CHENNAI: Thousands of college students and office-goers faced severe hardship after suburban train services were disrupted for nearly two hours on the Gummidipundi-Chennai Central section on Wednesday morning.
While railway officials said the disruption was due to technical failure, a few passengers said suburban train service on the section often gets affected due to poor maintenance of electrical and mechanical infrastructure. The section carries one lakh passengers a day with 76 nine-car services and 12 MEMU services.
Around 6.30 am, when a Chennai-bound suburban local from Sulurpetta arrived at Ennore station, the overhead line got entangled with the pantograph (a device mounted on the roof of the train to receive power from the overhead line) of the train, resulting in the disconnection.
An emergency power block enforced by authorities affected train services across suburban lines. This led to thousands of passengers being stranded at railway stations in both directions of the Chennai-Gummidipundi section. A Chennai-bound express train was stopped to accommodate the stranded passengers. Chennai division officials rushed to the spot and executed repair work.
Services were restored after 100-min delay
Thou gh the overhead line was restored in some time, services could not be resumed due to fluctuations in the power supply. The services were restored around 8.10 pm after a delay of nearly 100 minutes.
Around 8.30 am, when a Chennai-bound express arrived on the fast line, the train was stopped to accommodate the stranded passengers. Suburban travellers boarded both non-AC and AC reserved coaches to reach their destinations.
S Rajarajan, a regular commuter, said, “This is not the first such incident. Suburban train services have been irregular for the past few months. Only after we threatened to block the tracks, the RPF allowed us to board the express train to go to Chennai.
The Gummidipundi suburban section has always been neglected by officials. Critical infrastructure is not being maintained properly.” The spokesperson of Chennai railway division denied the complaints of repeated failures on the route. “The incident was purely an accident. The glitch was attended to by the railway immediately,” the spokesperson said.