Picture this: you’re in a suburban railway station waiting for your train, and suddenly your phone beeps. Your battery is in dire need of some extra juice. Before you kick yourself for being forgetful, and start to panic, look around — it’s more than likely you’d find a mobile charging unit on the platform.
Moving forward on the goal of making suburban railway stations more passenger-friendly, the Southern Railway has begun installing mobile charging units at 76 stations spread across Chennai division to help people recharge their mobile phones.
Out of the 76 stations where the units will be installed, 16 are major stations, while the rest are intermediate stations located in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, parts of Villupuram and Vellore districts.
“We had started the initiative last month. Installation of mobile phone charging points will be completed by the end of March this year,” a railway official said. “Mobile charging points will be available on both sides of the platform in these stations to cater to commuters travelling in both directions.”
Mobile charging points will also be installed on the main lines that are meant for express and mail services in Chengalpattu, Tambaram, Tindivanam, Arakkonam, Katpadi and Vaniyambadi railway stations. “Sullurupettai and Naidupet stations, which fall under the operational limits of Chennai Division in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, would also be covered,” the official added.
Chennai Division has over a hundred stations under it that handle tens of thousands of people boarding Electric Multiple Unit trains shuttling between Chennai and adjoining districts. Though railway terminals such as Central and Egmore have such facilities, these are absent in suburban stations, making things diffcult for passengers during an emergency.
Welcoming this move at suburban railway stations, passenger associations have urged the authorities to maintain the facility. Maasilamani, general secretary of the Federation of Rail Passenger Associations (Chennai-Tiruttani-Kancheepuram) commended the railways for the effort. “It cannot stop with introducing such plans. Railways should also concentrate on their maintenance,” he said.