Inadequate train services to major destinations had resulted in indirect patronage for omni buses that fleeced passengers with exorbitant fare. In addition, the number of buses to various destinations had increased the pressure on road traffic.
Partiality and neglect are the words to describe, when it comes to Southern Railway's stand on demand for introduction of trains for various destinations, says K. Kathirmathiyon, Secretary of Coimbatore Consumer Cause. Coimbatore is the second largest revenue spinner for Southern Railway next only to Chennai both in terms of cargo as well as passenger revenue.
Both in terms of meeting the infrastructure requirements and in introduction of new train services, Railways is always in the habit of rejecting the requests citing constraints. But nothing had been done for overcoming them.
In addition, whatever trains are run from Coimbatore, authorities constantly citing the constraints extend them to various destinations in Kerala, S. Vaidyanathakrishnan of Coimbatore Railway Passengers Association pointed out. Railways should start developing terminal and coach maintenance facilities at Coimbatore, North and Podanur making use of the land available.
As many as 13 trains skip Coimbatore Junction. Southern Railway cites the pathway congestion as a refrain for diversion of trains. The pathway congestion remained unresolved for nearly two-decades and even after completion of the second line, it has not been commissioned. Thus conveniently, the Railways diverted even the newly-introduced trains via Irugur-Podanur, Mr. Kathirmathiyon said.
In the absence of trains, omni bus operators find Coimbatore as a thriving place. At least 220 buses are being operated by private operators from Coimbatore to destinations in Kerala, Southern Tamil Nadu, Chennai and Bangalore.
Additional overnight express train service is a must.
Mr. Vaidyanathakrishnan sought introduction of Coimbatore – Bangalore, Coimbatore – Thiruvananthapuram, Coimbatore – Chennai Duronto and Coimbatore – Tirupati tri-weekly express trains immediately besides overnight trains to Rameshwaram via Erode, Karur, Tiruchirapalli and Madurai, to Mayiladuthurai and Mangalore. If these train services materialised, the pressure on road traffic and accidents would ease considerably.