June 12, 2018: The new bi-weekly Antyodaya Express from Kochuveli to MangaluruJunction from June 9 has not given favourable feeling for train users in this coastal city. The reason for their angst is what rail user organisations such as Paschima Karavali Railway Yatri Abhivruddhi Samiti feel is violation of aspirations of people of this coastal city. Yet another train to Kerala is coming at the cost of trains to other parts of Karnataka from here, the Samiti feels.
Technical advisor of the Samiti, told media that an additional train to Kerala – either from Mangaluru Central or Mangaluru junction railway stations – will only come at the cost of long pending demands of people of the city. “We have been representing for an additional direct night train from Mangaluru Central to Bengaluru, extension of Gomateshwara Express from Mangaluru Junction to Central and a train to Bengaluru via Arsikere for five years,” he said.
In addition, there is also need for train connectivity from Mangaluru to places such as Hubballi, Vijayapura, Anil said, adding all these requests have been kept in cold storage. Incidentally, the city had train service to Miraj via Hassan-Arsikere-Hubballi when it was connected to Bengaluru on the metre gauge line, he said adding this service (Mahalaxhmi Express) that was suspended during gauge conversion was never reintroduced post gauge conversion.
The physical resources for augmentation of train services from the two railway stations in the city is limited, he said. Given this scenario, Indian Railway should give priority to fulfilling aspirations of people of Mangaluru, Anil contended. Thiruvananthapuram is already connected to the city with five trains, he said, adding granting an additional bi-weekly train denies opportunity to introduce trains to Kanyakumari, Rameshwaram and other places that this city badly wants.
Averring that Palakkad division of Southern Railway under which both these stations come is fully aware of the needs of people of the region, Gopinath, PRO of the division said work of capacity augmentation has been undertaken at Mangaluru Central with construction of pit and platform line respectively. These works on completion will give the division leeway in starting a few additional trains from Mangaluru Central and meeting the local demands, he said.
On the new bi-weekly unreserved train, he said this is to cater to weekend needs of passengers who commute to and from Kerala in search of their livelihood. Currently, all five express trains towards Kerala including the unreserved coaches are going jam-packed, he said. The bi-weekly train will give these travelers an option to travel in relative comfort, he said, adding this particular train was mentioned in the All India Railway Time Table in November 2017.