Mumbai: Here is good news for Mumbai Malayalees who plan to visit their home this Onam. The railways have announced a special train from Mumbai to the Southern part of Tamil Nadu through Kerala.
The train from Panvel to Nagercoil would run on the Konkan route, touching Mangaluru, Ernakulam, Kottayam, and Thiruvananthapuram, and back.
The Nagercoil-Panvel special will start from Nagercoil on August 22, 29 and September 5. In the return direction, the train will depart from Panvel on August 24, 31, and September 7.
The special trains for Kerala usually terminate services at Thiruvananthapuram or the nearby Kochuveli. The railways announced the Onam special to Nagercoil to benefit Kerala commuters.
However, passengers will be put to some difficulty as the train starts from Panvel, located on the outskirts of Mumbai city and a certain distance away from main city stations like CSMT (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus), Kurla and Thane.
They have to either catch a local train from stations like Thane, Kalyan, Dombivli, Amarnath, Andheri, Goregaon, and Vasai or hire a taxi to reach Panvel.
The train will start from Nagercoil at 11.35 am on Tuesdays (August 22, 29, and September 5) to reach its destination by 10.45 pm on Wednesdays.
The train will start from Panvel at 12.30 am on Thursdays (August 24, 31, and September 7) to reach Nagercoil at 10 am on Fridays.
In Maharashtra, the train will have stops at Panvel, Roha, Mangaon, Khed, Chiplun, Ratnagiri, Kankavli, and Sawantwadi Road stations. It will stop at Kasaragod, Payyannur, Kannur, Thalassery, Vadakara, Kozhikode, Tirur, Shoranur, Thrissur, Aluva, Ernakulam Town, Kottayam, Changanassery, Tiruvalla, Chengannur, Mavelikkara, Kayamkulam, Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala.
Organizations welcome the announcement
The persistent efforts of various organizations like Faima Yatra Samiti, Sree Narayana Samiti, and Dombivli Kerala Samajam have resulted in the railways announcing the special train, said Faima Yatra Samiti member P P Ashokan. K V Thomas, special representative of the Kerala government in New Delhi, too interfered in the allotting of the train, he added.
The measure is succour to Mumbai Malayalees who visit their native places during Onam, said Faima Maharashtra Mumbai Zonal Secretary Sivaprasad K Nair, Dombivli Kerala Samajam Chairman Varghese Daniel, General Secretary Rajashekharan Nair, and Sree Narayana Mandira Samiti General Secretary O K Prasad said.
However, the railways allotting a train to Tamil Nadu while acting on a request for one to Kerala amounts to neglecting Malayalees charged Western India Passengers Association General Secretary Thomas Simon. The association had earlier sent a memorandum to the concerned authorities, requesting a special train during the festive season.