After St Thomas Mount mishap, platform No 4 to be trimmed

The move is aimed at realigning the 4th track thereby increasing the distance between track and the concrete fence.

Published: 11th August 2018 04:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th August 2018 01:24 PM   |  A+A-

Concrete ballast placed on platform 4 marking the width to be reduced at St Thomas Mount station on Friday | Nakshatra Krishnamoorthy

Express News Service

CHENNAI: In a significant move, the Southern Railway is planning to demolish a portion of platform 4 at the St Thomas Mount station where five rail passengers, who travelled on the footboard of an overcrowded local train, were killed after hitting the concrete fence on June 24. The move is aimed at realigning the 4th track thereby increasing the distance between track and the concrete fence. The works are expected to pave the way for resuming the fast locals in the section.

“The concrete fence that divides platform 3 and 4 (fast lines) cannot be removed as pillars of rail overbridge connecting platform 2 and 3 are laid along the fence. Hence, it is proposed to trim the width of platform 4 to pull the tracks towards platform so as to increase the space between track and fence,” a highly placed official from the Southern Railway told Express. He added that during the track realignment, curves at track changeover at Thomas Mount and a few others stations are also proposed to be straightened.

“We are awaiting a formal approval from the Commissioner of Railway Safety to reduce the platform width,” added the officer. The decision was a fallout of an inquiry and public hearing conducted by the Southern Circle Railway Safety Commissioner K A Manoharan, according to sources.

On June 24 rail passengers who were hanging on the footboard of a fully crowded Chennai Beach - Thirumalpur suburban train hit the concrete fence between platform 3 and 4 at St Thomas Mount when the train was operated in the fourth line. In this accident, five passengers who fell on the tracks were killed and four others injured. The accident had forced the Railways to cancel the fast locals operated in the Chennai Beach-Chengalpattu sections.

Since then the railways had been under extreme pressure to resume services on fast lines as passengers in Chengalpattu and nearby stations are protesting to resume the fast locals. According to official records, the SR caters for about 5.5 lakh commuters in the Chennai Beach-Chengalpattu section, out of whom 2 lakh are between Tambaram and Chengalpattu.

On Sunday the SR commenced the drive to demolish concrete walls in accident-prone places along the Chennai Beach-Chengalpattu section. So far, concrete walls at Meenambakkam, Pazhavanthangal and Saidapet have been removed.  A proposal to remove walls at a few more stations is also being discussed.

“We are working on the fast track to remove the obstacles in accident-prone spots to resume the fast locals,” added the official.

Tragedy aftermath

  • On June 24, five passengers of overcrowded local train fell down after hitting the fence

  • On June 30 and July 1, the Commissioner of Railway Safety conducted an inquiry and public hearing 

  • Concrete walls at Pazhavanthangal, Meenambakkam and Saidapet demolished

  • Concrete wall that divides platform 3 and 4 cannot be removed as the pillar of ROB is laid along the wall

  • Reducing the width of platform 4 being discussed

  • Southern Railway awaits CRS approval to commence the works

  • The decision is crucial as the move would enable the resumption of fast locals

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Comments(1)

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  • arvind

    Firstly, the train did not hit the concrete fence. A few people on the train hit the concrete fence. This move to reduce the width of platform 4 didn't have to wait for five deaths. Platforms in many stations are too wide and they can be narrowed down to straighten tracks. For example, the platform in chromepet is wide and because of this width trains going towards beach have to take a curve into and out of chromepet station. This is true for quite a few stations on the tambaram to beach direction.
    4 months ago reply
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