CHENNAI: Though milling crowds and anxious passengers are not a rarity at the Chennai Central Railway station, Monday was a particularly bad day. Following the derailment of a three bogies of a goods train near Katpadi, around 12 trains along the arterial line, faced up to five hour delays. The fact that most of them were vacationers setting out to Bengaluru, Kerala and other places, added to their frustration. “All the morning trains were on the departure screen, but they had not arrived past their original departure time,” said Jose Mathews, who was waiting at Central station. “The information booth said that there was a minor problem on the tracks, but at no point did they say there would be such a long delay,” he added. He finally left on the much-delayed Alleppy Express.
While most of the people booked on the daily trains managed to find comfortable spots and settle down as they were confident of which platforms their trains would arrive on, people on long-distance trains that passed through Katpadi were an anxious lot. Annamalai and his group of friends, who said that they had to be in Bengaluru by dinnertime to catch their connecting train to Goa, were disgruntled till noon — the Lal Bagh express that was scheduled to arrive and leave by 1 pm, was nowhere in sight. “I doubt we’ll make the connecting train,” he sighed as the screen finally showed that it would depart at a quarter to two.
Meanwhile, passengers on the Niligiri Express were seen making calls to their bosses to inform them of the delay in their arrival. According to sources, a group of family members were returning from their holiday at Ooty and the men had to report to work on Monday. The Nilgiri Express was supposed to arrive at Central Railway Station at 5 am, but came after a six hour delay at around 11 am.
The women had to feed their kids with carrots they had bought in Ooty as there was no pantry in the train. “I woke up around 6 am and realised the train had stopped. It stopped much before Katpadi somewhere near Ambur. Since it’s an overnight journey, there is no pantry in the train and all of us had to skip our breakfast,” said Suresh Kumar, a passenger.