Good news for the passengers as the Railway Board has commenced introducing trains on the newly-opened route of Gondia Jabalpur, and as expected they pulled out a popular train, Gaya-Madras-Gaya, of the Grand Trunk route. The decision however ended-up pinching a large North Indian populace in city as they now look for alternative to reach their native places. Festival special 02389/02390 Gaya-Madras Gaya would now reach Gondia directly from Ballarshah and then move ahead to Nainpur Balaghat and Jabalpur and ahead on way to destination. The implication of diversion is that Gaya train would now no longer pass through Nagpur Junction, though assured traffic is available round the year.
The city is base to lakhs of people with origin of North India and so the loss of one train is going to put them in quandary as already they were facing tremendous problems in getting confirmed tickets due to lesser station quota. Their fear is further compounded as it is learnt that more trains for North India that now run via Nagpur-Itarsi to Jabalpur could be diverted on Ballarshah-Gondia-Jabalpur sector. Though decision of Railways stems from time tested logic of shorter route to destination, it however puts large population from North India living in Nagpur and rural parts in limbo. Year after year with no increase in station quota in these long distance trains on South-North route, the people haling from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were always neglected by the Railways. Railway officials said that due to diversion about 274 km of distance is shortened on way to Gaya and subsequently four to five hours of travel time is also saved.
Earlier the train from Madras and on way to Gaya used would tavel from Ballarshah to Nagpur via Wardha (a distance of 132 kms) and then move ahead and reach Itarsi (a distance of 297 kms) from there to Jabalpur (a distance of 245 kms) and then to Gaya. Distances wise this would mean 753 km and now in new route the Gaya bound train moves from Ballarshah directly to Gondia and then to Balaghat, Samnapur and ahead to Jablapur that is just 479 km. Local railway officials further said that by diverting only one train we are just testing water to gauge response of travellers. In case the ticket sale fails to pick-up as per expectations then the officials might have to include Nagpur in its itinerary. Only the change would be instead of travelling to Itarsi, the Gaya bound train would move from Nagpur to Gondia and then to North India. Similarly another train that needs extension is Nagpur-Rewa till Patna or Varanasi by diverting the same from Satna station. For Rewa travellers, a shuttle service can be introduced of two or three bogies can be detached at Satna as the distance between t between two stations is just 45 to 50 kms.