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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Parakkum rail aka MRTS Chennai to have nine car trains from now !!!

Some good news for MRTS users ~ the Hindu reports that six car rakes are replaced by nine car trains. 

Everyday at Tharamani Railway station [at some other stations too] – people spot the oncoming train [from Perungudi] on the curve, judge it and then start walking fast – reason, if it is 9 car rake, it will stop farther in the station – the Ladies coach will be positioned much at the front and those in the front will be lot emptier than the other.

Parakkum rail (not the full path though !)~  is Chennai Mass Rapid Transit System, a state-owned subsidiary of Indian Railways,  unique  elevated railway line in India.   The line runs a distance of  19.34 km (12.02 mi) with 18 stations, from Beach to Velachery…… with plans to get extended to St Thomas Mount thereby getting linked to the existing Beach Tambaram EMU line.   The alignment from Chennai Beach to Park Town is along the existing broad-gauge suburban system (2.75 km (1.71 mi), surface); alignment from Park Town to Thirumayilai is along the Buckingham canal (6.21 km (3.86 mi), elevated) ~ further till Velacherry is also on elevated line.

The Mass Rapid Transit system (Parakkum rail) is not exactly overcrowded.  It has the following Stations (read the distance in Km within bracket from origin)…. Chennai Beach; Fort (1.7); Parktown (2.54); Chintadripet (3.43); Chepauk (5); Thiruvallikkeni (5.74); Lighthouse (6,95);  Mundaka kanniamman temple (7.925); Thirumayilai (8.66); Mandaveli (9.69); Greenways Road (11.02); Kotturpuram(11.892); Kasturba Nagar (12.824); Indira Nagar (13.796); Thiruvanmiyur (14.655); Taramani (16.57); Perungudi (17.713) and Velachery (19.34).

Commuters of Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) have something to cheer about as the six-car rakes have been replaced with nine-car train services.  The Hindu quotes a senior official of the Southern Railway stating that uniform operation of nine cars replacing six-car trains was launched on the MRTS section from July 31. Even before that date, almost 80 per cent of the services on the MRTS section were operated with nine cars, particularly during peak hours. [though regulars may not vouch for this !!!] The advantage arising out of the nine-car services would be the availability of ‘First Class’ compartments for commuters, which were previously not available, he added.

The trains unlike their initial years when they were running empty are getting filled up at Velachery station itself in the peak hours, though the maximum of commuters board at Thiruvanmiyur.   To them, this 9 car would be  an enjoyable facility. 

However, the Senior Official is quoted as saying that there is no proposal to increase the train services as of now.  Also the facilities [or the lack of them at the Station] continues to be a worry.  While the commuters look forward to the link of this line to  St. Thomas Mount – the route to Kalpakkam via Sholinganallur, Navalur,  seemingly is only on paper.

Life has moved a long way albeit slow pace from the plans in 1983 to the inauguration in Nov 1995 whence train ran from Beach to Chepauk – then extended to Thirumayilai in 1997.   Till 2004, when it was extended to Thiruvanmiyur, the patronage was abysmally poor due to various factors mainly the positioning of the stations, not easily accessible.  On 14th May 2014, the train made its first halt MundakaKanni Amman Temple station  situate in between Light House and Thirumayilai, nearer Thiruvalluvar statue / Sanskrit college / Karaneeswarar Temple and Sri MadhavaPerumal temple.  This station derives its name from the Temple in the same street where the Station too is located … the Ambal ‘MundakaKanniAmman’  -Mundakam means lotus flower.  

Happy travelling ! – may be in a few more months, we will hear people clamouring that nine cars are crowded and that it should be 12 car rakes [not sure whether the existing stations can properly accommodate them] or trains at increased frequency !  Here is the train timetable as at Velacherry …..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
4th Aug 2015.

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