Thousands of train passengers were left stranded for the third consecutive day as 79 trains reached Delhi late by almost 10 hours on an average on Monday.
While many passengers had to wait for hours at railway stations, others spend sleepless night stuck onboard. The list of delayed trains included Rajdhani Express, Duronto Express, Shatabdi Express and even Garib Rath. The Mumbai-Nizamuddin Garib Rath reached Delhi after a 40-hour delay.
The Delhi division of Northern Railway, for instance, has installed a Fog Safe Rail Device, which helps drivers ascertain signals in poor visibility. This was supposed to be the railways’ answer to fog this year, but the inordinate delays have rendered the technology as good as ineffective.
“There are speed restrictions on trains because the safety of passengers is our priority,” said a senior railway official.
All the Rajdhanis were delayed by five ours, while the Bhuvaneshwar Duronto was four hours late.
Information about delays and cancellations of trains has remained a point of contention for the traveling public.
“The helplines rarely give updated information. Many a time we find out from the helplines that the train is on schedule, but upon arriving at the station we realise it has been cancelled,” said Rajat Marwah, a businessman.
The railways have made some modifications in the automatic signalling section to ensure safe train operations during foggy condition.
But even then on Monday, around 31 trains had to be rescheduled and 145 cancelled.
“Additional staff has been put on duty at affected stations to provide adequate information to the public. Besides, helplines are operational for this purpose,” said a Northern Railway spokesman.
The Gujjar agitation in Rajasthan also led to cancellations. The trains cancelled included the Kota Janshatabdi and Ajmer Shatabdi. The Dehradun Bandra Express and Mumbai Janata Express will not run for the next seven days.
A few Shatabdi trains to Ajmer were also cancelled.