Authorities consider cancelling Venad’s stop at EKM South: Passengers miffed

Venad Express has more passengers to board and depart at Ernakulam South and Tripunithura stations than in Ernakulam North. Photo: Manorama

Kottayam: Rail passengers are looking for alternate measures as the demand for allowing Venad Express train to stop at Ernakulam North (Town) railway station without entering Ernakulam South (Junction) gets stronger. The passengers say that this move cannot be allowed unless the MEMU service is operated to Ernakulam South at a slot between Palaruvi Express and Venad Express. Besides, they think that the metro services that are pointed out as an alternative method would only bring additional financial burden.

Currently, there is a severe shortage of train services to Ernakulam via Kottayam. Venad Express has more passengers to board and depart at Ernakulam South and Tripunithura stations than in Ernakulam North. In this scenario, the passengers may have to suffer severe difficulties if Venad’s stop at South Station is cancelled without arranging alternate measures. The Venad Express which starts from Tripunithura at 9.20 am reaches South Station by 9.40 am. In case the train is stopped before entering the station if platforms are not available, some passengers get down at those points too.

Usually, Venad reaches South Station before 10 am. However, it would take at least fifteen minutes for a passenger who gets down at Tripunithura at 9.20 am to reach the metro platform. The metro services are available every seven minutes. From here, it would take twenty minutes to reach the South station. Considering the time one would take for walking out of the station, it won’t be easy for a Venad passenger who gets down at Tripunithura and takes the metro, to reach the office on time. Moreover, the passenger would have to spend an additional Rs 30 to purchase metro tickets. Passenger association 'Friends on Rail' points out that the additional expenses, to both sides, daily would be a burden for the common man.

“Metro service is not an alternative for cancelling Venad’s stop at South railway station. Venad has more passengers in the South. The decision would be tantamount to pushing the passengers out of the train midway. We do not agree to cancelling South station without allowing MEMU service,” says J Leons, Secretary, of Friends on Rail. The Palaruvi Express and Venad Express trains via Kottayam reach Ernakulam around one and a half hours apart, in the morning. Meanwhile, passengers have been requesting for years to allow an additional train between these services, considering the rush hours. If the passengers who are in a hurry can rely on MEMU service, then it wouldn’t be a problem even if Venad’s stop at South is cancelled. In the South station, up to two MEMUs are allowed in a single platform. There aren’t any technical complexities like changing the engine while operating MEMU. Passengers say that the solution for managing the shortage of platforms in South railway station is not cancelling Venad’s stop here. 

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