KOCHI: Bringing great relief to thousands of short-distance commuters, the Railways commenced a MEMU service between Ernakulam and Kollam, on Sunday. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy flagged off the service, which will traverse via Kottayam and Alappuzha, at the Ernakulam Junction station.
The travelling time is four hours. “MEMU services will be a blessing for the people of the state. In the previous two budgets, the state was offered three more MEMU services. Hopefully, they will be introduced this year,” said Chandy. The trains will halt at all stations en route. The MEMU will not run on Saturday on the Kottayam route and on Monday on the Alappuzha route as these trains will be taken to Palakkad for maintenance works.
The MEMU, with its eight-rake feature, is one of the fastest short-distance train services in Kerala, with a fare comparable to that of a normal passenger train.
“Kerala is one of the first states in the country to be provided with a MEMU having toilet facility. Generally, being a short-distance train, toilets are not considered to be a necessity on MEMU,” an official said. “The MEMU trains have loco-pilot cabins at both ends, so there is no need to change the position at commencing stations,” said Thiruvananthapuram Divisional Railway Manager Rajesh Agarwal.
Minister-in-charge of the Railways Aryadan Mohammed, Union Minister of State for Agriculture K V Thomas, Excise Minister K Babu, P Rajeev MP, MLAs Benny Behanan, Dominic Presentation and Hibi Eden, Mayor Tony Chammany, Railways Ernakulam area manager George John were also present.