Mangaluru, Mar 23, 2017: Rail users in the State have rued over the Railway Ministry’s neglect to commence the Kudla Express (Yeshwantpur-Mangaluru Central-Yeshwantpur) on March 26 when the Bengaluru-Hassan new line is being inaugurated.Several rail enthusiasts have been fighting before different forums for the early completion of the new line, which was sanctioned in 1996-97, to reduce the travel time between Bengaluru and the coastal region.
“It is a shock to us that the Railways has ignored the key demand of faster connectivity when the line is being opened,” regretted T.P. Lokesh from the Karnataka Railway Vedike, Bengaluru.
Sanjeev Dyamannavar from Prajaa-Raag, a rail advocacy group, in his petition to the authorities concerned, pointed out that the Bengaluru-Hassan and the Hassan-Mangaluru lines were substantially funded by the State government.
Yet, there is only one night train between Bengaluru and Mangaluru and a tri-weekly day train connecting the two major cities of the State. It is regretful that the benefits of public fund are not extended to the common man, he said.
The State government and elected representatives should urge the Railways to introduce Kudla Express on March 26 itself, Dyamannavar said, adding more trains should be introduced on the sector.
Shortage of rakes : Sources in SWR told media that Kudla Express was not yet approved by the Railway Board for want of rakes (coaches). However, the Railways would have to run the train to honour its commitment before the High Court of Karnataka to commence the services before March 31, sources said.
Kukke Shree Subrahmanya-Mangaluru Railway Commuters Forum, Puttur, which had demanded running of Kudla Express via the new line, said that SWR should not go back from its proposal. Its convenor Sudarshan Puttur demanded that the Mangaluru-Yeshwantpur service depart Mangaluru Central at 6.30 a.m. to reach Bengaluru by 3.30 p.m. Shortage of rakes should not be an issue as SWR has recently replaced rakes of Yeshwantpur-Bhagalpur Anga Express with LHB coaches, said Abhishek from the vedike. The old rakes could have been deployed for Kudla Express, he said.
Space lacking at Mangaluru Central :
The Southern Railway (SR) has told the South Western Railway (SWR) that neither departure slot nor night halt space is available for Kudla Express (16576) at Mangaluru Central.
As per the old timetable, that is, when Kudla Express was to run via Mysuru, it was to leave Mangaluru Central at 6.30 a.m. to reach Bengaluru City at 7.30 p.m.
The SWR proposed to change the departure timing from 6.30 a.m. to 10.50 a.m.
SR’s Palakkad Divisional Railway Manager Naresh Lalwani is reported to have said that no pitlines are available for Kudla Express at MAQ Central for maintenance and night halt.
Besides all the three platforms are occupied at 10.50 a.m.—the new departure timing proposed by SWR.
Though departure slot is available at 6.30 a.m.—the original timing — Kudla Express cannot be started from Central as overnight parking and checking facility is not available.
Parking the train overnight at Mangaluru Junction and bringing it to Central platform is laborious, and hence, the train can be operated only from Mangaluru Junction.