Post-CRS nod, train services still in limbo on Pattukottai-Karaikudi section

Passenger association to stage demonstration on June 13! The stretch from Mayiladuthurai to Tiruvarur has already been thrown open to traffic following clearance from the CRS.
CRS, Southern Circle, Bengaluru, K.A. Manoharan (extreme left) conducting an inspection of broad gauge section on Feb 27th, 2018.

TIRUCHI: The delay in resuming regular train services on the Pattukottai (Tiruchchirappalli Division/SR) – Karaikudi (Madurai Division/SR) broad gauge section even after the Commissioner of Railway Safety’s statutory clearance a couple of months ago following completion of gauge conversion works has irked the general public.

The Peravurani Taluk Rail Passengers Association has decided to stage an agitation if regular train services are not resumed before June 13. Commuters still depend on buses due to non-resumption of train services.

The CRS, who conducted a three-day detailed inspection on the 73.4-km stretch from Pattukottai to Karaikudi from February 27 to March 1, authorised the BG converted line for operation of passenger and freight traffic at a maximum permissible speed of 75 km per hour in March first week. He also instructed the railways to adhere to certain stipulations spelt out by him.

Commissioner of Railway Safety (Southern Circle), K.A. Manoharan, inspecting the newly laid Broad Gauge line.

The completion of gauge conversion works, which took over five years, and the subsequent statutory clearance from the CRS for operation of passenger train services, came as a huge relief to commuters who expected the services to resume at the earliest. The rail service in this section was stopped in 2012-end to enable outhern Railway Construction Organisation carry out the gauge conversion works.

Post-clearance from the CRS, Tiruchi Railway Divisional authorities conducted a special trial run in the stretch by operating a Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) train from Karaikudi to Pattukottai in March-end. Although one passenger train was operated in the section after the trial run, regular train services with specific timings are yet to be resume till date, said A. Meignanamoorthy, president, Peravurani Taluk Rail Passengers Association.

The Pattukottai-Karaikudi stretch has Ottakandu, Peravurani, Ayingudi, Aranthangi, Valaramanickam, Periyakottai and Kandanur Pudhuvayal stations en route. Of this, Kandanur Pudhuvayal, Ottakandu and Valaramanickam are halt stations.

“There was a lot of expectation that the regular services would resume in the stretch after the it was converted into broad gauge over two months ago. But, it is yet to happen, causing huge disappointment to general public and commuters,” says Meignanamurthy.

Commuters have to shell out more by travelling in buses, which will not be the case if regular rail services are resumed, he said. “The time taken by buses from Pattukottai to Karaikudi is over two hours. But, it is only an hour by train,” says Mr. K.V. Krishnan, the association’s organiser.

The association has passed a resolution to stage a demonstration in front of the Peravurani Taluk office on June 13 to urge Southern Railway to resume train services.

The association has been forced to resort to this step due to the delay in resumption of rail services, the association said in a memorandum to the Southern Railway General Manager and the Tiruchi Divisional Railway Manager. It also wanted the railway administration to heed to public demand before June 13.

Mr. Meignanamurthy said there was considerable passenger movement to Karaikudi from Pattukottai and back. Rail services would also help those proceeding to Chennai from Pattukottai and Peravurani via Karaikudi since some Chennai-bound trains were being operated from there at present, he added.

A senior Tiruchi divisional railway official said there would be no delay henceforth in resumption of regular train services. Skeletal services in the Pattukottai- Karaikudi section would be started soon.