What to do on missing the train after getting down at an intermediate station

Depending on where you are traveling Indian railways travel journey can sometimes extend to 2 to 3 days. In this long journey, it is obvious that we get down at intermediate stations for various reasons like purchasing food, water etc. But what if you are unaware while you have got down and the train starts moving? What to do in such situations and how to avoid such occurrences? Let us have look at it in this article.


During the long journeys, Indian railways is like a second home to the passengers. They have to do all the daily activities on the train like breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, sleeping etc. On the other hand, it is also tiring for many as people have to remain in an enclosed coach for a long time and continuously sit. It is not as comfortable as the home where you can move about, sit, sleep and eat at your will. In long journeys, people prefer to carry food from their home to some extent but still, they have to depend on outside food available at intermediate stations or in pantry car of the train.

It is common to see many passengers get down the train at intermediate stations to buy some food, water bottles or just to have a stroll and feel outside open atmosphere. You must have observed it and even sometimes you yourself also must have done it. I think there is no harm in it till the time you are careful and board the train back before it departs. The problem comes sometimes when some passengers are careless and not alert regarding train's scheduled stoppage and sometimes there are chances that train may depart while they are still on the station. Though this may not be so common but is always a probable scenario. So let us see below how to react to such unexpected situation and what preventive measures can be taken to avoid it.

Precautions to observe during alighting at intermediate stations

A lot of pre planning and proper preparations are needed before you get down at stations on the route for any of your needs so that untoward incident of the train leaving you and going does not happen. It is better to take preventive measures rather than falling into the undesirable situation and then reacting. Let us have a look at some of these precautionary measures.

  • Train stoppage time : During train journey, it is essential that you keep a print out of your train timetable with you which shows train arrival and departure timings for different halting stations on the way. You can print your train timetable from www.indianrail.gov.in or www.irctc.co.in. Many people also carry train timetable book published by Indian railway every year but now in this age on the internet it is not so common to see. From this, you can see what is the stoppage time in minutes at the particular station. Preferably plan to get down at the stations which have minimum 10 minutes of stoppage time. But sometimes most of the stations on the route have stoppage times only from 5 to 7 minutes so you have no choice but to get down to get your needs from the station. Never attempt to get down at small stations which have stoppage time of just 1 to 2 mins as it will become very risky if you happen to move away from your coach by a great distance. If it is very urgent then you can quickly get down if the shop is in front of your coach and you do not need to go far on the platform.
  • Train running status : Keeping track of train running status is also very important. You should know whether your train is running late, normal time or before time. This is easy to check if you are carrying a print out of your train schedule. Some people who do not have timetable tend to ask this information to the food and tea vendors, fellow passengers, coach attendants etc. This is also fine but the information you will get may not be exact as a train timetable. At times you get wrong information also and this is especially the case when you ask some other passengers who may not be aware of the train timings. So it is best to carry a train schedule. You may also use a soft copy of schedule on your smartphone and printout is not mandatory.
