North East

A hellish journey on Kanyakumari-Dibrugarh train

On board Vivek Express: The passengers of the Kanyakumari- Dibrugarh Vivek ‘super fast’ express train (22503) covering the longest route in the country faced many a hardship from December 30 till January 3.

On January 1, the first day of the New Year was not pleasant for the passengers who faced varied problems ranging from late running of train for 16 hours, unclean toilets, empty promises of TTEs to indifference of the staff .


The train was to start from Kanyakumari at 5.40 pm on December 30 but it took off after several hours. By the time it covered many stations, six-hour late running was reported, followed by eight hours and subsequently 16 hours.
The train was to reach at 8 50 pm on January 2 at Dibrugarh but with late running, its arrival was before noon on January 3.

Cleaners on strike, but no alternative arrangement

Cleaners did not board from Kanyakumari and hence the train took off with dirt and dust.
The toilets of the train remained unclean throughout the journey in the absence of the cleaners.

A staff said since they did not get salary for three months, the cleaners were on strike from December 25. Though the strike ended on January 1, they will resume duty only for the next trip.
The passengers questioned why the railway authorities did not provide alternative arrangements inview of the strike so that they do not suffer.

Six cleaners are deployed in the train. Their task is to maintain cleanliness of five AC coaches and the remaining second class compartments.
A railway staff said the cleaners do not bother to clean the second class coaches.


TTEs came and went while the AC assistants slept the whole day without any assistance to the passengers.
Over Rs 5,000 including GST is charged per passenger from Kanyakumari to Dibrugarh in the AC two-tier coach.
The service started seven years ago with one train and currently, four trains are running in the route.

Cleaners, AC assistants among others are outsourced private staff, hence they are behaving this way, said a TTE who was on duty.
The cooks and food suppliers at the pantry car have also raised their concerns. “Since the cleaners were on strike, we did the cleaning job in our coach”, a food supplier said.

Waterlogged toilets 

The wash basins inside the toilets were not fully connected with pipes resulting in water remaining on the floor. The flush was also not working. Facilities were the worst in the AC two-tier and three-tier compartments.
After some passengers raised the issue, some cleaners turned up and went without doing much.
The service started seven years ago with one train and currently, four trains are running in the route.
Several passengers vowed not to travel by the Kanyakumari-Dibrugarh train anymore to avoid the agony as flight is an option and they even wanted refund of the train tickets from the Northeast  Frontier Railway.

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