The Southern Railway has recommended the introduction of a new Vande Bharat train service on the Chennai-Kottayam route, raising hopes that Kottayam may soon attain the status of a terminal station. Presently, the only express service originating from Kottayam is a train to Nilambur, previously categorized as a passenger train before being upgraded to an ‘express’ status.
The move comes after recent infrastructure enhancements, including the completion of track doubling along the Kottayam route and the construction of additional platforms at the Kottayam station. These improvements have prompted persistent demands for elevating Kottayam to a terminal station.
The proposed Chennai-Kottayam Vande Bharat service is expected to comprise eight coaches, with the train requiring cleaning and water-filling activities at the Kottayam station. Currently, platforms 3 and 4 at the station offer these facilities, allowing the required tasks to be completed within two hours and 30 minutes. Railway officials have expressed that more train services could be initiated from Kottayam if water-filling facilities are extended to platforms 1 A and 5. However, this would necessitate the installation of new pipelines to these platforms.
According to the Southern Railway’s proposal, the maintenance of the Vande Bharat rake could be conducted in Chennai. The suggested schedule for the special services is set to begin on December 1 and conclude on January 29, 2024. The train will depart from Chennai at 2 pm on Fridays and Sundays, reaching Kottayam at 11 pm. From Kottayam, the departure is scheduled for 4 am, with an arrival in Chennai at 1 pm.
This initiative is expected to significantly reduce the travel time between Chennai and Kottayam, offering improved connectivity and operational efficiency for commuters along this route.