Kanyakumari Rail Users demand diversion of long distance trains through TN

KANYAKUMARI: The Kanyakumari District Railway Users’ Association (KDRUA) has appealed to the railway minister and Southern Railway authorities to divert few long distance trains from and to Kanyakumari that now pass through Kerala and re-enter Coimbatore, to be run fully inside Tamil Nadu so that it benefits a large section of people in the southern districts.

Secretary of the association, P Edward Jeni said they have been giving representations to the minister and railway authorities for at least three years, whenever they received information that new trains would be plying from other parts of the country to Kanyakumari through Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam in Kerala. “But, we have not received a proper reply for our representations over the years,” he rued.

The association pointed out that Kanyakumari and nearby districts would benefit if more trains connecting other states ply through Tirunelveli and Madurai as it would help them get easier access to Chennai. “The route through Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam is 150km longer, and takes three to four hours more for passengers from Kanyakumari,” he said.

The KDRUA demanded that train no. 12659/60 Nagercoil – Shalimar Gurudev Weekly Express, train no. 22620/22619 Tirunelveli – Bilaspur Express and train no. 15905/15906 Kanyakumari – Dibrugarh Vivek Weekly Express should be diverted through Madurai and Tirunelveli. “Moreover, the Bilaspur train reaches Tirunelveli at a very inconvenient time,” he said.

Jeni said they have taken up the issue again as they came to know about a proposal to make the Bilaspur train as a bi-weekly. “Since the railways have turned a deaf ear to our pleas we are planning to move the high court the next time the railways announces long distance trains to Nagercoil, Kanyakumari or Tirunelveli through Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam via Coimbatore,” he said.

Opposition to extend/Introduce any Trivandrum bound trains via Erode, Coimbatore, Ernakulam to Nagercoil/Kanniyakumari

The passengers of Kanniyakumari district have been demanding more trains to Northern parts of India via Tirunelveli, Madurai. The Madurai route will be the shortest path for our people to travel to northern regions of India, except via the Konkan Railway (Mangalore, Goa).

The Kanniyakumari district is the southern most district of Tamil Nadu with a population of more than 18 lakhs.  The Association says that politically the district is constituted in the state of Tamil Nadu, whereas, as per the Railway administration, the district is governed by the Southern Railways, Trivandrum Division in Kerala. The members of the Association argue that the state capital is not Trivandrum (which is 70 KM) but Chennai (which is 750 KM).  Kanyakumari District politically belongs to Tamil Nadu and hence the Association urge more trains for the district, operating via Madurai and other Tamil Nadu cities/towns.

However, it was brought to the notice of the Railway administration and media by the Association that there have been instances of some long distant trains being provided to us via Trivandrum, Ernakulam, Coimbatore, rather than via Tirunelveli, Madurai. In 2002, Nagercoil-Shalimar 12659/60 Gurudev weekly express was introduced via Trivandrum inspite of having a shortest route via Madurai. Also 2010 Tirunelveli–Bilaspur 22620/29 train was introduced. Recently in 2011, Kanniyakumari-Dibrugarh Vivek weekly express 15905/06 was introduced via Trivandrum, instead our request a train to Guwahati/Dibrugarh via Madurai, Chennai.  This above said trains are not requested by any people or people representatives, they claim. These trains come here only for maintenance purpose and it is useful only for Kerala people.

If the above said three trains run via. Madurai, the region would have got three weekly service to the state capital Chennai and also 13 districts of Tamil Nadu will be benefited by having direct connectivity to Bilaspur, Dibrugarh, Shalimar and enroute places.

The route via Trivandrum, Ernakulam, Coimbatore is circuitous by 150 KMs, and it incurs an additional travelling time of 3-4 hours. Passengers are forced to travel this longest route which consumes more time and instead of this the shortest route mentation above can be considered.  Now also they claim to hear that the railways planning to introduce trains in circuitous route via. Kerala from Nagercoil/Kanniyakuamri/Tirunelveli.

The Association request Railways not to further introduce or extend Trivandrum bound trains via Coimbatore, Ernakulam to Nagercoil/Kanniyakumari. Long distant trains, except for the ones bound via Konkan Railway may please be introduced via Madurai. They say that they will have no alternative other than to move to legally, if further long distant trains (except Konkan Railway) are introduced via Trivandrum, Coimbatore.