Hundreds of men, women and children thronged the Tiruchi Railway Junction and the Central Bus Stand to return to Chennai and other cities and towns in the state; and also in the neighbouring states of Kerala and Karnataka after celebrating Deepavali.
Both the Junction and the bus stand started wearing a busy look from the morning itself, with anxious people not only from Tiruchi and the neighbouring districts but also from the southern districts, pouring in to board the trains and buses. The crowd was mainly towards Chennai.
The Southern Railway to meet the demand pressed into service eight overnight trains from the southern districts to Chennai – two each from Nagercoil, Madurai and Shencottai and one each from Tuticorin and Rameswaram. All these trains were scheduled to cross Tiruchi Junction between 8.30 p.m. and 12.30 a.m.
The unreserved compartments in all the trains towards Chennai and Bangalore were jampacked and people occupied every inch of the space available.
At noon itself crowd at the bus stand swelled into a few thousand. The seats in all the 64 long distance buses – ultra deluxe buses 22, super deluxe buses 27 and ordinary buses 15 – operated by the State Express Transport Corporation (SETC) to different parts of the state and also to Bangalore and Tiruvananthapuram were already booked, so also the seats in the innumerable omni buses.
The SETC and the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC), for the benefit of those who did not get reserved tickets in trains and buses, operated 101 special buses from Sunday morning round the clock to Chennai, Coimbatore, Tirucpur, Tirunelveli, Nagercoil etc. This was apart the special buses operated by other divisions which passed via Tiruchi. About 70 buses were operated to Chennai alone, official sources said. The SETC and TNSTC operated 60 special buses on Saturday alone. These special buses will be plied on Monday too.
Adequate staff were posted to man the special counters at the bus stands to guide and help the commuters and regulate the bus traffic.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka State Transport Corporation Limited operated about ten buses from here to Bangalore to clear the Deepavali rush.