TN floods: These railway staffers at Srivaikuntam station handled fury of nature and passengers for 36 hours | Chennai News – Times of India

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Madurai: It was an experience of a lifetime. Srivaikantham Station Master Jafar Ali and a handful Railway staff About 500 had to be calmed down Passengers A train which had been stuck there since Sunday night due to continuous rain and flooding for a few days. They faced the wrath of nature and passengers simultaneously.
No. 20606 Chandra Express Ballasts originating from Tiruchandar were stopped after being washed away on the Srivaikantham – Saidunganalur section of the Tiruchandar – Tirunelveli railway line.
The train with about 800 passengers reached Srivaikantam at 9.20 pm on Sunday. “I received an alert five minutes ago that it is not safe to run trains due to flooded tracks ahead,” said the station master. The train crew and the station master patiently waited for orders from their superiors. They were told two hours later that it was impossible to move the train.
It was raining heavily and the engine lost power after a few hours. “Even when we shifted the tandem train from Tirunelveli to Tiruchandar, it was raining heavily. Even after starting from Tiruchandar station, we ran the train cautiously. But we realized the seriousness of the problem. It happened when the power supply was cut off at Srivaikantham,” said loco pilot Shaju SR.
Other crew members included Train Manager S Sundar and Assistant Loco Pilot A Ayasamy. There were three pointsmen at the station.

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Loco Pilot Shaju Sr
Railways managed to evacuate 300 to a nearby school on Sunday night. But the remaining 500 could not be evacuated due to rising water level.
As the train stopped in the dark, confused and scared passengers wanted to know if the train would run. They would go to the station master’s room and return to the loco staff for answers. “We made arrangements for the night, but by Monday morning the question of food arose. There were many children and old people,” Shaju said.
Sensing the plight of the remaining 500 passengers, the villagers decided to take matters into their own hands. “I can name two old women – Lakshmi and Devki – who quickly gathered things and started arranging food for people,” says Shaju.
And, this generosity helped the villagers as well as the railway staff who faced the wrath of the passengers.
Efforts by the Railways, NDRF and state agencies to reach the station were futile on Monday. “Passengers were angry and frustrated. Many took the situation seriously while we had to patiently handle several other angry passengers as the phone connection was also lost soon,” Jafar Ali said.
Although the rain eased by Monday afternoon, the level around the station continued to rise and the challenge was to keep the train from moving forward or backward. “We hardly slept and were constantly checking people and the train,” Shaju said.
They breathed a sigh of relief on Tuesday morning when a team of railway police officers reached there on foot and told them how lucky they were to be stranded at a station. The NDRF reached ahead and helicopters dropped food, which eased the passengers’ worries.
After 36 hours, Station Master Jafar Ali was the last person to leave the station after making sure everything was in place.

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