Kochi: As part of the revision of railway time table, nine passenger trains currently running in Kerala would be converted into express trains. The railways have directed to convert passenger trains which run more than 200 km into express trains.
The passenger trains which have been included in the list are; Nagercoil-Kottayam, Coimbatore-Mangalore, Kottayam -Nilambur, Punalur-Guruvayur, Thrissur-Kannur, Kannur - Coimbatore, Mangalore-Kozhikode, Madurai-Punalur and Palakkad Town-Thiruchirapally.
As part of it, a majority of the stoppages that are being withdrawn in Kerala are the halt station stoppages of these trains.
Five pairs of passenger trains which have less passenger load will be scrapped. The passenger trains to be stopped are; 56387/78 Alappuzha Kayamkulam, 56043/44 Thrissur Guruvayur, 66315/16 Ernakulam-Kayamkulam memu, 56333/34 Punalur Kollam passenger and 56377/78 Alappuzha- Kayamkulam passenger.
The Palakkad-Tiruchendur train has been restricted till Madurai. It will run as passenger train between Palakkad and Pollachi and as an express train between Pollachi and Madurai.
There is no significant reduction in the number of stoppages of express trains running in Kerala. Mayyanad and Divine Nagar stoppages have been mainly scrapped. Edamon and Thenmala stoppages of Chennai-Egmore -Kollam Express and New Aryankavu, Thenmala stoppages of Thirunelveli - Palakkad-Palaruvi have been withdrawn.
Train No 56375 Guruvayur-Ernakulam passenger will be split into Ernakulam -Thrissur and Thirssur –Guruvayur service. The railway time table is being completely overhauled on the basis of a study carried out by the Mumbai IIT.
Every year the train services and stoppages are reviewed in detail and those running in losses are scrapped. Despite profit and losses the railways were continuing services without any change.
Even though the number of passengers is calculated in each route from time to time, the recommendations of respective zones for withdrawal of stoppages are not implemented due to opposition from political parties.
With the link trains now being stopped, the number of coaches in these five trains will be increased. The number of coaches will be scaled up in Ernakulam -Karaikal, Chennai Egmore-Guruvayur, Kanyakumari - Katra Himsagar Express, Kochuveli - Dehradun and Dhanbad- Alappuzha service. In the first phase, the railways plan to increase the number of coaches by two to four.
The Mangalore- Katra Navyug Express will be scrapped due to shortage of passengers. A new service will be introduced between Ernakulam-Tata. The link trains are being completely scrapped due to the time loss caused by linking and delinking of coaches of these trains in important junctions and the security issues involved in the exercise. The southern railway officials said the scrapping of link trains will help the rest of the trains to maintain right running time and stick to arrival and departure schedules.
As part of the revision of time table, the rescheduling of the timings of New Delhi-Thiruvananthapuram Kerala Express is also under the consideration of railways. The effort is to reschedule the Kerala Express timings in such a manner that the train could depart from New Delhi late in the evening.
This change in timing is being considered to resolve the complaints that there are no trains towards Kerala from Delhi in the evening. All important trains to Kerala including Rajdhani, Mangala and Kerala express depart from Delhi between 9 am and 12 noon.
Many people who come for various requirements to Delhi are forced to stay in hotels overnight after completion of their work due to the absence of evening trains to Kerala. It is believed by many that if the trains are rescheduled to run in the evening, Delhi-Kerala trains including Rajdhani can save up to 6 hours running time.