CHENNAI: Six suburban stations in Chennai — Tambaram, Tiruvallur, Avadi, Perambur, Mambalam, and Chengalpattu — and two stations in the neighbouring Vellore district, Arakkonam and Katpadi, are all set to witness a faster revamp of passenger amenities as Railways has given them a higher grade.
The Railway Ministry decided in December last year to recategorise the stations based on account of revenue, footfalls and other strategic importance, aiming to improve passenger services and amenities at stations. The stations are segregated into three groups: non-suburban (NS), suburban (S) and halt (H). The groups are put in grades: Non-suburban grade (NSG) 1-6, suburban grade (SG) 1-3 and halt grade 1-3, respectively.
According to official sources, Chennai Central, Chennai Egmore and Tambaram have topped the revised station list with non-suburban grade (NSG)-1, while Tiruvallur, Avadi, Mambalam, Chengalpattu, Arakkonam and Katpadi have been brought under NSG-2 category. Perambur and Sulurpetta stations have been graded as NSG-3 and NSG-5, respectively.
The revised category will make these stations eligible for better passenger amenities and services such as waiting halls, platform shelters, lifts, escalators, digital chart display, Illumination and train/coach indication boards on platforms. Besides these stations will be given preferences for providing other amenities, including additional foot overbridges, separate path for trolley and wheelchair movement and higher level platforms.
So far, stations have been categorised as A1, A, B, C, D E and F, based on annual revenue generated through passengers. Similarly, all non-suburban stations were categorised as B, D, E and F depending on revenue generation, while all suburban stations in Chennai ranked under ‘C’ category, which made them ineligible for additional passenger services.
“Tambaram station, the third terminal in Chennai city, which has been under A category so far, will now be ranked in the top station category on a par with Chennai Central and Egmore and the new grading will lead to faster development. The revised categorisation will ensure that suburban stations with higher footfalls will develop faster with better passenger services,” said a senior railway official.
In addition, Mambalam, Avadi and Tiruvallur suburban stations and non-suburban A grade stations of Arakkonam and Katpadi will also get additional funds for station improvements. Major stations such as Tiruchy, Salem, Tirunelveli, Erode, Tirupur, Nagercoil, Thanjavur, Dindigul, Thoothukudi, Rameswaram, Jolarpettai and Villupuram that were categorised under A, have now been recategorised under NSG-3.
Similarly, other A grade stations such as Kumbakonam, Kanniyakumari, Virudhunagar, Kovilpatti and Mayiladuthurai have been recategorised under NSG-4. But the flip side is that the new system is expected to put a blockade at many erstwhile grade A stations as they will have lesser priority for fund allocation.