CHENNAI (Metro Rail & Steel): In Chennai, the Tambaram-Egmore suburban train route witnessed chaos on Wednesday as services operated at prolonged intervals of 30 minutes. Commuters faced severe overcrowding, prompting some, including women, to resort to travelling on the footboards due to jam-packed compartments. “Many passengers opted for the metro at Tirusulam station due to the overwhelming crowding. The subway linking Tirusulam suburban station to the airport metro station was flooded,” reported Karthik, a regular commuter on this route. “To navigate this, passengers resorted to crossing over by jumping the median on GST road,” he added. The return journey was reported to be even more congested by another commuter.
Expressing their discontent, commuters demanded regular and frequent train services to alleviate inconveniences. Southern Railway canceled eight long-distance trains on Wednesday, including prominent services like Nilgiri Express, Mysore Express, and Yercaud Express. However, Southern Railway announced the resumption of regular timetable services for suburban trains in various sections from Thursday, aiming to ease commuter woes.
Further complicating travel plans, Southern Railway canceled two suburban trains on the Beach-Tambaram route due to ongoing engineering work at Tambaram yard. Additionally, heavy rains forced the cancellation of several express trains, citing dangerous water levels at a bridge between Vyasarpadi and Basin Bridge railway stations. Notable cancellations included the Chennai Central – Mangaluru Central West Coast Express and the Chennai Central – Coimbatore Vande Bharat Express. Amidst these disruptions, the Chengalpet – Kacheguda Express was diverted via Kancheepuram and Melpakkam, bypassing stoppages at Tambaram, Chennai Egmore, and Arakkonam.
Meanwhile, in a bid to accommodate growing station footfalls, Chennai Metro Rail Limited announced revised Sunday train timings. Effective from December 3, the new schedule entails trains every seven minutes during Sunday afternoons and evenings, compared to the previous 10-minute intervals. The revised timetable aims to enhance convenience with trains running every 10 minutes from 5 am to noon and from 8 pm to 10 pm. Additionally, between noon and 8 pm, trains will operate at seven-minute intervals, with a train scheduled every 15 minutes between 10 pm and 11 pm.