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News Entry# 288537
Dec 14 2016 (07:20)  Packed platforms, long delays add to winter woes (
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Commentary/Human Interest

News Entry# 288537     
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The winter itinerary of a railway commuter
Distressed faces, chaotic actions and an air of bewilderment loomed large at the Anand Vihar Terminal railway station, which caters mostly to trains bound towards Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand.
Scores of travellers clogged the station’s entrance while waiting to pick up their acquaintances or trying to figure out the status of their respective trains. The pain of a 12-hour journey stretching to 31 hours was visible on all faces exiting the station.
Jan Sadharan Express, which runs between Anand Vihar and Danapur in Bihar, has been cancelled on every Thursday with effect from December 17 till January 15, 2017, due to continuous delays.
Varanasi resident Pradeep Yadav, who frequently travels by this train, was in the Capital to appear for an examination. As he was waiting at the station, the train’s departure time was rescheduled from 1.30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
“Time is important for everyone. Wasting so many hours while travelling is simply pointless. The Railway Ministry should take necessary measures to help out passengers,” said an exhausted Mr. Yadav.
Faridabad resident Neha Bhargav, who was scheduled to travel to Darbhanga, discovered that her train, the Anand Vihar-Darbhanga Suvidha Special, was delayed by over 15 hours. Accompanied by her husband and son, she spent the night in a hotel next to the station as she decided not to risk going back to Faridabad. However, the delay was increased by 10 more hours, adding up to over a day’s delay.
“I chose this weekly train expecting a smooth and hassle-free journey. I never expected it to turn out to be so tiring,” sighed Ms. Bhargav.
The train has been encountering an average delay of 16 hours in the past week.
The situation at the New Delhi railway station was no better. Constant announcements about trains getting delayed by several hours only augmented the misery of faces of the exhausted passengers on crowded platforms.
UPSC aspirant Neelam was waiting at the entrance for her husband to arrive from Dhanbad, so that they could celebrate their marriage anniversary together. Unfortunately, his train was running nine hours late.
“The Railways really need to get its act together. It is winter now and it has been conveniently using fog as an excuse. But these trains are delayed for hours in summers too,” she claimed.
Passengers travelling long distances were stuck on trains for days as their trains got delayed due to prolonged stopovers at various stations.
“The train left on time, but there was a two-hour halt at Tughlakabad. By the time we arrived in Delhi, the train was over six hours late,” said Vivek Gupta, who was travelling on the Karnataka Express and reached the Capital on Monday evening.
Although he did not have any urgent appointments, his children went hungry for a long time due to the stopover at Tughlakabad since the train does not have a pantry car.
Hundreds of passengers have been stranded at various stations across the northern region. In the past week itself, more than 100 trains coming into the Capital on a daily basis were delayed due to the fog.
(With inputs from Prerna Barooah. The writers are interns with The Hindu)
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