‘Island Express’ is a train connecting Bangalore and Kanyakumari. Train No. 16526 runs from Bangalore to Kanyakumari, and Train No. 16525 runs in the reverse direction. The train runs through Kerala. The train takes 19 hours and 15 minutes to cover the distance of 944 kilometer.
Have you ever thought why this train is called ‘Island Express’, as the train never pass through an island in tis journey. Then here is the answer.
The Island Express derives its name from the Willingdon Island in Kochi.
This train has given this name as its predecessor had ended its journey at the Cochin Harbour Terminus station in Willingdon Island, Cochin, until the mid-1970s.Now this station is not functioning.
The train started its run in the 1940s as some 3 or 4 slip coaches attached to an ancient 562/561 Cochin – Madras Express which ran out of Cochin Harbor Terminus (CHTS). The slip coaches attached to this would then be detached at Jolarpettai and attached to another train (Bangalore Mail) which would take them to Bangalore.
In 1960s, these slip coaches grew into a separate train which was named as ’25/26 Cochin – Bangalore – Cochin Island Express’. It continued to run between Cochin Harbor and Bangalore until 1976 when the Ernakulam – Kottayam – Thiruvananthapuram route was converted to Broad Gauge.
Then the train was extended to Trivandrum. As new lines were commissioned it was extended to Nagercoil in 1988 and subsequently to Kanyakumari in 1990.
The erstwhile 562/561 Cochin – Madras Express is today’s 12624/12623 Chennai – Trivandrum Mail and the 25/26 Island Express is today officially, the 16525/16526 Kanyakumari – Bangalore “Island” Express.