Delay in upgrading rakes hit thousands of passengers on Chennai suburban trains
This delay in upgrading number of rakes has forced thousands of officergoers and school students to travel on the footboard.
Published: 23rd January 2023 06:20 AM | Last Updated: 23rd January 2023 05:01 PM | A+A A-
CHENNAI: Around 112 additional suburban coaches are required to run 12-car services in the Chennai-Arakkonam, and Chennai-Gummidipundi sections . The upgradation of rakes from nine-car rakes to 12-car would enhance the passenger carrying capacity of suburban trains by 55,000 and 20,000 respectively on these routes, according to official estimations.
This delay in upgrading number of rakes has forced thousands of officergoers and school students to travel on the footboard. The Avadi EMU (Electric multiple unit) depot currently maintains 42 rakes — six are 12-car rakes, 32 are nine-car rakes and four are nine-car MEMUs. “A total of 36 motor coaches and 76 trailer coaches are required for upgrading 32 rakes of EMU trains into 12-car trains,” said senior divisional electrical engineer (rolling stock), Avadi, Chennai division, in an RTI reply to a query sought by the TNIE.
With 256 services, 4.5 lakh commuters travel in Chennai-Arakkonam-Tiruttani section a day. While 63 services are 12-car trains, the rest are nine-car services. During morning hours, Chennai-bound trains from Tiruttani and Arakkonam ply with overcrowded coaches. Boarding itself between 7.30 am and 9 am beyond Manavur or Kadambattur is nearly impossible, say rail passengers.
In February 2018, the railways completed platform extension works to accommodate 12 car rakes at all suburban stations except the MRTS. Abdul Hameed, Member of, Divisional Rail Users Consultative Committee (DRUCC), Chennai division said, “It has been more than four years since the platforms improvement work was completed for 12 car rakes.
During early hours, passengers run on the platforms to board the trains.” Another DRUCC member, Naina Masilamani said, “It’s the railway’s responsibility to ensure that infrastructure enhancement such as the extension of platforms at more than 35 stations should benefit the passengers.” Nine car rakes should be converted to 12 car rakes at the earliest, added Masilamani.
A railway official from the Chennai division said, “Newly-manufactured local trains are 12-car rakes. Proposals have been sent to the railway board to allocate more EMUs to the Chennai division. Upgradation of rakes will be done in a phased manner.”
Summary of coach maintenance at Avadi EMU depot
Total number of rakes: 42
- 12-car rakes - 6
- 9-car rakes - 32
- 9 car- MEMU - 4
Total coaches required for converting 9-car rakes into 12-car: 112 coaches (36 motor coaches and 76 trailer coaches)
Source: RTI data