Chennai

A long trek for a train

The MRTS, though facilitating greater connectivity between Velachery and Beach, lags in ensuring access through lifts and elevators at its elevated stations

The Mass Rapid Transit System, the mostly-elevated train link connecting Velachery in the city’s south with Chennai Beach station might have made commuting quicker and easier.

However, access to most of the elevated platforms through lifts and elevators is still an issue for commuters.

The Hindu visited each of the 14 elevated stations between Perungudi and Chintadripet last week, to gain a first-hand perspective.

The Southern Railway has hired electricians and plumbers for maintenance, but most of the amenities do not work and officials attribute this to various reasons — water seepage, technical faults and even pilferage of spare parts, motors, and pumps, among others.

In the absence of lifts and escalators, commuters at the elevated stations, whose tracks are at a height of about 14 metres, are forced to climb a steep flight of steps, numbering an average of 60 (20 more than the steps in foot overbridges at suburban stations).

At Perungudi station, access to the escalators has been cut off for over six months. The lift to the platform towards Chennai Beach is not being operated for fear of an electrical short circuit as the vault below the ground is filled with water, as is the case at Thirumayilai.

At Thiruvanmiyur and Thirumayilai, commuters prefer to take the stairs. “The lifts stink. I wonder who causes this filth inside them,” said N. Logu, a commuter.

In Indra Nagar station, the escalator does not move automatically and commuters have to press the green button next to the emergency stop button to make it move.

At least one of the lifts or escalators does not work in Kasthurba Nagar, Kotturpuram, Light House, and Triplicane stations. However, in Taramani and Greenways Road stations, all lifts and escalators were working when this reporter visited them.

At Mundagakanni Amman Temple, the newest station on the route, only lifts have been installed and both of them work. But it is in Chintadripet and Chepauk that commuters suffer the most as neither the escalators nor the lifts work.

“It is so difficult to climb the staircase every day. If not the escalator, at least the lift should be made operational,” said Kasturi Ganesan of Ambattur, who runs a tea stall in the Ezhilagam complex near Chepauk station.

Senior project officials said that in some of the stations, it was the manufacturers’ fault for not attending to repairs and they were taking all possible steps to get them to rectify the faults. The monsoon had caused damages to electrical fittings, and steps were being taken to ensure that all lifts and escalators, including the ones in Chintadripet and Chepauk stations, are made operational, they added.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 10:44:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/chennai-mrts-a-long-trek-for-a-train/article6652514.ece

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