The Kerala government on Wednesday requested the Railway Ministry to allot stops for the Vande Bharat Express at Tirur and Thiruvalla, in Malappuram and Pathanamthitta districts of the state respectively, citing heavy passenger traffic in both places.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan sent a letter to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw inviting his attention to the ”justifiable demand” of rail commuters for stops at Tirur and Thiruvalla. Vijayan said that Tirur was an important station on the Shoranur-Mangalore section of Southern Railways and has also been included in the Amrit Bharat scheme for its development as a model station.
”There is heavy passenger traffic in this section towards both northern and southern sides. Likewise, Thiruvalla in Pathanamthitta district is also a station that occupies pride of place in the railway map of Kerala and has heavy passenger traffic,” he said.
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The CM said that the state welcomed the allotment of a Vande Bharat train to Kerala and it would be extremely helpful for rail commuters if the requests for stops at the ”two very important stations” was considered favourably ”at the earliest.
The Kerala High Court had recently rejected a PIL seeking directions to the Railways to allow a stop at Tirur, saying if every individual in every district starts clamouring for a stop of his or her choice, ”the purpose of setting up high-speed trains would itself be lost”.
”Railway stops are not to be provided on demands based on personal or vested interests especially for high-speed express trains like Vande Bharat. If stops are provided on demand by the public, the term ‘express train’ will itself become a misnomer,” the court had said.
Kerala’s first Vande Bharat Express was flagged off on April 25 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Thiruvananthapuram Railway Station. The Vande Bharat Express, which will connect the state capital with the northernmost Kerala district of Kasaragod, has been projected by many as an alternative to the LDF government’s ambitious plans for a semi-high-speed rail corridor SilverLine.