Staff Reporter

Weekly trains from Thiruvananthapuram to Chennai, Bangalore flagged off

Thiruvananthapuram: The Central railway station here will be among the 16 stations in the country to have facilities of world-class standards, Union Minister of State for Railways R. Velu said here on Tuesday.

He was speaking at a function organised to flag off the weekly 2697/2698 Thiruvananthapuram Central-Chennai Central super-fast and 6316/6315 Kochuveli-Bangalore city express trains at the station.

Pointing out that the project had been taken up on priority basis, Mr. Velu said all facilities, such as medical shops, groceries and malls, would be available in these stations. "It will be a win-win situation for the railways and the public. Over Rs. 100 crore is to be invested for making the central station world class."

In cities such as Thiruvananthapuram, where land acquisition was a major hurdle, railways would construct multi-storey shopping complexes in already available land to provide world-class standards, he said.

Kanyakumari, Thiruvananthapuram Central, Kollam, Ernakulam and Thrissur stations in Thiruvanananthapuram railway division, along with five others in Palakkad division, would be made model stations. The Union Minister said electrification of the 76-km Thiruvananthapuram-Kanyakumari stretch and the Shoranur-Mangalore section was under consideration. The electrified Ernakulam-Thiruvananthapuram line would be commissioned by November-end. The railways would be able to save time and fuel once railway lines were electrified.

Budget hotels would be built with private-public participation on railway premises at Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Kottayam to provide accommodation to middleclass families at affordable rates. The proposal for a hotel in Ernakulam was also under consideration.

The Kollam-Punalur gauge conversion would be completed by this year. Delay in acquiring land was preventing taking up of the work on Tanur-Kuttipuram, Angamali-Sabarimala and Kollam-Punalur railway lines.

Unreserved ticketing system would be introduced in 14 more railway stations in the State.

Later, the Minister inaugurated the renovated air-conditioned waiting hall, passenger care centre and platform information display set up under the "touch and feel concept" at a cost of Rs. 40 lakh.

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