Commuters miffed at Bunching, Delay of Suburban trains in Chennai

Chennai: Lakhs of suburban train commuters are put off by the endless waiting and bunching of trains near Basin Bridge station. Commuters travelling from as far as Tiruttani, Arakkonam, Thiruvallur and Gummidipoondi, have been adversely affected due to the slow running of trains during the rush hours on the western and northern corridors.

Chennai suburban train rushThe Southern Railway will undertake engineering work between Pattabhiram East-Pattabhiram West railway stations on the Chennai-Arakkonam section and will hence rescheduled a few suburban trains.

As part of the engineering works, the electrical multiple units (EMU) service that leaves Moore Market Complex for Thiruvallur at 11.40 p.m. will not stop at Hindu College and Pattabhiram railway stations from September 15 to 23. Similarly, the EMU train service between Avadi and Pattabiram E Depot scheduled to leave Avadi at 2.55 a.m. will not stop at Hindu College from September 16 to 24.

Selvaraj, a commuter from Pattabhiram, said it is common to see suburban trains arrive late at the Moore Market Complex (MMC) railway station, during the morning rush hour, resulting in thousands of commuters reaching their offices late.

Another complain that commuters have is the bunching of suburban trains that has led to the inordinate delay for those waiting at the Basin Bridge railway station. These trains take a rather long time to get sorted and cleared.

Almost all suburban train services bound for MMC railway station wait for a minimum of 10 minutes at the Basin Bridge station including services from Thiruvallur, Arakkonam and Pattabhiram siding.

The Tamilnadu Progressive Consumer Centre, Pattabhiram, has sent a detail representation to A.K. Mittal, chairman, Railway Board, listing out the suburban trains that are running late.

S. Ramalingam, president, Rail Passengers Association, Pattabhiram, said the root cause for the bunching and late running of trains is poor planning and complete negligence on the part of the railway administration towards west and north suburban corridors.

He said that as early as in 1998 when signalling system was not advanced, almost 10 suburban trains were operated within 30 minutes during morning rush hour.

However, with the same number of train services, the railway administration is unable to maintain the frequency now, despite the advancement in signalling and technical systems.

While calls to the senior officials of the Chennai Division went unanswered, sources in Southern Railway said the reason for delay in arrival and departure from MMC was due to speed control of 10 kilometres per hour for executing track maintenance work and absence of dedicated suburban tracks.

The track upgradation work involving replacing of wooden sleepers with concrete ones has been pending for several years.

In view of Vinayaka Chaturthi festival to be held on Thursday, suburban services would be operated as per the Sunday pattern on the Chennai Beach– Tambaram–Chengalpattu and Chennai Beach–Velachery sections.

The ladies special services running on the Arakkonam–Velachery–Arakkonam section has also been cancelled.

The Southern Railway has also rescheduled the Kanyakumari -Mumbai CST Express (train no. 16382 proceeding via Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Coimbatore, Katpadi and Tirupati),

The train was scheduled to leave Kanyakumari at 6.55 a.m. on September 16. The train will now leave Kanyakumari at 9 a.m. This is due to the delay of the pairing train.