20 May 2012

Indian Railways Vignettes

Below is a selection of humorous vignettes from the Indian Railways, including stories of rats, bulls and pythons and one story of a rather inebriated engine driver!

Have you seen rats who drink tea regularly? I have seen it at Shoranur(Kerala) station Thousands of rats belonging to all generations infest the numerous holes just below PF2 which are made for drainage purpose. 

As soon as a train leaves, these rats virtually scramble hither thither in the PF, and if the tea vendors are away for a smoke and if tea is pouring out drip by drip from the pot, they raise their bodies on hind legs and drink tea fearlessly whilst hundreds of passengers watch the scene. 


In the late 40s, 4UP Frontier Mail was hauled by an H Class locomotive, driven by Speed King, K. 

An inebriated K was stung by a local train overtaking him. He ripped open the Regulator, and hurtled past Mahalaxmi. Too late, he switched off Power and applied full Emergency brakes. The train crashed into the Platform Dead End, and the Bombay Central station roof caved in. The saloon of the then Regional Mechanical Engineer (RME), H, was attached to the rear of 4 UP. 

K was immediately suspended, and the RME contemplated dismissing K. Somebody whispered into the RMEs ear,”Sir, if you take disciplinary action against K, you are also responsible.” The saloon was equipped with braking equipment. 

The RME was also required to ensure the safety of the train by operating the brakes. The result was that K was permanently demoted to Goods Driver Grade C’ till his retirement. 

Till the end, he retained the awesome notoriety of the Speed King who brought the house, or rather, Bombay Central station roof down.


The increasing frequency of attacks by some rogue bulls in Varanasi has forced the temple town's Railway authorities to remove them from the Railway station premises. The authorities have received a number of complaints by visitors to the railway station about the bulls' nuisance. 

These bulls have made the Railway platform their abode and will now be removed with the help of the local Municipal corporation workers. They will be rehabilitated in neighbouring forests. 

Vinod Singh, a railway ticket examiner said that the bulls were causing a lot of trouble to passengers on the Railway station. "The bulls snatch food from the passengers and cause difficulty in walking around on the platforms. The passengers face inconvenience as these bulls stay on the platform and make the station dirty. Keeping all this mind the area manager (Railways) has called for drive against the stray bulls," he said. 

The drive, however, has met with adverse reactions from certain residents of the holy city who revere the bull and consider such action as disrespectful. 

"The bull has a lot of importance here as it is Lord Shiva's ride. The administration is sinning against God by behaving so wrongly with them. Bulls are extremely calm animals, they don't harm anyone. They never cause destruction. They do so only if you instigate them," said Badal Jaiswal, a Varanasi dweller. 


An adult python was found inside an air conditioned compartment of Puri-Guwahati Express today creating panic among the passengers. The snake, which was hanging from a hook near the roof of the compartment, was caught at Balasore station by Railway Protection Force, who were informed about it by the passengers. 

“When the train arrived at Balasore station at about 7 pm today passengers complained to the RPF personnel patrolling the platform and we immediately informed the guard of the train and managed to catch the snake,” said officer-in-charge of RPF at Balasore Amulya Biswal. The snake was found near the toilet and it was suspected that it had escaped while some person was trying to smuggle it, he said.“ 

The Guwahati bound express had to be detained for about half an hour at the platform here to catch the 5 feet-long python,” he added. The local forest officials have been asked to take possession of the snake. 

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