Chennai: As an Onam gift to Kerala, the Railways has allotted a second Vande Bharat train to the Palakkad division.
Eight coaches of the redesigned Vande Bharat train will be handed over to Southern Railway from Chennai Integral Coach Factory.
While the Southern Railway has not yet decided on the route of the new service, sources say that the train might be deployed on a service starting from Mangaluru either to Goa, Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram or Coimbatore. The Southern Railway Board will finalise the route.
Kerala has been demanding a second Vande Bharat for a long time.
According to Railways, the service between Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod is the busiest in the country. All states with electrified railway tracks have been given Vande Bharat by the end of June.
There is demand for Vande Bharat service on Mangaluru Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam–Bengaluru, Tirunelveli-Chennai and Coimbatore–Thiruvananthapuram routes.
Although the Railway Minister has announced that the second train will be in the opposite direction of Thiruvananthapuram–Kasargod Vande Bharat, it can start from Mangaluru as there is no maintenance facility at Kasargod. The Mangaluru–Thiruvananthapuram distance is 634 km via Kottayam. Trains now take 11 to 15 hours to cover this distance.