HC suggests automatic doors in Suburban Trains in Chennai

The Madras High Court has said there was an urgent need for automatic doors in suburban trains in the city and suggested that the Southern Railway manufacture such trains and find out possibilities of introducing them at least by 2019. The petitioner said trial-based air-conditioned local trains with automatic closing doors were in operation in Western and Central Railways in Mumbai and gradually, it should be installed in MRTS trains being run by Southern Railway.

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has said there was an urgent need for automatic doors in suburban trains in the city and suggested that the Southern Railway manufacture such trains and find out possibilities of introducing them at least by 2019. A division bench of Justices M Sathyanarayanan and P Rajamanickam made this suggestion following a PIL recently seeking a direction to the railway for taking steps immediately to fix automatic doors in all MRTS trains plying in the city.

The petitioner submitted that inaction of the railway in not providing such doors in trains leads to footboard travel, resulting in fatal or grievous injuries. Responding to the plea, standing counsel for the railway P T Ram Kumar submitted that suburban and MRTS trains cannot be compared with Metro trains as the latter run in underground tunnels and over-bridges most of the time mandating the automatic doors.

“Insofar as suburban and MRTS trains are concerned, on account of overgrowing population coupled with the fact that railway fare is cheaper, very many people prefer travelling on such trains, unlike in a metro where the passengers cannot be accommodated more than the capacity,” he said.

He further said trial-based air-conditioned local trains with automatic closing doors were in operation in Western and Central Railways in Mumbai and gradually, it should be installed in all new coaches especially of suburban and MRTS trains being run by Southern Railway.

Noting that provision of automatic doors was a policy decision of the railway, counsel contended that there cannot be any positive order to that effect. This apart, the railway submitted that fixing doors in the existing trains was not feasible as it would cost Rs 3,500 crore.

Besides, it required a long time to replace them and also for the reason that operation of the trains should be gradually reduced, which may lead to inconvenience to the travelling public and may also lead to law and order problem on account of reduction of number of trains being operated, the counsel said.

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