Bi-weekly superfast Vizag-Mumbai LTT Express to be converted into a daily ordinary train from Sept. 10

The Visakhapatnam – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Visakhapatnam bi-weekly superfast express running via Bhimavaram and Vijayawada, introduced on March 24, 2010, will be converted into a daily with effect from September 10.

Sounds like music to your ears? There is more to it than what meets the eye. The superfast train, operated by the East Coast Railway (ECoR), has been reduced to an ‘ordinary’ express train and the numbers have been changed. But ironically, an ECoR press release says the timings have not been changed.

Train No.18519 Visakhapatnam –Mumbai LTT Express will leave Visakhapatnam at 23.30 hrs and arrive in LTT (Mumbai) at 4.50 hrs the second day with effect from September 10, 2013.

In the return direction, train No. 18520 Mumbai LTT-Visakhapatnam Express will leave LTT (Mumbai) at 6.55 hrs and arrive in Visakhapatnam at 11.10 hrs the second day with effect from September 11, 2013.

The South Central Railway is said to be deciding the fate of an ECoR train and its timings because the latter is working against the interests of Visakhapatnam, according to reliable sources.

Longer route

Train No. 18519/18520 daily will take nearly 29 hours 20 minutes as against 26 hours 20 minutes by the existing bi-weekly, covering a distance of 1499 km by giving additional stoppages at Moulali, Lingampalli, and Tandur.

The existing slot of the bi-weekly is given to the Kakinada-Mumbai bi-weekly new train, which has been given a shorter route via Eluru and Guntur, thus making the Visakhapatnam-LTT, a daily train, to take a longer route and more time.

In fact, the time taken between Secunderabad and Visakhapatnam by the Visakhapatnam-LTT Express is 12 hours and 15 minutes as against 10 hours by road.

Once it is converted into a daily train, the travelling time between these two stations will increase to over 14 hours, as a consequence of the revised timings.

It is alleged that the poor schedule is created by ECoR to discourage passengers and discredit this train as ‘bad performer’.

Safety concerns

Further, the Visakhapatnam-LTT train will have just 1 hour 20 minutes turnaround time at LTT. Is it enough for a daily train? It would compromise the safety and security of the train, besides resulting in poor maintenance as it has no on-board cleaning mechanism. The train doesn’t have a pantry car to provide food to long-distance passengers.

The million dollar question is: Why are the Railways playing with the safety of passengers by giving very less turnaround time for an aggressive schedule train, which runs for more than 1400 km at a stretch? How they will conduct safety checks in just 1 hour 20 minutes?

Passengers feel that the Visakhapantnam-LTT daily train should be given a shorter route via Eluru and Guntur for the convenience of long- distance passengers.

It remains to be seen whether ECoR, SCR, and CR resolve and restore the same timings in the larger interests of the travelling public.

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