The Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus and Chennai Central and Egmore railway station were choc-a-bloc with people rushing to board trains and buses to take full advantage of the extended weekend in view of the Dusssehra and Bakrid holidays.
The withdrawal of strike by transport employees in Seemandhra came as a major relief as buses started plying to neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. Till now, all 120 buses operated between the two states by the State Expresss Transport Corporation were being stopped at the border. The 72-hour bandh called by various political parties had made it impossible for devotees to make it to the Tirupati Brahmotsavam that culminated on Saturday.
Egmore station was full of students trying to confirm their reservation to take a five-day break to their hometowns. Many chose to travel on unconfirmed tickets as trains were completely full.
According to a Railway official, all the major trains travelling south, especially towards Tirunelveli, Madurai, Trichy and Coimbatore were full.
Cyclone Phailin added to the chaos with many trains from Chennai Central being diverted and a few being cancelled. A weekly express train from Central to Asansol was cancelled due to the cyclone threat in Andhra Pradesh while three trains to the west were diverted through Balharsha, Gondia, Raipur, Bilaspur, Tatanagar and Kharagpur to avoid the eastern coast.