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One hundred years of tireless travel ... still chugging with charm

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down memory track: The century-old Egmore station reverberates with sounds of glory.
down memory track: The century-old Egmore station reverberates with sounds of glory.

Special Correspondent

Exhibition of documents, photographs to mark centenary fete

The station became the major MG terminal after the formation of Southern Railway in 1951

Egmore was converted into a major broad gauge terminal and it became operational in 1998

CHENNAI: Egmore railway station, the gateway to the south, is celebrating its centenary on June 11 (Wednesday).

When the new station building was opened on June 11, 1908, it was not a major metre gauge (MG) station, but a wayside station on the Tambaram-Beach section.

The South Indian Railway wanted to construct a big building for the Egmore station like the one built for the Chennai Central station, then under the control of the Southern Maharatta Railway.

More services introduced

Subsequently, more services were introduced and it became the major MG terminal after the formation of Southern Railway in 1951.

It was from Egmore that services were operated to Thiruvananthapuram and to major southern cities such as Madurai, Tiruneveli and Tuticorin. North-bound passengers from the South had to necessarily make transhipment from Egmore to Central to board north-bound trains.

Link to Colombo

There was also a link service to Colombo from here. Colombo-bound passengers were taken by Chennai Egmore–Dhanushkodi Boat Mail and from Dhanushkodi they were taken by ferry to Talaimannar in Sri Lanka, then known as Ceylon.

From Talaimannar, there was a train service to Colombo. The service had to be cancelled after the railway line in Dhanushkodi was destroyed by a cyclone in 1964.

With the implementation of the unigauge system by the Indian Railways, Egmore was converted into major broad gauge terminal and became operational on September 1, 1998.

Unique feature

The Egmore railway station has a unique feature. In two platforms, facilities were available to drop passengers near their compartment by cars. Only two stations had such a facility, the other being Howrah. When BG lines became operational, the facility was suspended.

At present, there are 11 platforms, of which six have the capacity to handle 24 coaches. The station handles 25 main line trains and 118 suburban trains.

Its average daily earnings are Rs.17.5 lakh.

N. Swaminathan, Additional Divisional Railway Manager, Chennai, told press persons here on Friday that many facilities were being provided at the station, including improvements to retiring rooms, waiting hall, battery operated car for the convenience of physically challenged persons, plasma display screens and flip-flop train information system.

The division is also organising an exhibition from June 11 displaying old documents, letters pertaining to the station and old photographs.

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