Delayed start from Kottayam, coupled with the avoidable detaining of the Kottayam-Kollam passenger train (No.353) for a long duration at Chengannur and Mavelikkara stations, have been causing much hardships to the daily commuters, a majority of them happened to be office-goers and students.

In a memorandum to the Union Railway Minister, the Rail Passengers’ Association have called for immediate intervention of the railway authorities and adopt a scientific approach in the running of trains

on the Kottayam-Kollam route, especially in the afternoon, thereby mitigating the travails of the hapless commuters.

According to Mr Radhakrishnan, an employee attached to Mahatma Gandhi University, though the scheduled departure time of the Kottayam-Kollam passenger train is 5.55 pm, it has become a regular affair that the train carrying a good number of students, teachers and officegoers set off from Kottayam only after the Thiruvananthapuram-Chennai Mail (No. 2624) pass by the station around 6.15 pm.

Moreover, the authorities used to detain the passenger train for more time, if the Thiruvananthapuram-Chennai Mail is late, leaving the commuters at the receiving end.

The agony of the poor passenger increases with the detaining of the passenger train that runs at a moderate speed at Chengannur railway station for about half-an-hour for the Kottayam- Thiruvananthapuram

passenger train to pass by the station. The Kollam-bound passenger train is again detained at Mavelikkara station to facilitate crossing for No 2696 Thiruvananthapuram-Chennai Mail (Super Fast) and at the outer region of the Kollam station, later, around 8.45 pm every day, the association alleged.

Suggestions The association have also put forth certain suggestions to resolve the problem.

The memorandum says the departure time of the passenger train may be advanced by 30 minutes, rescheduling it to 5.25 pm from 5.55 pm.

The railways may also consider introducing a new passenger train from Kottayam to Thiruvananthapuram at 5.15 pm in view of the growing demand from the daily commuters for more rail traffic Facility on the route, it adds.