After a year-long wait, Madurai division introduced the three express trains announced in the 2012-13 railway budget. The third of the train services, Kacheguda (Hyderabad) - Madurai Express, will pull into Madurai on Tuesday.
The then Union Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi had announced in his budget speech on March 14, 2012, the introduction of two trains — Kacheguda-Madurai Express (weekly) and Dadar-Tirunelveli Express (weekly) — and extension of the Dehradun-Chennai Express to Madurai. But the trains could not be introduced in the last fiscal.
Initially, non-availability of new rakes was cited as the cause for the delay.
But when the rakes were ready, the turn of events in New Delhi led to further delay in launching the new services. The railway officials had received the consent of the then Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, M.K. Alagiri, who represented the Madurai Parliamentary Constituency, for the flagging off ceremony for the Kacheguda Express from Madurai on March 27, railway sources said.
The officials planned to flag off the Kacheguda Express and Tirunelveli-Dadar Express towards the close of the last financial year.
But before the Southern Railway officials could get the nod from the Railway Board to go ahead with the flagging off function, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the party Mr. Alagiri belongs to, walked out of the United Progressive Alliance on March 19. “And subsequently, the train that arrived here was diverted for special train services. The election code of conduct in force in Andhra Pradesh prevented the railways from launching the Kacheguda-Madurai Express,” a railway official said.
On May 1, the Tirunelveli-Dadar Express was introduced followed by the introduction of the extended service of the Dehradun-Chandigarh-Chennai Central Express to Madurai on May 13. Had these trains been introduced by March-end, the passengers from the southern districts of Tamil Nadu as well as the railways would have benefitted, an official said.
“The trains would have received good patronage from the passengers, especially during the summer vacation, had they been introduced then,” he said.
Train no. 07615 Kacheguda-Madurai, being run as an inaugural special, that departed Kacheguda on Tuesday will arrive Madurai at 12 noon on Wednesday.
In the return direction, Train no. 07616 special will leave Madurai on Wednesday at 2.30 p.m. and reach Kacheguda at 4 p.m. the next day, a railway statement said.
The regular service of Kacheguda-Madurai Express begins on June 1. The train will leave Kacheguda at 6.05 a.m. on Saturdays and arrive Madurai at 7 a.m. on Sundays.
In the return direction, Train No. 17616 will leave Madurai at 12.50 p.m. on Sundays from June 2 and arrive Kacheguda at 2.05 p.m. on Mondays. These trains will stop at Mahboobnagar, Gadwal, Kurnool Town, Dhone, Ananthapur, Dharmavaram, Madanapalle Road , Piler, Pakala, Chittoor, Katpadi, Ambur, Vaniyambadi, Jolarpet, Salem, Erode, Karur, Tiruchi, Dindigul and Kodaikanal Road stations in both the directions. These trains will comprise one AC II Tier, two AC III Tier, seven sleeper class, six general second class and two second class luggage-cum-brake van coaches.
Advance reservation for the regular services will open on May 29.