The Consumer Protection Council, Tamil Nadu, has urged the Railway Board not to extend the Pallavan Express to Karaikudi as announced in the Railway Budget.

It has sought a guarantee from the Railway Board that the Rockfort Express would be operated from Tiruchi, instead of Kumbakonam, once the newly announced Thanjavur-Chennai Express starts running.

In a recent letter to Railway Board, council Chairman Vinay Mittal and council general secretary S. Pushpavanam said it was not a wise move to extend the Pallavan Express to Karaikudi.

If the train were to be extended to Karaikudi, which is about two-and-half hours journey from Tiruchi, it had to start from Karaikudi at 3.45 a.m. at least and the passengers had to get up in the small hours.

Similarly in the return direction, the express train which reaches Tiruchi at 9.15 p.m. is likely to reach Karaikudi at 11.45 p.m. which would make passengers reach home after midnight engaging expensive autorickshaws with no town buses, the letter said.

By the time, the Pallavan Express reaches Tiruchi from Karaikudi and Pudukottai, the unreserved coaches would be full depriving the people of Tiruchi of an existing facility.

Alternatively, if the departure time from Tiruchi were to be changed, it would become another day-long train like the existing Cholan Express.

For the passengers, the facility of going by Pallavan Express and returning back by the same train would be lost, said Mr. Pushpavanam.

The charm of the train would be gone and the patronage would be poor, he said and added that either way it would end up as losing proposition for Tiruchi and Karaikudi passengers and for the Railways.

It would make more sense if the existing Cholan Express was extended to Karaikudi which would be a win-win situation for Tiruchi and Karaikudi passengers and for the railways, he said requesting the Board to consider the appeal in all earnestness and arrive at a favourable decision.

Copies of the letter were sent to Members of Parliament Rahul Gandhi, Tiruchi Siva, P. Kumar, T.K. Rangarajan, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Palani Manickam, and Meenakshi Natarajan with a request to endorse the letter and forward it to the Board.