Passengers had moved HC seeking bifurcation of Kannur Express

The announcement on Wednesday that the night train between Yeshwanthpur and Kannur (No. 16517/18) will be bifurcated in Mangalore and extended to Karwar with immediate effect, marks the culmination of a nearly three-year-long struggle of the people of the region for it.

Many railway passenger organisations had launched a common platform – West Coast Rail Yatri Development Committee (WRYDC) to fight for the cause.

What had kindled hopes for direct rail connectivity between Karwar and the State capital was a decision taken in the official inter-zonal timetable conference of the railways in Bangalore held in January 2009. It had worked out a time-table for the extension of the train which till then was running only between Yeshwanthpur and Mangalore Central.

What came as a shock was the subsequent announcement by the Railways to extend it to Kannur instead of Karwar. It was believed that the Railways gave in to the lobbying by Kerala leaders, with the then Minister of State for Railways being from Kerala.

The people of the region, led by Karnara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), had even decided to block movement of the train to Kannur as a protest but it was withdrawn following an appeal made by MP Nalin Kumar Kateel who promised to make efforts to extend the train to Karwar.

With the political leadership not delivering on its promise and the Railways rejecting a proposal to split the train at Mangalore and run some coaches to Karwar, the passengers committee and others filed a case in the Karnataka High Court. The High Court recently ordered the Railways to consider the demand to bifurcate the train.

The Railways have announced that the Train No.16517 that left Yeshwanthpur would run towards Kannur with five coaches while the bifurcated train would run to Karwar as Train No.16523/16524 with 13 coaches.

On Thursday, the train will be flagged off at Mangalore Central Railway Station at 8 a.m.

Convener of WRYDC Anil Hegde thanked all those who helped in the successful struggle for the extension of train to Karwar.

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