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Saturday, February 14, 2009

State to get five new trains

CHENNAI: Five new trains and extension of two services have been proposed for Tamil Nadu in the interim budget submitted by Railway Minister Lalu Prasad in Parliament on Friday. No new projects have been included, as in the previous budgets the Railway Ministry had sanctioned crucial gauge conversion and new lines, which are in various stages of completion.

The new trains announced are: Bilaspur-Tirunelveli weekly express via Thiruvananthapuram; Senkottai-Erode Passenger (daily); Tiruchi-Madurai Express (daily); Mumbai-Tirunelveli Superfast Express via Thiruvananthapuram; and Coimbatore-Tuticorin link service (daily).

Train No. 6865/6866 Ernakulam- Tiruchi Express will be extended to Nagore via Thanjavur. Train No. 6507/6508 Jodhpur-Bangalore Express will run up to Coimbatore.

In the last railway budget, nine new train services were proposed. According to a Southern Railway official here, the State does not require new projects, but needs sufficient funds for ongoing works. All metre gauge sections have either been converted or are in the process of conversion. Completion of gauge conversion projects such as Villupuram-Mayiladuthurai via Cuddalore, Quilon-Senkottai, and Tirunelveli-Senkottai, sanctioned long back, have been delayed. The new line from Salem to Karur, cleared a decade ago, is yet to become a reality.

Electrification of the Villupuram-Tiruchi-Madurai section and doubling of the Chengalpattu-Villupuram section are two other major projects in various stages of completion.

At present, the administration is trying to cope with the demand by introducing special trains. Time-bound completion of these projects is essential for the benefit of passengers, the official said.


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