Rail users seek intervention of Purandeswari and Kotla

The inaugural run of Chennai and Shirdi Specials, which will soon run as regular weekly trains, has been announced.

A review of the timings and days of operation of the Visakhapatnam - Chennai Superfast Express strengthens the arguments of railway user groups from the city that the East Coast Railway (ECoR) is planning to extend the train to Bhubaneswar or Sambalpur in future. The Visakhapatnam – Chennai was proposed to be introduced as a bi-weekly Express before the last budget. ECoR, however, had managed to split it into two different weekly trains – one from Visakhapatnam and another from Puri.

The user groups allege that ECoR has managed to play spoilsport. The timings of the Visakhapatnam – Chennai train is the same as the already running Bhubaneswar – Chennai weekly (which was extended from Visakhapatnam in the past).

Patronage

But, the Puri – Chennai weekly express, which was already introduced, was completely given different timings. The train, which arrives here at 1.30 a.m., was not getting adequate patronage of Visakhapatnam passengers due to the odd hours. Those watching the developments allege that the days and timings of operation were intentionally chosen by ECoR, using its zonal powers, ignoring the interests of Visakhapatnam.

There was no proposal to run a train from Puri to Chennai prior to the 2011-12 budget. But, it was introduced though the demand was to introduce a bi-weekly train from Visakhapatnam to Chennai. The Visakhapatnam - Chennai train, presently runs as a weekly special, is actually not getting good response compared to other originating trains. ECoR could take advantage of the situation to extend this train on grounds of ‘poor patronage’. Though there is tremendous demand for a train to Chennai, the odd departure and arrival timings, is forcing passengers to look for alternative modes of transport.

The train should leave on Sundays around 4 p.m. to reach Chennai by 6 a.m. on Mondays.

This would be convenient for techies and others from the city living in Chennai or even for general passengers who could reach their destinations in Chennai before the rush hour begins.

Minister for State for Commerce and Industries D. Purandeswari, who represents Visakhapatnam in Lok Sabha, and Minister of State for Railways Kotla Suryaprakash Reddy should intervene immediately in the matter and ensure that the timings and days of operations are modified before its introduction, feel those watching the developments.