Kochi: New train services connecting Kerala with Uttar Pradesh and Odisha are likely to be introduced soon. The Railway is actively considering a proposal in this regard considering the rush witnessed in the Shramik Special trains operated during the lockdown to take migrant labourers back to their home states.
Even though the Railway authorities, who were under the impression that most migrant labourers hailed from Bengal, had recommended the maximum number of Shramik trains to Howrah, there were more passengers to Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.
As per data, 218 trains carried migrant labourers to their home states from Kerala. The highest number of services were to Khurda Road and Bhubaneswar in Odisha; Dhanbad in Jharkhand; Bettia, Katihar and Muzaffarpur in Bihar and New Cooch Behar and Malda Town in Bengal. In addition, there were 14 Shramik Specials to Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh. These figures have prompted the Railway officials to suggest regular train services to Bihar, UP, Assam and Jharkhand, in addition to Bengal.
According to the authorities, new trains need to be urgently introduced connecting Ernakulam with Lucknow and Puri. This would be possible when the work on the third pit line at Ernakulam is completed, they said.
Meanwhile, the latest Railway timetable has made the Kanyakumari - Dibrugarh Express a daily service. This would increase the number of seats to northeastern states. Similarly, the daily Tata Nagar - Ernakulam train would benefit travellers from Jharkhand and Odisha. With the service to Tata Nagar operating as an independent train, the number of coaches in Dhanbad - Alappuzha express can be increased to 24.
At the same time, the northwestern railway is exerting pressure on the top officials to conduct the Ernakulam - Ajmer service thrice a week.