Southern Railway has implemented a comprehensive set of initiatives this festive season to enhance the travel experience for passengers during the Diwali season while maintaining the highest service standards. Some of the key initiatives include:
1. Diwali Special Trains: Southern Railway operated 133 Diwali special trains, including 38 services from other zonal Railways, providing an additional 1.52 lakh berths to accommodate the surge in demand during the festival season.
2. Vande Bharat Diwali Special Trains: Setting a precedent in Indian Railways, Southern Railway introduced Vande Bharat Diwali special trains between Chennai Egmore and Tirunelveli, offering a faster and more comfortable journey for passengers heading to the Southern districts of Tamil Nadu.
3. Punctuality Monitoring: Rigorous monitoring of the punctuality of regular and Diwali Special trains, ensuring timely arrivals at their destinations. Popular trains were especially prioritized to manage the festive crowd efficiently.
4. Ticket Checking Staff Deployment: Additional ticket checking staff were deployed at major stations to conduct checks, and unreserved ticket issue was stopped at booking offices where necessary to prevent overcrowding in unreserved coaches.
5. Special Ticket checking drives: A total of 18794 cases were booked against ticketless travel and a penalty amount of Rs. 99 lakhs was collected during the festive weekend. Intensive drives were conducted in East/North bound trains to prevent unauthorized persons occupying reserved coaches. Efforts were taken to deboard such passengers and accommodate them in unreserved coaches.
6. Additional Booking Windows: To enhance passenger convenience, extra booking windows were opened at various locations.
7. Crowd Control Measures: Elaborate crowd control arrangements were implemented at major railway stations, anticipating heavy footfall during the festival season. Senior officers were stationed at these locations to supervise activities and regulate crowds systematically.
8. Security Measures: Government Railway Police (GRP) and Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel were strategically deployed at foot-over bridges to ensure smooth crowd regulation and prevent stampede-like situations during peak rush hours. Skilled RPF staff in CCTV Control Rooms kept a vigilant eye on crowded areas, providing real-time assistance to passengers.
9. Queue System Implementation: At originating stations, a queue system for entering general coaches was established to streamline boarding processes.
10. Timely Announcements: Passengers were kept informed about train and coach locations well in advance through timely announcements, enhancing overall awareness.
11. Mixed Escort for Security: Trains, particularly those with long distances, were equipped with mixed escort teams to provide real-time assistance, with a focus on ensuring the safety and comfort of female passengers.
12. Help desks: 43 special help desks were operated in all major stations for guidance of passengers and easy crowd clearance.