Rail passengers travelling to Southern Tamil Nadu from Chennai will have
all the reasons to feel disappointed when revision of rail time table is
announced next month since there may not be substantial reduction in journey
time in the trains running in this sector despite toning up of railway
The time table listing the timing of trains will be released October as
part an an annual exercise by the Zonal railways.
According to indications available now there will be minimal speeding up of
trains in this sector by the Southern Railway though the work on the
electrified double track between Chennai Egmore and Madurai is expected to be
completed next month by Rail Vikas Nigam Limited.
Southern Railway sources said there will be hardly 20 minute reduction in
journey time for the long distant Kanyakumari express, the train covering the
entire length of the state, a distance of nearly 650 kilometers. The journey
time of the prestigious Pandyan express to Madurai is expected to see a
reduction of half an hour.
Officials maintain the safety consideration in view of increase in rail
accidents in Uttar Pradesh has been cited as one of the reasons for not
permitting the speeding up of trains in deep South. Another reason cited is the
demand by some passenger associations of Tiruchirapalli that trains reaching
that town should be at comfortable time for the passengers.
A spokesman of the southern railway had cited lack of completion of track
doubling between Villupuram and Dindigul and lack of terminal space in Chennai
as the prime reasons coming in the way of speeding up of trains last year.These
reasons do not hold any longer
With track doubling project up to Madurai is expected to be completed by
next month and the commissioning of the third terminal at Tambaram, the
railways should not have any problem in speeding up trains.
Describing this as an act of discrimination by the southern railway, an
official of the passenger association pointed out that the superfast Vaigai
Express between Chennai Egmore and Madurai took eight hours to complete the
journey of 450 kilometers when the section had a single meter gauge track. The
train then had to stop at several railway stations midway for crossings.
The super fast train takes the same time to cover the distance between
Chennai and Madurai ten years later when electrified double track has been
commissioned in almost the entire distance. This meant about Rs five thousand
crore investment in doubling of track and electrification has not made any
difference to the quality of service provided by the railways, the official