A smartly painted rake has been attracting the attention of motorists who travel on the road over bridge near Tambaram Sanatorium railway station. Currently, at the far end of the yard that is very close to the suburban and main lines, it is among the new rakes sanctioned by the Railway Board for operation in the southern line of the Chennai Suburban rail network.
The new rake has been manufactured at Integral Coach Factory, Perambur, and has been brought to Tambaram where it will be tested and given final touches at the Electric Multiple Unit Car Shed before being made operational on the suburban sector.
Unlike the current rakes, most of which have either a green-yellow or green-maroon combination, the new rake has come up with a delightful new colour combination and its interiors are reported to have taken a complete deviation compared to the past.
However, the most striking feature of the 9-car rake is the shape of the first and last coaches.
The ends come with a splash of bright yellow paint and are designed more like the locomotives powering long distance express trains. Southern Railway sources said this was an attempt in making the coach more aerodynamic. The rakes, once made operational on the suburban sector, would contribute significantly to increasing the number of passengers travelling on the dense corridor all the way from Tirumalpur, Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu via Tambaram to Chennai Beach.
Ever since the steep hike of government bus fares in November last year when the shift from buses to electric trains was an enormous 25 per cent initially, the suburban services had become the most cost effective means of public transport.
25 rakes in operation
The new rakes, the officials hoped would cater to the increasing crowds swelling at all the railway stations. Currently there were 25 rakes in operation.
Of them 17 were 12-car rakes, while the rest were 9-car ones. 240 suburban train services were operated daily on the weekdays on the Chennai Beach – Tambaram – Chengalpattu sector, while on Sundays, Southern Railway operate 194 services.
In terms of volume of ticket sales, revenue and number of passengers using suburban electric train services, Tambaram is the most important station on this sector, next only to Chennai Central, the officials added.
Currently there are 25 rakes in operation