Railway Board extends Amritha Express to Rameshwaram

The Southern Railway will issue a detailed notification shortly, giving all the relevant information, including the date from which the service will be extended to Rameshwaram. Representative image/Manorama

The Railway Board has issued an order extending the Thiruvananthapuram-Madurai Amritha Express to Rameshwaram, after a delay of four years in taking a decision. Since the construction of a new Pamban bridge over the sea channel is going on, the train is likely to operate only till the Mandapam station initially.

When the bridge is completed in December, the train will operate till Rameshwaram. Although the decision was delayed, passengers’ organisations have expressed their happiness over the extension of the Amritha Express to Rameshwaram to compensate for terminating the Ernakulam-Rameshwaram special train service.

The Southern Railway will issue a detailed notification shortly, giving all the relevant information, including the date from which the service will be extended to Rameshwaram.

Although Members of Parliament had submitted letters on many occasions making the demand, the Railways had taken the stand that operating the train till Rameshwaram by using a single rake was impractical. The Railways rejected the demand on the ground that when using a single rake, sufficient time would not be available to clean the coaches at Rameshwaram after the train terminates the journey in one direction.

However, T. Sivakumar, former Chief Passenger Transportation Manager (CPTM) of Southern Railway found a solution to this problem. In 2022, he submitted a letter to the authorities pointing out that the Amritha Express could be extended to Rameshawarm by attaching the train to the rake of the Chennai-Rameshwaram Boat Mail Express.

Although the Railway Board accepted the idea of using the coaches of the Amritha Express that reach Rameshwaram in the noon for operating the Rameshwaram-Chennai service in the evening, and similarly, using the coaches of the Chennai train that reach Rameshwaram in the morning as Amritha Express to Thiruvananthapuram in the afternoon, it issued the order only now.

In preparation for attaching the Amritha Express with the Chennai-Rameshwaram Boat Mail Express, the number of coaches in Amritha was increased recently. As part of making the combination of coaches equal in both trains, a first-class AC coach will be added to the Amritha Express soon.

With this, the coach combination in Amritha Express will be sleeper coaches – 13; third AC – 3; second AC – 1; first AC – 1; general – 2; and SLR – 2.

Amritha Express will depart from Thiruvananthapuram at 8:30 p.m. and reach Rameshwaram at 1:40 p.m. the next day. On the return journey, the train will start from Rameshwaram at 1 p.m. and reach Thiruvananthapuram at 5 a.m. the next day. There is no major change in the existing schedule of the train between Madurai and Thiruvananthapuram.

The Members of Parliament, Hibi Eden, T.N. Prathapan, V.K. Sreekandan, Ramya Haridas, Jebi Mether, and Benny Behanan had submitted memorandums to the General Manager of Southern Railway and the Minister for Railways, demanding that the Amritha Express should be extended to Rameshwaram.

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