The latest media reports now indicate that the Yeshwantpur-Kochuveli-Yeshwantpur Garib Rath Express will begin operations from the 22nd of this month (February). The inauguration is slated to happen on the 22nd at Kochuveli, and the honours will be done by the Minister of State for Railways, Mr Velu.
The train has a very good timing in the Yeshwantpur-Kochuveli section, and a really horrible timing in the Kochuveli-Yeshwantpur section.
The 2257 Yeshwantpur-Kochuveli Garib Rath will depart from Yeshwantpur on Tuesday, Thursday and Sundays at 2100. The train will go via Hosur, Salem, Coimbatore, Ernakulam Town, Kottayam and Quilon. The train will arrive at Kochuveli the next day at 1240.
In the return direction, Train number 2258 will depart Kochuveli on Mondays, Wednesday and Friday at 2000, and arrive Yeshwantpur at 1130, the next morning. The train will have Third AC and AC Chair Car accomodation. However, for some reason, the Integral Coach Factory, Perambur is not rolling out AC Chair Car coaches since the end of the last financial year. Therefore, this particular train will have only Third AC accomodation for the initial few days (or months, or even years!).
While, the run from YPR to KCVL is well timed, and is very convenient to an average passenger, the timings in the return direction are bad. The Kerala-Karnataka Travellers Forum (KKTF) has urged the railways to re-schedule to train to depart from Bangalore every Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday, and also retime the departure from Yeshwantpur to atleast 1600 hours. However, the railways have not announced any changes to the schedule as of today.
Some suggestions from my part:
The railways have a couple of vacant, convenient slots from Trivandrum. The 1515 departure from TVC is practically empty on four days of the week. The days are Wed, Thu, Fri and Sunday. SO, a 1515 departure from KCVL is practically possible on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday (satisfying the demand of the KKTF). This particular slot is empty only between TVC and ERS. The slot is empty from Ernakulam and Shoranur only on Thursdays.
However, given the fact that the train in question is a Garib Rath (the coaches of which have a higher MPS), the train will be able to preceed the train that occupies the said slot between ERS and SRR.
The other option, is to use the slot of the Kochuveli-Bangalore Express. This slot is being used by the 6316 KCVL-SBC Express on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. So, the said train can be run by the railways on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. A 1600 departure slot from Kochuveli also ensures a three hour 20 minute gap between arrival and departure. Since the maintenance of the train is done at Yeshwantpur, the three hour turnaround time is very much possible.
I hope the railways will take a suitable action, and re-schedule the departure timings of 2258 express from Kochuveli to a more convenient slot, thereby enable office-goers save a working day!
More details of the inauguration is awaited, and the final schedule will be known only then.