The work underway will bring more than one advantage to the rail users and the authorities.
The last few years have brought a windfall for Madurai railway junction in terms of development.
Besides a major makeover of the façade of the railway junction building, additional concourse building and wider platform one, better passenger facilities like new waiting rooms have come up. The shifting of parcel room to northern end has provided more parking area for vehicles.
Now, the railway authorities have taken up the long-pending work of yard-remodelling. The work underway will bring more than one advantage to the rail users and the authorities.
First and foremost advantage would be of easing out the bottleneck in railway tracks.
A second track is being laid between the Madurai junction and the bridge over Vaigai making a seamless double track from Madurai to Dindigul, providing dedicated lines for up and down trains. Trains passing through Madurai junction can run through without any obstacle on the Platforms one and two.
Besides, the defunct metre gauge lines would be replaced with broad gauge lines thus paving way for similar dedicated lines for the movement goods trains. On completion of the work, no train would be stopped in the junction or at the home signal for want of path.
On many occasions the passengers frowned on seeing goods trains being operated on the Platform one that delayed the arrival of their express trains.
“The punctuality is going to improve a lot as we will have far great flexibility in handlings trains in the junction. The trains, by not waiting for signal, can maintain higher speed,” Divisional Railway Manager, A.K. Rastogi, said. Besides, the yard remodelling work will pave way for taking up the electrification work in this small stretch. The work has been going on in a faster pace in the Madurai-Tirunelveli section.
“Once the section is electrified, we can avoid the delay of trains due to change of traction. The trains now lose at least 20 minutes for changing the engines, (diesel locomotives to electric engine and vice-versa) at Dindigul or Tiruchi railway stations,” he added.
The Deputy Chief Engineer (Constructions), S. Manoharan, who is supervising the work, said that entire yard would be improved for better and easier operation of trains from one track to another without much hitch.
This means Platform eight now not being fully utilised could be used in future for the trains that starts from Madurai towards the north (Dindigul) direction.
At present, it takes close to an hour for shunting the incoming Pandian Express from Platform one in the Eastern side of the junction to the pitline located in the western side. “This also has a cascading effect on operation of other passenger of goods trains. Same is the case with shunting Vaigai Express to the pitline for maintenance,” an official said.
The additional cross-overs to be provided will allow the trains to easily move from one track to other among the ten tracks without taking much time or effort. “From platform eight, the trains can easily be moved into the pitline within five to 10 minutes,” he added.
The project will also help the railway authorities in setting out their breakdown vehicle during emergencies at the earliest. Now, the breakdown vehicle has been parked in a dead end, where in it can be operated only in the Dindigul direction and not on the Virudhunagar direction. The 140-tonne crane and the medical relief vehicle are stabled elsewhere. Hence, the shunting of these three takes almost an hour.
However, a dedicated line would now be provided for the breakdown vehicle and medical relief vehicle, which will also allow them to move in both directions within 20 minutes.
Over and above, the length of the platforms would be extended further to accommodate additional coaches in trains, which means passengers would get additional accommodation in trains.
The DRM said that a separate line would be provided for tourist trains along with other required facilities like bathrooms and toilets for tourists.