Cochin Harbour Terminus

Cochin Harbour Terminus (CHTS) is one of the railway stations in the city of Kochi, in the state of Kerala, India. It is located on the Willingdon Island. The Cochin Harbour Terminus is the principal station providing rail connectivity to the southern segment of the Port of Kochi located on the Willingdon Island. (Catering to the northern segment of the port located on Vallarpadam, is a separate rail-route and an exclusive container station). And hence it mainly handles goods transport in and out of the Kochi Port.[1] Cochin Harbour Terminus railway station is not in use[2] after the commissioning of Vallarpadam container terminus. The station is now locked and all the trains to this station from Ernakulam Junction were stopped in 2013.

Cochin Harbour Terminus
Indian Railways station
Cochin Harbour Terminus CHTS കൊച്ചിന്‍ ഹാര്‍ബര്‍ ടെര്‍മിനസ്.jpg
Cochin Harbour Terminus station.
LocationWillingdon Island, Kochi, Kerala, India
Coordinates9°57′18″N 76°16′08″E / 9.955°N 76.269°E / 9.955; 76.269Coordinates: 9°57′18″N 76°16′08″E / 9.955°N 76.269°E / 9.955; 76.269
Owned byIndian Railways
Line(s)Cochin Harbour Terminus–Ernakulam Junction
Structure typeStandard (on-ground station)
Other information
Station codeCHTS
Fare zoneSouthern Railway
Opened1943; 79 years ago (1943)
Cochin Harbour Terminus is located in India
Cochin Harbour Terminus
Cochin Harbour Terminus
Location within India
Cochin Harbour Terminus is located in Kerala
Cochin Harbour Terminus
Cochin Harbour Terminus
Cochin Harbour Terminus (Kerala)


Cochin harbour terminus is located on the Bristow Road in the Willingdon Island, Kochi. The station is an easy way to access the Willingdon island in Kochi, which is difficult to reach especially for those outside the city.


Cochin Harbour Terminus railway station was built mainly for handling the cargo from Cochin Harbour. Earlier the trains came only up till the Ernakulam Terminus. The station had a metre-gauge line to Shoranur. This had to be converted to broad gauge to connect it to rest of India. The new broad-gauge line would pass through Ernakulam into Willingdon Island. Many different routes were studied and new stations were planned, and built along the way. These were Ernakulam Town, Ernakulam Jn, Perumanur (non-existent), Mattancherry Halt and finally, Cochin Harbour Terminus. More than the passenger traffic, freight traffic was anticipated. The huge Venduruthy Bridge had to be built to connect Willingdon Island with the mainland. The road bridge across Vembanad Lake was sanctioned and the engineers submitted their plan for a rail bridge alongside the road bridge and it was approved in 1936. Construction work started almost immediately and was completed in 1938.

Freight traffic

Tea, coffee, coir, cotton and other export consignments came here by wagonloads from the harbour, to be loaded to distant destinations across the world. Its strategic location made it a strong revenue-pulling base for freight traffic. A separate coal berth had to be built next to the wharf to cater to the terminus's constant demand for fuel. A station named Cochin Berth was also constructed near Cochin port so that trains from Cochin Harbour Terminus railway station will come there to offload passengers and freight directly to the ships waiting on the side. This station is less than 10 metres from the water. There was a 60-ton railway weighbridge in the railway station which used to weigh tea that arrived from Mettupalayam by Tea Garden Express. The 1980s saw significant growth in passenger and freight traffic from the station. A new container yard was built and storage facilities for ammonia, sulfur and coal were started near the station.

Passenger traffic

The passenger trains became operational from the station in 1943 with the introduction of Cochin-Shornur Junction passenger. This train had almost the same schedule till it skipped the station, with a service each in the morning and evening. The introduction of the Madras–Cochin Express (now Chennai–Alleppey Express) in 1944 that also had through coaches to Bangalore and Bombay elevated the status of this station. Being the British Raj era, these trains had separate coaches for privileged goods and travellers. Around the same time another ride, which added a lot of charm was the Ooty–Cochin Tea Garden Express (now Tiruchirapally–Ernakulam Express) set off from this terminus. Later the Island Express (now Kanyakumari–Bangalore Express) named after Willingdon Island also started in the 1960s. A train to Chennai (Madras), leaving Cochin in the afternoon was introduced later. An important landmark in the history of this terminus was in 1961 when the first diesel train was flagged of by the then Railway Minister, when many other parts of India still ran on steam. By this time this railway station had become a major focal point for passenger and cargo movement. The next two decades witnessed more trains chugging off from this terminus. A second train to Madras (now the Chennai–Trivandrum Mail) set forth. With the opening of this station many other trains like the Jayanthi Janatha, Netravathi, Dadar, Rajkot, Patna, Bilaspur Expresses commenced operations. This terminus was directly linked to all the important and remote destinations of India. Around 16 trains started from this station during the peak time of operation.[3]

Factors contributing to downfall of stationEdit

The three-language sign board

There are various reasons which can be attributed to the downfall of Cochin Harbour Terminus Station.

