Passenger trains make a comeback as express specials, confounding riders

Representational image | Shutterstock images

Kottayam: Passengers need to have reserved tickets while traveling from Thiruvalla to Kottayam on the Nagercoil–Kottayam express train that began service on Wednesday. Meanwhile, reservation is not required in the Kottayam–Kollam special express return service, using the same rake.

The Railways has reintroduced the passenger trains as express specials.

Passengers complain that this is not a feasible idea, especially since the offices and colleges have reopened and the schools would be opened soon.

Kottayam – Nilambur
Kottayam – Nilambur service that got ‘promoted’ to an express train resumes on Thursday. The service, which is used by hundreds of regular passengers, would now run with reservation coaches only. Public cannot travel in this train using the unreserved ticket purchased from the station counter or using the season ticket. The service is likely to be costly for passengers.

Regular passengers can usually travel in the unreserved coaches using the season ticket. However, it is not possible on the Kottayam–Nilambur train. Even though it has been promoted as an express service, it doesn’t have any better facilities including AC coaches. There are only 10 general coaches in this train.

Open tickets in day trains
The Railways hasn’t said ‘yes’ to the state government’s demand to allow unreserved coaches in the trains that run through Kerala during the day time. Seasons tickets or unreserved tickets haven’t been allowed in services like Venad and Parasuram that are mostly patronised by regular passengers on the Kottayam route. Even though season tickets are allowed in the recently resumed MEMU and Kottayam– Kollam service that begins on 8 October, express rates are charged for the tickets.

Ticket fare comparison
Expenses for reserved journey: Rs 2,750 (second sitting two-way ticket fares for 25 days).
Fares of unreserved ticket: Rs 1,750 (second sitting two way fares for 25 days).
Ticket fares of unreserved passenger train: Rs 750 (two-way passenger train fare for 25 days).
Season ticket: Rs 270 per month
Kottayam – Kollam
Expenses for reserved journey: Rs 3.250 (second-sitting two-way ticket fare for 25 days).
Unreserved ticket fares: Rs 2,500 (second-sitting two-way fare for 25 days).
Unreserved passenger ticket: Rs 1,250 (two-way passenger train fare for 25 days).

Season ticket: Rs 355 per month.

Fare breakup
Kottayam–Ernakulam general coach
Reserved ticket: Rs 55
Unreserved ticket: Rs 35
Passenger ticket: Rs 15
One way season ticket fare for a day: Rs 4.50

Kottayam – Kollam general coach
Reserved ticket: Rs 65
Unreserved ticket: Rs 50
Passenger ticket: Rs 25
One-way season ticket fare for a day: Rs 5.92.

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