Kochi: Railways has announced a special train to Bengaluru on Sundays, following the pressure exerted by Kerala in this regard. The train will ply between Kochuveli and Krishnarajapuram, near Bengaluru.
The departure time of train no: 82644 from Kochuveli is 5pm on Sundays and arrival time at Krishnarajapuram 8:40am the next day. The train will have stops at Kollam (5:52pm), Kayamkulam (6:38pm), Kottayam (8:07pm), Ernakulam (9;20pm), Thrissur (10:42pm), Palakkad (12:05am), Coimbatore (1:20am), Erode (3:10am), Bangarapet (7:38am) and Whitefield (8:29am).
In the return direction, the train will leave Krishnarajapuram at 2pm on Mondays to arrive at Kochuveli at 6am on Tuesdays.
There will be eight sleeper coaches, two third AC coaches and two general compartments in the train. The special service will be conducted from April 28 to June 30. The Railway said that this was a temporary arrangement.
The feasibility of running the Humsafar express on Sundays will also be explored. For this, the timings and days of service of this train need to be changed. Currently, Humsafar express plies on two days a week. However, it is learnt that some officials are sabotaging this move. Even though the service can be conducted on three days a week with a single rake, the train runs only on two days at present. The rake lies idle at Kochuveli on the remaining days.
The South-Western Railway is not averse to conducting the service of Humsafar Express on three days, but the arrival time at Bengaluru – 10:45am - is not suitable for passengers from Kerala. Kerala Bengaluru Train Users Forum has been demanding that the arrival time at Bengaluru should be advanced and that the destination be shifted from Banaswadi station. Even Krishnarajapuram would be a much better option as Banaswadi lacks connectivity as well as basic facilities, the Forum said.
The announcement assumes significance in the wake of the Kallada bus attack row.
Ajaya Ghosh, Sachin and Ashkar – passengers onboard a Bengaluru bound Kallada bus - were beaten up last Saturday night for questioning the delay in arranging an alternate vehicle after the bus they boarded broke down near Karuvatta near Haripad in Alappuzha district.
The incident came to light after Jacob Philip, another passenger who was witness to the scuffle on board, recorded it on his phone and shared it online.
After the incident, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses are getting more enquiries and bookings. There has also been a clamour for more trains to Bengaluru from Kerala.