (139) system so that they could know about their exact arrival and departure time.