The off-loading of several hundred bags of cement from goods wagons near the main line platform has been causing inconvenience to passengers waiting for long-distance trains at Tambaram railway station for the past one month.

Passengers experience irritation to the eyes with children especially suffering. Once or twice a week, goods trains with as many as 42 wagons are shunted at the yard near Tambaram railway station. Each of the goods trains brings in as many as 2,500 tonnes of cement, that are manually transferred to lorries and then transported to godowns in Tambaram and other parts of the city and its suburbs. According to Southern Railway sources, it takes nearly one-and-a-half days to manually transfer the entire lot of the cement bags from the wagons to the lorries and that it requires over 100 lorries to transport the cement from yard. Earlier, the goods trains used to be shunted at the far end of the railway station (line no. 11 or 12). However, for the past one month, while one half of the goods train is shunted on line no. 11, the other half is shunted on line no. 10.

Line no. 10 is right next to platform No. 9, where long distance trains, from as far as Nizamuddin and Howrah, and other express and mails to the southern districts of Tamil Nadu halt for a couple of minutes.

The off-loading of cement bags kicks up a huge cloud of dust from the wagons and swept by the winds, the dust settles on platform No. 9.

It is a great cause of discomfort and irritation to passengers, who reach well in advance to board the long distance trains.

“This is unbearable and the Southern Railway can avoid this inconvenience, considering the huge spaces for shunting goods trains in the yards between Tambaram and Tambaram Sanatorium railway stations,” said P. Devendran, a senior citizen who came to see off his relatives at the station on Wednesday evening.

According to staff of Southern Railway engaged in cleaning the tracks of plastic, paper and other waste, as long as the goods trains were shunted on line no.11, there was no problem, but the new arrangement had caused inconvenience to everyone.

According to them, when the cement was packed in paper bags, problems were less, but when the consignment arrived in plastic bags, the cloud of dust was simply unbearable. They also said there have been instances where groups of passengers waiting at platform no.9 confronted workers – mostly from North India – off-loading the cement bags.

By shunting entire goods train on line no.11 as in the past would put a permanent end to the problems, the staff added.

More In: Chennai