Chennai

Cancellations, chaos at Central

With Southern Railway cancelling several trains, people packed the few that were running on Thursday.

With Southern Railway cancelling several trains, people packed the few that were running on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: R_Ragu

People wanting to get to their native places from the city are rushing to the Puratchi Thalaivar Dr. MGR Chennai Central railway station, not realising that the Southern Railway has cancelled over 95 long-distance trains.

With 50 trains already suspended due to low occupancy on Wednesday, an additional 45 services were cancelled on Thursday. A total of 155 train services have been cancelled throughout the country as part of the Railways’ measures to prevent COVID-19.

The Railways on Thursday cancelled several services, including the Chennai-Vijayawada Jan Shatabdi Express, Chennai-Coimbatore Shatabdi Express, Chennai-Hazrat Nizamuddin Duronto Express, Chennai-Thiruvananthapuram Express, Mangaluru-Thiruvananthapuram Express, Chennai-Bengaluru Express, Tiruchi-Thiruvananthapuram Express and Mangaluru-Coimbatore Intercity Express. The services are being cancelled between March 20 and 31.

A total of 23 special-fare summer trains, that were to be operated in April, are being cancelled. Special-fare trains to be operated to Thoothukudi, Nagercoil, Tirunelveli, Velankanni and Rameswaram are among the services that will be cancelled.

A senior Railways official said that to discourage people from undertaking non-essential travel, concession tickets for senior citizens and students were being withdrawn with effect from Friday.

The cancellation of several trainscreated panic among passengers who were to leave the city. On Friday morning, commuters rushed to board trains at the Puratchi Thalaivar Dr. MGR Chennai Central railway station. The situation gradually normalised, said the railway official.

Regarding passengers who had booked tickets to trains that were cancelled, the official said that the department would refund the full price.

The official, when asked whether the stoppage of services to various parts of the southern States would cause confusion and chaos, said that only special trains and a few regular ones had been cancelled. No regular train services from Chennai Egmore or Central railway station have been cancelled, he added.

However, officials of the State Transport Department point out that if train services are not available, commuters have the option to travel in buses. The State Express Transport Corporation (SETC), which operates long-distance buses to nearby States, has not stopped any of its services, except those to Tirupati and a few places in Kerala.

A senior SETC official said that with the State government announcing shutdown in the city, buses were being operated based on demand. Over 75% of the buses are plying to several parts of the State, every day, he added.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2020 1:46:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/cancellations-chaos-at-central/article31112558.ece

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