Passengers on long-distance trains bound to Chennai are quite familiar with tiresome delays before they manage to reach Chennai Central — thanks to a bottleneck at Basin Bridge.

This problem though, may finally be solved with the doubling of the fifth and sixth lines at the Chennai Central-Basin Bridge section, announced in the Railway Budget 2013-14. The doubling could significantly improve the dispersal of long-distance and suburban trains on the Arakkonam and Gummudipoondi routes.

At present, the quadruple lines branching off Chennai Central narrow down to four lanes at Basin Bridge, two of which are dedicated to suburban traffic.

“Today, if the inbound Mumbai Mail and the Howrah Mail arrive simultaneously, we can allow only one of them into Chennai Central and detain the other at the home or outer signal,” said a railway official.

The detention of trains at the outer signal even when any number of the nine platforms at Chennai Central is vacant, is quite commonplace because of the bottleneck.

With the doubling of the fifth and sixth lines, traffic management will improve significantly as will the line capacity (number of trains operated) at Chennai Central, the officials said.

From 9-car to 12-car

The Budget also offered the city’s commuter population something to cheer about. A proposal was announced to upgrade the rakes of 30 EMU services from 9-car formations to 12-car formations.

Chennai Central is also likely to figure in the list of A1 and other important stations that could go disabled-friendly all the way.

Railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal’s Budget also talks of proposals to equip major stations with escalators, lifts, wheelchairs and Braille display boards on the coach layout for the benefit of disabled travellers.

The other important Budget proposal with a direct bearing on train travel in Chennai include the doubling of the Sriperumbudur-Guduvanchery line, with a spur to Irungattukotti-Avadi and the Attipattu-Ennore 4th line, which has been listed in the doubling works for 2013-14.

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