Train fare is very low when compared to whopping bus fares; fare to Akkaraipatti is Rs.2 and Palani Rs.10

After a gap of four years, pilgrims going to Palani had a comfortable and hassle-free train journey at an unimaginably cheaper fare as the Southern Railway introduced train services by operating its first passenger train (No.56774) to Palani, on the newly converted broad gauge line here on Tuesday.

After special pujas, the beautifully decorated train, comprising eight general second class coaches and two luggage-cum-brake van coaches, departed from Dindigul railway station at 1 p.m. It will halt at Akkaraipatti, Oddanchatram and Chatrapatti railway stations and reach Palani in one and half hours.

To begin with, the Southern Railway will operate three trains a day from Dindigul and from Palani. First train (No.56772) will start from Dindigul at 5.15 a.m. and reach Palani at 6.45 a.m. Second train (No.56774) will depart at 1 p.m. and reach the temple town at 2.30 p.m. and the third train (No.56776) will leave Dindigul at 5.30 p.m., and reach Palani at 7 p.m.

On return journey, first train (No.56771) starts from Palani station at 8 a.m. and reaches Dindigul station at 9.30 a.m., second train (No.56773) leaves Palani at 3.15 a.m. and reaches Dindigul at 4.45 p.m., and third one (No.56775) departs from Palani at 7.45 p.m. and arrives at Dindigul at 9.30 p.m.

Lowest fare

Train fare is very low when compared to whopping bus fares. Train fare to Akkaraipatti is Rs.2, Oddanchatram Rs.5, Chatrapatti Rs.7 and Palani Rs.10.

While addressing the gathering, Divisional Railway Manager A.K. Rastogi said that the gauge conversion work in Palani-Pollachi section would be over before March 31, 2013.

This new gauge line would provide access to rail corridors like Chennai-Madurai, Tirunelveli-Kannyakumari, and Karur-Salem corridors. It would also be useful to students, workers and traders and help in the development of the Palani region, he also added.

In his special address, Dindigul MP N.S.V. Chitthan said broad gauge rail connectivity to the temple town would be of immense help to the pilgrims. Palani section would fetch better revenue to the Southern Railway, he assured.

The 59.03-km-long track between Dindigul and Palani was converted into broad gauge at a cost of Rs.250 crore.

Five major bridges and 113 minor bridges, five sub-ways were constructed on this stretch. Besides, 53 level crossings were rehabilitated.

The speed potential of the track was 120 km per hour. This project was included in the budget in 2006-07 and the section was closed for traffic in 2009 for gauge conversion. This was part of the gauge conversion of track between Dindigul-Palani-Pollachi-Palakkad/Podhanaur.

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