Fourteen new train services, including a ‘Duronto’ between Chennai and Coimbatore have been proposed for Tamil Nadu in the budget submitted by Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee in Parliament on Wednesday.

However, no new lines, gauge conversion or doubling projects have been included in the budget.

The Chennai – Coimbatore Duronto Express will be a day time point to point service between the two cities which will be cheaper and faster compared to Rajdhani Express, according to the Minister.

Other new trains proposed in the budget are: Nagercoil- Bangalore Express via Madurai and Hosur, Tiruchirapalli – Mangalore (Weekly) Express, Coimbatore – Tirupati Intercity (Tri-weekly) Express via Salem, Madurai - Tirupati ( Bi-weekly) Express, Howrah – Katpadi (Vellore) – Puducherry (Weekly) Express, Haldia – Chennai (Weekly) Express, Chennai - New Jalpaiguri (Weekly) Express, Tiruchendur -Tirunelveli Passenger, Mayiladuthurai – Thanjavur Passenger, Coimbatore – Pollachi Passenger (after gauge conversion) and main line EMU services between Coimbatore and Erode, Tirupati and Chennai via Nellore and between Salem and Katpadi.

To promote tourism, special tourist trains called ‘Bharat Tirth’ connecting tourist towns in the State such as Madurai,, Rameswaram, Kanyakumari with Mantralayam, Varanasi, Mysore, Goa, will be operated. They are not regular services but will be operated during seasons.

The Ministry had committed to complete new lines from Nagapattinam to Velankanni, portion between Salem and Namakkal of Salem – Karur project, and from Nagore to Karaikal and gauge conversion of Tirunelveli – Tenkasi, Mayiladuthurai – Tiruvarur, and Dindigul –Palani sections before the end of next financial year.

Though surveys had been done for new lines between Madurai and Tuticorin, Madurai and Kottayam, Dindigul and Kumuli, and Rameswaram and Dhanushkoti, no further step was taken. Now the Ministry decided to update the survey and process it through the Planning Commission for necessary approval. It had also proposed to take up survey for a new line between Krishnagiri and Chamrajnagar.

The Ministry decided to take up the preliminary engineering-cum-traffic survey for dedicated freight corridors for North -South ( Delhi- Tamil Nadu) and South-South (Tamil Nadu – Goa).

Multi-functional complexes will be set up in Erode, Nagercoil, Salem, Tiruchi Fort, and Tiruttani stations. The Ministry decided to enhance passenger comforts and other facilities in Tiruvarur station.

ICF to be modernised

‘To meet the increasing demand of passenger coaches, Integral Coach Factory, Perambur, will be modernised and a second unit will be set up to equip itself for manufacturing technologically upgraded coaches from its present level of about 1500 coaches. A sports academy will be set up in Chennai along with Delhi, Secunderabad, Kokatta and Mumbai to strengthen sports infrastructure.

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