The demand for restoring the Rockfort Express to its original route, between Tiruchi and Chennai Egmore, would be favourably considered once the main line becomes operational, Southern Railway General Manager Deepak Krishan has indicated.

Mr. Krishan was responding to a plea from the Tiruchi MP, P. Kumar of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, in this regard. Mr. Kumar, who submitted a slew of demands to Mr. Krishan here on Tuesday, appealed to the Southern Railway to restore the Express train — now extended up to Kumbakonam — to Tiruchi with a full complement of bogies at the earliest.

Mr. Krishan was in the city for a sectional inspection between Tiruchi and Erode falling under the Salem Railway Division on Tuesday.

Referring to the reported plan to extend the Pallavan Express up to Pudukottai/Karur, Mr. Kumar instead suggested the introduction of new superfast trains to Chennai from Pudukottai and Karur. With the completion of the electrification of the Tiruchi-Villupuram section, the speed of superfast trains could be increased so as to reduce the travel time further.

Work on the Karur-Salem line should be expedited with allocation of adequate funds as the project would help accelerate the economic development of the region. The Tiruchi-Thanjavur Passenger (Train No.855), the timings of which were changed recently, should be restored to its original schedule in the interest of commuters. Additional coaches should be attached to the Tiruchi-Palakkad Fast Passenger (Train No.888), he demanded.

Referring to passenger amenities, Mr. Kumar appealed to Mr. Krishan to improve the upkeep of passenger coaches as there were complaints of insects inside the bogies despite the regular cleaning done at the yards. Maintenance of toilets also left much to be desired. Many mobile charging points were in broken condition. Wherever possible, old coaches should be replaced with new ones. Construction of the fly-over near the Tiruchi Railway Junction should be expedited, he requested.

Level crossings

The Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment D. Napoleon, in a representation submitted through his personal assistant, requested the General Manager to take steps to convert the unmanned level crossing at Melavaladi near Lalgudi and build subways across the railway tracks at T. Valavanur and Paramasivapuram, also in Lalgudi union.

Mr. Krishan held a discussion with S. Subramhanyan, Divisional Railway Manager, Tiruchi and other top officials of the division at Tiruchi junction.

Inspection

Later Mr. Krishan accompanied by P.N. Ram, Divisional Railway Manager, Salem, and K.V. Narayanadas, Chief Commercial Manager, Southern Railway, Chennai, and heads of all the departments took up the inspection on the Tiruchi-Erode section, covering all aspects, including safety, bridges, passenger amenities and ticket reservation facilities in stations en route.