Patrons and passenger associations are at a loss to understand why the extended Bengaluru (Sir M. Visvesvaraya Terminal) –Mangaluru Central Express via Mysuru to Murdeshwar takes nearly two hours to traverse 20 km from Mangaluru Central to Surathkal.
Other trains, including the Mangaluru Central-Mumbai LTT Matsyagandha Express, take just about 45 minutes to traverse this distance. Terming this as “unscientific”, the Kundapura Railu Prayanikara Hitarakshana Samiti has urged the Railway Ministry to immediately tighten the timetable between Mangaluru and Murdeshwar.
In a statement, samiti president Ganesh Puthran said the train (no. 16585) leaves Mangaluru Central at 8.40 a.m., reaches Surathkal at 10.32 a.m. and Murdeshwar at 1.35 p.m. (4 hours and 55 minutes). In the return direction too, train no. 16586 leaves Murdeshwar at 2.10 p.m. and reaches Central at 6.20 p.m. (4 hours 10 minutes). Even the Mangaluru Central-Madgaon Express Special (erstwhile passenger train) takes just three hours to cover this 164-km distance, he noted.
No halt at Mangaluru Junction
Mr. Puthran blamed Southern Railway and Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd. for their apathy in dispatching and receiving the train at the inter-zone region Thokur. Train services do not have commercial halt at Mangaluru Junction (MAJN) either. However, upon passing through MAJN at 8.55 a.m., train no. 16585 is detained at MAJN outer for 40 minutes and at Surathkal for another 40 minutes, he regretted.
Can run till Karwar
Referring to expert opinions, Mr. Puthran said if the train was operated to the actual required timing, it could run up to Karwar and be made to return to Mangaluru Central within the stipulated departure time of 6.35 p. m. towards Bengaluru.
Stating that South Western Railway (SWR) is even prepared to hand over Bengaluru-Murdeshwar train 15 more minutes earlier at Padil to Southern Railway, Mr. Puthran said the train could then reach Mangaluru Central at 8 a.m. It can start towards Murdeshwar at 8.20 a.m. on the path of the erstwhile Mangaluru Central-Madgaon Intercity Express to reach Kundapur by 10.30 a.m. and Murdeshwar by 11.30 a.m. The Railway Ministry should direct the three zones — SWR, SR and KRCL — to work out a passenger-friendly timetable, he said.
Kundapur resident Vivek Nayak said if the train was extended till Karwar operating under a strict timetable, it would benefit hundreds of tourists too to travel between Mysuru, Murdeshwar, Gokarna, and other surrounding important places.