Pathanamthitta: The schedule of the maiden Vande Bharat Express train in Kerala could be revised soon after assessing its current running time. A review is planned in view of the delays, especially at certain stretches in either direction between Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod.
The timings at the intermediate stations will be revised after studying the operation of the semi high-speed run train for one more week. The issues that have resulted in the current delay are halts for more than the allotted time at some stations, mandatory cap on speed at some stretches and even inexperience of the loco pilots assigned for the new service.
The trip charts show the train gets delayed by up to 20 minutes at stops between Kottayam and Kannur. The authorities have clarified that the reason for the delay was the speed limit imposed owing to the track renewal work going on at different places.
The train currently stops for 5 to 12 minutes at stations where a halt of 2 minutes is scheduled. Although the train reaches the destination station of Kasaragod on schedule, it is unable to keep to time in the intermediate stations.
Another factor affecting the schedule are the delay on the part of passengers to deboard. This is attributed to the unfamiliarity with the automatic doors.
Loading of food into the train is also not done swiftly.
Two major hitches
The delay is mostly reported from the sections of the route within the limits of the Thiruvananthapuram Division. The chief reason is the speed limit imposed owing to the track renewal work. There are 34 stretches where speed limits have been imposed in both directions.
At the Ernakulam marshalling yard, the train is met with a speed limit for a continuous 2 km stretch. The authorities have indicated that even though there is a similar problem at Shoranur, resolving the issue at Ernakulam is not easy.
Plea for Tirur stop rejected
The Kerala High Court has rejected a petition filed by advocate PT Shijeesh of Tirur, demanding that the Vande Bharat Express train should be allotted a stop at Tirur in Malappuram district. Rejecting the petition, a Division Bench consisting of Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas and Justice C Jayachandran made it clear that the court could not intervene on the issue since the matter was in the domain of the Railways.
The court said that train stops were decided by the Railways and that individuals had no right to demand train halts at specific stations. If people in every district demand train stops as they like, the very purpose of introducing high-speed trains would be defeated, the court said.
Stone-pelting: Probe intensified
The Railway Protection Force (RPF) and the police have intensified their investigation over the pelting of stone at Vande Bharat Express the other day.
The preliminary probe has revealed that the incident occurred between Parappanangadi and Tanur on Monday evening during its journey from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram. A window pane of the train’s C4 coach had developed cracks.
The investigating team received the video footage of the broken glass that was recorded by a traveller on his phone within minutes of the incident. The team found that the video was recorded at 5 p.m. This confirmed that the stone was pelted before the train reached Tirur station.
Vande Bharat Express is India's fastest train. The first of this premium semi high-speed train allotted for Kerala was launched late last month.