Extend Mangaluru-Madgaon Vande Bharat Express To Mumbai, Or Introduce Sleeper Service: Konkan Samithi

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The Mumbai-based Konkan Vikas Samithi has opposed the merging of Mangaluru-Madgaon and Mumbai CSMT-Madgaon Vande Bharat Express services, claiming that such a move will reduce seat availability between Mumbai and Madgaon.

The Samithi’s founder and chairman, Jayawant Shankar Darekar, wrote to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw saying the Samithi had no objections to extending Train No. 20645/20646 Mangaluru Central-Madgaon-Mangaluru Central Vande Bharat Express to Mumbai as a standalone service.

Jayawant Darekar believes an Amrit Bharat or Vande Bharat sleeper service between Mangaluru and Mumbai (a 900-kilometer route) would be even more beneficial.

Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel recently urged the Railway Ministry to consolidate the VB services because the Mangaluru Central-Madgaon VB express is underutilised. People in coastal Karnataka demand a daily train to Mumbai. Amalgamation would be the best solution. As an alternative, Nalin Kumar Kateel requested an independent expansion of the service to Mumbai on a tri-weekly basis.

Train No. 22229/230 Mumbai CSMT-Madgaon-Mumbai CSMT Vande Bharat Express, according to Jayawant Darekar, is up to 100% full and requires capacity expansion to a 16-car rake to meet demand in this section. Extending it to Mangaluru would compound the situation, leaving passengers on the Mumbai-Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg-Goa route with more seats.

However, by extending the Mangaluru-Madgaon Vande Bharat Express to Mumbai and selectively adding halts along the route where the Mumbai-Madgaon Vande Bharat Express does not stop, the Ministry can ensure that passengers on both the Mumbai-Goa and Mumbai-Mangaluru portions receive better service. In the case of a merger of the two services, the Ministry shall allocate source station quota to all units. Pooled or remote location quotas for the Mumbai-Madgaon section would restrict seat availability at Khed, Ratnagiri, Kanakavali, and Thivim stations. In this case, a 16-car rake should be operated without affecting the Mumbai-Goa reservation quota.

Oliver D’Souza of the Mumbai Rail Yatrikara Sangha has urged that the Mangaluru-Madgaon Vande Bharat Express be extended to Bandra in western Mumbai. “Not one of the 13 trains to Mangaluru originates in western Mumbai. If the VB cannot be extended to Mumbai, the Ministry should launch a new Amrit Bharat service between Bandra and Mangaluru,” he proposed.