Passenger trains back to 16-coach formation

A 24-coach Utkrisht rake handed over to the Thiruvananthapuram division.

Kochi: There is some respite for the commuters travelling in passenger trains as the Southern Railway has addressed complaints of shortage of coaches in most of them.

While the coaches dispatched for periodic maintenance were deployed back, a 24-coach Utkrisht rake was handed over to Thiruvananthapuram division on Saturday.

"The new rake will be attached to the Ernakulam Junction- Hazrat Nizamuddin Express from April 4 onwards. The general coaches of the old rake will be deployed to peak-hour passenger trains," said a senior railway official.

The remaining rake of Nizamuddin Express will be used to operate summer special in the high demand Ernakulam-Velankanni section from April second week.

The situation was pathetic earlier this month when most passenger trains operated with average 10 coaches instead of usual 16.

This resulted in heavy congestion in sectors such as Thrissur-Ernakulam, among others.

Though the issue was partially resolved with deployment of coaches after their maintenance, a few other passenger trains like Alappuzha Passenger are operating with 12 coaches or less.

"We appreciate efforts of operational wing officials in taking timely measures to address the rake shortage issue. Otherwise the commuters would have faced much difficulty given the ongoing heat wave," said P. Krishnakumar, general secretary, Thrissur Railway Passengers Association.

The environment-friendly refurbished Utkrisht coaches are being deployed, replacing old coaches in trains in the division, in phases. Rakes of trains like Thiruvananthapuram - Nizamuddhin Express were already converted into Utkrisht coaches, which boost many upgraded features such as PVC flooring, energy efficient LED lighting and advanced choke free bio-toilet system among others.

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