The failure of the Tiruchi Railway Division to either introduce new passenger trains or extend the existing trains in the recently opened mainline section has caused resentment among travelling public of the central districts.
Non-availability of passenger trains has badly hit the rural people and the railways should come forward to introduce direct passenger trains from Tiruchi to Villuppuram and Tiruchi to Chennai in the mainline section, says commuters of the central districts.
Prior to the closure of the mainline for the broad gauge conversion works, the railways operated one overnight passenger train each from Tiruchi and Thanjavur to Chennai, besides trains from Tiruchi to Villupuram.
For unknown reasons, the railways has not introduced even a single passenger train even from Tiruchi to Villupuram, leave alone Tiruchi / Thanjavur to Chennai.
At present, the Cholan Express is the only train for the people of Tiruchi district to reach places such as Chidambaram, Cuddalore etc, apart from the bi-weekly Madurai – Chennai express and the weekly Rameswaram – Varanasi express and Rameswaram – Bhubaneswar express.
Only three passenger trains are operated in this route now – Tirunelveli – Mayildathurai passenger (leaving Tiruchi at 1.20 p.m.), and a couple of Tiruchi – Mayiladuthurai passengers (leaving Tiruchi at 7.10 a.m. and 6.05 p.m. respectively).
People of Tiruchi, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts who want to reach smaller destinations beyond Mayiladuthurai now either have to opt for buses or change the train at Mayiladuthurai. There are no connecting trains even here as well.
The railways have not introduced adequate passenger trains even from Mayiladuthurai to Villupuram. It is running only two trains from Mayiladuthurai to Villupuram, one in the morning (5.30 a.m.) and the other in the evening (6.10 p.m.).
The timings of these two trains are not convenient for the people travelling by the Tiruchi – Mayiladuthurai passenger trains for their onward journey.
Vaitheeswarankoil, Sirkazhi, Chidambaram are important temple towns frequented not only by devotees from all over the state but also students and general public. Students of towns and villages situated between Mayiladuthurai and Kumbakonam studying at Annamalai University at Chidambaram depend on passenger trains to reach Chidambaram. Non-operation of direct passenger trains has defeated the very purpose of laying broad gauge track, public say.
“It is indeed shocking that the railways have not cared to introduce passenger trains in the mainline. At least it could have extended the two passenger trains operated from Tiruchi to Mayiladuthurai as this would have mitigated the sufferings of the people to certain extent”, says V. Jayaraman, a senior citizen of Thanjavur.
The railway authorities have time and again assured that all trains that were operated prior to gauge conversion works will be restored on the mainline. It should introduce the Tiruchi – Chennai and Thhanjavur – Chennai passenger trains and adequate trains in Tiruchi – Villupuram section with immediate effect, he says.