SWR cancels 88 trains citing poor ridership

Though a strict lockdown will come into effect from Monday, people who have booked flight and train tickets will be allowed to travel. However, citing poor ridership, South Western Railway (SWR) has cancelled 88 trains, most of which operated on intra-State routes.

In the Bengaluru division, 44 express trains and 12 MEMU and 6 DEMU trains have been cancelled till Saturday. Some of the cancellations include trains operating to Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) as well as suburban services from Bengaluru city to Marikuppam, Hosur, and others.

Chief PRO of SWR Aneesh Hegde said trains with ridership under 30% had been cancelled temporarily. “When the lockdown was imposed, there were no restrictions on train services. However, ridership dropped drastically on certain routes. A decision on resumption of services will be taken after the lockdown is lifted,” he said.

Divisional Railway Manager Ashok Kumar Verma pointed out that other railway zones too had cancelled trains such as Mysuru-Chennai Shatabdi Express. “Wherever there is a demand, we are running trains in adequate numbers,” said Mr. Verma.

However, the decision to cancel services, especially to the KIA has not gone down well with rail activists. Rail activist Sanjeev Dyamannavar said: “ The Railways should have continued with the airport services for the benefit of people working there as they are working even during the lockdown. Officials could have explored the possibility of running express trains to the airport with limited stops at Kengeri, Bengaluru, and Baiyappanahalli as tracks do not have much traffic. It could have helped people working at the cargo division of the airport and air passengers.”

The SWR had introduced train services with a halt at the KIA in the first week of January, but according to officials, patronage remained poor. This is the second time the SWR is cancelling services to the airport. In March, services were suspended for over 20 days to facilitate maintenance work.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 8:38:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/swr-cancels-88-trains-citing-poor-ridership/article34515957.ece

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