The MRTS is a fast, cheap and environment-friendly mode of transport. It was also expected to draw patronage from a large number of professionals working on the IT corridor. What is it, then, that has prevented it from living up to expectations? And what is being done?
Packaging may be one issue. K. Sami Raj, who commutes from Velachery to Gummidipoondi, said that the MRTS should also allocate first-class coaches and also think of introducing air-conditioned coaches.
The MRTS facility is also yet to tap the IT sector. At present only those working in Tidel Park are patronising the services. V. Mythili, an IT professional from Mylapore, said that though she had tried out the MRTS, she did not think of it as a real option for travel. “The MRTS stations are not easily accessible. You have to walk quite a distance just to reach one,” she said. Mythili says that her uncle takes his bike, parks it at the station, and then takes train, “Most of us, though, don’t have that kind of patience, it’s just easier to catch a bus or an auto,” she said. Another IT professional, Archit V.S. said that IT professionals had erratic working hours and there were no trains available late in the night.
The administration has been working on improving passenger amenities. Contracts had been issued for two-wheeler parking in six stations in addition to Velachery where parking facilities are available. Pay-and-use toilet are to be open in Velachery, Thiruvanmiyur, Tirumailai and Chepauk. The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation is also planning to open food plazas in Velachery and Tirumailai. Once these plazas are opened, officials hoped the clientele would improve.
Referring to the dismal look at the stations, Chennai Railway Divisional Manager Man Singh said one of the reasons for the unhygienic conditions was the entry of unauthorised people into the stations. Some of the entries into the stations will now be closed to prevent this.
In the meantime, instructions have also been given to station officials to employ private conservancy workers for cleaning.
Dedicated pathways for commuters linking roads with all railway stations is another major demand. For commuters using the Velachery Railway Station, the footpath along the Velachery Main Road has been occupied by hawkers, a fish market and vehicle parking. Likewise, commuters using the MRTS and taking a link service from the Central Suburban Station, face hardship due to the lack of dedicated pathways. The commuters moving between MRTS Park Town Railway Station and Central Railway Station have to trek a long walk through the subway or the congested Poonamallee High Road.
The lack of roads on both sides of the MRTS (between Beach and Velachery) is one drawback that has been promised to be overcome in the next phase extension to St. Thomas Mount . The State Highways Department has put in place a proposal to this effect. This is, indeed, a welcome move as the lack of roads is what is hampering the introduction of MTC buses.
A senior CMDA official said the alignment for the next phase of the MRTS — extension to St. Thomas Mount — was being firmed up. Work is slated to begin next year.
A senior official said the daily revenue from the MRTS was 2.31 lakh after the services were extended to Velachery as against the previous collection of Rs.84,000. Similarly, the total number of passengers had increased from 7,000 to 21,000 and the season tickets from 220 to 750. Apart from passengers’ revenue, the administration was getting Rs 2 crore a year through advertisements in MRTS stations and coaches. It remains to be seen whether further extension will improve the revenue and popularity of the service. For the moment, it looks like there is an acute need for proper marketing of existing facilities.
Extension of MRTS services from Thiruvanmiyur upto Velachery atlast appears to be a reality with the preliminary inspection of the tracks completed by the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) on July 5, 2007. The CRS has advised to make certain changes to the two elevated lines between Thiruvanmiyur and Velachery. These are expected to be completed in another 10 days time.....readmore
While participating in the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations of the Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) Car Shed at Tambaram in December 2006, Minister of State for Railways R. Velu said the MRTS services till Velachery were to be extended by the year-end, but the heavy rain delayed the work in a small part of the track, though installation of the girders was complete and it was expected to be completed by March-end.....readmore
- What is that loop lines?CHENNAI: It is 6:30 in the evening. Platform No. 13 at the Moore Market complex, Chennai Central, is packed with passengers. They crane their necks out every minute to see if a train is coming.
Ten minutes later, an EMU train to Arakkonam pulls into the platform. Within minutes, the train gets choked with people. For passengers along the Chennai-Arakkonam railway section, this experience is an everyday affair. Passengers complained that EMU trains in this section often run late, do not halt at important stations, are irregular and congested. Despite this, they use the services as the bus services are not dependable.
S. Shanti, a resident of Avadi, says the EMU train gets held up at the Basin Bridge junction for almost half an hour and she reaches home late daily. The junction is a major traffic bottleneck.
