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Winter special train

Go ahead, pack your bags for winter vacation.

South Eastern Railway (SER) will introduce a weekly winter special train between Tatanagar and Visakhapatnam from December 16 to ease the rush during Christmas and New Year.

Tata-Visakhapatnam Express will leave Tatanagar at 1pm on Mondays and reach Visakhapatnam at 4.40am on Tuesdays. While returning, the train will start from Visakhapatnam at 5.45pm on Sundays and will arrive in the steel city at 10.45am the next day.

Station manager Awtar Singh said the winter special (08515/ 08516) would be a 15-coach train six general, five sleeper, two SLR (sitting-cum-luggage rake) and one each for AC II and III tier. He added that efforts were on to provide additional sleeper coaches in some of the long-distance trains to ease the rush.

According to officials at the computerised ticket reservation counters in Tatanagar, trains bound for Mumbai, New Delhi and southern destinations are witnessing a huge rush, thanks to the festive season.

The waiting list for major trains like Tata-Alleppy Express, Mumbai Mail, Howrah-Mumbai Geetanjali, Howrah-Kurla Express and Tata-Yeshwantpur has crossed the 150 mark between December 24 and January 6. In other trains, the figures are hovering between 100 and 125.

Worse is the situation for a few trains such as Puri-New Delhi Purushottam Superfast Express and Howrah-Ahmedabad Express. Even waiting list tickets are not available on dates like December 25, 27, 28, 29, 30 and the first four days of January, as the reservation quota has reached a no-room status.

The winter vacation in educational institutions will commence in the third week of December. Keeping this in mind, passengers book their tickets in advance for different tourist destinations.