Amiya Meethal, Mangalore, Sep 3, 2013: In terms of the number of trains having stoppage, trains covering major destinations across the country en-route and on-the-way maintenance, Mangalore Junction Railway station at Kankanady is far ahead of Mangalore Central station.
Still, when you ask a city dweller where is Mangalore junction railway station, the most probable answer will be “it is somewhere in Kankanady area.” That tells the poor accessability of this major station under Palakkad division of Southern Railway Zone.
Situated in Kankanady village, 5 km away from the city, the station lacks basic amenities, including passengers rest room and cafeteria. As far as commuters are concerned, an ATM facility or pre-paid auto counter is also hardly found. People going to or coming from far off places like New Delhi, Jaipur, Pune, Gujarat, Amritsar if want to get a cup of tea while at the stoppage here, there is virtually no way.
But the list of long distance trains which have stoppage here, connecting Mangalore to different parts of the country speak the significance of the station in Railway map: Thiruvananthapuram-Nizamuddin, Rajadhani Express; Mumbai-Kochuveli, Garibrath Express; Ernakulam-Pune, Poorna Expres; Ernakulam-Nizamuddin, Mangala Express; Ernakulam-Okha Express; Kochuveli-Porbander Express; Ernakulam-Ajmeer, Marusagar Express; Kochuveli-Bhavnagar Express; Kochuveli-Amritsar Express; Thiruvananthapuram-Veravel Express; Kochuveli-Dehradun Express; Coimbatore-Bikaner Express. Daily 27 to 30 long distance trains are passing through Mangalore Junction and all have stoppage here except 16523 Mangalore-Karwar Express and 12620 Matsyagandha Express which commence operation from Mangalore Central.
Fuelling, crew change, water storing and food storage for all long distance trains also take place at Mangalore junction. Thus, though the non-stop 1223 Mumbai-Ernakulam Duranto Express has no stoppage, it will halt here for the essential maintenance purpose. The 12134 Mumbai (CST) daily express is the only train which starts from here.
A Railway Official on conditin of anonymity, admits that poor accessability is the major stumbling block on the path of the development of the Station. “The two roads, leading to the station; one via Padil junction and another one taking deviation off Bangalore NH are narrow. Though a couple of private buses are plying through the Padil route, it doesn’t serve the purpose,” said he.
The proposal to widen the short route off Bangalore NH, is in the pipeline, but it requires acquiring private property. The road is too narrow that if two cars come from either direction, there is no space to pass. The Railway has submitted a proposal to widen the road by one metre on either sides. The proposal for laying two additional railway lines are also pending before the authorities concerned. The auto drivers charging more than double for a short distance too is a cause for concern, he said.
Though a Railway Protection Force (RPF) outpost was started in April 2012, since then the post of Additional Sub Inspector has been lying vacant. Out of the total 11 police personnel posts, two are yet to be filled. The outpost itself is functioning in a make-shift yard put up for some other purpose years ago. Also, the service of Railway Police is not available here. One Constable from Railway Police Station, at Mangalore Central will come daily at night and will return, sources said.