Here’s some good news for the people working in Kerala and Bengaluru. A new bi-weekly train between Kochuveli in Thiruvananthapuram and Banaswadi in Bengaluru will be flagged off on October 20, by Union Minister of State for Tourism Alphons Kannanthanam.
The Bangalore Humsafar Express will leave Kochuveli at 6.50 pm every Thursday and Saturday and will reach Banaswadi at 10.45 am on Friday and Sunday respectively. Similarly, trains leaving from Banaswadi at 7 pm on Fridays and Sundays will reach Kochuveli at 9.05 am the following days.
The train will halt at Kollam Junction, Karunagapalli, Kayamkulam Junction, Chengannur, Kottayam, Ernakulam Town, Thrissur, Palakkad Junction, Coimbatore Main Junction, Erode Junction, Salem Junction, Krishnarajapuram and Baiyyappanahalli.
Incidentally, a Yeshwantpur-Thiruvananthapuram Central Bi-weekly Superfast Express was announced in the 2014-15 Railway Budget by then Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu.
After multiple follow-ups with rail officials failed, a group of techies, under the aegis of Kerala-Bengaluru Train Users Forum, petitioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue in June seeking his intervention.
The petitioners had accused rail officials of being influenced under by the bus lobby. In their petition, the train users said, “Private bus operators run about 600 buses on weekends. The rush is even more during the festive season. During festival seasons and long weekends, bus fares between the two cities were increased to a staggering Rs 4,000 per head. People involved in the bus lobby are trying to get control over the Kerala-Bengaluru route, as it is one of the most profitable travel routes, and as a result, people are forced to pay through their noses to buy a bus ticket in the absence of enough trains.”
Reacting to the development, former Minister of State of Foreign Affairs Shashi Tharoor and Thiruvananthapuram MP, also tweeted, “ Thanks to @PiyushGoyal for responding positively to my entreaty for more trains from Thiruvananthapuram towards Bengaluru & beyond. The new Humsafar Express is a boon to many commuters & a good step in the right direction!”
When TNM in June asked rail officials about the same, the Railway Board was yet to make a decision and neither Southern Division or South Western Division of Railways could independently start the train.