The new weekly superfast train between Hapa and Tirunelveli, which is yet to start regular service, appears to have become popular already. Tickets have been booked for more than a month.
All berths have been booked for a few days in June too. Tatkal tickets, which are available only two days before the day of journey, have also been booked for the first run of the train, scheduled for Friday from Hapa, according to the Internet reservation portal ircitc.co.in on Thursday.
According to a Southern Railway press release here, the Hapa-Tirunelveli express (train no. 2998) will leave Hapa at 9.15 p.m. on Fridays and reach Tirunelveli Junction at 5.30 p.m. on Sundays. The Tirunelveli-Hapa express (train no. 2997) will start at 5.45 a.m. from Tirunelveli Junction on Mondays and reach Hapa at 2 a.m. on Wednesdays.
The Hapa-Tirunelveli express will arrive here at 2.10 a.m. and depart from the Mangalore Junction at 2.20 a.m. on Sundays and the pairing train will leave here at 8.45 p.m. on Mondays.
Although Southern Railway had announced that the train would be bi-weekly, it later sent a note to the media a day before Minister of State for Railways E. Ahmed flagged off the inaugural special train at Tirunelveli recently that it would run only once a week.
The train will halt at Nagercoil Town, Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kayamkulam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam Junction, Aluva, Thrissur, Shoranur Junction, Kozhikode, Kannur, Kasaragod, Mangalore Junction, Udupi, Karwar, Madgaon, Ratnagiri, Panvel, Vasai Road, Vapi, Surat, Ankleshwar, Surendra Nagar Junction, and Rajkot.
The train will have one AC three-tier coach, eight sleeper coaches, six general coaches and two luggage vans.