KOCHI: The recent incident involving Kallada Travels has once again brought to the fore the dearth of an adequate number of trains from Kerala to Bengaluru. As of now seven and a few special trains are available from Thiruvananthapuram Central and Kochuveli to Bengaluru. However, passenger associations allege there is some nexus between the bus operators, politicians and the higher-ups in the Railways.
“No wonder though the number of passengers to Bengaluru has increased manifold times over the past years, there has been no consequent increase in the train services,” said Thomas Simon, president, Western Railway Passengers Association. According to him, there are rumours that there is a nexus between the politicians and the bus operators.
“They are the ones who are blocking the arrival of more train services to the state. If there are less trains, then the people, mostly students and those who work in the IT industry in Bengaluru, will be forced to depend on the bus services,” he said. Even the Humsafar Express, which was purportedly launched for the convenience of the passengers from South and Central Kerala, is not doing much service for the target group, he added.
According to him, instead of the long-distance trains that go via Bengaluru. the Railways must launch daily trains. “It is difficult to get tickets or reservation in long-distance trains. But the same can be solved by daily trains, which will get a lot of passengers, even the local ones. These trains will never run at a loss,” he said. According to him, he will be drafting a letter to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan regarding this matter. “It is high time the state government looked into the issue. Just look at the folly of the Railways. They launched Humsafar Express, but failed to provide a stop at Tiruvalla which sees the most passenger traffic to Bengaluru. Do you know how many buses operate from here to Bengaluru? The numbers are mind-boggling,” he said.
According to a passenger, when we contact the Railways regarding the issue they say adequate number of trains are being run. “They cite lack of rakes and also path. But all the Express trains are being converted to LHB coaches, so that leaves the old coaches free. They can use these coaches to run passenger services,” he said.
“They just don’t want to run trains any more since it will increase their workload,” he said. However, S K Sinha, DRM, Thiruvananthapuram Division, refuted all allegations.
He said, “There is no such thing as lack of trains and also any nexus. Enough number of trains are being operated from the division. A special train to run on Sundays too has been sanctioned and will start it’s service soon.”