When the then Railway Minister P.K. Bansal announced two new trains from Mangalore Central to Kacheguda (Hyderabad) and Bangalore (Yeshwantpur) in the 2013-14 Railway budget, people in the coastal region were elated that their demands were met.

Their happiness, however, lasted till September 2013 when the Yeshwantpur-Mangalore Central weekly service flagged off to run via Coimbatore, Palakkad and Kannur. And in February this year the Mangalore-Kacheguda weekly was flagged off to run via Palakkad, Coimbatore, Salem, Renigunta, Kurnool and Mahabubnagar.

People had been demanding a direct train service to Hyderabad as thousands from the coastal region have either settled down there or travel there for business. Fed up of the 18-hour-odd bus journey, they wanted a comfortable journey by train.

However, the Mangalore Central-Kacheguda Weekly Express takes a whopping 30:40 hours to reach Hyderabad covering a distance of 1,526 km. “This service is only beneficial to people of Kerala and Tamil Nadu,” regretted Anil Hegde, advisor of Paschima Karavali Rail Yatri Abhivriddhi Samithi. The shortest route to Hyderabad would have been via Bangalore (1,012 km), followed by via Madgaon and Hubli (1,111 km) and via Arsikere and Hubli (1,146 km), he said. The group has demanded the Railways to extend the Howrah-Vasco Amaravathi express, which runs via Kacheguda, to Mangalore Central.

Similarly, 16565/66 Yeshwantpur-Mangalore Central-Yeshwantpur Express too appears to benefit the people in Kerala. It takes more than 17 hours to reach Bangalore by 16566 covering a distance of 835 km, Mr. Hegde said. The train should be diverted to run via Arsikere and be made a daily service, he said.

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