CHENNAI: The passengers from Arakkonam and Tiruvallur travelling by EMU trains will reach Chennai Central faster than those travelling in superfast trains with the Southern Railway having increased the travel time of select express trains.
The move aimed at improving the punctuality of 87 trains terminating at Central, Thiruvananthapuram, Kanniyakumari, Ernakulam and Mangaluru has resulted in increased travel time by 30 to 45 minutes.
According to the revised arrival timing which came into effect on Wednesday, the Kovai Express (Coimbatore-Chennai) takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes to cover Arakkonam-Chennai section, while the local EMU train in the section reaches the Central in an hour and 55 minutes. The arrival time of the Kovai Express at Central is changed from 10.35 pm to 11.05 pm.
Similarly, the travel time between Tiruvallur and Chennai has increased to an hour and 40 minutes for Yelagiri Express (Jolarpettai - Chennai), while the local EMU train reaches Chennai within one hour and 15 minutes.
The arrival of Lalbaugh Express (Bengaluru-Chennai) at Central is pushed up by 30 minutes, to 12.45pm from 12.15 pm, while the arrival time of Mysuru-Chennai Shadabti Express has been postponed to 9.55 pm from 9.15 pm. Trains from north India including Rajdhani and Garib Rath Express also slows down by 30 to 45 minutes.
The arrival time of Hazrat Nizamuddin-Chennai Garib Rath Express has been revised from 8.15 pm to 9.15, while the Nizamuddin-Chennai Rajdhani Express will reach Chennai Central at 8.45 pm, as against 8.15 pm. Official sources told Express that due to increased track renewal and maintenance, punctuality of trains has gone down to below 80 per cent in the last couple of months.
“Particularly, track strengthening works being carried out in Kerala, where all trains run with a delay of 30 minutes to 90 minutes every day. Besides, rail replacement works are also being carried out in the Chennai-Gummidipundi and Chennai-Katpadi sections. So, the trains slows down until further notice,” said a senior railway official. While justifying the changes, officials pointed out that since the Central station is already saturated, trains slow down between Perambur and Central and Gummidipundi and Central.
The changes was made in the wake of a warning issued by the Railway Minister to zonal officials that poor punctuality and frequent train delays may affect their promotions.
K Baskar, member, Divisional Rail Users Consultative Committee Member (DRUCC), Chennai said it was deplorable that the Railways had taken a short cut to improve the punctuality rather than fixing the bottlenecks.