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Visakhapatnam: Second wave leaves a larger impact on East Coast Railway

An empty train coach in Visakhapatnam
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An empty train coach in Visakhapatnam

Highlights

  • Last year, the East Coast Railway incurred a loss of Rs 1,000 cr due to lockdown restrictions
  • With the steep rise in Covid cases, ECoR is falling in the loss trap once again
  • Due to poor patronage, six special trains have been cancelled in the last 10 days

Visakhapatnam: Last year, East Coast Railway (ECoR) incurred a loss to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore due to lockdown restrictions. Amid spiralling Covid-19 cases during the second wave, the EcoR is falling in the loss trap once again.

Most trains that are operating continue to run empty as not many are going ahead with their travel plans unless it is absolutely necessary. As a result, the operating cost of the railways is exceeding the revenue generated.

In connection with this, the East Coast Railway has cancelled six special trains in the last 10 days. Apparently, it reflects the extent of poor patronage. Most of the cancelled trains used to run till Telangana and Odisha.

Except a few trains such as Godavari Express and Howrah Chennai train, the occupancy is not even crossing 40 per cent in the rest of the trains. A large percentage of passengers in the trains that record a decent occupancy appear to be migrant workers.

Some of the special trains that were initially introduced to clear the rush are now being suspended due to the prevailing Covid-19 situation. The demand for such trains was high until the first week of April. Given the rise in coronavirus cases, many travellers are postponing their trips. As a result, the tickets reserved in advance were cancelled.

Owing to lack of patronage, some of the coach doors remain closed throughout their onward journey.

Howrah-Yeshwantpur, Bhubaneswar-Bengaluru and Visakhapatnam-Vijayawada special trains that reached Visakhapatnam on Wednesday afternoon did not register even 20 per cent occupancy. The authorities concerned decided to cancel special trains plying on such routes. "Close to 11 pairs of trains were suspended due to poor patronage. Trains that record poor occupancy were cancelled till May end. Depending on the passengers flow, special train service will be resumed," says A K Tripathi, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager, ECoR.

With the loss registering more than 35 per cent compared to last year, officials concerned say that situation is unlikely to improve as long as the curfew across the State and lockdown restrictions in other States are in place.

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