Andhra Pradesh

Restore Chennai-Vizag trains to old timings, seeks Minister

Conversion of train no. 22870 Chennai – Visakhapatnam and 22802 Chennai – Visakhapatnam weekly overnight trains into ‘daytime special trains’ by the Southern Railway (SR), reportedly due to operational constraints at MGR Chennai Central Station, has led to a drastic fall in patronage for these two trains.

These weekly trains, operated by East Coast Railway (ECoR), were introduced following persistent demands by passengers from Visakhapatnam region working in Chennai, who come home during the weekends, apart from tourists.

These trains were converted into special trains due to the COVID-19 pandemic and operated on Zero-Based Timetable by Indian Railways. Information obtained by rail users, under RTI, for train no. 22870 (Chennai–Visakhapatnam) for the last four years, shows the occupancy ratio of the train was 98.98% in 2016-17, 106.87% in 2017-18, 111.61% in 2018-19 and 114.06% in 2019-20, showing a steady increase.

In contrast, the occupancy of 02870 Chennai – Visakhapatnam weekly special was 83.92% during 2020-21 and from April 1, 2021 to July 31, 2021 it is a mere 54.26%.

Similarly, train no. 02008 (old no. 22802) Chennai – Visakhapatnam weekly special on Saturdays, which had occupancy of 138.48% during 2020-21, declined to 80.41% from April 1, 2021 to July 31, 2021.

Meanwhile, on a representation from rail users, Minister for Tourism and Culture Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao has written to the General Manager of Southern Railway, Chennai, on Thursday, seeking continuation of the old timings for 02008 and 02870 Chennai – Visakhapatnam weekly special trains as ‘overnight express trains’ for the convenience of the travelling public as well as from a commercial point of view.

Mr. Srinivasa Rao noted that previously these trains used to run as overnight trains in both directions and had 100% occupancy. He has suggested extension of train no. 02007 and 02869 (Visakhapatnam – Chennai) trains till Villupuram junction via Chennai Egmore and Tambaram for good turnaround time and better rake utilisation, apart from restoration of 02008 and 02870 as overnight trains from Chennai Central to Visakhapatnam junction.


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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 3:39:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/restore-chennai-vizag-trains-to-old-timings-seeks-minister/article36640752.ece

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