Mistaken identity derails passengers
Many get on the wrong train because two routes share rakes, have confusing boards
It was a routine trip for P. Nagabhushanam from Chennai to Kakinanda. But when the resident of Nellore got into the train for ‘Chengalpattu-KachegudaKakinada Port’ at Chennai’s Egmore station earlier this month, he was taken aback to see someone else occupying his berth.
Before raising an objection, he checked whether he was on the 17643 ChengalpattuKakinada Port Circar Express. As it turned out, Mr. Nagabhushanam was on the 17651 ChengalpattuKacheguda Express. Thanks to a Southern Railway costcutting measure, the two trains share rakes, with coaches bearing the same place name boards. To compound the confusion, the trains are stationed on adjacent platforms at Egmore. As a result, several travellers board the wrong train.
Luckily for Mr. Nagabhushanam, a fellow victim pulled the chain, allowing him to get off and board the Circar Express.
Others have not been so lucky. There are instances of passengers realising their error after the train left Egmore, and being forced to get off at Chennai Park or Fort. Since the trains depart within 20 minutes of each other, many miss the Circar Express by the time they return to Egmore.
It is not only passengers who are put to hardship by the confusing boards. Railway guards and ticket examiners have to deal with the train’s ‘forced-abort’ by frequent chain pulling, causing a delay of 15-30 minutes every day.
Departure time changed
“Passengers for Kakinada are misled by the word ‘Kakinada Port’ on the name board,” said a railway official. While the trains still share coaches with the same name boards, the gap between departures has recently been increased to 35 minutes. A senior official said this led to a drop in the number of wrong boardings.
In a time warp: A coach lists Kacheguda-ChengalpattuKakinada Port on the board, leaving the passengers guessing.