CHENNAI: TN floods which crippled train services from the city to the rest of the country for a few days, has revived the demand for converting India’s third oldest railway station, Royapuram, into a railway terminal.
Central and Egmore railway stations were shut down as trains could not be operated due to water-logging of tracks at subsequent stations. However, tracks between Beach and Washermanpet via Royapuram emerged as the only gateway to link the marooned city with other parts of the State by rail during the deluge. Southern Railway had operated several trains to Hyderabad, Howrah, Kakinada, Bengaluru and New Delhi from Chennai Beach via Royapuram, which is just a kilometre away from the Beach station.
“Not a drop of rain water stagnated in this heritage station,” said A T B Bose, co-convener of the Tamil Nadu Rail Passengers’ Rights Tribune, a pressure group spearheading the movement for developing Royapuram railway station into a terminal. Highlighting that the station has adequate land, he said that the heritage railway station has yet again proved that it is ideal for developing a railway terminal.
With Central and Egmore becoming congested, Southern Railway is developing a third terminal at Tambaram, paving the way for augmenting more long distance train services from the southern suburb. However, the tribune is of the view that Royapuram, with various features would also be apt for a terminal. “We are not against Tambaram being developed into terminal. Our argument is that the new terminal can be used for operating trains to northern states. The railways can have another terminal in Royapuram, where eastern bound trains could be operated,” said Marimuthu, a resident of North Chennai.
Presently, nearly 20 express trains and several electric multiple unit trains are passing through Royapuram railway station.
Following repeated representations, railways carried out a pre-feasibility study to explore the possibilities of establishing a terminal, three years ago. Though there were few developments later, nothing has moved thereafter, making Royapuram railway terminal a pipe dream.
- During floods, the station was used as a waypoint for trains from Beach to Hyderabad, Bengaluru
- In addition to decongesting Central and Egmore, the railway station will boost North Chennai