It was on a bright summer’s day in 1982 that I boarded the ‘KK’ Express bound for Delhi at the Trivandrum Central railway station, on my way back to Vijayawada after a short sojourn at home. The train was flagged off on time and I settled down comfortably with a book. I shared the air-conditioned second class cubicle with a couple and their two children who were quite friendly. They attempted to make small conversation with me though I tried to keep to myself and my book. The Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) came around and checked the tickets.
Just after the train left the next major station, Quilon, I went to the toilet to change into more comfortable dress for the long journey ahead. However, during the process I watched in horror my wallet falling through the toilet outlet.
In panic, since all my money and the train ticket were inside the wallet, I pulled the emergency chain inside the toilet. The chain just came off in my hand. I came out and pulled the first chain that I saw. This time the train screeched to a halt, after maybe 500 more metres.
I faced a barrage of questions from other passengers and officials who jumped out of the stationary train along with me. Of course, there was no chance of recovering my wallet, for the train had travelled at least 2 km from the point of the mishap. So everyone got back in the train and the journey resumed.
My co-passengers expressed their sympathies and consoled me. The TTE, a stern, no-nonsense person, came over to find out about the incident and asked me for the ticket again. I informed him it had been lost along with my wallet. He asked me to take a new ticket since I cannot travel without a valid ticket. I explained to him that all my money also went down with the wallet and I was left with just a 50-paisa coin. He was not willing to listen to my pleas and asked me to get down at the next station.
However, after some time he came back and asked me to meet the Train Superintendent who was in the last bogey and get his permission to travel.
I walked through numerous bogies jostling with crowds and virtually fighting my way through at times to reach the officer and tried to explain the situation to him. But he flatly refused to give any such permission and said the TTE had no business even to send me to him. Dejected, I found my way back to the TTE and explained my predicament.
Finally, he agreed to allow me to travel up to Palghat where he would be handing over charge to another TTE, and it was up to the new TTE to allow me to travel ahead.
To my pleasant surprise, he offered me Rs. 20, to see me through the journey. In fact, he was apologetic about not being able to give me more money. He insisted on my taking the money, saying I could return it after reaching home.
At Palghat, I waited anxiously for the new TTE, concerned that he would evict me. He came, not to evict me but to assure me that he would allow me to travel up to Vijayawada since the previous TTE had explained to him my situation and requested him to take care of me.
Still to go
The rest of the journey was uneventful. When the train rolled into the Vijayawada station, I still had about Rs.10 left in my pocket, since my co-passengers had ensured that I did not go hungry by sharing the food they were carrying.
I was humbled beyond words at the Vijayawada station when the TTE took me personally to the Stationmaster and requested him to allow me to pass through the gate, explaining the circumstances.
This was an experience I cherish, which not just changed my opinion of TTEs but also rekindled my belief in humanity and the confidence in providence.
The Railway Station
The railway station simply is a place where trains make a stop. People alight with their luggage’s as well as other passengers aboard the train. If there are cargoes they are taken down as other cargos are loaded. Some stations are big while others are small this is determined by the activities carried out in the process. History sees railway transportation be used mostly in carriage of large quantity of stock or products as well as the passengers. The world’s first railway station was the mount on the Oystermouth railway in Wales which carried mostly passengers although the major means used was on horse on the locomotives. Since then the railway station has been seen improve due to the changes of technology and introduction of power. Of late most trains have been upgraded to use the power from electricity compared to ancient times when only fuel was the means to power trains. As a result improvements on the railway stations have been improving now and then and various features of a good station being adapted to suit the standards of the new technology and the new changes. This essay seeks to describe the railway station, the new changes so far done to the railway station as well as the new technologies influence on the stations.
There are a good number of stations found at the sides of the railway. Depending on the work load and the activities going on the station, they vary in size. Some are big whereas some are very small also there is the mediocre type. Those big stations are very few since there are other substations and are located mainly at the junctions or commercial centers including the capital town. The features of the big station include: police station room, waiting room, mail-service, book-stalls, restaurants, the railway is shaded with overhead platforms and the railway signal bell. In the building there are divided rooms where the stationmaster officer is, his or her assistant office, the office of the clerk, the office of enquiry, the booking office where passengers book tickets, and timekeepers office. There are also the passenger waiting rooms where tit is categorized into two, namely the upper class and the lower class room. The upper room is for the upper class people who hold the ticket while the lower room is for the lower class holders. The railway station also features the police station. The police are there to check on those crimes violated against the station or any other criminal cases being associated with the station. The restraints provide meals and other foodstuffs’ while there is R.M.S. which deals with the mails services .the platforms of the railway stations are relatively raised. This is to enable passengers find their way into the train easily. New York records one of the biggest countries with the largest platform and holds the biggest railway station in the entire world. Furthermore there are a good number of railway signals fixed at the very end of the stations consisting of a small bar at the very top of the post. The bar is made in such a way that it when it is horizontal the train does not come in since there is a train inside. At night the post manage to control the train movement by their blue lights and red yellow color at the top. Lastly outside the railway station there are place set aside for parking of vehicles and bicycles.
In conclusion, the railway station has played a great impact in supporting the activities of the train. The presence of different offices builds up the station. These offices like booking office, enquiry office, police station, mail service office and other vital office have seen the process of boarding and alighting of passengers and goods. The bars at the very end of the station prevent collision of trains hence managing the train movement.