Sujay Ravikumar shares his pleasant encounter with the Indian Railways.
On Friday, the country woke up to the news of a train accident in Tamil Nadu, causing injuries to a over a dozen people. Unfortunately, such incidents have been alarmingly regular for many years now.
Have you ever wondered what happens to the trains that are scheduled to go on the same tracks after an accident?
Photo source: allindiaroundup.com
One may expect confusion and chaos, characteristic of public sector responses to emergencies in India. Here is my first-hand account.
I was on the Shatabdi Express from Chennai to Mysuru on Friday morning when the train stopped for an unusually long time in Jolarpettai station in Tamil Nadu, about halfway through our journey. What happened next was as unexpected as it was pleasant. The Train Ticket Examiner (TTE) made an announcement that another train had derailed on the way to Bengaluru and the servicemen were unable to clear the track. Therefore, our train could not continue beyond this station. He stated, in a calm manner, that all passengers heading to Bengaluru should disembark and avail one of two options to reach their destination – board any of the 15 buses that were arranged for Shatabdi Express passengers to go to Bengaluru, or wait for another train arriving in 1 hour. Passengers heading to Mysuru could board another train from Bengaluru.
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Most passengers proceeded to exit the train with their luggage and cross the bridge towards the station exit. I was surprised to see the 15 buses had been proactively booked and already parked near the gate. Once we boarded our bus, an official marked our attendance to document which alternative mode of transport we chose, before the bus left for Majestic Bus Terminal in Bengaluru.
The entire process, from the initial halting announcement to the departure of the buses, took less than 30 minutes, without any panic, confusion or even any special request. Three hours later, we arrived at our destination with all our luggage in hand.
Kudos to Indian Railways, Southern Railways, the bus service and countless nameless railway officials for proactively and seamlessly managing the entire experience for Shatabdi passengers. Who knows how many such trains and passengers have faced similar responses? While rail safety remains a key issue of national importance, the rail authorities demonstrated extraordinary professionalism to service inconvenienced passengers in an emergency situation!