Padi railway station, which was lying in a derelict state for nearly a decade, will soon be a social hub for local residents. Earlier, the station was closed due to poor patronage by commuters. However, Integral Coach Factory (ICF), which maintains the station, is carrying out developmental works to transform the station into a social meeting point. The amenities to be provided include a 500-metre walkers’ path with seating arrangements and lights. Security personnel will be deployed at the facility.
To improve the green cover, ICF has planted more than 300 saplings at the station over the last few weeks. An ICF official says, “Impressed with the patronage the station received from walking coming from Villivakkam, Padi, Korattur and Anna Nagar, we started entertaining the idea of transforming the station into a social hub. Another reason was that these areas don’t have an adequate number of playgrounds. Though the Padi station, However, the local train services that were once operated from the two stations – Padi and Anna Nagar – will not be resumed.”
With the 500mts walker’s path, constructed at a cost of ₹15 lakh, residents are allowed to use Padi station between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m and between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m, on all days including Sundays.
Interestingly, other parks developed by ICF in the neighbourhood mainly cater to the needs of its staff. On the other hand, the Padi station is being developed, keeping in mind the welfare of local residents. “The idea is to develop bonding between Railways and the people, thereby making them guardians of public property,” the official added.
“With better lighting arrangement and security personnel, it is safer to bring our children to the station in the evening,” said S. Kamala, a resident of Villivakkam.
In the coming months, three separate tracks will be set up on the northern side to park new coaches by ICF before they are transported to the destination.
Each track will be 500 metres long and can accommodate 20 coaches. Moreover, a high speed rail line for conducting trials will also be laid at the station, connecting it with ICF, over a distance of around 2km. To prevent intruders, a wall will be built and there will be round-the-clock surveillance by RPF personnel. Over thousand saplings will be planted in next few months. The entire cost of the project — ₹2.90 crore — will be mobilised from general funds of the ICF. Residents will be allowed to use the station even after these tracks are made operational.
Railway officials said these additional tracks at the station will provide more security to local residents as continuous surveillance will be in place, ensuring safety of railway property and also for residents. As the region has grown exponentially, local residents have appealed to Southern Railway to resume the services at Padi and Anna Nagar railway stations.
R. Pushpalatha, a resident of Thirumangalam, walks for more than a kilometre to reach the nearest bus stop in Villivakkam or Anna Nagar West. She says, “If train services to Chennai Central are resumed, residents will be spared the hassle of a long walk, amidst heavy traffic.”
Responding to the demands, sources at Southern Railway say the issue will be looked into.