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Ramesh Babu, Hindustan Times
Thiruvananthapuram, April 18, 2014
Exhausted passengers of the Okha-Ernakulam Express train finally reached their destination, Ernakulam on Wednesday evening, 26 hours later than the scheduled arrival time. Angry passengers say the train took a wrong route and they were forced to travel 700 km without basic amenities like food and water.

Their harrowing tale unfolded from Okha in Gujarat at 2am on Monday and it was expected to reach Ernakulam by Tuesday night. After a derailment of a goods train near Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, the train was diverted to Pune.

Passengers say instead of sending it to Goa route it was diverted to Gulburga, some 500 km away from Pune. When the train reached Sholapur passengers protested vehemently and railway officials admitted their folly. They were promised refund at Gulburga and advised them to go back to Mangalore by road.

“An official even said since it was a weekly train it never gets any priority during busy traffic,” said Suresh, a passenger. Some passengers said they would move the consumer court against the railways. A senior Southern Railway official, who did not want to be named, said some goof up had taken place.