The goods railway traffic, both inward and outward, has been closed in Puducherry railway station. After October 23,there has been no operation of goods train from the station. The railways have closed down the goods line as the lone train coming on the line was not viable and instead can be converted into a passenger facility to cater to the demand of new trains already sanctioned in the railway budget. Now, there are around 58 trains running to and from the station per week.
The goods handling line which was redone and opened after gauge conversion in April 2004, was used for transportation of foodgrains for PDS by the Food Corporation of India (FCI). Once in a month, a train used to come laden with foodgrains of 5,000 metric tones which was stored in the FCI godown close to the station by the Department of Civil Supplies.
As an alternative, the railways have provided godown facility at Chinnababusamudram railway station, 13 km from Puducherry. The foodgrains transported can be stored in the FCI gowdown at Thiruvandarkoil, capable of storing 17,000 mts. However, there will be cost escalation for Puducherry government in transportation of the goods, which is being discussed with railways for compensation, sources from government said.
The quantity of rice brought through goods train will also decrease as the government is now supplying single boiled rice by procuring it from local market.
The Puducherry railway station is now being renovated and maintenance of Villupuram-Puducherry track has been taken up.
A shoulder ballast cleaner, an automated machine for cleaning the railway track of impurities, has been pressed into service for cleaning 14.8 km. Already 10 km of the track has been cleaned. Ballast cleaning removes the worn ballast, screens it and replaces the ‘dirty’ worn ballast with fresh ballast. The railway station is also being painted
Sources said that the Southern Railway general manager would inspect the station on November 26.