Southern Railway on Thursday announced that its special train, the Tejas Superfast Express, will resume operations from January 10, a few days ahead of the Pongal festival. The train service from Madurai to Chennai Egmore and back was cancelled on January 4 due to poor patronage.
The move drew flak from Madurai residents, the Southern Railway Mazdoor Union and Dakshin Railway Employees Union, as well as senior politicians including MP Su. Thirunavukkarsar and MP Su. Venkatesan.
Thirunavukkarasar released a statement, saying the decision by the Southern Railways is ‘wrong’ as train services should not focus just on the revenue aspect but also cater to public interest.
In a letter to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Madurai MP Venkatesan opposed the decision, saying that poor patronage was due to the Covid-19 pandemic and highly-priced tickets in comparison to other trains on the same route. He said the Railways had already cancelled two Shatabdi Express trains from Chennai Central to Bengaluru and Coimbatore for the same reason.
Claiming a 30 per cent occupancy on these trains, Venkatesan said less crowding was desirable as it would help control the spread of Covid-19. He also requested the Southern Railways to revisit its decision to cancel the Madurai-Chennai Tejas Express train service to help needy passengers during the pandemic.
Considering all the views that were put forward, the Railway board revoked its cancellation on Thursday. It was decided that the Tejas Superfast Express will run six days a week (except Thursdays). The Chennai-Madurai Tejas Superfast Express (02613) will depart from Chennai Egmore at 6 am and arrive at Tiruchirapalli at 09.55/10.00 am. It will halt at Kodaikanal Road at 11.18/11.20 am and reach Madurai at 12.15 pm. On the return route, the train will depart from Madurai at 3 pm, stop at Kodaikanal Road at 3.28/3.30 pm, and arrive at Thiruchirapalli at 5.00/5:05 pm before finally reaching Chennai at 9.15 pm the same day.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines