For a little history please refer wikipedia_page.
Chennai Alleppey is home to people who frequently travel to mid – Kerala till Alleppey (Alappuyha). Please click on the train numbers for their schedules.
16041 Chennai to Alleppey/16042 Alleppey to Chennai. These were the train numbers of its glorious past. As an express train it was perfect for a worker in Ernakulam to catch the train at South (Ernakulam Jn) railway station at 1720 and arrive at Chennai Central (MAS) at 0600. (Actual arrival time should be read as arrival at basin bridge.)
For the uninitiated, Basin Bridge Junction (BBQ, we call it Barbeque- in future) is a major junction for all trains to and fro MAS. The halt for most trains at BBQ is unannounced and random. This is because of signalling to and fro the Central station. Beyond BBQ towards MAS there is a bridge, hence the name basin bridge. The speed is limited for all trains passing over this bridge. Subject to availability of vacant platforms and speed limited trains coming out the arrival time at Central is almost always more than what is on paper.
Now it has been rechristened / re enrolled / renumbered (train number coding system) as superfast at 22639/22640. The halts for express and superfast are same. The time on paper differ at most by -10 minutes at MAS. But due to BBQ the home-train ( newly coined term ) will follow its routine. Thus by a simple paper work of renumbering, renaming and very minor time schedule change, the Indian Railways is able to charge the (same) passengers the fee for superfast instead of (previous) express.
Charges for The Superfast 22640 ERS-MAS : 400 (Since July)
Charges for The Express 16042 ERS-MAS : 355 (Before July)
Getting INR 50 per head for the same train, same time, same person is one way to increase the railways income. This is example of one train. What about others?
Decoding the train number using IRFCA
1 = long distance
6 = SR
0 = Chennai (60 for chennai division)
4 = ? / train id (sub divisions – internal)
1/2 = train id up/dn
2 = 2 is also for long-distance trains; it is to be used when train numbers starting with 1 are exhausted in any series.
2 = superfast
6 = SR
3 = Thiruvananthapuram division / 4 = unknown?
9/0 = train id up/dn
From the numbers 1 thing to be understood is The new superfasts are home to Thiruvananthapuram division which will take care of it. Compare this with 16041/2 maintained by Chennai division.