Tiruvarur-Karaikudi BG route to get express train service after a long gap

After more than a decade, express train services are to be operated on the nearly 150-km Tiruvarur - Karaikudi broad gauge converted stretch amid persistent demands from the general public of this region. 

Southern Railway has announced the operation of weekly Ernakulam - Nagapattinam - Ernakulam special fare special trains during the summer season. The trains will be operated via Kottayam, Kollam, Sengottai, Rajapalayam, Sivakasi, Virudhunagar, Aruppukottai, Karaikudi, Aranthangi, Pattukottai, Adhirampatinam, Thiruthuraipoondi and Tiruvarur to reach Nagapattinam.

The special train from Ernakulam will leave on Saturday afternoon and reach Nagapattinam in the early hours the next day. In the return direction, it will leave Nagapattinam on Sundays at 7.10 p.m. and arrive at Ernakulam on Monday noon. The weekly service that commences on June 4 will be in vogue for two months till August 7. 

The announcement of a special express train that is to be operated via Karaikudi -Tiruvarur stretch after a gap of more than 10 years will prove to be a huge relief to the general public residing in that section, says A. Giri, secretary, Thanjavur District Railway Users Association.

The prolonged delay in the completion of broad gauge conversion works in the Tiruvarur - Karaikudi section resulted in suspension of train services for more than a decade causing immense hardship to people of Adhirampatinam, Aranthangi, Pattukottai, Peravurani and Thiruthuraipoondi. 

Even after statutory clearance from the Commissioner of Railway Safety, Southern Circle, Bengaluru more than three years ago for operation of passenger services on the Tiruvarur - Karaikudi BG stretch post gauge conversion, express train services did not get restored owing to non-deployment of full-time gatekeepers forcing travellers to go either to Thanjavur or Mannargudi to board trains or travel in buses.  After repeated demands from the general public and some Members of Parliament to the railway administration, only DEMU (Diesel Electric Multiple Unit) services were started on this stretch which failed to attract good patronage, say rail users. 

Railway officials say arrangements had been made for deployment of gatekeepers during night time on Saturday and Sunday in the Karaikudi - Tiruvarur stretch with the Southern Railway announcing the operation of a special train from Ernakulam to Nagapattinam and back. The operation of a special express train after several years on the Tiruvarur - Karaikudi stretch will be useful for those proceeding to southern districts and Kerala, says V. Viveganantham, secretary, Pattukottai Taluk Rail Passengers Welfare Association.

The Southern Railway administration could now seriously consider operating an express train service on week-ends to begin with from Karaikudi to Chennai via Aranthangi, Pattukottai, Adhirampatinam and Thiruthuraipoondi, said Mr. Viveganantham. 

The same view was echoed by Abdul Razak, secretary, United Foundation, Adhirampatinam. Operation of express train services to Chennai from Karaikudi via Adhirampatinam, Aranthangi, Peravurani and Pattukottai will immensely benefit travellers from this region who have been deprived of rail service for more than 10 years now, Mr. Abdul Razak added. 

“With the same night shift working of gatekeepers, the Southern Railway could operate a weekly special train from Karaikudi to Chennai via Pattukottai which will be of much use to the travellers”, Mr. Giri said adding that railways should recruit on full-time basis permanent employees to work in the level crossing gates in the Tiruvarur - Karaikudi stretch.

Mr Giri suggested that the railway could operate a day-time train from Karaikudi to Mayiladuthurai via Pattukottai to connect the Chennai-bound Cholan express. This should not be an issue as gatekeepers were working in day time in this stretch, he added. 

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Printable version | Jun 16, 2022 4:30:44 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/tiruvarur-karaikudi-bg-route-to-get-express-train-service-after-a-long-gap/article65467852.ece