Lobbying for restoration of Tiruvarur-Karaikudi train service


Repeated representations by rail users’ associations in Thanjavur and Tiruvarur districts to the railways seeking normal services on the Tiruvarur-Karaikudi section have raised hopes of commuters that the services will be restored from January 2022.

The Tiruvarur-Karaikudi section was closed for traffic 11 years back to facilitate the gauge conversion work and the project was completed a few years ago. The track was subsequently cleared for operation of trains.

Rail users were disappointed when a lone on-board gatekeeper diesel-electric multiple unit (DEMU) service between Tiruvarur and Karaikudi was introduced a few months before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Later on, the running time of the DEMU service got reduced by a few hours after the appointment of ex-servicemen as guards on a contract basis at some of the level crossing gates in this section, according to Venkatesan of Aalathampadi.

But, the decision to terminate the ex-servicemen from the service taken recently by the Railway Board shocked the train commuters as they were hoping that the Southern Railway was in the process of fulfilling the vacant gatekeeper posts to revive the normal train services on this newly laid BG track.

Pointing out that a total of 72 level-crossings exist on this section, N.Jayaraman, president, Pattukottai Taluk Rail Passengers Welfare Association, said that initially around 100 ex-servicemen were selected and trained in the level crossing operation works.

Out of them, 42 persons were deployed subsequently. Suddenly, a few months ago the Southern Railway relieved all these ex-servicemen from the LC manning duty, he added.

Stumped by the unexpected development, various rail commuters associations in Thanjavur and Tiruvarur districts rose up to the occasion and persuaded the Members of Parliament elected from these two districts to take up the issue with the Railway Board and ensure that the service of ex-servicemen was utilised by the railways to man the level crossing gates.

Further, the associations have also suggested that the retired para-military personnel could also be considered for the gatekeeper posts.

Their efforts to convince the Railway Board to continue with deployment of ex-servicemen at the LCs on a contract basis through the MPs had elicited a positive response; the railways had called for applications for the post of gatekeepers at the LCs falling under the Tiruchi Division of the Southern Railway till November-end this year.

About 300 ex-servicemen/retired para-military personnel are reported to have expressed their interest to take up the gatekeeper responsibilities at the level crossings falling under the Tiruchi Division of the Southern Railway, sources said.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 10:35:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/lobbying-for-restoration-of-tiruvarur-karaikudi-train-service/article37899784.ece

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