As many as 90 trains were cancelled and 46 diverted between Friday and Saturday in the wake of the train accident in Balasore, Odisha.
Around 12 trains leaving from Howrah, Kharagpur, Bhubaneswar and Jajpur were “short-terminated” during the day, leaving passengers stranded.
“Given the scale of rescue and relief work that is underway at the accident site in Odisha, we expect to resume running of trains within a day,” said Kausik Mitra, chief public relations office of the eastern railway.
“The collective effort of over 1,000 railway personnel is at the highest level at the accident site. We hope to resume train operations on the accident-hit route from Sunday. Passengers will be refunded for their tickets on trains that have been cancelled according to railway rules.”
Since Friday evening, when three trains were involved in one of the biggest railway disasters in several decades at Bahanaga, near Balasore, separate teams from the railways, from Odisha and Bengal, the army, air force and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been at work, senior railway officials said.
By Saturday evening, all trapped passengers were rescued and the work of restoration of the line, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Southeastern Railway started, Amitabh Sharma, railway spokesperson said.
Among some of the trains that were cancelled during the day were the Howrah-Bangalore Express, Howrah-Secunderabad Express, Howrah-Ernakulam Express, Howrah-Bhajnpur Express, Howrah-Puri Express, Howrah-Chennai Express and Howrah-Tirupati Express.
Among the 46 trains, several were diverted along Kharapur-Tata-Rourkela-Jharsuguda route, while a few were made to move along the east-coast, down the Kapilas Road station (Odisha)-Jaroli (Odisha)-Dangoapasi (Jharkhand) route.
“I had an appointment with a doctor at a private hospital in Chennai for my mother’s backbone ache. It was a post-operation check-up and very vital. But that has to be cancelled,” said Avijit Ghosh, a Behala resident.
Chennai and Bangalore attract a huge number of passengers from Bengal, many of them students or patients.
Senior railway officials said the cancellations left many of them in a spot.
With the higher secondary results out in Bengal, several parents had lined up a trip to the Karnataka capital overthe last two days to scansome of the private educational institutions offering engineering degrees. The cancellation of trains meant some of them had to postpone their visits.
“We will have to wait for services to resume before rescheduling our trip to Bangalore for my nephew,” said Subir Jana, a resident of Chandrakona Road, West Midnapore.
Some who had lined up a trip to the Jagannath temple in Puri on the occasion of Snan Yatra on Sunday looked crestfallen. Lakhs of devotees go to Puri to witness the bathing ritual of Lord Jagannath on the day.
“I had to return from Sealdah on Friday since the train to Puri was cancelled and I couldn’t make it to the Snan Yatra,” said Soumya Banerjee, a resident of Kasba.