The lack of coordination between the district administrations of Tiruttani and Tiruvallur and the railway authorities came to the fore when thousands of commuters faced severe inconvenience due to the stoppage of suburban train services on the west section on July 24, owing to track maintenance work.
The line block announced by the Chennai division of the Southern Railway for bridge repair work at Avadi resulted in suburban train services being cancelled as well.
A. Roy Rozario, president, Railway Passengers’ Association of Pattabhiram, said though the railway authorities operated passenger specials on the fast track, the skipping of stoppages at several railway stations left passengers bound for Chennai Central and Egmore stations to catch long distance trains stranded. Also, those who were planning to appear for the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) exam also had to find their own mode of transport to reach the exam centres in the city.
Social activist T. Sadagopan said the line block also caused severe hardships to the hundreds of devotees bound for temples in and around Tiruvallur and Tiruttani to participate in the Aadi festival.
The railway passengers associations wanted the railway authorities to revert to the old convention of granting line blocks for maintenance works during the night hour from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. so that the suburban commuters do not suffer any hardships.
A senior official of the Chennai division of the Southern Railway said normally, maintenance timings were announced well in advance, and the timings were scheduled in a way there was minimal effect on the operation of suburban train services.
The railway official pointed out that the railway authorities could have cancelled the line block on the west section if the State government had told them about the conduct of the TNPSC exams and the organising of the Aadi festival.