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Move to run more express trains with price hike riles passengers

Incidentally, the railway board, the apex body of the Indian railways, announced last month that all regular trains that were in operation during pre-Covid days will be reintroduced.

Published: 22nd March 2022 05:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd March 2022 05:30 AM   |  A+A-

Railways

Image of Southern Railways used for representational purposes only. (Photo | File)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The decision of the Southern Railways to convert nine pairs of passenger trains into unreserved express specials from April 1 has irked a section of passengers as the minimum ticket fare may go up from Rs 10 to Rs 30 for a distance of 10 km.

The passengers from Chennai’s neighbouring districts of Tiruvallur, Ranipet, Vellore, and other parts of the State said the move is an attempt to phase out low-fare trains. Railway officials, however, denied the charge. 

Incidentally, the railway board, the apex body of the Indian railways, announced last month that all regular trains that were in operation during pre-Covid days will be reintroduced.

“Suburban trains are operated only till Arakkonam. We have no passenger train in Arkakonam-Katpadi-Jolarpettai section for the past two years. Even for travelling for a distance of 15 km, we may have to spend Rs 40 per ticket. Passenger train ticket cost was only Rs 15,” said K Raman of Walajah. 

Passenger trains are patronised by workers of small industries in Ranipet, Vellore  and Tirupattur districts. “The move will make train travel unaffordable for the poor,” added Raman. Also, beyond Gummidipundi, there is no passenger train in the Gummidipundi-Sullurupeta-Gudur-Nellore section, passengers said.

According to a railway note, the nine pairs of express specials that will resume from April 1 are Arakkonam-Tirupati (MEMU), Tirupati-Puducherry (MEMU), Sullurupeta-Nellore (MEMU), Chennai-Sullurupeta (MEMU), Coimbatore-Erode, Mayiladuthurai-Tiruchchirappalli, Madurai-Sengottai, Tiruchchirappalli-Manamadurai, and Thiruvananthapuram-Nagercoil train. 

In August 2020, months after lockdown was imposed, the railway board ordered conversion of 36 passenger trains into express services that run beyond 200km in the zone. It also announced removal of stoppages in a few stations.

“The deprivation of train connectivity to villages will widen the disparity between rural and urban residents,” said Naina Masilamani, an activist and member of Divisional Railway User’s Consultative Committee. A senior railway official said, “The resumption of passenger trains is under process. A few passenger services were converted into unreserved specials temporarily.”



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