Barely a day into its inauguration, the country’s first high-speed luxury train returned to Mumbai in a mess with garbage littered throughout the train, damaged LCD screens and a dozen missing headphones.
The Mumbai-Goa Tejas Express was flagged off by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu from CST on Monday. It completed its maiden run from CST to Karmali on the same day and returned to the city on Tuesday.
The railway officials, who had anticipated some form of nuisance, were shocked to find the toilets in complete disarray, over a dozen headphones missing and vandalized LCD screens.
Some commuters had unsuccessfully tried to steal the screens and damaged or scratched them in the process, an official said, adding that they had to arrange for extra headphones for passengers who travelled on Wednesday.
Moreover, despite the higher price tag, the cleaning staff found the train littered with wrappers, cups, waste bags and pet bottles like any other train. The cheapest ticket for the Tejas Express costs Rs 1,185 while the most expensive one costs Rs 2,740.
While authorities have urged passengers to treat the Tejas Express like their own, there’s no saying if an appeal alone will help curb such deliberate vandalism.
A railway activist, furious over the train’s condition on Tuesday, told Local Press Co that the maiden run alone has raised serious questions about whether commuters ‘deserve’ a state-of-the-art train like the Tejas Express.
Many others have demanded stricter punishments for those who are caught vandalising the train in any way and a more air-tight enforcement of the rules.
The 19-coach train boasts of a long list of modern amenities like infotainment screens, Wi-Fi, CCTV cameras, tea-coffee vending machines, vacuum bio-toilets, touch-free water taps and a catering service. The train has been fully booked till this Friday.
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