Twelve new express trains, including the Chennai Central-Bangalore AC Double Decker Express, frequency upgrades of some services and speeding up of 40 express trains are among the highlights of the new timetable launched by Southern Railway here on Friday.
Many of the new trains have been allotted time-slots that take effect from July 1 – some leading to revised timings for other trains – though their actual date of introduction is to be notified later.
The 13-coach double decker express (daily) connecting Chennai and Bangalore is the showpiece among the new services and is likely to have much higher carrying capacity that popular trains like the Shatabdi and Brindavan express.
According to a Railway official, though the exact carriage capacity of the double decker coaches would be firmed up only later, going by specifications set by the Research Design and Standards Organisation of the Indian Railways, a double decker train would have a seating capacity of 128 persons per coach (74 seats in the lower deck and 54 in the upper deck). This is approximately 70 per cent more than the seats on a coach of the Shatabdi (78) or the Brindavan Express (73).
Train No.22625 Chennai Central- Bangalore AC Double Decker Exp will leave here 7.25 a.m. and reach Bangalore at 1.30 p.m. while Train No.22626 will leave Bangalore at 2.40 p.m. and arrive at 8.45 p.m. The stoppages are Perambur (up direction only), Arakkonam, Katpadi, Ambur, Jolarpettai, Bangarapet, Krishnarajapuram and Bangalore Cantonment.
Consequent on the introduction of the double decker, Train No.12639 Chennai Central –Bangalore Brindavan Express will leave 45 minutes later (7.50 a.m. instead of 7.15 a.m.), while the return train to Chennai, Train No.12640, will leave Bangalore 40 minutes later (3.10 p.m. instead of 2.30 p.m.)
The new services include the weekly air-conditioned superfast Bikaner-Coimbatore and the Yesvantpur-Kochuveli trains. The dates would be introduced later.
Other newly introduced trains are the Shalimar-Chennai Central (launched from June 24) and soon-to-be-introduced Asansol-Chennai Central, Chennai Central-Puri weekly superfast express trains, Tiruchi-Tirunelveli (day-time) Inter City daily, Tirunelveli-Dadar weekly, Kacheguda-Madurai weekly, Tirupati-Mannargudi tr-weekly, the Villupuram-Mayiladuthurai passenger and six Villupuram-Katpadi passenger trains. The increase in frequency of services will apply to Chennai Central-Mangalore express (Train Nos. 12685/686) that has been upgraded to daily from six days a week, the Kochuveli-Bangalore express to tri-weekly from bi-weekly (Train Nos. 16316/315), Kanyakumari-Nizammuddin Thirukkural express to bi-weekly from weekly (12641/642) and Villupuram-Kharagpur express to bi-weekly from weekly (22604/603).
The new MEMU services are the Palakkad-Coimbatore-Erode daily train and the Thrissur-Ernakulam six-days-a-week train.
Four passenger specials in the Mannargudi-Tiruchi-Manamadurai-Thanjavur-Karaikudi sectors would become DEMU class with eight coaches powered by two driving power cars and six trailer cars with effect from July 1.
The ten trains that have been extended include the Dehradun-Chennai weekly express to Madurai, Dadar-Yesvantpur to Puducherry on three days of the week and to Tirunelveli on three other days, Tirupati-Madurai bi-weekly to Rameswaram, the Mangalore-Palakkas Inter City Express to Coimbatore, the Mangalore-Thiruvananthapuram Parasuram Express to Nagercoil, Coimbatore-Erode MEMU to Salem, Velankanni-Nagore DEMU to Karaikal and the Bangalore-Salem passenger to Nagore.
Trains speeded up
Among the trains that have been speeded up are Kochuveli-Porbandar express, Rameswaram-Okha, Nizamuddin-Kanyakumari, Thiruvananthapuram-Korba, Mumbai CST-Kanyakumari, Mumbai CST-Chennai Central, Nagercoil-Gandhidham, Kacheguda-Chennai Egmore, Chennai Central-Mettupalayam and Chennai Central-Mangalore West Coast express.
The Chennai Central-Mangalore express (16041/042), Thiruvananthapuram-Mumbai CST (16332/331) and Puducherry-Mangalore weekly (16043/044) will be diverted via Coimbatore in September-October while the Chennai Egmore-Karaikkal express will be diverted via Mayiladuthurai from October 11.