Railway employees take up track maintenance work at Tatanagar station on Friday. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
Several trains running on the Howrah-Mumbai route via Tatanagar were cancelled or rescheduled on Friday, thanks to maintenance work on tracks that will continue for the next three days.
The upkeep job, known as mega block in railway parlance, started at Santragachi in Bengal, affecting movement of a few trains travelling from Howrah to Mumbai and vice versa.
The Mumbai-Howrah Mail, which was cancelled on Friday, will also not ply on March 24. The Hatia-Howrah Express also ran on rescheduled time. Railway officials said several long-distance trains originating as well as terminating at Howrah and Shalimar will remain cancelled over the next few days.
According to a circular released by Garden Reach, the headquarters of South Eastern Railway, Howrah-Barbil Janshatabdi Express (Dn) will terminate at Tatanagar station and not end at Howrah on Saturday. The Up train from Howrah will stick to its schedule.
Howrah-Titlagarh Ispat Express will not run on March 23 and 24 while Howrah-Pune Azad Hind Express will remain cancelled on March 24.
The circular further said as many as 16 mail and express trains would be short-terminated at different stations en route. Four mail and express trains will terminate at Shalimar instead of Howrah and three express trains will originate from Shalimar instead of Howrah for the next three days.
Station manager of Tatanagar Rajeshwar Choudhary said regular announcements were being made to inform passengers about the changes.
“We have also taken necessary measures to ensure that passengers don’t face any inconvenience at Tatanagar due to rescheduling of trains,” he said.
While the waiting rooms and dormitories have been provided with all facilities to ensure that the stopover at nights is comfortable for passengers, broken taps at the platforms have been replaced so that drinking water is always available.
A spokesperson of South Eastern Railway said the old route relay interlocking, which is part of the maintenance programme, was due for replacement as it had completed 30 years.
“This work was essential from the safety point of view. Once it is done, the total number of routes in Santragachi junction will increase from 218 to 447, which will help in better train operation and offer more flexibility,” said the spokesperson.
The maintenance exercise, which includes replacement of panels, new buildings, new signals, fixing of crossovers, will entail a total cost of over Rs 7.4 crore.