A delegation of representatives from the Coimbatore Railway Struggle Committee met Union Railway Minister Pankaj Kumar Bansal and Chairman of Railway Board Vinay Mittal pressing for the long-pending demands of the region.
The struggle committee delegation included Coimbatore MP P.R. Natarajan, convenor of the committee R. Raveendran, Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee Jameel Ahmed and rail activist S. Ravi.
The delegation briefed the Railway Board Chairman and the Minister that ever since the electrified double line was commissioned in August 2010 at a cost of Rs. 60 crore, it has not been put to optimum use.
As many as 13 pairs of train services by-passed Coimbatore by being operated via Podanur – Irugur sections, ignoring Coimbatore Junction that fetched Rs. 100 crore revenue for the Railways. After persistent demands, only now four pairs of trains have been routed via Coimbatore. Trains are skipping Coimbatore, despite growing needs and passenger potential, the delegation pointed out.
The delegation expressed dismay at Chennai – Thiruvananthapuram Mail (Train No 12623/24) skipping Coimbatore region and was running for more than 100 km in the region without even a single stop. It stops at Erode and Salem on the Tamil Nadu side and then only at Palakkad and thereafter it stops at almost all stations. The train should at least be given a stoppage at Podanur Junction. In its entire run for 282 km in Salem Division, it halts only at Erode and Salem.
The committee sought immediate re-routing of the four following trains: 16527/28 Yesvantpur – Kannur Express as it provides the much-required overnight train connectivity with Bangalore, 12777/78 Hubli – Kochuveli Express for catering to the travel needs of the sericulture industry people to places such as Hubli, Davangare and Ranibennur, 12685/86 Chennai Central – Mangalore daily express, as this would give the much-required additional connectivity for Coimbatore with Mangalore and Chennai, and 12697/98 Chennai Central – Thiruvananthapuram Weekly Super Fast Express for enhancing Coimbatore’s connectivity with Thiruvananthapuram and Chennai.
The committee also stressed the need for providing halt for trains (those originating and terminating at Coimbatore) at Peelamedu and Coimbatore North so that Coimbatore Junction gets decongested.
It also stressed for early introduction of the Mainline Electrical Multiple Unit (MEMU) train between Palakkad Junction and Erode via Coimbatore. This was announced in the budget and has found a mention in the timetable as well.
The committee also sought daily operation of Jan Shatabdi Express, coach augmentation in the Jan Shatabdi Express, frequency augmentation of Coimbatore – Nizamuddin Kongu Express and attachment of pantry car facility in the train besides early completion of Coimbatore – Mettupalayam line electrification and re-opening of defunct stations en-route on this section.