Patna: A premier express train in India had to continue its journey with a lone female passenger who would not deboard even as the railway tracks had been blocked for over seven hours.
The Rajdhani Express had left the New Delhi station for Ranchi, capital of Jharkhand state, with 929 passengers aboard on Wednesday evening. Ananya, a female passenger doing law graduation from Banaras Hindu University (BHU), boarded the train at Pt Dindayal Updhayay junction (previously known as Moghulsarai junction) in Uttar Pradesh.
The train reached Daltonganj station in Jharkhand on Thursday morning but it remained stranded for hours as agitating tribals blocked the tracks in protests over an amendment in a local tenancy act to protect their land rights.
Due to the protests, the train got stuck at Daltonganj station, some 300km from its final destination. Eventually, the railway authorities asked all the passengers to deboard saying they had arranged buses to take them to Ranchi. Subsequently, all the passengers agreed apart for one.
Alternative mode of transport
Ananya, daughter of a retired Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC) official, refused to take the alternative mode of transport telling authorities it is their responsibility to take her to Ranchi by train.
“I have paid the fares to travel by train. Why would I take a train ticket if I wanted to travel by road? I have procured the ticket of the Rajdhnai Express and it is your responsibility to drop me home by this train only?” she told railway officials.
The officials soon contacted the Railway Board chairman and informed him about the bizarre demand. After looking into her concerns, the chairman ordered the authorities to take het to Ranchi by train.
Eventually, it departed from Daltonganj on Thursday evening on a diverted route and reached Ranchi in the early hours on Friday morning with the lone passenger. The railway authorities also provided adequate security to her so that she could reach home safely.
Realise their faults
“Since she remained adamant on continuing with her journey only by Rajdhani, we had to divert the train route,” senior divisional commercial manager (railways) Akhilesh Pandey said.
Ananya says she didn’t make a fuss for the attention. “I just wanted to make the railways realise its faults,” she said.
Railway officials said the train had to cover 535km journey — 225km more than the normal route — to reach Ranchi. According to The railway officials, this was perhaps for the first time in history of Indian railways that a train had to cover such a long distance just to drop a lone passenger.
The protestors meanwhile lifted the blockade on Saturday after the government assured to look into their demands.