Southern Railway is preparing to pull the plug on non-stop AC Duronto trains to Coimbatore and Thiruvananthapuram citing poor traveller response to these point-to-point services.
Southern Railway has sought the Railway Board’s permission to withdraw the Duronto services to Thiruvananthapuram and Coimbatore, and instead run them as regular express trains.
While a Railway official said a final decision had to come from the Railway Board, IRCTC users trying to book tickets for travel dates next month were already finding a message “ISL STN Deleted” for bookings from December 6 for the train to Thiruvananthapuram.
The Duronto service to Coimbatore was no longer appearing on the list of trains on the IRCTC page after bookings were suspended beyond December 9.
“A zero date for booking is to better prepare railway users for withdrawal of a service,” the official said.
According to sources, more than feeble passenger demand, it was poor value for money that resulted in the unpopularity of these trains.
“Also, in this case, the strength turned out to be the weakness…of not having intermediate stops. This seems to have turned away the bulk of railway users on these usually high-demand routes,” an official said.
The Duronto trains with their unique yellow-green livery had been promoted across the Railways by former Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee and Southern Railway had been running four services in this class, the two other services being to Nizamuddin and Madurai.