Following the death of one person and injury to others in a stampede at Surat railway station a few days back, Central Railways has enhanced vigilance to ensure safety of passengers.
Central Railways said it was constantly monitoring trains to Bihar as large crowds gathered at train stations to head home for the Chhath Puja starting November 17.
Shivraj Manaspure, the Chief Public Relation Officer (CPRO) of Central Railways, said,”Around five to six trains go to Bihar from Maharashtra daily and they are being constantly monitored. The Railway Protection Force uses body cams, dog squads, hand-held metal detectors, walkie talkies and hand announcement systems to control the crowd.”
He said there had been no incidents of stampedes in the five regions under the Central Railways and if passengers were left behind, they were asked to catch another one later.
The officer said 525 festival-special trains were introduced to manage the crowd rush during the festival season. These trains were introduced to ferry 7.5 lakh passengers who are expected to gather at the train stations between October 1 and December 31.
He added that 110 and 190 special trains were introduced for Bihar and UP respectively. For Maharashtra, 116 trains were introduced. Apart from the special trains, around 350 trains ferry passengers across state lines on a daily basis.
In Maharashtra, large crowds have been observed at the key junctions such as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), Dadar station and LTT (Lokmanya Tilak Terminus). These stations are being monitored by the Railway Protection Force and the Government Railway Police.
Manaspure said a help desk had been opened at the key stations as a holding area for passengers. He added that the general and sleeper class coaches were also being constantly increased.
“We are fully prepared and have released more trains earlier. We have trains too and there is no shortage, as spare coaches are also used. We have created multiple rakes. We are fully prepared. Currently, we are carrying 10-12 lakh passengers across India,” said the official.
He added that winter-special trains would also be announced shortly.