New daily train from Ernakulam to Bangalore feasible, says official.
The steep rail fare hike has in turn heightened expectations of the State’s commuters who have demanded more trains, fast-tracking of track doubling and promise of a better service in the railway budget scheduled for July 8.
“For many years, we have been demanding an Ernakulam-Coimbatore intercity express train and an Ernakulam-Palakkad MEMU train. Railway ignored the demand despite the availability of doubled, electrified track in the routes,” said P. Krishnakumar, general secretary of Thrissur Railway Passengers’ Association.
He also demanded phased introduction of automatic signalling in around 800 km of rail tracks that pass through Kerala, so that more trains can be introduced through existing tracks.
Ernakulam Area Manager of Southern Railway P.L. Ashok Kumar said free track was available to operate an intercity express train or even ‘premium train’ that begins from Ernakulam at 6.30 a.m. and reaches Coimbatore at 10.30 a.m.
“Similarly, the Bokharo-Alappuzha express can be extended up to Kochuveli in Thiruvananthapuram,” he said. This will benefit office-goers and others from Ernakulam.The return train will benefit commuters from Kochuveli who can reach Ernakulam before Jan Satabdhi arrives here at 9.15 a.m. the next day.Bangalore train
On the oft-repeated demand for a new daily train from Ernakulam to Bangalore, Mr. Ashok Kumar said this was feasible since the track was doubled many years ago. Migrant labourers have for long been demanding conversion of biweekly train to Guwahati into a daily train.
Passenger associations have been demanding more short-distance and mainline electrical multiple unit (MEMU) trains between neighbouring districts and augmenting of coaches in existing trains, to reduce congestion on accident-prone national highways.Old Railway Station
Ernakulam Old Railway Station Vikasana Samity has in the meantime expressed the hope that renovation and revival of the heritage station located behind High Court of Kerala would find mention in the Railway budget.
Responding to this, Mr. Ashok Kumar said dieseltrains could call at the station if Railway Board granted permission and the station was spruced up. “Similarly, diesel trains can resume operations to the under-utilised Harbour Terminus station once the Venduruthy rail bridge is ready,” he said. The two lines are not electrified yet.
All Kerala Railway Passengers’ Association has warned of a spree of agitations if Kerala was ‘neglected’ in the forthcoming budget as well.