Kerala Kaumudi Online
Tuesday, 23 July 2024 4.54 AM IST

Miseries faced by train passengers; when will railways consider needs of Kerala?


It does not seem that there will be any solution to the woes of train passengers in Kerala. Old bogies, railway stations without even less basic facilities, day trains running full of passengers with no place to stand, irresponsibility in grievance redressal systems... passengers have many problems like this to point out. Every year, new projects are announced in the railway budget, but only a few are implemented. As there are no new tracks or trains, passengers have to make do with the existing facilities. With yet another railway budget in the offing, it is doubtful whether the authorities have a clear understanding of the needs of the state.

In day trains like the Parashuram Express, the journey is reminiscent of the wagon tragedy of yesteryear. Coaches have been added but they are not enough to accommodate the increasing number of passengers. The only option is to start more services during the peak morning and evening hours. However, such matters are not considered by the railway authorities. Although the double track has been made a reality from Thiruvananthapuram to the northernmost point, more trains cannot run due to the lack of a modern signalling system. This is also the main obstacle to getting permission for new trains. This is not an expensive arrangement. This was discussed ten to fifteen years ago. It just didn't happen. In view of the constant demand by the government and passengers for more trains, the modernization of the signalling system should be given priority.

With the arrival of the rainy season, travel disruptions are becoming common due to the falling of trees and the breaking of electric lines in many places. Train traffic stopped for more than two hours after a large tree fell on the track in Kochi on Sunday. Fortunately, there were no casualties. There was a practice in the past of cutting dangerous trees on both sides of the track. If the owners do not do it themselves then the Railways is empowered to do it. The stations outside the cities are in very poor condition. Many stations are covered by shrubs and plants, posing a security threat to the passengers. The condition of leaking bogies is more serious than this. Shunting of very old bogies to Kerala has become routine. Whenever new bogies are allotted to the state, they are usually shifted to other places within days. There is a general complaint that the influence of Tamil Nadu at the head of railways is the reason behind this.

The new news is that a round-the-clock system will be launched to resolve the complaints of railway passengers. Passengers can complain on 139. Railways assures that this will solve many problems faced by passengers during the journey. Currently, there are widespread complaints about the approach of the railways in ensuring safe travel. Night travel is dreaded by many, especially women. The nuisance of assailants, robbers and snatchers has increased on long-distance trains. This points to the need to strengthen security systems in trains.

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