Kochi: Commuters want ‘longer’ Rajya Rani

Express to start independent service next Thursday on.

Kochi: The independent Kochuveli-Nilambur Road ‘Rajya Rani’ Express set to start service next Thursday is already getting massive passenger patronage with seats almost full until May 20.

The passengers, however, are demanding an augmentation in coach strength on the daily train having only 13 coaches instead of the standard 24.

“The train is almost full for the next two weeks despite Amritha Express running almost on the same schedule till Thrissur. This points to heavy demand for the night trains. The authorities should supplement the Rajya Rani with additional coaches,” said Santosh Vijayan, who tried to reserve tickets for him and family on the new train.

The train composition includes one AC 2-Tier coach, one AC-3 Tier coa-ch, seven Sleeper Class coaches, two unreserved coaches, one coach for the physically challenged and one luggage-cum-brake van.

Meanwhile, various passenger associations dem-anded the Railways roll back its decision to adv-ance popular Madurai-bound Amritha Express by two hours from May 9.

The change in timing will result in at least seven trains starting from Thiruvananthapuram Central towards northern direction mostly at a gap of just 15 minutes till 8.30 pm but then a three-hour gap for the next train (Chennai-Egmore -- Guruvayur Express at 11.20 pm).

Currently, Amrita Expr-ess departs at 10 pm from Thiruvananthapuram Central to reach Madurai Junction at 1.10 pm the next day. Even after preponement, the train will reach the destination only at 12.15 noon the next day, which means a saving of only 55 minutes.

“A majority of commuters travel to destinations like Thrissur. Post implementation, the train reaches Thrissur at odd hours (2.30 am). We request authorities to have a relook at the schedule,” said P. Krishna-kumar, general secretary, Thrissur Railway Passen-gers Association.

Their real nightmare will start beyond Thris-sur when the train huffs and puffs to cover the remaining distance.

It will take 160 minutes to cover the section from Thrissur to Shornur ‘B’ cabin, which usually is just 20 minutes, because the Palakkad division refused to “buy” the train as per the new schedule and wanted it to run in the old one, citing non-availability of the slot, railway sources said.

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