Associations demand extra coaches in Coimbatore – Mettupalayam train

The Mettupalayam - Coimbatore train that has good patronage.  

Commuters using the Coimbatore – Mettupalayam train service have urged the Southern Railway to increase the number of coaches and frequency of the service besides reviving the three stations en route.

There has been a steady growth of passenger traffic between Coimbatore and Mettupalayam either for trade, job or education purposes.

The road widening works of the narrow, congested stretch of Mettupalayam Road from Flower Market in Coimbatore city to Narasimhanaickenpalayam has made it unmotorable as of now.

Train services were first introduced between Coimbatore – Mettupalayam in June 2010 on a temporary basis. In 2011, the service was made permanent owing to the request of the regular commuters.

“This was not a new service but revival of a service that existed long back,” says T.T. Arangasamy, president, Mettupalayam Railway Passengers Association.

Now, the Salem Division of Southern Railway is operating four services on either direction serving the travel needs of close to 1,100 passengers per trip in non-peak hours and a little more than 2,000 passengers during peak hours. There are 11 to 12 coaches attached to this train on an average. Train services are operated only on weekdays at present and coaches and engine are set aside for maintenance on Sundays.

Considering the patronage and the packed coaches, the Mettupalayam Consumer Protection Association president B.A. Vadooth says that the number of coaches need to be increased by one or two during the non-peak hours and three our four during the peak hours. Also, during weekends pilgrims and tourists throng Vanabadrakaliamman Temple and water theme park in Mettupalayam. In addition, Mettupalayam is the gateway to the tourist destination Udhagamandalam and Coonoor, hence the services should be operated on Sundays as well.

On Sundays, for the few services, the engines and rakes of the overnight trains could be used leaving the regular rakes for maintenance, the rail users suggested.

Mr. Vadooth says that authorities should consider operating additional service from either direction at 7 a.m. and another service from Coimbatore at 9.30 p.m. and 10.30 p.m. from Mettupalayam.

This would cater to the travel needs during the early mornings and late night. Otherwise, the existing four services on either direction are at convenient timings.

At present, services depart from Mettuppalayam at 8.30 a.m., 10.40 a.m., 1.10 p.m. and 4.20 p.m. and from Coimbatore at 9.30 a.m., 12 noon, 3 p.m. and at 5.55 p.m.

There is a plea for postponing the 5.55 p.m. departure from Coimbatore to 6.10 p.m. for the convenience of office goers and industrial workers.

Mr. Arangasamy and Mr. Vadooth are of the opinion that the train will generate more patronage and revenue, if the stations en-route such as Thudialur/ Urumandampalayam, Pudupalayam and Veerapandi are renovated and revived. The same could be done through public participation and contribution from philanthropists and local bodies, if funds are a constraint for the railways, adds G.K. Nagaraj and R. Raveendran of the Coimbatore Railway Struggle Committee.

Cost factor

The ticket fare for a travel on the Coimbatore – Mettupalayam or vice versa by train was only Rs. 6 and whereas buses charge Rs. 16 for ordinary services and Rs. 20 or Rs. 22 for Express or Point-to-Point services. This is also one of the reasons for people preferring train, says Jameel Ahmed, Member of the Divisional Railway Users Committee.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 8:47:22 PM |

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