  • Shifting of Base station

Cochin Harbour Terminus railway station suffered a major setback in 1978, when Thiruvananthapuram was selected over Kochi as the base station of Southern India Railways, in spite of protests and uproar in the Parliament, contributed heavily to the sidelining of this station.

  • Opening of new stations Ernakulam Junction and Ernakulam Town

As the new stations Ernakulam Junction and Ernakulam Town were inaugurated most of the passenger trains were diverted to these stations and there by passenger patronage decreased.

  • Rail link extensions to Trivandrum and Alappuzha

As the rail link connecting to Trivandrum Central via Kottayam and Ernakulam–Kayamkulam coastal railway line via Alappuzha was completed many trains were diverted from Cochin Harbour Terminus to Trivandrum Central. Remaining trains has been diverted to Ernakulam Junction also. The shifting of train routes started in 1991, when the Cochin–Madras Express, was extended to Alappuzha.

  • Objection of Navy in electrification of line

In 1996 the Railways charted out the electrification route and decided to make this terminus the focal point. But the Navy and the Civil Aviation Department objected due to the risks involved for the incoming and ongoing flights at the Cochin Airport. The electrification was thus done only till the Ernakulam Junction. The six-kilometre route from Ernakulam to Island was thereby left out and remained unelectrified. Also there has been no passenger services through the Harbour Terminus for over a decade after a dredger hit the Venduruthy Bridge in 2004. Recently a 3-car DEMU was started from Cochin Harbour Terminus to Ernakulam Junction.

Platforms 1 & 2

Future proposalsEdit

Kochi Suburban RailwayEdit

The workforce in Kochi consists of thousands of people who travel daily from the neighboring suburbs and even nearby districts of Thrissur, Kottayam and Alappuzha. Due to the lack of a dedicated suburban railway system, these people are forced to depend mostly on Express trains (for which fares are comparatively high) or slow passenger trains (which very rarely reach Ernakulam on time) to travel to their workplace.

Once the Harbour Terminus is revived, the suburban railway system could be started for Kochi. The vast space owned by the Railways available at this station could be used to construct additional platforms, pit-lanes and a maintenance shed. The existing railway infrastructure in Kochi and outlying suburbs requires only a small upgrade to accommodate suburban services. These include streamlining the ticketing process (like smart cards for daily commuters) for smoother flow of passengers, upgrading passenger facilities at stations (constructing foot overbridges and waiting halls) and installing automatic signalling systems for better management of train traffic. Dedicated suburban rakes (like the ones used in Mumbai Suburban Railway) can operate within Ernakulam district limits (northwards till Angamaly and southwards till Piravom/Kumbalam). The Sabari railway line, once completed, could also be used for connecting services from Angamaly to Muvattupuzha, Kothamangalam and up towards Pala. MEMU rakes can be used for long-haul local services to neighbouring districts of Thrissur, Alappuzha and Kottayam.

Third railway station in KochiEdit

Once the passenger services from Cochin Harbour Terminus is revived after the completion of the new Venduruthy bridge, it would serve as the third railway station in Kochi city. The already existing railway stations, Ernakulam Junction (ERS) (at Ernakulam South) and Ernakulam Town (ERN) (at Ernakulam North), face a severe lack of space and facilities. Two pairs of new Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) services from Kochi were announced in Railway budget 2009-'10 and 2010-'11. Currently about 12 pairs of local passenger trains operate in and out of Kochi. The Indian Railways plan to replace them with Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) services in future. But due to lack of a MEMU maintenance shed at CHTS and lack of electrification from Ernakulam South to CHTS, these MEMU trains operate now from Ernakulam South (ERS). Ample space available at Cochin Harbour Terminus could be made use to build the MEMU Car Shed at Cochin Harbour Terminus. The station could be upgraded to provide facilities to start long haul Express trains from Kochi, beginning with diesel-traction trains operated through Konkan Railway. The station building is a rare masterpiece of architecture and it really adds to the antique features of the city of Cochin. There have been several demands to revive this station to full operational capacity by Ernakulam Powra Samithy, Ernakulam Old railway station Vikasana Samithy, Western India Passengers' Association etc.

Handling bulk cargo at Cochin PortEdit

The bulk cargo handling facilities at Cochin port remain inadequate. Cochin port has port side rail sidings that is suitable to handle bulk cargo. But due to inadequate facilities there has been a decrease in the bulk cargo, especially coal, handled at the port. The main reason is the lack of electrification in the Ernakulam Junction-Cochin Harbour Terminus section due to height restrictions imposed by the navy. The line pass very near to the naval airport at Kochi. The navy has permitted a height of only 3.6m while at least 6.4m is needed for the structures related to electrification. Once the rail sidings are revived and the lines are electrified, then there would be considerable increase in the revenue from Cochin port.

