The train continues to run with a solitary AC chair car coach

Come January 20 (Sunday), Train No 12083/12084 Coimbatore – Mayiladuthurai Jan Shatabdi Express is completing a decade of service.

Despite ten years of service, with patronage growing in leaps and bounds, the train has not witnessed any improvement in service, says R. Raveendran of Coimbatore Railway Struggle Committee.

The train continues to run with a solitary AC chair car coach and twelve coaches with ordinary seating facility despite the growing demand. The train, introduced on January 20, 2003, provides connectivity for Western Tamil Nadu with Central Tamil Nadu, delta districts and to the innumerable number of temples in the delta region especially the Navagraha temple. The train helped passengers reach Tiruchirapalli in a flat four hour journey, while buses took nearly five to five-and-a-half hours. In addition, the train connects Coimbatore with district headquarters such as Tirupur, Erode, Karur, Tiruchirapalli and Thanjavur.

The train witnessed many changes in terms of destination i.e., it was first Thanjavur and then it was Kumbakonam and finally now it is Mayiladuthurai, and the extensions many a times had only helped in increasing its patronage. Departure timing was revised and then the food provided during the journey was de-linked from the fare and all of them helped in getting good results for the train in terms of patronage.

Normally, the yardstick of Southern Railway was patronage and occupancy ratio for a particular train to increase the number of coaches and frequency but nothing of that was done as far as this well patronised train was concerned, says S. Ravi, a rail activist.

The train with seating capacity for nearly 1,000 passengers, leaves Coimbatore at 7.00 a.m. and reaches Mayiladuthurai at 1.40 p.m. and in the return direction it leaves Mayiladuthurai at 2.50 p.m. to reach Coimbatore at 9.20 p.m.

Mr. Ravi said that the number of coaches definitely needs to be increased by adding one more AC chair car coach now and another one in near future when the occupancy increases and the ordinary chair car coach number need to be increased by one or two, as there was always a waiting list as far as this train was concerned.

In addition, in recognition of the passenger traffic and patronage, the train should be run on Tuesdays as well. It is being operated only six days a week excepting Tuesday and the day is earmarked for maintenance of coaches. Railways should consider introducing a pairing train for this Jan Shatabdi with a morning departure to reach Coimbatore in the afternoon and departure from Coimbatore around 2.45 to reach Mayiladuthurai at night. This will help in easing pressure on buses during the day. In addition, it was time that the Railways introduced an overnight daily express train service to Mayiladuthurai from Coimbatore, G.K. Nagaraj of Coimbatore Railway Struggle Committee said.

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