Madurai (MDU): The Madurai railway division has officially announced that the much-awaited Palani-Tiruchendhur passenger would be inaugurated in the third week of February and Silambu Express running between Chennai Egmore and Manamadurai will be extended till Shencottah from February 2.
Meanwhile, a daily train between Nagercoil and Bangalore is expected to be operated from February 2, according to the rail users association in Kanyakumari. The train which was operated as a weekly special since 2010 was withdrawn only last week and since then the rail users expressed fears whether a daily train would be operated. However, though the rail users are jubilant over the new train, the railways, is yet to make a formal announcement in this regard.
Though all the new trains announced for the region in the railway budget have been inaugurated, the Palani – Tiruchendur passenger connecting the two abodes of Lord Muruga and benefitting large number of pilgrims is yet to chug out. Under these circumstances, the division is expecting to operate the train shortly. In the same way, rail users between Virudhunagar – Manamadurai will be getting connectivity to Chennai for the first time.
The 67-km stretch, which was inaugurated after gauge conversion last year, was not enjoying much of train operations except for the Kanyakumari – Puducherry Weekly Express and Karaikudi – Manamadurai DEMU, which was later extended to Virudhunagar for six days in a week. Madurai divisional railway manager A K Rastogi said that they have received notification on extending the bi-weekly Silambu Express from Manamadurai to Shencottah and the train operation will commence on February 2.
“We are glad about the announcement because we will be getting direct train to Chennai after the gauge conversion,” said A Malairajan, president of Consumer Forum in Aruppukottai. The rail users also have placed the demand for more rail connectivity from the region like operating Chendhur Express through Aruppukottai and a new passenger train between Rameswaram – Shencottah through their area, he said.
Railway officials at Southern Railway headquarters in Chennai said that most of the trains announced in the railway budget will chug out by February. Crew shortage is impeding the operation of trains and the Southern Railway is working it out. “Most probably all the trains announced in the budget would be operated by February end,” a senior official mentioned.