Thousands of passengers commuting between Coimbatore and Pollachi were left disappointed as the railways haven’t introduced any new trains or extended the existing ones through this segment in the newly released railway time table. There were persistent demands from passengers to operate direct trains between Coimbatore- Rameswaram and Coimbatore- Madurai connecting the Southern districts through the new broad gauge line. Currently, the railways has been operating just a single passenger train from Coimbatore –Pollachi using idle rakes (coaches) and locomotive of the Shoranur - Coimbatore - Thrissur train.
The train was launched in July this year. This train too runs almost empty as it is operated during the non-peak hours of afternoon as against the public demand for a service in the morning and evenings to help students and office goers. When queried, an official of the Salem Division said that new trains could not be introduced through the newly laid Coimbatore -Pollachi segment due to shortage of rakes (coaches) and heavy rail traffic up to Podanur.
“From Podanur, the track is free, but till there heavy rail traffic exits. The newly converted broad gauge line has been lying idle,” he said. The official said that the railway has only released a tentative timetable and there are chances for effecting changes in it.
“Still there is a hope for introducing trains between the Coimbatore-Pollachi segments,” he said. Meanwhile, those in the know of things said that the train could not be operated in the new broad gauge line as it is perceived to be ‘unsafe’ on a 3-km segment near Kinathukadavu, where the line was laid by cutting through rocks. “The railways has therefore decided to construct a fence for a few kilometres to prevent boulders from rolling onto the track. Till then it is unsafe to run new trains,” said M Jameel Ahmed, chairman of Coimbatore Railway Passengers Welfare Association.
GK Nagaraj, founder president of Kongunadu Jananayaka Katchi (KJK), said that plans are afoot to meet officials of the Salem Division demanding to speed up works to ply a train on the Coimbatore-Pollachi stretch. Due to lack of trains, people rely largely on the rashly driven buses and pay higher ticket fares to commute between Coimbatore and Pollachi.