12 hours and still counting at the Cantt Station


For God’s sake, have mercy on us and our children and tell us whether the trains will leave today or not,” an elderly gentleman was seen inquiring at the Cantt Station information counter on Sunday. He had been told that he would have to wait for three more hours for his train to arrive in the city and then depart. He had already done so for six hours.
The late arrival of trains in Karachi delayed the departure of five trains to the upcountry from the city’s stations. When the trains did not arrive at the stations for 12 hours, the Railways officials left their offices to escape the wrath of the masses. Enraged passengers at the Cantt Station staged a protest and chanted slogans against the Railways management and the department’s federal minister. Waiting at crowded platforms, the passengers had no information on when the trains would arrive and they would leave.
“Why don’t you people inform us on the phone that the trains are late? We are sitting on the ground with our children since 2pm at station and after two hours, you people inform us that the departure time has been further delayed,” 45-year-old Abdul Hameed told a Railways official at the information counter. Talking to Pakistan Today, he said, “We arrived at Cantt Station at 1:00 PM for the Allama Iqbal Express that was scheduled to depart at 2:00 PM. After six hours of waiting at the station, the Railways authorities told me that the train is still not here and it would arrive after three more hours.”
 Earlier, a family, moving from the city to Rawalpindi due to the prevailing law and order situation, told Pakistan Today that they have been waiting for the Pakistan Express which was scheduled to arrive at the Cantt Station at 1pm. The station manager and the assistant station manager were seen absent from their offices and the only man present at the information counter was informing passengers about expected arrival of the trains at the station. At the time this report was filed, the trains had not arrived at the Cantt Station even after a delay of 12 hours.
Pakistan Express was expected to arrive at Cantt Station at 1:00 PM but it was delayed and expected to arrive at 9:00 PM. Allama Iqbal was scheduled to reach Cantt Station at 2:00 PM, but was now expected to depart from the station at 9:45 PM. Zakariya Express’s expected arrival time was 6pm and its new departure time was 9:30 PM. Karachi Express was expected to arrive at Cantt Station at 5:00 PM, but its delayed departure time was 10:45 PM.  
Pakistan Railways Divisional Commercial Officer Kamran Saeed said that trains arriving late from the upcountry had resulted in the delay in departure times.