A 43-year-old civil engineer died instantly, after he was hit by a speeding electric train when he was crossing a railway track in Irumbuliyur, between Perungalathur and Tambaram stations on Saturday morning.
Government Railway Police officers said Andar Pillai, a native of Kanyakumari district, was living in Nanmangalam near Tambaram. He had reached the Peerkankaranai bus stop from Nagercoil by bus on Saturday morning. He was waiting for his driver to come there to pick him up in his car.
He crossed the railway lines for a cup of tea, and was returning towards the bus stop, when he was hit by a train on its way to Tambaram from Chengalpattu.
The accident took place at 8.10 a.m., during the morning rush hour. A huge crowd gathered around the spot. His body was taken to Tambaram Taluk Government Hospital in Chromepet and after a post-mortem examination, was handed over to his relatives.
The stretch between Perungalathur and Tambaram railway stations is a high-risk zone, with a large number of accidents being reported. For the Government Railway Police, Tambaram, whose jurisdiction extends from St. Thomas Mount to Singaperumal Koil, a distance of nearly 40 km, accidents such as these are frequent occurrence.
A number of people cross the railway lines at this spot near the Erikkarai Bus Stop, including students. The most notorious spots are Irumbuliyur, Chromepet, Tirusulam and St. Thomas Mount on their way to the Government Higher Secondary School.
The number of people killed in such accidents has been on the rise. especially spots where the tracks curve, and also where a large number of people cross the tracks in the absence of foot overbridges or subways. In 2009, the number of people killed in train-related accidents in the jurisdiction of GRP, Tambaram was 165, rising marginally to 168 in 2010. The figure shot up to 181 in 2011 and in 2012, a total of 184 people lost their lives, according to GRP officers.
Rail commuters associations have been urging Southern Railway and State government agencies including local bodies to come together to create better facilities for pedestrians, especially in the hazardous spots.