Kottayam: An express train will begin service from the Kottayam railway station.
The Kottayam railway station was inaugurated in October 1956, just before the Kerala Piravi. But only passenger trains started services from Kottayam during these 64 years. During Sabarimala pilgrimage, special express trains begin services from Kottayam.
But this is the first time that the Kottayam station will get a permanent express train. This is part of the railways' plan to upgrade those passenger trains, that conduct services for over 200km, to express trains.
Kottayam-Nilambur Road passenger will be converted to an express train. The other express train for Kottayam will be Nagercoil-Kottayam. However, the service will be only in one direction as there are no direct passenger trains in the Kottayam-Nagercoil route.
Kottayam-Nilambur Express would arrive 10 minutes and Nilambur-Kottayam express 25 minutes ahead of their current scheduled time.
Nagercoil-Kottayam will be scheduled such that it would reach 15 minutes before. Guruvayur-Punalur passenger, via Kottayam, is also on the list of trains to be upgraded to express trains. Also, authorities are considering to extend it till Madurai.
These trains will begin services as and when the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
More express trains likely
With the doubling of tracks, more express trains can be started from Kottayam. Along with track-doubling, renovation of the station will also be completed and the number of platforms will be increased to five. Kottayam also has facilities to clean and refill water in trains. However, the maintenance works cannot be carried out as there are no pit lines.
Trains can be started from Kottayam, as per the platform turn around system. According to this, maintenance will be carried out at the origin station prior to the journey and trains can return from the terminating station.
The new LHB rakes of the railways need to undergo maintenance only after covering a distance of 4500km.
It is possible to start train services to Bengaluru and Mumbai cities from Kottayam. A new terminal has been started at Byappanahalli in Bengaluru. A new train can be started from here. Also, trains can be started from Panvel and Kurla stations. All these routes have heavy passenger rush.
The Ernakulam-Karaikal express, after reaching Ernakulam south, conducts service to Kottayam as a passenger train. A suggestion was mooted to convert this to express train from Kottayam. People, heading to Velankanni, mostly depend on this train.
Kottayam railway station
Part of the Thiruvananthapuram division, Kottayam is in the seventh position in terms of revenue. It is in the non-suburban grade 3 category.
Annual passengers: 44,96,320
Annual revenue: Rs 57,22,27,243
(Data as per the railway annual report, 2019)