    So based on your train running status sometimes stoppage times at the station also gets impacted. For example, if a train is running late by 3 hours than there are chances that to make up for the late running train stoppage time at intermediate stations is trimmed. So if a train is originally scheduled to stop for 15 minutes than in case of late running it may stop only for 10 mins. Or if it is supposed to stop for 10 minutes then it may stop for just 5 or 7 minutes. This is not a rule but quite possible so you should be prepared for it. So when you get down at the station and you know that train is quite late then you should have at the back of your mind that train may depart early. On the other hand, if the train reaches before time at a particular station then it will always stop extra and will only depart when it is right time to depart from that station. In short, it cannot reach early and depart early. If it reaches early then it has to wait extra for that much time. So you can be relaxed if a train reaches early at the station as it will stop for more time than the schedule.
  • Track the time : When you have alighted at a station always keep track of the time displayed on the platform clock or your own clock. Also, tally the time between your clock and station clock and judge accordingly. So for example when you get down at a station where stoppage time is 5 minutes then always keep an eye on watch as to at what time you got down and how much time is still remaining for the train to depart. Losing track of the stoppage time can prove risky as you may go far away from your coach thinking that time is still left and you may be caught unawares. So plan your moves and activities on the station based on the time remaining. For example, if you have just 1 min left then you can quickly plan to buy some food item which is ready and from a stall which is not crowded.
  • Keep the change money : One of the most convenient things during railway journey is to have smaller denominations notes and coins with you like 1,2,5,10, 20, 50 etc. If you tender an exact amount while buying for your needs at intermediate stations then you can save a lot of time in waiting for the vendor to search for change money. So in case you get down at a station which has less stoppage then having money in smaller denominations will help in finishing your transaction fast. Of course when you are at leisure and train stoppage is more than you can exchange big notes like 100, 500 etc.
  • Coach location : It is also very important to know about your coach sequence in the train when you board the train. Your coach can be either in beginning near the engine or in middle or towards the end. As far as getting down the train at an intermediate station is concerned middle coaches seem to be most convenient as most of the food and other items stalls in the station are located in the middle of the platform rather than the end or beginning. Hence you can quickly get down and get back without having to move much on the platform. But if your coach is either at the beginning or at the end then you need to spend a lot of time in moving on the platform towards the stalls. So based on your coach location also you can make a decision of whether to get down from the train or not.
  • Train direction : When you are down the train in platform buying food items from the stall always keep your train direction at the back of your mind. You should know in which direction is the train engine and in which direction is the train going to move. Accordingly, you can keep yourself prepared to run in case of the train starts before you finish your job. Along with this, you can also keep in mind location of your coach in relation to your train. All this will give you an idea as to in which direction you should run to catch your train.
  • Train signal : Sometimes when train is at station and there is red signal then train is not allowed to leave the station at its scheduled time. If you are on the platform in such situations you never know when will train start as it depends on signal. In such cases keep an eye periodically on the train signal which will be visible in front of the train engine. If you see it as red then the train will not move. Once you find it has turned yellow you should start rushing towards your coach as yellow signal shows that train is preparing to start. Also, keep your ears open and if you hear the train whistle then be alert and run towards your coach.
  • Vendors on the train : Many vendors selling different types of food items and water also board the coaches of the train to sell their items. So in case you get your needs from them you may not get down at the station to buy them and take a risk.

