New train to Rameswaram on the cards
Beginning September 7, the Mangalore – Tiruchirapalli – Mangalore Weekly Express train service (12654/12653) currently running via the Irugur – Podanur – Irugur section will be routed via Coimbatore. The train is likely to be renumbered and extended from Tiruchirapalli to Puducherry. The Railway Board has cleared the proposal.
An announcement on the introduction of Coimbatore – Rameswaram – Coimbatore Weekly Express train service in a rake (coach) sharing arrangement with Coimbatore – Rajkot – Coimbatore weekly Express (16613/16614) is expected soon.
Routing of the Mangalore – Tiruchirapalli train on its extension to Puducherry had been a long standing demand to enhance Coimbatore’s connectivity to Mangalore and Puducherry.
The original proposal was to run the train on the chord line from Tiruchirapalli via Lalgudi, Ariyalur and Vridhachalam to reach Puducherry. However, the rail users suggested that the train be run on the main line via Thanjavur, Kumbakonam, Sirkazhi, Chidambaram, Cuddalore and Villupuram main line to benefit the large number of devotees since this region has scores of temples.
The Coimbatore – Rameswaram – Coimbatore weekly service was announced in the railway budget.
Southern Railway has planned to announce the inauguration of the Coimbatore – Rameswaram – Coimbatore weekly service utilising the idle rakes of the Coimbatore – Rajkot Express (Train No 16613/16614). This train leaves Coimbatore on Thursdays at 11.45 p.m. and reaches Rajkot on Saturdays and in the return direction it leaves Rajkot at 5 a.m. on Sundays and reaches Coimbatore at 2 a.m. on Tuesdays. Between Tuesday and Thursday, the rakes lie idle.
Hence, the plan to operate the Coimbatore – Rameswaram Weekly Express on Tuesday night to reach Rameswaram on Wednesday morning and depart from Rameswaram on Wednesday night to reach Coimbatore on Thursday morning.
After maintenance, it would continue its journey to Rajkot.
Rail users pointed out that the plea was for a daily train service to Rameswaram and the hope was that based on patronage, the frequency of the train would be increased gradually. Earlier, the Coimbatore – Rameswaram – Coimbatore weekly special train left Coimbatore on Saturdays and reached Rameswaram on Sundays and returned from Rameswaram on Sundays and reached Coimbatore on Mondays.
Expressing doubts over full patronage, change in days of operation was requested and the Divisional Railway Manager, Salem, Sujatha Jeyaraj promised to look into the demand during her last visit to Coimbatore.