Absent attendants leave AC train passengers sweating, taps dry

Dozens of passengers disembarked and refused to board the train again
Chennai: AC class train passengers beware! There is no guarantee that possession of a valid, confirmed AC class ticket will ensure you an air-conditioned train journey with all comforts. Passengers could at times be left high and dry even in the lavatory aboard an AC coach. A few hundred AC class passengers aboard Tuticorin bound Pearl City Express from Egmore learnt it the hard way here Monday.
When the train left Egmore on schedule at 7.15pm the passengers of the six AC coaches would have been hoping that the cooling system, which was not working from the start, would be alright during the running of the train. They had put up with the sweltering heat patiently even as they sweated profusely. Their patience was beginning to wear thin when a major irritant turned up with the water taps in the compartments running dry within 10 minutes of the journey having started.
The problem lay elsewhere, according to a highly placed SR source. While denying any technical snag in the air conditioning system, the source revealed the real problem was the absence of coach attendants. “None of the attendants meant for the six coaches were on board. The train started without a single coach attendant from Egmore. The guard and TTEs were aware of this,” the source added.
The absence of attendants was attributed to a confrontation between the divisional railway manager and an employee’s union to which the coach attendants belong. “The electric switch has to be turned on by the coach attendants aboard to keep the AC and the water raising system running. It had not been done owing to the absence of the attendants,” the sources conceded.
As the train arrived at Tambaram around 7.40 pm, dozens of passengers disembarked and refused to board the train again. The train left Tambaram after a near 40-mintue delay, at 8.20pm as the railway officials managed to convince passengers that the air conditioning and water supply would be attended to at the Chengalpet station.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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