CHENNAI: If things go as per plan, suburban trains operating from and to Chennai Central Station will get two additional lines and berthing space at the suburban terminal, in one year from now. This will be possible as the Chennai-Basin Bridge fifth and sixth line project was recently started by Southern Railway.
The route has heavy traffic due to movement of both long distance and suburban trains on the four common lines. In addition, commuters complain that suburban trains from the Gummidipoondi section are regularly delayed as they need to cross-over at Basin Bridge junction, which turns out to be a bottleneck. On a few occasions, this also leads to delay of trains in the Arakkonam-Chennai route.
Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, who was in Chennai recently, said the project was necessary to bring relief to lakhs of daily commuters, thronging the suburban train services in Chennai.
Officials of the Chennai division of Southern Railways said that commissioning of these additional two lines would resolve the bottleneck by at least 50 per cent.
“Sometimes trains have to be stopped at Basin Bridge or in the outer due to lack of berthing space in Moore Market Complex (MMC) station. That would also be stopped because of this,” said S Mohanram, former member of Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee (DRUCC), adding that it would bring much relief to passengers.
Southern Railway operates more than 200 services every day on the Chennai-Arakkonam and Chennai-Gudur route. More than a lakh passengers frequent the MMC station everyday.
The two tracks will be laid on either side of the Moore Market Complex station — one beside the parking lot and Bombay Circus and the other beside the Buckingham Canal.
“We have started the first- phase of the work, where leveling is being carried out. After this, contracts for platform work, shelter, laying the tracks, etc. will be given,” said the official.
After the initial work is done, around 0.75 kilometre of tracks will be laid and linked to the main lines on the route, officials added.
Another official said that the work entailed yard connectivity and yard realignment of the lines. “The first phase will be completed in six months under a cost outlay of `3 crore,” he said.
As per official documents, the current outlay for the project, which was announced in the 2013-14 Railway budget, is around `26 crore.