Southern Railway has extended advance reservation for the Kumbakonam – Chennai Rockfort Express by a few more days. Earlier, it was announced that the Rockfort Express would be short-terminated in Tiruchi from August 29. However, railways has been forced to change its decision following strong protests from commuters in Kumbakonam-Thanjavur who wanted the Thanjavur-Chennai night train to be introduced before the Rockfort Express is short-terminated at Tiruchi. According to an official release here on Monday, reservation for the Chennai Egmore – Kumbakonam Rockfort Express (16177) has been extended by two days up to August 30 and Kumbakonam–Chennai Egmore Rockfort Express (16178) up to August 31.
Following persistent demand from the commuters, traders, consumers, and voluntary organisations of Tiruchi district, the Railways decided to terminate the Rockfort Express at Tiruchi and stopped reservation for the train for stations beyond Tiruchi on the Tiruchi–Kumbakonam section from August 29.
This put the commuters of Thanjavur district in a quandary as the Railways had not announced the date of introduction of the Thanjavur–Chennai Express announced in this year’s Railway Budget.
The Thanjavur District Rail Users’ Association, trade bodies, and consumer organisations of Thanjavur and Kumbakonam criticised the action of stopping the advance reservation for Rockfort Express in both directions, without any announcement on the new train. An all-party meeting threatened to launch an agitation, if the new train was not introduced immediately.
Rakesh Misra, General Manager, Southern Railway, who visited Thanjavur recently, assured the people of the district that the new train would be introduced simultaneously with the termination of Rockfort Express in Tiruchi. Top sources said the notification on the introduction of the Thanjavur–Chennai Express is expected from the Southern Railway shortly.