Railways
The services between Rameswaram and Pollachi was suspended in 2008 for gauge conversion.
Screengrab/Youtube: C Natarajan

A decade after discontinuation, Southern Railway is all set to revive the only direct train link between Rameswaram and Palakkad. However, due to track constraints, the train will run between Rameswaram and Coimbatore, reported the New Indian Express.

The Southern Railway has also sent a proposal to the railway board to make this happen. Rameswaram-Palghat passenger was one of the trains that connected Palghat with centres of pilgrimage like Palani and Rameswaram. It ran from Palakkad via Pollachi, Palani, Dindigul, Madurai and Manamadurai to reach Rameswaram.

The train was suspended in 2008 to facilitate gauge conversion of the entire railway line from metre gauge to broad gauge. Services on this line have been resuming on a piecemeal approach since 2015. The Palakkad –Tiruchendur and Madurai-Trivandrum Amrita Express are the only trains that are being operated on this line.

The lack of rail connectivity between Madurai and Coimbatore caught the attention of the Railways after the Members of Parliament, in a recent meeting with the General Manager of Southern Railway in Trichy, demanded trains between the two cities. Members of Parliament from Tamil Nadu including K Shanmugasundaram (Pollachi), Su Venkatesan (Madurai) and Tiruchi Siva (Rajya Sabha) attended the meeting. Following this, the Salem Division submitted a proposal for daily overnight express train between Rameswaram and Coimbatore via Madurai, Dindigul, Palani and Pollachi.

According to the proposal, the trains from Rameswaram and Coimbatore will start from their origin at 10.30 pm and reach their destinations at 8 am the following day.

Apart from this train, the Railways also has proposed to operate fast passenger service between Thoothukudi and Coimbatore via Madurai and Pollachi, by delinking some compartments of the Tirunelveli-Thoothukudi passenger and linking it to the Pollachi-Coimbatore passenger train. Apart from this, there are also proposals to extend the Intercity Express operating between Mangaluru and Coimbatore till Mettupalayam and also to introduce a new overnight train between Bengaluru and Coimbatore.