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A tale of woe for train passengers at Ariyalur

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SERVICES NOT ENOUGH: Passengers from Thanjavur region arriving at the Ariyalur railway station coming by a direct TNSTC bus; —
SERVICES NOT ENOUGH: Passengers from Thanjavur region arriving at the Ariyalur railway station coming by a direct TNSTC bus; —

Special Correspondent

Station lacks amenities; demand for more bus services

ARIYALUR: Ariyalur railway station has now become the best choice for hundreds of rail passengers of several towns of neighbouring districts for travelling to Chennai and return by several trains including super fast trains as it takes only about five hours to reach the destination.

Now, passengers boarding at the Ariyalur station are now facing several hardships in coming to the station by bus from various towns and due to lack of amenities at the railway station. Ariyalur, one of the commercial centres, became a separate district recently.

Passengers from Thanjavur, Pattukottai, Thiruvaiyaru, Papanasam, Perambalur and other places prefer to board the trains and alight at Ariyalur station. A number of trains including Chennai Pallavan Express and Madurai-Chennai Vaigai Express (both superfast), Guruvayur-Chennai Express, Kumbakonam-Chennai Rockfort Express, Rameswaram-Chennai are passing through the station.

Most of the passengers prefer to travel either by the Pallavan or Vaigai Express from Ariyalur to Chennai as it reaches Chennai within four hours while other trains that take extra one hour and more time. The fare is also less than Rs.100.

But the passengers are now put to great hardship as the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation has withdrawn many of its direct bus services to the station on the Thanjavur-Ariyalur section. At present, the TNSTC is operating two buses from Thanjavur to Ariyalur station at 5.05 a.m. and 5.25 a.m. and one from Pattukottai that reaches Thanjavur around 5.40 a.m. to enable passengers to board the Pallavan Express at 7.40 a.m.

The bus service from Thanjavur to catch the Vaigai Express at Ariyalur around 10 a.m. has been cancelled. Similarly, only one bus is now being operated from Ariyalur station to Thanjavur and one for Pattukottai for passengers alighting at Ariyalur by Pallavan Express at 7.40 p.m.

A cross-section of rail passengers told The Hindu that the problem could be solved if the TNSTC operated town bus services at regular intervals from Ariyalur Railway Station to the Ariyalur main bus stand at least during the arrival and departure of various trains. The passengers are now being fleeced by autorickshaw drivers who demand Rs.40 to 50 for going to the bus stand from the railway station.

Passengers carrying heavy luggage are the worst affected as no porter is available in the station. There is only one petty shop at the station. There is also only one small toilet for men and women. The station lacks several basic amenities including seats and shelter. The reconstruction of platform No.2 is progressing at snail’s pace, causing great inconvenience to the commuters.

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