Staff Reporter

Railway Minister likely to flag off the service in Bangalore

BANGALORE: The long awaited commencement of passenger train services between Bangalore and Mangalore has been cleared by the Railway Board. The service will be flagged off simultaneously from Bangalore and Mangalore on December 8. South Western Railway (SWR) General Manager Praveen Kumar told The Hindu that Railway Minister Lalu Prasad was likely to flag off the service in Bangalore in the presence of AICC president Sonia Gandhi.

Mr. Kumar said the trains would leave Yeshwantpur and Mangalore at 8 p.m., every day and reach the respective destinations by 8.30 a.m. the next day via Mysore, covering a distance of 494 km.

The numbers assigned to the trains are 6517 (Yeshwantpur-Mangalore) and 6518 (Mangalore-Yeshwantpur). The trains will have 18 coaches comprising AC, sleeper class and general service coaches.

Reservations for the services may open on Saturday, according to another senior SWR official. The SWR conducted a dry run on the crucial ghat section between Sakleshpur and Subramanya Road on Thursday.

Few more such runs would be conducted before the commencement of the services. The dry runs, Mr. Kumar said, was aimed at training the crew and familiarising them with the new route. The loco drivers would have to learn where they had to slow down, where they had to apply brakes and the methods of negotiating curves. “For the first time, passenger services are being run on this route after the metre gauge line was dismantled,” Mr. Kumar noted. If necessary, the timings of the services could be re-scheduled after the dry runs, he added.

The train from Yeshwantpur will run via Kengeri, Maddur, Mysore, Sakleshpur, Subramanya Road and Kabaka Puttur before reaching Mangalore Central station. Fares for different classes of travel will be known once the decision is taken on advance reservation.

Despite the safety certification given on April 12, the Railways was dilly-dallying on operating the passenger services on the section. The new line will also benefit people in Kasargod and Kannur in north Kerala. While the distance from Mangalore to Chennai via Palakkad is about 900 km, it will be 725 km via Bangalore.