Train chugs again to Theni after 12 years

 The unreserved express special between Madurai and Theni on the new broad gauge line being inaugurated in the presence of political dignitaries at Madurai junction on Thursday.

The unreserved express special between Madurai and Theni on the new broad gauge line being inaugurated in the presence of political dignitaries at Madurai junction on Thursday. | Photo Credit: R. ASHOK

Passenger train service between Madurai and Theni resumed on Thursday, 12 years after it was closed for guage conversion. The last train journey on this section was between Bodinaickanoor and Madurai on the metre gauge section on December 31, 2010.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi formally commissioned the 75-km broad gauge line connecting Madurai and Theni district, and flagged off the inaugural train. He also laid the foundation stone for major redevelopment of Madurai and Rameswaram railway stations throught video conference from Chennai.  

MLAs Sellur K. Raju, G. Thalapathi and M. Boominathan, flagged off the train at Madurai railway junction in the presence of Divisional Railway Manager P. Ananth.

The regular train service between Madurai and Theni that would begin from May 27 would provide faster, safer and economical mode of transport for the passengers. Train no. 06701 Madurai-Theni special train will leave Madurai at 8.30 a.m., Vadapalanji at 8.45 a.m., Usilampatti at 9.05 a.m. and Andipatti at 9.20 a.m. It will reach Theni at 9.35 a.m. Train no. 06702 Theni-Madurai special train will leave Theni at 6.15 p.m. Andipatti at 6.29 p.m. Usilampatti at 6.47 p.m., Vadapalanji at 7.05 p.m. and reach Madurai junction at 7.35 p.m. The train will stop at intermediate stations for a minute.

The train journey would cut down journey time by half when compared to bus travel.

The remaining portion of the gauge conversion project is underway for 15 km between Theni and Bodi.

Plea for stoppages

Meanwhile, Theni MP O.P. Ravindranath Kumar has stressed the need for at least eight more stoppages to be provided between Madurai and Bodi for the benefit of rural population. He sought halts at Nagamalai Pudukottai, Karumathur, Sikkampatti, Thottappanaickanpatti, Vallanthi Road, Boothipuram, Chekkanoorani and Theni Collectorate. "Only more halts will attract passengers using bus services," he said.

Similarly, the demand has come for an additional pair of passenger train to help people from Theni to reach Madurai in the morning and return in the evening. "Only then will the cost of ₹506 crore incurred on gauge conversion would be justified," a railway employee said.

While Railway Board is planning to operate additional train services on completion of the gauge conversion project upto Bodi, the Theni MP is hopeful of earlier operation of an express train by extending a train service now being run between Chennai and Madurai to Theni. This would provide a direct link to the State capital from Theni.

He justified the demand claiming that around 36,000 tonnes of spices, including cardamom, was being transported from Theni district by trucks. Similarly, one lakh tonnes of banana was being moved from the district. Rail connectivity will reduce transportation cost and prevent damage of the perishable produce, he said. Besides, horticulture crops can be moved faster to Madurai.

Mr. Ravindranath Kumar has also sought electrification of the route.

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Printable version | May 26, 2022 8:47:35 pm |