Monday, August 18, 2014

Karwar Express and Kannur Express - Confusion creating Railways Penalised

Railways fined for confusing passenger

The same locomotive pulls 16523 Karwar and 16517 Kannur till Mangalore

Same engine pulls trains to both Karwar and Kannur; confused passenger missed train and sued Railways in consumer court

A train with two destination names confused a passenger and he failed to board it. He was to board the Karwar Express (night train) but the first half of the train's coaches had boards identifying it as the Kannur Express. It was only when the train was moving that he noticed that the last few coaches were marked as Karwar Express. After missing the train, he filed a complaint with the consumer forum in Bangalore which has held the Railways responsible for deficiency in service and confusing passengers and fined it. This has come as yet another instance of the confusion created by the Railways to use the same locomotive to pull the trains to Kannur and Karwar till Mangalore, from where they are separated to head to their respective destinations.

Anup Nair, a resident of Thippasandra, filed the complaint last year on October 28. He had purchased a ticket to travel from Bangalore to Byndoor Mookambika Road (the railway station used by those heading to the Mookambika temple) on August 31, 2013, to perform a ritual called the 'Vidyarambh' at the Mookambika temple. He claimed to have reached the City Railway Station one hour in advance before the train was to depart at 8.40 pm. At the enquiry counter, he was told that the train would depart from platform number 10. Anup says he checked the display chart on the platform and that too showed train No. 16523 Karwar Express, along with train No. 16517 Kannur Express.

A train arrived at 8.20 pm on platform 10, and the digital signboard indicated it as 16517 Kannur Express. Even the coaches on the train had boards that read Kannur Express. Anup verified his ticket to confirm that it said Karwar Express. The complainant said he checked the TVs installed on the platform and found they were either showing only advertisements, or were not working. The train on the platform began to move and as it left the station, Anup noticed to his dismay that some of the coaches at the end had boards which said Karwar Express.

Anup could not board the moving train. Later he came to know that both the Kannur Express and Karwar Express were pulled by the same engine. When he confronted the officials, he was refunded Rs 465 out of the ticket fare of Rs 945.

In the consumer court, the Divisional Manager of South Western Railways claimed that Karwar Express left Bangalore City Railway Station at the scheduled time of 8.40 pm and there was no delay. Since the display showed Karwar Express too, the consumer was not misled. He claimed that "train No 16523 Karwar Express and 16517 Kannur Express leave as a single formation from Bangalore to Mangalore, where they are bifurcated. The coach position is disseminated through a public announcement system and electronic display boards. Hence, there was no reason for the complainant to presume that the train would come late... "

The court in its order, said: "The facts clearly goes to show that there was no proper display at the railway station on platform No.10 clearly stating that both Karwar Express and Kannur Express are one and the same, and there was no separate display of the train number of Karwar Express on that platform....That led to confusion to the complainant. In our opinion, the contention of the complainant is acceptable because when two trains are departing from the same platform and pulled by the same engine, the opposite party ought to have displayed in the digital sign board the train numbers and the names of both the trains, and not doing so leads to confusion to passengers." The court directed the Railways to refund Rs 480 to Anup along with a compensation of Rs 5,000, and another Rs 2,000 as litigation cost.


The confusion over the two trains from Bangalore to Karwar and Kannur is a creation of the Railways. Ever since the metre gauge track between Bangalore and Mysore was converted to broad gauge, there was a demand to introduce a night train to Karwar. The first train (on the broad gauge) was introduced between Bangalore and Mangalore, but it was extended to Karwar in 2009. It would have been a long distance train running entirely within Karnataka. However, the train was later extended to Kannur in Kerala. Then came a High Court order directing the train to Karwar. The Railways bifurcated the train. While a few coaches were extended to Karwar, and the others continued towards Kannur.
Meanwhile, from Independence Day this year, the Railways has decided to shift the origin point of Yeshwantpur Kannur/ Karwar Express to Bangalore City Railway station (Majestic) instead ofYeshwantpur. The reason? Kannur Express was creating confusion even at the Yeshwantpurstation. Passengers who used to board the train at Yeshwantpur (the originating point) were caught between two Kannur Express' which used to start from the same place and at almost same time! To avoid confusion about the two 'Kannur' trains (16527 and 16517) leaving Yeshwantpur at almost the same time, the combined Karwar/Kannur Express is now starting from the City RailwayStation, instead of Yeshwantpur station

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