In the wake of the Railway Board approving the extension of 16343/ 16344 Thiruvananthapuram – Madurai Amrita Express up to Rameswaram, votaries of stronger rail connectivity for Western region have sought to know when the Railway Board will act on the recommendation sent by the Southern Railway to the board for introduction of a daily Coimbatore -Rameswaram – Coimbatore overnight express train via Pollachi.
The Southern Railway had, in a letter dated January 21, 2020, recommended running of an overnight express train with two rakes, citing demands from the the public and the service operated in the section before the closure of the metre gauge section. The letter had stated that there will be nil effect on corridor block, path or other divisions.
Amrita Express was supposed to be extended up to Coimbatore on exchange of Bangalore – Coimbatore Intercity express to Ernakulam. There is a long-standing demand for restoration of Coimbatore – Rameswaram Express via Pollachi – Madurai that was run during the metre gauge days, K. Jayaraj, member, Zonal Railway Users’ Consultative Committee, said. The train was introduced in the late 1920s connecting the Kongu region with Rameswaram island benefiting the traders and pilgrims.
Prior to broad gauge conversion, the train was operated as a daily service: Train No. 6715/6716 Rameswaram – Coimbatore via Madurai – Pollachi, serving pilgrims from the entire Kongu region visiting Rameswaram, as also traders from the two sides, Mr. Jayaraj said.
At present there is only one weekly service: 16617/16618 Coimbatore – Rameswaram via Trichy, and Karaikudi, which is not sufficient to cater to the needs of the travelling public. The dedicated Coimbatore – Rameswaram Express has to be restored and operated as Pamban Express as it would connect all the important pilgrim places like Marudamalai in Coimbatore; Palani (one of the six holy abodes of Lord Murugan); Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple; and Rameswaram (one of the 12 Jyotirlingam shrines in India).
Also, this train service will provide connectivity to Ooty from Rameswaram as most of the pilgrims and tourists from northern India visiting Rameswaram make a trip to Ooty, Mr. Jayaraj said. Since it connects two big cities next to Chennai in Tamil Nadu, patronage would not be a problem with lot of tourist potential as well, he said.
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