The Southern Railway has said that it will examine proposals to operate new passenger trains from Mangaluru Central, including one to popular pilgrim centre Tirupati, to include them in the Inter Railway Timetable Committee (IRTTC) 2022 meeting.
During the meeting of MPs from Palakkad Division with Southern Railway’s General Manager last week, Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel’s proposals to introduce new trains from Mangaluru to Tirupati via Hassan; Ahmedabad via Madgaon and Miraj via Hassan and Arsikere, were discussed. General Manager (in-charge) B.G. Mallya responded saying that the feasibility of introduction of the suggested trains will be carefully examined for inclusion in the next IRTTC meeting.
Several rail patrons and passenger associations in the region had urged the MP to get a direct train facility to Tirupati as thousands travel to the destination using other tedious modes of transport. Similarly, the Mahalakshmi Express to Miraj that was running before gauge conversion was not reintroduced after gauge conversion. As per the Railway policy, all trains running before gauge conversion should be reintroduced after completion of the work, the MP had noted and said that the train connected North Karnataka and Coastal Karnataka.
Meanwhile, responding to questions from other MPs of the division, including E.T. Mohammed Basheer from Ponnani, M.P. Abdussamad Samadai from Malappuram, M.K. Raghavan from Kozhikode and Rajmohan Unnithan from Kasargod, the General Manager said that the zone is awaiting clearance of timetable for the proposed Mangaluru Central-Rameswaram bi-weekly express via Podanur, Pollachi and Madurai. Though the train was sanctioned about four years ago, the board is yet to clear the timetable.
To another question from Mr. Kateel on the delay in the completion of the new pitline and platform works at Mangaluru Central, the General Manager said that construction of the pitline, work on which was awarded on November 19, 2020, got delayed because of funds crunch as no funds were made available in 2021-22. COVID-19 situation too contributed to the delay.
However, sufficient funds were available at present and the pitline work will be completed by next month-end. As works on additional platforms at Mangaluru Central can be taken up only after the pitline gets ready, they will be taken up in the 2022-23 financial year, he added.