Madurai

Modi likely to inaugurate Madurai-Theni line

Speed trials have been completed on the  Madurai- Theni section.

Speed trials have been completed on the Madurai- Theni section. | Photo Credit: HANDOUT

MADURAI

People of Theni district and western parts of Madurai district have been patiently waiting for the Indian Railway to complete the gauge conversion work of Madurai-Theni-Bodinaickanoor section for more than 10 years. The wait is likely to get over with Prime Minister Narendra Modi likely to inaugurate the Madurai-Theni broad gauge section during his visit to Chennai later this month.

A long wait
The track remained closed since January 2011 for gauge conversion
The outlay of ₹180 crore in 2012, has escalated to around ₹450 crore

Though Southern Railway sprang a surprise with its proposal in March to run a unreserved special train between Madurai and Andipatti with a halt at Usilampatti, it was hurriedly withdrawn as "deferring" the operation. Meanwhile, the broad gauge track got ready and cleared for passenger traffic upto Theni.

For the people of Theni district, rail connectivity will provide cheaper, safer and faster mode of transport in comparison to road transport.

Metre gauge island

While all the sections had been converted into broad gauge in Madurai district, Madurai-Bodi section remained a metre gauge island.

"At one point of time, the Railway Board declined for gauge conversion owing to projection of poor revenue generation. However, Southern Railway impressed upon the board to put this section on the BG map," a railway official said.

Though the track was closed from January 2011 for "gauge conversion," the work gained momentum only in the last couple of years. The work has been completed for around 75 km between Madurai and Theni and the remaining work on 15 km between Theni and Bodi is under way and is expected to be completed by this year-end.

The project, estimated to be completed at a cost of ₹180 crore in 2012, has escalated to around ₹450 crore.

While only two pairs of passenger trains were operated on the metre gauge line, the demand for providing a direct train service connecting Theni with Chennai has grown louder.

MP’s plea

Recently, Theni MP O.P. Ravindranath had said that Pandian Express could be extended upto Theni and later upto Bodi. However, a railway official ruled out this possibility for the complex rake link of Pandian Express.

"Southern Railway headquarters might look for extension of some other train running between Madurai and Chennai upto Theni," he said.


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Printable version | Jun 26, 2022 4:42:01 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/modi-likely-to-inaugurate-madurai-theni-line/article65407981.ece