Tiruvarur-Karaikudi DEMU service on the beaten track again

The Diesel Electric Multiple Unit service on the Tiruvarur-Karaikudi broad gauge section is back on the track.

The train will run from Wednesday, but as unreserved special with express fare.

What is more, travelling gatekeepers aboard the train will hop in and hop out as usual to close and open the railway gates along the route. Reason: the BG section has 72 level crossing gates, but only 14 are manned by regular gatekeepers.

As before, the DEMU rake will not have toilets, seriously inconveniencing passengers, especially senior citizens.

150 km, six hours. The only silver lining is the reduced number of stoppages — from 18 to nine.

In a nutshell, nothing appears to have changed for more than a year when the DEMU services was suspended due to COVID-19 pandemic. No wonder, rail travellers are not enthused.

In fact, rail users’ associations in the region blame the railway administration’s apathy towards the BG section for the situation.

For instance, Abdul Razak of Adhiramapattinam Rail Users Association points to the prolonged delay in appointment of permanent gatekeepers and introduction of regular express trains to Chennai from Karaikudi. This despite the fact that the railway administration has invested nearly ₹1,000 crore for converting the stretch from metre gauge to broad gauge.

Adds N. Jayaraman of Pattukottai Taluk Railway Passengers Welfare Association: “We have been seeking deployment of permanent gatekeepers for all gates following gauge conversion and operation of regular express trains to Chennai from Karaikudi and a passenger service from Mayiladuthurai to Karaikudi via Pattukottai and Peravurani and Aranthangi.”

The Pattukottai Taluk Railway Passengers Welfare Association contends that travellers from Pattukottai, Peravurani, Adhiramapattinam,and Aranthangi have been suffering for nearly a decade now in the absence of introduction of regular express train services on the BG section. They have to either go to Thanjavur, Mannargudi or Ariyalur to board an express train to Chennai.

But the railway administration has announced the DEMU service again, which involves a journey stretching for six hours.

“It will not serve any purpose for travellers,” Mr. Jayaraman adds.

Further, operating the DEMU service as unreserved special with express fare will deter many travellers, he points out.

He suggests that the railways attach at least one DEMU coach with toilet.

The journey

To recap, the BG stretch covers parts of Tiruvarur, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Sivaganga districts. The unreserved special with express fare will run one service each in the up and down direction. It will leave Tiruvarur at 8.15 a.m. and reach Karaikudi at 2.15 p.m. In the return direction, it will leave Karaikudi at 2.30 p.m. and arrive at Tiruvarur at 8.30 p.m.

The train will have nine stoppages including Thiruthuraipoondi, Adhiramapattinam, Pattukotttai, Peravurani, Aranthangi and Periyakottai.

The halt stations of Mangudi, Mavur road, Ammanur, Alattambadi, Manali, Muthupet, Ottankadu, Valaramanickam and Kandanur Puduvayal have been temporarily kept in abeyance, Southern Railway said in a press release on Tuesday.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 6:44:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/tiruvarur-karaikudi-demu-service-on-the-beaten-track-again/article35706452.ece

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