CHENNAI: Train services were disrupted on the Chennai-Gudur section for three hours and 35 minutes on Friday, after hundreds of rail passengers picketed the Ponneri railway station, demanding that trains be operated on time. They said suburban specials operated in the Gummidipundi-Chennai sections were being cancelled without any notice or delayed for several hours in the past 10 days. Those who arrived at the station at 7 am waited till 8.25 am, but there was still no train to Chennai.
Around 8.25 am, when a Velachery-bound local train reached platform three, a large number of passengers, including women, sat on the railway tracks in front of the train in protest. Railway officials reached the spot, promised to operate trains on time, and offered to divert the train to Chennai Central instead of Velachery. However, the passengers refused to withdraw their protest.
As the protest lasted more than three hours, Revenue officials, RPF personnel, policemen and political leaders arrived to pacify the protestors. The agitation ended at 12 pm. Railway officials said 90 workmen specials are being operated in the Chennai-Gummidipundi section daily. “During peak hours, trains are operated every 20-30 minutes between Sullurupeta/Gummidipundi and Chennai Central/Chennai Beach stations. The delay in operation of Chennai-bound local trains is mainly due to engineering maintenance work. The issue is being looked into,” said a senior Railway official.
Owing to the agitations, the Danapur-KSR Bengaluru Special, New Delhi-Chennai Central Special, and Danapur-Bengaluru Humsafar Special bound for Chennai, were delayed for three hours. The Kamakhya-Yesvantpur Special was halted for two hours. The Chhapra-Chennai Central special, Tatanagar-Ernakulum Special, and Vijayawada-Chennai Special reached the station 60 minutes late. The Bhagat Ki Kothi-Tiruchchirappalli Humsafar was delayed by 25 minutes.