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'In My Train, Non-Ticket Holders Tore Curtains To Use as Mats & Sat on Floor'

The sea of non-ticket holders made reaching the toilets difficult for others in the compartment.

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On 15 March, I travelled from Jamalpur, a railway station in Bihar, to Anand Vihar in Delhi aboard the Malda Town Anand Vihar Express (Train No. 13429). I had booked my ticket for a 2-tier AC.

I boarded the train around 2 pm. As I entered the coach, I saw several people standing in the passage. Initially, I assumed they had just boarded and were arranging their luggage. 

The sea of non-ticket holders made reaching the toilets difficult for others in the compartment.

The passage in the trains coach was filled with people.

(Photo Credit: Surbhi Singh)

However, when I reached my seat, which was an upper berth, I found that a lady had already occupied my reserved seat. I politely asked her to vacate it. She requested to sit there for a few hours, but I refused to entertain her request.

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As the train moved, more and more people without valid tickets entered the coach and began sitting on the floor. Passengers started tearing the curtains and used it as floor mats to sit on.
The sea of non-ticket holders made reaching the toilets difficult for others in the compartment.

There was practically no space in between the berths as passengers without valid tickets had boarded the second AC coach.

(Photo Credit: Surbhi Singh)

The passage/corridore and the space between the berths were filled with passengers, making the situation in the coach worse than that in an unreserved general coach. 

Passengers without valid tickets started fighting with those who had reserved seats and forcefully sat on their berths. The sea of non-ticket holders made reaching the toilets difficult for others in the compartment.

I avoided going to the washroom for 10 hours, despite desperately needing to, simply because moving became impossible.

Earlier, this was the condition of unreserved and sleeper class coaches. However, passengers with invalid tickets and unreserved seats enter the AC coaches, and Indian Railways does nothing about it. 

It was so crowded that even though the AC was operational, it wasn't effective. It became too hot, and at one point, I felt sick.

Neither the Train Ticket Examiner (TTE), the coach attendant, nor the Railway Protection Force (RPF) could help passengers with reserved berths.

As a woman, I travelled in AC coaches to avoid any unpleasant experience, but this experience was the opposite.

Since I was travelling alone, I also feared for my safety as there were constant quarrels between passengers with reserved and unreserved seats and in between all of this, some men were consuming alcohol even though it's banned in Bihar.

The sea of non-ticket holders made reaching the toilets difficult for others in the compartment.

The coach was overcrowded that it was impossible for passengers to even go to the restroom.

(Photo Credit: Surbhi Singh)

While travelling in trains, I generally prefer carrying homecooked food. Since my mother wasn't well, I relied on the train's pantry and vendors for food. But no food vendor came until midnight because of the crowd. 

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The situation improved only at around midnight when the train reached Varanasi Junction. By then, most of the local passengers without valid tickets had deboarded the train. Then, the TTE came to check our tickets. It was a big surprise for me as for 10 hours, no railway staff was available to help.

I even contacted the Railways via X (formerly Twitter) and made a complaint through their official website, but no action was taken. Replies on X only stated that the matter was escalated, but no resolution was achieved.

When I spoke to my fellow passengers, they told me this was the usual condition until the Bihar border. It's such a shame that a passenger who purchases an expensive 2 AC-tier ticket can't be assured of a berth despite reservations with the Indian Railways.

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This isn't the first time passengers have faced such situations while travelling by train. There have been several instances where trains have been overcrowded, leaving practically zero space to move, and sometimes, it becomes impossible even to board the train.

The Railway Needs to Work Towards a Solution

This situation raises several questions about the Railways' management. It's not the first time such a thing has happened. The problem worsens during festive seasons. Why isn't Indian Railways taking any steps to manage the crowd?

If the influx of people travelling on trains is substantial, then why doesn't the railway increase its passenger carrying capacity to accommodate more passengers and strive to provide pleasant rides to its customers?

Why are people with invalid tickets allowed inside trains? Why aren't tickets checked upon entering the railway station and boarding the train?

While new trains like Vande Bharat are being announced, which is great, the situation of the existing trains remains sad. I hope the Indian Railways increases the passenger carrying capacity and improves proper ticketing, checking, and managing its iconic infrastructure.

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(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)

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