Kannur/Pathanamthitta: The Railways have finally heeded the demands of passengers in Kerala and allotted additional general coaches in four peak-hour trains to tackle the heavy rush of commuters.
The Venad, Vanchinad, Executive, and Intercity Express trains are being augmented by an additional general coach that will mainly benefit office goers and daily commuters.
The measure comes soon after Malayala Manorama highlighted the plight of passengers, with most trains running jam-packed and the railways downsizing the number of general coaches.
The Mangaluru-Kozhikode Express Special (T No 16610) started operating with two additional coaches, and the Thiruvananthapuram Central – Ernakulam Junction Vanchinad Express (T No 16304) with an extra car from Saturday onwards.
Since there is technical difficulty in increasing the coaches of Parasuram Express, efforts are on to replace the pantry car with a general coach, the railways informed.
From today (Sunday)
1. Ernakulam Junction-Kannur Intercity (T No 16305)
From tomorrow (Monday)
1. Kannur-Alappuzha Executive (T No 16308)
2. Alappuzha-Kannur Executive (T No 16307)
3. Thiruvananthapuram-Shornur Venad (T No 16302)
4.Shornur-Thiruvananthapuram Venad (T No 16301)
1. Kannur -Ernakulam Junction Intercity (T No 16306)
1. Ernakulam Junction-Thiruvananthapuram Central Vanchinad (T No 16303)
The passengers welcomed the measure but added that the same is inadequate, given the heavy rush being experienced currently. The railways continue to neglect the sector north of Kannur, they complained.
Railways downsize MEMU coaches in Kerala
The heavy rush being experienced during peak hours can be addressed to a great extent if the railways augment the coaches of MEMU trains. However, the measures in this regard are moving at a snail’s pace.
The Railways have deployed eight-coach rakes for conducting the 12 MEMU services in the Thiruvananthapuram division. The 12-car rake is deployed only on days when these rakes are taken for maintenance.
All services – Kollam-Alappuzha (3.25 am); Kollam-Kottayam (4.00 am); Alappuzha-Ernakulam (7.40 am); Ernakulam-Alappuzha (7.50 am); Alappuzha-Kollam (5.35 am); Ernakulam-Kollam (6.15 am); Ernakulam-Kollam (6.00 pm); Ernakulam-Kollam (1.35 pm); Ernakulam-Kollam (8.10 pm); Kollam-Ernakulam (8.00 pm); Kollam-Kanyakumari (11.30 pm), Kottayam-Kollam (5.40 pm), are run using the eight-coach rakes.
The MEMU service to Kollam, which departs from Kottayam at 5.40 pm, runs jam-packed, and often passengers find it difficult to board when it reaches Thiruvalla and Chengannur, daily commuters complained while demanding deployment of additional coaches.
While the MEMU shed at Kollam has the facility to carry out the maintenance of 12-car MEMU rakes, no new rakes are being allotted to the division. Though the Southern Railway submitted requests for the allocation of 16 new MEMU rakes, the Railway Board is yet to provide them.
The reduction in the number of MEMU rakes being manufactured at the Chennai Integral Coach Factory to augment the rolling out of Vande Bharat coaches too came as a setback for the state. The Railways also didn’t consider the possibility of redeploying coaches from other zones.