MEMU service likely from mid-January

The mainline electrical multiple unit (MEMU) train in the Ernakulam-Kottayam-Kollam route would most likely be launched in the second week of January.

The rake containing eight-cars (coaches) conducted trial runs in the Ernakulam-Kottayam-Kollam route and returned to Ernakulam through Alappuzha. A group of DYFI activists, led by P. Rajeev MP, had blocked the rake on Tuesday, protesting against alleged attempts to take the MEMU to Chennai.

The brand new cars have toilets, unlike MEMUs operating in other States. “The train's service can begin in January, since the MEMU repair shed in Kollam is getting ready,” Mr. Rajeev said. He demanded that the MEMU service between Palakkad and Coimbatore be extended to Ernakulam through Thrissur, benefitting thousands of commuters who travel through congested highways.

To speed up trains

The introduction of more MEMU trains linking neighbouring districts would speed up express trains by enabling them to reduce the number of stops. The MEMUs accelerate and decelerate faster, thus making commuting faster.

On whether the Railways would withdraw the existing short-distance passenger (local) trains when the MEMU is introduced, Mr. Rajeev said that this is unlikely till more MEMUs join the fleet here.

Referring to the Railway not clarifying whether the Old Railway Station behind the High Court could be used as a hub for MEMUs and short-distance trains, he said that this might be because they need to study the issue further. “The station can easily become a hub for local trains if the stretch up to Pachalam is electrified. This would also decongest the Ernakulam Junction station. The Harbour Terminus station too needs to be renovated and the line in between the city and the station electrified. I have placed the demands before the Union Railway Ministry.”

Railway sources said that the MEMU train plied at over 90 kms per hour speed during the trial runs. It exceeded the speed since there are too many level crossings in the densely-populated route. They added that boarding or alighting a moving MEMU train is very risky since the train accelerates very fast.

Meanwhile, the Ernakulam Old Railway Station Vikasana Samity has demanded that the Railways desist from trying to take the MEMU to Chennai. The Railways is keeping even people's representatives in the dark about development projects that Kerala ought to get, said K.P. Hariharakumar, general convenor.

  • Cars have toilets, unlike MEMUs in other States
  • MEMU repair shed in Kollam is getting ready

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