|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (March 2011)|
|Current operator(s)||Indian Railway|
|Distance travelled||220 km (140 mi)|
|Average journey time||4 hours 45 minutes|
|Train number(s)||16303 / 16304|
|Class(es)||AC chair car, second sitting|
|Observation facilities||Large windows|
|Track gauge||1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)|
Vanchinad Express (Malayalam: വഞ്ചിനാട് എക്സ്പ്രസ്സ്) is one of the popular intercity express trains in Kerala state, India which runs between Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam. This train connects state capital Trivandrum with Kochi in Kerala daily.
About the name
The word Vanchinad means "a land in the shape of a boat." The old state of Travancore had this shape and was the old name for it. Hence the train has been affixed the name.
History and relevance
The train was introduced in 1985 as a Super Fast train between Thiruvananthapuram Central and Ernakulam Junction. During initial period the train had only 2 stops at Kottayam and Kollam railway stations. During this time, the train was also known as Executive Express and it was one of the fastest trains running in Kerala. At that time Vanchinad Express started from Ernakulam South at 6:00 am and arrived Trivandrum Central at 9:50 am. On the return, it started at 17:10 pm from Trivandrum Central and arrived Ernakulam Junction at 21:00 pm.
Vanchinad Express has been given additional stoppages in the 1990s due to political pressure from MLAs and MPs which resulted in increased running time of the train and revised schedule. Currently[when?] Vanchinad Express has 18 stops in between Trivandrum Central and Ernakulam Junction.
When the train was introduced in 1985 the train had one first class compartment. Then an additional first class coach was added. Currently[when?] the first class coaches have been removed and replaced with AC chair cars. Pantry car facility was also available in earlier times which was also withdrawn later.
Tickets can be reserved in advance for AC chair car and one reserved second sitting coach. Other second sitting coaches can be boarded with unreserved tickets issued from the counter.
Train No. 16303 starts from Ernakulam Junction at 5:00 am and reaches Trivandrum Central at 9:45 am. In the return direction train no. 16304 leaves Trivandrum Central at 17:40 pm and reaches Ernakulam Junction at 22:20 pm. The train runs via Kottayam route. It is a convenient daily day train service operating between Trivandrum and Kochi.
The train has stoppages in Ernakulam Junction, Tripuinithura, Mulanthuruthy, Piravom Road, Kottayam, Changanacherry, Thiruvalla, Chengannur, Mavelikara, Kayamkulam, Karunagappally, Sasthamkotta, Kollam Junction, Paravur, Varkala, Kadakkavoor, Chirayinkeezh, Kazhakootam and Trivandrum Central.
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