Mumbai-Pune Pragati Express upgrade gets thumbs down from passengers

Dec 28, 2018, 18:00 IST | Rajendra B. Aklekar

Sharp-edged bathroom doors, tiles that rattle at high speed, seats that cause backaches are just a few of the things wrong with Mumbai-Pune Pragati Express

Mumbai-Pune Pragati Express upgrade gets thumbs down from passengers
The metal lining of the door has twisted out of shape; (right) The taps are broken

Passengers of the Mumbai-Pune Superfast Pragati Express that was recently upgraded under the Indian Railways' Utkrisht scheme seem unimpressed by the work. They have complained that bathroom doors have sharp edges that cause injuries, the tiles there rattle when the train is at high speed and many fans are non-functional. They have appealed to the railways to not upgrade other trains like this.

"We were promised a new train, but what they have done is poured paint and added wallpaper and fixtures. But, the work has been done shoddily. We fear the tiles and window grills of the bathroom may fall on someone's head while the train is in motion," said Punam Kijbile, an advocate and regular commuter.

"Who puts tiles in a train bathroom? The white cement between the tiles has fallen off at many places. There is also a foul smell from the water in one of the coaches and its stink spreads throughout the coach. This has been classified as a superfast train, yet halts every 25km," Prabhakar Gangavane, secretary of Karjat Railway Passenger Association, said.

The changed seats cause severe backaches, passengers complained
The changed seats cause severe backaches, passengers complained

Medical professional Manoj Dingreja from Pune, a regular traveller, said, "They seem to have changed the seating in one of the coaches and there is no water available in the coach. They should start by increasing the number of general coaches so that passengers can travel comfortably." Kijbile said, "The seats in the D1 coach cause terrible backaches after a long journey. The overall train upgrade should have been done with some thought."

When mid-day visited the train, it found many complaints valid, with the sharp edges of the bathrooms quite serious. Central Railway's Chief Public Relations Officer Sunil Udasi said, "We got the Utkrisht checked by senior officials of the mechanical department. No such issues were noticed. However, if there are problems with particular coaches/ toilet doors, they can be looked into. We are always open to feedback and suggestions. Pune Division officials have also been advised to check all toilet doors and tiles in the night itself, when Utkrisht reaches Pune."

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640 trains to be upgraded nationwide
The Mumbai-Pune Superfast Pragati Express train was developed under the Indian Railways' Utkrisht scheme, where about 640 trains are being upgraded countrywide in the next two years at a cost of R400crore. One train is allotted around R60 lakh for the upgrade and the Mumbai-Pune Superfast is the first train from Central Railway to be upgraded under the scheme. The scheme includes upgradation of toilets, vinyl wrapping in the interiors, upgraded interior amenities and fresh PU paint in each coach. The CR intends to convert more trains under the scheme soon. Pragati Express was introduced on December 27, 1991; from July 7, 2012, it was diverted via Karjat-Panvel-Diva section.

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