Demand rife to extend Bengaluru-Coimbatore Vande Bharat Express to Ernakulam

March 01, 2024 07:10 pm | Updated 07:10 pm IST - KOCHI

With the Railway Board yet to take a final call on introducing Vande Bharat Express service in the lucrative Ernakulam-Bengaluru corridor, the demand is rife to extend the Bengaluru-Coimbatore Vande Bharat Express to Ernakulam.

Passenger associations have been demanding this, citing the less than expected patronage for the Coimbatore-Bengaluru train, that has necessitated a change of time schedule. They have been contrasting this with the whopping patronage of over 150% for the pair of Vande Bharat Express trains that are operating in Kerala, and the inadequate number of trains during morning hours linking commercial hubs Ernakulam and Coimbatore.

Referring to reports of the Southern Railway being allotted a Vande Bharat Express rake, P. Krishnakumar, general secretary of Thrissur Railway Passengers’ Association (TRPA), said that it should ideally be deployed in the Ernakulam-Bengaluru route, where a good section of commuters were forced to travel in inter-State buses due to acute paucity of trains. “Else, the Railway must for the time being increase the number of coaches in the Coimbatore-Bengaluru Vande Bharat Express from eight to 16, and extend it to Ernakulam. This would in turn benefit commuters from Ernakulam to both Bengaluru and Coimbatore, while the augmenting of coaches would ensure optimal utility of the Coimbatore-Bengaluru rail corridor.”

The train could begin its service from Ernakulam at 5 a.m. and reach Bengaluru at noon, while the return train could begin from Bengaluru later at noon and reach Ernakulam at night, as was being considered by the Railway for the Ernakulam-Bengaluru Vande Bharat Express. “We hope an announcement in this regard will be made before the model code of conduct for the impending Lok Sabha poll takes effect,” he added.

Tatanagar-Ernakulam daily train

Heeding to demand from commuters, the Railway on Friday announced that the Tatanagar-Ernakulam Bi-Weekly Express (Train number 18189) and its return train (18190) would operate as a daily train, from March 7 and March 10 respectively, immensely benefiting commuters in the high-in-demand Ernakulam-Palakkad-Coimbatore, route where a morning train was a necessity.

Informed sources said the extension of the Coimbatore-Bengaluru Vande Bharat Express to Ernakulam would be a temporary relief to train commuters from Ernakulam, since the Railway was yet to announce the Ernakulam-Bengaluru Vande Bharat Express. “That the track-capacity utilisation in the Ernakulam-Palakkad route is over 100% should not affect the introduction of the eagerly awaited Ernakulam-Bengaluru Vande Bharat Express, since the passenger patronage for the pair of Vande Bharat Express trains in Kerala is over 150%.”

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