KERALA

18 express trains to be speeded up

CHENNAI, AUG. 14. The running time of 18 express trains in Southern Railway will be reduced by 30 minutes to four hours from September 1.

While the Kanyakumari-Mumbai CST Express will be speeded up by about four hours, in the return direction its journey time will be cut by nearly one hour and 45 minutes.

The running time of both the up and down Chennai Egmore-Kanyakumari Expresses will be less by two hours. Similarly, the Chennai Central-Nagercoil (weekly) Express will take two and a half hours less while in the return direction it will be reduced by one hour and 45 minutes, according to Southern Railway sources.

The other trains to be speeded up are: the Kanyakumari-Bangalore Express (2 hours and 40 minutes), the Bangalore-Kanyakumari Express (one hour), the up and down Chennai-Mangalore West Coast Expresses (2 hours and 40 minutes), the Chennai-Visakapattinam Express (two hours), the up and down Tiruchi-Mangalore Expresses (one hour and 15 minutes), the Mangalore-Jammu Tawi Express Navyug Express, the Alappuzha-Chennai Express, and the Thiruvananthapuram-New Delhi Kerala Expresses, (all one hour), and the New Delhi-Thiruvananthapuram Kerala Express and the Chennai-Alappuzha Express (both 30 minutes).

To face competition

Southern Railway has to increase the speed of major trains to compete with transport corporations and omni-buses.

For example, for the convenience of long-distance passengers, the arrival and departure timings of the West Coast Expresses are being changed. The present timing is the most inconvenient to passengers of Kozhikode and Kannur. From September 1, the Mangalore-bound West Coast Express will leave Chennai at 5 p.m. to reach Kannur at 6 a.m. and Mangalore by 8.45 a.m. In the return direction, it will depart from Mangalore at 4 p.m. and arrive here at 8 a.m. The administration has to change the timings as the current occupancy of the train is only 70 per cent as against more than 100 per cent in case of the up and down Mangalore Mails.

Special trains

A pair of special trains would be operated from Chennai Egmore to Thiruvananthapuram via Tiruchi on August 29 and 30 to clear the extra rush for Onam. The special (0609) would leave Chennai Egmore at 8.30 p.m. on August 29 and reach Tiruchi at 3.50 a.m., the next day. It would leave Tiruchi at 4 a.m. and reach Thiruvananthapuram at 2.30 p.m., the same day. In the return direction (train 0610) would leave Thiruvananthapuram at 4 p.m. on August 30 and reach Tiruchi at 2.10 a.m. the next day. It would leave Tiruchi at 2.15 a.m. and reach Chennai at 8.35 a.m.

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