Riding rough: Chennai's suburban trains

When everyone is talking of investing in new Metros, many commuters are asking why more cannot be done for these ageing systems.

Tamil Nadu's capital city has been sanctioned a metro railway project. The prospect of having a modern railway system has turned public attention to its existing suburban railway and MRTS networks. Many commuters are asking why more cannot be done for these systems too, at a time when better public transport can combat climate change and air pollution. Chennai does not have a functional transport regulator to integrate buses, trains and feeder modes such as autorickshaws.

Can we file a PIL in High Court seeking an independent organisation to be created to run and maintain the MRTS in Chennai. Part of the project was funded by the TN Government, but the Railways has squandered everything by poor maintenance. No benefit to the people of Chennai. I do not mind paying Rs. 10-15 per trip if I can get a service similar to Delhi Metro. Even then, it is cheaper than a litre of petrol . Please, I want a good advocate to take up this case as public service. Chennai will be grateful to the lawyer who files this PIL.

from:  Sriram Balakrishnan
Posted on: Oct 21, 2009 at 15:58 IST

Things like this shatters my(our) proud feeling about chennai where I'm born and brought up... Sitting now in Hyderabad, I boast a lot of comforts in chennai and this is comes as a reminder to everyone that it is not true... Like everyone said, All these are started in a very grand way and marched towards a failure...

Simply, "What looks good, should stay GOOD"

from:  Srinivasan P
Posted on: Oct 12, 2009 at 10:35 IST

The photograph is just an example for how our money is squandered by our own Government. To say, Chennai is worst in maintenance. We can find transportation system like Suburban trains, MRTS, in very few cities (Bangalore yet to have any of these)in the world. But, having all these facilities we are still behind many cities because lack of maintenance due to which failure of the system and finally wastage of money. I would recommend streamlining the existing transportation systems first and then go for metro rails project.

from:  Vijayasarathi
Posted on: Oct 12, 2009 at 09:11 IST

In August, while visiting the city, I decided to take my two young daughters for a joy ride at about 2 pm on the MRTS. After shopping at Khadi Gramodyog, we walked to the Chintadripet station to board the MRTS. That place is a dump and is clearly badly maintained and without much security. It is a definite put off with the stench of urine pervading the place. Who would want to board a train at that station? It looks extremely unsafe for women and is dingy to say the least. I would not want my daughters to board the train alone, from there. The other stations en route to Thiruvanmiyur were somewhat better but not very much. It is a shame that so much money should be spent on the MRTS especially the stations only to see them squandered due to lack of maintenance.

from:  C K Jaidev
Posted on: Sep 28, 2009 at 11:03 IST

A big hand for the photographers of The Hindu for having captured some of the fine reasons why most people prefer polluting the air with private transport. Though I often tell people to use public transport, I keep debating within my mind whether we really have good public transport systems in place in our city. As many have said here, we start everything afresh for the sake of celebration, but miserably fail in sustainability.
And, you should not have missed the scene at Guindy railway station where the queue prolongs till the main road which is more than 100 feet away from the ticket counter, not only in peak hours but anytime of the day.

from:  Haripriya
Posted on: Sep 26, 2009 at 14:25 IST

This really epitomizes how things go on in this part of Chennai. Excellent work by the photographer M. Karunakaran. Hopefully this will change.

from:  Santhosh
Posted on: Sep 25, 2009 at 10:18 IST

I was surprised on few news items in The Hindu about Tamil Nadu and the new technologies being implemented by TN Government. Currently I am staying in UK and it's vital to me that Chennai improves towards new technologies.

from:  Divakar Ragupathy
Posted on: Sep 25, 2009 at 03:11 IST

Whenever I travel on the MRTS from Velachery to Beach, I recall the saying - Nallathore Veenai Seythe, Athai Nalangeda Puzhuthiyil Erivathundo? (To build an edifice and then let it go to seed). But that is the case with the MRTS. Somebody should be sent to jail for the amount of money spent on this MRTS and made as " Bhoot Bungalow " (haunted house). How can we and our government, tolerate such wastage of money? We should all invite our Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherji and show him the status of MRTS stations in Chennai. He is trying to save some money here and there. But the bulk of the money is wasted on such projects. Is it possible to punish the people responsible for this kind of mismanaged projects wasting tax payers' hard-earned money ?

from:  Pandian S.R.
Posted on: Sep 24, 2009 at 23:21 IST

Ten years ago, I lost my father just because there was no foot over bridge at Tambaram Sanatorium. For the railways, he was just another statistic, not for our family. Had it happened here in the U.S., people would have sued the railways for millions of dollars and it would have woken the railways once in for all. Lack of accountability leads to unmanageable chaos and it is seen virtually in all government projects. Please bring Shri. E. Sreedharan to implement this project, atleast he will ensure it is properly run. By the way, there are better train systems around the world that can be replicated in India. Why don't we pay attention to passenger comforts and finer details?

from:  Krishnan Iyer
Posted on: Sep 23, 2009 at 21:54 IST

A picture speaks a thousand words. These are typical snapshots of railway transport life in Chennai.I appreciate 'The Hindu' for putting up this slideshow. What are the railway managers doing about these things? Let them wake up and do something atleast now.

from:  Senthil Rajan
Posted on: Sep 23, 2009 at 17:54 IST

Nothing surprising. we Indians are no good at maintaining and utilizing existing facilites. We only plan new schemes, implement them in a half-baked manner and then let them go to seed.
The Koyambedu market is an example. It is an horror to go inside and shop. And see the grand facade and the planning. It looks like an old world architectured palace with tiled roofs, steeples etc.
Go inside and it is stinking, dirty and shabby.
Not a single project is done and completed properly. Take the recent spate of fly-overs. please go and see how they are. The area below is a mess, absolutely shabby and ill maintianed.

We are just sliding.

from:  N. S. Parameswaran
Posted on: Sep 23, 2009 at 15:26 IST

Wish we have subways for old people at railway stations, additional foot bridge or subways at cramped stations like Nungambakkam and Mambalam. Railways should not allow hawkers selling fruits or flowers in and around railway station. Many will prefer railway to commute.

from:  Narren
Posted on: Sep 23, 2009 at 13:00 IST
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