Regular passenger train service from Virudhunagar to Karaikudi via Manamadurai begins on Saturday.

The Virudhunagar-Manamadurai section was closed for gauge conversion five years back, and the broad gauge line was laid at a cost of Rs.178 crore. Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation K.C. Venugopal dedicated the track to the nation at a function in Aruppukottai on July 14.

The first train to run on the new track, Puducherry-Kanyakumari weekly special (Train number 06861), was flagged off by Union Minister of State for Railways Surya Prakash Reddy at Puducherry on July 15.

Since then, there has been a demand from the public and rail commuters for a regular passenger train service as it is the shortest route to reach Rameswaram and delta districts. The daily service will also benefit the residents of Aruppukottai, Thiruchuzhi and Narikudi.

Everyday except Sundays, the Virudhunagar-Karaikudi train (number 76838) will leave Virudhunagar at 6.00 a.m. and reach Manamadurai at 7.40 a.m. It will leave Manamadurai after a 10-minute halt and reach Karaikudi at 9.40 a.m.

In the return direction, except on Saturdays, the Karaikudi- Virudhunagar (train number 76837) will leave Manamadurai at 7.45 p.m. and reach Virudhunagar at 9.35 p.m.

The ticket fare from Virudhunagar to Aruppukottai, a distance of 22 km, is Rs.5 in the passenger train, whereas the fare is Rs.30 in express train. The fare for Virudhunagar to Manamadurai – 67 km – is Rs.15 in passenger train and Rs.35 in express train. While the fare for Virudhunagar to Karaikudi is Rs.25 in passenger train, it is Rs.50 in express train. Congress MP Manicka Tagore is expected to flag off the Virudhunagar-Karaikudi train service here on Saturday in the presence of Divisional Railway Manager (Madurai) A.K.Rastogi, Assistant DRM Ajith Kumar.