The announcement of the introduction of the tri-weekly Mannargudi – Tirupathi express from June 3 and the long-awaited extension of the Bangalore – Salem passenger to Nagore from June 1, both via the new Tiruvarur – Mayiladuthurai BG line, has brought much cheer to travellers in the region.
These would be the first two trains to be operated on the gauge-converted line, after the Commissioner of Railway Safety gave his nod. The Mannargudi – Tirupathi express was announced in the recent Railway Budget, thanks to T.R.Baalu, MP, and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways, while the extension of the Bangalore – Salem passenger to Nagore was announced in the budget a few years ago and was pending due to non-completion of BG conversion between Tiruvarur – Mayiladuthurai. The budget also featured the extension of the now bi-weekly Madurai – Tirupathi express on the main line up to Rameswaram and also increase in frequency to thrice a week, giving a direct connection to Tirupathi six days a week.
Even while appreciating and thanking Railways' gesture, the public and some organisations have demanded more facilities in connection with these trains.
Since the Mannargudi – Tirupathi express will be operated via Tiruvarur and Mayiladuthurai, people of Tiruchi and Thanjavur will have to proceed to either Tiruvarur or Mayiladuthurai to catch in this train.
The Railways will do a lot of good if it could operate a link either from Tiruchi or Thanjavur to Mayiladuthurai, so that the link's compartments could be attached to Mannargudi – Tirupathi express.
This will enable people of Tiruchi and Thanjavur to have direct train connectivity to Tirupathi, when the tri-weekly Rameswaram – Tirupathi train does not run, said A. Giri, vice president, Thanjavur District Rail Users Association. The association has also urged the Southern Railway to introduce reserved chair carsin the day Nagore – Bangalore passenger, besides revising its departure at Nagore. This train will be used by devotees from Karnataka visiting Tirunallar, Velankanni, and Nagore.
Mr.Giri pleaded for adequate reserved chair cars. The train would depart from Nagore at 4 a.m. and reach Bangalore at 7 p.m. The departure time could be changed to 7 a.m. and this would also benefit local travellers, Mr.Giri said.
Keywords: Southern Railway