Ladies coaches to be in middle on Chennai's suburban trains

Bringing two ladies coaches together will enhance monitoring of the coaches with fewer RPF staff, thereby improving the safety for women travellers,” said an official.
The decision to change coach position was taken to improve safety of women passengers and owing to a shortage of railway security personnel | Ashwin prasath
The decision to change coach position was taken to improve safety of women passengers and owing to a shortage of railway security personnel | Ashwin prasath

CHENNAI:  A week after a 22-year-old woman died during a mobile snatching attempt at Indira Nagar MRTS station, the Chennai railway division has decided to shift ladies coaches to the middle of suburban trains. The decision was taken owing to a shortage of railway security personnel in the division, according to official sources.

“Both the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and the government railway police are facing challenges in deploying police personnel to each compartment in suburban trains due to a lack of sufficient security personnel. Bringing two ladies coaches together will enhance monitoring of the coaches with fewer RPF staff, thereby improving the safety for women travellers,” said an official.

The proposed change in coach positioning applies to both EMU and MEMU trains, the official added. Currently, two combined ladies and first class coaches are positioned as the second coach from the front and rear sides in nine-car rakes. These coaches will be relocated to the fourth and fifth positions from the front. Similar changes will be made in 12-car rakes.

“In a 12-car rake, a ladies coach at sixth or seventh position from the front will have two combined ladies cum first-class coaches adjacent to it. This arrangement will result in three coaches designated for ladies being positioned consecutively from the 5th or 6th coach onwards,” stated an official.

The proposal was put forward by senior RPF officials during a recent meeting and was subsequently approved by the Chennai divisional railway manager.  On July 14, RPF submitted a formal request to the senior divisional electrical engineers overseeing the maintenance of suburban trains at Avadi, Tambaram and Velachery sheds, seeking to modify the positioning of the coaches.

Following the death of a woman traveler on the MRTS, the RPF has deployed armed personnel in select services of ladies coaches. “During peak hours, the RPF ensures the presence of staff in all women’s coaches. If the proposed changes are implemented, the majority of women’s coaches will have security coverage,” clarified an official.

As of June, the Chennai division operates 668 services, consisting of 299 12-car services, 330 nine-car services, and 39 MEMU services. The division ferries about 11.5 lakh passengers daily on the Chennai Beach - Chengalpattu, Chennai - Tiruttani, Chennai - Gummidipundi, and Chennai Beach - Velachery MRTS routes.

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