On June 10th, Indian Railways has introduced the Bengularu-Coimbatore Uday Express, which starts at around 2:15 PM in Bengaluru, and reaches Coimbatore at 9 pm. This is a double-decker AC coaches train, with a highly equipped WAP 7i electric engine, that takes the Tiruppatur route to reach Salem. The train no. is 22665.
There has been a lot of excitement among the railways community because they consider it as an ‘advanced’ train, may be because of the fact that it is fitted with a 7i engine, and has AC coaches.
To me, as a passenger, the double-decker AC coach is a disappointment as it is too cramped, and the leg space is too little. I have experienced this with the Bangalore-Chennai double-decker. Also, the air-conditioning is too unfriendly, and it gets really cold. One won’t be able to sit in the coach for more than 4 hours. Thus, these AC coaches are suitable for travel only upto 4 hours while sitting, say from Bangalore to Salem.
The travel time between Bangalore and Coimbatore is usually 6.5 hours, and anything above 6 hours is not suitable for a sitting train, and should be made as a sleeper train. But, the Uday express, as of now, takes 7 hours to reach Coimbatore, so it would be very inconvenient for the passengers. The train reaches Tiruppur at 7:40 PM, but it then reaches Coimbatore only at 9:00 PM, which is 1 hour and 20 minutes in between, but the usual express train travel between Tiruppur and Coimbatore is only 40 minutes. When asked about this, they say that the section between Tiruppur and Coimbatore is too crowded at that time, so the train might stop in some loops to let the other trains pass.
This is a very inefficient usage of the highly capable 7i engine – to stop in loops for around 40 minutes. Also, the passengers inside the train would be anxious to reach Coimbatore, having crossed Tiruppur, but they have to wait for another 40 minutes in signals!
I would suggest that the Railways relook at the itinerary and reduce the travel time. Probably the train can be made as non-stop, or only with one stop (say, Salem), and given very high priority over other trains, so that it does not stop in any loops or signals. This will make an efficient use of the high-power engine.
There is significant distance between Bangalore and Coimbatore (around 418 kms), and it is not suitable for a sitting train. What is required between Bangalore and Coimbatore are two more sleeper trains. Kanyakumari Island express reaches Coimbatore at an unholy hour of 3:15 AM. Mumbai Kurla – Coimbatore express is always late to reach Bangalore and unreliable. Thus, two more sleeper trains that start around 10 PM and 10:30 PM are required from Bangalore.
It’s great to have the latest technology engine and AC coaches, but if the passengers are not satisfied with the travel time and the comfort of the coach, it would be a waste.
We will have to wait and see the popularity of Uday express. Currently around 880 seats are being offered in this train, and we will watch how much of them get filled every day.
As such, if there is another option like taking a Airavat bus from Bangalore, one would prefer that, rather than taking this train.
Will the Railways take notice and take relevant steps?