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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

the longest running Indian train - Vivek Express chugs into Tamilnadu today

Travel by train is always enjoyable – as you sit near corner watching tress, grounds, people, buildings, mountains, rivers amongst other things passby.  Many a times the travel could be by night, where in darkness, one could not see much outside – more so, if you are in an airconditioned coach.  But how long would it be pleasant ?  -  this is about a train which theoretically runs for 5 days !!!!!

The answer to a pet Q of a Quizzer has changed !  - it is no longer the Himsagar Express – the train running between Kanyakumari, the southern tip of India to Jammutawi – the one covering the longest in terms of distance or time.  It runs 3715 kilo meters.

Today, India’s longest running train  ‘Vivek Express’ from Dibrugarh in Assam to Kanyakumari, entered Tamil Nadu on Tuesday morning, arriving at Katpadi at around 8.45 am, on its maiden journey that began on November 19 with around 20 passengers.   The train covering 4,286 km in 82.30 hours had passed through   Dimapur, Guwahati, Jalpaiguri,  Durgapur, Asansol, Midnapore, Balasore, Cuttack, Palasa, Vizianagaram, Samalkot, Vijayawada, Ongole, Nellore before entering Tamilnadu.   From Katpadi, it would go to Salem, Erode, Coimbatore, Palakkad, Thirissur, Kottayam, Kollam, Trivandrum, Nagercoil and terminate at  Kanyakumari.    The ticket fare from Dibrugarh to Kanyakumari is Rs 673 in second class sleeper, Rs 2,573 in two-tier AC and Rs 1,878 in three-tier AC. The regular service of the train would begin on November 26. Every Saturday it will leave Dibrugarh at 11.45 pm and reach Kanyakumari at 10.30 am on Wednesday.

For the inaugural run, pantry-car was not functional; special attention was taken to provide food by picking  up freshly cooked food at different stations.

Dibrugarh is the headquarters of Dibrugarh district, Assam, India, and is the second largest city in Assam after Guwahati. It is situated on the banks of the Brahmaputra River, about 435 kilometres (270 mi) north-east of Guwahati. It is the gateway to the three tea-producing districts of Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, and Sibsagar.

Recently on 11th Nov 11, the  inaugural service of weekly Dibrugarh-Kanniyakumari-Dibrugarh  was flagged off  from Dibrugarh.    Earlier the Railway Minister had  announced that the new trains called “Vivek Express” will be introduced to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda which will be celebrated in 2013.  The first four such trains  are to  be introduced on the following routes:  1)            Dibrugarh- Kanniyakumari Express (weekly)  2)Dwarka-Tuticorin Express (weekly) 3) Howrah-Mangalore Express (weekly)  4)  Bandra(T)-Jammu Tawi Express (weekly).

On Saturday 11th Nov 2011, Union Minister of Development of North Eastern Region Paban Singh Ghatowar flagged off the train at Dibrugarh station in the presence of Assam Revenue Minister Prithibi Majhi and General Manager of North East Frontier Railway Keshav Chandra.  This train brings cheer to hundreds of  Malayalee families living in Assam and other Northeastern states  as this connects them directly to their homeland. 

The railway employees like the ones providing bedroll and other assistants who do not change their duty midway would be away from their home for 16 days when they embark on a trip by this train.  There are many from North eastern States who come to  southern parts of India mainly for medical assistance, and to them, this train could be of immense benefit.

Vivek Express would have 18 coaches and have 52 stops enroute (other than originating and destination stations) covering 4286 kms.  Internationally, it is the 8th longest in the world – the train  Moscow to Vladivostok (9259 km) tops that list.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
Time and other details of all stations enroute

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