Although the Ministry of Railways rescinded its decision last week to cancel special trains, including the popular inter-city Jan Shatabdi Expresses, it has not restored some of the regular halts that were terminated during the COVID-19 lockdown period.
After the graded lifting of the lockdown, the Ministry gave the nod for elimination of halts at important stations of Jan Shatabdi trains when services commenced from June 1.
The Kozhikode-Thiruvananthapuram Central-Kozhikode Jan Shatabdi (02075/02076) had regular halts at Aluva, Cherthala, Kayamkulam and Varkala while the Kannur-Thiruvananthapuram Central-Kannur Jan Shatabdi (02081/02082) had halts at Thalassery, Vadakara, Mavelikkara and Kayamkulam.
The Railway Board had recommended a proposal to cancel Jan Shatabdi trains citing fall in passenger volume. It was found that the reduction in passenger volume was a result of the pandemic situation in the State. Mostly, office-goers depended on these trains during this period.
However, railway officials feel that the passenger volume is likely to increase if regular halts are restored.
Confederation of All India Rail users Association working chairman C.E. Chakkunny demanded that the railways regularise halts of the Jan Shatabdi Expresses and introduce the Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) services in the Mangaluru- Shoranur sector for the benefit of commuters in north Kerala.