CHENNAI: A fire in the locomotive of Chennai Central-Tirupati Sapthagiri Express on Friday morning delayed 11 express trains. Hundreds of commuters suffered hardship as suburban and express train services were delayed for more than three hours.
According to a railway official, train no: 16057-Chennai Central-Tirupati Sapthagiri Express left Chennai Central at 6.25 am. When it was between Pattabiram and Nemilichery around 7.20 am, the loco pilot noticed smoke and he stopped the train near Nemilichery station.
No casualty was reported. The train continued its journey after an alternative loco was attached.
Since power supply was suspended on all the lines, subsequent train services were also affected. Peak hour commuters of EMU trains were the worst affected as many could not reach their workplace, colleges or schools on time.
Many commuters were seen walking on the tracks. Most of them managed to reach the road and travelled either by share autorickshaws or buses to reach their destinations.
There are four lines in the section, two for long-distance trains and two for local trains. The power supply was suspended on all the lines as a precautionary measure. Fire service was alerted. The coaches of the affected train were detached. They were later attached to a relief loco and the train resumed its journey, the official said.
The usual arrival time of the train at Tirupati is 9.40 am. But, it reached Tirupati only at 2.38 pm, a source said.
An RPF personnel at the spot said a fire engine arrived, but there was no free access to the incident spot. It took half-an-hour to bring the fire under control.
Speaking to Express, M Vinoth Kumar, a commuter said, “I take a train from Veppampattu. When I came to the station around 9.20 am, local and express trains were standing one behind the other on the same line.”
He said he had a class to attend at 11 am in the city, but he could reach Chepauk only at 12.10 pm.
The cause of the fire was not immediately known. A departmental enquiry will be held, the railway official said.