The Pune-Ernakulam Express will now have halts at Chiplun in Ratnagiri and Kankavli in Sindhudurg district on a trial basis till July 5. 

Picture postcard: A train passes through picturesque Konkan. File pic

So far, the train, which is available twice a week, had a halt only at Panvel near Navi Mumbai in Raigad district and Sawantwadi in Sindhudurg, which inconvenienced several passengers from Konkan who travel to the city for work every week. 

Several members from the Konkan Mahasangh in the city had sent a proposal to the then minister of railways Mamata Banerjee for southbound trains to take halts in the main districts of the Konkan belt. The plan was then approved by the Railway Board a few months ago. 

The 12520 Pune-Ernakulam Express will reach Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts  after midnight, while the 12519 Ernakulam-Pune reaches these places after 4 pm. Earlier, passengers from the city had to travel all the way to Mumbai to catch a train to Chiplun, Kudal and other important cities in the Konkan districts. 

There are more than 1,000 people from the region who travel to the city for work and academic pursuits every week. Trains are a cheaper option than private buses, which charge more than Rs 1,000. A regular train ticket to the Konkan districts does not cost more than Rs 150.