Island Express (train)
|Current operator(s)||Indian Railway|
|Distance travelled||944 km (587 mi)|
|Average journey time||19 hours 15 minutes|
|Train number(s)||16525 / 16526|
|Class(es)||First AC, 2 Tier AC ,3 Tier AC ,Sleeper Coach ,General|
|Observation facilities||Large windows|
|Track gauge||1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)|
|Operating speed||49.04 km/h (30.47 mph)|
The Island Express is an Indian Railways train running between Bangalore and Kanyakumari. Train No. 16526 runs from Bangalore to Kanyakumari, and Train No. 16525 runs in the reverse direction. The train runs daily via Kottayam, and covers the 944 km route in about 19 hours 15 minutes.
About the name of the train
No part of the train's route is on an island; the name was given because the predecessor of this train used to end its journey at the Cochin Harbour Terminus station in Willingdon Island, Cochin till the mid-1970s. At that time, it was the only train that connected Bangalore (Karnataka state) to Kerala. This train is hauled by the WAP4 5350HP AC locomotive.
Train number 16526 covers the 944 km journey in 19 hours while train 16525 takes close to 21 hours for the return journey. Due to the extremely slow speed of the train and the large number of stops in Kerala, this train has earned the moniker of being known as the Supercrawler Express of Kerala. Despite this, the Island Express is still one of the most preferred train by Keralites residing in Bangalore for traveling to Kerala.This was the only daily train between Bangalore and Kerala until early 2006.
Island Express has 23 coaches which includes 12 Sleeper class coaches (S1-S12), Three A/C 3 Tier coaches(B1,B2,B3), Two A/C 2 Tier coaches(A1,A2), One First A/C cum A/C Two Tier and the rest being unreserved general coaches that includes a ladies' coach. Season ticket holders can travel in selected sleeper class coaches for a specified duration .In 16525 Kanyakumari-Bangalore City Island Express coaches S3 and S4 are de-reserved from Nagercoil to Ernakulam and coach S12 is de-reserved between Nagercoil and Palakkad  The rakes of this train is shared along with the Kanyakumari Superfast Express(12633/12634).
Island Express was involved in an accident on July 1988 while crossing the perumon railway bridge near Perinadu, Kollam, Kerala.10 coaches of the train fell over Ashtamudi Lake, 105 people lost their lives and 200 people were injured.
See Main article Peruman railway accident
It also met with another accident at Kuppam in May 1967. The train, which left Bangalore at 6 p.m., did not stop at the Railway Station and went on to hit the buffers at the end of the loop line around 9 p.m. Several lives were lost.
This train( Train No:16526) leaves Bangalore at 20:00 hours to reach Kanyakumari at 15:15 hours the next day.For the return trip, the train(Train No:16525) leaves Kanyakumari at 10:30 AM to reach Bangalore at 07:20 AM next day.
When this train was introduced it ran via Jolarpet (between Kuppam and Tirupattur) to Aluva and on to Ernakulam Junction and finally Cochin Harbour Terminus on Willingdon Island.Later this train became Nagarcoil Bangalore Express after the gauge conversion between Ernakulam and Trivandrum in the mid-1970s and a new Broad Gauge line to Nagercoil from Trivandrum was commissioned in 1979. Subsequently, it was extended to Kanniyakumari.Due to the extension to Trivandrum, the train now stops at Ernakulam Town. The Jolarpet stop got eliminated when the bypass line was commissioned.Briefly, this train also ran on a different route via Hosur from Bangalore to Salem and vice versa from August 1998 to August 2004. This train runs through Bangalore City, Bangalore Cantonment, Bangalore East(16526 does not stop.Only 16525 stops), Krishnarajapuram, Whitefield, Malur, Bangarapet Junction, Kuppam, Tirupattur, Salem Junction, Erode Junction, Tiruppur, Coimbatore Junction, Palakkad Junction, Ottapalam, Wadakkanchery Railway Station, Thrissur Railway Station, Pudukad Railway Station, Irinjalakuda Railway Station, Chalakudi Railway Station, Angamali for Kaladi, Alwaye, Ernakulam Town, Piravom Road, Kottayam railway station, Changanassery, Tiruvalla railway station, Chengannur railway station(Pilgrims to Sabarimala can alight here) Mavelikkara, Kayamkulam Jn, Karunagappalli, Sasthamkotta, Kollam Jn, Paravur (Alight here for going to Paravur Kayal(Lake) and estuary), Varkala (Tourists headed to Varkala Papanasham Beach alight here), Kadakkavur, Chirayankeezh, Trivandrum Pettah(Only 16526 stops. 16525 does not stop), Trivandrum Central, Neyyattinkara, Dhanuvachapuram(Only 16526 stops. 16525 does not stop), Parassala, Kulithurai West(Only 16526 stops. 16525 does not stop), Kulitthurai, Palliyadi(Only 16526 stops. 16525 does not stop), Eraniel, Nagercoil JN, Kanyakumari