Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd. (KRCL) has sought to add five coaches on the Bengaluru-Karwar-Bengaluru overnight express saying occupancy is more than 100%. This is the same train the company had sought to cancel citing low occupancy.
On April 19, KRCL wrote to the Railway Ministry seeking cancellation of several trains on its network, including Bengaluru-Karwar overnight express, now named Panchaganga Express, and the Yeshwantpur-Karwar day train. It said: “It is observed that the occupancy of special trains has reduced drastically during the period from 20/04/2021 to 20/05/2021 due to surge of COVID-19 positive case because of second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.”
While occupancy on the night train was below 17%, that on the day train was 1%, it informed the Ministry.
As against KRCL’s claim, occupancy on Bengaluru-Karwar overnight express special was over 80% during the lockdown for the second wave of COVID-19 with South Western Railway telling the Ministry not to cancel the service. The day train, however, was partially cancelled between Mangaluru Junction and Karwar.
On August 6, KRCL wrote to SWR saying occupancy on both Up and Down services was more than 100% in July, and the 14 coaches were insufficient to handle the demand. Hence, five more coaches may be added, SWR was told.
Impact on running time
Rajeev Gaonkar, secretary of Railway Seva Samithi, Uttara Kannada, said, “For the first time in the history of KRCL, the company has offered something unbelievable for passengers of Karnataka. We are happy with the existing service, and whoever does not get accommodation in train will travel by bus.”
Adding coaches could have an impact on the train’s schedule. The journey time could get extended beyond the existing 14 hours. Shiribagilu station on the Sakleshpur-Subrahmanya Road ghat, where trains cross each other, can accommodate only a 15-coach train. More coaches means crossing elsewhere, entailing changes in the timetable, which could affect journey time, Mr. Gaonkar explained.
Kundapura Rail Prayanikara Hitharakshana Samithi president Ganesh Puthran said KRCL’s gesture is an eyewash to divert attention from the demand for reintroduction of the Yeshwantpur-Karwar day train. Instead, KRCL should reintroduce the cancelled service (Mangaluru Junction to Karwar) of the train that is now running with vistadome coaches between Yeshwantpur and Mangaluru Junction, he said.
If demand is high, let KRCL introduce one more train between Bengaluru and Karwar. But, do not meddle with the existing service, Mr. Gaonkar added.