Thiruvananthapuram: The second phase of development at the Kochuveli railway terminus is in the doldrums.
The lack of coordination between the railway construction department and the Thiruvananthapuram railway division has been blamed for the sorry state of the development work at Kochuveli.
Going by the current pace of work, it will require earnest efforts of the state government and people's representatives to put the development work back on track at Kochuveli.
Amid allegations of diverting the Rs 3 crore allocated for the terminus expansion, the future looks bleak for Kochuveli, a satellite passenger rail terminal developed to ease congestion at Thiruvananthapuram Central about a decade ago.
It is also alleged that the Thiruvananthapuram railway division, which is against the introduction of new services citing lack of facilities, is also going slow on the project. Besides, there are complaints that the project work is being carried out without proper preparations.
Third platform has no tracks!
According to the railway records, there are five platforms at Kochuveli -- three at the new terminus and two at the old Kochuveli station.
But what the railway is not saying is that though there is a third platform at the new terminus there are no tracks!
Though the old station has two platforms they are not part of the terminus. Besides, there is enough scope for a third platform and tracks there. In fact, the express trains starting their journey from Kochuveli are able to use only the two platforms at the new terminus.
If tracks are laid at the third platform in the new terminus and a third platform built and tracks laid at the old station, there will be six platforms in total at Kochuveli. And this could help launch new services from here.
However, the railway authorities conveniently hide these facts and claim that Thiruvananthapuram can’t accommodate more trains, resulting in new trains being extended to Thirunelveli.
There are three pit lines and three stabling lines at the yard here, which are used for maintenance and parking purposes. Though there is space for two more pit lines, approval has been given to the fourth pit line only. The approval had come long ago, but the work is yet to start.
Rs 3 crore was diverted for the second phase development of Kochuveli from the amount allocated for the third pit line at Ernakulam marshaling yard. However, neither Kochuveli nor Ernakulam has got a new pit line yet.
Instead, a foot over bridge was built in Kochuveli. The railway authorities are also refusing to see the possibility of developing Kochuveli as one station – not as old station and new terminus.
Need for Thampanoor-Kochuveli ordinary
Kochuveli will immediately need a revamped signal system, two new platforms and a pit line. Passengers also face difficulty in reaching the station. Though there was an announcement that there will be a bus service from Anayara depot to the station, the bus depot itself is not functional now.
The two AC bus services that are linked to train arrivals are full in a matter of minutes. Once the buses are full, there is no other way than the autorickshaws that fleece passengers who need to reach the city.
The onus is on the state government to provide necessary transport services to the railway station.
There were promises of expanding related services as the number of trains increase. But both haven’t happen. Passengers are also requesting KSRTC to start ordinary bus services along with the current AC buses to Thampanoor.