Kerala’s Third Vande Bharat Express Faces Resistance from Railway Officials

The planned introduction of a third Vande Bharat Express in Kerala has hit a roadblock, allegedly due to resistance from a lobby within the railway administration. Despite the success of the existing two Vande Bharat trains in the state, officials are reportedly finding excuses to prevent the launch of the Bengaluru-Ernakulam route.

Citing logistical challenges such as the lack of facilities and staff at Ernakulam for maintenance stops, officials are attempting to halt the operation. They claim that although the electrification of the pitline at Ernakulam was completed, a safety certificate was not issued due to alleged construction faults. This has raised suspicions of a deliberate effort to relocate the train to Tamil Nadu or elsewhere.

The train, initially delivered last March but subsequently returned, was recently brought back and stationed at Kollam due to the alleged inadequacies at Ernakulam. Concerns have been raised about the possibility of the train being returned again. Questions have been raised about extending the service to Thiruvananthapuram if facilities are lacking in Ernakulam.

Moreover, despite promises from the railways to improve infrastructure, including increasing train speeds, expanding routes, and upgrading signaling systems, these commitments remain unfulfilled. While station renovation works are ongoing as part of the central government’s plan, other assurances have yet to materialize.

It’s noteworthy that both existing Vande Bharat trains in Kerala are the most profitable in the country and lead in terms of passenger numbers. However, the resistance from officials casts doubt on the future expansion of this successful initiative in the region.

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