Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain today said the performance of Southern Railway is commendable even as Indian Railways is acting as the engine of growth for the economy.
Speaking after flagging off the Uday Express double-decker train between Coimbatore and Bengaluru, he said gauge conversion and doubling of tracks in the southern region had been showing results.
The minister congratulated Southern Railway for surpassing the target with regard to fitting bio-toilets in coaches in 2017-18 and said 65 per cent of coaches have the facility.
All the 6,269 coaches in the Southern Railway would be provided with such toilets by December 2018.
“I firmly believe that Indian Railways is the engine of growth for economy of the nation and also the infrastructure,” Gohain said.
Gohain said the UDAY Express will be a boon for those who travel frequently between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
The reduced travel time will also be a major draw for business class travellers between Coimbatore and Bengaluru, he added.
Responding to an appeal by two AIADMK MPs-P Nagarajan and AK Selvaraj to modernise platforms at Veerapandi and Pudupalayam stations, the minister assured that work would be taken up.
The MPs offered to pay Rs 15 lakh from the MPs’ local area development fund.
The minister also promised to develop Coimbatore North station to handle more number of trains and asked Southern Railway general manager to do a follow-up of the projects.
On the demand for a train from Mettupalayam to Madurai, Gohain said there were proposals to introduce mainline electrical multiple units (MEMUs) from Mettupalayam to Coimbatore and a new day train to Madurai.
Speaking on the occasion, Union minister of state Pon Radhakrishnan said the Narendra Modi government had spent more on infrastructure and Railways in the last four years than what the UPA dispensation had during 2009-2014.
The UDAY (Utkrisht Double Decker Air-Conditioned Yatri) Express, announced in the Railway budget in 2016, is equipped with a host of new features such as infotainment system, with wi-fi, GPS-based passenger information system, food vending machines and an exclusive dining area for passengers.
Another feature is all the coaches would be manned by women travelling ticket examiners.
The train (No.22666) will leave Coimbatore at 5.45 a.m and reach Bengaluru at 12.40 p.m. In the return direction, it will depart from Bengaluru at 2.15 p.m to reach Coimbatore at 9 p.m.