Closeness to Mattancherry WharfEdit

Cochin Harbour Terminus is very closely located to Mattancherry Wharf (Q1- Q4) of the Cochin Port. Passenger and tourist ships moor at Mattancherry Wharf. It is due to this fact that Mangala Lakshadweep Express (12618/12617) used to start from Cochin Harbour Terminus to provide connection to passenger ships from Cochin port to Lakshadweep. Now with tourist ships frequently berthing at Cochin port, Cochin Harbour Terminus could be developed as a boarding point for tourist trains like Bharath Third. The numerous 5-star hotels near the station add to the advantages.

Rail Side Container Terminal Cochin Harbour Terminus (CHTS)Edit

Rail Side Container Terminal, Cochin Harbour Terminus, of the Container Corporation of India was commissioned in December, 1990. Spread over a total area of 4.20 acres, the terminal has modern facilities to offer a wide range of logistics service to the customers. The terminal is open for both EXIM and Domestic traffic, dealt through Rail and Road. The total paved area is 10,854 Sq. Mt. It has a rail siding that can handle up to 40 wagons. Modern equipments like reach stacker (70 tons) and sling crane are available here.

Container Rail Services from Rail Side Container Terminal Cochin Harbour Terminus (CHTS)
Source Destination Frequency
Cochin Harbour Terminus (CHTS) ICD Whitefield, Bangalore (WFD) Weekly
Cochin Harbour Terminus (CHTS) Milavittan, Tuticurin (MVN) Daily
Cochin Harbour Terminus (CHTS) ICD Irugur, Coimbatore (IGU) On Demand
  • Modifying the railway line so as give direct access to the station from Alappuzha side bypassing Ernakulam Junction station. This would facilitate the commencement of passenger trains towards Alappuzha, without having the trains to change direction at Ernakulam Junction. Thus a considerable ease could be brought at Ernakulam Junction by diverting a section of the passenger traffic to Cochin Harbour terminus.
  • Construct two additional platforms
  • Extend existing platforms
  • Reinstate the public announcement system.
  • Electrification and doubling of Ernakulam South–Cochin Harbour section
  • Extending trains currently terminating at Ernakulam Junction
  • The budget gave green signal for the Ernakulam–Kollam MEMU services. The vast space and infrastructure at the station could be utilized to set up the MEMU shed in Kochi.
  • The station has now two platforms. 270 m of the total length of more than 300 m has roofing. This would be sufficient to hold at least 12 coaches. Thus there is not much investment involved in renovating the station building.
  • The station could be made the base for MEMU services in Kerala.
  • The suburban railway system could be experimented in Kochi.
  • It could be a halt for the exhibition trains like Azadi express, Red Ribbon Express, Science express etc.
  • The Southern railway can experiment the Ro-Ro model of transport as in Konkan railway from Cochin Harbour Terminus

Recent Turn of EventsEdit

Ernakulam Junction - Cochin Harbour Terminus DEMUEdit

In 2018, a DEMU service to Ernakulam Junction (ERS) was announced to start from September 26, 2018 for one month on experimental basis. It was scheduled to have a morning and evening service. The only halt en-route was at Mattancheri Halt (MTNC) on both direction. Running time was reduced by 5 minutes from October 1, 2018. The service is now discontinued due to poor patronage

Event HostingEdit

In October 2019, Cochin Harbour Terminus was leased out to host a private event. [4]

Film ShootingEdit

Due to lack of regular traffic and availability of open space, Cochin Harbour Terminus is a popular movie shooting location for Malayalam movies. Nivin Pauly-starrer 'Mikhael', 'Irupathiyonnam Nootandu' starring Pranav Mohanlal and Prithviraj-starrer 'Brother's day' are a few of recent movies shot at Cochin Harbour Terminus.[5]

Deccan OdysseyEdit

In December 2019, the ultra luxury train Deccan Odyssey called at Cochin Harbour Terminus during its Kerala Itinerary. [6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Paul, John L. (16 January 2013). "Concern over delay in renovating stations". The Hindu.
  2. ^ "Now, hire Harbour Terminus station for private programmes | Kochi News". Times of India.
  3. ^ "The Hindu : Waiting for the TRAIN of Hope". 10 November 2004. Archived from the original on 10 November 2004.
  4. ^ "Cochin Harbour Terminus Station (CHTS) situated on the man-made Willingdon Island to host commercial events, expos etc. and generate Non-Fare Revenue. - DRM Thiruvananthapuram Division". DRM Trivandrum Twitter. Twitter. 11 October 2019.
  5. ^ "Action shifts to the Harbour Terminus!..." 8 December 2018.
  6. ^ "Luxury on wheels: Exotic Deccan Odyssey chugs into Cochin Harbour Terminus". New Indian Express. 11 December 2019.

External linksEdit