Shivamogga MP demands additional coaches in Bengaluru-Karwar Panchaganga Express to meet demand for berths

Passenger associations however fear sabotaging of its present running timing of sub-14 hours if more coaches are added to the existing 14

Updated - January 30, 2024 06:43 pm IST

Published - January 30, 2024 03:43 pm IST - MANGALURU

Passenger Associations of Kundapura and Uttara Kannada have said the demand for more accommodation on Bengaluru-Karwar-Bengaluru Panchaganga Express can be addressed by extending SMVT Bengaluru-Murdeshwar Express to Karwar or Vasco da Gama.

Passenger Associations of Kundapura and Uttara Kannada have said the demand for more accommodation on Bengaluru-Karwar-Bengaluru Panchaganga Express can be addressed by extending SMVT Bengaluru-Murdeshwar Express to Karwar or Vasco da Gama. | Photo Credit: ANIL KUMAR SASTRY

Shivamogga Member of Parliament B.Y. Raghavendra has demanded addition of eight coaches to Bengaluru-Karwar-Bengaluru Panchaganga Express (16595/596). However, railway passenger associations fear that adding coaches may derail the existing schedule of the train, resulting in extension of journey time.

Mookambika Road Byndoor under Byndoor Assembly constituency is the only station that comes under Shivamogga parliamentary constituency whereas other prominent stations are in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi-Chikkamagaluru and Uttara Kannada constituencies.

In his January 28 letter to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. Mr. Raghavendra said the Panchaganga runs with 14 LHB coaches whereas almost all other trains run with 22 coaches. A 14-coach rake and a 22-coach rake are hauled by similar locomotives. Hence, running a train with 14 coaches is a waste of resources, he argued.

He told the Minister that a huge demand for berths in both directions forces passengers to travel in jam-packed general coaches. At present, the Up and Down Panchaganga services cross each other at Siribagilu Railway Station in the Shiradi ghat section that can accommodate only a 14-coach rake.

Uttara Kannada Railway Seva Samithi secretary Rajeev Gaonkar alleged that the suggestion to add coaches to Panchaganga is an attempt to sabotage a train that has become popular because the end-to-end distance is covered within 14 hours as against 17 hours earlier.

Uttara Kannada Railway Seva Samithi secretary Rajeev Gaonkar alleged that the suggestion to add coaches to Panchaganga is an attempt to sabotage a train that has become popular because the end-to-end distance is covered within 14 hours as against 17 hours earlier. | Photo Credit: Photo for representation only

He proposed shifting the crossing to Subrahmanya Road Station, adding that the loss of time may be regained by tightening the slack in the running schedule between Sakleshpur and Nelamangala. He suggested changing the departure and arrival timings of the Panchaganga both in Bengaluru and Karwar.

Sabotaging a popular train

Uttara Kannada Railway Seva Samithi secretary Rajeev Gaonkar alleged that the letter should not be an attempt to sabotage a train that has become popular because the end-to-end distance is covered within 14 hours as against 17 hours earlier.

“Though adding coaches is welcome, it should not affect the existing timetable. At present, the train reaches Yesvantpur around 6.40 a.m. and easily gets accommodated in a platform at Bengaluru city station.

“In case of a delay of even 10 minutes, the service gets held up outside Bengaluru amid many trains arriving from north Karnataka. The slack in the schedule between Sakleshpur and Nelamangala is given to cover any such delay. Hence, accepting the suggestion of Mr. Raghavendra to eliminate the slack timing would adversely affect the arrival time (7.10 am) in Bengaluru,” he explained.

Kundapura Railway Prayanikara Samithi president Ganesh Puthran suspects that the lobby of private bus operators is behind the demand for additional coaches that might impact the running time of Panchaganga.

Both the associations said the solution to catering to the unmet demand is introducing one more train on the Bengaluru-Karwar sector, and extending SMVT Bengaluru-Murdeshwar train (16585/586) to Karwar.

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