Railway gate closed, Pollachi locals take 3-km detour

On Saturday morning, the level crossing was closed by officials allegedly without prior notice, said sources.
 A team of revenue officials led by Pollachi Sub-Collector A Catherine Saranya inspected the terminated railway level crossing at Vadugapalayam near Pollachi in Coimbatore district on Monday.
A team of revenue officials led by Pollachi Sub-Collector A Catherine Saranya inspected the terminated railway level crossing at Vadugapalayam near Pollachi in Coimbatore district on Monday.(Photo | Express)

COIMBATORE: Officials from the Palakkad division of Southern Railway on Saturday closed the level crossing at Vadugapalayam in Pollachi. This has deprived locals access to two major routes connecting Coimbatore and Palakkad roads. Stating that they have to take a three kilometre detour, the locals appealed to the railway department and the district administration to reopen the level crossing or construct a flyover.

The level crossing number 123 between Pollachi and Kinathukadavu has been in use for more than 60 years. People living in twelve villages in the area use this crossing for easy access to Coimbatore Main road. On Saturday morning, the level crossing was closed by officials allegedly without prior notice, said sources.  

“The notification states that Level Crossing 123 on the Pollachi - Kinathukadavu railway line will be closed and alternatively people can travel via a railway underpass. Vehicles with a height of 3.3 metres and above cannot use the underpass and have to take the Palakkad Road flyover to reach Pollachi town and from there travel four more kilometres to reach Vadugapalayam where the level crossing exactly connects Coimbatore main road,” said KR Lakshmanan, a resident.  

The sudden closure of the  level crossing has caused stress among the public, said S Uma Maheswari, councillor of ward number 2 of the Pollachi Municipality under which the area falls. She added that the railway subway which is the only option for easy access is in bad condition. “People are afraid to use it because anti-social elements have taken over it. We have appealed to district administration, MP and Palakad railway authorities to open the level crossing. Otherwise, a flyover should be constructed,” Uma Maheswari added.

Pollachi Sub-Collector A Catherine Saranya who inspected the spot on Monday told TNIE that an objection was raised to the Palakkad railway division. “The railway department has been closing all level crossings and it is a policy decision. In this case, the level crossing connects several villages and helps people with their routine transportation. One Limited Use Subway (LUS) is there. But it is not enough for that area. Hence we asked the railway department to construct a Railway over Bridge (ROB) or Foot Over Bridge (FOB) at Vadugapalayam,” she said.

“Railway department eliminatesa level crossing only after making suitable arrangements to the public mobility. But in this issue they closed the crossing as the area has a subway one kilometre away. However people say it is inaccessible. We will be writing to railways asking them to make proper arrangement for the public transportation,” said Collector Kranthi Kumar Pati.

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