Open letter to Modi from a stranded Railway Passenger: When superfast runs @25km/hr, who needs a bullet train?

Dear Prime Minister,

Why am I writing this letter to you when you don’t hold the railway portfolio? I could have written directly to Railway Minister. But this letter includes plethora of other issues close to your heart like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, bullet train etc. Hope you share the relevant chunk with your colleague in railway.

Thank you for giving me once in a lifetime opportunity, opportunity to celebrate Holi in train. I planned a very mainstream and mundane Holi with my family but Indian Railways made it offbeat. While I was expected to reach home last evening, its Holi today and I am still swinging in the train. I boarded Swatantrata Senani Exp(12562) from New Delhi to Darbhanga. It was 21 hours long journey. I wanted to ensure that I am in time for Holi, so I took a super-fast express train. I paid extra for that super-fast train.

Alas! It has been more than 38 hours since this train was scheduled to start and I am still in the train. A train which runs for 21 hours is already running late by 17 hours. This by any standards is humongous. How do you explain the delay? There is no fog. There are no strikes. No mishap on the run. So what’s the excuse? Is it due to congestion? Are we running more trains than what our infrastructure can support? In which case, obvious way out is to build more infrastructure or reduce number of trains. I remember the train meandering around Allahabad station for 3 hours. To add insult to injury, it was halted at Allahabad station for 90 minutes while the scheduled halt was for 25 minutes. It’s time the controller is made accountable and asked to explain for this goof-up.

To start with, the train started 7 hours 40 minutes late. It was scheduled to depart from New Delhi at 20:35 on 4th of March. But the train started at 04:15 the next day. It has managed to further get delayed by 600 minutes since then. Why did the train start late? Because the train that comes from Drabhnga to New Delhi heads back to Darbhanga and it was running late already. It arrived at 2:00 AM on 5th, 13 hrs 30 mins later than scheduled. We were informed that this train would head back at 4:15.

It was assumed that train would be cleaned and replenished meanwhile. But to my surprise, when the train started after its 140 minutes stay at New Delhi, the floors were still littered, bathrooms were stinking; even the water was not refilled. Modi ji, its time your Swachh Bharat Abhiyan gets out of page 3 and gets down to the ground.

I have checked the history of the train and this train is late by 5-6 hours on regular basis. Why is it still been called a super-fast express? Isn’t it a subtle form of corruption? Passengers are being made to pay for super fast express train, while they are offered the service of, say, a passenger train.
Now coming to your grandiose plans of bullet train, won’t it make more sense to strengthen existing network before burdening the system further. In a country where super-fast express covers 1000 kms in 40 hours with an average speed of 25km/hr, how dare you show us the dream of a bullet train. A bullet train which runs at 30km/hr!! Hell No.

PS: Holi in train is so boring. Thank you for ruining my Holi. Hope you had a good one.

-An ache din expectant

Its NOW or NEVER!!

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