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Blog Entry# 2974169
Posted: Jan 06 (09:51)

1 Responses
Last Response: Jan 06 (09:51)
  
Rail News
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New/Special Trains
SWR/South Western
Jan 06 (09:46)   Announced four years ago, train yet to run despite massive demand

Rail Fanning~   222 news posts
Entry# 2974169   News Entry# 326296         Tags   Past Edits
A loss for the railways has been a huge gain for private bus operators. A new train leaving Bengaluru Cantonment station to Thiruvananthapuram Kochuveli was announced in the railway budget in 2014-15 much to the delight of frequent travellers to Kerala, but four years on — typical of the railways — the train is yet to be introduced.
The train No 22657/22658 was to run on weekends — leaving Bengaluru on Fridays and returning from Thiruvananthapuram on Sundays. It was even included in the railway timetable in 2015 and would have considerably eased the travel rush between the two states. However, with the train yet to be flagged off, private bus operators are laughing all the way to the bank.
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Private bus operators run about 600 buses on weekends. The rush is even more during the festive season. During this Christmas-New Year period, bus fares between the two cities were jacked up to a staggering Rs 4,000 per head.
So why hasn't the train been introduced? There are several reasons and most of it lame ones. One reason, officials say, is because of congestion at the Kochuveli and Bengaluru stations. Southern Railway's Thiruvananthapuram Division had proposed four different timings for the train — a proposal which South Western Railway (SWR) found preposterous. There was also a suggestion to extend the train's run to Mysuru, now that the track between the two Karnataka cities has been doubled, to avoid congestion in Bengaluru.
Railway officials also cite non-availability of rakes as an excuse. However, other officials say the rakes were lying at the Kollam railway station in Kerala for more than six months. They were later taken by the Chennai Division and are now being used on the Chennai-Varanasi route.
Numerous online petitions, however, attribute the reason for the train being stalled to a nexus between bus operators and some railway officials. For these officials, it pays not to have the train!
SWR is now mulling a new train from Mysuru to Thiruvananthapuram via Bengaluru on Thursdays. But this will not solve the problem since the rush is generally on weekends. Also there is already a train (12257/Yesvantpur - Kochuveli Garib Rath Express) plying on Thursdays.
"The demand is for trains leaving Bengaluru to Kerala on Friday night and returning from Kerala on Sundays, but unfortunately the railways is keen to operate more trains on weekdays for reasons best known to them," said Metty Grace, coordinator of the Karnataka-Kerala Travellers' Forum, an NGO that has been demanding more trains between the two states. "There were no special trains from Bengaluru to Kerala during the Sabarimala pilgrimage season," he said. "Except the Bengaluru Cantonment to Thiruvananthapuram Kochuveli train, all others announced in 2014 budget have started service."
Union tourism minister, K J Alphons, had recently requested the railways to ply more trains between Bengaluru and Kerala. Rajya Sabha MP, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who recently raised the issue in Parliament, said: "There is an assurance that the ministry will direct Indian Railways to examine and address this issue. I am hopeful that the railways ministry will increase capacity by increasing frequency of trains especially on weekends." He said SWR needs to address terminal constraints either by expanding capacity or terminating trains at other convenient stations.

1 Public Posts - Sat Jan 06, 2018

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