The Salem Division of Southern Railway launched regular mainline electric multiple unit (MEMU) train services from Coimbatore to Mettupalayam on Thursday.
A senior railway official said this would replace the conventional passenger train services in the route. The coaches were manufactured at Integral Coach Factory, Chennai.
With eight coaches comprising two cars (one car has an engine unit and three coaches), the MEMU train would provide more space for the standing passengers when compared to the conventional passenger trains. Each coach had nearly 70 seats, which was fewer than in the passenger trains, but the spacious interior along with linked coaches would accommodate more passengers, the official said.
The MEMU train could reach speed up to 100 kmph with faster acceleration and deceleration time. With self-propelled coaches that did not require turnaround time to replace engines, the trains would save energy and time than its predecessor, the official said. Other highlights included CCTV surveillance and broader doorways in every coach and mesh windows. The train will leave Mettupalayam at 8.15 a.m., 10.30 a.m. and 1.15 p.m. and reach Coimbatore at 9 a.m., 11.15 a.m. and 2 p.m. respectively. From Coimbatore, the train services will be available at 9.30 a.m. and 11.50 a.m. to reach Mettupalayam by 10.15 a.m. and 12.30 p.m. respectively. The coaches of the passenger train that was previously running between Mettupalayam and Coimbatore would be used for augmenting coaches in existing trains where there was demand, the official said.
Network of trains
Welcoming the new train service, R. Raveendran, secretary, Residents Awareness Association of Coimbatore, recommended that MEMU train services must be run to Pollachi, Palakkad and Tiruppur to create a “network of trains” from four directions that could reduce road traffic and improve access to Coimbatore.