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Closure of level crossing holds up traffic for hours

Special Correspondent
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Goods train with 58 empty wagons shunted

frustrating wait:A long queue of vehicles at the level crossing at Needamangalam railway station on Wednesday.— Photo: B. Velankanni Raj
frustrating wait:A long queue of vehicles at the level crossing at Needamangalam railway station on Wednesday.— Photo: B. Velankanni Raj

The closure of the railway level crossing for shunting a goods train at Needamangalam railway station caused traffic congestion on the Thanjavur–Nagapattinam national highway for a few hours in the early hours of Wednesday.

The train with a complement of 58 empty wagons for transporting paddy arrived at Needamangalam station at 3.15 a.m. Since a single platform at the station could not accommodate a lengthy formation, field level staff segregated the freight train into two rakes.

For facilitating the shunting of the two separate complements of the wagons, the level crossing was closed till 5.45 a.m.

Though railway sources claimed that the level crossing was opened every half an hour to enable movement of vehicular traffic, there was still a long queue of vehicles at the gate. The level crossing was closed at short intervals which caused snarls on both sides.

Meanwhile, Chennai–Mannargudi Mannai express reached Needamangalam station at 6.30 a.m. and the engine had to turn around for its onward journey towards Mannargudi.

This worsened the situation further as the gate was closed once again before the entire traffic could be cleared. Vehicles were parked on both sides of the road for more than a kilometre, an eye witness said.

This has been a perennial problem, as the highway runs in the middle of Needamangalam railway station. Railway sources said the State government had come forward to construct a road over-bridge here which would solve this problem once for all.

Devotees from across the country proceeding to Tirunallar temple, Velankanni Church, and Nagore Dargah take this national highway and this level crossing always proves a traffic bottleneck. The Railways and the State government should make haste and construct the ROB on war footing, says D. Kuberan, a resident of Needamangalam.

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