Kottayam: After a long wait the MEMU train services have resumed in the Kottayam section. The first to be back on the track is a service on the Ernakulam-Kollam stretch. This train departs from Kollam at 4 am and arrives at Kottayam at 6.13 am and reaches Ernakulam at 8.25 am.
On its return journey the 12-car train departs from Ernakulam at 6.15 pm and arrives at Kottayam at 7.43 pm and finally reaches Kollam at 10.15 pm.
(MEMU or Mainline Electric Multiple Unit trains serve short and medium-distance routes in India).
This is the first time that MEMU services are resuming on the Kottayam line after all train services were stopped nationwide in April last year in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The re-introduction of the popular train has brought great relief to the passengers who commute daily between Kollam and Ernakulam.
Since the MEMU services have been re-started under the special train category, commuters will have to pay the charge of Express trains. Commuters have the option of taking tickets directly from the counter without advance booking.
No decision on halt stations yet
No decision has been taken yet for stopping the MEMU train in its erstwhile halt stations like Kumaranalloor, Kaduthuruthy in Kottayam district. However, a stoppage has been now allowed for MEMU at the Mundrothuruthu station in Kollam district.
"MEMU trains should stop at its regular halt stations as well. The problem is there are no takers for the ticket distribution contract in these stations. The government should take the initiative to hand over ticket distribution to agencies like Kudumbasree. We have given a representation to the chief minister. Unreserved tickets should be introduced for trains operating within Kerala," K J Paul Manvattom, the President of All-Kerala Railway Users Association.
"Anyway resumption of train service is a huge blessing. This is not only beneficial for the government employees but people like us who work in private firms in Kochi. We can travel in the morning and evening without any tension," said Praveen Unni, a resident of Ettumanoor.
"Those working in offices in Kochi had to opt for car pooling. We used to share the travel cost. After After Venad Express resumed service, we started travelling in that train," said Jayadevan Sreenilayam, a resident of Kottayam town, who works as an assistant at the Kerla High Court, Kochi.