‘Demand for train service between Madurai and Coimbatore ignored’

People of southern and western districts are complaining about passengers in Madurai-Coimbatore and Rameswaram-Coimbatore sectors being neglected as train services running in these sections prior to gauge conversion have not been restored.

Madurai is closely linked to Coimbatore and Tiruppur through industries and trade. “We have been demanding restoration of the train services for more than a year. We were told that finishing touches on gauge conversion work were pending. But, railway authorities have not yet restored old services between Madurai and Coimbatore,” senior president of Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industries S. Rethinavelu said.

Train services in Madurai and Coimbatore sector were more important in the absence of a four-way highway between the two cities. “The present road route via Dindigul-Dharapuram is not safe as it is narrow,” he added.

Already, trains were run between Madurai and Pollachi and Pollachi and Coimbatore. “This means the broad gauge track is fit for running trains. Then, what is preventing the railway administration from running additional trains by way of restoring the old services?” he asked.

A railway source said there were at least eight train services between Madurai and Coimbatore, Madurai and Palghat and Dindigul and Coimbatore before gauge conversion.

At present, two passenger trains – Tiruchendur-Palghat and Madurai Coimbatore – and an express train –- Amrita Express connecting Madurai and Palghat – was run on Madurai-Pollachi route.

Tamil Nadu Rail Fans’ Association has also pressed for the same demands. “Several trains were run from Podanur junction to various destinations. The erstwhile Coimbatore–Rameswaram overnight express via Madurai, Coimbatore–Thoothukudi daytime passenger via Madurai and Coimbatore–Madurai Intercity Express had got good patronage. They should be restored at the earliest for the benefit of passengers,” said K. Sivamohan of the association.

These services would help tourists and working class people as a mode of cheaper transportation between western and southern Tamil Nadu, he said.

“Even Amritha Express that has been extended between Palghat and Madurai is not provided with stoppages at commercially important towns like Udumalpet and Oddanchatram,” he added.

Mr. Rethnivelu said Southern Railway should come out with a white paper on not restoring the old services on these sections.

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