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Holi rush throws train travel plans off track

Thane: With the three-day long Holi weekend round the corner, last-minute travellers, especially those planning to go to Goa or Konkan, have been left with inadequate train services.

Nearly 53 trains travel to Konkan daily, but just seven pairs of superfast trains dedicatedly service the Mumbai-Goa sector. Few of the popular trains are booked to capacity and waiting lists in both AC and sleeper coaches have touched a jaw-dropping 400 for the weekend.

“Travellers to Goa and Konkan often prefer late-night trains. But there are few options while other trains passing the stretch have limited seats for Madgaon,” says a railway officer from Thane.

As trains are booked in advance, last-minute travellers look at airways and buses, and operators make a killing.

A return air ticket on the Goa stretch has shot up to nearly Rs 12,000 per person. “If our train ticket isn’t confirmed, our plans are ruined. Our agent has suggested trying flight tickets, but then we would end up spending Rs 25,000 for three people,” said Varsha Patel, a resident who has booked a resort in Goa over the next week.

Operators running bus services to Goa say fares have now risen to Rs 1,800-2,600 from the earlier Rs 1,200-1,500.

Railway authorities said they were running few special trains during the weekend. “We are running Holi special trains on Konkan Railway route in co-ordination with Central Railway. Passengers may avail of these services and details can be sought from the nearest railway station,” said a senior officer from Konkan Railway.

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