New Antyodaya Express remains only on railway timetable

Months after the Southern Railway announced in its new timetable released in August 2018 , a daily Antyodaya Express train from Tambaram to Sengottai via main line mentioning its timings and coach composition, the delay in the announcement of the date of its introduction and stoppages has disappointed travellers.

Passengers of the delta region covering important stations such as Mayiladuthurai, Kumbakonam and Thanjavur falling on the main line route have sought early operation of the Antyodaya Express which would provide them with another direct service to Chennai besides linking some southern destinations.

Heeding public demand, the railway administration in its annual timetable revision released in November 2017 announced the introduction of the new Antyodaya Express train from Tambaram to Sengottai.

But, it merely stated then that the date of commencement of the new service would be notified later.

Later, the Southern Railway operated special day-time trains from Tambaram to Sengottai via Mayiladuthurai and Kumbakonam for few days.

However, the services were stopped apparently due to prolonged line block put in place in the Mayiladuthurai - Thanjavur section, claim passengers.

On a couple of occasions, the special train was diverted midway via Vriddhachalam without any prior announcement causing huge disappointing to passengers waiting enroute.

Then the Southern Railway in its new timetable released in August 2018 announced the introduction of a new Tambaram - Sengottai Antyodaya Express train via main line section.

The train numbers and coach composition were mentioned in both directions in the timetable as per which the train would leave Tambaram at 7 a.m. to reach Sengotttai at 10.30 p.m.

In the return direction, the train was scheduled to leave Sengottai at 6 a.m. and arrive at Tambaram at 10.15 p.m.

However, the 2018 Railway timetable said that the date of its introduction and stoppages would be "notified later".

With no word yet from the railway administration over the commencement of the new service, passengers in the delta region want its immediate introduction with stoppages provided in the November 2017 timetable.

“It is indeed disappointing that the railway administration has yet to spell out the date of the introduction of the new service after making an announcement nearly five months ago”, says V. Sathyanarayanan, secretary, All Trade and Industries Association, Kumbakonam.

The special train operated between Tambaram and Sengottai for few days failed to attract good patronage due to inordinate delay en route with no prior proper announcements to passengers, claim travellers.

Ever since the main line section was converted to broad gauge, passengers have been consistently demanding restoration of all trains that were operated when it was a metre gauge including the Chennai Egmore - Sengottai fast passenger.

Repeated representations were made and a memorandum submitted to the then Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu during his maiden visit to Kumbakonam in March 2017 also seeking the restoration of the once highly patronised Chennai - Sengottai fast passenger, said A. Giri, advisor, Thanjavur District Rail Users Association.

It was after this meeting with the Railway Minister that the announcement for the new Antyodaya Express came through, he added.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 6:53:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/new-antyodaya-express-remains-only-on-railway-timetable/article25977342.ece

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