It was in 2007 that commuters bid farewell to the last train on the Metre Gauge (MG) from Tambaram. Since then, passengers have been waiting for the conversion of the MG lines to Broad Gauge (BG), a project that is yet to see the light of day.
The termination of the MG services had given passengers hopes of an increase in services after gauge conversion, but they were in for a big disappointment as the actual conversion did not begin until 2009. Today, the old lines have been removed, new concrete sleepers placed and BG tracks laid but electrification has not been taken up. The platforms 3 and 4, from where the MG lines used to be operated, lie in total disarray.
Sources in the Southern Railway said the delay in sanctioning of funds, a contractor abandoning a portion of the work midway and “government procedural red-tape” had delayed the project that ought to have been completed at least a year ago.
Currently, trains from Tambaram to the Beach station leave from platforms 1 and 2. If the work on platforms 3 and 4 were to be completed, it would ease congestion at Tambaram railway station and also prevent the need for trains from Chennai Beach to halt at signal points for a long time, waiting for platforms 1 and 2 to be free.
An official said the electrification of the lines was the only major pending task apart from track alignment and related engineering work and would be completed in three months. “The work is long overdue. Commuters waste a lot of time when trains halt outside the station, thereby missing connecting services to Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram and Tirumalpur in the process,” said R.A. Mukunthan, of Perungalathur – Paranur Rail Commuters Association.