Travellers of central districts have urged the railway authorities to restore the full-fledged Jan Shatabdi Express running between Mayiladuturai and Coimbatore in view of the over-whelming patronage.

This is the only Jan Shatabdi to be operated in the State and has been enjoying good patronage ever since it started operating from Coimbatore (instead of from Thanjavur/Kumbakonam) a few years ago. A cross section of the people are of the opinion that this is one of the successful trains in the Southern Railway and it should run in full composition to meet the ever growing demand.

The Jan Shatabdi was introduced between Thanjavur and Coimbatore in 2003. It had poor patronage initially and during the trial period it was extended for a record four times, before being made a permanent train. The Railways even made the catering service optional to bring down the ticket fare and make it more competitive.

The train, which runs via important places such as Tiruchi, Karur, Erode and Tiruppur, initially had 10 general compartments with chair car facility and a couple of air-conditioned coaches.

Owing to poor patronage, the size of the train was reduced to six general compartments and one AC coach. Later, the Railways to attract more people extended the train to Kumbakonam in 2005 and began to operate it from Coimbatore to Kumbakonam and back. This move clicked and more people started using the service. Following consistent pleas from various sections of the society, the train was extended to Mayiladuturai in 2008.

At present, the train runs jam-packed in both directions. Getting a seat has become a big task even on ordinary days, says A. Chandrasekar, a businessman of Tiruchi, who frequents to Coimbatore every fortnight. Given the huge patronage, the Railways should restore the train to its original composition of 10 general and two AC compartments, he says.

The Train Travellers’ Welfare Association too has echoed the same feeling. “It is high time that Railways operate the train to full composition,” says M. Lourduraj, general secretary of the Association.

The railways should operate a pair of Jan Shatabdi trains, one starting from Coimbatore and the other from Mayiladuturai at the same time. The Association has already made a plea in this regard, he adds.