A large number of passengers had their tickets refunded at the railway stations and reservation offices in the provincial capital. The railway administration faced difficulties in returning the money to the passengers on time due to the heavy workload.
The Jinnah and Karachi Express trains between Lahore and Karachi were cancelled.
Five bogies of Millat Express coming from Karachi via Faisalabad to Lala Musa derailed near Sukkur early in the morning reportedly due to dilapidated condition of the track near Rati railway station. The Sir Syed Express going from Rawalpindi Karachi collided with the bogies. Due to the accident, train operation on the main line across the country was suspended.
Passengers traveling from the provincial capital to other cities were stranded at the Lahore railway station. The accident triggered fear and panic among the passengers, a large number of whom refunded their tickets from the reservation offices and the railway station.
Railway sources said that due to refund of tickets by the people after the train accident, the administration also faced difficulties in returning the large amount of money to the people. The refund of the tickets posed financial challenges for the department.
After a large number of passengers refunded their tickets following the train accident, the railway administration canceled both the Jinnah and the Karachi Express.
A large number of people also rushed to the railway station to get information about their loved ones who were traveling on the trains involved in the accident.
However, the railway administration could not provide any clear information about the cancellation of the trains and the people killed and injured in the accident.
Ambreen, Hamida Bibi and Salahuddin, who were seeking refund of their tickets after the accident at Lahore railway station, said while speaking to The Express Tribune that that they had planned to leave for Karachi by train in the afternoon but they had changed their mind after such a terrible accident.
They said it was the responsibility of the railway administration to provide safe and comfortable travel to the passengers who paid the fare so that they could reach their destinations in tranquility. The government should give strict instructions to the railway authorities to make the journey safe for the passengers, they added.
Some passengers said the railway fares were sky high but no practical steps had been taken for the convenience and safety of the passengers. If the track was dilapidated then it was the responsibility of the railway administration to fix it. Frequent train accidents were an indication of negligence of the authorities, they alleged.
The train accidents are also causing financial loss to the department in addition to claiming lives. The accident of two trains also left passenger bogies of the railways worth millions of rupees useless. According to sources, tickets worth a large amount were refunded within a few hours after the accident.
Commenting on the situation, railway officials said that people traveling by trains often became frightened after such accidents and started seeking refund of their tickets. They said then cancellation of tickets had cost the department millions of rupees.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2021.
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