Kerala might not get a third Vande Bharat: Here's why

The traffic department says that it is impossible to allow a platform for the Vande Bharat train from 8 am to 1 pm. Photo: Manorama/Robert Vinod

Pathanamthitta: The third Vande Bharat train allotted for Kerala is struggling to get flagged off due to many reasons. Even though the train set for running services in the Ernakulam – Bengaluru route has reached Kerala, the lack of proper facilities in the Ernakulam South station has dashed the hopes of hundreds of passengers. Electrified pit lines are required for conducting the maintenance works of Vande Bharat. Even though the electrical department has completed the electrification works, safety certificates haven’t been issued due to shortcomings in the electrification process.

Besides, the sewage construction close to the third pit line in the marshalling yard too isn’t finished. Moreover, the shortage of employees and the lack of availability of platforms during the rush hours in the morning at the Ernakulam South Railway station are also obstacles. As per the timetable that is being considered for this Vande Bharat service, the train that is likely to depart from Bengaluru at 11.30 pm will reach Ernakulam by 8 am. The same train may then return to Bengaluru by 1 pm.

However, the traffic department says that it is impossible to allow a platform for the Vande Bharat train from 8 am to 1 pm. Besides, the delay in moving trains like Mangala Express that arrives in the morning, from the platform too is an issue. Meanwhile, the facility to fill fuel in the generator cars of the trains is installed between the third and fourth platforms at the South railway station. As the generator car is attached at the end, fuel could be filled at the fuelling point only if the train is moved forward quite a bit, before it is stopped exactly at the point. This affects the traffic and movement of other trains too. Even though the division has been regularly writing to install fuelling points at all the platforms, the Southern Railway continues its apathy.

Due to these issues, the first Vande Bharat train set that was allotted for Ernakulam was recently transferred to operate the Mysuru – Chennai route. Now, the passengers are worried that they would lose the latest Vande Bharat too. The crowd at the Ernakulam South railway station could be managed if the Ernakulam – Karaikal Express is extended to Kottayam via North railway station. The recommendation to divert the Venad Express via North Railway station too remains unheeded. 

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