The triweekly service was running almost full

The decision of South Western Railway (SWR) to abruptly end the triweekly special train between Yeshwantpur and Miraj (no. 06517/06518) from January 16/17 has surprised many as the service had been a boon to many who did not get accommodation on the Rani Chennamma Express.

Introduced about one-and-a-half years ago when K.H. Muniyappa was the Minister of State for Railways, the service was highly patronised because of its speedy connectivity between Bangalore, Hubli and Belgaum. The occupancy rate was over 90 per cent. While the special train took about 7 hours and 50 minutes to reach Hubli from Yeshwantpur and 10 hours and 35 minutes to reach Belgaum, Rani Chennamma Express takes 8 hours and 8 minutes to reach Hubli and 11 hours to reach Belgaum.

‘Disappointed’

Sanjeev Dyamannavar, founder of praja.in, a social networking blog on Railways, said while every special train service was normally extended for every three months, the Miraj special train was being extended for a fortnight or a month since about six months, which itself was surprising. Stopping the special service had disappointed thousands of travellers, he said.

K.N. Krishna Prasad, a regular rail commuter, said train no. 06517 used to leave Yeshwantpur on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, and train no. 06518 used to leave Miraj on Wednesdays, Fridays and Mondays. The route and timings of train no. 22685/22686 Yeshwantpur–Chandigarh–Yeshwantpur Biweekly Express [on Wednesdays and Saturdays], being introduced from Monday, would clash with those of train no. 06518 and hence the SWR might have discontinued the special service, he said.

He said he had urged SWR to change the route and timings of the Chandigarh Express, but in vain. At least the Miraj special train should had been made a biweekly service, leaving Yeshwantpur on Sundays and Thursdays, and Miraj on Mondays and Wednesdays. The normal practice of the Railways was to run special trains before making them permanent service, and it did not happen in the case of the Miraj special train, he said.

‘Not aware’

Divisional Railway Manager, SWR, Bangalore, Anil Kumar Agarwal said he was told the Miraj special train would be made a biweekly service. He told The Hindu that he was not aware of the reason for the cancellation of the service.

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