The long-pending demand of Uttara Kannada and Udupi districts for a direct night train to the state capital was fulfilled on Thursday, with the flagging off of the Yeshwanthpur-Mangalore-Karwar train.

Train numbers 16523/16518 Yeshwanthpur-Kannur express is bifurcated at Mangalore Central Railway Station with 13 coaches towards Karwar as train number 16523 and five coaches towards Kannur on the route. Flagging off the train from Mangalore Central, K.H. Muniyappa, Minister of State for Railways, said that the new train service would be the first among many on the coastal route.

“We will see if a push-pull type train is possible between Goa and Mangalore. This way, connectivity in the coastal belt will be increased,” he said.

When local leaders brought up the possibility of introducing a “full train”, instead of a bifurcated one to Karwar, Mr. Muniyappa said that the Railways would consider the proposal.

The Minister said that of the 28 new trains announced since 2009 that will pass through Mangalore, 16 had started.

Rajya Sabha MP Oscar Fernandes stressed the need for more trains in the region to “replace buses which have led to numerous deaths on the roads”. He also brought up the demand for a direct train to Bangalore, instead of the current route that takes 12-hour plying through Mysore.

Reservation system

Noting that there were discrepancies in the reservation system, Mr. Muniyappa said that new systems for reserving passenger seats will be introduced from January 1. “We will introduce bookings through telephone, SMS, email. As the Railways has received advanced booking till the year-end, we can implement these only from January,” he said.