Staff Reporter

KARUR: Public and train travellers have expressed strong resentment over extending the Chennai-Coimbatore-Chennai Express up to Mangalore and advancing the departure time here of the Chennai-bound service by an hour. The revised schedule comes into force on Wednesday.

The end of a sustained decades-long campaign saw the Railways introduce a twice-a-week express service between Coimbatore and Chennai via Karur from November 11, 2001. The service too was subsequently withdrawn. Again, a daily express service was introduced between Erode and Chennai from July 1, 2003, to benefit mainly the Karur people. Later, the authorities extended that service to Coimbatore, citing a "huge demand" from Melmaruvathur-bound passengers out of Coimbatore.

Once again the Karur public found it difficult to get seats or berths in the service forcing Karur MP, K.C. Palanisamy, to intervene and get a quota of 311 berths. When the MP was requesting the Minister of State for Railways, R. Velu, to increase the quota to 500 berths, the announcement that the service was being extended to Mangalore and the departure time to Chennai has been advanced by an hour to 7.25 p.m. have come as a double jolt.

Strongly condemning the move, Karur District Train Traveller Welfare Association has threatened to launch an agitation by enlisting the support of the townsmen.