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.

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