Things to do when your train starts leaving while you are on the platform

But still in case if you see that your train has started while you are still buying your necessary things from the station then what to do and how to react? Below are possible steps.

  • Start running : Leaving aside whatever you have bought from station be it food item or anything leave it there and start running towards the direction of your coach. It is best to keep your both hands free so that you can easily hold the handle of train door to get in. Do not hold anything in hand at that time. In such situations, it will always help if you are wearing shoes or tight sandals rather than chappals as chappal can easily come out while you are running to catch the train. Keep presence of mind and run towards the direction of your coach and not in opposite direction. Try your level best to reach to your coach and board it by holding two handles of the door. While you are running make sure that you keep an eye on the platform and make sure that it is not ending. If you are unaware and running without noticing the platform than in case the platform ends you may fall and injure yourself.
  • Get into any coach : If while running towards your coach you feel that train is catching speed then you need not waste time in running faster to get towards your coach. Instead get into any of the coaches which are in front of you. Nowadays most of the coaches are interconnected in the train and after getting inside a coach you can easily walk down to your own coach. In case you find that coaches are not interconnected still it is better to get inside any coach as at least you will be on the train. Later when next station comes or the train stops midway due to red signal then you can easily get down and go to your own coach. Imagine a situation when your coach location is 2nd or 3rd from the engine which means that it will be located near to platform end and you are near the stall which is located at the middle area of the platform. In this case, if your train starts moving then you have very bleak chances to get to your coach as being in front your coach will be one of the first to go out of the platform. In such cases, it makes sense to enter any coach which is in front of you at that time.
  • Mind the train speed : While you are running to catch the moving train it is very important to note the speed of the train at that time. If the speed of the train on the platform is very slow and you can manage to run and catch it is perfectly fine. But we know that train speed gradually increases after it starts and there are chances that by the time you are able to catch up with your coach speed of the train is such that it is difficult to set your foot on the train doorsteps and hold the handle. Also, it is very risky to do so and it can result in a fatal accident. There are chances that you may slip and fall or your foot may get between the train and the platform. Hence when you feel that train has caught speed and you will not be able to enter the door it is advisable not to risk your life. To play safe we should never take a chance in running towards our coach if we feel that the train speed is increasing. Instead simply get into the coach which is passing in front of you.
  • Call for chain pulling : In case you feel that train has caught speed and you will be unable to catch it, immediately make a phone call to your family members on the train and ask them to pull the chain. In case you are traveling alone then it is best to keep contact number of one of your fellow passengers with you for the duration of the journey so that you can make a phone call to them for pulling the chain. In case you are alone and you do not have the contact number of your fellow passengers then while you are running to catch the train wave your hands to anyone who is standing at the door of the coaches or sitting inside the coaches and shout at them to pull the chain. If the train stops after chain pulling then you are out of trouble and you can board the train.
  • Try to reach the next station : In case chain pulling exercise is not successful due to some reasons and the train leaves the platform then make a plan to reach the next station in the route via alternate means like taxi etc. Make sure that distance by road is smaller and you will reach next station before your train arrives there. Make a phone call to your fellow passengers or family members and ask them to talk to engine driver, guard and station master of the next station to request him to delay the train in case you are not able to reach the station before the train arrives. In case you are not able to reach the station then you can try to reach further next station. In case If you are traveling alone then it is always advisable to make a phone call to your fellow passengers if you have their contact number asking them to take care of your luggage.


So due care should be taken when you get down from the train at the station and make sure that you are aware of the train departure timings and get back to your coach on time. Sometimes it happens that we get too engrossed in looking for the thing we want from the station without bothering about the train departure timings. The moment we feel that we are getting delayed in getting food from the stall or while buying anything simply leave it and move towards your coach. It is more important not to miss your train than getting stuff from the station.

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Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao28 Mar 2018 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 4

Generally, when we are travelling in a train, we should avoid getting down to the platform at stations without knowing for how much time the train stops there. If it is an absolute necessity only we should think of getting down. Many times we observe some people standing near the door, getting down at the stop and getting in when it starts back. It is also dangerous because you may lose grip on the hold knowingly or unknowingly and you may slip down. This is going to create havoc.

Please inform some of your co-passengers in the train that you are getting down when you are travelling alone. They may try stopping the train by pilling the chain or at least they will take care of your luggage so that you will not lose the same

Author: Umesh02 Apr 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

Getting down from the train in intermediate stations is always a risky proposition especially for those who are not alert. The children and old people are very vulnerable and should not get down.

There should be clear instruction to your companion that if you do not return in the cabin in the stipulated time, he should come in the gallery and search for you and if not found go for chain pulling.

Of course this is an extreme step but one should know it beforehand. A good coordination between the group members is very important in this respect.

Author: K Mohan05 Apr 2018 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 4

Normally when we undertake the long journey, the train passes through important junctions and in major stations the train would stop for 10 to 20 minutes for different reasons. In many long distance trains, the pantry car is attached and the supply of food and beverage items would be continuous without any break and if at all passengers want to have the food served in the platforms, they can do so by ordering and getting it at the window itself. Therefore getting down for food and then missing out the train is the foolish act on the part of passengers who are ignorant of the timings of the train movements at intermediate stations. Why because some trains may run with up or loose timings and they would manage the same at the junctions where they would leave early. For example, if you undertake a journey from Secunderabad to Chennai via Guntur, if the train goes in time, it has the stoppage for 30 minutes at Guntur and that is for dinner purpose. Invariably the train runs late due to the single line and thus many a time, I found the trains being moved within 10 to 15 minutes on arrival. So we have to be careful.

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