L. Subhashini, another passenger, says there are several trains that go without stopping at Perambur Loco Works. So she has to wait for the particular train which would stop at the station.
Absence of platforms for fast local trains at important stations such as Avadi and Pattabiram results in five pairs of services on the Chennai-Tiruttani, Chennai-Thiruvallur and Chennai-Arakkonam skip the stations.
Consumer rights activist and resident of Pattabiram T. Sadagopan said he had sought information under the RTI Act from Southern Railway on why train services on the section do not match the Chennai Beach-Tambaram EMU train services.
In 2004, a fourth track was laid between Pattabiram and Tiruvallur, but local trains to Avadi are yet to be extended till Tiruvallur, he added.
He says residents of Tiruvallur and nearby areas travelling by train to Bangalore or Mumbai must come to the Central Station. Providing a terminal at Tiruvallur for mail express trains could considerably reduce passenger load in suburban trains, he said.
Sriperumbudur Member of Parliament and resident of Pattabiram A. Krishna Swamy highlighted these issues in a letter to Union Railway Minister Lalu Prasad in March 2007. Tiruvallur, a district headquarters, suburban terminal and industrial centre, and Avadi, a defence base, have been neglected, he said.
Adding to the woes of the commuters is the delay in the suburban services as a result of mail express trains cutting across the railway lines in this section.
An instance of this: between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. an express train to Tirupati is run on the suburban railway line, because of which rush-hour suburban trains get held up. Another important reason why trains get delayed is that Avadi and Ambattur have loop lines on which drivers have to slow down the speed before entering the stations.
Railway authorities say they are aware of the problem as they are receiving regular complaints from passengers in this section. They admit that unless the tracks meant for suburban trains are “dedicated” many of the issues cannot be resolved. They added that with the limited resources available, it was not possible to satisfy all commuters.
If four tracks are there,Then what is issue of allocating dedicated line to suburban?In 2004 a fourth track was laid between Pattabiram and Tiruvallur
The detailed TIDCO report has envisaged extension of the existing Mass Rapid Transport System (MRTS) railway line from Tiruvanmiyur to Mamallapuram, along Rajiv Gandhi Salai on the Buckingham canal route for about 50 km. A new railway line has also been proposed from Anna Nagar to Kancheepuram, passing through Poonamallee and Sriperumbudur for about 75 km. The cost of the above two rail links is estimated at Rs.1,250 crore.
While there is absolutely no need for an elevated track to Kancheepuram, and track elevation "could" be avoided by using the Canal banks on IT corridor the cost will be much lesser making 125 KM with 1250 crore reasonable.. And this project is the need of hour considering the activies happening in Sriperumbudur/ Oragadam region.. Hats off to TN govt/ Railways....^^
125KM MRTS costs only 1250 crore INR?!?
How do you propose to get land on the banks of the canal, when most of the area is occupied by either u-c or completed IT parks and office buildings?While there is absolutely no need for an elevated track to Kancheepuram, and track elevation "could" be avoided by using the Canal banks on IT corridor the cost will be much lesser making 125 KM with 1250 crore reasonable.. And this project is the need of hour considering the activies happening in Sriperumbudur/ Oragadam region.. Hats off to TN govt/ Railways....
There is really space indeed along the buckingham canal till pandian nagar bridge which connects the 2 sides of the buckhingham canal.(OMR and ECR)How do you propose to get land on the banks of the canal, when most of the area is occupied by either u-c or completed IT parks and office buildings?
London, which has one of the biggest and oldest Metros in the world, has only one circular line out of the total 12 lines. And London is a city which has more or less grown in all directions equally, unlike Chennai where the growth is either stretched along OMR/ GST or NH4 towards BLR making the circular form not feasible.MRTS (and any metro) is meant for intracity transportation and generally takes a circular form (if I'm not wrong). If they extend the MRTS to Mahabalipuram (and further, perhaps, in the future), will that be a metro anymore? What's the purpose then? Am a bit confused over this. :nuts: Anybody please clarify.
When it is possible to have loop lines towards ECR from the present main line from Beach, why they are planning to make Thiruvanmiyur as a transit station.^^ not such an issue. since it isnt really possible to connect it to the existing line. from a discussion i had with the materials manager at thiruvanmiyur station, i beleive that they arent completing this station because they plan to begin the ecr by construction a new level above the present platform (this seems even more unfeasible though). So the ecr line will be a standalon line and will require a changeover at tvmr, that is if it gets approved at all.