North Chennai residents excited at fourth terminal plan

Southern Railway’s plan to convert Tondiarpet railway station into Chennai’s fourth railway terminal has brought cheers to commuters of north Chennai, for the conversion will bring them substantial benefits.

It will increase in the number of train services, including suburban trains. There will be a vast improvement in basic amenities at the key railway stations along the northern rail line between Chennai Central and

Gummudipoondi railway stations.

For years, the Central and Egmore railway stations have been the only two railway terminals in the city.

Chennai Central takes care of north- and west-bound trains and the Egmore station those headed to other parts of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puduchery.

Every day, on an average, the two stations handle more than 300 trains, including suburban services, with more than five lakh passengers.

A third terminal is being constructed at Tambaram railway station, primarily to de-congest the Egmore terminal.

The proposed Tondiarpet railway terminal will the ease the burden on the Chennai Central station. “For a long time, train travellers from north Chennai have been going to Egmore or Chennai Central Station to board trains bound for other parts of the State or outside the State. With the new plan, it would be easier for us to board long-distance trains at Tondiarpet,” S. Prakash, a commuter from Royapuram, said.

Interestingly, the conversion of Tondiarpet railway station into a terminal will lead to more suburban train services being operated on the northern rail route of the city. Currently, on an average, for every 15-20

minutes, there is only one train between Central and Gummudipoondi railway stations, a distance of around 45 km. In contrast, the frequency of local trains on the southern line between Beach and Tambaram

stations is a train every five minutes, during rush hour.

During Sundays, when the trains are taken to the shed for weekly maintenance, commuters from the northern part of the city have to wait for a few hours if they have to commute between Chennai Central and Gummudipoondi.

Railway officials said such problems would be addressed as more tracks would enable more train services to be operated.

Likewise, basic amenities including seating arrangements, lighting, toilets, water taps, security and time-boards would be improved at the railway stations along the northern rail line.