Thousands of rail passengers from Arakkonam and Tiruttani were stranded on Monday, as the railway authorities suddenly short-terminated the EMU services at Thiruvalankadu between 11am and 5pm. Passengers, who reached Thiruvalankadu, were forced to take share autos paying exorbitant fares to reach Arakkonam, Mosur and Tiruttani.
The Southern Railway is to cancel 130 EMU services between Chennai and Arakkonam on Wednesday and Thursday as the Arakkonam yard upgrading is yet to be completed. The yard upgrading works, which began on April 20, involve straightening of platform 1 and 2 to accommodate 26 coaches, and extending the length of platform 10 and 11 to accommodate 24 coaches. In addition to this, the Southern Railway was also laying an additional platform (1A).
Official sources said that platform extension work and signalling work had been completed. However, work on platforms 3, 4, 5, 10, 11 and 1A have witnessed unforeseen delay owing to non-completion of electrical and civil works. “For smooth operation of express trains, via platform 1 and 2 all EMU train services had to be cancelled,” a senior official told Express.
The sudden cancellation of trains came as a rude shock to passengers who have been facing hardship for the last five days. Office-goers from Arakkonam were the worst affected.K Baskar, Member, Divisional Rail Users Consultative Committee (DRUCC), Chennai, blamed the railways for poor planning and mismanagement of trains. “Had the railways announced one-minute stop for all express trains at Thiruvallur, Arakkonam passengers could have got down at Thiruvallur and reached Arakkonam comfortably,” he said.
According to the official statement, on May 8 and 9, 130 EMU train services will be cancelled between Arakkonam and Chennai. “All fast locals will be operated in slow lines. To cater to the passengers, 18 EMU special trains will be operated between Chennai and Tiruttani,” said the statement. The Chennai Central-Jolarpettai Yelagiri Express, Chennai-Tirupati Garudathiri Express and Tirupati-Chennai Central Garudathiri Express will be cancelled on May 8 and 9.
The Jolarpettai-Chennai Central Yelagiri Express will be cancelled on Wednesday. Similarly, Chennai Central-Arakkonam-Chennai Central MEMU passenger, Arakkonam-Chengalpattu-Arakkonam passenger, Arakkonam-Katpadi-Arakkonam passenger trains, Arakkonam-Vellore-Arakkonam passenger train and Arakkonam-Cuddapah-Arakkonam passenger train will be conacelled on both Wednesday and Thursday.