Vande Bharat Express in Kerala Disrupts Schedule of General Commuters, Other Trains
Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
The introduction of the Vande Bharat Express train service in Kerala has caused severe problems to regular rail commuters, including officegoers and students.
The change in departure of several trains across the state has led to cramming of passengers in special express trains. Two women passengers fainted due to heavy rush.
Kollam-based Friends on Rails (FoR), an organisation of train users, has demanded the rescheduling of Vande Bharat trains through Kottayam and Alappuzha to ensure that the restoration and utility of other express trains are retained.
John Britas, a Rajya Sabha member from Kerala, has sought the railway minister’s intervention to immediately address the concerns raised by the general public relying largely on rail services.
DEMAND FOR RESCHEDULING VANDE BHARAT TRAINS
The Centre has claimed that the Vande Bharat trains as a boon to passengers, but the rescheduling of several trains have affected the regular commuters.
“The Vande Bharat trains have only caused misery to thousands of passengers. Students and officegoers face delay on both routes, affecting their official and personal schedules,” FoR secretary Liyons J told NewsClick.
“The morning Vande Bharat train to Kasargod has affected the schedules of Venad and Palaruvi express trains used by officegoers and students,” he added.
On the Alappuzha route, Kottayam and Kayamkulam special express trains are held up for, at least, an hour while in Ernad, Durando Vivek, Kerala and Jan Shatabdi express trains and Nileshwar-Kottayam, Kollam MEMU trains are held up at different stations to let the Vande Bharat train pass.
FoR has demanded the rescheduling of the two Vande Bharat trains to allow other trains to run as per their old schedules.
“The inordinate delay has severely affected the credibility of the Railways. The schedule of Vande Bharat trains should be changed. We are carrying out a campaign for the same by wearing badges and gathering across the southern districts,” Liyons said.
‘INTENTIONAL DELAY’ OF OTHER TRAINS
Dakshin Railway Employees Union (DREU) central vice-president Mathew Cyriac accused the Railways of “purposely delaying other trains to claim that the Vande Bharat Express service is faster”.
“Though the Railways had claimed Fixed Time Corridor Block (FTCB) for the rake maintenance, the actual reason for holding other trains is to let the Vande Bharat Express trains to pass. Despite such measures, the much-hyped train run late almost everyday,” he said.
While the FTCB, for a duration of 3 hours, is generally identified between 11 am and 4 pm, the Railways has resorted to new time windows in different stretches, the DREU has alleged. “On the Shoranur-Kozhikode stretch, FTCB is from 5.15 pm to 8.15 pm while on the Kannur stretch, it is from 8 pm. This affects the time of other express trains,” Cyriac claimed.
“There is no train between Kozhikode and Kannur between 6.30 pm and 9.30 pm, Kasargod and Mangalore between 5 pm and 12.30 am and Shoranur and Kannur for several hours after 4 pm. This is affecting a large section of the population,” Cyriac said.
INCREASE GENERAL, SLEEPER COACHES
The number of sleeper coaches, used by the middle class, are being reduced in several trains originating and running in Kerala. One sleeper coach has been reduced in Maveli, Malabar, Chennai Mail and West Coast express trains while one 3-tier AC coach has been added.
“In Mangla Express, four sleeper coaches have been reduced by introducing a similar number of 3 AC economy coaches. Sleeper coaches have also been reduced in Netravati and Kerala express trains. This decision should be withdrawn,” Cyriac demanded.
In a letter written to the railway minister, Brittas has also demanded more general and sleeper coaches for the benefit of commuters and to not hold up other trains for the free passage of Vande Bharat trains.
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