More trains for Malabar sought

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Forum demands new daily night train between Kozhikode and Bengaluru

Every time you buy a train ticket, the Indian Railways reminds you: “Are you aware that 43% of the your fare is borne by the common citizens of the country?”

It is a different matter that this claim is disputable, but people in the Malabar region have a long-standing grievance — shortage of trains in the Shoranur-Mangaluru sector.

Passengers have been demanding either the extension of the existing train routes within the State or new long-distance trains to Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad as well as to to Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. “Never before have rail users in Kozhikode faced such a crisis,” says Malabar Rail Users Forum chairman C.E. Chakkunny.

The shortage of of trains is all the more stark during festival seasons. Earlier, the Railways used to blame the non-completion of doubling work and electrification between Mangaluru and Shoranur. But now things have changed, Mr. Chakkunny notes.

But the issue of lack of pit-line at Kozhikode railway station that helps to handle trains from their origin and termination still remains. That is one of the reasons the Railways says that the Jan Shatabdi bound for Thiruvananthapuram from Kozhikode at 6.10 a.m. has no service on Sunday and Wednesday. However, the Jan Shatabdi that departs at 1.45 p.m. operates on all days.

Regarding trains to Bengaluru side, Mr. Chakkunny says that the only one daily train is that running between Yeshwanthpur via Shoranur and Kannur and another one is weekly running between Yeshwanthpur via Shoranur and Mangaluru.

“The Sunday midnight train from Yeshwanthpur and the return train on Monday to Yeshwanthur is not useful to passengers,” he says. Over 10,000 people commute from Malabar especially from Kozhikode railway station to various places on a daily basis. The number increases during festival season. “We have just eight weekly service to Yeshwanthpur whereas 21 weekly services run in the Kochi- Thiruvananthapuram sector,” he says.

After widespread public outrage over a band of people associated with a travel agency attacked three Bengaluru-bound passengers in Kochi, the Railways announced a weekly train between Yeshwanthpur and Kochuveli. However, it has to been seen whether this service really benefits the passengers as the train operates on Sunday and returns on Monday.

The Malabar Rail Users Forum stressed the need for another daily night train between Kozhikode and Bengaluru for the benefit of thousands of students, employees and the trading community in Malabar, besides the extension of other day-time trains to Kozhikode and Kannur.

Also, the Railways should stop fleecing passengers by cutting down the normal berths and converting them to tatkal and premium tatkal seats. As travel agents jack up prices of bus tickets and the tickets of State-owned buses remain sold out most of the times, the people have only the Railways to depend on, the forum adds.

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