CHENNAI: Rail passengers heading to Tiruchy, Mayiladuturai and Madurai, who could not get the confirmed berths in reserved coaches, will now have an alternative train as the Southern Railway launched a fully unreserved train between Tambaram and Tirunelveli.
Union Railway Minister of State Rajen Gohain flagged off the Antyodaya Express train service and dedicated the terminal at Tambaram to the nation at a function held at the Tambaram railway station on Friday.
The Antyodaya Express will start from Tambaram at 12.30 am and reach Tirunelveli at 3.30 pm. The train will pass through Villupuram, Mayiladuturai, Tiruchy and Madurai.
Similarly, on the return journey the train will start from Tirunelveli at 5.30 pm, and will reach Tambaram at 9.45 am next day.
The trains will stop at Chengalpattu, Villupuram, Mayiladuturai, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur, Tiruchy, Dindigul, Madurai and Virudhunagar.
The Chennai-Tirunelveli section is considered as one of the highly congested train routes in the Indian Railways and the trains beyond Madurai operate fully loaded with passengers throughout the year. The Antyodaya Express train will comprise 18 coaches, of which 16 coaches are general second-class seat coaches. The train will carry about 2,000 passengers a trip and ticket fare will be charged on the Express train fares. ‘This means, by paying less than `200 for a ticket, passengers will be able to travel upto Madurai,” explained an officer.
The Antyodaya Express train interiors and exteriors have been wrapped with vinyl sheets to ensure the train sports a new look. Every coach has got a drinking water vending machines to ensure that passengers are provided potable water during journey. Besides, a fire extinguisher is also mounted on the coaches.
Speaking at the function, Union Minister of State of Railways said that the coaching terminal at Tambaram commissioned at a cost of `40.4 crore would ease the congestion at the other two terminals in Chennai– Central and Egmore. The Minister lauded the efforts of the Southern Railway in fast tracking infrastructure projects successfully which will improve train operations and safety records in the coming years.