Kottayam: Even though the commissioning of the second railway track between Chingavanam and Kottayam is scheduled to take place on May 28 (Saturday), it is likely to be delayed by a day. This is because some crucial works like linking the new double-line laid at Muttambalam - in place of the tunnels with the main track - could last one more day.
In fact, the linking of the tracks from Muttambalam railway gate to Kottayam railway station would be taken up only on Thursday. After opening the double track, the two tunnels in this section located near Rubber Board and Plantation Corporation offices would no longer be used. The new two tracks in this section have to be linked with the lines from Chingavanam and Kottayam railway station.
The Railway authorities now hope to conduct the first service along the new track by 5.30 pm on May 29 (Sunday). While the Railway had cancelled, diverted or rescheduled several trains as part of the doubling work till May 28, no restrictions have so far been announced for May 29.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament from Kottayam, Thomas Chazhikkadan, said that the chief administrative officer of Southern Railway’s construction wing had informed him that the new track was given safety clearance by Commission of Railway Safety (CRS).
On Tuesday morning, trains conducted services only along the first platform at Kottayam railway station. From Wednesday, they will pass along the second platform only. It may take another three weeks after the commissioning of the new track to make the line along first platform fully operational, said officials.
“On commissioning, trains will be initially arriving on platforms 2, 3, 4 and 5 at Kottayam,” they explained.
Trains fully cancelled on Wednesday
Train number 06431 Kottayam – Kollam passenger
12082 Thiruvananthapuram – Kannur Jan Shatabdi
16327 Punalur – Guruvayur
16328 Guruvayur – Punalur
06449 Ernakulam – Alappuzha passenger
06452 Alappuzha – Ernakulam passenger
06444 Kollam – Ernakulam MEMU
06443 Ernakulam – Kollam MEMU
12623 Chennai – Thiruvananthapuram Mail
12624 Thiruvananthapuram – Chennai Mail
16302 Thiruvananthapuram – Shoranur Venad
16301 Shoranur – Thiruvananthapuram Venad
16526 Bengaluru – Kanyakumari Island
06451 Ernakulam – Kayamkulam passenger via Alappuzha
06450 Kayamkulam – Ernakulam passenger via Alappuzha
16366 Nagercoil – Kottaym Express till Kollam only
16325/16326 Nilambur – Kottayam – Nilambur Express only up to Ernakulam.
16649/16650 Nagercoil – Mangaluru Parasuram to conduct service on Shoranur – Mangaluru route.
17230 Secunderabad – Thiruvananthapuram Sabari till Thrissur only
17729 Thiruvananthapuram – Secunderabad Sabari to start service from Thrissur.
Trains diverted along Alappuzha
12625 Thiruvananthapuram – New Delhi Kerala Superfast Express
16382 Kanyakumari – Pune Jayanthi Express
12626 New Delhi – Thiruvananthapuram Kerala Superfast Express
12257 Yaswantpur – Kochuveli Garib Rath
22113 Lokmanya Tilak – Kochuveli
12258 Kochuveli – Yaswantpur Garib Rath.
16792 Palakkad – Tirunelveli Palaruvi Express to start 1.15 hours late from Palakkad.
A veteran politician’s memories
K C Joseph, a former Kerala Minister, has been a regular traveller along the Kottayam route for decades and shares many memories of his journeys over the years. In fact, he is eagerly looking forward to the opening of the double track as it would “certainly make trains faster.”
“I usually boarded the Chennai Mail from Thiruvananthapuram at 2.15 pm after the Assembly sessions. Even though I hoped to reach Kotttayam by 5 pm and the journey would be smooth till Changanassery, the train would be held up later for crossing as it was a single track. On most occasions, the train would be halted at Chingavanam for a considerable time,” said Joseph.
After arriving at Kottayam late, Joseph would be forced to skip many of his scheduled programmes.
“The same situation cropped up when I took the Vanchinad Express in the morning from Kottayam to attend the meetings of Assembly committees in Thiruvananthapuram,” added Joseph.
The veteran leader also often travels from Kannur in north Kerala to Kottayam by the Malabar Express. “There won’t be any problems till Ettumanoor. But, from there, it would take much time to reach Kottayam. In short, the delays between Ettumanoor and Chingavanam dominate my memories regarding the Kottayam trips,” he said.
However, the long train journeys helped Joseph to meet and interact with friends and other political leaders such as P T Thomas, C F Thomas, Mammen Mathayi, Suresh Kurup, Mons Joseph, Thomas Chazhikkadan and Joseph M Puthussery. He also remembers the conversations with D C Kizhakkemuri during his train journeys.