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Kerala commercial capital to get local rail service

The introduction of the local service is expected to solve the commuting problems faced by short distance passengers from the city's suburbs to a big extent.

By T.k. Devasia

Published: Sun 21 Jun 2015, 11:11 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:58 PM

Trivandrum: Local train services that have helped in reducing traffic congestion in major cities like Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai will link Kerala’s fast growing metro city of Cochin with its suburbs from next week.

The service using railway’s modern 1,400 high horse power diesel electric multiple unit (Demu) rakes will be flagged off by Federal Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu in the Angamaly-Ernakulam-Tripunithura-Piravom corridor at a function to be organised at Ernakulam south station on Sunday.

The service will be extended to Cochin Harbor Terminus and Old Railway Station after they are renovated. A mainline electrical multiple unit (Memu) train will be operated till the renovation. The state government has contributed Rs75 million to the railways for renovating the two stations and augmenting the signal system

The Memu train will operate from 6am to 8.30pm on all days, except Sundays. It will operate eight daily trips, with Ernakulam Junction as the terminal station. The Demu, which will replace Memu, will consist of eight coaches, including two AC coaches, with a capacity to carry 1,300 passengers.

The coaches are inter-connected with vestibules and the commuters can move from one end to another end of the rake. There will be two driving power coaches on both ends. The passenger cars will have a capacity of 312 — 96 sitting and 216 standing — as against 90 in the conventional day coaches.

The introduction of the local service is expected to solve the commuting problems faced by short distance passengers from the city’s suburbs to a big extent. Though more and more people from not only the suburbs but also the neighbouring districts have been coming to the city for work, the road infrastructure remained the same.

The metro being built to ease the problem has added to the woes of the daily commuters. With the metro taking a major chunk of the already narrow roads in the city, the traffic moves at a snail’s pace along the stretches where the metro work is on. The onset of monsoon has worsened the condition of roads in the city.

Meanwhile, the service has raised concern in several quarters in the Cochin metro circles. A section of the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) fears that the suburban service may eat into the metro revenues since the Demu covers a major section of the metro route from Aluva to Tripunithura.

However, experts are of the view that the Demu service might not have a big impact on the prospective metro ridership since they were not expecting too many rail passengers to shift to metro. The focus of the metro is people who use private vehicles, a senior KMRL official said adding that the Demu will at best compliment the metro.


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