Passenger associations demand stops for more trains at Tripunithura, Edappally, Kalamassery

The upcoming Railway Budget holds the key to unlocking Ernakulam district’s potential as a hub for passenger and goods trains.

The expectations are high since the agency hiked the fares a few months ago. Except for cosmetic changes to the Ernakulam Junction and Town stations, the Railway has done precious little to make optimal use of available infrastructure. Less said the better about augmenting amenities for passengers and introducing new trains.

Unused stations

Even as it cites inadequate number of platforms at the two stations as an excuse for not introducing short and long-distance trains, the agency has not paid heed to demands to renovate the Old Railway Station located behind the high court and the under-utilised Harbour Terminus station in Wellingdon Island. The two could easily become terminal stations for a few trains, which would in turn decongest the main stations.

The Old Railway Station Vikasana Samithy has been spearheading the demand to renovate the now unused station. Its general convenor K P Harihara Kumar said a private firm has encroached into and fenced around an acre of the 22-acre premises. “Railway officials were unaware of this till it was brought to their notice. Diverting a few passenger trains to the station will help commuters gain easy access to the high court, markets, educational institutions and the Goshree islands. All that needs to be done is to renovate the station building and clean the tracks that are intact in the 1.30-km-long distance to the station from Pachalam.”

The stretch will also have to be electrified and signals installed. The six tracks at the station are in good condition too.

We will organise a human train from the station up to Pachalam if the Railway continues to ignore the station, Mr. Harihara Kumar said. “It is sad that the six Cabinet ministers from the State and the MPs are not striving to ensure justice to Kerala’s railway passengers,” he said.

Stations in suburbs

Passenger associations have also been demanding stops for more trains at Tripunithura, Edapally and Kalamassery stations, so that commuters need not travel through congested roads to reach the two main stations in the city when work on the metro rail is on.

The Tripunithura Rajanagari Union of Residents’ Associations have been demanding steps to augment amenities at the Tripunithura station and stops for more trains here. Its convenor Jayendran V.C. said the station needed better road connectivity.

“It is pathetic that such a major station does not have platforms with roof. There aren’t enough seats too on the platforms.”

He demanded extension of the Guruvayur-Ernakulam train to Kottayam and steps to expedite the construction of an overbridge at Eroor.

More trains to metros

The Mumbai-based Western India Passengers’ Association has in the meantime demanded more trains from prominent cities in Kerala to Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, New Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Hyderabad etc.,. Weekly and bi-weekly trains to many of these places must be converted to daily services, said Thomas Simon, association secretary.

The body has also demanded MEMU trains between neighbouring districts, a coach overhaul workshop, steps to speed up the long-pending rail doubling and electrification works. Another demand is the introduction of automatic signalling to speed up trains since trains passing through Kerala have an abysmal speed.

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