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Since 1st March, 1999
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Special trains find few takers
- Packed berths & seats pinch travellers in festive season

Passengers queue up at the ticket reservation counter of Patna Junction on Friday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh

Forty special trains to run from the state capital this festive season have not been able to find favour with passengers.

Travellers said the trains were too slow, while some opined even local trains are given preference over the special ones.

The reputation of Puja special trains is very poor. These trains do not provide similar facilities as the regular ones. Apart from poor service, a lot of extra time is consumed. While Patna-New Delhi Rajdhani takes 12 hours, a Puja special train would take at least 20 hours to cover the same distance, said Vishnu Kumar, a resident of Hazaribagh.

Ritesh Kumar, who wants to go to Mumbai, said: Why would anybody board such trains that take such an enormous amount of time as compared to regular trains? I have got just a weeks leave and if I take these trains, almost four days would be wasted in travelling. Time is precious, you cannot waste it like that.

East Central Railway (ECR) will run the 40 trains from October 16 to November 20. Some of these trains include Patna-Delhi Puja Special (04021) to run every Tuesday, Gaya-Delhi (03686) to run on Thursdays, Patna-Bangalore (06514) to run on the same day, Patna-Ahmedabad Puja Special (09410) to run on Fridays.

Serpentine queues have become a regular sight at Patna Junction. Getting a confirmed ticket for normal trains has become next to impossible.

Tickets are not available for Rajdhani and the waiting list has crossed more than 100 for each day next week. Even Brahmaputra Mail (14055) and Farakka Express (13413) are all full. I really do not know what to do now, Vishnu Kumar said.

Seats of other trains, including Sampoorna Kranti Express (12393), Sanghamitra Express (12296), Shramjeevi Express (12391), Patna-Pune Express (12150), Poorva Express (12304), Upasana Express (12328), Rajendra Nagar-Lokmanya Tilak Express (13201) and Vibhuti Express (12334), have been booked.

ECR chief public relations officer Amitabh Prabhakar admitted to passengers claims. Puja special trains cannot compete with normal trains. The journey may take a few hours longer. Number of trains can be increased but the number of tracks remain the same, he said.

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