Passengers protested after the privately-operated Shalimar Express travelling from Karachi to Lahore took 15-and-a-half hours longer than scheduled to arrive at Bahawalpur on Wednesday.
DSP Mirza Arif Rasheed told The Express Tribune that the train was due to arrive at 5pm on Tuesday but it arrived at 830am on Wednesday.
“Passengers started to protest and blocked the station. Police had to arrive to diffuse the situation. I personally came to supervise,” he said.
He said that he offered to travel on the train till the Ahdhawan Station to pacify the passengers.
The railways inquiry office confirmed that the Shalimar Express left Karachi at 8am and arrived at Bahawalpur at 8:30am.
Abid Hussain, a guard in the train, said that the train had left two hours late from Karachi after which the engine failed.
“It was due to arrive at Sukkur at 1230pm but arrived at 11pm when I took charge,” he said. “The engine was not replaced at Sukkur and we left after minor repairs. The train crawled along the entire route,” he said.
Malik Akbar, a passenger, said that he was travelling to meet his sick sister in Rawalpindi. He alleged that railways officials had asked him to purchase tickets for children below the age of two.
Safdar, a resident of Faisalabad, said that he was travelling for his father’s funeral which had to be delayed due to the train.
Faizan, another passenger, said that there was no water in the train’s washrooms.
The protest continued for one and a half hours during which the Lahore Awami Express and Karachi Night Coach remained stuck at the railway station. The train finally departed from Bahawalpur at 10:30am.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2012.
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