Long queues outside the refund windows, surging crowd outside deputy station manager’s office, rush at the common charging points to save dying batteries of phones — this was the scene at Pune Railway Station Friday evening.
Though it was only drizzling at the junction, the downpour in Mumbai and suburbs had impacted passengers from Pune going to different destinations. The trains coming from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai were running 5-6 hours late while trains going to and via CST from Pune Junction were cancelled altogether. Some routes, like of like Deccan Queen and Pragati Express, were shortened till Lonavla and Panvel.
Railway authorities, however, were seen asking agitated passengers to either take a full refund by cancelling tickets or take alternative routes.
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C S Meena, T E, Central Railways, who was handling the enquiry desk outside the office of deputy station manager (operations) office, said, “Many trains have been cancelled due to heavy rains, which have affected the signalling system and flooded the routes. Long-distance trains coming from Mumbai are delayed. However, the passengers need not worry. Not a single rupee is being deducted while refunding the ticket cost. For those who can’t wait, there are trains going via Panvel, Kalyan and Vasai. They can get down there and proceed towards Mumbai,” said Meena.
The travails of passengers at Pune Station seemed endless. Mohsin Khan, a resident of Byculla in Mumbai who works in Pune, had to wait at Pune station for more than two hours. “I’m going home for the weekend, but it looks like I won’t be able to get home before midnight. I am waiting for the Indore-Pune Express which goes via Kalyan. It is better to go to Kalyan and then to Mumbai than going by road,” said Khan.
Pune-Amravati Express and Pune-Lucknow Express were also cancelled due to blocks on tracks.
Due to the sluggish Railway service, State Transport’s luxury buses were much in demand. However, even their schedule was erratic. Inquiry officer at ST’s Pune Station depot, SS Hegde, said, “There are many passengers waiting for current bookings. However, we don’t know when the next bus will come. It is also difficult to tell how much time it will take for the bus to reach Dadar.”
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