The railways is playing Santa for year-end revellers.
The Ranchi railway division has decided to run a special train from Hatia to Visakhapatnam to ease the rush that usually picks up towards the end of December as people return homes to celebrate Christmas and New Year with families.
The decision is expected to benefit the people of Jharkhand, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh the most as the train, which will cross Sambalpur, will give more options to rail passengers on the Hatia-Sambalpur-Visakhapatnam route.
Also, the Hatia-Yeshwantpur special train, which was introduced during Durga Puja and was supposed to have its last run on Thursday, has been extended till December 27.
The train to Visakhapatnam, with one AC three-tier coach, eight sleeper coaches and four general compartments, will ply from December 3 to December 31. It will leave Hatia station at 6.30pm every Monday and reach its final destination by noon the following day.
On its return journey, it will set out from Visakhapatnam every Tuesday at 2.25pm and arrive at Hatia at 4.45pm the next day.
Confirming the development, senior divisional commercial manager, Ranchi, B.N. Singh said: “The special train has been introduced in this route keeping in mind the huge demand for berths around this time of the year.”
The train will pass through Rourkela, Jharsugda, Sambalpur, Parvatipuram and Bobbili before reaching Visakhapatnam, thereby linking Jharkhand, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. At present, only two trains — Dhanbad-Allepey and Hatia-Yeshwantpur — cover these stations spread across the three states, which explains the packed compartments and endless waiting lists.
“It’s difficult to find a berth in the trains plying on Hatia-Sambalpur-Visakhapatnam route. The special train will at least help me get a confirmed ticket,” said Abani Kumar Pradhan, a resident of Hinoo, who is planning to travel to Sambalpur at the end of the year.
The decision to ply Hatia-Yeshwantpur special train till December 27 is also bound to bring smiles on the faces of many passengers.
The train, which has two AC three-tier coaches, nine sleeper coaches and three general compartments, will run on Tuesdays — December 6, 13, 20 and 27. From Yeshwantpur, it will set out on Thursdays — December 8, 15, 22 and 29. It will leave Hatia at 9.40am and Yeshwantpur at 8.30am.
Earlier, during the Puja, the railways had introduced several special trains like Ranchi-Saharsa and Ranchi-Katihar while Ranchi-New Delhi Rajdhani Express and Ranchi-Howrah Express got additional coaches.