Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Hundreds of commuters were put to hardship during the rush hour on Tuesday morning as EMU services on the busy Tambaram – Chennai Beach section were paralysed for about two and a half hours from 9.15 am.

The disruption, according to a Southern Railway official, was due to damage caused to overhead equipment at crossover points at the Pallavaram, Egmore and Park stations by a broken pantograph of an EMU service (train no B 38).

The damage to the OHE was noticed when the pantograph of a succeeding EMU service (train no B 44), Pallavaram-Chennai Beach, was broken while crossing the track at the Pallavaram station. As the train was stranded at the crossover, other services could not be operated on the section.

Maintenance staff found that the service from Pallavaram to Beach (train no B 38) had damaged the OHE at crossover points at the Egmore and Park stations also. Immediately, power supply was cut and services on the section were suspended to undertake restoration work. Complete restoration of OHE was possible only at 11.30 am after which a thorough checking of OHE was done before handing over the line for normal traffic at 11.45 am.

Consequently, 13 suburban trains had to be regulated for 60 to 120 minutes. As suburban trains could not pick their pairing links, 24 services were cancelled. For the convenience of commuters, 14 passenger services, five from Tambaram to Beach and 9 in the opposite direction, were operated on the mainline.

Several hundred stranded commuters got down from the trains and walked along the track to the nearest bus stops to reach their destinations.

The Chennai Railway Division appointed a high-level committee to investigate the cause of the breakdown and suggest measures to prevent reoccurrences.

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