No stoppages in State for train to Katra

No stoppages in State for train to Katra

Service to Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu should benefit more people, say passengers

No stoppages in State for train to Katra

The premium train from Yeshwantpur-Katra (Jammu), launched barely a couple of weeks ago, has turned out to be a flop show for passengers. The train which covers a 400-kilometer stretch within Karnataka, does not have a single stoppage in the State.

Passengers feel that they are left with no option but to take this expensive train due to the absence of any express or superfast train to Katra or even Jammu. Worse, tickets for the train can only be booked online, leaving passengers at the mercy of travel agents who charge a hefty fee to book tickets online. Also, unlike regulars trains, for which tickets can be booked 60 days in advance, the tickets for this train, again being a premium train, are only available 15 days before its departure.

Sample this: The train runs 400 km in the State via Tumakuru, Arasikere, Birur, Chitradurga and Raichur but has no stops at any of these places, leaving passengers who wish to take the pilgrimage to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine with no choice but to come all the way to Yeshwantpur to board the train. “Had the train been an express or a superfast train, it would have had stoppages, allowing passengers from across the State to board it from a station near their place,” said Suresh, a passenger.

Sanjeev Dyamannavar from NGO Praja, who had recently written to the Railway authorities and political leaders requesting that the train be changed from premium category to superfast or express category, said, “Presently, there are no trains to Jammu from any part of Karnataka, so running a premium train does not have any logic. We should have some express or superfast trains from Karnataka to Jammu.”

According to Railway statistics, already last year, when the train was being run as a special train, it received poor response with an occupancy level of only 10 per cent, going up to a maximum of 67 per cent, that too only during the holiday season.

“When the Railways can run ordinary trains to Jammu from Mumbai and Ahmedabad, why not from Karnataka? A large number of passengers from Karnataka would also like to visit the holy shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi,” said another passenger. The train from Yeshwantpur-Katra (Jammu) was flagged off by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on January 29. The train was announced in the last railway budget.

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