The Railways has been doing its best to create awareness among common public of the dangers of crossing the tracks at unauthorised points and sensitising them to the safety aspects.
At a time when unmanned level-crossings contribute to many deaths involving trains and vehicles, one shudders to think about the dangers and risk involved in crossing the track at one’s will and pleasure. Indiscriminate crossing of the track by people near Tiruchi Junction on the Tiruchi – Karur section and near the Golden Rock Railway station on the Tiruchi – Thanjavur and Tiruchi – Ariyalur sections, has been causing serious concern to the railway authorities.
While the Goldenrock Railway Workshop, Railway Hospital, railway schools, and railway quarters are situated on one side of the track; other railway units — Railway Diesel Shed, RCC Depot, Tools and Plant are situated on the other side. Workers of the GOC settled down in Senthaneerpuram, Sangiliandapuram, Melaputhur, and Palakkarai cross the track near the Golden Rock railway station to reach their workplace. The workers of the diesel shed, RCC Depot, Tools and Plant residing in the railway quarters too have to cross this track. Moreover, a large number of men and women from Melakalkandarkottai, Keezhakalkandarkottai, visit Goldenrock weekly market every Sunday.
One reason for railway staff, their family members, and common people crossing this track in large numbers is the absence of a sub-way on the Tiruchi-Chennai national highway at G Corner. With the introduction of many new trains on the Tiruchi-Chennai section, both on the main line and chord line, the people crossing this track face severe danger.
As far as Melapudur area is concerned, hundreds of schoolchildren from the nearby areas of Khajapettai and Mudaliarchathiram, who cycle to school from their homes, cross the tracks both in the morning and evening with impunity.
Sometimes deaf and visually challenged too cross the railway track without realising the risk involved. As there is a blind curve, it is difficult to see an approaching train from the railway junction, which is just a kilometre away. Worse is the sight of office-goers speaking on their mobile phones while crossing the track. This is fraught with danger because of the fast moving express trains at both these points
Sometimes trains halt in the station for a long time for signal clearance.
On such occasions people have to wait for more than 30 minutes to cross the track. The earlier proposal to build a subway should be implemented now.
K.C. Neelamegam, State advisor of the Makkal Sakthi Iyakkam, has been pleading with the railways to either create a manned level-crossing near the Goldenrock railway station or set up a sub-way to facilitate smooth crossing of the track.
GOC workers residing in Melakalkandarkottai and Keezhakalkandarkottai have also been demanding the railways to construct a flyover for crossing the track near the Manjathidal railway station. At present, there is a manned level-crossing here.
With increase in number of trains crossing this point, vehicles have to wait for a long time frequently at this level-crossing.
The closure of the railway gate for a long time during peak hours causes much difficulty to office goers and school students, Mr. Neelamegam added.
A cross-section of people wants the Railways to take serious initiative for elimination of unmanned level-crossings and to set up manned level-crossing, limited use of subways and bridges wherever needed.
According to railway sources, Southern Railway plans to eliminate all unmanned level-crossings in the next five years, with the construction of bridges and make the level-crossings manned at places where it is not feasible to build bridges.