Pathanamthitta: The Thiruvananthapuram-Kannur Jan Shatabdi Express, one of the most highly sought-after in the state, often runs at full capacity. However, the train conducts services only five days a week, owing to the lack of maintenance facility at Kannur. The same cost the commuters 8324 seats a week, which has led to demands from several quarters to operate the train, which has 21 coaches and 2081 seats, on all days. Currently, the Kannur-Thiruvananthapuram Jan Shatabdi Express doesn’t run on Wednesdays and Sundays, while the Thiruvananthapuram-Kannur Jan Shatabdi doesn’t operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
The railways incurred a loss of Rs 15 crore due to the non-operation of the services for two days, it was cited in the CAG report back in 2014. Though the services can be made daily upon constructing a pit line in Kannur, the railway authorities have failed to take any measures so far. The main reason being cited is the location of the BPCL fuel depot and connecting lines at the Kannur railway station. Now the authorities plan to close down the fuel depot in the wake of the recent train arson incident, after realizing the security threat being posed by the facility in the heart of the city.
The construction of a new pit line in Kannur is inevitable in solving the commuting hardships of people in the Malabar region. The same will also reduce the heavy load at the Mangaluru pit line. However, the railways have taken no serious action in the last 10 years to construct a pit line in Kannur. Even though the project declared to construction a 4th platform, there has been no progress due to the fuel depot issue. Another demand is to immediately hike the number of coaches in the Vande Bharat Express via Alappuzha from eight to 16. The Antyodaya Express (Kochuveli Terminal-Mangaluru Junction), currently operating two days a week, can be operated three days a week without any new rake.