Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Saturday flagged off the inaugural specials of two Duronto Express trains for Madurai and Thiruvananthapuram from Chennai Central railway station.
A handout distributed to the media on the occasion said Southern Railway has introduced Duronto bi-weekly express trains between Chennai Central - Madurai and Thiruvananthapuram to cater to the growing segment of intercity travellers.
The Duronto trains between Chennai Central and Madurai will have an operational halt at Erode, while the Chennai Central - Thiruvananthapuram Duronto will have operational halts at Katpadi, Erode and Ernakulam.
Breakfast and dinner are provided to passengers on Thiruvananthapuram-bound Duronto Express trains, charges for which are included in the fare.
The Duronto for Thiruvanathapuram will reach the capital city of Kerala in 12 hours and 45 minutes, reducing the travel time by three hours and 15 minutes, when compared with other trains running on the section. The handout further stated that 15 new trains were introduced during the current financial year and nine new trains are in the pipeline.
Later briefing reporters, A K Mital, general manager, Southern Railway, said the new trains would be introduced as soon as the zone receives the required rakes. Asked about the reason behind running Duronto train for Madurai from Central, instead of Egmore, he said, the train is operated from Central to suit the convenience of the commuters. “We can even reduce the journey time. But, it would be inconvenient for the passengers as the train will reach the destination during the wee hours,” he noted.
On unmanned level crossings, he said steps are being initiated to eliminate the 1,100 unmanned level crossings across the country within five years.
Several State Ministers and senior railway officials were present on the occasion.