Senseless signs on Indian Railways

On my train journeys, recently, I have come across this sign in the A/C 2-Tier coaches:


I fail to see any sense or logic in this. The air-conditioner in the railway coach is running (or, is at least supposed to run…on the 21st of March, I travelled in an A/C 2 Tier coach where the air-conditioner did not run, and since the train started at 22.40 hrs and reached at 04.40 hrs, there was no way of getting a written complaint lodged, and hence a claim for fare refund….but that’s another story).

The fan is running, the lights are on, including night lights throughout the night, even when the passengers have switched off the main lights. The reading lights are on at the passengers’ convenience (when they work, of course.). If all these electrical circuits are working, what, then, is the reason to switch off the mobile charging points alone?

It is ridiculous to cite “fire preventive measure” as the reason. Could the Railways give any proper rationale for this?

Also, if a train (like the Bangalore-Chennai or Chennai-Bangalore Express) starts after 10pm and reaches well before 6am, does it mean that passengers cannot charge their mobile phones or laptops at all, in spite of such a facility existing? As it is, every berth is not provided a charging point, and this notice just takes the inconvenience to a new level.

Another notice which has just appeared is in the delightful Indglish dialect:


Can’t the Railways really use better English than that? “Accountal?”

Returning the bed sheets one hour before arrival? Really? The train I was on reached Chennai at 04.40 hours, and the return train reached Bangalore at 05.10 hrs. Am I really expected to get up one hour before that to return the “bedroll”?

And it tickles me no end to think of the various purposes that I never knew bedsheets could be used for…if the Railways had not listed them helpfully!

When are we going to get out of this mindset of “minimum possible facilities and maximum possible inconvenience” in our customer service organizations?


  1. George Abraham says:

    If you travel by Garib Rath, you pay separately for bed sheet and blanket. So they chill it well and force passengers to pay and use them. But when you travel in a 2 or 3 Tier A/C, the bed sheet and blankets are included in the fare and the A/C does not seem to work at all !!! Wondering who in the Railways is getting promoted for such cheap tricks?

  2. glman says:

    Not that I am a fan of India Railways, but from an engineering perspective, there is a certain rationale in allowing lights and A/C to be used unrestricted compared to mobile charging slots. The reason is that by providing a plug point, you are essentially giving the traveler an easy mechanism to create a short circuit in the system – just jam any conductive material between the live/neutral holes. A malfunction in your charger can cause this short while you are sleeping. And you know what happens if an Indian railway coach catches fire in the night.

  3. Deepa Mohan says:

    I have, as I said, I have seen sparks coming from the fans….so I can’t believe that only plugpoints will be a source of short-circuits.

  4. Vinod Vadakkadath says:

    Indian Railways is everyone’s favorite whipping boy. When there are fires on trains, you blame the railways. When they try to do something about it, then also you blame the railways. Then what else do you want to be done? Sprinkler systems and fire fighting equipment installed in trains? You are not paying enough for that. There have been innumerable instances of mobile phones catching fire while charging and they are trying to do atleast something for the greater good of the public to save lives, please accept that! Your mobile phone being fully charged is are not as important as people’s lives.

  5. Deepa Mohan says:

    You are entirely missing the point. If the mobile chargers work through the day, how can they suddenly become fire hazards between 10pm and 6 am? Can you quote an instance of mobile phones catching fire on any train while charging?

    I am not interested in “blaming” the railways but will certainly point out ilogical lacunae in the facilities provided.

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