KOCHI: Train travel is turning into a nightmare especially for the daily commuters who depend upon the passenger and MEMU services. For a state which doesn’t have local trains like those in Mumbai to cater to the travel needs of the office goers, passenger services are the only feasible mode of transportation. But of late, the railways have been experimenting by changing the arrival-departure timings, reducing the number of coaches, doing away with stoppages at certain stations and introducing MEMU trains in place of passenger services. TNIE takes a look at various issues.
All had been going well for the office-goers working with various business establishments in Kochi.
They would finish work and arrive on time to catch the Nilambur Road - Kottayam passenger which used to arrive at 8:35 pm at Ernakulam Town Railway station. But revised timetable saw the train being rescheduled to arrive at 8:20 pm and depart at 8:30 pm.
“As per the earlier schedule, it was the timing for the Kannur Intercity Express. Many people going to Kottayam from Kannur used to arrive at Ernakulam Town on the Intercity Express to catch the Passenger,” said Anil Namboothiri, a regular commuter. Now, all the plans have been laid waste, he added.
Lal S, who works at a garment shop in Kochi, complains that the entire timetable has not been properly thought out. “At present, I have to make a mad dash from my shop to catch the train. Every second matters. Even a slight deviation from the plans will end up in missing the train,” he says. Not just him, similar complaints are being raised by many commuters.
“Once the Passenger departs, there are no more trains towards Kottayam till 10:30 pm. Also, the services after 10:30 pm are all Express trains. They don’t stop at small stations. We have to depend upon KSRTC buses which too are irregular,” said Antony Thomas, another passenger.
Meanwhile, the passengers have approached Ernakulam MP, Hibi Eden, to help them. “We have written a letter to the MP and he has assured us to take up the matter with the railway authorities,” said Antony.
“I have sent a mail to the concerned authorities,” Hibi said adding that he will be taking up the issue at a meeting called on November 9 to discuss various railway projects. TNIE’s repeated calls to Railways authorities for feedback were unanswered.