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Floodwaters disrupt trains

Train services between Calcutta and south India went haywire on Sunday morning with floodwaters damaging tracks across Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

Tracks got dislocated at three places, spread over a stretch of 1km in Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayawada, on Sunday morning.

The railway authorities were forced to cancel several trains to south India from Howrah, Santragachhi and Shalimar and divert a few others. Officials warned that the situation might not improve before October 29.

“We have started repairing the damaged tracks but trains will be able to run on their normal routes only from October 29, provided there is no more rainfall in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh,” said Soumitra Majumdar, the chief public relations officer of South Eastern Railway.

The Howrah-Chennai Coromandel Express, Santragachhi-Tirupati Express, Howrah-Puducherry Express and the Shalimar-Thiruvananthapuram Express were cancelled on Sunday.

Railway officials said the Howrah-Hyderabad East Coast Express and the Shalimar-Yesvantpur Special will remain cancelled on Monday, while the Howrah-Yesvantpur Duronto Express and the Howrah-Secunderabad Falaknuma Express will be diverted.

Instead of the scheduled route of Bhubaneswar- Visakhapatnam-Vijayawada, the trains will run through Jharsuguda, Bilaspur and Nagpur, a detour of more than 400km. “The trains are getting delayed between 10 and 24 hours. So, the corresponding trains have to be cancelled,” said an official.

Problem started last Wednesday after floodwaters damaged tracks at four places in Odisha and one in Andhra Pradesh, leading to a series of cancellations and delays. The trains affected were bound for Yesvantpur, Chennai, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram and Puducherry.

Services were restored on Saturday night after the railway authorities managed to repair parts of the damaged tracks. However, only two long-distance trains could run on their usual route.

Floodwaters damaged tracks at other places on Sunday morning. Around 7am on Sunday, the East Coast Railway informed officials in Calcutta about new damage.

“Not only the trains to south India, a few Mumbai-bound trains, too, are getting delayed as the Howrah-Mumbai route is getting congested,” said an official.

Remand

Lawyer Soumya Banerjee and his friend Shubha Mukherjee, arrested on Saturday for allegedly forging the signature of an advocate, have been remanded in police custody till November 4.