Wait-list of passengers offers proof of popularity of Bengaluru-Karwar Panchaganga Express

The rush of passengers has triggered a demand for one more overnight service from the coast to Bengaluru

Updated - March 10, 2022 10:59 am IST

Published - March 10, 2022 10:17 am IST - MANGALURU

The Bengaluru-Karwar Panchaganga Express was introduced on March 7, 2020.

The Bengaluru-Karwar Panchaganga Express was introduced on March 7, 2020. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Bengaluru-Karwar-Bengaluru Panchaganga Express (Train 16595/16596) has become so popular that both the services run with a wait-list of passengers every day.

Running with 14 coaches because of operational reasons, the train has three general second class, seven second sleeper class, one 2-tier AC and one 3-tier AC, one combined 2-tier AC and 1st AC, and one generator car coach accommodating roughly 1,000 passengers.

The service began two years ago on March 7, 2020. The train was cancelled for nearly six months due to the COVID-19 lockdown, that too within a fortnight of its inaugural run.

Konkan Railway Corporation’s Regional Railway Manager at Karwar B.B. Nikam said the Karwar-Bengaluru service reaches its full capacity before leaving Udupi. Even all the berths (10) in the combined 1st AC/2-tier AC coach are in the wait-list.

While the earlier Bengaluru-Karwar/Kannur overnight express used to take about 18 hours for the journey between Bengaluru and Karwar, the Panchaganga Express covers the distance in 14 hours. The service skips both Mangaluru Junction and Mangaluru Central stations and traverses via Padil bypass thereby saving more than one hour of journey time.

The fares are attractive for passengers with ₹255 for general second class, ₹435 (second sleeper), ₹1,150 (3-AC), ₹1,620 (2-AC) and ₹2,720 (1st-AC), as against bus fares that start from ₹600 and go up to ₹1,200.

One more train required

The popularity of Panchaganga and the lengthy wait-list has prompted passengers to demand one more service between the coastal city and the capital of Karnataka.

Uday Bhandarkar from Udupi said the coastal people need one more overnight train service to Bengaluru. Laxmi Bai from Bhatkal said, “I would remain tense till I get confirmed accommodation as the service always runs with a wait-list of passengers.”

Kundapura Railu Prayanikara Hitharakshana Samithi president Ganesh Puthran said the Panchaganga has become the lifeline of coastal people from Surathkal to Karwar. He demanded another overnight express to Bengaluru.

Extend tri-weekly to Karwar

While the Railways is considering a demand by patrons of Mysuru region to extend Bengaluru-Mangaluru Central-Bengaluru tri-weekly service (16585/586) to Karwar, patrons in Mangaluru want the service to have a halt in the city.

Pashchima Karavali Railway Yathri Abhivriddhi Samithi president G. Hanumanth Kamath said the Samithi would support the demand for extension of the service to Karwar as it benefits large sections of coastal people. However, he wants the service to have a halt at Mangaluru Central.

Giving a halt in Mangaluru for any train service between Bengaluru and Karwar necessitates a reversal of the loco (engine) either at Mangaluru Junction or Mangaluru Central.

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