Going by popular demand, Train Nos 12609/10 Chennai – Bengaluru City – Chennai Expresses have been extended to MYS effective 15 January, 2019. This was done apparently to compensate passengers between Bengaluru and Mysuru for the loss of a connection that was provided by erstwhile Bengaluru City – Mangaluru Express via Mysuru. This train has now been diverted via Shravanabelagola and Hassan.
The extension is welcome as it opens up a direct daytime connection for Mysuru for stations between Chennai and Bengaluru. This is apart from the premium Shatabdi Express operating between Chennai and Mysuru.
However, the dampener, a huge one at that, is the reduction of three unreserved coaches from the rakes of Train Nos 12607/8/9/10 – the Chennai Bengaluru Express shares rakes with the Lalbagh Express. This cut in capacity will force passengers to crowd into reserved coaches further – something that is already happening. Instead of 200 people crowding into to a single reserved coach, there may well be 250 to a coach now.
The increased crowd is bound to cause more friction between reserved and unreserved passengers. SWR is not known for optimal deployment of TTEs. We are already awaiting a reply to a related RTI query for one train and are sure that the deficiency in TTE deployments will be across many trains including this pair.
The Hon’ble Member of Parliament for Kodagu, Pratap Simha, recently inquired about the impact and benefit of this extension. I explained to him that a key benefit was the availability of a direct day-time connection via a non-premium train.
Another benefit was the monetary benefit to passengers on account of reduced fares because of telescopic benefit. The MP assured us that he will speak to zonal officials, understand reasons, and request them to restore the three unreserved coaches to these rakes.
One only hopes that all the efforts taken by the Hon’ble MP to deliver one more service to the Bengaluru Mysuru belt does not end up inconveniencing more people than it benefits.