Private trains to get exclusive coach maintenance depot in Chennai

A total of 14 trains are proposed to be operated in the state, of which 12 will be operated under the Chennai cluster in Southern Railway and two from other clusters
For representational purposes | Express
For representational purposes | Express

CHENNAI: With the Indian railways having commenced work to allow private players to operate trains on its network, a dedicated coach maintenance depot will be set up in Chennai for private trains to be introduced under the Chennai cluster.

A total of 14 trains are proposed to be operated in the state, of which 12 will be operated under the Chennai cluster in Southern Railway and two from other clusters. This includes daily trains on the Chennai - Madurai, Chennai - Coimbatore and Chennai - Tirunelveli routes.

Though it’s the responsibility of the concessionaire to set up a depot for maintaining its coaches, the zonal railways has to provide space for the private company for a new depot, said the railway board in its recent directive asking the zonal headquarters to submit a report by August 7.

Southern Railway has been entrusted with the task of providing new space for coach maintenance for private trains in Chennai. "Either a greenfield space for the new depot or space in the existing coach depots of railways has to be provided which can be upgraded by the concessionaire to maintain the trains. Railways also has to ensure rail and road connectivity to these maintenance depots," said A Madhukumar Reddy, Principal Executive Director (Coaching), Railways Board in his recent directive to Southern Railway.

Further, two-hour slots will be allotted in the existing washing lines of railways coaching depots for washing, cleaning and inspection of private trains after every 7000 km of running. The coaches will be cleaned at Chennai, Madurai, Secundrabad, Coimbatore, Tiruchy and Kochuveli.

“The washing line needs to be electrified so that trains can be placed and removed from the washing line without any use of a shunting engine. In this regard, zonal railways are advised to identify suitable originating and termination stations and reserve slots according to the timings of these trains for the routes,” added Reddy.

Earlier, during the first week of this month, the national transporter invited a request for qualification application from interested parties to operate 151 private trains in 109 routes. The railway board has already released the tentative schedule of proposed private trains. The concessionaire will be allowed to fix the fare for 35 years.

Presently, trains operated from Chennai Central maintained at Basin Bridge depot and trains run from Egmore maintained at Gopalsamy Nagar Coaching Depot, Chetpet.

Officials from Southern Railway said to utilise the vacant lands in the Chennai a few proposals have been sent to the railway board for approval.

“Space at Salt Cotaurs has been proposed for setting up the fourth terminal for Chennai city. The process to identify space for private train depots is being carried out and accordingly we will inform the railway board,” said a senior railway officer.

Similar depots for private trains will be set up at 11 more places including Mumbai, Delhi, Howrah, Chandigarh, Patna, Prayagraj, Jaipur, Secunderabad and Bengaluru.

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