The first ever double decker train service between Mumbai and Goa got off to an inauspicious start after the driver of the train halted it at Roha station for over an hour on Friday morning. The driver was slotted to pilot the train till Ratnagiri. The train was stranded at Roha for over an hour, the drama having started at 8:40 am.
The driver cited employment rules stating that he had already put in ten hours of duty and should be relieved. As the passengers in the train fumed, an embarrassed Central Railway operations team had to send an SOS to Konkan Railway authorities to send in a replacement driver, called A 'reliever' in railway parlance.
Roha, 144 kilometres from Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) is the start of the Konkan Railway's 740 kilometer route.
Incensed Central Railway officials called the driver's act 'insubordination' and said action would be taken against him. "Our duty chart shows his stipulated 10 hours would have got over much after he reached Ratnagiri. This is harassment to the paying public", said a senior CR official.
Officials said that CR has been having problems with its drivers for some time now, with some of them claiming that they will pilot the trains till Roha and then Konkan Railway drivers should take over. This is contested by Konkan Railway authorities, who say that the Railway ministry schedules lay down that CR will provide drivers up till Ratnagiri.
As reported by dna, the first double decker run between Mumbai and Goa has been a commercial disaster with just 135 of the total 960 seats available on the train getting sold.