The non-stop AC Duronto train from Chennai to Coimbatore will run as a Shatabdi Express and the Duronto service to Thiruvananthapuram will be operated as an AC Superfast Express with Rajdhani fares from Friday.
This follows Southern Railway’s appeal to the Railway Board seeking conversion of these Duronto services to express trains on account of poor patronage and attendant losses. There will, however, be no change in the composition of the trains and days of service.
Train No.12243 / 12244 Chennai Central – Coimbatore – Chennai Central Duronto Express trains will have commercial stoppages at Salem, Erode and Tiruppur.
Train No.12243 Chennai Central – Coimbatore Shatabdi Express will leave Chennai Central at 7.15 a.m., Salem at 11.25 a.m., Erode at 12.25 p.m., Tiruppur at 1.02 p.m. and reach Coimbatore at 2.05 p.m.
In the return direction, Train No. 12244 Coimbatore – Chennai Central Shatabdi Express will leave Coimbatore at 3.20 p.m., Tiruppur at 4.02 p.m., Erode at 4.55 p.m., Salem at 5.50 p.m. and arrive at Chennai Central at 10.15 p.m.
Train No.22207 / 22208 Chennai Central – Thiruvananthapuram – Chennai Central Duronto Express trains (bi-weekly — Tuesdays and Fridays), will have commercial stoppages at Ernakulam Jn. and Kollam.
Train No.22207 Chennai Central – Thiruvananthapuram AC Superfast Express (Bi-weekly) will leave Chennai Central at 4.30 p.m., Ernakulam Jn. at 1.55 a.m., Kollam at 4.02 a.m., and reach Thiruvananthapuram at 5.45 a.m. In the return direction, Train No. 22208 Thiruvananthapuram – Chennai Central AC Superfast Express (bi-weekly) will leave Thiruvananthapuram at 9.30 p.m., Kollam at 10.27 p.m., Ernakulam Jn. at 12.45 a.m. and reach Chennai Central at 10.30 a.m.
T. Sadagopan, consumer activist, points out that the train’s scheduled arrival of 12.45 a.m. at Ernakulam is as passenger-unfriendly as the arrival time of 10.30 a.m. at its destination (Chennai Central). “Serving the demand for a fast train has to be balanced with convenient commercial stoppages for earning revenue,” he said.
According to a Railway official, while the Rajdhani and Duronto fares are more or less equivalent in the case of the Chennai-Thiruvananthapuram train, passengers booked on travel dates till December 9 on the Chennai-Coimbatore Duronto services can file for refund as the Shatabdi is graded below the Duronto class of trains. The Chennai-Coimbatore fare for chair car is likely to be about Rs. 20 less than the Rs. 895 charged on the Duronto.